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Hiding rooms in towns


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Thaluikhain Thaluikhain

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 06:18 AM #1 Hiding rooms in towns

While it's easy enough to use secret doors to create a hidden room in a town, generally a black space on the map is going to attract attention and get a thorough searching.

Was wondering how to make a secret room and keep it secret.  You can get away with it to an extent with irregular caves with lots of solid rock in the map so a secret doesn't stand out so much, but in a normal town it's not so easy.

One thing I'd thought of was if you had a line of bookshelves against one wall, and the next room had a line of bookshelves against the adjoining room, you could have a gap between them which a player might assume was filled with a wall.  Though, unless you were in a big library with lots of walls between shelves you couldn't see that weren't containing secrets, this would likely draw attention as well.

Alternatively, I suppose you could have the secret on another level, and have the entrance in plain sight that wasn't obvious, something decorative like a mat or a pot plant that could (in universe) cover a trapdoor or something, but that players wouldn't go up to and click on if they'd not known about it.
Or possibly play with terrain changes, for example, a special encounter that makes a decorative pond dry up and there is something at the bottom you can't get at before hand.

Was wondering what other ways of keeping a secret secret people had?

(As an aside, I really liked in E3 how the thief hid stuff in animal pens.  You could break the lock and walk around inside them, but there's absolutely no reason to do so unless you know, and they aren't in any way suspicious.  Though, only hides a special encounter, not a room -  excepting the really obvious one with the ghosts in the town with the slimes which I'm not sure was connected)

Old Beardo Old Beardo

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Posted 19 November 2016 - 10:20 PM #2 Hiding rooms in towns

using your example of hiding something in-between two buildings without it being obvious there is a slab of terrain unaccounted for, I would just design the terrain flush and make it so if you find the secret passage there is a special in the wall that moves to another "duplicate" area of the town, this one with the extra space in-between for your secret area, and hide this duplicate area behind some trees in the corner of the town or something. If you don't want it to be awkward on the map, you can go the extra mile to create an entire duplicate town, one with and one without the secret, and have a special teleport you between them.

Randomizer Randomizer

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 12:56 AM #3 Hiding rooms in towns

The alternative is what Jeff did in Avernum 5 where you have fake rooms.  There is a space that can't be accessed and he repeated it enough times that players would start to give up.  There were also plenty of fake hidden switches.
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Posted 22 November 2016 - 03:26 AM #4 Hiding rooms in towns

Hidden spaces connected via Stairway node or Move Party/Teleport to an unused corner have always had an annoying issue with the minimap: You couldn't be subtle about it, because the map would suddenly go black and they'd get a message in the text area. AFAIK you can't turn off the text area message in OBoE yet (I'll mention that to CM) but at least the designer can either grant the whole minimap or turn it off altogether in town settings, to prevent the sudden, obvious blanking, if so desired.
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Thaluikhain Thaluikhain

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 07:14 AM #5 Hiding rooms in towns

Hmm, playing with teleporters sounds like a decent idea.  Or if you wanted to be tricky, change the terrain to put a different room in on the other side of the secret (overwriting what is already there), and then change it back when the party leaves.  Had considered doing that, but seemed a bit complicated, and difficult to have anything you actually wanted to see there (such as items or people to talk to).

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 12:42 PM #6 Hiding rooms in towns

I believe you can place mobs and items onto solid blocks in the editor, so they'd still be there if you changed the terrain with nodes. You can even manually set an item to "in a container".
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Celtic Minstrel Celtic Minstrel

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 01:43 PM #7 Hiding rooms in towns

Just for the record, it's my opinion that "hiding something between two buildings" and "making it not obvious that there's something there" are incompatible goals. Sure, you can cheat and have a separate town with the secret room as has been discussed here, but that's ill-advised - it defies common sense about spacial orientation, so unless you're willing to explain it away with space-stretching magic or something, I would be very unhappy to see such a trick used.

However, if you just want to avoid making it obvious that something's hidden, it shouldn't be hard to use a stairway for a literal basement room.
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Posted 23 November 2016 - 02:14 PM #8 Hiding rooms in towns

I assumed the idea was hiding it on the minimap. Like, so the player just assumes it's a forest or a cave wall, but there's really something there.
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Tevildo Tevildo

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 05:21 AM #9 Hiding rooms in towns

Falling Stars has some hidden rooms that don't show on the map until you find them, even if you use the Char Editor or debug commands. I don't know exactly how that works, but suspect it involves terrain transformation nodes; i.e. when you open the secret door, a special node turns an area of wall into floor, producing the room.

Edit: actually I'm not sure if terrain transformation would cover this, since it's not just floor - also book shelves, treasure chests, and other stuff. But it definitely works.

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 06:02 PM #10 Hiding rooms in towns

Like I said, you can put a solid wall where you want a treasure chest or bookshelf, place items there, and use Edit Item to mark the "Is Contained" option. Then all you have to do is change the wall to a container and the items will be inside, but not visible otherwise. I think one scenario ("Demon"?) has a puzzle where you have to push a crate around a room until it picks up a hidden item in the non-container floor. I'm pretty sure monsters don't have to be on a clear spot either to put them somewhere with the editor.
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Thaluikhain Thaluikhain

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Posted 24 November 2016 - 07:38 PM #11 Hiding rooms in towns

Oh, I like that.  Constantly impressed with all the weird and wonderful things people have done with the editor.

Old Beardo Old Beardo

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Posted 25 November 2016 - 02:03 PM #12 Hiding rooms in towns

View PostCeltic Minstrel, on 23 November 2016 - 01:43 PM, said:

Just for the record, it's my opinion that "hiding something between two buildings" and "making it not obvious that there's something there" are incompatible goals. Sure, you can cheat and have a separate town with the secret room as has been discussed here, but that's ill-advised - it defies common sense about spacial orientation, so unless you're willing to explain it away with space-stretching magic or something, I would be very unhappy to see such a trick used.

However, if you just want to avoid making it obvious that something's hidden, it shouldn't be hard to use a stairway for a literal basement room.

I agree for general hidden stuff but I think this is a really good idea for hidden areas that you intend the player to find out about from somewhere else before obtaining, and simply using flags to make a wall turn into secret passage only once you've learned about it is going to drive the casual explorer crazy because they've true-sighted a opening between the walls and cant figure out how to get in, and will likely assume you forgot to add an entrance.



In regards to teleportation to another section of the map being awkward on the mini-map: yes, it is. However, I think by this year the only people who will ever be playing your map know Exile quite well and will have a pretty good understanding that this is just how you saw fit to hide something.

Edit: Grammar mistake




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