Where Are We? - Dungeon Crawling UI Tool

If you head on over to PCGamesN, you’ll find this article dedicated to Where Are We? - a free piece of software developed by one Eric Van Heest that adjusts the UI of select old-school dungeon crawlers (Might and Magic I-V, Wizardry I-V, and The Bard’s Tale I-III) by adding better maps, a proper quest log, and more. And while the list of supported games isn’t too extensive at the moment, there are already plans to expand it with both the Eye of the Beholder and Dungeon Master series.

Here’s a bit on what you can expect:

In other words, Where Are We? grants games like Wizardry a modern player’s wishes: a functional automap, real quests, a way to easily compare stats, and fewer trips to the manual. This may be the best time since the 1980s to play an RPG from the 1980s.

Unlike clumsy auto-mapping programs that stumble into the dark, Van Heest’s system is based on an exhaustive knowledge base and only shows you as much information as you want to know. Its FAQ-like walkthrough mode reveals all, and another fog-of-war one forces you to make your own discoveries. The automap, which incorporates scans of some of the old fold-out versions, isn’t the only feature: There are tidy, if not glamorous, windows detailing the party’s inventory, spells, stats, combat encounters, various worldwide variables, and quests.

The supported early first-person classics ranging from 1980 to 1993 – Might and Magic 1-5, Wizardry 1-5, and Bard’s Tale 1-3 – are difficult to revisit and have always necessitated some kind of paper mapping, with a few exceptions. And besides, comparing two fantasy weapons without the aid of a UI full of tooltips is a forgotten skill, like editing a config.sys file. The world graphics can be repetitive, stacking up 2D images in a way that makes Wolfenstein 3D look like Unreal. You can easily get lost, yet the games never take themselves too seriously and have remained fun and surprising on their own terms.