By - Lord_Spy
This topic is like a spray bottle for naughty devs.
what does that even mean?
You know when the cat's being naughty consistently so you keep a spray bottle handy?
(I don't personally do that; my cat just does what it wants and I gleefully let it happen).
I misread that as spray can (like paint)
To add to that: Please do NOT hide those shortcuts away as secrets if they are supposed to help you get back to a play that you have already explored!
There is no point in creating a shortcut behind, say, the boss room to be lead you back to a previous area and then hiding that shortcut away like the holy grail.
I'm more understanding of this if it's a shortcut that leads to an area further ahead that you haven't yet looked at. Hiding that a is understandable. But hiding away shortcuts like some ancient treasure serves no purpose.
On this note, I think some hidden shortcuts are good! It adds to the exploration to have some secrets take you to places you didn't expect. But the main/most important ones and the ones people will want to use most often shouldn't be hidden.
> There is no point in creating a shortcut behind, say, the boss room to be lead you back to a previous area and then hiding that shortcut away like the holy grail.
Curious: How do you feel about the secret way to get to the Great Hollow / Ash Lake in Dark Souls?
I can't really tell you. I never played Dark Souls and it never interested me as a franchise. From what little I've played Dark Souls are great games, just not for me.
That being said, if the secret way you mention actually leads to an item or currency or anything at that point, to me, it becomes a secret, not a shortcut and should be hidden away.
However, if the main purpose of the passage is to get you from point A to point B faster and cut down travel time then I really don't understand the secrecy to it. It feels like the game is antagonistic toward the players for no other reason than to be more antagonistic than already.
Yeah, it's more of a secret passageway but it leads to two completely optional (and admittedly pretty cool) areas.
I'm not sure how to hide spoilers but this is how you get to it-
From the Blighttown swamp area there's a large hollowed out tree with a root that acts like a ramp. Going inside the small room there's a corpse with a wooden plank shield. Hit the wall and it disappears into another small room with a chest that holds twin humanities (IIRC). Go behind the chest and hit the wall *again* to reveal yet another secret door and that path leads to a bonfire and this giant-ass hollowed out tree (i.e. The Great Hollow). At the very bottom is the Ash Lake area, it's very cool-looking and holds the game's second Hydra.
I just think that hiding two pretty good areas behind not one but two illusory walls in a row would definitely classify as the 'holy grail' you speak of!
This I would actually be fine with. It is stupidly well hidden, but as far as I remember Dark Souls likes to pull secrets like that were the only way you could find it without looking it up is randomly stumbling into it. However, it leads to optional areas that actually hold a secret in it. Those are actually really cool if they are well hidden!
But a proper shortcut, that leads from one main path to the other to cut down traveling time, doesn't really need to be hidden in my opinion.
> But a proper shortcut, that leads from one main path to the other to cut down traveling time, doesn't really need to be hidden in my opinion.
Agreed. Actually having it be plainly visible but unobtainable right away is kind of a big part of many Metroidvania games i.e. *"I see there's a chest up there but I can't get there right now.. maybe I can fall through the ceiling? Maybe I can find a way to jump or fly up there later and come back? Maybe I can do all three!"*
To use Dark Souls again as an example I mean the whole first half of that game is a damn masterclass in world design (the second half, ehhh). So many times I'd unlock some door or take an elevator someplace and wind up at an earlier area I'd been to before and it was just done so seamlessly.
I mean isn't there only a secret way to access those areas? It isn't a shortcut.
Yeah, I was thinking more along the lines of a path to get to another area overall.
Hello, good hunter. I am a Bot, here in this dream to look after you, this is a fine note:
> *“They’d have us seek the Lords of Cinder and return them to their molding thrones. But we’re talking true legends with the mettle to link the fire. We’re not fit to lick their boots, don’t you think?”* - Hawkwood the Deserter
Have a good one and praise the sun \\[T]/
I took a lot of inspiration on Bone Appetit's shortcuts *specifically* from that ladder you have to kick downwards in Dark Souls' Undead Berg bonfire. It's the one you climb up that takes you under Hellkite's bridge. Right outside the doorway is that crossbow hollow.
So for these shortcuts you can either appear at the top of the screen from the room above and attack the switch, which lowers the ladder, or better still if you have the magic rod you can be at ground level and shoot its beams upwards and hit them from below. This opens many ways up to sequence breaking, the main reason why this weapon exists at all.
I think that is one of the little things that make HK stand above others. It has the ability locked shortcuts but some of them can be bypassed with exceptional gameplay. When I watched speedruns after finishing the game my jaw dropped at the the things these people could pull of. The high wall you can jump over with double jump can be passed with very well timed needle pogo or that narrow passage over acid just at the edge of screen can be glided over with some dash and magic combo.
What HK did was not new but it did it soo good, made it THE modern metroidvania.
Ah you nailed it for me. i remembered that hollow knight had better short cuts like blasphemous. and the reason is propably ability gated short/ shortcut unlocks.
On my first run, I feel like HK didn't do shortcuts well at all. The map is simply too large for that. Maybe if I replay it and use the pogo bounce I'll find a couple?
the pogo is intentional but the acid skip with crystal dash is definitely not intended by dev, though
An embarrassing amount of Metroidvaias don't understand this and slap on a frustrating system of fast travel instead.
I dont get the 2way part at all to be honest. I thought the classic MV thing is 1way, e.g. you have some hard platforming challenge and then at the end you break some wall or open a door and now that area is more open, you dont have to do that platforming challenge all the time.
You are describing doing the hard platforming challenge and then standing at a locked door, only openable from the other side? But that seems more doing 1way completely wrong, not that 2way seems the better way.
Or put differently: A "2way" breakable shortcut seems no unlockable at all, why not just have a completely open path then? Being 1way seems the whole point of an unlockable shortcut?
I think the wisdom is more that the other side of the shortcut always opens up towards the (easy) main path.
Openable only at one side, but then two-way. Maybe should have made that clearer, but some games have these return only because they were made by masochists.
ah yes now. And yes then I totally agree.
I would add that maybe it was also only Hollow Knight that really hit home how to use those properly and all over.
Propably had some good examples of it before then too, but I think only since HK its made its place as a kind of archetypal design element.
Also in the optimistic sense that in the future devs will propably get this. If you dont you are propably just a bad designer and your game will have a lot more problems.
As far as I know, Symphony of the Night pioneered these shortcuts.
> I dont get the 2way part at all to be honest. I thought the classic MV thing is 1way, e.g. you have some hard platforming challenge and then at the end you break some wall or open a door and now that area is more open, you dont have to do that platforming challenge all the time.
The point is that the shortcut can only be unlocked from the side after the challenge, but after unlocked you can use it to go both directions.
For a "1way" example think the crumbling blocks in Metroid games.
ok yes, thanks for explaining.
Pretty much all of wonder labyrinth is like this
.... hard room.... dead end until later when you open the short cut. Nothing is really hard though in that game but lots of switch doors you work to get to and find they are a dead end meant to open much later
I am having trouble understanding what you're saying. Specifically:
> only to find there's a gate at the end ideally shouldn't be met with nothing more than "okay, here's a one-way shortcut" or less.
What's a one way shortcut? Do you have an example?
I actually do not associate shortcuts with Metroidvanias.
That people do violate
> Metroidvania is a subgenre of video games focused on guided non-linearity and utility-gated exploration
Because you get people that play Dark Souls and get a shortcut and go "wow this is a metroivania" despite having no utility gating and just flipping switches, but that they understand this feature as being first among MV features.
shorcuts have nothing to do with ability gating though, you can have both no problem. If anything it can just make the flow of traversing and backtracking the map smoother
Metroid has tons of shortcuts gated behind abilities (like screw attack or power bomb blocks hiding ways to go back to early game zones in Super and Zero Mission). So does SotN, so at least for me it's hard to nto associate it with the genre when it was one of the major things the blueprints did.