Ruins of Nulvin
Questions I Ask Myself
What game mode do I want to go with?
Singleplayer dungeon experience
What is the objective, the premise of the map?
Defeat the Queen of the ruins and discover what happened to the Varison Order and their leader Kjarik Nulvin.
What is the aesthetic going to be?
This dungeon is using the Nordic modular kit. The first cell will be considered moderate lighting. The ‘imagespacing’ will be set for far rendering as well and compliment the lighting. The 2nd cell will be incredibly dark (recommended to have torches for players) and will have a higher contrast and be slightly more desaturated than the first cell.
What is the size of the map, will it support the flow/balance/gameplay?
The size of the overall dungeon is considered large and will roughly take the player 25-35 minutes to complete. It is created similar to other dungeons within the video game and has a similar flow. The gameplay will consist of puzzle solving, high risk vs high reward and overall combat.
How will affordance play a role – is it already apparent in the game itself?
Skyrim affordance is already amazing and easy to understand. The interactable assets will be easy to identify and spot for players. However, there are some slightly unconventional methods of solving puzzles, but players with a sharp eye will see the solutions (they won’t be too difficult and will use the standard child->parent object assets for solving).
What’s the spacial agency going to be like – crowded, or slightly congested or super open?
The spacial agency for the dungeon will vary depending on gameplay and other factors. A majority of the dungeon is considered slightly congested. However, there are portions that are super open, and many are also crowded. Based on the areas, the average of the 3 would be slightly congested.
With Sketchup I decided to use darker shades of blue to resemble large declines in elevation within the dungeon. The brighter sections are vice versa. I also wanted to pinpoint areas of interest and also label enemy Actors and interactable objects for the player. When it comes to this layout, I wanted to keep it simple and create a skeleton outline for the basic room shapes.
Don’t be afraid to edit and change parts of your map pre-production early! For the longest time, I was stubborn and stuck with what I originally had, and in the long run – I had to re-do all my pre-production and start on the dungeon again.
Don’t get ahead of yourself when you are trying to implement a story line into your level. Let the level do storytelling itself through the environment, and only have dialogue when needed. From many testers’ feedback, I found many of them wanted the storyline to be more organic. In return, I ripped much from the quest line, and allowed players unravel the story themselves!