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Old June 5, 2014, 07:34   #1
DanielKennethRego
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Thoughts on dungeon features/terrain/layout/interaction.

I've been playing Sil a lot over the past week or so, to the exclusion of any other roguelikes. I've finally come round to appreciating a lot of things I was iffy about earlier, like the absence of offensive magic. I love the combat system, the abilities and the mechanics.

Caveat - I'm quite an inexperienced player and haven't gone very deep into the dungeon, so perhaps some of my suggestions already exist in some way, at depths I haven't visited yet.

One thing that does get to me though, especially after the first several levels, is how one-dimensional and samey the dungeon layouts are. I don't mean this in a cosmetic way - I'm talking features that would make an interesting tactical difference in combat and movement, like room layouts and interactive terrain.

For example, in Brogue, you're constantly evaluating the best way to use the terrain around you in movement and combat. Items and actions interact with this terrain in very real ways. A staff of Firebolt sets ablaze all grassy terrain in its path, spelling trouble for enemies in the area - and yourself. Swamp terrain will soon turn to gas, which is also flammable and tactically significant. Water tiles influence the path you will take to get to a certain area (there are often multiple paths to any point. The game isn't just about interacting with monsters - there's no experience system, even - but also about interacting with the dungeon around you. There are special rooms that require player interaction, too.

Another example would be say, NPPAngband, where terrain makes a tactical difference in terms of movement speed through terrain, the ability to pass through different kinds of tiles, bonuses and penalties, etc.

I'm not proposing Sil try to be one of the two above games. I'm suggesting the idea of possibly adding an element of dungeon feature and terrain interaction to the gameplay experience. I haven't read Tolkein myself, so I don't know how far this will be pushing Sil's 'true to the book' ethos, but perhaps we could have terrain features like water, fire, gravel or others, with penalties or bonuses or special effects to movement and combat mechanics, like movement speed, or attack/evasion/stealth bonuses and penalties. Sil has chasms, and this is one example of a terrain feature in my book even if on a very simplistic level - promoting careful movement and ranged attacks.

Even additions to basic dungeon features would make the dungeons themselves more tactically interesting, like different room layouts that favour certain kinds of specialised approaches in movement and combat, pillars or structures in rooms that can be tactically useful, bridges that could perhaps give an evasion or stealth penalty, rocky terrain tiles that grant an evasion bonus, bright rooms that grant a perception bonus (to both player and monster), statues that could grant a willpower penalty ("you are intimidated by the massive statue of foo the orc warrior" or something similar).

Right now, the dungeon sort of exists more or less as a container for the enemies and items within. I'd love if Sil made the dungeon and the environment layout/features a more significant and involved aspect in the gameplay.

What do you guys think?
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