Been pushing on two initiatives last week, one of which was reimagining the role of towns in the overworld. Early builds of Dungeonmans had towns built much in the same way as dungeons: mostly random layouts with winding paths between rooms.
These towns were unique without being unique. Sure you never knew exactly where or what shape the Inn was, but it didn’t matter, you’d find it and it would be the same as every other Inn. An Inn, a Shop, some houses with pleasant peasants and the occasional Town Mayor, a portly man who’d offer you a quest to go kill Scrobolds somewhere.
The end result of all that is that towns were boring, and that won’t cut it for the Dungeonmans of today. They may never be as exciting as actual dungeons, crawling with monsters, but a new town on the horizon should make the player happy and eager to see what’s inside.
So, yeah: Towns.
Towns are focused, small locations with pleasant layouts. Using a psuedorandom location builder similar to the Crypts, towns are a few houses and shops built along some roads or nice park land. Navigation should be easy.
Towns contain a few houses and shops, and one main attraction. The houses have NPCs to say silly things, bookshelves to plunder and barrels to kick over. Wouldn’t be an RPG without that. The shops are selected from a wide variety of shop types. “Weapon Store” is a bit generic, but maybe this town has someone who focuses on cloth armor, or a collector simply obsessed with hammers. The shops are a chance to put your gold to work.
The Main Attraction is a reason to come back. The most basic example would be a tavern that serves a delicious, stat-enhancing meal. It won’t be useful for all time, but it would be of use while you’re in the area and you may want to remember it if you’re hunting in the wilds nearby. Perhaps there’s a super fancy artisan who has exceptional gear on sale for an outlandish price? Maybe there’s even crazier stuff I’m not going to talk about here? Let’s hope so.
Here’s a couple of screens showing the new art. Bobby’s environments are starting to roll in, and you can see the Crypt for the first time, as well as new and improved Academy art. Click for larger versions, though I’ll be damned if the page listens to me when I tell it to open them in a new tab.