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Complex vs Simplistic Dungeons

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Poll: Complex vs Simplistic Dungeons

Which style of dungeon do you prefer?

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#16 Evan20000


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Posted 22 October 2019 - 11:44 AM

I think complex dungeons tend to be more memorable long-term, but they also require exponentially more care on the part of the designer to make sure everything is perfect to play than simpler ones leading to there being way less of the best designed complex dungeons compared to the best designed simplistic dungeons.


Overall though, I think which the player finds more enjoyable pretty much boils down to the following questions:
Is the player in this for the thrill of unwinding a knot of a dungeon and understanding systems? Are they okay with the game actively testing their knowledge of those systems in return on a macro-puzzle scale and not just on room to room puzzles?

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#17 Shoshon the Elegant

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 12:55 PM

I like simplistic dungeons just cause when I sit down to play a game I want to just do it leisurely. That said, since I do play quests leisurely, I can definitely appreciate a well designed larger scale dungeon. I just don't feel like I have enough time to really devote to larger or more complex dungeons. I tend to like mini quests for that reason.
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#18 Jamian


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Posted 22 October 2019 - 02:53 PM

I think the poll is inadvertently loaded (complex vs "simplistic" dungeons). There might have been a better word than simplistic, maybe simple, or linear.


Nintendo's recipe seems to be more along the lines of: simple at first, complex later on. As far as I'm concerned, the later, more complex dungeons are always the most memorable ones, even though simpler beginnings help you ease into the game.

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#19 Evan20000


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Posted 23 October 2019 - 12:01 PM

 There might have been a better word than simplistic, maybe simple, or linear.

I wouldn't say that either of those work. Simple is basically the same word. Linear and complex aren't necessarily mutually exclusive (linear macro progression, highly complex room to room or segmented-room puzzles for instance). This is all semantics at the end of the day though.

#20 Avaro


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Posted 23 October 2019 - 12:25 PM

Sure I prefer complex ones, but both types are important. Like klop and aNumbers said.

#21 Anthus


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Posted 23 October 2019 - 10:44 PM

I nulled. I think the terms are kind of subjective, and what one finds complex another might find easier to understand given on how people play stuff. Everyone has their own approach to things, their own strengths and weaknesses when playing a game etc.


If we are talking strictly paths through any given configuration of monsters and puzzles, I'd rather have a clear path that is fun to follow, with extra stuff, and shortcuts if it is going to be a longer haul, and dying/ retreading becomes common. Dungeons can be small, but still feel complex if each room has a purpose, and a reason to remember it. A giant dungeon can feel simplistic if there isn't enough to keep each room memorable as a point of reference in relation to the other rooms.


I think when making any kind of level, you need to have a balance of the two. I think Jamian summed it up pretty well tbh. Teach players your rules and mechanics through simpler/ smaller room layouts, then tie it all together in the bigger room layouts, or whole dungeons. Basically, if you have good shortcuts, any length will be manageable. My main point is, complex =/= well designed =/= time spent on figuring it out imo... depending on who you ask, that is. :P

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