Level Design: MACRO Vision

Brain synapses firing, sketches by the dozen, Cintiqs overheating, post-its covering the walls, and a profusion of ideas: That’s more or less the summary of this first week of pre-prod! In other words, it was very productive and the project is moving along nicely in the right direction.

For this first post, and as announced in the introduction, we’re going to talk about the MACRO vision of the first Level Design (LD) ideas for the project.

DODo - Level Design

What do we mean by MACRO? Simply a broad and comprehensive vision of the project, with major ideas and the direction in which we’re heading.

To get into proper condition, let’s forget the DOFUS LD and start with a blank page: when entering the game, no open world, no dispersal, but rather a path of progression that defines your trajectory. We’ll call that the HUB (or HALL).

HUB

Made up of several rooms, the HUB has multiple functions:

  • First, it serves as a place to meet other players, although it is not the only place where you can gather.
  • It also determines your geographic location and, by extension, your progress in the game.
  • Finally, and above all, it is your doorway to the dungeons that make up the zones in each room.

To better visualize the ensemble, imagine a horizontal directional line (= the HUB) sequentially broken down into several sections (= the rooms), each of which leads vertically (= doors) to the associated zones (= the dungeons).
Or, you can thank Poolay for this small summary sketch:

DODo - Level Design Concept

At this stage, you should understand that each room necessarily corresponds to several dungeons, and that advancement in the game happens in stages. To move on to room 2, you will first to need to complete the missions in the dungeons in room 1, and so on.

Zones and Dungeons

While the HUB is fairly neutral like a long, endless tunnel, the zones and their dungeons are part of a universe specific to the current room, with the goal being to offer very different atmospheres from one room to the next. Thus, we speak of unique mini-worlds.

DODo - Level Design Concept

The number of zones remains to be determined, and may vary from one mini-world to another. Emphasis is placed in particular on coherent progress when it comes to graphics, game mechanics, and even narration.

When it comes to mapping, we’re focusing on simplicity with watercolor images in true 16:9 resolution (no more wasted lateral bands!) and a slightly modified grid to have larger squares.
Here’s a first take, with Milou’s research:

DODo - Level Design

There, now you have a little bit (just a tiny bit?) clearer vision of the world you’ll be able to explore in DOFUS Dungeons!
Logically, you must also have many new questions… Please feel free to post them in the comments and share your impressions. We’ll be reading all that with great interest!

Going forward, we’ll be back next week with a new article!

See you all soon!
XyaLe

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