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Thread: Guide to fun DK1 maps

  1. #1

    Default Guide to fun DK1 maps

    Like most people here, I like dungeon keeper. However, it has some limitations, which could hamper the enjoyment of the game. Unfortunately, most maps available play to its weaknesses, and not to its strengths, making them no fun to play.

    I wanted to list some things, which I feel should become the norm on most levels out there.

    Creature pool smaller then max creatures

    One of the fundamental issues with DK1 is that all creatures are easy to get and some are a lot stronger than others. The result is that the player is smart to get rid of weak creatures like bugs, trolls or demon spawn, when he could also get Dark Mistresses, Orcs and Dragons. By making sure the creature pool is small, this problem is circumvented.

    If the player can get all the creatures in the pool, he has no reason to throw some of them away.

    One very useful feature is that when creatures die, they are added to the creature pool. So you could start a level without any demon spawn in the creature pool, and have them located on the map. If the player happens to lose them, that does not mean he’s game over, because a new level one demon spawn is now attracted from the portal.

    Don't have everything researchable from the start

    Do not give the player access to everything straight away. Levels where you can research powerful rooms and spells cause the player to wait moving out until these are researched, which is boring. When you start out with the basic 5 rooms, and perhaps one or two more, the level starts straight away. Have the player do something on the map to earn those other spells and rooms.

    The library can still be a useful room: When you claim a room on the map, this could be the trigger for your researchers to go to the library, and learn how to build this room for themselves.

    Limit the powerful rooms

    Give a player enough gold, a prison, torture chamber, temple and scavenger room, and he cannot be stopped. Those rooms make it possible for the player to add the strength of the enemy to his own, making it virtually impossible to make an opponent that is strong enough.
    Think carefully how, when and why to give the player access to these rooms. Otherwise you’ve find yourself spawning hero parties full of only level 10 avatars/knights/samurai near the end of the level, which are all defeated by the level 9 hero’s you spawned 5 minutes before assisted by 100 level 10 vampires.

    No lethal surprise parties

    We’ve all been there, dig out some space for your first hatchery, and dig into a hero pocket with 20 level 8 monks that can defeat your defenses of 1 fly and 4 imps without blinking, forcing you to start over. Now we can have fun saving every 2 minutes or casting sight every tile we dig. Goody.

    Avoid this like the plague. There are two ways around this if you want to have some strong hero parties on the map:
    • Give the heroes guard posts. This way they will not chase the player all the way to his heart, but will go back to defend their location.
    • When the player gets near, use a warning message to let him know.

    Let heroes reach the Dungeon

    Heroes cannot destroy player walls, nor can they build bridges. If a player is meant to deal with heroes at some point, make sure he has to. Building walls and selling bridges is free for the player. If you want the player to be able to postpone a fight, fine. If not, make sure the hero gate is right inside the player dungeon, or make a white-wall between the hero dungeon and the player dungeon which the tunnellers can destroy. Avoid lava streams.

    Be careful of lava traps, these can also not be crossed by heroes.

    Be mindful of the limitations of rival keepers

    You are a human, a celebration of flesh and fluids. You can do stuff the computer player cannot: Use dungeon specials, rebuild bridges, converting creatures, using the temple, abusing spells or bugs, avoiding hero parties. On top of that the AI will not be a strategic mastermind like you are and will not always train his creatures most effectively.

    So help a keeper out, give him a proper dungeon, a mix of good creatures, and place him somewhere he cannot get himself killed. Also make sure he can reach the player if he wants to.

    Better yet, make the keeper not the main course, but a side-dish.

    Put some pressure on the player

    A lot of maps reach a point, where the best strategy would be to walk away from the computer and come back when everything is trained up enough. When using frameskip is a valid strategy to win a level, you have a problem.

    Instead, make sure the player has to keep busy (=playing the game and having fun). Make sure he has some sort of timing constraint, like hero parties attacking soon or gold running out. Exploring the map should result in the player getting stronger.

    Don't make heroes too strong

    Just like people fall into the trap of making the player too powerful and making the level too easy, people fall into a trap of making the hero parties too strong. The result is the player simply cannot face the heroes directly, and will have to pick at them slowly, or abuse the limitations of the AI. This is too tedious.
    Instead, keep the power of the player down, so you can have small battles. The impact of the player of these battles is much larger. By having many of these small battles the player will remain involved, the power of the keeper stays small, and difficulty can be better managed as loosing a little bit too much a lot of times can also spiral out of control.

    Be reasonable with traps.

    If you like laying a lot of traps, please start in your own backyard. People who play your maps surely won't have fun when they have to clear out a room with countless lightning traps, or have to watch their creatures slowly break down magic doors to pick them up before the 10th boulder-behind-door trap hits. On maps without a temple or gems losing all your imps to traps is simply frustrating, on maps with a temple or gems it is just annoying. The player might end up with unstoppable vampire army, not with a smile on his face.
    Instead when you think of a way to 'trap' a player, also think of a creative (!) way he could have prevented it.

    I felt like I should put my money where my mouth is, and make a map displaying some of these techniques. You can find it here.

    Let me know what you think on the items I listed, or on the map. (I found it difficult to set the timer, because I know the map and can go quickly, so I gave the player more time then I needed. Let me know if you have too much time or too little).

    Also, feel free to add more tips.
    Last edited by YourMaster; August 24th, 2015 at 14:55.

  2. #2
    Demon Spawn UnknownMaster21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Guide to fun DK1 maps

    Expertly Done, YourMaster.

    I give also a tip:

    Making a level, if you want to go an interesting way, make things out of nowhere and make an explanation after it. Warn player after warning a player for nothing due the problems causing things already before noticed lol

  3. #3
    Demon Spawn
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Cardiff, UK

    Default Re: Guide to fun DK1 maps

    Good stuff again.

    I cannot access the map - says I don't have access.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Re: Guide to fun DK1 maps

    Nicely spoken!

    Only I can't download your map?


    Dayokay was faster. :P

  5. #5

    Default Re: Guide to fun DK1 maps

    They download needs to be approved first by a mod (MGR). To check I didn't upload a virus or porn or something.

    When Rex gets online, it will become downloadable.

  6. #6
    Awakening Game Master Metal Gear Rex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Re: Guide to fun DK1 maps

    Dungeon Keeper 2 Patch: With More Balance and Pie [Hiatus]
    Forever Hiatus. Probably. Latest Version: 3.5 w/Levels 1-11 Revised.

    The Awakening: GM Powers Activate!
    Tesonu is napping!


  7. #7
    Demon Spawn UnknownMaster21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Guide to fun DK1 maps

    I downloaded the map and... I have to say definitely not for me. I like though kind of this, but have to be simpler.

    But try it people, if you like to adventure and being complicated somewhat, here is map for you!

    I will still play it to the end though.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Guide to fun DK1 maps

    Do you find it too difficult, or is there something you're missing in the experience? Or is the first-person segment at the start you dislike?

  9. #9
    Demon Spawn UnknownMaster21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Guide to fun DK1 maps

    Quote Originally Posted by YourMaster View Post
    Do you find it too difficult, or is there something you're missing in the experience? Or is the first-person segment at the start you dislike?
    There is no too difficult map for me, unless it is made so. I am more for simpler maps, that's all.

    First-person segments are cool, maybe because it is the map. Very umm, different. But I assume you have to get room pieces one by one and then it looks simpler to edit it out.

    I will play it through, then I tell my experience, maybe

  10. #10

    Default Re: Guide to fun DK1 maps

    I really don't understand what you're trying to tell me, sorry.

    The first person segment is really brief, just to get rid of the 4 heroes in the starting base. I don't know what you mean with 'edit out',.. if you mean by using the editor, then yes the level is easier if you use the level editor first. But I'm happy to hear how you feel after you've played it.

    I am however, also very interested not in simply if you like the map or not, but also your opinion of the DK1 map design principles I mention. Would you like to see that come back in more DK1 maps, or not, and if so, which ones?
    What is it that strikes you as different in the map I posted, and is that because of one of the principles I listed, and if yes, does that mean for you that principle is invalid?

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