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First Person Dungeon Crawlers Making a Return 163

Posted by Soulskill
from the what's-old-is-new dept.
jjp9999 writes "Anyone who remembers Eye of the Beholder should be glad to know a group of developers is trying to bring back the first person dungeon crawl genre while holding true to the classic style. Legend of Grimrock is still in its pre-alpha state, but could breathe new life into a genre that many a geek still remembers fondly. The game gives players control of four characters as they try to escape a prison labyrinth. The graphics and lighting are what you'd expect from a modern game, but early videos show it doesn't stray too far from everything that was done right by Eye of the Beholder."
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First Person Dungeon Crawlers Making a Return

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  • by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @01:19AM (#37675612) Homepage Journal

    Personally I'm far more interested in the gameplay than the viewpoint of the camera.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not a tomb raider fan then.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      But the viewpoint can definitely affect gameplay by large factors. Every played a game with bad cameras? That can destroy games as an example. The viewpoint is our window into the game. It affects the feel and atmosphere of it. For example, a first person shooter and a 3rd person shooter are different despite it's similiar gameplay as some things are done better in different viewpoints.

      As for this type of viewpoint for a dungeon crawler, I've never been a big fan of it and i'm sure most casual users won't b

    • by eugene2k (1213062)

      The viewpoint is a part of gameplay. BTW, in this particular game the viewpoint isn't the only thing that's different from modern first person rpgs. Watch a video of the gameplay on youtube for example. It has a distinct feel of dungeon crawlers of the past while still being visually appealing to the audiences of today.

      • by dintech (998802)

        From the gameplay footage it looks it could be Eye of the Beholder 4 in an alternate universe. I'll definitely be buying it.

        • I also will definitely be buying it but it does seem very blocky, the only angles being right angles and the beta being a little clunky. Only last week I was wondering why there were no good new games, it is several years since I bought one although I shop around all the time and invariably come away disappointed. Now I realise that my tastes are well and truly stuck in the past but I find I have two new games to look forward to - this and Diablo 3. Yay!
      • The viewpoint is a part of gameplay. BTW, in this particular game the viewpoint isn't the only thing that's different from modern first person rpgs. Watch a video of the gameplay on youtube for example. It has a distinct feel of dungeon crawlers of the past while still being visually appealing to the audiences of today.

        Absolutely. In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the camera switches effortlessly between a first-person POV and an over-the-shoulder semi-omniscient view point when you are using the game's cover mechanic to stealth around enemies. It is not jarring or immersion breaking at all. Limited POV and having to confine a player to essentially a single path are constraints that any modern FPS should easily overcome. First Far Cry, and then Crysis set the bar pretty high; Deus Ex: HR clears it easily. I'm lookin

    • by RogueyWon (735973) *

      Agreed. I've had no shortage of dungeon-crawling fun since 1993. The Icewind Dale games remain truly first-rate dungeon crawlers and there have been a good few other examples.

      What I'm not in love with in the trailer is the idea of returning to the grid-based movement system. Yes, the Eye of the Beholder games were good in their day - or rather, the first two were. When the third game came out, it arrived to a resounding "meh" - not least because the Ultima Underworld series had, by then, shown people how mu

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Agreed. I've had no shortage of dungeon-crawling fun since 1993. The Icewind Dale games remain truly first-rate dungeon crawlers and there have been a good few other examples

        Such as? There hasn't been an Icewind Dale game in almost 10 years.

        For example, your party is always glued together, so other than deciding who is in the front row and who is in the back row, you don't get any of the tactics around positioning that you got in the Icewind Dale games.

        There's no reason this has to be the case. When you h

        • by RogueyWon (735973) *

          I mentioned Icewind Dale simply because the AD&D connection puts it closer to Eye of the Beholder. Dungeon crawling elsewhere is still alive and well. Staying at the "older" end of the spectrum, Temple of Elemental Evil was a good dungeon crawler (albeit one that needed a lot of TLC to get around the bugs that plagued it at release). Neverwinter Nights and its sequel were also flooded with dungeon-crawling modules.

          The Dragon Age games aren't dungeon crawlers per se, but the first one certainly has secti

          • by Hatta (162192)

            If you look at the older releases, you'll find some dungeon crawling. But not so much in the past 5-6 years (typical length of a "generation").

            ToEE is good, but from 2003. Neverwinter Nights I never played, wasn't it an MMORPG? Dragon Age makes nods in that direction, but it's not a dungeon crawler.

            The SMT games are excellent, but still pretty solitary examples. It's sad that we have to go all the way to Japan to get a decent dungeon crawler. We invented the genre!

            And then if you want to widen the def

    • Personally I'm far more interested in the gameplay than the viewpoint of the camera.

      How is the latter not a part of the former? You might as well have said you don't care if it's in a dungeon or in outer space, it's just the gameplay that's important!

      • by msobkow (48369)

        Nethack has great gameplay, but the graphics suck. I've seen no shortage of games with high-quality graphics that sucked horribly for gameplay.

        Good graphics do not necessarily make a good game.

        • by mikael (484)

          Have you played Vultures Claw or Vultures Eye? They are third-person perspective views of the Nethack levels.

      • by msobkow (48369)

        And to be honest, I don't care what the game setting is. All I care about is whether the game is fun, challenging, and interesting. I've never really been into any particular genre of game environments, any more than I limit my reading to "just Sci-Fi" or "just Fantasy".

        I'm glad I never took such a narrow-minded approach to friends, food, or entertainment. As soon as you decide to focus on a "favourite" something, you miss out on all the other opportunities.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        How is the camera part of game play at all? Does chess become a different game if you have a top view instead of a view from behind your pieces?

        • by Toonol (1057698)
          The camera has a fundamental effect on how you play the game, hence it's a gameplay element. If you took Doom and shifted the camera to an overhead view, it may still be a great shooter, but the gameplay would be very different.
        • by geekoid (135745)

          Yes. Imagine you could only see the king perspective for any move. Now you opponent blocking what the kings see is a component of the game, and change how you play.

          Please think.

    • Now people have to raise their gamma and mess with the graphics to see anything? (the spider.)

    • by Tim C (15259)
      The word you're missing is "nostalgia". A lot of us grew up with this sort of game, myself included, and I'm definitely interested in seeing where this goes.
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      True. The old games were fun but were archaic in so many ways just from a gameplay standpoint. Graphics I can do without if needed, and I still love stuff like the first Fallout.

      For instance, mapping of the dungeons needed to be done by hand. Slow and tedious. Plus so many games intentionally made this difficult, with teleport traps, spinners, etc. We played this way because there was no alternative at the time and it did sort of emulate a lot of pen-and-paper RPG sessions. I definitely remember first

  • Etrian Odyssey (Score:4, Informative)

    by maugle (1369813) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @01:20AM (#37675624)
    The genre hasn't been totally dead. Tried Etrian Odyssey?
  • I'm saving myself for Torchlight 2. So excited!
  • by meerling (1487879) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @01:33AM (#37675718)
    I always thought Dungeon Master was much better than Eye of the Beholder.
    • Eye of the Beholder had nothing on Lands of Lore. It was the little stuff like auto mapping and a real story that made it that much better.
    • You can still play DM, http://homepage.mac.com/aberfield/dmj/ [mac.com]

      I thought EOB was better, but only because EOB was AD&D...

      I spent too many months of my life in front of my A500 due to those games.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I agree, but it should have been called /Dungeon Crawler/. I finished all kinds of games back in the day but I never had the patience to complete DM.

  • On handhelds.

    The DS has several including Etrian Odyssey 1-3, Deep Labyrinth, Orcs&Elves and Dark Spire.

    And I don't even know how many there are for the iPod/iPad hardware.

    • by xhrit (915936)
      First Person Dungeon crawls are huge today, for example Skyrim is a AAA title that will feature a large amount of dungeon crawling. The reason you do not see old school grid style first person dunegon crawls is because true fps style dunegon crawls are much more realistic and immersive.

      It is the same reason you don't see many AAA 2d sprite based games anymore; 3d animation has a smaller filesize, is faster to create, and scales better then 2d animation. The old style games remain popular on portable devi
      • by arth1 (260657)

        First Person Dungeon crawls are huge today, for example Skyrim is a AAA title that will feature a large amount of dungeon crawling. The reason you do not see old school grid style first person dunegon crawls is because true fps style dunegon crawls are much more realistic and immersive.

        Realistic, yes. But no FPS style dungeon crawl has scared me the way that Bards Tale (the original dungeon crawler) did. Turning 90 degrees and suddenly see a monster filling your field of view was far more scary than any FPS-style game has ever been, except, perhaps, Amnesia.

        Heck, even 3D Monster Maze [wikipedia.org] was more immersive than most first person adventures today.

        I fear even Skyrim will just be more grinding and kids play, no scares or immersion.

      • I find the results to be quite the opposite. I found Oblivion to be just plain tedious. It's not about being realistic and immersive, it's about the mechanics and tickling your brain in just the right way. The grid style crawler, I think, creates a lot of interesting opportunities for puzzles and the like.

        Also, I prefer stylized graphics that cleanly represent the game world to attempts at realism. All the fancy lighting effects are great for FPS, but in most other games, I just get frustrated because I

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          It's a different sort of Tedious. Ie, in Oblivion (or Nehrim, which I endorse as a total remake mod) you spend a lot of time hauling loot back to recycle into gold, spending time clicking on flowers, etc. It's just a lot of make-work. But in the old dungeon crawls you often had the same thing in a slightly different way - spending all your time carefully drawing the map on the grid paper you have next to your keyboard. Or in some (Dungeon Master) spending time practicing skills so you'll be tougher for

  • Yeah, there are some great games that are similar to the old school dungeon crawls, but I'd put NetHack and Torchlight into a similar category as Diablo. There were similar games back then also -- I was a big fan of Castle of the Winds (1989). Even the Elder Scrolls series has the same first-person perspective. But the gameplay of dungeon crawlers like Eye of the Beholder (first and second), which I'm sure anyone who played them can reminisce about, was a lot different. There have been similar games since
  • Funny that, my brother and I are also working on an Eye of the Beholder-ish game called Tales of Vamadon, now for iPhones, but also in pre-alpha. In fact, we're soon to go for the alpha part of Chapter I... of course, we were going to wait until the game was complete before doing our own Slashvertisement, but hey. ;)

    Interesting stuff. Best of luck, guys! If your game is good, we'll recommend it; until that time, there's Undercroft, and the novel I'm working on here: http://www.lacunaverse.com/reading/lacuna [lacunaverse.com]

  • Just saw this while taking a break from Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls, which I was playing on my PS3.

    Gameplay video looked impressive. But it sure looked like a modern "Dungeon Master" to me.

  • by DRMShill (1157993) on Tuesday October 11, 2011 @02:21AM (#37676040)

    How about resurrecting space flight simulators such as the Wing Commander series. Aren't we getting a little burned out on Modern Ware fare?

    • by dadioflex (854298)
      Um. X Rebirth will be out next year [egosoft.com]. Until then there's Evochron Mercenary [starwraith.com].
    • by egjertse (197141)
      You'll be wanting X: Rebirth [xrebirth.com] then. I know I do!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/09/15/might-be-tie-fightin-lucasarts-hiring/

    • by MBC1977 (978793)
      I'd pay (seriously) $300 dollars if they re-released Wing Commander (all of the episodes) with newer graphics and killer soundtrack. That series was masterfully done and one the fondest memories I have from middle school.

      And yes, first person shooters are a bit tiresome now.
    • How about LucasArts getting off their ass and bringing us an updated X-Wing, Tie Fighter, or X-Wing vs Tie Fighter?? Damn those games were fun. Plenty of new ships in the Star Wars Universe that we can blow shit up with '-)

      • But those games wouldn't need any of the clearly way more awesome pre-Imperial ships and probably wouldn't even involve any Gungans or anything. Totally lame!

        (Seriously, though, an updated XvT would be sweet.)

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Anything in which the space craft require thrust to maintain constant velocity, have maximum speeds (that aren't at the ridiculous levels you could hand wave about relativity at), and require "afterburner slides" to point your nose in a different direction to your velocity is not a "space flight simulator". Oh an dense asteroid fields, but everyone does that (especially "asteroids" which at least for the flight part right).

      That said, still a great game :)

  • Reminds me of hours spent playing Pathways Into Darkness [wikipedia.org]. Those damn banshees gave me hell, at least until I figured out the crystals.

  • we explored the tunnels under my University campus in the late 1970's.

  • Nerds play Nethack!
  • My first "modern" game of this type. I still have very fond memories of exceptional game and dungeon design!

    • by dintech (998802)

      I think it was actually the first game of this type.

      • by gweihir (88907)

        Quite possible. Still one of the best.

        • by AutumnLeaf (50333)

          "When is stone not stone?" I really loved that game - except for the level where I missed a secret door in a place I thought I had checked. I had to buy the hint-guide to find it, and when I saw where the door was I almost put my head through the desk. I mapped those levels out by hand.

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        I am nitpicking, but is the real-time-ness part of the "type" you are talking about? That isn't mentioned in the summary.

        If you take out the (not mentioned) real-time-ness, aren't Wizardry and the Bard's Tale "first person dungeon crawlers"?

  • Here's a direct link to the video from the guys that made this [grimrock.net].
    The title is sensational (one game from a small developer doesn't mark the return of a genre).
    This is again shameless self-promotion, as the story submitter is most probably the author of the article.
    The game looks a lot like Stonekeep, and more, so I got a feeling of "been there, done that".
    • This is again shameless self-promotion, as the story submitter is most probably the author of the article.

      I think you're right that the submitter is the author of the linked article (same initials), but the linked article is on a tech blog, so I don't think it's the developers doing the self-plugging.

  • Pah! Bet it won't work on a 2005 e-machines with an integrated video card. :(

    • by tepples (727027)
      Was it Intel, ATI, or NVIDIA integrated graphics?
      • Intel. I never play anything too graphic intensive- but it is sad when the graphics card can't even handle things like the new Civ, Football Manager (soccer).

        Things which used to have a low graphics requirement. :(

        I may be forced to upgrade in the next 5 to 10 years. :(

        • by tepples (727027)

          Intel.

          Look at Tom's chart [tomshardware.com]. How does your particular model of Intel GMA compare to NV's GeForce 3 (the Xbox GPU) and ATI's Radeon 9000 (same fillrate as the Wii GPU)?

          Things which used to have a low graphics requirement. :(

          In theory, Tetris has just about the lowest graphics requirement possible (a 16 color, 20-by-20 cell screen, including hold and preview spaces), but the new Tetris products for PCs and game consoles have extra eye candy to make them appealing enough that they won't compete with used copies of older Tetris products. This eye candy runs just fine on the

          • Yeah... I know- never got my computer to be a gaming computer- the types of games I always played were never graphics intensive.

            It is time to upgrade something- I was hoping to wait another year or two before upgrading the computer. I see older (but still pretty decent for my needs, 1GB graphics cards from companies like MSI and ASUS) for $15 after rebate on places like new egg and tiger all the time- waiting for them to hit that price WITHOUT the rebates because I know how bad most of those manufacturers

          • by mattack2 (1165421)

            It's almost like complaining about no new PlayStation 2 games anymore.

            I think you are just barely on the cusp of being right on that one. You should have picked an older example.

            Checking on Amazon, I see 3 PS2 games released in the last 90 days. (There's supposedly one upcoming, but it actually liked to a Wii game I see no hint that it's also available for PS2 -- looks like it was miscategorized.)

  • What about Akalabeth? Now get off my lawn, you dagnabbit young uns!!! Let me go back to playing Android Nim.
    • There were only 30,000 copies of that game sold in the entire world. Articles should be referring to games that the audience can relate to. It never said Eye of the Beholder was the first game of its kind, rather that it is a fine example of the genre.

      But since you brought up Ultima games, you could mention Ultima Underworld.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Temple of Apshai for the win!

  • higher ceilings will be nice this looks a little to much like wolf 3d.

  • Though I've never been particularly fond of these mouse driven games this is really nice looking. I liked the old goldbox styled games myself. I started working on one a while back - it's pretty Alpha still though...

    http://goldchest.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

  • (To let you know up front: I was a beta tester on this project, but I have no financial stake in its success.)

    Frayed Knights: The Skull of S'makh-Daon is a party based dungeon crawler worth looking at. It feels a lot like Wizardy 8 in gameplay, and the writing reminds me of the kind of psuedo-in character talk around a tabletop RPG session: really fun, light-hearted, and a little self-aware of the ridiculousness of the proceedings. Frayed Knights also has a clever endurance mechanic for fighters and caste

  • by lymond01 (314120)

    While I realize than an MMO is a different beast, I played the original EQ for a couple years and found that dungeon crawling in that game was actually pretty good. Aside from the time it takes to kill something (anything), you definitely have the "down in the tunnels" feeling on a lot of the areas, including the hopelessness of no retreat should something go wrong. Dungeons and Dragons Online was better, I suppose, I just never got into it. I played EQ with first person view and I think that forever jad

  • Although this has been reported on this site before, it bears repeating. There is an open source project that has recreated Ultima 5 and Ultoma 6. I have played both of these games and am happy to say that they do a very good job at recreating the mood of the Ultima series. To be accurate, these two games are mods of Dungeon Siege - "The legends of Arriana". Dungeon Siege itself is a real dog of a game and is not worth playing ( I tried playing it and realized it was a waste of time). The gem is that

    • Lazarus (Ultima V via Dungeon Siege) was a very ambitious and successful undertaking. The nostalgia factor way outshined the game's general bugginess. Let's face it, those guys really had to tie the DS engine into knots to make most of the functionality work.

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