Player Clips Through Wall In Breath Of The Wild DLC And Discovers Hidden Area

Image credit: Sharkystheshotty
Image credit: Sharkystheshotty

Included in the first Zelda: Breath of the Wild DLC are the Master Trials, a sixty level challenge where players fight enemies in search of an upgrade for the Master Sword. That’s what Reddit user Sharkystheshotty was doing when they unexpectedly stumbled into an alternate, lo-res world.

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“Was on trial three on the Medium trials and flew up near the chest on the floating platform and just went through a wall,” wrote Sharkystheshotty. “Couldn’t get back in...so I didn’t make it.” Instead, they appeared in what appears to be an unused area still half-assembled in the game’s code. Desperate to recreate his happy accident and explore the minimal texture expanse for themselves, users wanted to know more about what Sharkystheshotty did right before appear in the new environment, but details were limited.

Illustration for article titled Player Clips Through Wall In iBreath Of The Wild /iDLC And Discovers Hidden Area
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“I don’t really remember exactly where but I flew up with my glider on trial 3 on the Medium trials near where the floating chest was on the wall by the corner. Best I can do,” they said. What Sharkystheshotty did have were a handful of screenshots taken before they reset back to the main game.

Illustration for article titled Player Clips Through Wall In iBreath Of The Wild /iDLC And Discovers Hidden Area

Some users speculated that it might be a test area created specifically for the stuff in Trials, while others wondered if it was simply unused material that hadn’t been completely deleted from the game in the interest of not creating other bugs (a hypothesis roundly rejected by another user)

Illustration for article titled Player Clips Through Wall In iBreath Of The Wild /iDLC And Discovers Hidden Area
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Whatever the cause, there’s something breath taking about the landscape and its smooth lack of clutter. Breath of the Wild is lauded for having a huge open world filled with strange and unpredictable things to see and do, but seeing all of that laid bare beneath an azure skybox has a beauty all its own.

Glitches aren’t unheard of in the game, but very few of them involve clipping through the geometry to reveal the game’s world in a more broken light. No doubt in the coming days players will try to investigate this particular rift between levels and see if it can’t be exploited for the purposes of speedrunning.

Kotaku staff writer. You can reach him at ethan.gach@kotaku.com

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DISCUSSION

lakenipigon
Lake Nipigon

HI CAN THIS PLEASE BE BROUGHT OUT OF THE GRAYS? IT IS INTERESTING INFO I PROMISE. :(

Hi! Okay so: A couple people already pointed this out, but yeah this is something that’d make a level designer cringe a bit, like “Oh crap they found a hole in the collision”. To the uninitiated though it’s pretty cool looking, innit? You’re gonna naturally want to know why this stuff is there. I can help with that!

The term we always used for the big swath of land without anything on it was “Backstage”. This dude found a hole in the invisible fence and now he’s backstage.

So okay, this is going to sound like some super bullshitty mansplaining to anyone who already knows this stuff, and I apologize. BUT! For the folks who honestly don’t know how this stuff gets in there and would like to, here ya go. :)

It’s very hard to tell from the ground, but levels when loaded into an editor are often really big and empty compared to the POV the player is going to have. Like, REALLY big. The phrase “mass out a level” is (obviously) not all that common outside the industry but it’s immediately clear what it means. You generally start designing a level by firing up your editor of choice, zooming way the hell out, Setting a collision plane (probably with some random modulation in there, like “rolling hills” or whatever) and laying down this gigantic swath of land to work with. From the perspective of the level editor floating way up in the sky, it’s a more-is-better situation since you can always trim the unused stuff later (or not, as the case may be) and flat land without a bunch of stuff hand-placed on it is pretty minimal in terms of how much memory it uses up, particularly if the player is never intended to see much of it.

That level gets uploaded to a central server in its rough state, and then anyone designing the more finite details on the map checks the file out, does their work on it, and then checks it back in. Over time the playable area shrinks down (usually WAY down) and gets a lot more detailed while the stuff on the borders remains as scratch area, like the unused bottom of a painting that’s gonna be cut off later and has a bunch of color splotches on it where the artist was testing out mixing paints or doing quick sketches in the margins to see if something would look good.

So, imagine a big-ass folding map, like the kind we had to use to navigate before smartphones, and imagine it being laid out on a table. The playable area might wind up being the size of a coffee mug placed in the middle of that map.

I’ve seen instances where it winds up being the size of a postage stamp when all is said and done. It still looks fine from the perspective of the player because the zoom levels on these things can be damn impressive, but if you pull all the way out in the editor, there’s this tiny little patch with tons of scripting and objects and hand-placed stuff all rammed into one spot, and then those kilometers of auto-generated rolling hills surrounding it extended a shockingly long way.

“But why not trim all that stuff off when the level ships?”

Well, a lot of times they do, but it varies from artist to artist and studio to studio. The argument for just leaving it in there is so that if there’s seams in the playable area that the player can see through, then there’s actually something to *see* instead of a formless void.

Depending on the engine, level geometry possibly isn’t even drawn in unless the player tries to look at it, so as far as the game is concerned this isn’t really taking up much memory or anything, but if the player manages to look towards the horizon, there’s a bunch of easy-to-render repeating land textures it’s supposed to slap in there. Looks pretty barren up close but from far away it looks fine, and it’s far less artificial looking that just painting some mountains into the skybox or whatever.

So yep! There you go. Hopefully someone found this explanation interesting.