Posted by: Xalthorn | February 18, 2008

Dungeon Escape Revisited

Having spent quite some time working with the practicalities and implementation of a game engine that will be suitable for both Dungeon Escape and Mondestia RPG, I came to the realisation that again, I’m not seeing the wood for the trees.

Although the Mondestia RPG will be the larger, more detailed project, Dungeon Escape is meant to be simple. Really simple.

The online game is meant to translate directly to a table top board game, playable without lots of referrals to manuals and look up tables. With this in mind, the complexity that I was starting to throw at Dungeon Escape was aimed at the wrong project, it should have been thrown at the RPG.

It is inevitable that during the creation and coding of Dungeon Escape, changes and improvements will be made when working on the RPG. However, these improvements and added complexity do not need to be fully worked out yet, simply pencilled in and a large ‘to do’ list created. It should certainly not delay the implementation of Dungeon Escape which doesn’t need half of the features.

So I’ve halted further development on features that I don’t yet need and turned back to the design notes for Dungeon Escape. Dungeon Escape will still have a fully functioning scrolling map display as it is very useful. However, I don’t need a fog of war, or the need to accomodate huge maps, or even worry about filling corners in for the isometric or top down view as appropriate.

All dungeon maps in Dungeon Escape are the same size for quick and easy dungeon layout (on a table). And as the whole dungeon level is viewable on the table, it should also be viewable in the online version.

The heroes also don’t need the complexity of the RPG as they are intentionally simplistic. Although it goes against my preferred approach, there will be races and classes to keep hero selection simple (in the board game version you will select a card to represent your hero). This drastically reduces the graphic content I need to prepare for the game. Fully customisable avatars/heroes will be left for the RPG engine. Dungeon Escape simply needs a fixed set of images for each race/class/sex combination.

Ho hum

So all I need to do now is finalise the design, put some initial graphic sets together, and code up a playable prototype that is along the lines of the final version. That can then be open to testers to tear it apart and generally test. A few iterations of update/re-test, and it should be ready for open playing.



  1. I hear what you are saying…

    This week I suddenly realized the same. I was always aiming for a most complete and versatile solution. But such a thing would take ages to complete.

    So, as you said, stay on target and first of all, sort targets by requirements. A side scroller shoot em up, certainly won’t need most of the features of a full fledged action adventure rpg game…

  2. Just thought I’d make you aware of an existing tile-based dungeon adventure board game with extremely simple play mechanics that is already published under the name of Dungeon Escape.

  3. Thanks for that, I recently did a search for Dungeon Escape as people were hitting my blog with that search term.

    There are a few things out there, but I wasn’t aware of one that had actually been published. Although that version bears a very scary resemblance to Dungeonquest where you head to the centre of the dungeon, uncovering tiles as you go, trying to steal treasure from the dragon and escape.

    Time to come up with a new name I guess.

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