For my CAGD 270 Level Design class, we were assigned to plan and create a Dungeons and Dragons inspired level. For the level, we had to create a tutorial level in order to teach the player the mechanics of the game. We were giving a list of the many different rules to the game, some rules were fine while others were rather broken. Our professor told us that as level designers, we have to push the game design to it’s best possible application, meaning that even if rules were broken, we as the level designers had to make sure we take those limitations and create something great out of them.
I have never personally played Dungeons and Dragons before. Though I knew of it, I never had an opportunity to play it. After researching the game a bit more and looking up some sample maps, I decided to create a very simple and linear map. I used a map generator online to help me get some idea’s for the level.
I decided to add in item chests, potions, and keys for locked doors into the map. I wanted to attempt to reward players for exploration in my map, so I drew in a part of the map where a player would have to backtrack a bit in order to unlock a door with a key they’d find further into the map. I also made it so when players killed an enemy, they could loot their bodies for health potions and keys.
Since this level was supposed to act like a tutorial level, I decided to do a very linear difficulty progression. In the very first room I had 1 enemy rat, in the second room I had 1 enemy rat and 1 enemy goblin, in the third room I had 2 enemy goblins and 1 enemy goblin mage, and the final room held the boss of the map, an enemy Goblin King.
I was a bit nervous when the date for playtesting came along. Since I didn’t know much about Dungeons and Dragons, I based my map a bit more on games like Dragon Age and The Elder Scrolls series. I playtested with Max and Sorin. It was pretty fun.
I got great and helpful feedback on my map. My playtesters liked the linear layout for the purposes of a tutorial level. They liked the way I implemented items in the map. They did say that my enemies were very easy to kill. They gave me two great suggestions: either buff all of the enemies on my map a degree or add a greater mass of enemies but keep them weak. They also told me that the map did not accommodate magic whatsoever, which was a very true point. I also had next to no environmental obstacles in my map.
For my next map, I’m going to make sure that I accommodate magic more. I’ll add elements like fog and great gaps in floors that will allow mages to use spells like light and float. I’ll add much more environmental obstacles in order to make my map more fun to play. I have not decided what to do for my enemies yet. Many of my enemies in this map were able to be killed in one or two shots. I still have to decide whether to buff my enemies or add more enemies to my next map.