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The_SloVinator

Your favorite secret type.

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I like secrets that are clearly visible yet unreachable, and the challenge is in finding a way to reach them, and the way requires something else than humping walls adjancent to the unreachable area.

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Easy secrets. Finding them is pleasant and still rewarding, plus they ensure that I probably won't miss most of the level.

With hard secrets, even if I manage to find them, my reaction is often more like "wtf, this was nerdy". After finding the moving lift I've been hearing for the last 2 minutes I feel mentally exhausted rather than accomplished.

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Visible ones are great. Platforming ones are okay as long as the platforming isn't bullshit. The ones I really hate though are the obvious-looking ones that require a non-obvious way of reaching them.

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Secrets where you can see your reward but dont know how to get it so yeah... The Soulsphere Secret in E1M3 is a good example

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Getsu Fune said:

The ones I really hate though are the obvious-looking ones that require a non-obvious way of reaching them.


So basically the Soulsphere Secret from E1M3? Because the way you get it isn't exactly obvious.

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what I mean is when you have this wall that's differently aligned or colored and just screams "secret door" but if you press use or shoot it nothing happens. That's what I meant there. The E1M3 soulsphere secret isn't this by the way.

Maybe I should've meant "obvious-looking secret doors that have a non-obvious way of simply opening them"

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I struggle with designing secrets, so this is a great thread! I find it difficult to reconcile balance in the level when some players will find the secrets and some won't.

I find myself not wanting to make secrets too OP (like a Megasphere or something) in case it messes the difficulty up, but I think I go too far the other way and just put like a stimpack in or something.

I'm making a map for the Plain Ol' Doom 2 megawad and creating good vanilla secrets is genuinely one of the most difficult aspects!

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Bauul said:

I struggle with designing secrets, so this is a great thread! I find it difficult to reconcile balance in the level when some players will find the secrets and some won't.

I find myself not wanting to make secrets too OP (like a Megasphere or something) in case it messes the difficulty up, but I think I go too far the other way and just put like a stimpack in or something.

I'm making a map for the Plain Ol' Doom 2 megawad and creating good vanilla secrets is genuinely one of the most difficult aspects!


Yeah, I also find secrets pretty hard to do too. I normally want to do something clever to access (which not always works) and it's hard to give a good reward which doesn't mess too much continuous playthrought lol

One thing that I've been learning is to avoid just making a room with things in it. Secrets are more rewarding if you add some small but cool stuff, like some weird linedef action and enemies.

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Megalyth said:

The kind where every sector involved is flagged as secret and the gong sounds at least 50 times.

Or the kind where every single sector in the map is a secret sector.

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Memento Mori MAP13 has this awesome secret (or its required to beat the map, cant remember) where there is a random two sided line and theres a switch texture on one side of it. So if you walk into the room, it looks pretty empty but if you step forward and turn around, the two-dimensional switch texture is there and only visible on the one side. It’s a fairly easy trick to implement but I’m not sure I’ve seen it anywhere else – probably because it’s a little on the silly side. But outside of invisible bridges, desctructible walls, and infinitely resurrecting chaingun guys, it’s one of my favorite examples of “Doom Magic” that I love so much.

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This may sound dumb but...
My favorite types of secrets are doors (or lowering floors/ raising ceilings) that look like part of the wall but there's some hint that they're a secret. They MUST be opened by hitting it.

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Speed of Doom has a lot of original and well hidden secrets. I like searching tiny switches in large levels which reveal you vast secrets areas when you press them. I like secrets which require timing too (E1M3's secret with the soulsphere is the best exemple I have in my mind).

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Piper Maru said:

Yup E1M3 has my favorite type of secrets in a map where it's large portions of hidden areas that can be explored.


Just reiterating this for the nth time. E1M3 is spot-on what makes secrets fun. Secrets in secrets, some rewarding, some just 'extra space', and even a secret exit! I remember one of the first times I played E1M3, I ran into the acid 'for exploration's sake' to see the door that leads to the secret exit open, which sparked my curiosity immensely! Even to this day the idea of a key-locked secret is reasonably unique, and as a concept it dates back all the way to the shareware episode.

In addition to this, areas that initially look just like pretty scenery but actually are playable secret areas are also very exciting. Doom 2, Map 01 is a weaker example of this.

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I think Romero or someone else on the Doom team said their mapping philosophy was that, if you could see the outdoors, you should be able to get out there somehow.

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My least favorite sector type is 64x64 box behind sligtly odd textured panel.
I agree with the notion that E1M3 is the prototype of all good secrets - the ones you can see, but need to find the path to. Hidden in plain sight is the coolest!

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I like secrets like those in e1m2 and e1m6 that allow you out into areas that you can only see from inside. If you're sharp enough you can figure out how to get outside and explore. Those are the most fun for me.

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Secrets without barons inside of them. This is a tougher rule than it sounds.

I'm for a range of secret difficulties in a map. That way everyone gets to have fun!

I like large map sections cut off by secrets with ample fenestration looking through. Peering into as-yet unreachable areas is compelling, example: e3m7.

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E4M7 had an interesting example of this, a completely optional area where a Cyberdemon spawns in but you get a nice big segment cage to block his rockets in addition to an Invulnerability Sphere so you can beat him pretty damn easily.

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It's hard to think of secrets as bad unless they are part of a larger problem with the map design -- e.g. the SSG that saves you from having to plink away tediously at lots of meat with the SG is secret -- because I can just ignore them, but in general, I don't like secrets whose mere existence makes a map less fun to replay with a mind towards UV-maxing. Or in that sense, I'll be a lot less inclined to ever replay the map if too much of its content is tied up in secrets like this. These secrets can be divided into two general categories:

- Stuff (e.g. jumps or timing puzzles) that is substantially more demanding to do in one try every time than any of the actual combat in the level is to survive.
- Stuff that feels like a waste of time: elaborate sidequests that are cool in the abstract but mechanically tedious, awkwardly flowing secrets for meager rewards, etc.

I like a "less is more" approach for secret implementation, as well as a general policy of "tricky to notice but convenient once you do."

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MetroidJunkie said:

What about a secret with Cyberdemons inside of them?

I would've expected Maes to say that here heh.

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^ From a different thread, but anyway:

MrGlide said:

Why do so many exit rooms have a single imp in them?

Piper Maru said:

Why not a Cyberdemon instead?

Maes said:

Depends on which way it's turned.

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I like secrets where half the reward is in unlocking hidden sections of the map, or alternate paths/shortcuts that open the map up while also giving you goodies.

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I like secrets that give you tons of health and ammo.

Unfortunately, I have "FPS-secret blindness" and totally suck at finding any in 99% of levels I play. :(

This is a variation of "refrigerator blindness" where you look for something in the fridge and even if it's right in front of you, you don't see it. xD

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