*Special Sound Effect* 'Ooh, I just found some secret (stuff)!' : Good or Bad for an RPG?

Reapergurl

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I've always been fascinated with the idea of finding something well hidden, and receiving a nice bonus for doing so.


Like, in the Tomb Raider series, for example, when you find something hidden, you hear an ambient sound that gets your attention.


My friend who feels the same, always coos 'Ooh, secret ****!' whenever she plays a game and finds a hidden something good.


I don't think I've come across an RPG with stuff of this nature (if I had then I might of dismissed it because I'm usually focused on something else), but I was wondering if anyone had ever done this sort of thing for their RPG, or if they think it's a bad idea...you know.
 

_Shadow_

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It depends. It can be a good or a bad idea really, depending on how you will apply it in your project.


I am actually making something these days and I got some secret bonus, to reward players that search around, while not punishing the ones that do not. ;)


I consider this idea good, if the secret is a bonus.
 

Kes

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Lots of games have hidden stuff - secret rooms (as distinct from secret dungeons), ultra well concealed chests, stuff in objects other than the obvious chest/cupboard/book shelf, paths that only appear if you interact directly with that particular patch of wall, etc. etc. 


As for bonuses, again incredibly common with this sort of mechanic, especially secret rooms.  For example, in my own games by late game they will contain rare healing items that cannot be bought in shops, very special (but not game-breakingly so) gear, perhaps a level up or bonus to some ex-parameter and so on. 


Sticking a special sound effect on it is less common, but far from being unheard of.  (Pun not intended).
 

Tai_MT

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I think I've really only played one game where the "secrets" felt rewarding and fun.  Final Fantasy VI.  The hidden rewards were always such a bump in power or ability that they were worth finding.  In the Magitek Facility you could find Elemental Blades.  Fire, Ice, Lightning.  But, if you explored for secrets... sometimes you could find an EARTH blade... which had a chance to randomly cast Petrify... and was massively more powerful than the elemental blades.


You could also find a lot of random items strewn about towns and cities and if you left them until the massive "game changer" at the middle of the game, the loot actually changed and got better.


And then there were the Elixirs.  Every.  Single.  Clock.  They all had one.  You saw a clock, it had an Elixir.  Unless it was a switch.


Sometimes, even playing out an event differently than intended gave you a "secret" item.  You could obtain a Genji Glove early (allows you to equip a weapon in each hand) by refusing to join the rebels 3 times in a row when asked.  Then, the plot would move forward without your consent and you'd get the Genji Glove instead of whatever "prevents X, Y, and Z" item you'd have gotten instead.

Heck, if you left a lot of the random treasure chests alone in most of the dungeons in the game, a lot of the loot changed and got better when you had to come back through those locations much later.


I particularly liked all of that stuff.  I'm not sure I've seen a game do anything like that since.


I'm not really sure about a "special sound effect" for when you find secrets...  But, I guess that could work.  I'd just wonder if it was really necessary when most secrets are going to be obvious by themselves that they're secret.  Well, unless it's a game like Tomb Raider where the level design is so obtuse that it's just as easy to accidently wander into a secret area as it is to continue through the main storyline.  Well, that's if we're talking about the two new Tomb Raider games.  I never played the originals, so I don't know how it was with them.  But, level design in the new Tomb Raiders is often so shoddy that you don't know that you've stepped into a "secret area" until the game flat-out told you that you had.  Which... as a player... annoyed me slightly.
 

Dr. Delibird

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I like secret areas in games but I don't like it when the only way to find them is by hugging every wall and mashing "A" on everything. I like there to be clues or at the very least if you the player can see the secret area from afar (the other side of a wall for example). I actually get severe paranoia when I play a game and there are zero clues and zero evidence of secret areas BUT those areas do exist because either I stumbled upon one or the game let's you know that there are secret areas in the game.


I prefer using puzzles as a means to granting the player access to a special room/area rather than having hidden passages (final fantasy series did this a lot) or secret switches hidden in a bookcase or whatever (unless a puzzle leads to said switch and you know it's there because of the puzzle).
 

Sharm

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Sound effect reinforcing of when you do something unusual and good in the game?  Yep, I like that stuff.  As long as the sound doesn't take too long, sometimes in Zelda I just want to open the chest already.
 
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I have a fair few 'hidden events' from interacting with the terrain planned for in my main game which rather than giving goodies trigger mini-scenes in which the characters talk and banter (some of which are rather comical, if I do say so myself). So in a sense I am using lore and characterisation this 'hidden reward', and as lore has no game changing power players who don't want to check everything can continue without feeling disadvantaged.


Of course I have a few hidden events that do give a slight power advantage (but mean little by late-game) but they have a visual cue; cave entrance visible behind tree, sparkle on ground.
 

Reapergurl

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@ everyone who posted a response


This here is the exact sound I was talking about.


'Secret ****!'


@Sharm I think this would be ideal in place of the Zelda ME (but in TR it simply plays in the background when you find that secret area).
 

Jhale M.

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I believe strongly in the power of sound effects. I think for a secret in an RPG, I would want some magic, skill or a summoning with cool sound effects or even better, a weapon that has a unique look and sound effect when you attack..
 

Reapergurl

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@Jhale M. Or even better, a secret sequence/ending that allows for exploration of somewhere new.


In that regard, I love Yanfly's New Game + script series; that makes adding that bonus game all the easier.


One thing that I like about the secret stuff is that it was meant to be discovered by those with the skill and/or knowledge to do so.
 

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