By jakob187 17 Comments
As I mentioned a week ago, I am on a crusade to recreate as much as possible (more of an homage) the entirety of the first Doom game within the Legend of Grimrock Dungeon Editor. Today, I stand on the eve of progress!
Over the last week, there has been a lot of research to do. The first question was important: how do I take the fast and frenetic pace of Doom and make it work within a grid-based RPG like Grimrock? The one thing about Grimrock is that it doesn't necessarily lend itself well to the idea of a ton of enemies coming at you all at once. Moreover, since it's all grid-based, getting swarmed makes things incredibly difficult to handle. Luckily, as I played through the actual Grimrock game a bit more than usual over the week, I noticed a few ways that Almost Human (the developers) handled multiple enemies within any given space: chokepoints and pull chain doors. These were two very important things that I had to begin utilizing within the making of the first stage, E1M1 Hangar.
Last night, I finally sat down to start working on E1M1. The cool thing about the Grimrock Dungeon Editor is its ease of use. If you've never done any type of modding or anything before...even construction in a game, this Dungeon Editor is so fucking simple that even a novice could make something awesome! Every asset that was made for the game is listed on the left hand side. Your actual grid map is in the middle. In the top right hand corner, you have a Preview screen, where you can literally hit play and PLAY THE LEVEL YOU ARE DESIGNING to see if it is working. That part was INCREDIBLY helpful for me. Last is the bottom right portion of the screen. This is where, after selecting any property within the map that you've placed, you are able to manipulate that. Say you have a hidden door that you need to open after someone hits a particular pressure plate. Typically, getting the "logic" to work between these two would be pure madness and lines of coding. Luckily, the editor makes it simple: click on the pressure plate, "add selector", then click on the hidden door or whatever prop you want it to interact with, and PRESTO! Instant logic.
The other issue I've had with designing this dungeon is making sure that the OPTIONS of Doom are not lost on it all. When it came to Doom, you either tried to murder every damn thing there was and get every secret...or you did hard speedruns. I've been debating on whether I want the options to speedrun the dungeons to be available. I mean, it IS an RPG, so you kind of need to level up. However, do you want people to play it that way? Doom is all about speed and twitch gameplay, which this cannot really do either of in a great way. Thankfully, Doom's level designs are interesting within the Grimrock system, even if you cannot do other levels of elevation and such. Therefore, big platforms and sets of stairs are something I'm having to play around with a little bit to make more interesting yet still be kind of visceral.
That's the main thing I want to keep: how visceral of a game Doom is. If you are getting swarmed with enemies in Doom, you still feel like a badass but you know that there is a high probability of death. I want you to feel the same way when you go through these dungeons.
With all that said, here is my first "screenshot" for the dungeon. This was a piece of early work that took me about an hour and a half to design. It's the grid layout for E1M1 Hangar, as well as some work done in the first couple of rooms. Handfuls of hours after I took this screen cap, I can say that I am almost completely done with the level. That's right - E1M1 Hangar only needs another couple of hours worth of work and I should be able to upload the .dat file for people to download and check out for themselves. I just have a little more playtesting to do with it to make sure it's just right.
Next week, I'll have the level completed for sure, possibly the second level...and will try to get the .dat file available for people to play for themselves!
Until next time...
P.S. - Happy Samhain/Halloween to everyone!