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Let's Discuss Defining "Hidden"

Discussion in 'Level Creation Help' started by Don G Rowe, Nov 14, 2017.

  1. Don G Rowe

    Don G Rowe Famous Member

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    I'm a little unsure about what makes a level "hidden". To me, the term refers to instances where a moveable block or mechanism assembly is concealed in the shadows of overhanging blocks, only just barely tappable in a recessed corner of the architecture, or a visible static block directly attached to a draggable beneath the surface of the level (think of my "Mulligan").

    I do not consider "remote" or "non-adjacent" controls to be hidden elements, provided they are otherwise in plain sight. So, discuss!

    So what does "hidden" mean for you?
     
  2. Block builder

    Block builder MekoStudio Helper

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    Interesting topic. To add, we should I think distinguish "hidden" and "invisible". Though sometimes things can be on a little gray area in between, for instance a draggable that is in a very, very dark corner. For hidden I then agree with your examples.

    A more important question (arguably) is, when does invisibility or hiddenness create bad or good gameplay?

    Ball-spacer mechanism can for instance be totally hidden. You push a ball at one place, something else moves at another. Cause and effect clearly visible to the player. I then see no need to show the mechanism. Moreover, the visual design is likely better with the mechanism invisible. So stuff being invisible or very hidden can be part of good gameplay, so long as the player can see cause and effect, and little to no guessing is involved.

    Hiddenness is more difficult. For one thing, some players may see something quickly, while others just keep overlooking it. So long as the logic in the level would force a player to the thought "there must be something else" I think it can be accepted in good gameplay. However, it should be visible to a reasonable extent. As a creator, you have a massive bias here, so for your own idea you should probably create something that looks quite apparent.

    As an example I'd like to show this from The Mole. At the start, B can basically go nowhere but in the water. Then the player should find the passage under the bridge. I've added a red brick block and two rails there. I thought it was quite clear, but some failed to see it. So, anything more hidden than this is probably only adding difficulty by frustration, rather than by fun gameplay for the player.

    [​IMG]

    So concluding:
    • Invisibility is ok when cause and effect can be seen/derived.
    • Hiddenness can be ok but should be used with care. Logic of the level should force a player to start looking, and account for the creator bias and differences between player (i.e. make it quite visible to yourself).
     
  3. Don G Rowe

    Don G Rowe Famous Member

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    Thanks @Block builder ... that's exactly the kind of dialogue I was hoping to have. I actually completely agree about the playability aspects, and would add that it's an easy line to cross over. It's one of the real challenges of designing any game, finding that sweet spot where the challenge is enough to keep the player engaged, but not too much to become frustrating.

    It's not easy to do. For instance in my level Jumble Town, I put in what I considered to be an obvious trail of red bricks leading from B's starting point to the slider you needed to pull to get started. Yet looking at the comments, many players missed it entirely, and some even resorted to tricks to get B going.
     
    Star Penguin likes this.
  4. explorer

    explorer Active Member

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    I have two levels I've held back due to the "hiddenness"of the mechanisms. (Click for full size.)

    image.jpg
    This one has a mechanism which is only revealed when a visible feature is engaged.

    image.jpg
    This one requires climbing the steps, and then returning to the space where b originally stood after falling.

    Both seem too frustrating, so I never submitted them.
     
  5. Don G Rowe

    Don G Rowe Famous Member

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    I think "no tricks" is more conventionally "hidden", but it would probably have been more frustrating if I had just downloaded it vs. finding it in this thread.

    "return to origin" doesn't even require B to climb the stairs. Just tap a block forward and back. So I would put this one more in the "joke/novelty" category. I think it fails the tests of effective playability @Block builder suggested.Thanks for sharing, though, both were very interesting.
     
  6. Black1226

    Black1226 Famous Member

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    So Don', do you think the hidden win block was frustrating for players in Temple Trouble? I'm interested to know what you think. Thanks!
     
  7. Don G Rowe

    Don G Rowe Famous Member

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    I would not think so, because there was a plainly visible control (the draggable) that revealed the win block (once the stray block preventing the win from lifting up was removed, naturally ;) ).
     
  8. Black1226

    Black1226 Famous Member

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    Good! The last thing i want to do is frustrate players.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2017
  9. trids

    trids Famous Member

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    o_O I know I'm a bit late to this party, but i quite enjoyed @explorer's two challenges above. I think the key is that as long as it's made clear that there is something hidden, then such a puzzle could be very enjoyable. But without any hint of what to expect, it would be too frustrating.
     
    nGord likes this.

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