Your Thoughts On A Mega-Dungeon? (Map Images Added)

Hi All,

Here is the kind of “difference” I am trying to incorporate … the dungeon break into the natural caverns in which it is built, leading to other areas that can be traversed via “swimming” … or now I am considering the “walk over water” idea … as a new ability just for this mega-dungeon! Either way, it will just allow an instant move to the next nearest dry section.

i.e. Player will be able to “learn” swimming to be able to cross areas like this where the bridge is broken across the water. Longer swimming periods will be possible with better swimming … adds a whole new dimension to dungeon navigation!

NB: No lighting or sounds or any real finishing touches … just the raw idea for starters …

Updated Angles …

Megadungeons need to be filled with stuff in the empty of monsters rooms. See rjshae’s posts about filling up rooms.

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Hi Kamal,

I’m on it! :slight_smile:

At the moment, I am ensuring the dungeon at least looks exciting to explore from its pure looks and possible paths. I am quite excited about the look and feel so far … but I acknowledge that I need to do a good job on filling these spaces with interesting stuff … new skills and abilities are part of the mix to help overcome this mega-dungeon.

Cheers, Lance.

I recommend doing a search for Grimtooth’s Traps series by Flying Buffalo as an entertaining reference when building the dungeon. You may or may not use anything from it but it might inspire and it will amuse.

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Hi Quixal,

I believe I have that book somewhere! :slight_smile: I have a lot of products from around the 80’s that may help with some inspiration … I am also looking at my UW games … and may pay them homage too.

Cheers, Lance.

Mega-dungeon update …

Just finished placing over 250 lights … and there is still room for many for.

lights? we don’t need no steenkin lights  ;)

Not too close together hopefully, you only get 6 light spheres per tile before things go bad.

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Ha! I know I am being so generous. :wink: However, I can say that even with these lights the PCs may still need torches, lanterns, darkvision activated or the light spell … especially in some places. I forgot to add that these are the “optional” ones … torches on walls that the players can activate.

I don’t think I have more than two in any one tile at the moment … but thanks for the reminder. I knew there was a limit, but could not remember the criteria.

Hi All,

Please bear this in mind when building a mega-area, to avoid a mega-headache. :wink:

Thanks, Lance.

Very ambitious plan indeed. What makes me wonder, however, is the question, wheather all of this will bake properly. Though, baking interiors is not even half as hard, as baking exteriors… though if Thou plan to use pseudo-interiors for caves, it might still become a challenge.

Hi Taihou,

Thanks! :slight_smile: I hope it works out as planned, as I am quite excited by the potential.

Well, at the moment, I have overcome the baking issues with the current layouts. However, I have put further area work on hold until I have sorted a “creature” problem I am currently having. Once that is sorted, I may try continuing the area stuff … or wait until I have transferred my files to a new SSD I ordered, as I was experiencing some unusual activity which may be problematic to overcome. (I don’t think it was due to the area size as this was happening even with smaller area sections.)

Cheers, Lance.

Hi All,

I managed to overcome a creature issue (that was not casting spells as consistently as I needed), by writing a dedicated AI script for it. Now that script is called and the spell casting for it is fixed. :slight_smile:

Now I will continue with the mega-dungeon build and report on any other issues I may experience.

Thanks, Lance.

Hi All,

OK, the mega-dungeon creation continues to grow and my latest issue (which I have now overcome) was dealing with the walkmesh for small isolated patches outside the general walkmesh. i.e. Small islands which the PCs can swim to … if they have the skill! … to navigate to different regions :slight_smile:

Swimming will be an option of only one of a few new “dungeon skills” the party may choose to learn to use. Swimming will also be in 3 levels subject to distance needed to swim.

There are no animations of actual swimming of course, but the ability to find alternative routes throughout the dungeon is a real excitement … at least it feels that way to me! And you do get a water slurp sound that represents the swim. :wink:

In the example below, the party have access to swim value 1 (which was enough to reach the second platform), but may need swim value 2 to reach the small island a little further along.

UPDATE 1: I am going to do away with the conversation, as it is superfluous. I can give all the feedback by floaty text … e.g. Too far! … I need swim skill 3 … etc.

UPDATE 2: Swim Access posts will now only be used at jetties. Whole “island” now acts as clickable object.

Cheers, Lance.

I feel like the main problem with large areas (not just dungeons) is not in the contents of dungeons themselves but rather in the fact that it takes a long time to traverse them in NWN, much more so if the player occasionally has to backtrack through said areas. This issue becomes even worse when you have to reload after losing and go through a location again. Any fast-travel or checkpoint system makes this a lot easier, but I personally still feel like both NWN and NWN2 are very sluggish games. And this point refers to both the movement speed and the combat speed.

I remember seeing a discussion on this forum where users discussed the possibility of editing game files to increase the speed at which the game runs. This is probably the best solution for me, personally, against any dungeon that is too big.

I mean, in old dungeon crawlers like Nethack you can just press 5 and then a direction and your character will just instantly travel along a straight path of any size until you have to stop, but in modern games you have to actually walk through empty corridors, even if there is nothing to do on your way to the destination.

That said, the people who wrote in this thread bring up some good points. It would be great to see exploration/survival skills like swimming, using rope, climbing, jumping, etc. being icnorporated into modules.


Hi Reinc,

Thanks for your comments. :slight_smile:

I have already included swimming as a skill now … and “rope arrows” is on my list of things I am considering when it comes to “climbing”. Jumping I also considered, and (again) am looking at the potential usage of whether the inclusion of these latter two make them worthwhile.

In relation to the comments you make with respect to “travel” etc, I am going to take a guess here and say you sound as though you may be from a “newer breed of player” (no offense meant by that by the way), because of those things you say. For instance, some of the gaming aspects you mention come from what I would consider “new games”, and are actually things I find frustrating … For instance, I detest checkpoint systems! If, however, they also allow the player to save a game manually, then not so bad. With games like NWN, the player needs to be responsible for their saved games, which is still my preferred style of game. And if you make regular saves then you are more likely able to quickly recover from a “lost” battle than if you had to rely on a “checkpoint” system. I stopped playing Dark Souls because of its infuriating system.

Fast travel systems on the other hand can make sense, IF used with moderation. However, when I look at every game I have played that I enjoyed the most, I do not recall an obvious “fast travel” system being in any of them. So, that begs the question whether they are really required. I have used a fast travel system in one of my larger areas in The Scroll module one, in a very large outdoor area. And I even used one element of such in a large dungeon in the same module. However, I don’t think they should be the norm in a most obvious sense.

Can I ask if you have ever player PnP (pen and paper) D&D? The reason I ask is because you say, “the fact that it takes a long time to traverse them in NWN”. By comparison to PnP, the NWN games (or any CRPG for that matter) go like lightning in my opinion. I tested this by seeing how long it took me to run through an empty area, mapping it as I went to see how long it took to explore. Even the largest areas I have took no more than 30 mins. Obviously that time would increase significantly after interactable objects and creatures are included. My point is, however, a single room in PnP could easily last an hour or more, especially if a combat is involved.

You also say, “I personally still feel like both NWN and NWN2 are very sluggish games”, which (depending upon what the module design is like), I would tend to agree or not. In all fairness, I personally believe the only “sluggish” games would be poorly designed ones, rather than anything to do with the game mechanics of NWN. In other words, the style of NWN (if done well) should never feel “sluggish” for a player, as that is the way the game is designed to be played. NWN/NWN2 are not like “Diablo” or other more modern takes on a dungeon delve, but require more involvement and investment in time (maybe a different kind of involvement would be fairer to say) from the player. And, I believe it may be this aspect (requiring time of the player), which may be what you are finding a problem with NWN games.

As another example of the kind of differences I am talking about with respect to game style preferences … my friend and I (very much from a PnP background), prefer to slow the action down even further! We actually prefer to micro-manage our combat situations, unless it is an obvious easy fight against some very low level creatures. That is why you will also find discussions on the boards that ask about turn-based combat, which my own module will also allow (if switched on), because some players prefer the slower pace than a lot of the modern games prefer to offer. i.e. If a combat maneuver requires pressing two or more buttons while doing something else, it has lost me as a gamer. That requires far too much dexterity and is far too fast paced for my own liking.

You also say, “in modern games you have to actually walk through empty corridors, even if there is nothing to do on your way to the destination”, but I cannot say my experience has been the same. Yes, I would agree that there is some backtracking in some situations, but I am not averse to such activity as it is usually because I have a goal in mind in doing so. i.e. I am not normally left wondering aimlessly in the hope of finding something. If, I have come to that point (which I have with Divine Divinity, Original Sin), then something has normally gone wrong with the game delivery. In the case of DDOS, I personally think their delivery of quests in the log is appalling. It is sometimes too vague to be of any good … and when tied to presenting log entries on events I am not yet familiar with, it becomes somewhat confusing to say the least. So, in this case, my friend and I have ended up wandering around with no real direction, which (as you allude to in saying backtracking) is a bore. As an opposite of such in a modern game, I have done much “backtracking” in Prey, but I have loved playing that game, as the backtracking always has a goal in mind for me as I do it. The difference between the two games: One game I have no idea what I am supposed to be doing (DDOS) and the other I know exactly why I am going back (Prey). That goal and focus makes a difference.

I appreciate all your feedback, and will certainly consider a fast travel system if I believe it is required … but think about this a little more … Why did I introduce the swimming skill? Part of the reason is that swimming allows “faster access routes” to different regions of the dungeon. And here is my main argument …

Sometimes, the answer to a situation (such as fast travel) is actually right in front of you, but in something you (as a player) have to work out! i.e. It requires “playing” the game with attention to the issues delivered, as opposed to going through the motions with a hand held with game mechanic systems.

My last point, however, is that this all has to be done with balance in mind. My argument about DDOS being my working example. For instance, could my own argument be used for the way DDOS delivers its gaming log? In that I should be paying more attention to the detail it already provides? Personally, I don’t think so, and here is why …

  1. Fast travel systems are a “real mechanics” issue, and as such can be fairly employed in such a way that the player should be involved enough to recognise the way they have been facilitated within a game. The most straight forward of which is the well known world map. However, different types of systems can be employed for different situations, and so as long as a system is offered to a player (if it is really required), then all is fair.

  2. Quest delivery and execution on the other hand should supply information to the player to be able to act upon, because the player does not know the limits of the game. If this information is lacking, then the player does not know how much the game is going to support them moving forward, if they have no idea how to move forward. i.e. Every quest (or log) entry should leave the player with a clear indication of what is expected of them to move the game forward. In my opinion, it is lack of direction in this gaming aspect that really requires the “fast travel” treatment! i.e. To make the game flow without stalling it!

Thanks again for your feedback,

I never was so fortunate, but I was not comparing my NWN experience with PnP D&D. I was comparing it with older dungeon-crawling CRPGs like Nethack and the like, where going back a floor or two in a dungeon easily takes less than a minute as long as you don’t encounter any strong monsters. Compare this with similar modules like Infinite Dungeons for NWN or Endless Depths for NWN2, and you will see a distinct difference.

This issue was partially adressed in the official campaign Storm of Zehir, where players are allowed to visit specific buildings in a city when approaching said city - no need to load the whole city, then manually walk through the main street area, then through the merchants’ quarter area, then to the specific NPC you need. I actually would prefer it to go even further and let players interact with NPCs through the town dialogue, without even having to leave the overworld, as long as the player already found this NPC.

OK, I see where you are coming from now, as this (where I quote you) is something I intend to do with my own module two with respect to speaking with vendors without having to go through streets again if the player so wished.

You’ll be pleased to hear then, that this is my exact approach in module two. :slight_smile: (But only after they have found them the first time, and with a caveat that the provision is removed if the builder requires the player to “physically” enter the city again for a gaming reason.)

Sorry to hear you never experienced PnP … Can sometimes affect one’s approach to games in a whole new light. :slight_smile:

Cheers, Lance.


I think there was a animation for swimming . . . maybe by RWS?


Might look at The Black Scourge of Candle Cove byTchos or Scourge of the Slave Lords by Bealzebub. Both modules have a section where you scuba dive/swim underwater, so you might see how they did it and adapt it to surface swimming.