Cutting Up Dungeons Into Bite-Sized Pieces?

Frostorm

[]D[][]V[][]D aka "Staf00"
Veteran
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
1,846
Reaction score
1,599
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I was hesitant to post this since I noticed my forum avatar is a bit too prevalent on this subforum's pg1, so apologies if it's too many threads. With that out of the way, I'd like to get to the topic at hand.

If you guys are familiar w/ the old school Zelda games, as in the 2D ones before Ocarina of Time. Anyway, the way their dungeons are designed is such that the entire dungeon is cut up into smaller maps. At first, I went this route for my dungeons due to the technical limitations of LTBS and having my encounters on the same map (i.e. 1 encounter = 1 map) since I did not want to clone my maps and have the player teleport to an identical facade of the map. However, after watching some videos and thinking about it, there are some advantages to this.

For instance, with the dungeon split up, the player can tackle each room or section as its own challenge to overcome as smaller pieces to a larger puzzle. Another thing you can do is have treasure chests that are visible but unreachable from a certain section of the map. I'm sure there are clear disadvantages as well, so I'd to hear from you guys on whether you like this type of dungeon design vs making a single big dungeon map or perhaps only having separate maps for separate floors.

For a puzzle-oriented game, I can see why Nintendo did this, plus the hardware available at the time couldn't handle anything bigger I imagine. Now, I'm not making a puzzle game nor does it seem very prevalent here since we're all about JRPGs mostly lol. So yea, with the assumption that it's not a puzzle game (but could contain puzzle elements, just not its focus), would splitting up a floor of a dungeon into multiple maps be a good idea?

Here are some screenshots examples from my project to show what I mean:
MAP038.jpeg
And this is what the player would see but w/o fog of war (I only posted 2 of 6):
Dank Caverns 1F-2.png
Dank Caverns.png
 

freakytapir

Villager
Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2014
Messages
9
Reaction score
6
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I can see both advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is that it probably improves performance, but the downside is more load times.
If you're only decorating a small area at a time, I bet you're more likely to make each one really pop.
A downside I see is that it might be disorienting for both you and the player, remembering where everything is in relation to each other. Also, with so many area transitions, your chance of errors increases too.

But overall, I say what I always say with these things: Playtest.
 

ShadowDragon

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 8, 2018
Messages
3,180
Reaction score
1,181
First Language
Dutch
Primarily Uses
RMMV
uncut version can be smoother and you can tackle anything veryquickly,
when you cut the big map is pieces, you can make a loop, so you need to back
and forther more.

the most disadvance on cutting it is the transfer contantly, so you need to think
of something nicely and fitting in the same way.
 

Frostorm

[]D[][]V[][]D aka "Staf00"
Veteran
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
1,846
Reaction score
1,599
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Unfortunately, I don't have a choice due to the technical limitations of some plugins I use, but for other users that most likely won't be the case. I use 960x540 resolution so the game shows 20x11 tiles and I limit myself to 9 sections at most, but closer to 6 typically (to address disorientation as mentioned).

However, something that crossed my mind is that, isn't having multiple floors of a dungeon more or less the same idea? except you're transferring via stairs or a door or something instead of an edge of the map.

Edit:
Oh, as for errors: Yes, I noticed it happens more often when working w/ cut-up maps, that's why I always work on a big master map 1st, then copy-paste (or rather, shift-mapping I mean) it into smaller maps.

As for players having to remember where stuff is, wouldn't that be true for an uncut map? What I mean is, the game only displays however many tiles your set resolution allows, leaving the rest of the dungeon out of sight. The camera scrolls w/ the player, but the player would still have to remember where that chest they saw on that ledge was so they can go around the alternate path to get to it, right?
 
Last edited:

ShadowDragon

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 8, 2018
Messages
3,180
Reaction score
1,181
First Language
Dutch
Primarily Uses
RMMV
most puzzles require remembering, some games has stuff to go back too.
I have a nice plugin ported, so I can create nice puzzle mechanics and some
other nices stuff. like places yo cant go "yet", but later, there are parts ou can go.

it really depends what you can do inside the map and game, features, worthwhile
to explore, and just go for the look if it's really nice setted up.

thre can be switches, levers or other stuff that opens in a different map,
so you trigger it and go back or look what was open or is opening somewhere.
 

Nova By Creative Robot

Creator of NOIM
Veteran
Joined
Nov 10, 2017
Messages
40
Reaction score
39
First Language
Tagalog
Primarily Uses
RMMZ
A good way to use seperate clones of the map is for cutscenes. Where there are a bunch of events/specially people.

My game has 1080p resolution so I use my cutscenes on a seperate map. That way ill be able to cut unecessary parts of the screen/map and manipulate my player to focus on a single part of the map where I do the scene
This way I dont have to worry too much about camera control, annoying too contrasty objects in the screen and etc.
 

duty

Keepin' it simple
Veteran
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
133
Reaction score
140
First Language
English (US)
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Big fan of the "cut up" dungeon design. From the dev's perspective, it's easy to work with and makes it easier to pace areas of the game.

From a player perspective, it will make the game feel like a diorama or a series of dioramas. It adds to a game/toy aesthetic and also effectively communicates the intended pacing.

As far as transition times, the scene transitions on a device just above the minimum system requirements for RPG Maker MZ transfers between maps in less than a 10th of a second and the equivalent of transitioning to a battle scene.
 

Frostorm

[]D[][]V[][]D aka "Staf00"
Veteran
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
1,846
Reaction score
1,599
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Big fan of the "cut up" dungeon design. From the dev's perspective, it's easy to work with and makes it easier to pace areas of the game.
Totally concur, though my only reservation for using the "cut up" method is when it comes to towns. For dungeons, I pretty much have to use this method (for combat), but there's no such restriction for towns. So would you prefer to keep towns as a single larger map or divide it into sections like dungeons?
 

PixeLockeT

Demon Lord Lady
Veteran
Joined
Jan 11, 2020
Messages
224
Reaction score
341
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMZ
I prefer "cut up" maps to one big map. Usually when this is present in the game, that map has a better thumbprint/personality than one focusing on big open spaces. It also makes the dungeon feel "larger" to me somehow as I am wandering (I love getting lost! XD). My favorite game also cuts up the town maps sometimes (Star Ocean 2) and to me no game does location better than SO2. It has the monopoly on making places feel alive and full of character/charm.
 

BloodletterQ

Chaotic Neutral Assassin
Veteran
Joined
Aug 15, 2012
Messages
1,535
Reaction score
1,179
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
Just be careful you don’t end up with too many maps.
 

Frostorm

[]D[][]V[][]D aka "Staf00"
Veteran
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
1,846
Reaction score
1,599
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Just be careful you don’t end up with too many maps.
Do you mean too many maps for a given zone or too many maps in the sense of maxing out the database? (Isn't the limit like 999 maps?)

Anyway, I'm starting to lean towards keeping town maps as a single larger map, while only cutting up dungeons into smaller ones. I'm having a hard time justifying a cut up town map... Ideas/thoughts/opinions/epiphanies?
 

Pootscooter

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Jun 7, 2020
Messages
116
Reaction score
63
First Language
Mandarin
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Do you guys know any good examples of RM games that utilize the cut-up maps method? It seems to me like most people try to make as big of a map as they feasibly can. Even most mapping tutorials or speed mapping videos are done w/ a single large map. I know only of this video where it uses cut-up maps.
 
Last edited:

duty

Keepin' it simple
Veteran
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
133
Reaction score
140
First Language
English (US)
Primarily Uses
RMMV
So would you prefer to keep towns as a single larger map or divide it into sections like dungeons?

It feels like you could go either or with this one. Dungeons are supposed to be a bit claustrophobic and are traditionally cleared room by room.

Your overworld and towns could be more of an open world with larger scrolling maps to emphasize that, "hey these are large areas outside" OR you could continue to build your world into 20x11 tiled areas.

Your world may just get a bit tedious to navigate if it's exceptionally large. The original Legend of Zelda overworld was only a 16x8 grid and still feels a bit cumbersome to get around.

You also have to worry about how many buildings are in each town.

Just from a personal preference, if you have more than one town in your game, and each town is comprised of more than 6 buildings, then you probably want to use larger maps.
 

Latest Threads

Latest Posts

Latest Profile Posts

Making Houses and Outside on the same map with RPG Maker MV!
Do people actually use buff/debuff function?
Ami


Imagine you (as Miner) Sleep in the Cave,the other side is a Bunch of Golds,how d'you feel?
finally got footage of my main character running around his corrupted street...
I finally got the ships and water to flow like I wanted to~ the canals are a success. Now to loop the animation for the kites. So many kites.

Forum statistics

Threads
107,704
Messages
1,031,540
Members
139,838
Latest member
Twappers
Top