Monday, 16 July 2012


A rough idea for a game about spelunking, reposted here from my Google+ stream. Apologies to those of you have who have seen this before. I envisaged it originally as a 2D platformer, but clearly it could work powerfully as a first person 3D game. The game is not trying just to be an action platformer, but to somehow encapsulate how scary I find the whole idea of cave exploration. The writing that follows reflects this theme.

Gombasek Cave

Reproduced under these licence terms.
The game takes place in dark, twisting, subterranean passages, where the player’s visibility is limited to only a few feet. Occasionally they stumble across vast caverns, softly illuminated by phosphorescence. The rocky walls are uneven, and the player is equipped with a number of ropes to enable them to traverse frequently steep or vertical passages. Many of the passages are too narrow for easy passage: This may be an advantage, enabling slow but careful vertical descent as the player is wedged between rocky faces. As the gaps get narrower still, the player can only squeeze their way through more slowly still, and suffering damage as they do so.

Deep in the darkness of the caverns there are underground streams and lakes. Water that lies bound up in stone. There are passages, fully submersed and pitch black, where the player can only “see” anything at all when they are in contact with the walls, and where they can run out of breath before they reach the end. Tunnels previously dry can suddenly fill with water when the player knocks through a barrier of stone, and now they have only moments to escape - escape through the tortuously slow cracks in stone that brought them here in the first place.

And, perhaps, deeper still there are Things in the dark. Creatures that can slither quickly through gaps in the stone and that can see in the darkness. Whose huge eyeballs peer out of faces that have never seen the surface.

But the real horror that underpins the whole experience is the knowledge that once the player realizes the full danger they are in, there is no easy way out, just the narrow twisting corridors they have already navigated with such difficulty.

No escape.


  1. This is how most dungeon delves should be played in RPG's!

  2. I had an idea to run a D&D session dungeon delve along these kind of lines... Maybe one day I'll get around to it.

  3. Should be humans only then, I guess. Because where is the dread if you have nightvision?