Wednesday, 6 October 2010

What Alien Breed can teach us about dungeons


I count myself first and foremost as a journalist, even though it's not my main source of income. One of my latest reviews which will be featured in the next issue of Thirteen1 was Alien Breed 2: Assault. I loved the first Alien Breed and even interviewed the developer, Team 17, about it, and I was more impressed by Alien Breed 2. One of the reasons I really like this series is because it feels like a dungeon crawl, and I love me a dungeon crawl. I thought I'd share my thoughts about what roleplayers can take from the level design found in the Alien Breed games and sunsequently transfer them to their tabletop games.

Alien Breed has a simple concept: get the power to the ship running whilst mowing down aliens. To do this you must navigate the dark, metallic corridors of the ship. The cool thing about this is that rather than being a straightforward shooter, you must achieve different mini objectives to get to the next location. For instance, you may reach a door where the power is out so you have to go to another room, kill aliens and hack into a terminal to get the power running. However, the door might be open, but the laser barriers are still operational on the other side and could slice you up into bits if you passed through, so you must find the room with the power generator and destroy it. As a result, you're not just going simply from one room to another- you're taking part in an ever-changing environment. Routes become blocked by debris, an elevator needs a certain fuse to get it running. It makes getting from one place to the next a challenge and pretty fun. This can easily be transferred to your RPG.