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Dungeon Mastering

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Updated: Friday May 26, 9 AM EST. K Below the long line is the original post. I'm editing the first post to summarize what is generally decided on. Imagine an MMO or an online meeting place like MSN's Zone (if it's still there). Or like battle.net or something. Now imagine that players have the chance to create their own dungeon and let other players wander through there. Anyone can create a dungeon, assuming they have met the requirements. DM's ARE THEIR OWN RACE/CLASS I'm putting this idea in it's own area as it will drastically change everything below it. There would be no need for DM's to make money if they do nothing but just create dungeons. Anyway... It is suggested that DM's be a character of themselves. Completely seperate from an adventurer. They'd probably have their own leveling system as they don't gain levels normally. I'll probably still have them as character who walk around, but cannot be attacked. This is because they'll have to "buy" land to start their dungeon. Or maybe even be allowed to create a dungeon to safeguard other people's stuff. They can join guilds and be the guild's dungeon master. There are many possibilities with having a DM be it's own character. I'm going to keep everything below as is, instead of changing it to if the DM is it's own character. This is to show what it would be if they were not as everything would have to be rethought if they were their own char. FREE CLIENTS FOR MONSTERS People who haven't paid for the game would be allowed to possess a monster in a dungeon. It's quite possible that it wouldn't be restricted to just this however. (Only paid accounts get the elite monster possession ability... such as dragons...)
Quote:
by Edtharan There would need to be restrictions placed on the monster players. This might be limited areas (like an invisable wall, ot the creature starts taking damage if they leave their specific area, etc), random selection, waighting in a que until a position becomes avaiable, etc. This kind of system will give monsters a much more "intelegent" behaviour than any AI could do and increase the challenge for the normal players.
MONEY It seems the money issue as a reward is a touchy one. The final reward will not be a large sum of money. While buying mobs to guard the dungeon is needed, maybe the money used to buy them is what falls. Or at least a portion of that. Either way. I think it's safe to say that the money issue should be resolved after deciding how the economics will work. I don't want the economy to be or feel "tagged on" and for an economy system to work, it will have to influence player created dungeons as well. LOOT Jeez. This is the biggest response that I've seen wether the loot that is stored in the dungeon is purchased by the DM, is placed there based on the difficulty of the DM, or is put there as a bank, it's still in the air. So far my favourite idea is that the dungeon acts as a second bank full of stuff the player would have sold or thrown out anyway but could still be of use to someone. Some interesting ideas popped up with having the mobs actually using the weapons themselves. turning a regular mob almost into a boss. For sure, the first adventurer would not be able to collect everything that is in the dungeon. That requires too much maintenance and drain on the DM, instead it will at least be gradual. LOOT: WORLD UNIQUE ITEMS I also liked the idea of using dungeons to protect World Unique Items. To understand World Unique Items, everyone must realize that these items are extremely rare. They give superior powers to those that use them. Some have curses, others are just plain bonuses. But less than .5% of all players will have them. (Even less as the server population is very high compared to standard MMO servers). The downfall of these Items are that they are lootable. Even when the player is using them. All other items will most likely be bound to the player. So all epic items are stuck to that player. But these legendary items which give a regular warrior the power of 4 warriors, will be lootable upon death. Or if the player is off-line, then inside his dungeon. To rephrase, all other items are safe unless the player decides he wants them as drops EXCEPT for these World Unique Items. What happens when the dungeon collapses with a WUI in it? Of the two ideas I had, the one that would cause the least amount of grief to everyone was to have the item return to the owner. (Another note: Characters never leave the game. Just like Dark and Light, when a player logs, the character remains in the game and becomes almost like an NPC. The character is safe from everything but being looted of WUIs.) This causes one problem. What if the character is within a large city? It's almost impossible and even better way of safeguarding this item. Somehow the player will have to go to a poorly guarded part of town where it's easier to get ganked. Of course this has to be balanced, but they can't just leave their character sitting beside the king where no enemy faction can get to. RANDOMNESS While only mentioned a few times, it seems that another common idea is that dungeons must be random. Or at least have some random spots in it. Wether the dungeon changes shape over time, the turn is to the left and not the right. Mobs don't spawn in the same spot all the time. Basically so bots cannot be used to farm the dungeon and that details don't get published to the net or if they do, they quickly become inaccurate. DM INTERVENTION There seems to be some differences here. I personnally would like to see DM's have the ability to control their own mobs. But a common viewpoint is that dungeons should ... no must be self effective. the DM is not needed. To be frank, a dungeon that needs the DM's intervention is a poorly made dungeon. But back to controlling mobs, it seems that if this is the case, some limits must be in place to ensure the DM doesn't make it easy for their friends or too hard by getting all mobs to rush the party when they normally wouldn't. A lot of work needs to go into this part to ensure balance and the best possible way of preventing cheating. Another Idea was Guest Hosting a Dungeon. In this scenario, (probably upon approval of the DM, a guest could take part in controlling mobs in the DM's dungeon. MAKING THE DUNGEON To clarify, not everyone can make a dungeon. Just as in most MMO's not everyone has reached the highest level. I don't think everyone will want to make dungeons. But either way, there also seems to be a concensus that while everyone should be technically able to make a dungeon, having everyone actually make a dungeon could lead to saturation and nobody playing dungeons. To make a good dungeon, it takes a long time of playing. Months to perfect a dungeon. Only those who enjoy this sort of thing, wether it be sandbox style or whatnot, will be the ones who make the good ones people visit over and over. I think having the initial cost of a dungeon low would allow for aspiring DM's to start dungeon making. The cost of maintaining would be tied to how large it is and how many mobs are inside, maybe even the loot (depending on how loot is decided on). Dungeons also cost money to make. People make money through the normal means, drops from mobs anywhere, selling stuff, quests... Once getting enough, they can learn to start making dungeons. After a while of investing, good DM's may learn to actually make money off dungeons. But they are very high maintenance and will fall appart if left alone. So it's no simple setup and leave alone to generate income. Getting more into dungeon making will also require some economic buffs as the cost of this or that or how the mobs are purchased or other, will require the economics of the game be established first. STATS & OBJECTIVES (ADVENTURERS) A popular note was for players to recieve trophies for completing dungeons. Another was a way of rating DM's on how well or tough or how many people play their dungeons. There definitely has to have a motivation for entering the dungeons. Having world unique items at the end is definitely one draw, or just for looting as much gold / loot as possible. Maybe to drain as much as you can from rival guilds. Another idea was for trophies or tokens of some kind. But Unless others come up with ideas for motivations, any ideas regarding loot will have to be decided after how the loot should be placed in there in the first place. Another suggestion was to have Dungeon Masters become Adventurers to "learn" new dungeon modules. There could be many many themes for dungeons (ice, fire/lava, prison...) and many structures. But the starting DM only has a handful that they can use. They must become adventurers and learn these new plans. They may also learn to attract new types of mobs or even bosses. Maybe some bosses can be "captured". STATS & OBJECTIVES (DUNGEON MASTERS) As for the DM's, they also need a drive to make dungeons. While this isn't as necessary as running through the dungeon, (some people will make dungeons just because they can), it still is important, as we get the brightest of people who have a drive behind making amazing dungeons. I agree that dungeons should allow the DM to make money but only as a sidenote. Maybe enough to pay back the investment into the dungeon and enough to pay for the maintenance. Tolls seemed to be the safest way as it encourages well made dungeons instead of impossible dungeons. Each case would have to be controlled carefully so that a DM who makes an impossible dungeon will be punished and lose the investment into the dungeon where a DM who makes an easy dungeon ... too easy, shares the same fate. Only a good DM with a well balanced diet, i mean dungeon will reap the benefits. Should the DM have control over what loot is in his dungeon or shouldn't he. If he does, then maybe what amazing loot at the end is actually posted on a sign outside or inside some tavern or somehow a quest is created relating to the prize at the end. SPIN OFFS A few unique ideas even popped up. One such one was to have the objective even different than the typical kill all beat the boss type. Suggestions of having a Lumber camp or Ore Mine where you get materials if you can fight off waves of mobs. OTHER NOTES
  • Guild dungeons where multiple people could pool together to safeguard their stuff.
  • DM's could also have restrictions on what mobs they can play (if any) and that they would also have to level up in that to get to use the tougher mobs.
  • Would easy dungeons be easily exploitable or should the higher the rank, the less drops you get therefore making it pointless to enter a dungeon designed for lowbies. I'l try and keep this post updated so you don't have to read the whole thing. vvv Original Post vvv ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Imagine an MMO or an online meeting place like MSN's Zone (if it's still there). Or like battle.net or something. Now imagine that players have the chance to create their own dungeon and let other players wander through there. Anyone can create a dungeon, assuming they have met the requirements. There are a few holes that I need to fill first before my idea becomes solid. I would also like suggestions on things to change or what I have done well with. Also, picture a game where Grinding and Farming are pointless in the game. Going into Dungeons is about the adventure and challenge, not so much about the shiny object at the end. As far as Grinding goes, I've got that figured out how it will be useless. Farming,.... sort of. Weapons and armor are something that is free (at least for the basic stuff) The better armor costs money but not huge $. So remember, when I talk about loot at the end of the dungeon, that redoing the dungeon 30 times so that everyone in the party gets the nice loot would be pointless or close to. While people can, it serves no purpose to farm the dungeons. (This may be a problem from the start) First, what I have so far. Steps to make a dungeon:
  • First they have to learn the skill to make one.
  • Then they have to purchase some land to make one.
  • With each part of the dungeon (Picture a game like Dungeon Keeper or Evil Genius) it costs gold to create. There are themes to pick from, monsters to pick from to guard your loot. With each expansion and addition to the Dungeon, it costs gold to create and upkeep. Now the benefits of such:
  • This is potentially a source of income.
  • When opening such a tool to players, it allows for unlimited types of dungeons to pop up. Players can make their own and they could all be unique. Notes:
  • An unused dungeon falls apart after time.
  • There is definitely an investment on the dungeon master. They have to fork out gold to build it. But if they make it too hard, people won't try it and "An unused dungeon falls apart" so they have to fork out more gold if they want to keep it up.
  • I'm thinking that the DM gets gold whenever someone dies in their dungeon (based on their level). Now the holes:
  • The loot should depend on how difficult the dungeon is to players. So an easy dungeon drops crappy loot while a difficult dungeon will hold epic loot. Or maybe the loot is just "purchased" from a dungeon Lord (but the DM cannot use any of it as they cannot enter their own Dungeon in a real way. (They can practice but they get nothing out from it than just testing.) I still am unsure about this as they could make an easy dungeon with high loot and have their friends go through with no trouble. But if I make it depend on the difficulty, how can the actual difficulty be tested?
  • What's to keep this balanced so that you don't get people don't make dungeons too hard to too easy? Or if having a dungeon which is hard for a mid-level character and having high level characters help them every time which means they don't die. that turns into a loss for the DM. Opinions? Suggestions? [Edited by - trapdoor on May 29, 2006 8:19:17 AM]

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    Check out a recent MMO construction sets topic.

    Some disjointed ideas:

    Will the DM actually control the monsters, giving them tasks, targeting their attacks, etc - in RTS mode?

    Dungeons with infinite and/or random epic loot lead to disbalance and powermaxing - even if they're extremely difficult, people will still come through and get the uberloot.

    If the dungeon layout and spawnspots are static, the farming process could be botted - without much problems.

    You *will* need human moderation of the dungeons.

    Think about the % of player-created dungeons that would be really *fun* to play.

    What will be the player motivation for exploring a dungeon? If not the loot?

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    I think the idea would work better if you completely throw out the money/loot thing. Allow a basic account to host one dungeon. If someone wants to host more than one dungeon at a time they need to upgrade to a more real world currency per month account.

    Make all equipment free and ditch the ideas of uber-loot and newb-equipment. Differentiate equipment by having different pros and cons. That is, longsword isn't just rapier+1. Instead, longsword hits harder, does slashing damage, and is slower compared to rapier's piercing damage, faster hits, and less damage per hit. Try not to balance it by simply making all weapons have the same

    (hits per second)(damage per hit)/(average defense against damage type)

    Tie some stats to each account, like number of dungeons completed, number of deaths, etc. Have these at some point unlock different, but not necessarily better, equipment. At the end of a dungeon, instead of phat-loot, have a trophy that basically says "I completed a dungeon by so-and-so". Let other people see these trophies and other stats for bragging rights. Also, put in a rating system where people can rate DM's, individual dungeons, and PC's.

    Basically, I think the idea of user created content works better if you just provide a sandbox instead of trying to make user created content behave like developer created content. A lot of your problems basically come down to how do you keep people from making dungeons that allow easy power-levelling. I think the best answer is to just remove levelling.

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    How about this - the dungeon creator builds a dungeon, then puts a reward at the end (at their own expense) as an incentive to lure adventurers there. Once the dungeon is defeated, the reward is taken.

    Since money is obtained (from the defensive standpoint) by killing people who come into the dungeon, there would be a reason to lure people to it. If there's no reason to come into the dungeon, no one will come, and you won't turn a profit.

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    To clear it up, the DMs just set up the dungeon and let others try and beat it. There's no intervention of the DM, at least it's not required. It might be good for the DM to be able to watch and even interactive in the dungeon control.... I like that.

    As far as making dungeons, lets set the scene to a catacomb style. the DM can add 2 blocks of hallway, then the third block is a junction going left or right. The path to the right takes a staircase down where as the left opens up into a room. It would feel almost like a computerized version of Lego... but without the nobs on the top :)

    The monsters in the dungeon are hired or spawned or whatever. They do like gold, however, or some other valuable resource. This will be very much like Dungeon Keeper where you had to pay your creatures. So the more difficult dungeon it was, the more expensive on upkeep it was.


    I do plan not to have levels or at least nothing usual anyway.

    I like the rating dungeon idea too.

    I really want to stay away from having infinite epic loot at the end. As far as motivation goes, I've had these few thoughts:

  • The loot is actually stuff that the DM has purchased for the dungeon. That the whole dungeon scene is a way for players to "steal" from the DM. At a risk though, if they don't finish it successfully, the DM pockets the penalty to the players. Since I don't want levels, this also helps with preventing say a high level char walking into a dungeon and "Stealing" all the loot the DM had used to setup the dungeon because all the mobs were too weak for him. A dungeon should always prove to be a challenge, no matter what level the character is. It just will change how "long" a dungeon takes.

  • Another idea I had was that all player created dungeons go into a pool. The best 1% rated dungeons get better loot at the end than the others. and the top 3 rated dungeons get the best loot at the end.

    Oh! Games will also have world unique items. These items are ultimately powerful. Imagine 1 guy taking out 10 with ease. These items are unique so there is a set number of available in the world. Having one of these comes at a price; world unique items are lootable off your body or where you store them, while other good items are not. Since you can't exactly be in the game at all times, the item goes into your dungeon, or if you don't have one, just on your body (which is extremely easy to loot). The harder your dungeon is, the better chance you have of keeping your uber item. This would DEFINITELY create some motivation for dungeon exploring.

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    Quote:
    Original post by Mushu
    How about this - the dungeon creator builds a dungeon, then puts a reward at the end (at their own expense) as an incentive to lure adventurers there. Once the dungeon is defeated, the reward is taken.

    Since money is obtained (from the defensive standpoint) by killing people who come into the dungeon, there would be a reason to lure people to it. If there's no reason to come into the dungeon, no one will come, and you won't turn a profit.


    Yes. I think this is the direction i'm heading towards. I think the DM will also have to queue up the rewards, otherwise it will only be good every time the DM restocks the dungeon.

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    I like the idea of DM created dungeons, but a world full of just dungeons would quickly become tiresome (in my very humble opinion). Now if the players/DM's could have a choice with what to do with their land that would be more enthralling and entertaining.
    Choices could be - building a dungeon, an ore mine, logging camp, a farm or even building a small keep or castle with dungeons beneath them.
    As for excitement and income from these other areas:

    An ore mine would produce ore to be sold but only as long as monsters were fought off. Mining could break into areas infested with underground meanies who don't like to be disturbed. Adventurers would be needed to protect miners or kill monsters infesting an area so it could be mined.

    A logging camp would produce wood to be sold but only as long as forest denizens were kept at bay and your hired workers weren't scared off or killed. A poorly defended camp would lose its workers and income would be lost. Adventurers would be needed to recover missing loggers or kill a green dragon or the like.

    A farm (could be varying sizes and have different purposes) would sell their produce for coin. This farm would obviously need protecting. Bandits might raid or marauding orcs may be in the area and be scaring your workers. So adventurers will be needed to fight off the attackers.

    Each of these places could help with the varying degree of difficulty, e.g. helping protect a farm being the easiest and dungeoneering being the most difficult. They also would cost a varying amount to establish, and some terrains may only be suitable for certain businesses.

    As a player/DM increases his/her wealth they could potentially build more than one area and could become the lord of their own little realm. The Good Lord of the Castle helping to protect his farms, mines and logging camps... or an evil Lord who just builds dungeons in the hope of killing off heros for their wealth and sending his band of orcs marauding to other players realms.

    Anyway those are my thoughts/daydreams based on your idea.

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    Perhaps make it so a dungeon master can only have enemys up to the level he is himself. You may want a limit of one or two dungeons per player at a time and make it so you can't make dungeons unless you are lvl 20+(or some other checkpoint), this will keep your world from having thousands of cheap dungeons quickly tossed together. Let anyone enter a dungeon, no matter how hign a lvl dungeon it is, but have 'dungeon data' or soemthing, allowing any player to view the level of the monsters and maybe even value of the loot, as well as the creator of the dungeon. And if a dungeon master gets the money of dead adventurers, what if two people go dungeon crawling together, one dies and since he has no or little money, loses nothing, and the other dies losing thousands of gold he saved up? Maybe have a 'door fee' that is also set by the dungeon master. He could charge 0 gold or 500 gold, at his rates, and if a player dies while in that dungeon, he loses that amount. (It tells you how much you have to pay ahead of time, and in 'dungeon data') Since there will be alot of dungeons, a player could browse the 'dungeon data's and decide which he wishes to wander through. One may have a loot value of 3000 gold in items and coins, but charge 200 gold upon entry, while another might have the same level of monsters and same value of loot, for 150 gold. You may even recogize the name of a dungeon master. "Oh, let's explore this dungeon, I heard this guy makes creative dungeons" or "Look at this, this dungeon was made by the great dungeon-master Halmisl, I bet there is good loot here"

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    Quote:
    Original post by trapdoorOh! Games will also have world unique items. These items are ultimately powerful. Imagine 1 guy taking out 10 with ease. These items are unique so there is a set number of available in the world. Having one of these comes at a price; world unique items are lootable off your body or where you store them, while other good items are not. Since you can't exactly be in the game at all times, the item goes into your dungeon, or if you don't have one, just on your body (which is extremely easy to loot). The harder your dungeon is, the better chance you have of keeping your uber item. This would DEFINITELY create some motivation for dungeon exploring.


    Hmm... I'm not a big fan of this particular idea. It's like Star Wars Galaxies's Jedis(at least in the original game, not the remade one), but with only a limited number of them. It kills the casual player.

    The rest of your ideas are definately going in the correct direction.

    You're going to need some limits on the dungeons, though. A DM who is rewarded for killing players will (wisely) put all the traps at the very beginning of the map right where the player *has* to walk through with no way around them. And then right after that, a bunch of baddies pop up out from around the corner and killing the remaining PCs. You might need a certain restriction on how many monsters/traps can be in any one area.

    Having the ratings would help, alot, too. It would give the DMs insentive to make a good dungeon, not just one that can kill the players.

    The other thing that you might be able to do is have the difficulty of the dungeons automatically adjust. So if only 25% of the people who attempt Dungeon X mkae it through, the monsters and traps become slightly easier. This might take away from the fun of the DM and make the DM loose more money.

    I love the idea of the DM actually purchasing the loot and dungeon. That really forces it to be well-thought out.

    Another problem might be that if this game gets alot of players, new DMs might find it difficult to get their dungeon high enough to get played. A "Random Dungeon" button that gives you a random dungeon would be nice, and to add more incentive to use it, prehaps give players 105% reward (no cost to DM) for using the random dungeon button

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    So kind of what your going for is a multiplayer version of the old dungeon keeper games? I like the idea very very much, but here's a problem:

    Why would people play the players when they could be a dungeone master instead? Will there be any players, or just a glut of dungeon masters in the end?

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