In the early days of PC gaming, fans of first-person dungeon crawlers had to draw maps in order to reach the end of complex mazes. Player cartography was a requirement borne of limited resources and technological restraints; a lack of storage space meant that players saw countless identical walls, corners, and dead-ends as they navigated from a first-person perspective, making it necessary to draw a map by hand.
Recently, the Etrian Odyssey games on the Nintendo DS and 3DS featured a mapmaking mechanic in which players drew maps on the console's touch screen. Though automapping had become a standard feature in many modern RPGs, many found Etrian Odyssey's mapmaking component to be quite fun in practice, thanks to its simple grid-based approach. Extending the mechanic beyond simple wall-drawing, Etrian Odyssey allows players to use an array of icons to denote in-game items, characters, and events within the game's sprawling labyrinth.
For Game Career Guide's latest Game Design Challenge, we challenged our readers to design a game with a mapmaking component. Here are our top picks.
Craig Browne, Ohio University student, Nut Hunt (see page 2)
David Serrano, Freelance Game Designer, I Remember (see page 3)
Finn Haverkamp, Waypoint (see page 4)
Bernard John (B.J.) Badger, Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy alumnus, Beyond Here There Be Dragons (see page 5)
David Capps, University of Montevallo, The Blind Prophet (see page 6)
Matthew Ross, Game Design and Production Management at University of Abertay Dundee, Stellar Cartographer (see page 7)
João Gabriel Guedes Pinheiro, Student of Game Design in Univali, Brazil (see page 8)
Logan Pecukonis, University of Montevallo, House of Regret (see page 9)