SANCTUARY OF THE SEAGODS - RESEARCH
When researching for Minoan architecture (like e.g. the Palace of Knossos) it quickly became apparent that the buildings were strongly dominated by square shapes, so I decided to pick up this element for the dungeon. Additionally, many of the buildings had colonnades and even a form of balcony, with the latter being something I wanted to use as a small gameplay element for the dungeon (climbing on vines to reach the other side of the balcony). On a more subtle note, I wanted to weave the frescoes of the interior into the game as well and depict scenes that would give hints about how to defeat the end-boss of this dungeon.
Despite all the impressiveness of Minoan architecture, there were some changes I had to make for the dungeon as well. The first concerned the size and layout of the structure: because this level is supposed to be the game’s first dungeon and because it is my first attempt of creating a dungeon as well, I decided to scale down the scope and keep it relatively simple. The same simplification was made when it came to the overall layout and I opted for a symmetrical design instead of the labyrinthine wonders that could be found in buildings like the Palace of Knossos.
In regards to smaller changes, I wanted to give the dungeon a different color-scheme than the reddish and earth-colored palette than I have seen on architecture reconstructions. After all, this game is supposed to be water-themed, so blue and turquoise hues would be more fitting for a temple that is dedicated to deities of the sea. This is also the reason why I wanted to include water basins in the building - something that would not only serve an aesthetic purpose but would also determine the player’s movement within the dungeon, similar to the balcony with its vines. When it came to the bull-motive that could so often be found in Minoan art I was a bit undecided. After all, they seemed to be of nearly cultish importance and I really wanted to include the aspect of bull-leaping that could be found in so many depictions into the end-boss battle. Let’s just say that I found a satisfying solution to combine the bull with some more maritime elements - but that is a story for another section.
Aside from the basis of Minoan architecture, there was another major element within the dungeon that has its real-world counterpart: the Sea Organ in Zadar, Croatia - an attraction that has fascinated me deeply (I have to admit that I have a fondness for strange and unique instruments). Similar to the Minoan buildings, I tried to study the structure of this object to find a way of integrating it into the dungeon. Because of its complexity, this will be a section of its own but generally speaking, the organ and an adjacent altar make up the centerpiece of this dungeon.