Length of dungeons/levels

servantb7

Servantb7
Veteran
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
263
Reaction score
36
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
What are your thoughts about how long a good dungeon/level/mission should be? Obviously it will vary depending on the specific level, but any general thoughts?

I'm working on a forest level now and trying to design it to be about 20-30 minutes to explore and fight the enemies in it. I don't want the player to breeze through so quickly that the level is barely even an obstacle, but I also don't want it to get repetitive or boring. Any thoughts or insights?

Edit: This level currently has a maximum of 12 battles, not counting the boss. There are a wide variety of enemies, so you're not seeing the same troop/enemies repeatedly.
 
Last edited:

Frostorm

[]D[][]V[][]D aka "Staf00"
Veteran
Joined
Feb 22, 2016
Messages
1,116
Reaction score
792
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
What battle system are you using? That would have the largest impact I feel. Also, is this an early game or late game dungeon?
 

magnaangemon01

Miles Montgomery
Veteran
Joined
Jun 7, 2014
Messages
427
Reaction score
202
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
Early game dungeon should last about 5-10 minutes. Late game is when they can get pretty lengthy. It also depends on the amount of content you have in them and encounters. If I'm going to be in a dungeon 30 minutes or more, I would like more than just fights and scenery. Have some cutscenes or collectibles. Something that keeps me engaged. If they're just long with a lot of encounters, I'm going to get bored pretty quickly.
 

Chocopyro

Just an intermediate leveled adventurer.
Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2015
Messages
73
Reaction score
73
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I generally set my dungeons to be similar size and length to the ones in pathfinder modules. The thing is, since you aren't looking up stats, rolling dice, and roleplaying encounters, it makes you breeze through much faster than the tabletop experience would take, but if you set each "Encounter" (I use encounter in the context of the whole scenario in a room, as opposed to just battle encounters) in the RPG to a range of about five minutes to do the puzzle, watch the scene, or battle through the room, you could generally add a lot more content to a dungeon in a way that keeps players feeling like they are chugging along at a satisfying pace. Takes a lot of QA testing to get just right, but since it's done in parts, it's easier to rework or get rid of certain parts in order to help the overall experience feel tighter. As a result, the length of the dungeon will feel "As long as it needs to feel" based on where you are in the story, and the thematic pacing the scene demands to feel whole and complete without being padded.

But without knowing what the story pacing is, or what mechanics are at play, I think 12 fights is pretty safe. Least on paper.

Side note: Been replaying the pokemon games lately. Love the size and layout of their caves/dungeons usually, but then there are all those dagum zubats, every two steps you take... :eek:

Other things to consider: Keep the amount of resources players will likely have in hand at the start of a dungeon in mind. That too also affects how a dungeon should be paced. As Magnaangemon01 said, lower level characters have less MP and potions to throw around than higher level PCs. So it makes sense for lower level dungeons to have less battles or content. Also keeping in mind that when you first get that new tier of spells and abilities, it will be more taxing than having leveled halfway through that list of tierd abilities, so keep track of that stuff and populate the rooms where you're likely to hit that range with resting spots, mp and health potions, new equipment, and loot to better compensate them for that dungeon climax.
 
Last edited:

Black Pagan

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Feb 21, 2017
Messages
292
Reaction score
217
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
What are your thoughts about how long a good dungeon/level/mission should be? Obviously it will vary depending on the specific level, but any general thoughts?
Considering a Typical 20 x 20 or Below Map, I personally would prefer not to have more than 5 Encounters on a Dungeon Map of this Size. Anything more than this and I would simply lose my interest.

Even 5 Encounters would be stretching it a bit, unless you keep the Player interested with various Rewards, Dialogues, Puzzles, Grind, Quest or some other Feature. So considering the Average Battle to last 45 Secs, How long would that take ? 3 Minutes +/- 2 Minutes to Explore, So yea maybe 5 Mins is the Minimum duration of Player being on that Map ?

Perhaps you could assign Encounter rates from Fibonacci Series of Numerals, If you are unsure on how many Encounters you need for what sort of Dungeon. I'm just guessing here since I have no idea on size of your Map and how well the Encounters fit into your Dungeon.

Here is the Fibonacci Series of Numerals : 1.. 2.. 3.. 5.. 8.. 13.. So on. You could play around with this Series and start and end wherever you want and assign Encounter Rate for your Dungeons based on this Series, So the Player feels a gradual increase in Encounters without making it too difficult in the beginning. You could simply calculate the Duration based off this and also have an Idea how long the Player remains in that Map.
 
Last edited:

servantb7

Servantb7
Veteran
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
263
Reaction score
36
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
What battle system are you using? That would have the largest impact I feel. Also, is this an early game or late game dungeon?
I'm using a CTB system. It's early game, only 3 characters in the party at this time.

Thanks all for the feedback! I think I'm going to add some mini-cutscenes and a few more hidden secrets throughout to keep it interesting, development the characters more, and keep it from being monotonous.
 

HumanNinjaToo

The Cheerful Pessimist
Veteran
Joined
Apr 18, 2013
Messages
1,099
Reaction score
507
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
About 30 ~ 45 mins is what I figure a good time to be. About 35% of the time in trash mobs, 35% of the time exploring the map, 10% of the time watching cutscenes and/or dialogue, and 20% of the time fighting the boss.
 

Kupotepo

Fantasy realist
Veteran
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
Messages
1,484
Reaction score
1,364
First Language
Thai
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I think I ask a similar question to you. I think you will find this helpful to whatever decision you will be decided.
The players at least people here. They are more concerned about the battle length more. I think about 10 minutes of battles for a boss and 5 minutes for mob of monsters.

The dungeons can be any length, but people refer the short dungeon like 20 minutes or less.
 

TheoAllen

Self-proclaimed jack of all trades
Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2012
Messages
5,437
Reaction score
6,247
First Language
Indonesian
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
I think about 10 minutes of battles for a boss and 5 minutes for mob of monsters.
5 minutes for the random battle is terrible. Ideally, the battle should finish before the BGM repeats itself. Except if the nature of the battle system itself already takes time to complete a battle.

----
As for the actual question.
I made my first dungeon to be 10 minutes, but someone took it like 30 minutes.
I made the second dungeon to be 30 minutes, but someone took it like almost an hour.
What gives?

Players getting lost at the map is a thing. The player navigates something and extends their playtime is also a thing. The player checking something every corner of the map is a thing. That extends the time they spend on your dungeon.
 

duty

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
33
Reaction score
27
First Language
English (US)
Early game dungeon should last about 5-10 minutes.
This is probably good pacing for the shortest path from the dungeon entrance to the end-boss.

It's amazing how it's possible to blaze through a lot of older RPGs once you know where you're going - and it's interesting how the dungeon always feels bigger when you have to explore it for the first time.

So maybe aim for the forest to be a 10 minute journey from point A-B with half the encounters along that route - with two optional 5 minute side-paths with 3 encounters each.

There should be some great loot at the end of those side-paths, too. The player needs positive reinforcement for exploring and should think, "Oh, I was so smart for going this way."

And it's always great when the side-path ends with a shortcut that drops you back on the main route.
 

ATT_Turan

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
70
Reaction score
26
First Language
English
The players at least people here. They are more concerned about the battle length more. I think about 10 minutes of battles for a boss and 5 minutes for mob of monsters.
Those numbers are absolutely huge. If I found that a regular battle took 5 minutes, I would probably quit the game after 2 or 3 of them (enough to know that was normal). Similarly, I don't think I've ever had a boss take 10 minutes except maybe some of the Final Fantasy end-of-game bosses with the multiple stages.

To the OP: I think, generally, the question is a bit less about how many numeric minutes you spend in the dungeon and more about how many points of interest there are.

My main inspirations for dungeon design are Final Fantasy and, much more, Phantasy Star (particularly IV). In PS4, almost all of the dungeons are pretty large, but every pathway leads you to either:
- the door/stairway
- a switch you need to hit to activate something
- one or more chests
- a dead end that lets you see there are tasty chests to get (which I'd count as a point of interest)

If you just have a lot of empty space to walk around in, or dead ends that neither contain nor show anything useful, I'd reconsider the design.
 

CraneSoft

Filthy Degenerate
Veteran
Joined
Apr 16, 2016
Messages
210
Reaction score
300
First Language
Not English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
Regular dungeons in an RM-sized game should last no more than 30 minutes including the random battles, the time spent on the dungeon boss and its related events are excluded as they can vary alot. Any longer, and you will need to spice it up with events, story checkpoints or mid-bosses to break the monotonous routine of exploring/puzzle-solving/battling and opening chests.
 

RachelTheSeeker

Suddenly, a summer breeze...
Veteran
Joined
Apr 13, 2012
Messages
359
Reaction score
483
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
While I prefer shorter dungeons, I also think they ought to have enough challenges within. A good amount of enemies, especially if battles are more involved; a few diversions to reward exploratory (or lost) players; a gimmick to make the dungeon interesting.

Across my finished games? Forsaken Isle had you active a magic brazier to open a door earlier on, which also had its own brazier linked to it. Painted Knight had this dumb darken-then-relight mechanic in one chunk, like the gimmick of "Blackout Basement" in Donkey Kong Country. A Maned Lioness has an optional fight to get a better weapon, and serves as a mini-boss of sorts if you desire. For my WIP, A Lion in Scarlet, the second dungeon will probably have a key-based mechanic, taking place in an abandoned fort overrun by baddies and their hostages.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Latest Threads

Latest Profile Posts

Besides my Might and Magic inspired project, I have always wanted to make a Fire Emblem-like game. Time is the culprit... Between life, composing music packs, and working on a game can it be done!? The tactical plugins for MV work quite well based on what I have tested.
Yaaay! My second public script is out and approved! A VX Ace Final Fantasy IX styled Throw Script!

I look forward to all the constructive feedback I get but most importantly I hope everyone who ends up using it enjoys!

Yaaaay! Making scripts is fun lol. :D
When you're lost out therrrrre and you're alllll alone, ahwahwah waitin, to carry you hooooommmme, uhhheverywhere you look! (someone hit me with those backing vocals)
X.X cant focus... too many thing want do... help!
Day 2 of teaching MV, student can move cat across the map.

Forum statistics

Threads
100,525
Messages
976,816
Members
132,080
Latest member
nwr
Top