An example of a hidden area is a small room containing a cache of items, often special weapons or power-ups. Hidden areas are usually off the main route followed by the player. The intent is to provide rewards to the player. The difficulty of finding or accessing a hidden area may be proportional to value of the reward.
If the player is reward given a powerful reward, the overall challenge of the level will decrease as they’ve gained a significant advantage. Too powerful of a reward may completely upset the level’s balance. The pacing of the level will increase and tension decrease if the player the player is now able to move quickly without worrying about threats from enemy NPCs.
|The Half-Life 2: Episode 1 level “Lowlife” contains a hidden area. Just off the main path, it contains an enemy NPC and a small reward. This rewards the player for doing additional exploration.|
|In the level “Sierra 117” from Halo 3, the player is rewarded with extra weapons and ammo for exploring off the intended path.|