2012
09.04

One of the issues with current pyromancer is that the caves are nothing but huge labyrinths you have to methodically explore to find the stair to the next level. The further you advance in the levels, the bigger the caves are and the more painful this exploration is.

To fix that, I intend to have caves that give a  bigger sense of goal and constant progression into the level. The extreme way to do that is to have a corridor-like level like a lot of AAA FPS do nowadays. But without going that far, I think that being able to connect a lot of small caves so that the player progresses from one cave to another will result in more interesting level design. I call these sub-caves “sectors”. Multi-sectors dungeons can have great advantages :

  • if you keep in memory only the player’s current sector and the adjacent sectors, you can have a dungeon as big as you want. You could have an infinite dungeon provided you generate sectors on the fly.

multi-sectors dungeon

 

  • you can have non Cartesian dungeons for free. That means that a pair of x,y coordinates can correspond to several overlapping sectors. It’s pretty easy to do as long as adjacent sectors don’t overlap. This way, the part of the dungeon in memory is always Cartesian, but the complete dungeon is not.

overlapping sectors

  • you can use different cave generators for each sector to have more variety in a single dungeon

I’m only in the beginning of migrating pyromancer to multi-sectors dungeons. The change is not light and I’m not sure it will work for the ARRP. Here is a test rendering of all 8 pyromancer levels connected together into a single level.

3 comments so far

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  1. That looks awesome, I think most of the benefit will be subconscious — the players will be able to keep a better mental map of the dungeon this way. Maybe you can make the sectors differ in other ways, for example changing the range of colors for the lights? It would be a very strong indicator that you just crossed over from one area to the next.

  2. I’m not sure it’s necessary to make the player aware that he crossed over from one sector to another. But yeah, pyromancer already changes the light color from one level to another (it’s darker and darker and more red as you go down) so with a single level, multi-sector dungeon, it would be nice to have such a progression as you go deeper in the dungeon.
    The other advantage of sectors is that once they work, I’ll be able to add doors and keys, something very difficult to do with cellular automata generated caves…

  3. Yeah lock and key puzzles are underrated, I think they work pretty well in procedurally generated games!