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Making searching for secrets interesting and challenging
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Matthew
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2009 10:16 pm
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Although searching for secrets is a memorable aspect of Wolf3D, in nearly all of the original Wolf3D levels -- and nearly all Wolf3D add-ons -- it is EXTREMELY primitive -- all the player has to do to find all the secrets is try pushing every single wall block. Although blocks that can be pushed back to reveal secret areas are usually in a strategic location (like on a wall decoration or across the room from a ceiling light), they may as well not be -- the player can just systematically try all wall blocks. Because of this, searching for secrets in nearly all of the original Wolf3D levels and nearly all Wolf3D add-ons is tedious and boring.

However, there are ways that searching for secrets can be made interesting, in-depth, and challenging -- and this can be done without any EXE changes at all.

Here are some of the ways that searching for secrets in Wolf3D can be made interesting, in-depth, and challenging:

* One of the key reasons searching for secrets in nearly all Wolf3D levels to date is so primitive and tedious is, there is never any reason not to push a block. Since pushing a block never does any harm, the player may as well try all of the accessible blocks on the entire level. If, for example, some rooms with items are behind marked pushable blocks and some rooms with items as being unmarked pushable blocks, but the ones behind unmarked pushable blocks are cleverly set up so that they secretly do something bad, the player then has a reason to only try the marked blocks.

* There are many, many different ways that pushable blocks can be made to do bad things when pushed -- in some cases, without any immediate way of knowing they did something bad. Just some of those include making a block, when pushed, block the way to a far more valuable secret area, cover a key, or even -- if you want to be really cruel -- trap the player.

* By doing this with other creative strategies, you can create puzzles where the player has to do special strategies to solve them.

What do you think?


Last edited by Matthew on Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 7:42 am
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Hi

I never considered searching for secrets an interesting part of the game. In my opinion "secrets" should be blatant obvious, and only serve as a different kind of door.
Adding "Bad Blocks" which should not be pushed, would make it harder for anyone who goes for 100% (Which should not be easy anyway), perhaps I will keep this idea in mind and add some (i.e. "a lot of") mutants behind random walls. I like the idea Smile

For the last idea I think: This is Wolfenstein not Sokoban. I don't really like halfheartedly inserted puzzles into games of another genre. But probably one can find a possibility to integrate this idea in clever way into some level design.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:24 am
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.....


Last edited by Thomas on Mon May 30, 2011 7:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 1:32 pm
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I don't like ratio reporting and bonuses in Wolf3D and think it should be removed completely. Here's why:

* It gives players the feeling they have to find every secret in the entire game to fully beat it.

* It spoils when the player has or hasn't found all the secrets.

* It requires it to be possible to have killed every single enemy, pushed every single block and gotten every single treasure AT THE SAME TIME on the entire level.

In my Wolf3D add-ons, I've removed ratio reporting and bonuses. I will also do so very soon in my improved version of Wolf4SDL. When I play levels, I like having the feeling that there could always be additional secrets hidden within the depths of the level.

Quote:
It's easy for me to make secret places "interesting"; in the beginning of the map, or early on, I like to place a column or a block object separating a room filled with gold or valuables, depending on whatever style and coding you choose. Also, to place a locked door central; but the keys that are not in secret passages cannot open it. I know it got me off in "Totengraeber". I also recall in some WSJ-game, firing a gun, I heard a whole new alarming sound. That really got me hooked but I could not tell the guards apart. Great game... "Castle Totenkopf", I think it was.


I'm not talking about making secret places interesting -- I'm talking about making SEARCHING FOR SECRETS interesting and challenging. Of course many Wolf3D add-ons have interesting secret areas, but searching for those areas is tedious and boring -- all that the player has to do is try all accessible blocks on the level.

Quote:
perhaps I will keep this idea in mind and add some (i.e. "a lot of") mutants behind random walls.


I wouldn't consider that a bad pushwall -- I (and many players) like fighting large numbers of enemies. A bad pushwall should do something inherently bad, like blocking the way to a far more valuable secret area or covering a key.

Quote:
This is Wolfenstein not Sokoban. I don't really like halfheartedly inserted puzzles into games of another genre.


Puzzles aren't necessarily for games of another genre -- there are "intelligent action games" like Half-Life. I think that with Wolf3D's gameplay and atmosphere, it would be fantastic as such a game. The puzzles could be optional -- only to find major secret areas.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:27 pm
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Matthew wrote:
* It gives players the feeling they have to find every secret in the entire game to fully beat it.
Funny, I never felt that way, and I've been playing it for many years now. Maybe you need to look at things from a different angle. Smile

Quote:
* It spoils when the player has or hasn't found all the secrets.
Again, I never felt that way. The Secrets ratio rewarded anyone who'd taken the time to unveil all the secrets in the map, even if they had no treasure. You had an incentive to go back and explore places you wouldn't otherwise, giving the levels replay value.

Quote:
* It requires it to be possible to have killed every single enemy, pushed every single block and gotten every single treasure AT THE SAME TIME on the entire level.
There's nothing wrong with doing it that way if the level's solid and entertaining. Now, if it's a level that's bland, repetitive and/or boring, then yes, it's a real drag. Smile

Quote:
I'm not talking about making secret places interesting -- I'm talking about making SEARCHING FOR SECRETS interesting and challenging. Of course many Wolf3D add-ons have interesting secret areas, but searching for those areas is tedious and boring -- all that the player has to do is try all accessible blocks on the level.
Personally, I found the secret-hunting in Wolf3D challenging enough. It's always been optional, but rewarding for those who take the time to do it. Attaching strings to this option only deters people from trying it out in the first place. The less trouble a player has to go through to do something in the game, the more likely they are to do it, *and* enjoy it. Smile
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:01 pm
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Mathew...

I need a little more clarification on your ideas... you've got one thread dealing with controls and the behaviour of the movement.. you've got this thread where it looks like you are saying someone looking for secret areas should be penalized possibly for doing so, along with removing the level ratios.... there is another one where you discuss removing the difficulty levels.... and a few others I haven't listed... Are you trying to see what people want from the game?

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 1:05 am
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I need a little more clarification on your ideas... you've got one thread dealing with controls and the behaviour of the movement.. you've got this thread where it looks like you are saying someone looking for secret areas should be penalized possibly for doing so, along with removing the level ratios.... there is another one where you discuss removing the difficulty levels.... and a few others I haven't listed... Are you trying to see what people want from the game?

I'm asking what people think of my ideas.

In any case, I've certainly improved the game's controls and AI...

Quote:
There's nothing wrong with doing it that way if the level's solid and entertaining. Now, if it's a level that's bland, repetitive and/or boring, then yes, it's a real drag.

I think you're misinterpreting what I'm saying. Of course there's nothing WRONG with getting everything, and the player is never REQUIRED to do so, but with some types of level design (including, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, those with puzzles), it is IMPOSSIBLE to get 100% of everything IN ONE GAME. Just one example of that is a two-way pushwall which, depending on which way it is pushed, will open the way to one of two different secret areas -- but will block the other. Although levels like that can be very interesting and fun, if the game includes ratio reporting, some players may be frustrated that they can't get 100% ratios.

The classic Wolf3D add-on Temporary Insanity has many levels like that.

Also note that in the original Wolf3D, ratio reporting and bonuses are not done on secret levels and boss levels.

Quote:
Attaching strings to this option only deters people from trying it out in the first place.

That's only true of people that want a mindless shoot-em-up game without any significant thinking. It seems like I'm one of the few Wolf3D players that's not like that...

In any case, many secrets will be easy to find anyway -- only some of them will be difficult. And searching for secrets will never make it impossible to beat the level.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 10:44 am
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I think I might have an idea what you are talking about. (then again maybe not) In some maps I've made I've used pushwalls for something other than secrets.
In one map I had a maze of push walls where you could acidentaly seal yourself in as you try and get the treasure that was teasing you from the other side of a pillar at the start of the level.
In another map I made I had a bunch of walls you could push IN THE SAME room as the boss battle was taking place in AT THE SAME TIME you were fighting him. Not only that but I had the places that you pushed the walls onto make them into a push wall again so you could completely remake the room a dozen times. It didn't work entirely like I had hoped but it sure made for a fun fight.

Mathew wrote:
Puzzles aren't necessarily for games of another genre -- there are "intelligent action games" like Half-Life. I think that with Wolf3D's gameplay and atmosphere, it would be fantastic as such a game. The puzzles could be optional -- only to find major secret areas.

DOOM would be another game that had A LOT of puzzles.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:15 pm
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Matthew wrote:
Of course there's nothing WRONG with getting everything, and the player is never REQUIRED to do so, but with some types of level design (including, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, those with puzzles), it is IMPOSSIBLE to get 100% of everything IN ONE GAME. Just one example of that is a two-way pushwall which, depending on which way it is pushed, will open the way to one of two different secret areas -- but will block the other. Although levels like that can be very interesting and fun, if the game includes ratio reporting, some players may be frustrated that they can't get 100% ratios.
MCS did an (IMO) interesting solution to this problem ("Spear: Resurrection" and "End Of Destiny"). Rather than the Pushwalls themselves registering as Secrets, you had to cross an area that was marked as a secret area. What do you think? Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:38 pm
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That's the way I'd implemented them in The Legion, although not from a mapping perspective, except for the first level. It certainly helps if you have to go through a series of pushwalls to get to the one secret, as it doesn't skew the ratio.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:17 am
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Last edited by Thomas on Mon May 30, 2011 7:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:32 am
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Quote:
MCS did an (IMO) interesting solution to this problem ("Spear: Resurrection" and "End Of Destiny"). Rather than the Pushwalls themselves registering as Secrets, you had to cross an area that was marked as a secret area. What do you think?


Yes, I really liked that. (Note: That's only in Spear: End of Destiny, not Spear Resurrection.) Personally, I prefer just having the ratios removed entirely, but that's good too.

I also really like the idea of having secrets that are accessed in ways OTHER than pushwalls (which Spear: End of Destiny also does.) Just one example of that type of secret is a secret area that is behind a locked door that the player can't get the key for, so that the player has to lure an enemy to open that door.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:34 am
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Last edited by Thomas on Mon May 30, 2011 7:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:10 pm
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There is one particular type of puzzle I have invented in Wolf3D that I think is the ultimate Wolf3D puzzle. With it, you have a large grid of 2x2 rooms with pushwalls to navigate between them, and make it so that even though the player can push through the rooms in almost any order, unless the player pushes through them in a certain order, he/she will never be able to reach the exit of the area.

This is accomplished by doing a VERY clever trick in designing the area: First, you create the grid area, WITHOUT any pushable blocks. Then, you make pushable ONLY to the blocks that the player should push -- the ones that form the CORRECT path (referred to here as "the sequence") through the grid. Then, with EVERY SINGLE ONE of the other blocks, you make it pushable IF AND ONLY IF the following fact is true:

* Pushing the block from the side in the room earlier in "the sequence" would result in the block, in the room it reveals, blocking the pushwall to the next room in "the sequence".

This is a fascinating type of puzzle. The player can very easily push through the rooms in the grid in almost any order, and yet unless he/she pushes through them in the correct order, he/she will never be able to reach the goal. If the player pushes just ONE BLOCK, ANYWHERE out of sequence, he/she will -- without any way of knowing -- make it impossible to reach the goal. Although the player, after making it impossible to reach the goal, can continue pushing blocks to go anywhere in the area, doing so will always either reveal a room earlier in the sequence or reveal a room later in the sequence BUT block the "correct pushwall" in that room. In the final room in the sequence, although the player will be able to skip ahead to it like with the other rooms, doing so will always result in the block stopping on the "goal tile" in that room -- which would either be next to an exit or contain a key.

Obviously, for this type of puzzle to be fair, it has to be designed so that the player has a way of finding out what the correct path is. One example of this would be that the area would be designed to that every single one of the rooms would contain a pile of bones, and whenever the room was pushed into the CORRECT way, block was pushed, it would cover the pile of bones. This way, if the player ever pushed a block in the area and it revealed a room with a pile of bones, that would mean that he/she made a mistake.

What do you think of this type of puzzle?
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:24 pm
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Mathew wrote:
There is one particular type of puzzle I have invented in Wolf3D that I think is the ultimate Wolf3D puzzle. With it, you have a large grid of 2x2 rooms with pushwalls to navigate between them, and make it so that even though the player can push through the rooms in almost any order, unless the player pushes through them in a certain order, he/she will never be able to reach the exit of the area.


I don't think you "INVENTED" it... unless you are Carmack, Romero, or Hall (or a few others)... as in the original members of Id. I've seen a few things where you say "your invention" or something to that affect, when it has already been done... but oh well..

In the case of this comment/idea/invention... I'll ask: Why was there a "Call Apogee and say Ardwolf" sign?? And I don't mean as in the contest itself...

It was there because it was at the end of (or pretty much the end of) the same thing you are describing and if you found it, yeah you could have possibly won their contest, but more than likely, you would have locked yourself in... with no way out...

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:37 pm
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What Apogee did was very similar to my idea, but actually it's not quite the same, because if you look at the original E2 L8, you'll see that there are various "paths" in the grid's layout -- you can't just navigate the rooms in any order you want.

A key aspect of my idea is that the player can freely push through the grid in any path he/she wants -- even though only one path will allow the player to reach the goal. That makes my idea potentially even nastier than the original E2 L8.
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 7:41 pm
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It's the same thing Matthew, you are adapting their idea is all you are doing, BT is right and to be honest it's exactly what I was thinking as I was reading your post as well.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:12 pm
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Matthew wrote:
What Apogee did was very similar to my idea, but actually it's not quite the same, because if you look at the original E2 L8, you'll see that there are various "paths" in the grid's layout -- you can't just navigate the rooms in any order you want.


Wow... It's either major arrogance or an extreme lack of knowledge of the english language.... It's what you are doing is similar to the original idea of Id.... Aka... yours is a modification of their idea... To me it's the old: You say "Tom-A-Toe" and I say "Tom-Ma-Toe"... Either way... I think what you are trying to say (or should be) is that your idea is a derivitive of the idea from Id or Id's idea with a slightly different design.... As it was Id's idea back in 1992?? Or did you have this idea before that??

And if it's just major arrogance as an excuse for the "It's My Invention or What they did is similar to me"... Get Bent.... (I think that's how it's said??) lol...

Dean wrote:
It's the same thing Matthew, you are adapting their idea is all you are doing, BT is right and to be honest it's exactly what I was thinking as I was reading your post as well.

Yep, I've read that a couple of times in his messages and it was starting to get a little thin and smelling of something... I guess I was thinking the right thing if anyone else was thinking what I was... and I wasn't too far off the map now was I?? ... and no... it wasn't because of the increase in meds... lol... although they did increase them.. Tanks Dean... I knew you'd have my back...

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:26 pm
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BrotherTank wrote:

there is another one where you discuss removing the difficulty levels


Where was that? I find the idea intriguing, too.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 03, 2009 4:46 pm
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Last edited by Thomas on Mon May 30, 2011 7:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 12:21 am
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Ok. I'm not arrogant; I guess I didn't use the right word...
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PostPosted: Sat May 30, 2015 2:41 pm
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One thing I should probably mention that I didn't in this thread:

I actually thought of the 2x2 pushwall maze concept before I learned of the puzzle on the original E2 L8.

I played the shareware version of Wolf3D, and a number of add-ons, before I played the registered version. The first Wolf3D addon I played was Armageddon, which I played in late 1999. On Level 3 of Armageddon, there is a long sequence of 2x2 rooms connected by pushwalls which leads to a major secret area.

That's where I got the idea. But in Armageddon, it's just a linear sequence of rooms. I thought of making it a grid of rooms that could be navigated freely, but that had a super secret area that could only be accessed by entering the rooms in a certain order. Entering just one room out of order would make it impossible to reach the secret area, because even though you could navigate the area freely, entering any room would always block the way to the next room (or, with the last room in the sequence, block the exit to the secret area, or cover the secret item the player needed to pick up, such as a key) unless it was entered from the correct side.

Later, I learned of the puzzle on the original E2 L8. When I looked at that map, I saw that it was like what I had thought of, except that it was not a freely navigable area, just a group of paths.

With my version of the concept, every single wall block in the entire grid of 2x2 rooms is pushable unless one or more of the following is true:

* It is a corner block

* It is on the outer edge, and doesn't lead to one of the exits

* Pushing the block from the side earlier in the sequence to the side later in the sequence would allow the player to skip one or more of the rooms in the sequence, and doesn't block the way to the next room in the sequence, or block the exit to the secret area, or cover the secret item the player needs to pick up
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