Last time, based on your suggestions, we came up with the following prompts for the Theme of this dungeon:
Core Direction Ideas:
- Near Future Cyber Tech
- Charismatic, but inhuman mastermind who experiments
Let’s go ahead and apply this concept to our Skeleton:
- At the dawn of the technological age, humanity began to reflect and explore more deeply upon their origins.
- Driven deeper into the ground after lost wisdom, they came upon the ruins of an ancient civilization
- At first, just ruins, the archaeologists began to discover signs of a communal relationship between saurians and humans
- However, when the venture discovered a cache of magma warmed Dragon’s eggs, the lead archaeologist, Mi’ker Coustaeu, seized the opportunity to hold the last great hope for the return of dinosaurs hostage, espousing the virtues of keeping the extinct tightly under the control of humanity.
- Mi’ker Cousteau – primary villain, archaeologist, Indiana Jones wanna-be
- Jinelle Thaurma – saurian researcher, combined chicken eggs with dragonic dna to create simple minded “dinosaurs” to serve them
- Digger McGee – excavator, wildly enthusiastic owner of drilling, boring and blasting devices
- Sumac Martell – private securities entrepreneur
- Jordon Grimfang – (Hero) – apprentice Wizardlock, your guide to this dungeon, you shall observe Jordon’s growth during this expansion.
- Introduce the Dragon race & Dinosaur pets to the game
- Give players a series of challenges that become increasingly difficult
- Reward loot to players who play fast and well
- Keep players hungry for more from the zone
- The Initial Speech by Jordon Grimfang, apprentice Wizardlock, about the great potential for mixing magical power and technological might
- Frames the experience within the overall game
- The Cave-in – forces the players to make a choice about which boss they will face – as the other will be trapped away forever (till next raid reset)
- The Tracks – signs of a large, living dinosaur
- The Draconic Hatchery – the final resting place of the true Dragon’s eggs
- Mi’ker’s devastation – the attempt to destroy the eggs after losing control – and the return of the Brood Mum who sacrifices herself to protect the eggs.
The purpose of the structure in this case is to reinforce the narrative of the dungeon. We need to figure out the overall shape – we know we want there to be a decision point during the “fork in the road” cave-in that ultimately leads to the same place. So let’s rough out that shape.
This is a very simple “shoe boxes with halls” diagram that reflects the overall flow of the raid. The entrance is on the left, each box represents where a boss will be.
Next is to identify any major landmarks. Based the story, we have a series of events we want called out:
- The opening of the raid (Speech)
- The cave-in
- The decision point
- The dinosaur lab
- The final dragon’s nest
- The bosses themselves
At this point, the core idea is there and a talented level designer will work with a concept artist on ideas for these areas. Incredibly talented, the concept artist take the rough idea and forge it into a visual expression the entire art team can get behind.
I don’t have a concept artist on staff to do images for this blog, so let’s pretend this is what the art team came back with:
Now with that visuals asthetic in mind, the idea for how to improve these landmarks becomes clearer!
Now that we know the major playspace will be these pathway areas with golden rails, lets spice the rest of the area up a bit…
Cool, this is finally starting to get somewhere.. We’ve added some footprints to indicate something dangerous lurks ahead! (Maybe the Dino Boss is much harder than the Security boss) We’ve also created the 3 visual concepts we want to sell during this stage.
Finally, we do a quick flow guide. In this case, the flow is very simple:
This is the optimal, minimum resistance path most players are expected to take as they learn the raid zone. In this case, the flow is very simple, but in a more complex map, there might be more difficult twists, backtracking, dead-ends, etc. In those cases, the flow diagram is doubly important, because it will help you identify un-used or wasted space in your dungeon.
In this case, it’s clear that the Dino Boss is not a needed character. That’s OK – we are planning on an extra, unreachable boss each run. (Or maybe you can split your raid in half and do both simultaneously for an achievement and more loot…)
Okay, next time we’ll talk about how your team might begin executing on each piece of this raid or dungeon – how to support the content with environments, bosses, events, etc.