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34 Cliches of Christmas
Random Dungeon Layout
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 09, 2007   |   Episode 18 (Show Archive)  

   

It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're taking a look at the video game cliche, the type of thing we've seen time and time again in all generations of gaming. Is this cliche realistic? Does it need to go away? These are the types of questions Defunct Games will be asking over the next month. Join us as we celebrate this joyous season with the 34 Cliches of Christmas!



You shouldn't hold the random dungeons against Diablo, because it really is one of Blizzard's best games!
As Seen In: Dark Cloud, Diablo, Champions of Norrath, Evolution Worlds, Time Stalkers, Phantom Brave, and tons other role-playing games.

What Is It? After spending months preparing, backing your bags and breaking the sad news to your loving family, you've decided to head on out to the giant dungeon next to your hometown to fight the walking dead and collect a fortune. You've downloaded a map to help you find the quickest route to the mysterious treasure, so all things considered you feel pretty confident in your chances. Unfortunately not everything is what it seems, because the moment you walk into the dungeon you find out that its layout has been randomly generated. That's right, the dungeon you're standing in is a random design that was developed by some computer using a lot of spare walls and pieces. What's more, if you walk out of the dungeon and then go back in, the layout is completely different. It's the weirdest thing. You see, from time to time video game companies feel that gamers like the idea of randomly generated dungeons. They don't. These game companies think that gamers will come back to the dungeon over and over because it's always changing. They won't. These game companies feel that it adds value to the overall

Dark City is what the random dungeon cliche would look like if it happened in real life!
package. It doesn't. It's really just a way of telling the world that you're too lazy to create your own dungeons, you would rather have some computer do it for you so you can lounge around the office nursing that hangover.

Is It Realistic? Absolutely not, but let's pretend it was realistic. Just imagine a world where house, store and office building had a randomly generated layout. Every time you went into Spencer's Gifts the store's layout completely shifted, making it impossible to keep track of where they keep their black lights. Just imagine how chaotic it would be if every time you came home everything in your house was moved around. One second your TV is in the living room, now it's in your bedroom next to the toilet and this giant lizard monster. I hope you don't have to pee or watch a movie anytime soon.

Is It Overused? While there are a lot of good games that have featured the random dungeon generator, I'm generally not a big fan of this type of level design. It just shouts to me that the developers were too lazy to actually make a real level. I say put some thought into it, that's what the gamers are expecting when they put down sixty dollars. Gamers need to look no further than The Legend of Zelda to see how much better a dungeon can be when somebody actually sits down and designs every inch of it. Just because we have the technology doesn't mean we have to use it.

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