Sunday, February 8, 2015

Go Big or Get Bent

I decided to redesign my map of the Kellerlabyrinth. The actual thing goes five levels deep in places, but the first time I drew out the dungeon, I left it at three levels because that was already looking pretty complicated.

It took me a couple tries to simplify the deeper version to the point where it’s legible as a one page dungeon, but I think I did alright with it in the end.

There’s a problem though, and if you look at the map a certain way, it’s obvious. Check out this version with most of the outline layers turned off:

The levels are fucking tiny! I do not want tiny levels. My original map had about thirty rooms across three levels, and I only managed to get in about forty on the newer one. The actual Kellerlabyrinth has at least 500 rooms in it.

This problem is also an opportunity to address something else that’s been bothering me. Most of those 500 rooms haven’t been excavated yet. Cave-ins were common, and many rooms and tunnels were sealed off intentionally, but I haven’t accounted for that on the map, which feels like a wasted opportunity. First step is to add a bunch of dead ends caused by collapsing tunnels, but I also want to address what’s beyond them.

My solution is to abandon my initial goal of fitting it on a single page, and stretch it out over five pages, one per level. Like the one above, these still show the colors for the whole dungeon (probably faded way back though, now that I look at it again), but only the outline for one level each. These “highlighted” maps have plenty of extra space for adding rooms with a marker once they're discovered.

I’m thinking about how a procedural system for uncovering new areas and placing them on the map could work, but let’s save that for another post. Obviously, any rules that are intended to generate content on the spot need to extremely streamlined, and that’s gonna take me some time to get right.

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