Archon's Keep

Development Info
Genre: RPG
Engine: Creation Kit
My Role: Developer
Development Time: 150 hours
  • Use fire spells to interact with objects to unlock doors, activate traps, and melt ice to progress through the level.
  • Use ice spells to unlock doors and create blocks of ice out of mist to reach areas otherwise unreachable.
  • Explore an ancient dwemer ruin filled with ice, treausre, and ageless enemies.
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Mod Description

Archon's Keep is a dungeon mod for Skyrim. When I played Skyrim I felt like the game was lacking in originality in puzzles and boss fight mechanics, so my goal was to design and script a few puzzles and fights that were different than what you normally found, and I decided to experiment with a few of the magic spells. Archon's Keep is a fairly linear dungeon that requires the player to use magic on various different objects to continue to progress through the dungeon, as well as slowly teach the player the mechanics that are unique to this mod so that they do not get stuck. The player will encounter puzzles like hitting a stone with a fire spell to unlock a door, hitting mist with an ice spell to create a block of ice, or hitting a plate with a fire spell to hit a boss with a trap.

Level Design

In the first room (the room on the far left of the map above), the player encounters a locked door, a pillar that glows orange, and a pillar that glows blue. On the ground the player will find a spellbook of a low level fire spell and ice spell. This is in case they do not already have those spells and also provides a clue on how to progress through the dungeon. Hitting the orange pillar with a fire spell and the blue pillar with an ice spell will unlock the door and let the player continue through the dungeon. Throughout the upcoming dungeon, the player will encounter blocks of ice that have a similar orange glow to the pillar in the first room, and this is a sign that those blocks can be melted so that the player can either continue through the dungeon or find some treasures off to the side. Hitting a blue-ish mist with a frost spell will create a block of ice, creating either a block to jump on to reach new heights, or a bridge to reach another side. The final encounter in the dungeon is a very large ice elemental that the player must fight by leading through traps that the player can activate. After defeating this boss, the player has completed the dungeon and is rewarded with many treasures.

Scripting Examples

This is a pretty simple script that applies a red effect to whatever object it is attached to. In the image above, it is attached to a block of ice. In this dungeon, this effect is used to indicate to the player what objects the player can interact with by using a fire spell. Hitting an object that has this effect on it with a fire spell will cause something to happen, such as a trap being triggered or a block of ice melting.
This script is used to turn mist into a block of ice. This script requires several game objects to work: a collision box, a mist particle effect, and a block of ice. This script actives whenever the collision box is hit, and then it checks what it is that hit the collision box. If the source is the appropriate spell, then it stops the mist particle and activates the block of ice.
This script is used to melt a block of ice. Similar to the create-ice script, this script runs when the object (a block of ice in this instance) is hit by anything. If the source is the appropriate fire spell, then it disables the block of ice and creates a couple pools of water to make it actually seem like the ice melted.
This is one of three scripts used in the first pillar puzzle sequence. This script activates when the orange pillar is hit by the appropriate fire spell, and then turns on some lights to indicate that the player has done something special, sets a bool to true, and then runs another script that checks to see if both pillars have been hit. If both pillars have been hit then the door will open. The blue pillar has an almost identical script on it, except that it must be hit by an ice spell instead of a fire spell.
This script is the most complicated script in the dungeon. There are three levers that the player can pull, and each lever is connected to 3 out of 6 pipes. Pulling a lever will toggle the corresponding pipes from on to off or off to on. When the pipe is on, a blue mist will be pouring out of it that the player can then freeze and turn into a bridge. If that pipe is then de-activated, the ice bridge will be destroyed. The player must activate 3 pipes in a row and then freeze them so that they can get across the gap.