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Rampant Games - Lousy Choices and Linear Dungeons

by Dhruin, 2012-01-17 22:29:15

Jay Barnson writes about the "evolution" of dungeon design in RPGs from the complex to the strictly linear. Skyrim is the obvious touchstone, with Jay currently playing Bethsoft's latest release:

RPG level design is a funky thing – particularly with good ol’ traditional dungeons. The linear dungeons of Skyrim are awfully convenient, and in all honesty may be a trifle more “realistic” (does that ever matter?) than the sprawling dungeon complexes of many classic games. It’s easy to avoid getting lost in them – the map screen is usually only necessary to see if you missed a corner or closet somewhere where there may be some additional loot.

But they do rub me the wrong way a little. I like my big, sprawling dungeon complexes. And I do like to harp on having choices.  However, a choice between a door on the left or a door on the right – or whether you take the left or right branch in a corridor – is a lousy choice. Without some kind of knowledge about the difference between the two (or more) choices, it’s really no choice at all.

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