Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Game of Dungeons v8: The Death Spiral

I've been caught in something of a repetitive loop playing this game: create a character, grind until it's about 6th level, delve to the lower levels to do some mapping, die, start all over again.  I'm not quite sure how to break out of it, to be honest.  After 6th level, advancement slows considerably, and I don't feel as though the difference between 6th and 7th is all that significant.  Perhaps I just need to grind it out until I reach 10th level, or even higher.  It's just a matter of time, if I'm patient enough.  I just hate sinking time into a game and making no progress.

Currently I'm mapping the 4th level of Whisenwood Dungeon, but I don't really have much to write about that I haven't mentioned already.  In lieu of genuine content, here are my maps of the first three levels:

Whisenwood Level 1

Whisenwood Level 2

Whisenwood Level 3

As you can see, every dungeon level is the same size: 15x15 squares.  I should have marked it on the map, but your starting location on level 1 is always the square just south of the Excelsior Transporter (marked with a T).

The game is difficult to map accurately, as you can see from the arcane notations above.  I've used different colours to denote walls, doors and transporters.  The walls, of course are black, and the doors are brown.  The light blue borders are transporters that take you up a level, and the green ones take you down a level.  As in the earlier version of the game, when you go to a new level you appear in a random location.  This is part of what makes mapping the game difficult: you have to start by mapping little bits and pieces, because you won't always be transported to the same sections of the map.  Gradually the map can be pieced together, but until that happens it can be hard to get your bearings, and even harder to find a transporter that takes you back up.

(Luckily, there's a feature that's carried over from the earlier game: a spell that can teleport you up or down a level, by pressing SHIFT-PGUP or SHIFT-PGDN.  It uses up both magic and cleric spell slots, and it can also backfire and take you deeper into the dungeon, but it's vital for getting out of an unfamiliar level.)

The Excelsior Transporter that I mentioned earlier is great: you just have to step on it, type what level you want to go to, and it whisks you there instantly at the cost of a few hit points.  Also on the first level is an alchemist and a weapon store, but the prices are exorbitant; at this point I'm much better off converting that gold into experience points.

You may also have noticed a lot of arrows all over my maps.  If an arrow is pointing at a wall, that means the wall exists from one side, but not from the other; you can walk through in the direction that the arrow is pointing.  If an arrow is pointing at a transporter or a door, it likewise only exists from one side.  Sometimes the other side will be a wall, and sometimes it will be an empty space you can move through; I haven't figured out a good way to mark that on the map.  So the maps aren't 100% accurate, but they're good enough to tell me where I need to go.

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