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Do u like secret exits in mario hacks?

Secret exits?

I once heard someone say secret exits kinda suck. And i kinda agree. Seeing a Red rot makes me go 'ugh lets look for a key i guess'. Yeah i also used secret exits in all my hacks so far, but i don't know if the majority of people really wanna explore or just have some platforming Action.
Just like with any level design element, there are ways of making secret exits awesome, and there are ways of making them awful.

Imo, unless a level incentivizes this with replay value, offers a new route, or is explorative / open-ended in nature, I would lean away from adding a secret exit. Placing a key and keyhole somewhere in the middle of a level without introducing content other than the necessitating an exit clear and opening a different overworld path might not enhance the gameplay experience, instead, it can instead feel tedious for the player.

Something I'd like to do more of with secret exits is simply taking the opportunity to send the player in a completely different direction, perhaps to reflect what the overworld tells us. Creating an entirely new path for the secret exit gives it a realistic purpose.
Secret exits for the sake of inflating the exit count is always going to be one of the SMW hack "cardinal sins". I think secret exits are much better handled if they unlock paths to unique new levels, maybe levels that don't quite stick to the same theme or gimmick that the rest of that world's levels might.

In general, adding new routes to give the game some nonlinearity will always be appreciated as long as the optional extra level(s) don't seem too shoehorned.
I have to admit i didnt handle secret exits the best in my Recent hack, but i at least tried to make interessting optional levels, even if you never unlock an alternate Route and just get a switch palace, items or a hint for something.

You guys actually gave good arguments, and yes, some hacks handle secret exits very well, i just think looking for a key itself isnt fun most of the time.
I like them. When you want to explore more of your ideas but your level is already long enough, a "hard route" for a secret exit or two can work very well. I guess you could also split the level into two, but then you have two of the same kind of level (not necessarily bad, it can be fun to revisit ideas but it's nice to keep similar ideas in one spot too)
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I personally don't mind secret exits, tho SMW itself has had levels where Secret Exits are found towards the end instead of near beginning or midpoints, and SMW hackers tend to see that as bad level design if it's not rewarding to achieve and if it doesn't relate to the gimmick - its central idea.

Your level's secret exit should only have it if it's not tacked onto the level that could do without one. It should relate to the level's central idea unless if it has to deviate from it, such as foreshadowing an upcoming area.
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Personally, I do not. Most of the time, the execution of secret exits tend to be unsatisfying and end being a chore. I like when levels have more focused ideas rather than exploration.
I generally like to see secret exits. With more open ended levels, exploration can definitively be fun but beating a level under a certain condition is also a valid way of secret exits (especially in more restricting levels) even if it ends up being a case of "secret exit is put at the level end" but that one is more troublesome with explorations, not challenges.

That being said, a very easy pitfall with secret exits is to put them in long levels unless they're found at more or less the beginning of the level. One reason why secret exits near the goal in SMW aren't that troublesome is because most levels themselves can be beaten in two to three minutes in a regular playthrough (excluding deaths, of course) but many of us tend to build levels which take four minutes upwards and are harder.
Originally posted by MarioFanGamer
One reason why secret exits near the goal in SMW aren't that troublesome is because most levels themselves can be beaten in two to three minutes in a regular playthrough (excluding deaths, of course) but many of us tend to build levels which take four minutes upwards and are harder.

This is why imo secret exits in crossroads levels are best executed with a fork in the path fairly early on (regardless of how many exits there are in said level).

Originally posted by Daizo Dee Von
I guess you could also split the level into two, but then you have two of the same kind of level (not necessarily bad, it can be fun to revisit ideas but it's nice to keep similar ideas in one spot too)

Sure, to Daizo Dee Von's point, there's a potential for the level to feel like more than just a single level in the same spot. Although, with different spin on gimmicks or new attributes from one path to the alternative path(s), you can create a pretty cool and memorable experience for the player without cramming all of that content into a single gauntlet level or across multiple different levels.
Originally posted by SMWizard
Originally posted by Daizo Dee Von
I guess you could also split the level into two, but then you have two of the same kind of level (not necessarily bad, it can be fun to revisit ideas but it's nice to keep similar ideas in one spot too)

Sure, to Daizo Dee Von's point, there's a potential for the level to feel like more than just a single level in the same spot. Although, with different spin on gimmicks or new attributes from one path to the alternative path(s), you can create a pretty cool and memorable experience for the player without cramming all of that content into a single gauntlet level or across multiple different levels.

Yeah see, if the "sequel level" requires having explored two different levels and the result is a level that combines two gimmicks together, then yeah that makes way more sense than a secret exit route.

Now yeah, even then if your secret exit route requires knowledge from a different level, it should be one that you've most likely already played without any way of skipping it. Though there are some points about foreshadowing, which fair enough but in that case make sure it's introduced proper as much as the "future level" in question.

Unless the foreshadowing is aesthetic related

which in that case

...

go nuts.
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I love Secret Exits. I think hacks generally improve upon them as a concept in every way. In OG SMW secret exits are mostly gimmicky. SMW is also guilty of the "secret exit right at the end" and "impossible to find without a guide" secret exit tropes, which are the worst ways to do secret exits. Obviously hacks do these tropes a lot too, but in most hacks I've played hunting them down is more fun than a chore. And it involves new content more often than not.

One thing I really like about secret exits is that they kind of change the entire game. You're forced to pay closer attention to the level because you're looking for the secret, which means you're engaging more with the video game. You can get this with Dragon Coin runs too, but most of the time people don't put much effort into hiding Dragon Coins. I can understand why this style of gameplay isn't for everyone though. I love metroidvanias and am a completionist, so hunting for secret exits is almost always more fun than not for me. Most people when playing Mario games are expecting linearity and quick fun, and secret exits are antithetical to both of those. You have to slow down and explore. In that respect I completely understand why Nintendo mostly ditched them in newer Mario titles.

Another thing is they also make branching paths feel more cohesive and make the world design feel a bit more alive. Sure, you can have branching paths on the overworld with yellow levels, but to me it feels way more rewarding and deserved when you unlock the branching path by yourself. Almost like you dug that shortcut with your own two hands and didn't just dump a horse in a pit to go under a goal which made some trees disappear.
I do. Sometimes they are a pain. But they make you use your head and test your skills and go for completion. They add a nice layer of challenge to some levels, and the lock and key sound and visual effects are really appealing. #w{=P}
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I believe if there is a purpose behind them, or at the very worst they're near the start to middle of a level, they're fine.

What I mean by purpose is that they could hide a Switch Palace behind one, maybe a secret ending, maybe even a a path with fewer levels but are tougher for potential of beating the game faster. It's not limited to just those ideas, but those are the ones I came up with immediately as examples.

Also if we're talking Kaizo or very hard standard Mario hacks, if you can manage to put them in the first 30 seconds of a level, it may not be a good reason to have them, but at least you're not having to play the same level all the way through twice. I think this can be forgiven if you're making/playing an easier hack though.
noticing that people are mostly focusing on secret exits within the context of the level itself. just as, if not more important, imo, is having it be meaningful in the overworld. return to dinosaur land had great secret exit design in-level, but only used them to gate progression, which was agonizing to see

alternate paths and secret levels to reward the player for exploring should be on the designer’s mind as much as just putting the secret exit in the level