Hey, it’s Ari-Matti here again. I’m the game designer for Cave Digger 2, and I’m going to talk to you about rocks today. I’ve become intimately familiar with them over the last few years, and while I think our relationship definitely has a set end date, I’ll be tangling with them for a while still as we steadily work towards finishing the game. After CD2 is finished, I don’t think I’ll ever want to see another rock again, if I can help it!



Obviously since we are making a game called Cave Digger, rocks play a big part in our content production. After all, what is a cave if not a hole in a rock! Basically, the role of rocks in our game can be divided into three categories: environment, loot and props. By environment, I mean the cave walls and floors, and the various larger geographical features in the topworld, and by loot I obviously mean all of the juicy tasty shiny things you collect in order to get paid for your efforts. Both of these areas are only partially in my purview as game and level designer for the product, and are deserving of their own topics. 



Instead, today I’ll be focusing on the role of rocks as props in level design – a marginalized and under-discussed point, but one that bears a surprising amount of weight in the overall milieu of the cave rooms, considering that 100% of our cave rooms have rocks in them! So, I present to you, the five uses for the humble rock in level design:

  • As floor and walls: Sometimes the shape of the room isn’t perfect for level design purposes, and you need a little more or a little less maneuverability in it. This is when large stone blocks with triplanar textures come in handy: they can be used to build extra platforms or wall dividers where the basic architecture of the room is lacking. This allows us to reuse the base rooms multiple times, reducing overall pressure on the modelers and transferring it over to my broad shoulders.
  • On the ceiling: Ever since we started working on Cave Digger 2, the cave ceilings have been more than a little problematic for us. Undecorated, they look boring and bare, but what on earth are you going to put up there to make them more interesting? Stalactites! Exceedingly dull to place and put up, but nice and simple as a solution for boring ceilings!
  • As statues and blocks: Most of you already know that the caves we are exploring are not exactly abandoned: someone has been there before, and they’ve left behind carved stones and buildings! Although only technically part of the “rock” family, carved statues and blocks are a very important part of the decoration process, and popping one up in any cave room usually makes it a lot more interesting than mere natural rocks.
  • As dynamic clutter: Yes. I manually placed all of the small rocks you find in the cave rooms. You know, the ones you can pick up and throw? Yeah, those. Yes, it was boring. Yes, it made me question my life choices thus far. But they allow us to avoid interaction disappointment, and act as ammo for the primal chameleons, so I guess that’s something.
  • Just because!: When decorating a cave room, sometimes you come across an open space that just looks wrong. Like it needs something there, but the overall environment doesn’t really give you any interesting ideas – after all, you can’t put a cool lizard statue in every room! That’s when you just drop down some big boulders, follow up with some smaller boulders and maybe plants, and finish the spot up with some small rocks for dynamic clutter. You can’t go wrong with a rock when decorating your little cave!


And there we are! Five uses for rocks when decorating your cave. Do whatever you want with these hard earned tips and tricks. As for me, since I just managed to finish the core gameplay rooms for our fourth and final biome, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I’ll eventually be able to divorce myself from rocks and boulders, forevermore.


Stay safe, stay healthy, hug a loved one in these trying times.




Random development quote: “Siinä on järkeä! Yritä ajatella kuin hissi! Muutu hissiksi!”