Treasures

Here’s a moderately random collection of links that might tickle your fancy if you enjoy Below.

Dungeons and Maps

Even though Below doesn’t use one, I still love a good map. There’s an incredible community of dungeon-mappers online – here are a few of my favourites:

Dyson’s Dodecahedron: specifically, his incredible selection of hand-drawn maps. They’re works of art. Not only are they beautiful to look at (check out that cross-hatching!), but they’re clever game design, telling a place’s story through its geography. Dyson was kind enough to host one of my maps there, too: the Inn at Gallow’s Cross.

Stonewerks does great maps in a similar style to Dyson’s. The Pit of Despair is amazing.

Dave’s Mapper: I could play with this all day – click a button to generate a random dungeon map from tiles contributed by the community. If you go to the Map Type menu and click “Side View” you get dungeons sliced vertically – that’s how I imagine Below dungeons: lots of up and down and dead ends.

Gamebooks

In 1995-6, Dave Morris and Jamie Thompson published a series of gamebooks called Fabled Lands, which distilled a huge, free-roaming sandbox of a world into half a dozen beautiful books. You can find out why they are brilliant here. The books have recently been re-issued, and there’s talk of them being released digitally soon, too. Dave and Jamie maintain a blog about the series and their other works here. The books were beautifully illustrated by Russ goddamn Nicholson. Speaking of whom:

Russ goddamn Nicholson

Russ Nicholson has been scaring the crap out of people for a long time. He illustrated the Warlock of Firetop Mountain, grandfather of the choose-your-adventure book craze, and in so doing defined what fantasy looked like for a generation of young gamers. His work is detailed, dense and dangerous. Check it out on his blog.

Paul goddamn Arendt

No relation.

Paul is Failbetter Games’ resident artist and did all the initial concept art for Below. You can see more of his work here. He has a gift for conveying character – his people look lived in. They’ve been through stuff. Seen things. The illustrations he did for Machine Cares! (which is the closest we’ve come to doing an interactive comic), made writing for it a total joy.