My source of inspiration for this cave was Elder Scrolls 5 Skyrim, since I like the aesthetic of that game and their environmental storytelling. The storytelling in Skyrim is really clear often when you visit a cave you can clearly see from the outside what kind of enemies you’ll encounter and as soon as you enter, they start out by introducing easier enemies and as you progress, they’ll get harder and more challenging.
The outside of the cave is supposed to set the feeling of what kind of world the player lives in and to set the game's mood, while it also gives a significant contrast to the inside of the cave. Outside the cave, you can see one dead enemy from deep within it and some weaker enemies that roam the outside, which gives the player some indication of the difficulty of the enemies inside the cave.
Here is the first time the player will encounter the enemies of the cave there’ll be three easier ones that the player will have to fight. The pillars are there to indicate that people outside have been working and mining in the cave. By a vantage point in the beginning the player can look at the enemies before jumping down and fight them, but after the jumping down there is no way back so the player must finish the boss for exiting the cave and find the object stored in the last room of the cave.
To get to the second room, the player must follow the path guided by green crystals that the people had been mining. The road to this room is not as long as the other paths. There’ll be more monsters that are a little bigger and stronger. The room also contains a chest with some loot, for example, health potions and maybe a weapon. By foreshadowing the elevator shaft, the player will be introduced to the exit but might not know that this will be the way out. Also making it a Point of Interest.
The following room will be the boss room. But the road to this room contains a semi-hidden chest which also contains some loot, health potions and stamina potions. Almost at the end of this path there is a bait and switch which contains another chest also containing health potions if the semi-hidden one would be missed. Turning around from this bait and switch the boss will be waiting. The boss should be something bigger and stronger but look like the other enemies.
The Deep Sanctum is the last room in this cave, where the main object is placed. A crystal ball in the statue's lap, emphasized by contrasting color to the rest of the room, the player needs to pick it up and then continue to the elevator and escape. When I created this room, I wanted to give the player a wow-moment visual reward after the tight and challenging cave that the player had been traveling. And with leading lines, I lead the player to the elevator that was foreshadowed in the boss room and the boss area.
First Week of the project I started by playing Skyrim to get some inspiration and gather knowledge on how enemy placement works in their dungeons and how the rooms of a cave feels like. After that, I started sketching on different kinds of layouts and chose the one, I liked the most. I then started with some blockout of the level, both inside and outside. Then I Revisited my top down map to know where the enmies should be placed.
I'm really happy with the visual outcome of the dungeon and the outside. But if there would have been more time than four weeks half time I would have like to put more effort in to the gameplay moments of the level. Over all the visual representation that i was aiming for I think i reached and it looks really nice.