Kevin Thies – Looking Outwards 12

For my final project, I was looking at making a top-down dungeon crawler game. There’s plenty of games like this, like some of the original Legend of Zelda Titles, but the one I saw as most relevant to my project was Edward McMillen and Florian Himsl’s 2011 Flash-based game, The Binding of Isaac. Admittedly, I’d heard of the newer version, but I never really looked at the older one, which was initially made in a week. The way the player moves through rooms makes sense mechanics-wise, and means generating levels should be simple (in theory).

One of many possible Isaac rooms

From here I took a look back to see what older games did for level generation, which ended up becoming a tangent that led to my finding Nethack. I found it fascinating mostly due to the ASCII graphics, but turns out it was made in 1987 by Mike Stephenson, and has had continuous edits and updates. In fact, their GitHub repository was last updated 15 hours ago, at the time of writing. I found it interesting in that NetHack levels take up no more than the size of the screen. They’ll never scroll. It’s also all open source, albeit written in C.
An example of the NetHack ASCII graphics
If I was to follow this format, I could just store the levels in an array and be able to call them individually by number, which could be interesting. It also breaks up the really boxy rooms of Isaac, which relies more on having different environment assets placed in different places in each room.

Leave a Reply