There's a brief post on dungeons on Jay Barnson's blog, inspired by his reflections on the subject and a 7-page-and-still-running idea documents on dungeons he's been cooking up while working on Frayed Knights II: The Khan of Wrath (I have to be honest, I probably will never get tired of that title). Here's a snip:
When working out the (secret sauce) for dungeon design in Frayed Knights 2 for other designers (and myself, so I don't forget anything), I thought I had less than a full page of notes, hints, and suggestions. It turned out to be seven pages long, and still didn't include everything that I thought would be important. But the bigger the document, the less likely it was to be read, and I figured to trust the designers to comprehend the rest on their own.
It's part of why I get so excited about all the indie RPGs coming out these days. and their impact on (mainstream.) For years it seemed that we were trying desperately in CRPGs to get out of the dungeons because dungeons were easy (or easier) to represent and to design, whereas the wilderness was hard (especially in 3D). Now, it seems like we are re-awakening to the joys of the in-depth dungeon crawl.
Assuming it's done right, of course. Part of the move away from .m in the past was due to the challenge of making these dungeons entertaining, rather than filler. But now that this is a current event rather than ancient history, it's once again an area for serious study and improvement. I'm for more awesome dungeon crawls!