Environments of Super Dungeon Tactics
Super Dungeon Tactics takes place in the world of Crystalia where several realms meet. A mysterious little town wedged between the Glauerdoom Moor and Dragonback Peaks is central location for the adventurers. This unique location provides a variety of challenges for the heroes as each location has its own types of danger.
As the surrounding areas are explored and the story progresses, the call for help will involve many different locations. The town is the catalyst for initial conflicts and continues to be a central focus throughout the campaign. Town levels will offer combat that can take place outside and inside buildings. There are several key locations within the town such as the massive gathering hall. In town, villagers often become a factor in many objectives heroes will face.
To the west, heroes will find several other locations, including the caves and mines. While they may sound similar, these locations provide very different combat styles. The caves often have large open areas connected by very narrow high walled choke points. Heroes leading the party must be able to take massive damage because all enemies will be focusing on them when in the tight areas. The mines on the other hand, have more open “islands” connected by bridges and mine tracks. This open hallway feel offers ranged characters optimal attacks without having to deal with close range attacks. Lance and greatsword users will also have a great time taking out enemies trying to cross the narrow bridges.
Just north of town is the Eternal Grounds featuring a cemetery and worship sanctuary. Both night and day, this area can have some interesting visitors. The cemetery itself provides an interesting combat location with multi-height obstacles and heavy concentration of impassible terrain. What secrets do these ancient grounds hold?
To the north east is an old stronghold. While too far away for the heroes to utilize, enemies often see this as an opportunity to have a foothold close to town. The heroes are often clearing out any inhabitants before they are overrun. When it was built, cost was no object so even though it is underground, the many rooms are vast, offering opportunities for all types of heroes to shine.
Though the villagers do not stray far from home, when they do, the roads take them through the surrounding woods and hills. While typically safe, there are plenty of places for evil to hide so always be on guard. Several key buildings are located deep in the woods taking advantage of the neighboring river. These secluded structures are susceptible to raids requiring the help of the heroes.
As the story progresses, additional locations will be discovered. Heroes will face challenges above ground, underground, and inside buildings each offering opportunities for heroes to prove strengths and face their weaknesses.
Locations can offer three types of quests including campaign, side quests, and bounty missions. Campaign quests offer the core story progression and feature a unique “multi-tile” adventure system. Multi-tile helps create a more adventure style experience instead of a straightforward skirmish found in most turn based games. Several “tiles” are linked together so even though the objectives are met for the current location, hereos may have more to complete before they are able to return home. Side Quests allow heroes to branch out beyond the main story often resulting in unique challenges and rewards. Bounty missions provide an opportunity to gain loot and try out new equipment and heroes before diving back into the campaign or side quests.
Level Design Process
Due to the “physical” nature of the game, we went through some interesting steps while planning a level. Story was certainly the key to begin the planning process in order to understand what we had to work with for terrain and enemies. This also involved working with the game's map to get a feel for where the event was taking place.
Once we had our base concept, we put together a very flexible whiteboard feeling level design setup made with large grid paper and a large piece of plexiglass over the top. The plexiglass allowed us to draw directly on the game board and easily make changes. We took miniatures from the board game Super Dungeon Explore and used those for figuring out the enemy locations. This tactical use of characters helped to better understand the space we were designing and see potential problems faster. Custom dice were even made to help test gameplay and unique situations.
Once we were happy with the layout, these whiteboard levels were transferred onto graph paper to create a record and further detail out the design.
The next step was to whitebox the level. Whiteboxing involves using very simple objects to represent the terrain that will eventually be displayed. This allows the level to be easily tested while art is being created for the level. This whitebox level can be easily changed making sure art does not get in the way of good design.
The final stage is to add the art to the level. This is a very rewarding last step for the designer giving life to the games. Because of the tools our developers created, the art can be easily changed without affecting level details. This also creates a very efficient game when running since we can use simpler objects to represent complicated things.
Check out all these environments and more in Super Dungeon Tactics coming this Fall on Steam!