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Old March 8, 2020, 15:04   #1
Grotug
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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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Old March 8, 2020, 19:23   #2
Pete Mack
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NPP has something like this, with a possibility of levels for every "native" element. (Ice, water, desert, lava, nature, etc.) It also has some exotic elements like guyser and boiling acid, but they don't get entire levels of their own. Some of the elements don't appear until certain depths. And there is indeed good atmosphere. The problem with NPP now is too many monsters, IMO. It is just a madhouse.
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Old March 8, 2020, 21:22   #3
Therem Harth
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Yeah I've been a fan of this kind of terrain/dungeon variety for a while, it's part of what I've always loved about T2. I and others have brought it up before for V. IIRC the blocker has usually been the idea that varied terrain should serve an in-game purpose, instead of just being pretty - and that too much terrain with too many purposes is antithetical to how V is supposed to work.

As far as I'm concerned though this is a case where pretty is a feature, and combining different looking terrain with different dungeon layouts would definitely be a feature. YMMV.

Edit: for "secrets" you might want to check out variants (T2 again, FAA, not sure about others) that have hidden/special/secret levels. And I totally get you on that, secret areas were one of the things that made games like Descent really charming.
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Old March 8, 2020, 22:41   #4
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"Native" status does matter in NPP. Cold attacks are stronger on ice. Native chars get a small speed and to_hit bonus (and non-native take a malus.) And it looks very nice.
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Old March 8, 2020, 23:14   #5
DavidMedley
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I definitely agree that secret doors are underwhelming.
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Old March 9, 2020, 00:04   #6
Grotug
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When I propose different shades for the dungeon walls I'm thinking muted colors, like 25% saturation levels, and with the general principle that less is more. If it's too many color and too many varying colors it can quickly look cheesy and be far more detrimental than helpful. But a little color variance in certain parts of certain maps at least could make things a lot more interesting if handled well, which is why I've struggled to get engaged with variants I've tried as they sort of take things too far in the terrain/colorization side of things for my tastes. I like Angband for its simplicity.

I think the key for adding color variations to work (for my tastes, anyway) is to develop a very nice muted palette that the game draws from. Maybe it's a 65535 color palette, but the colors are from a very limited spectrum of color saturation (bright lava could still exist for floor elements, but the walls would always be low saturation colors).

I learned the value of developing a consistent palette and the tones it can set from Doom mods that change the game's color palette.
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Old March 9, 2020, 04:19   #7
wobbly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Therem Harth View Post
Yeah I've been a fan of this kind of terrain/dungeon variety for a while, it's part of what I've always loved about T2. I and others have brought it up before for V. IIRC the blocker has usually been the idea that varied terrain should serve an in-game purpose, instead of just being pretty - and that too much terrain with too many purposes is antithetical to how V is supposed to work.

As far as I'm concerned though this is a case where pretty is a feature, and combining different looking terrain with different dungeon layouts would definitely be a feature. YMMV.

Edit: for "secrets" you might want to check out variants (T2 again, FAA, not sure about others) that have hidden/special/secret levels. And I totally get you on that, secret areas were one of the things that made games like Descent really charming.
V actually has a bunch of rooms setup for terrain, if you search vault.txt for DRL you'll see a bunch of them. So when you plug the terrain code in from the new FA a bunch of them suddenly light up with terrain, a few of them are quite pretty. I actually thought I'd introduced a bug when I first saw reservoir because 1 of the square rooms suddenly had water. Without it it is just a big square room.
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