Obscure Secrets (aka "How the Heck was I supposed to figure that out?!")

HumanNinjaToo

The Cheerful Pessimist
Veteran
Joined
Apr 18, 2013
Messages
909
Reaction score
384
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
With some games, I for sure agree with that. I think you should be able to beat a games main story line without having to look up anything.
 

gstv87

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2015
Messages
2,137
Reaction score
1,104
First Language
Spanish
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
I'm convinced it's set up by the creators of such games as a means to sell game guides.
that would have been conceivable back when selling game guides was a thing.

just recently I rewatched the movie Ready Player One, and there's a big nod to "game secrets" and where to find them.
and it's wrapped in money matters.... so, yeah.
 

Kes

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Aug 3, 2012
Messages
21,987
Reaction score
11,289
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
@Tai_MT The problem with hyperbole taken to the extent of absolutes (no-one plays a game without looking up the secrets on the internet) is that you only need one person to puncture the statement. May I present myself as that one person. When I play a game I don't go hunting around the internet, I enjoy trying to find stuff for myself. Am I unique? Highly unlikely. Just because you look every game up, and the people you know do the same, does not make it universal.

My only contribution to the general conversation is to say that obscure secrets should not, imo, act as gate keepers on the main story line.
 

gstv87

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 20, 2015
Messages
2,137
Reaction score
1,104
First Language
Spanish
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
no-one plays a game without looking up the secrets on the internet
ahem......
I played Age of Empires, and AOE2, without looking up anything on the internet.
there *was* no internet, at the time!
AND, the developers were smart and kind enough to include an actual help menu within the game (I know! Crazy, right?).

many oldschool games didn't even have guides (some console games had manuals, with the basic instructions), so "secrets" were really secrets to most players until they just happened to stumble upon them over the course of their 200th play through, or another player told them about it.
not every player was actively looking for secrets.
 

Tai_MT

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
5,422
Reaction score
4,733
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@Kes

That is true. But, I ask you... do you look things up after you've completed the game? To see if you missed anything?

That's my point. People don't really "play blind" anymore. Even if they go through the game the first time without looking anything up, they typically look something up later about the game or a secret.

I played "Earth Defense Force 2025" "blind" with my friend. After we beat the game the first time, that's when the wiki use began.

My point is merely that nobody plays "blind" anymore. They might on a first run, but they do tend to look things up afterwards to see if they missed any secrets. Especially if they're planning a second run. So, most secrets in game are sort of a waste of time and cater to a very small audience.

Though, the argument "playing blind" does seem to need to warrant a definition of it.
My definition of "playing blind" is having watched no gameplay footage, only seen the trailers, never watched anyone play any aspect of it, never had anyone tell you anything about the gameplay, never looked up anything on your own about the game on a wiki or YouTube, and never read reviews for it. If a player has done any of these, then they've inevitably had some aspects of the game spoiled... secrets or not, so it isn't a "blind" playthrough of the game.

But, if it pleases you, I can change the statement to "almost nobody".
 

Kes

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Aug 3, 2012
Messages
21,987
Reaction score
11,289
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
@Tai_MT Okay, so few people play blind within the somewhat strange definition that you give.* To which the only rational response is "so what?" If a dev wants to put non-obvious (aka 'secret') things into their game for those who enjoy finding them, why try and prevent that with long explanations of how it doesn't work for you?

*The reason I think it's somewhat strange is that I'm finding it challenging to work out how looking up something after I've played a game means that I didn't play the game (previous in time to looking it up) blind.
 

Basileus

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
296
Reaction score
431
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
@Tai_MT
This may not be your intent, but what I am getting from your posts is that everyone should just stop trying to do anything interesting. Nobody should ever write a plot twist ever again because it will be posted on the Internet somewhere. Nobody should ever hide a treasure chest ever again because it's location will be in a guide somewhere. Nobody should ever ask players/viewers/readers to think ever again because the solution will be posted somewhere.

So should every game become a linear corridor where every item is just placed directly in the player's path? Is it just a waste of the developer's time to have branching paths and side areas? Should developers just stop expecting players to exercise their brains even a little when playing?

Not every secret is as obtuse as the Braille puzzle in Pokemon. Many players don't see it as a waste of time to careful explore an area to check for secrets, or backtrack to old areas with new tools to find hidden treasure. And a lot more people than you realize play games blind. You can easily look up blind runs of games on YouTube. It's practically an industry today to upload videos of people experiencing something for the first time, like games or movies.
 

Tai_MT

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
5,422
Reaction score
4,733
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@Kes

Playing the game blind is just that. Blind. You find the secrets yourself. All of them.

But, I digress. Playing the game 100% blind isn't really the point of any of my posts. It's mostly a tangent a few users took issue with.

My point is that so few people "play the game blind" that a "secret" and the amazing feeling of finding one... is lost on most gamers, or doesn't really exist anymore because of people no longer playing "blind" through a game.

As such, putting dev hours into creating secrets in your game or puzzles are things that will appeal to only an extreme minority of players and is probably a waste of dev time to create.

@Basileus

You're comparing apples and oranges.

My point is that "putting secrets into your game caters only to the extreme minority of players and has little impact as a result."

We may think we're being clever as devs by putting some obscure secret in our games, but... are we really? What is the audience even getting out of it? Realistically? I know what they're supposed to get out of it, but realistically how many do? The answer is very likely "not many" regardless of metric we all decide to use to try to measure it.

As for plot twists... Well, there's a whole culture about people who don't want to know those and get exceptionally offended if someone tells them (spoiler alert!!!). So... non-issue. You have to go looking for the story twist to spoil it for yourself.

Hiding a treasure chest isn't really what the original post is about... It's about "how obscure is too obscure?". Just hiding a chest isn't a secret. If your chest is hidden because it has the Infinity +1 Sword... now it's a problem. By all means, hide a chest with 30,000 Currency in it somewhere. Or 10 Potions. Or whatever that's insanely inconsequential. It's not a secret most people will actually care about (it tends to just be a reward at that point for someone going out of their way to find it). Unless you give them a reason to... like say... an achievement to open every chest in the game.

Also, I didn't mention anything about not wanting to explore. In fact, one of my early posts says specifically that I play most games to explore, and RPG's don't lend themselves well to actually exploring something and instead are already linear corridor crawlers. Stick to the hallway, you can never leave the hallway. The hallway may branch, but you shall always return to the "one true path". I explore when a game lets me, but RPG's don't scratch that itch... 'cause there's not much exploring to be done. Players will explore, yes. There's no problem with letting them do so. I wish more RPG's would actually DESIGN exploration systems into their games, but alas, they do not. Probably why I turn to Adventure games or FPS games to get my fix of exploration.

As for making players think... We already have that problem. Few players actually thinking. With everything posted online, it's a 5 second google search away from not having to think. Likewise, devs in RPG's just balance their combat around numbers and that's it... because... why make the player think? If the player has to think in combat, combat might be hard! The dev might have to work hard to ensure combat remains balanced and that they have a steady supply of gimmicks to use against the players that they can teach them to use in combat too! Nope, whack attack and best spells. That's RPG combat in most RPG's. Doesn't help we've got Dedicated Healers dumbing them down even more and making players even less likely to think. If you've got some kind of crusade against players not thinking, you probably shouldn't die on the hill of "including secrets" and should probably focus more on how little current trending gameplay mechanics are making players think, as those are systems players will be interacting with for most of the game... not finding an obscure secret.

As for YouTube videos where people are playing blind... Well, yeah, there's a lot of them... But most of the time you can tell they're faked. There are a few legitimate ones out there, and I genuinely enjoy watching those people play a game for the first time... But, you can tell between videos they've looked things up... or they've gotten information from someone else... or even their audience... Or their acting is so bad you can easily tell they're lying about "figuring something out". Or, their "leaps in logic" for figuring something out make no logical sense and don't actually follow how any reasonable person would put together the puzzle... because they're just trying to simulate a method in which they figured it out, which might be reasonable.

Sure, some people play blind. Kes seems to be one of them. By Kes's definition of "playing blind", I'm one of them as well (though, by my own definition, I am not one of those that play blind). But, finding someone legitimately playing blind on YouTube is... rather difficult in my experience. You get some that start strong, but then you can tell between videos that they've looked something up... or through their editing as well...

Watching someone genuinely play a game for the first time ever and never look anything up is a joy to watch. You get to learn a lot about how the game communicates things to the player. It's incredibly useful information (which is probably why I like obscure indie games that don't even have a message board or a wiki... can't get much more "blind" than having absolutely no information on a game exist for the player... and then having to watch them fail a dozen or more times because the telegraphing is bad, or the player is bad). I've simply found that experience difficult to track down on YouTube.

Finally... the Braille Puzzle in Pokemon was my "bragging right" in response to a previous poster who said secrets are great to have so you can brag. I used the example to say, "Yeah, I did it. I can brag about it. But, it doesn't make me happy. It makes me irritated that I had to waste so much of my time to figure this crap out on my own."

A properly put together puzzle is more akin to Portal than it is Pokemon. In Portal, you solve the puzzles yourself because you feel smart for having figured them out. It makes you feel good about yourself. Most RPG's using puzzles... make you feel like you have just wasted your time. The puzzles are just designed poorly. They're stock standard. I cracked the "Zozo Stopped Clock" puzzle as a kid, and it was designed cleverly. But, it required the player make a couple leaps in logic. Zozo is told you to be "a town of thieves". You have to make the leap of logic that a town of thieves is full of liars. Then, realizing that everyone in town is lying to you about the time... write it all down and use process of elimination to get the correct time. Figuring out the puzzle made me feel pretty awesome. It still does. Solving the puzzle, on the other hand... is a tedious mess of a chore... and I'll never do it again, and I'll just look it up next time.
---
As devs, if you want to put secrets in your game, sure go ahead. Just realize that they might not really be all that enjoyed by most of your players, their solutions will be leaked so people won't get the joy of solving them (if they even want to solve them), and you'll often overdesign something.

Devs have a tendency to think they're being really clever, when they're being obtuse, convoluted, or wasting a player's time. The amount of puzzles and secrets I've found where those three things were present in an RPG is staggering.

If you want some simple tips for putting secrets in your game, I can give some good ones.

1. Solving the puzzle should instantly reward you. That is, if the player figures out your riddle or the solution to your puzzle or quest, the very act of knowing the solution should be enough to solve it. They shouldn't need to wade through 20 minutes of moving blocks or rotating puzzle pieces or pressing the right buttons to get the pieces to exactly where they need to be. Knowing how to solve the puzzle shouldn't require the player engage in a 20 minute demonstration of that knowledge.

2. Secrets should ideally not lock off content from the player. Secrets are liable to be missed, and few people will play a game twice unless there is some motivation to do so (the game was really great... multiple branching story paths... different classes to play as... achievements you can only get with a second or third run...). If they must lock off content, ensure that what is locked off is not more valuable than what the player has been given (a branching choice of equipment, for example).

3. Realize that someone is going to post your secrets and puzzle solutions online at some point. Find a way to play to that strength. Perhaps the secret or puzzle having a common solution everyone will post about is a "red herring" that most players will find... but perhaps there's a second solution or a bigger secret linked to the first that just having the solution to the first puzzle won't get you. Many ARG's do this and it tends to produce amazing and interesting results from a playerbase.

4. Don't make finding the secret or solving the puzzle "obtuse". If a guide is required to solve it, it's probably not that fun for most people to solve. Don't use real world trivia or obscure things the player may never know or discover... Don't be too clever for your own good. It's one thing to hide something... it's quite another to make finding it require knowledge specifically in your own mind. Basically, avoid "specialized knowledge" solutions. The "Braille" puzzle falls into this category. Provide every piece of information for solving the puzzle or finding the secret within the game itself.

5. If your secrets are just easter eggs... Do whatever you want with them. Easter Eggs are cool mostly because the player will "get the reference" and not really for any other reason. By all means, hide them behind all sorts of codes and specialized knowledge. The harder Easter Eggs are to find, the more fun they tend to be.
 

CraneSoft

Filthy Degenerate
Veteran
Joined
Apr 16, 2016
Messages
173
Reaction score
216
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
The thing about FFVII, and the old-era RPGs, is that those secrets also tend to be permanently missable which can be detrimental to gameplay. Don't have a specific character on a specific area on a specific time? Say goodbye to that character's ultimate weapon. This is not just limited in RPGs, but in fact, alot of the 90's games before the internet age is littered with cryptic secrets that require gaming magazines to figure out, just so you can make a 2-hour game take 10 hours or weeks to complete.

Those are mostly a thing of the past, nowadays you can play a modern game blind and generally still clear the game (excluding secret content of course), and people who wanted 100% would resort themselves to a guide anyway so how obscure a secret is becomes a moot point. Games where anyone could get 100% without a guide, then there aren't really secrets to begin with.

You want to reward players for discovering the secrets, yet you should not cripple them permanently just because they miss one important thing that had a very limited window of opportunity to get. Other than that, there is no real answer on how to balance things beyond that, as every game is different.
 

Wavelength

Edge of Eternity
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 22, 2014
Messages
5,126
Reaction score
4,432
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
In the 80s and 90s, there were a lot of people who reveled in these obscure secrets that unless you really committed yourself, poked around, and tried every possible combination of things you could think of, you'd probably never find. It was cool having these secrets pass by word of mouth, and sometimes urban legends would rise about secrets in games that required tons of grinding or super-unlikely scenarios (and they weren't true!). It was all part of the fun of exploratory games like RPGs, and if you figured stuff out that people had been looking for (or never knew they wanted), you would earn the ultimate bragging rights.

With more modern conveniences in games, the internet at your fingertips, and people having less patience, these types of deep "spades" gamers are less common. And don't get me wrong, I hate the guide-dang-its too. I'd much rather see hints that make sense in the context of the game world, and allow you to say "oh, that's clever!" as you figure it out (instead of saying "how the hell would I ever figure that out?" when you read it on GameFAQs). Especially for mandatory objectives, 98% of your audience should eventually be able to figure it out on their own.

But when you see the Golden Chocobo-like sequences of events in modern gaming, think of it as a throwback to a time where these hidden gems could mystify and delight gamers the world over.
 

jkweath

Goes Fast
Veteran
Joined
Sep 21, 2016
Messages
304
Reaction score
454
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
N/A
I think it's generally agreed upon today that the old-school ultra-obscure game secrets of the 90s and early 00s are *mostly* an outdated concept with the advent of the internet. I say "mostly" because some game developers still like to purposefully put obscure secrets in their game with the intention of people looking up the secret on the internet.

ARPG Grim Dawn has quite a few obscure secrets by today's standards, but Crate Entertainment carefully and purposefully designed the secrets in a way that A, the "niche crowd" who like looking for obscure secrets would have a blast finding and piecing the sequence of obscure secrets together, and B, the majority who just looked up the sequence of secrets on the internet (my friends and me being part of this group) would still have fun with it - and we certainly did!

The question shouldn't be "should my game have secrets?" but rather, "how should my secrets be designed?". In our case, being RPGM devs, you'd probably want to avoid adding in anything too obscure unless you make it fun and intend for players to find the solution on the internet--and unless your game makes it big, you'd have to publish the secret yourself somewhere it'll be easy to find.

Nothing wrong with adding little secrets here and there that reward players who enjoy exploring and taking their time, though. It's silly to believe that there's no reason to add secrets because "everyone will just look them up on the internet first". Everyone's different. Many players, like myself, will play through a game first, find whatever secrets we find, and later on, look the game up to see if there's any secrets worth going back to find. I feel like the assumption from certain people here is that secrets lose their value as a fun concept if they're looked up on the internet at all. That's absolutely not true.
 
Last edited:

Basileus

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 18, 2013
Messages
296
Reaction score
431
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
@Tai_MT

The spoiler culture you mentioned applies to more than just story. A lot of people like to find things, and not everyone uses walkthroughs when they play games for the first time. In my experience a lot of people only use guides on a second play (unless they get stuck). There are a lot of people now that aim to Platinum/100% games that they like, but are you actually hurting this demographic by having content locked behind secrets?

I don't know anyone that would be upset at not 100%-ing a game on their first play. I doubt anyone would be upset at having to do a second play to get things they missed if you make fun New Game + options. Alternatively, you could have some post-game content and make all of the secrets accessible during that so nothing can be permanently missed. I think more people than you realize enjoy finding secrets without guides (as long as the game actually has hints that can be figured out). Even if it was an "extreme minority", it doesn't hurt the players that will just resort to a guide.

If anything, it is actually more worth adding secrets now than ever before. Lots of developers want those "social" elements in games to get players talking to each other to increase engagement and generate word-of-mouth advertising. NPCs that only give cryptic hints, hiding unique items (or even entire optional areas) behind fake walls, Achievements that the player may not know how to unlock without help. Dark Souls does all of that and is considered a modern masterpiece.

There is nothing wrong with locking some content behind secrets. Any players aiming for 100% should understand that they need to do some work for it. Good signposting and NPC hints that actually have the information the player needs is the key. If you are worried about players not talking to the NPCs to get the hints (and then blame you for them missing stuff) then an achievement for talking to every NPC might help. If you actually give the player all the tools they need in the game, then maybe fewer people would stop playing the game to look things up. But if you want to have that one achievement that players just have to tell each other how to get, then go for it since it's not like you'll lose sales over something like that.
 

JosephSeraph

White Mage
Restaff
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Messages
1,119
Reaction score
1,301
First Language
Portuguese
Obtuse "secrets" can function to create a sense of organicness to a game. A game where no 2 playthroughs are the same, because small things you do end up shifting the game in unseen ways.
Now, stuff like Aerith's final limit break, which will be obviously missing from the menu screen, so the player has that "NOW NOW, WHERE'D THAT BE" itch on the back of their head, doesn't work for that.

Still, this is great part of the charm of something like, say, SaGa Frontier or Legend of Mana. And sure, the guides are up there, no one cares. Even if you try your hardest to follow a guide along on a certain path, you will skimp or accidentally trigger some other things.
 

Tai_MT

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
5,422
Reaction score
4,733
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@Basileus

The spoiler culture only doles out backlash by spoiling the story of something. People rarely, if ever, care that a puzzle was spoiled for them. Or a secret.

I also didn't say people use walkthroughs for games. I said they look things up. Maybe you just looked up where that missing Bestiary entry was, because you've got each monster around it, but you somehow missed it. Where'd you miss it at? You just looked something up. Might not be a secret, but that's sort of what we're dealing with here in terms of the internet. Few people will use a full walkthrough to chart every inch of their progress. I have never stated that they do or will. I've simply stated that if you hide secrets... you're just sending people to the internet to look them up, because that's just what people do when they missed something they should've obtained. Pokedex Entry, missing Uber Weapon, A Limit Break. Etcetera. In my mind, this isn't "playing blind". This is players playing the game normally until the dev has given them a situation in which looking things up is the fastest method to getting a piece of content or finding a secret, or unlocking something.

And as for not 100%ing a game on a first play...

I'm sorry that you don't know many achievement hunters. I know a great deal of them. But, I play most of my games on Steam or on Xbox, so... you know... major feature.

The likelihood of someone playing a game more than once (or even playing it once to completion) is actually quite low. Go look up some achievement statistics. Steam has more accurate ones as they only track "how many players unlocked this achievement" by people who actually own the game rather than "the entire playerbase" like Xbox does. Pick some games and random and look at the percentage of players who own the achievement for just beating the game. In most games, that huddles around 40% or so, unless the game is very short or very easy.

Even myself, an achievement hunter (it's how I know I've done everything in the game, after all, it's my measure of completing the game and doing everything the dev wanted me to do in it), will rarely finish most games. If the game is just not that fun, I don't bother. If I get bored 20 hours in, I just don't want to finish it. If a piece of the game is too difficult or an achievement too "excessive" to complete for anyone except masochists... I check out of the game. That's not to say I don't have a huge backlog of games I've completed, but a good chunk of them never even see a single completion.

Now, if you can barely get someone to finish your game once... What's the likelihood they'll complete it twice? Or a third time? Just out of curiosity and not to prove a point, how many games do you have on your own backlog that you haven't completed? I've got around... 60 or so? Maybe as many as 300 if we're just counting "full achievements obtained".

I think as devs, it's more important that we provide enough fun and content to get players to complete the game once, rather than worrying about features the players might enjoy on a second run. Or a third. Or planning on them to not find things on the first run and coming back for a second to find them. If we can't create a game most players will complete once... what use is there in creating aspects to a game that require more than one run? Or aspects than can be easily missed?

My question is "what good is an obtuse secret a player won't find on their first playthrough without a guide or help... when 60% of players aren't even likely to finish the game to completion once?" Likewise, what good is locking 100% completion behind a second run if you have no guarantee your game is good enough to finish the first run?

These are all questions I've had to consider for my own project. A project with "True Choice" in it. That is, every choice you make actually changes the story. Your run isn't likely to be the same as someone else's. The first choice you make affects what choices you have to make at the very end.

I am not planning for "replayability". I'm just trying to provide a good enough experience that someone finishes the game once. I'm trying to hide as few things as possible so players can get everything on that first run.

I plan on my players talking about their choices if they care about the game, rather than making another run to see how things turn out. Everything in my game is "up front" as a result of this mindset of players just playing once. I have no guarantee they'll enjoy my game beyond the 2 hour mark. I have zero guarantee they'll try to complete the whole thing and all its branching choices.

The goal of your game should be, "Get players to complete it once" and then you can worry about things that can be missed that players may want, or secrets, or whatever. Because, unless your game is good enough to be completed the first time... all your obscure secrets and puzzles and planned multiple playthoughs? Waste of your dev time.

And, let's face it... we're amateur devs. Few of us, if any, are going to make enough money doing this to live comfortably on. We shouldn't be planning as if we're AAA developers who can do what they do. We should be planning that we're rank amateurs who rarely, if ever, know what we're doing and how to do it... and focus on doing things that improve the experience enough that people finish our games.
 

Failivrin

Final Frontiersman
Veteran
Joined
Jan 31, 2017
Messages
238
Reaction score
226
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@Ragpuppy87 You forgot the part where you have to stand on your head and rub a chicken leg on the B button to make Yufi join your party.
Haha, seriously though, I would strongly discourage indie devs from implementing such secrets. Yes, I do think a major incentive behind them was to sell strategy guides. But they were also supposed to sell trading cards, action figures, and more. The reason secrets like this "worked" is because the developers ensured their games would become household names. You wouldn't need the internet because all your friends would be playing it. Basically, they were counting on millions of people to play and share their games. Secrets were something to share as well as brag about. Unfortunately for indie devs, we can't count on phenomenal marketing power. We can't even count on more than one person in a neighborhood playing our game. Rewarding players for buying our games is more important than teasing them with secrets they may never discover alone.
 
Last edited:

Dororo

Villager
Member
Joined
May 24, 2020
Messages
18
Reaction score
22
First Language
Italian
Primarily Uses
RMMV
In the Bubble Bobble arcade, if you input KIM or SEX as name, the next game got special bonuses the first stage.

This secret was spoilered in a magazine, in the early '90.
Now, the same trick work in many TAITO games and when I found one I'll input such names to see what happen.

No one feel cheated for that, the game WAS FUN THE SAME.

A secret in videogame industry must be spoiled by someone and that very moment it become of public domain. But since no one spoil it, it's intended to be a secret. Most of the time is an easter egg or a challenge from coders to hardcore players.

Probably you owned some hint already: why this guy broke the 4th wall? Such break of continuity hint hardcore players to investigate.

Aeris final Limit sound the way many hardcore players find and share a secret.
One got the Limit noticing the counter was 344 by sheer luck. Another confirmed, but at 577. Now, a third player did an experiment and worked with 199. How much time passed before the FF7 hardcore community knews of the double digit? MINUTES.
But nothing of this happened until someone actually found it.

Once, this role was played by magazines (ZZAP!, The Game Machine...).
And, if no hardcore player was able to find the secret after a while, the same producer posted the secret in magazine columns to revamp interest in the game.
I've purchased a number of TGM for some cheat on Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja...
The role is now played by the web, but's exactly the same since '80.

Secrets are meant to be hard to find, sometime they can be found by sheer luck and something even inspecting the game code (!!) - but if you can find them by regular play, they aren't secrets, they are just hard tasks.
 

gambitben

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
Messages
156
Reaction score
122
First Language
Spanish English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
My take on this is quite simple... if the developer likes them, they should do them. If they are making the game with a target audience in mind, then they should implement them accordingly. Apart from that, the only "golden rule" there is to making secrets obscure is: don't not make them gatekeep main story content, as many have said before me :rhappy:. Where does the balance lie? I'd say it's almost impossible to know, it'd depend on the player, but most great things in RPGs were not made seeking a balance, but rather a vision or a feeling, secrets being the epitome of that.

@Tai_MT As much as I enjoy reading your posts, I can't but wonder: How do you manage to keep on RPGmaking? Do you ever deem a system done and finished for your project?
 

Tai_MT

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
5,422
Reaction score
4,733
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@gambitben

Quite a bit off topic, but I'll bite. Same way anyone else on these forums does. I tend to just make a post a day (or less) and go about my business. I try to complete one thing every single day on my game, even if I do not feel the desire to work on my game, just so that there is always forward progress.

I do have nearly every system actually completed for my game. Much of what is slowing me down currently is just creating animations (if I didn't have to create animations, the initial demo of my game was probably actually ready to go a little over a year and a half ago... I'm badly dragging my feet out of utter boredom). It's the most tedious thing I've ever done and really kills the "fun" of creating a game for me.

But, at least I haven't worked on creating any other game than the one I'm working on in all this time. Never got burnt out and decided to abandon the project.
 

ADMtn

Villager
Member
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
20
Reaction score
12
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Worst secret ever, in my experience, was from Final Fantasy XII where you can't get the "ultimate" spear if you happen to open certain random chests scattered throughout the game. The chests are unremarkable aside from the fact that they preclude you from getting the spear. Horrible.

Final Fantasy VII Remake has some obscure secrets, but the chapter selection feature provides a decent remedy; after completing the game once, you can choose any chapter to go back to out of sequence to get anything you might have missed.

In my opinion, obscure secrets are much more palatable if the game also allows you to go back and get them (preferably within the same playthrough, but a New Game+/Chapter Selection is not bad). If you could avoid obscure secrets and only include secrets where the game provides reasonable hints to find, though, that would be the best.
 

QuietPenguin

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
May 24, 2020
Messages
30
Reaction score
12
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Here's the problem with that... Nobody "plays a game blind" anymore. I think the last one I played "blind" was Mass Effect 1 and only because I had been without internet for 3 months.
I think you are making the mistake of assuming everyone plays games the same way as you. I think I checked an internet guide maybe 2 or 3 times in the last 5 years while playing an RPG. The only time I specifically recall looking something up is once while playing The Witcher 3. In fact, I would guess that the vast majority of players check guides only occasionally (as opposed to following a guide step-by-step to 100% completion). Even if a player does learn a secret from a guide, it can still give the player that "oh wow I totally missed that" thrill. So, IMHO, "secrets" still retain plenty of power (if not vital importance) in any RPG.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Latest Threads

Latest Posts

Latest Profile Posts

have another character sheet! ill probably add some more details before i make my thread for this project
Every time the official RMWeb account makes a post, I think it's @Eliaquim writing it!

It's driving me crazy, but it's also wonderfully hilarious.
// Looks at Elfkisser, realizes he'd have to either install Windows 10 or compile it for Linux
// Didn't install Elfkisser.
Too much effort for a curiosity. :popcorn:
I was just high-fiving myself for all I've learnt in the engine, and how far I've come, only to forget to remove the Immortal state from a semi-scripted battle. Now the enemy never dies and I feel so smart >.>
Playtest your stuff. Always playtest.

Forum statistics

Threads
99,224
Messages
963,227
Members
130,813
Latest member
Gremter
Top