Uncharted Area

Description

An area of the map highly populated with simple enemies. There are little to no friendly NPCs or buildings and a medium amount of items, often placed far from the entrances of the structure. The entire structure is usually only accessible from one or two points and constructed of a network of passages, with the goal being to traverse across them or to the end.

The purpose of the uncharted area is to create a space for the player to explore, as well as a space for multitude of enemies for experience gain or quests. Because of the challenge involved in fully exploring the area, it’s a good place for rarer items or NPCs to be hidden. This drives the player to spend time exploring every part of the network to make sure they don’t miss anything, adding a considerable amount of gameplay time.

Variables and Affordances

  • Number of enemies: A low number of enemies can make an area less tense, or suspenseful if the player is expecting some. A high amount of enemies makes the area a battlefield.
  • Layout (Open, Linear): An open uncharted area is harder to explore fully, but can utilize space between enemies as pacing. A linear corridor level channels the player to the objective, though there may be some spokes for exploration purposes.

Examples

  • Fallout 3 (Vaults/Top Level Map). Though a few friendly scavengers wander the wastes, most of the beings encountered will try to kill the player. There are a large number of rewards when exploring the entire map.
  • Mass Effect (Abandoned Ships). These ships often contain geth or husks defending some reward at the end.
  • Dragon Age: Origins (Ruins/Forests). These areas are populated with nothing but enemies, and serve only as a place to complete quests, as no quests originate here.

In Worked Examples

  • Labyrinth. A labyrinth is an uncharted area with a disorienting layout.

Quest-Level Relationship

  • Fetch Objective. It is common for the player to be tasked with retrieving something from one of these uncharted areas. For example, Two Worlds 2's runestone quests send the player into caves scattered about the wilderness.
  • Deja Vu Quest. Often these areas will have similar structure, objects or feel. For example, Fallout 3's vaults all have a unique look to them when compared to the rest of the wasteland and share unique items like the numbered jumpsuits.
  • Hidden Quest. Uncharted areas make perfect venues for hidden quests. Uncharted areas are not usually required for the player to explore. For example, Elders Scrolls III: Morrowind's secret vampire quests, tied to the uncharted vampire compound of Ashmelech.
  • Arrowhead Questing - An arrowhead quest superstructure can serve as the basis of a subplot for an uncharted area.
patterns/uncharted_area.txt · Last modified: 2011/06/21 00:23 by Gillian Smith
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