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Old March 8, 2020, 15:04   #1
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ideas for more atmosphere

I have had the same simple idea play over in my head for the past few months so I figure I should try to explain it in a way that piques other peoples' interest. I could probably make a mock up of it in a graphics program but my skills in that arena are fairly limited so I'll try to use my words to describe it:

Currently the dungeon is basically made up of one color, white; with another color for vaults. I remember the first time I reached the secret level of Wolfenstein 3D. I thought it was so cool because instead of levels with the same gray floor and ceiling and same white, blue and brown walls, here was a level with purple floors and ceilings and purple walls. The effect was so dramatic and atmospheric. That level will forever be burned in my mind as the gold standard for secret levels. A level that is clearly different in visual look and feel than the rest of the game levels. Secrets were one of my favorite things about Wolfenstein 3d. There were so many of them, and it was as much fun finding the secrets as finding the treasures inside them.

Angband also has secret doors, but when you find them, (I'll speak for myself) I don't really feel like I've found a secret area the way I do when I find secret doors in Wolfenstein 3D (the wall would push back slowly, and make a wonderful grinding noise as it did so. You knew you had found a secret in Wolf3d; there was no mistaking it. Whereas in Angband secret doorsopen to more of the same white rooms.

My idea for increasing atmosphere in Angband is for the walls to be different colors. Colors that represent different types of dungeons. For example, the old Prince of Persia game had wonderful atmosphere:

So my idea is for each level and even different parts of levels to have different colors. Similar colors to one another; not drastically different colors, but something like light blue-gray on the left side of the level with increasingly darker shades of blue-gray the farther East in the level you go and maybe even dark purple in the part of the level where the vault is and then walls getting lighter again as you go away from the vault on the far side of the map. This would add a lot of nice atmosphere to the game while also communicating the player that areas where the walls are darker might be more dangerous, too. I think this would do a lot to bring the game into the 21st century. And doors that open into secret rooms, well those doors could be a different color to denote that it's a secret door, and the rooms they open to could be a more dramatically different color (not garish bright colors), but if it's a gray-blue dungeon where you find the secret, the walls of the secret could maybe be a mesmerizing muted pearl blue.

Or a secret door could lead to a part of the level with green/dark green walls and those areas could have a lot of forest trolls. The point is secrets should take you to a novel area; it should feel distinctly different than other areas of the dungeon.

Color changes wouldn't only be used to denote secrets, though. Maybe you are travelling from one end of the dungeon that has dark, colorless gray walls and the walls become inscreasingly lighter until they become pure white and then you've reached the lair of the snow giants or the snow trolls.

The hell levels (the ones deeper in the dungeon with the large demon areas) could have dark red brimstone colored walls, but by and large most levels would have a wall color similar to the background of this forum (maybe a little lighter).

In summary: the dungeon walls would change color periodically to add atmosphere, but also to give the player added information, such as the area you are entering is more dangerous or the area you are entering is a secret area and may have better treasures.

Of course these changes would require a lot of sophisticating programming in a game that is randomly generated. You'd have to code in some kind of color coordination or hue coordination so that while its making randomly generated colors for different areas, the colors always look good together and always complement each other.

I'll make a mock up and post it later today. (currently at work).
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