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Design your first Theme

A theme file is a mapping between marker names (like Walls, Ground, Door etc) and the meshes that you provide. The assets you map here will be used to build your dungeon

In the previous section, we created a dungeon with an existing theme file. In this section, we'll create one ourselves

Create a Theme File

Right click on the Content Browser and choose Dungeon Theme

This will create the Dungeon Theme asset. Double click it to open the Theme Editor

Assign Grid Size

We'll use modular assets to populate our dungeon. As with any modular assets, they need to have a consistent size, so they all fit together nicely. You'll specify the grid size in the dungeon properties.

With the theme editor open, click on an empty area of the graph and inspect the details panel

The default grid size is (400, 400, 200). Leave this to the default for now, but you'll need to set this to the size of the modular art asset being used in the theme


If you change this, you'll need to set this in the level editor's dungeon actor properties as well while building the dungeon

Use Sample Assets

In the Content Browser, enable plugin contents, so we can use sample meshes that come with the plugin to design our theme


You can use any asset you like, but for this tutorial, lets stick with the sample assets

Click View Options button and make sure Show Engine Content and Show Plugin Content is selected

Navigate to Dungeon Architect Content > Samples > DA_Candy > Meshes. This folder contains a set of meshes we can use for our dungeon

Add Ground Mesh

Drag-drop the ground mesh on to the Theme Editor

Link up the mesh node with the Ground marker node. When you do, you should see a live preview on theme editor's Preview Viewport window

Add More Meshes

Go ahead and add more meshes under the following markers: Wall, Fence and Door

Add Wall Pillars

Drag drop the Pillar2 mesh to the theme editor and link it to the WallSeparator marker node

We'll need to make this pillar a bit bigger. Select the node you just dropped and modify the Scale parameter under Offset category

The live preview should update automatically to show the new scaled pillars

Add Windows

We have two wall meshes in the samples folder

The other one (Wall2) has a window. Lets configure the theme to sometimes use this second mesh, so we can have some windows

Drag drop Wall2 mesh on to the theme editor and place it before (left of) the existing wall mesh node

Link them up. The execution index should get updated, indicating their execution order

Notice that the first node has been picked up and all the walls have been replaced with the windowed version

This is because Dungeon Architect starts executing the nodes from left to right. When the condition was satisfied to pick the first node, it stopped execution and never came to the second node.

There are multiple ways you can control this condition, the simplest being adjusting the probablity of selection.

Select the node you just dropped and change the probability to 0.5 (this would mean it gets selected 50% of the time). The other 50% of the time, it would not be selected and the execution would then move to the next node, and hence selecting the non-windowed wall node

Half the walls now have windows

Add Wall Decorations

There's a photo frame mesh we'd like to attach to every wall. Drag drop this mesh to the theme editor before the two existing wall nodes and link it to the Wall marker node

This will cause all the walls to disappear and be replaced with this photo frame

This is because once the photo frame node was selected, the execution stopped there and the wall nodes further down the line were not executed.

Selected the photo frame and uncheck the flag "Consume on Attach". This will cause the execution to continue further even though this node was selected by the theming engine

Lets adjust the offset of the photo frame (position and rotation) to make it properly align with the inner walls

Select the photo frame node and change the Offset's Position to (0, -22, 200) and Rotation to (0, 0, 180)

The photo frame is aligned now with the walls correctly

Marker Emitters

We have an issue with the photo frames. They also spawn near windows

Marker Emitters allow you to emit marker names from any of your dropped mesh nodes. This means, we can define a new marker node (e.g. MyWallDeco) and then emit that marker from the wall node that doesn't have a window (Wall1 mesh). All our wall decorations can now go under this MyWallDeco marker and it will show up only near solid walls

Right click on an empty area in the theme editor and select Add Marker Node

Select the newly created marker node and change its name to MyWallDeco

Break the link to the photo frame

Connect this under MyWallDeco marker node. All the future wall decorations can also go under this marker

Now emit this marker from the wall node that doesn't contain a window

Drag a link out of the bottom of the solid wall mesh node and release the mouse in an empty area

Expand the category Marker Emitter in the context menu and select MyWallDeco

This will cause the marker named MyWallDeco to be emitted in the scene whenever the solid wall node is selected, in which case it would then process the nodes defined under it. Now our decorations don't show up near windows

You can follow the same method to create another type of decoration (e.g. MyWindowDeco) and emit it from under the windowed wall node. In this example, I've added a flower pot in the windows

Align with Offset

Dungeon Architect can adapt to any modular asset regardless of the mesh pivot position. If the pivots are off, you can always adjust them from the Offset section of the node's properties

Sometimes, it is difficult to line up the ground node, as there is no point of reference to compare with.

In that case, turn on Debug Draw and build the dungeon.

This is a different ground mesh that has its pivot on the corner instead of the center. We'll add an offset of position (-200, 0, -200) to fix it and align with the debug drawn boundaries

It is important to first align the ground mesh and then use that as a reference to align your walls and fences. If the ground is not aligned correctly, the rest will also not align (since you will be using an incorrect point of reference for aligning the rest)


In this section we learnt the following:

  • Probablity - Controls the percentage chance of a node being selected. A value of 1 means 100% selection chance. A value of 0.25 means 25% selection chance
  • Execution Order - The theme engine executes all the nodes under a marker node from left to right. If it selects a certain node, it stops executing, unless the Consume on Attach flag is unchecked
  • Marker Emitters - You can create complex hierarchies with your own marker nodes, giving you more freedom to decorate your dungeons