Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Dungeons and Room Types

My next blatant theft of a feature from another roguelike will probably be the room names from Unangband. I've deliberately not looked at the code for this on that game, but am designing my own system. I have the implementation worked out in my head for this already, but as ever I need more lubrication for my creative juices!

So let's imagine, say, a circular room in an undead themed level. What could it be called?
  • The most straightforward would be random selection from a list generic names such as "The Slaughterhouse", "The Crypt", "The Necopolis". This would have to be a large list to avoid reusing names.
  • This could be enhanced by adding one of more random adjectives before and after the name, e.g. "The Hidden Slaughterhouse", "The Crypt of Despair", "The Crypt of Hidden Dreams".
  • And then we can consider the role of uniques. If we generate a unique in the level inside a room, name the room after the unique: "The Crypt of Barney", for example.
  • Now, additionally, depending on the name, selected, we could reverse the traditional way of generating dungeons and let the name drive the dungeon features. For example, consider a room called "The Hidden Slaughterhouse" - use of the term "Hidden" would mean the entrances to this room are sealed up with diggable walls (or doors) - and use of the term "Slaughterhouse" would mean that there would be loads of corpses generated in the room, as well as certain types of monsters.
  • There could also be passive effects tied to the room, for example, with "The Hidden Slaughterhouse" there could be a smell that makes the character nauseous whilst inside it.
Yes, I know I'm probably going through the same thought process that Andrew Doull went through about ten years ago, but I'm increasingly convinced random generic dungeons can't cut it any more in roguelikes.

So yet again, its time to ask: thoughts? ideas? Comments are most welcome.

5 comments:

md1 said...

Like this idea very much; did not know that Unangband has implemented this.

Will steal the idea for LambdaRogue. :D

You might also have a look at Incursion, which displays several texts describing the dungeon's atmosphere.

少菁 said...

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Robson said...

Excellent idea! I've been thinking about possible rooms/modifiers:

Rooms

Alchemist's laboratory
Armoury
Barracks / Guard room
Baths / Fountain
Breeding room
Bridge (over water, lava, spikes, etc)
Castle / Fortress
Cave
Cellar
Chasm
Creature lairs
Crypt
Empty
Food store
Forest
Graveyard
Hall (probably long and narrow)
Hive
Kitchen
Library
Maze
Mine
Oasis
Pillar room
Pits
Plane
Prison
Pyramid
Rogues hideout
Secret passage
Sewer
Shop
Statue room
Storage room
Swamp
Temple / Chapel
Throne room
Tomb
Torture room
Tower
Treasure room
Vaults
Well
Wizard's laboratory
Zoo

Modifiers

Abandoned
Dark
Destroyed (rubble, broken items, etc)
Flooded
Fog
Hallucinations
Lava
Locked
Overgrown (with plants, trees, moss, etc)
Runed (messages on the walls)
Secret / Hidden
Trapped
Wild magic

I think it would be good to make the rooms work together. For example, if a room contains runes, they should tell about treasure or dangers deeper in the dungeons.

One dungeon might be a dragons lair, so it would contain a treasure room, creatures lair, breeding room, food store, etc.

Brian said...

Yep, a good idea is a good idea---run with this too!

Pender said...

Very cool. Gameplay is always king, in my opinion, after which comes interface accessibility, but mood/atmosphere is definitely number three on the list, and this sounds like a great way to do it. Would also enable you to leverage the feature with cryptic notes scattered throughout the dungeon -- if you generate a vampire unique in a hidden room, you might randomly generate a message elsewhere: "Something is written in blood here: 'Beware the undying prince in the crypt behind the hidden citadel--!'" A sword with a terrible curse? "Something has been etched into the wall: 'Approach the false blade by the overgrown fountain at your peril!'" An unusual number of traps generated in a room? "An ornate message has been engraved into the door: 'Even the worthy would be wise to tread carefully in the Hall of Kings.'"

Would probably have to be used sparingly, and only for things that are particularly noteworthy (an unusually deadly vampire prince, unusually terrible curse on the sword, unusually lethal traps...) but done well I think it could be pretty amazing.