Escape from the Dungeon

Here’s a little game I’ve been working on for a while, on and off.

eftd_title

It’s called "Escape from the Dungeon", and the back story is this: three adventurers (a man, a woman and a dwarf) have been split up while exploring a dungeon, and the player controls all three (can switch at any time he like).

eftd_players

The three characters start at different positions in the dungeon, and you simply need to bring the three together and hit the nearest exit.

eftd_screenshot

Initially, I started this because I just wanted to playaround with generating random dungeons, and after I had done the room generation, I sort of got stuck and didn’t know what to do with it, and only recently got moving with it again.

eftd_rooms

There’s going to be monsters too, like this:

eftd_monsters

There’s an early demo of the game here:

Escape from the Dungeon – Demo

The controls are cursor keys to move, TAB to bring up the map. 1,2,3 to change character (or click their portrait)

The characters start some distance away, and sometimes it’s a bit tricky to find a way to bring them together. There’s no monsters yet, and there’s not even an exit for you to find, but it’ll all get added in due time.

eftd_screenshot2

So, I would very much appreciate any feedback/thoughts on this. Don’t hesitate to point out things that don’t look right or which you just don’t like – anything that can help me improve things :-)

10 Responses to “Escape from the Dungeon”

  1. Guy says:

    Hi Mattias, I tried the demo. It looks great, lovely visuals. The map was bloody huge and took ages to navigate, which wasn’t too much fun, but I’m sure with baddies, and inventory items etc it would be much better so I’ll let you off for now. One niggle was that the block based movement should be able to “queue” a command whilst still moving, so you don’t have to wait for the character to stop before pressing a direction. Personally I would prefer continuous control of the character but I can see why you would want it to be block based. Having the whole map available actually makes it a bit boring, it might be better if each character could only see their explored sections, and you would have to piece it together in your head somehow? The way you navigated in the original GTA (with an arrow pointing to the objective, sometimes impossible to follow because of obstacles etc) was quite interesting, especially when being chased…Anyway, good effort, keep working on it!

  2. Mattias says:

    Thanks! :-)

    The map is a bit too random at the moment – it is actually generated on the fly, so everytime you enter a room, it picks the number and placement of the exits, etc. This needs to be changed, so that there’s a reasonable size to the map, and a guaranteed path between the characters.

    I see your point about queueing up movement. However, I intend for more things to happen, like random events when you enter a room, and also to have a limit on how many times (~5) one character can move before he needs to “rest”, while you move someone else. So hopefully, there won’t be a need for queueing things up, as the general pace of the game will be much slower. Though it’s still worth considering…

    I quite like the idea of having different visible map sections for each character, and only indicate direction – I might give that a try actually :-)

    Thanks for the feedback, great stuff!

  3. Guy says:

    Needing rest is a great idea, stops you making one powerful character and just using him the whole time (that is, if you have an experience type system). Something a bit more complicated to consider is how monsters will work, because in classic games like castle of the winds, each monster gets a square of movement or attack or whatever, for each movement or attack of the character, however, if you have three characters, in theory they could all do one thing at once. To take that further, they could be exploring at the same time, even though only one is being controlled at once, by having a button to set a point in time, and then having another button to change character and restore to the previous time point (a big message on screen: “MEANWHILE…”). When all the characters are separated, the monsters in the vicinity can be controlled by the nearest characters “time base” or movements, when they meet you would obviously need some sort of conjoinment of time lines. Its probably too confusing but might be worth having a think about. The one other cool thing if you got rid of the map, would be allowing characters to drop something to identify a room as having previously been visited by them, so when another character comes along they can find it, maybe like a graffiti tag in halflife or something?

  4. Mattias says:

    Hmm, there’s a lot of interesting ideas there, thanks for sharing :-) I’m not sure I’m ready to get rid of the map though, but you might be right that it could be making things too easy…

  5. Verious says:

    Mattias, have you made any further progress on Escape from the Dungeon?

  6. Mattias says:

    Yes, I’ve done a little bit more – designed the combat system and done the in-game animations for the monsters. For the next release, I’m hoping to have it so that you can encounter and battle monsters, and also actually find exits and get out.

    Not sure when that will be done though, as I’m currently working on refactoring and tidying up my engine (Pixie) as well as working on two other games, one which I’m soon ready to write about here, and another one which is secret so far

  7. Mattias,This looks very promising from the demo I tried and I’m very excited for it to be finished. I have some suggestions. 1. Have objects that the characters need to pick up and collect – parts of a key needed to escape, for instance. 2. Have a set number of move “points” – say 4 – before forcing a switch over to the next character with remaining move points. It seems strange to have one guy just sitting still as the other is running around multiple rooms. 3. Have roaming monsters that get a move turn after your characters have expended all of their move points. 4. Have flavor blurbs that pop up and fade away automatically for some of the rooms that contain no parts of the key. For example the actual key discovery would be “You Found Part 1 of 4 of the Exit Key!” – while an empty room might have “You see a glint of something in the corner, but it is just a bit of twisted metal”. 5. Pop up and fade awayw warning messages when a monster is in an adjacent room such as “you hear a shuffling sound coming from the North”. 6. Facing off baddies could involve luck and hit points, and losing a battle would leave you unconscious, missing your key parts, and pushed back to your start point. 7. One-time use items to boost your power in battle or healing potions could lay around in other rooms. Anyway, I really like the look and have been waiting for someone to do a game like this, so you’ve got me hooked until release!

  8. OK, so I was thinking about it some more and for a simpler solution it would be neat if for every move you make, 3 monsters get a move. All 3 of the monsters have strengths and weaknesses of their own (say, 3 stats that roughly match the way stats are allocated for the heroes). They also are heading toward the exit to ravage the countryside, and you “lose” if 3 monsters escape the dungeon before your 3 characters. Thing is, the players have to deal with random traps that can stick them in a room for X number of turns (a little color description would be nice “You drop into a pit trap!), and garbage baddies like giant rats that sap hit points.All characters could have hit points that slowly regenerate. A “death” ends up with a loss of turns and the monster wandering away toward the exit.Lots of possibilities!

  9. Mattias says:

    Robinson, those are some great comments, as usual :-)

    Making the player to switch characters by enforcing rest is a good idea, and something I’m planning to do. I like the idea of having to collect parts of a key to escape (a nice throwback to the original Spy vs. Spy game) – nice one! I’ll have to see if I can work something like that into the design :-) And flavour blurbs would improve this idea even further, I think.

    Also, your ideas of monsters and them escaping the dungeon is a very interesting concept to explore – would add a well needed sense of urgency to the game, and most likely make it much more fun

    Lots of good stuff to consider here. Thanks!

  10. RottCliff says:

    Hello there, I accidentally found your project as I am searching for years for a perfect top-down rpg… no succes so far… closest to it was Mageslayer(wich is top-down hack’n’slash actually) and Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain… Don’t mind if I share a little thought? When I saw screen-shots I thought: “oh my, this could be something!” but it wasn’t that…yet! I see unbelievably gorgeus graphics, and smooth as a silk animations but I see no idea here! You know what? I think you need to sit down, and write down a concept. Of course an Idea of three heroes split up in a maze is not bad, but when a player end one level he feels satisfied and turns the game off… for good. Remember The Lost Vikings? There you had three heroes split up and you controlled them seperately. They were different and had different abilities, but they were TOTALLY different (and quite funny by the way). It was a real brain-breaking to end a level with at least one viking alive(at least it was that hard when I was a child). Think about it. Second thing. If you want to make one move=one room then it looses controlability and it feels, that you are not actually playing this game…You should make at least 4×4 segments per room, full of levers, traps, monster-spawning-coffins, chests and items(invisibility potion?), and puzzle-giving NPC’s. If you think about random-mapping-dungeon, take example of diablo 1. You know what I mean? However if you plan to keep this dungeon system, then maybe let a player to see at least where leads the next room?(farer view? wider resolution?). You know what could give more flavor to the gameplay? When the heroes could combine and mix their skills to create various effects(for example: dwarf stomps the ground, and the knight has few second to pull the jammed lever on the other side of the gate while the ground is shaking) various, various combinations. And of course…a plot…You need a plot, at least simple. Dwarf is here to redeem himself, with honorable death during a battle against pure Evil, but unfortunately he lost the way(when he sees an enemy, he blindly throws himself on them), The Knight seeks the glory and ladies, (especially ladies)(and few left him closed in a dark(!) room without clothing, when he sees a skeleton, he runs away!), and a Thief, she was hoping for a good loot, she heard about some magical diamond worth a fortune somewhere down there( she sneaks, and backstabs). And so on. Characters should advance in some way. Maybe damage, maybe skills maybe something else. And almost the last thing. I know that randomnes of the levels makes this a little bit different every time, but I suggest, that once in a while, a player has to make some hard choices (Leave one character behind to complete next level with the other two, close one way to open the other, Take some skill from one, to give one to another, some choices strictly about the plot (to kill an NPC, or leave it alive, or let it change to a werwolf or sth. :)) ) ) Wierd, different and changing experience choices :). And one last thing. Changing environment? If deeper, than darker(a torch?(knight has fear of the dark, so can’t move alone maybe?)). How about a multiplayer via TCP-IP for three players per level?, How about a Widescreen? 😀 Cheers. Sorry for my poor English, I hope I gave some ideas that helps at least a bit.

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