This assignment we had to improve the earlier map we made, based on the advice we got. It still had to follow the old ruleset: Simple DnD Ruleset

Since last time not much was changed

I ended up giving an icon for each different type of enemy there is, rather than using a general icon. This made it easier for me to remember what type of enemy each position had. This did remove the ability to improve and throw an enemy that is in accordance to the player’s skill level, however this is a much more accurate representation of an actual level from a game.

Speaking of enemies, I did end up buffing them, making it a much-needed change, as it made the map much more challenging.

In terms of new blocks, in the corridor that the previous play testers did not get to experience an ambush, I actually switched it with a pressure plate attached to a trap, hoping to force the player into using their guard ability. Unfortunately, unlike the previous gamers, my friends were much more ingenious with their creativity. They tried to use corpses and stones from the environment to try to activate the pressure plate remotely. I did not expect that at all. The previous users understood that all the details I added to the map (cobwebs, rocks etc) are simply decorative and did not try to use any of them. This affected the gameplay as I had to try to improvise to get them to use their ability and got advised that maybe all of those things shouldn’t have been there.

I’m not sure if I should take this as proper constructive criticism about the level design. I feel like what these tester were advising about has nothing to do with the real level, but more with my storytelling abilities. Another thing they specified is that they did not feel motivated or rewarded by collecting money or items from chests. They would’ve wanted the items to somehow be related to the map.

Results are inconclusive as I have conflicting opinions, which is exactly what I was expecting. However, this means that I don’t know how to improve. Different people will always hold different opinions about certain topics. What I might change, though, is not having chests, but making enemies drop items. This way it will make killing enemies much more rewarding, rather than killing them to get access to chest. Maybe reserve chests for items that are required to advance in the map.

Other than that, they didn’t have anything else to say. They liked the map size, the layout, the path. It truly seems that the only thing they didn’t like much, was the way I handled the pressure plate trap. Which I am still debating whether that is a problem with the level itself, or simply my ability to improvise. Further comments would be needed. However, when I designed the map, I thought of it as a level for a video game, rather than a DnD map, so I am not sure if that influenced me positively or negatively. They are two different types of games, with different styles of playing them, so a game like DnD, where improvisation is highly used, does not benefit from levels in the style of a video game like Dark Souls, where you know about the limitations of your character and the environment.

I did manage to cover all the mechanics needed, but one of the players said that I didn’t make them use Light enough. Again, I feel like that isn’t really a problem with the level design, as much as it is a problem with my storytelling ability. What I might do in future maps, though, is separate the map into chunks, so they can’t just see the map ahead of them, which would force them to use Light a bit more often.

The boss remained the same, nothing changed. As before, they also liked the boss. They pretty much liked the map, however, it is games like these that I think it would be easier to test at a computer. A lot more people would be able to test at the same time, might make the game faster and receive better advice from the players, as they would have extensive knowledge about the physics of the game and what they can or can not pick up. So what I am going to try to do for the next map, is create an engine in Java where I can place my maps and easily play them.