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  Mechanic #072 - Tiny World Encounters

Category: Simulation
Posted: 12/16/07

Dungeons and Adventurer's Guilds in the simulation Tiny World.


This is the third and final entry in the three part Tiny World series describing a sim-RPG, like as if the Sims brandished swords. The first part discussed character evolution through the design of homes and guilds. The second part described a manner of seeing what the sim-adventurers were thinking, and even having some say in the matter. This entry concerns itself with dungeons and the Adventurer's Guild.

When one thinks of a sim game, one invariably thinks about building. This is probably because the first major sim game was SimCity. Nearly every offshoot of the sim genre has involved building things, even Real Time Strategy games. I'd say that probably most games considered a sim involve building. Even my first entry in this mini-series concerned building.

However, with dungeons, I didn't want to go that route. Partly because it had been done before with the likes of Dungeon Keeper. And partly because a sim-RPG isn't about the dungeon. It's about the sim-adventurers. Putting too much effort or time into manipulating dungeons would be micro-management hell. You'd only have the energy to work on one dungeon at a time - and I want players to be managing dozens.

  The Adventurer's Guild

I mentioned in [#070 - Tiny World Cities] that there was a single building which could not be built, upgraded, or destroyed: the Adventurer's Guild. All sim-adventurers in the game, regardless of rank or guild, belongs to this guild.

Simply put, the AG puts up quests for the adventurer's to go on. These quests are optional. The posting includes a difficulty, level, and number of people required. When an adventurer's basic goals have been met, he will visit the guild to get a quest. Whether he groups up on one or takes a solo one is largely up to the personality of the sim, though he won't wait around forever.

The player has the ability to add quests to the guild. For instance, he may only see in dungeons as far as it has been explored by the adventurers. In that case, he might put an exploration quest out on the dungeon in which an adventurer will succeed after he has removed all fog of war. Maybe he wants adventurers to go to Dungeon X, which has previously been ignored in favor of other dungeons. Then he just puts a kill quota on that dungeon (kill 10 enemies in Dungeon X).


Groups in Tiny World can have up to three adventurers in to. They walk in a line with a front, middle, and back unit. Depending on which position the unit is in, it may have different abilities it can do. For instance, an archer in the front attacks with a knife, but an archer in the middle / back uses a bow. Each profession has a preferred spot on the team, and by and large, having three random adventurers get together will result in an optimal setup.

These teams have a single, shared goal added to their goal queue, with the highest priority. For all intents and purposes, these three units act as one entity. Even though they may achieve other goals in the field, they will not actively pursue any. Once they have accomplished their mission, they will return to the guild for money, exp, and whatever.

  Dungeons, Dungeons, Everywhere


All the dungeons in the world exist at the start of the game, but may be upgraded (or downgraded) by the player using Dungeon Points. DP is collected simply by having adventurers in the dungeon. It's something like 1 DP per second per adventurer. The more adventurers that are in the dungeon for a longer amount of time, the greater the DP intake.


Dungeons are born as single screen areas (the reason is that I want them to be like aquariums where you can just sit and watch an area). You can buy additional screens for DP. For instance, a castle may start as a single screen with the entrance on the ground floor and going up five or six floors. After you've gotten some DP for this dungeon, you can purchase a screen above (more castle tower) or below (dungeons). Each dungeon works differently. Some just go up or just go down, some grow in multiple directions, some grow left and right. Each new screen you buy must be explored fully to build off of it.

The level of the dungeon is based on the quality of loot, density of monsters, number of screens, and so on. The dungeon level is dependent on factors and is not directly addressable by the player. Many of the ways the player can upgrade the dungeon is based around this level. For instance, the player cannot upgrade the quality of loot in the dungeon too far before he must also increase the difficulty of enemies.

The enemies and loot in a dungeon automatically respawn after a certain amount of time. Loot is randomly selected from a certain level of quality that can be upgraded with dungeon points. Loot quality is tied to a certain range based on the level of the dungeon.


A dungeon initially beings with only a single monster type available. That monster type will be spawned in at specific intervals at a difficulty level that, like loot quality, can be upgraded (or downgraded) with DP and is within a specific range based on dungeon level. The monsters will continue to spawn until they have reached a specific density, which is another factor which may be changed with DP.

With DP, one can purchase additional monster types, usually along a theme based on the dungeon. For instance, if it is a castle and your first monster is a sword knight, purchasing a spear knight will make that unit available for spawning as well. Initially, you may only have four different types, but you can unlock additional slots as the dungeon gets bigger.

In additional to basic upgrades, the player may also purchase named monsters. These are elite creatures of increased difficulty that give flare and value to the dungeon. As soon as a creature is purchased, the Adventurer's Guild will automatically put up a quest to defeat it. Named monsters tend to give out better exp and loot in general.

While unlocking rooms for the dungeon, the player may stumble upon Unique Rooms. These rooms usually involve a specific quest and come with unique encounters. For instance, you might unlock a new screen only to discover that it is a Treasure Room. In it, there is a lot of free loot and gold laying around, and the Adventurer's Guild will put up a quest to bring back the unique treasure (other treasure is available to anybody who walks in the room, but the unique treasure can only be collected by quest hunters).

Another unique screen may be a specialty shop or a damsel in distress or a group of enemies which then spread out through the level. There is one special screen which can only be unlocked after all others and after the loot and monster quality levels are at max, and it is the Boss Room. It comes with a special angry boss monster requiring a group to defeat. Beating the boss will get adventurers lots of xp and loot, and the dungeon gets a whole bunch of DP. Once the Boss is defeated, it will occasionally respawn at a significantly reduced rate.


The idea is that you upgrade the dungeons in set intervals. Rather than building the dungeon from spare parts, you instead unlock it piece by piece. Upgrading the dungeon too quickly will cause it to outpace the adventurers, so you need to keep an eye on who will actually use the dungeon. At least you can downgrade the dungeon if you go too far.

After the boss has been defeated the first time, the dungeon has essentially been "won". You may continue to upgrade it, if you'd like, or you can demolish the dungeon and have it replaced with a new one. The new dungeon will begin at newbie rank, but the DP earned on the previous dungeon will be carried over, so it can upgraded more quickly.

And that's Tiny World. Build a small city that you watch grow. Watch the little guys trek through dungeons. Upgrade the dungeons. Watch the guys defeat the final boss. Get a new dungeon and repeat. It's a game that doesn't really end, but should be pretty fun to watch.




Copyright 2007-2014 Sean Howard. All rights reserved.