Dungeon crawler

The Team

  • Patrik Nilsson (Level Designer)
  • Niklas Briselius (Level Designer)
  • Björn Stenlund (Programmer)
  • Niklas Hansson (Art)
  • Niklas Utterbäck (Programmer)
  • Patrik K Hansson (Programmer)
  • Jonatan Svensson (Programmer)
  • Joakim Fridholm (Technical Artist)
  • Linus Axelsson (Technical Artist)
  • Olle Hagman (Programmer)
  • Martin Vallin (Art)
  • Oscar Blom (Art)


  • Game Design
  • Level Design
    • Level 1
    • Level 3
  • Playtesting

Specifications and tools

  • Reference Game: Torchlight 2 / Diablo
  • Dungeon Crawler Game
  • Created in 10 weeks, half-time
  • Game Engine: ICE Core Engine



A good dungeon

This was my first time working on a dungeon crawler, so a lot of the design ideas and concepts were new to me. I spent a lot of the first sprint just playing and looking at videos of similar games, to try to get a hang of what made those games enjoyable and good.

When making the first level I tried to create something that felt very open and welcoming, so that new players wouldn't feel threatened in the first few minutes of playing. The first enemies are quite easy to spot already before you approach, and are not that hard to defeat either.

I also introduce the story in the very start, with a monk running up to the player and telling him to leave or die. This worked well I think, and people remembered this very well because it was the first thing they saw.

When iterating on the map I kept adding small story areas, that really made the level feel real. It felt like, because of these cutscenes, the dungeon was a real place.

Good tools

We had very good tools to make the levels in this project, and could easily create large mobs of zombies with one single actor in Unity. We just set the area (see picture on top) and the number of enemies, and the game spawned them randomly in that area itself. This was very helpful when making larger levels, because it saved us a lot of time.

Top down map of the first level. Enemy zones are visible, this is how we spawned most enemies.

Level 3

Designing darkness

Starting area of level 3, already with a lot of enemies attacking and dying.

A very important part of the third and last level of the game was to make it feel very dark and lonely, to put a nice cold tone to the level. This was accomplished by removing a lot of the light in the level, and focusing on the darkness instead. This level has a lot of depth, and it fades away into darkness when the floor stops. This level also requires the player to re-heal at fountains a few times to keep the power to be able to fight through the last hordes of enemies before reaching the end, Mimers Brunn.

This sort of gameplay makes the player both feel powerful, but also stressing the player and making her feel vulnerable if she doesn't continue slashing trough enemies and re-healing at fountains. This dynamic was very fun to experiment with.

Experimenting with lighting in the beta stage of the game. We later settled on something similar to this.

Really early version of Level 1. This was the first level I made as well, and it actually looks quite similar in the end product!

Here are two pictures from me iterating on the levels. This project started very well, so we were able to build levels and test them almost instantly. We used a lighting method we learnt during another course to light the levels with cold and warm lights, and were able to build a good athmosphere with that. Later on this was very helpful, because we did not need to create a lot of props and details to set the mood. It gave us a clean game as well, which helped in darker areas.

Closing thoughts

This was probably my favourite project to work on so far. It was a lot of work, and we had to cut a few things that I think would've made the game better, but the final version is still good and fun to pick up and play! If we were to build the same kind of game I would probably experiment a lot with moving parts of the level, such as bridges. I think that gives a lot more feel to the level, and it would help the game come even further.