Last time I promised that I’d finally get around to building the underwater maze this time.
How’s that? Not really a “maze” per se, but the purpose of it is not to bamboozle the player. It’s just to put the item at the end out of reach unless you have scuba gear, otherwise you’ll drown long before you can get the item and return to the entry pool.
As you can tell, I made it by copying and pasting just two structures over and over: A tunnel, and a juncture. Besides saving loads of time, this modular design means if I want to improve detail later on either the tunnels or junctures, I can delete all but one, detail the remaining one, then copy it into the empty spaces where the others used to be.
But wait, why did I put the end of the ‘maze’ right up against the entry room? Is there some method to my madness? Not usually! But this time, there is. By adding a window, I can tantalize the player with the item they can see but not yet reach.
There. Now you’ll do a little window shopping before diving in. This is another crucial trope from Metroidvanias. They show you something desirable but dangle it just out of reach.
That’s what makes it satisfying to finally get later on. If they didn’t do that, the new item would come as a surprise and you’d feel no attachment to it since it was unexpectedly dropped in your lap.
The last thing I’m gonna do for this article is start on a connecting room that will lead to another cluster of areas where more items are used/obtained. This will be a vertical platforming section, in continued homage to Metroid, rather than another horizontal section. But you’ll have to catch the next article to see how that shapes up. :)
Stay Tuned for Part 13!