Encapsulation: the art of designing around nonexistent systems and filling in the blanks later. It’s an important skill, but there comes a time when you have to fill in the blanks. Say, by designing a random encounter system for your megadungeon.
They say “variety is the spice of life.” But that’s because they are dumba$&es. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for a game experience is to impose restrictions and limitations.
For all their clever plans, a game designer can only create mechanics. Create them right and the players will experience the grand plan in all its glory. But RPG designers have a lot of screwed up notions when it comes to this simple truism. They don’t even know what game mechanics actually are.
It’s time to wrap up our tour of the entire megadungeon. And with that, it’s also time to wrap up preplanning and figure out where to go from here.
It’s time to take a whirlwind tour of the megadungeon. What does one think about when one starts sketching out the basis for a huge megadungeon map? Everything, of course. Seriously. We think about EVERYTHING.
From spreadsheet to flowchart to map. It’s time to take that bubble diagram and make it resemble an actual physical space. But figuring out how to do that is tricky. Fortunately, I’m an incredible genius who never ever makes mistakes that result in days of lost progress and an article that basically amounts to “I have no update this week, so let’s spend five thousand words talking about my f$&% up.”
Sometimes, you just have to throw a bunch of work away and start over. And sometimes a bunch of work will just come out of you with no rhyme or reason when you least expect it. Both are as much a part of the design process as anything else.
Before we can start drawing maps to any sort of scale, we need to know what our scale is. How BIG is a room in our megadungeon? Why is it that big? And does EVERYTHING need a size? What even is the point of a map?