Looking for hidden things

Hi all,

Implementing the initial stage of my game where the PC (and NPC as discussed in the NPC Agency topic) is looking for hidden treasures in a house. Now I wonder in how many ways we can generally “hide” things in a location?

Right now I am thinking of:

  • goodies inside a drawer and other containers (standard Inform7 functionality)
  • goodies under things having space underneath (tables, beds, etc)
  • goodies behind things (paintings, sofas pushed against the wall)
    And another one might be:
  • goodies on top of high places (top of a high closet or shelf) the player cannot reach until he/she pushes an enterable supporter next to it.

Any other ways to hide stuff (in mundane ways, I will leave magic for other games)?

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You can always use search as a separate verb from examine if you really want to hide something.

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  • Hiding stuff in plain sight, where PC won’t realize the true nature of it until they encounter a reference to it.
  • Disguising stuff as something else that can only be found when they interact with the said stuff in some way.
  • Hiding stuff by NPC’s carrying them.
  • Asking and/or waiting for delivery of stuff from outside.
  • Hiding by diassembling, where the goal is to combine the parts to acquire the thing.

Edit: mistyped word.


I’ve played games that did this and it was just boring and tedious.


Hanging from the ceiling?

By light color. For instance, a red object hidden by a red light shining in the same room.

Under a rug in a living room.

By partial darkness.

Suspended out a window.

Among things that look similar.

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Use multiple character’s perspectives for games that allow a switch in PC. Like one character might be able to notice or see something the other may not, but it takes the first character to take advantage of it.

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e.g., Suspended.

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A machine that requires using up what seems to be a treasure (or seems vital to make a treasure) but isn’t actually, to run the machine (and create an item).

(Eg. I have a coal-to-diamonds machine, but I need fuel to run it. Maybe the little baby diamond (which you found earlier and thought was a treasure - but it actually isn’t valuable or big enough) needs to be put in the coal-diamond machine after flipping the polarity switch.
(The diamond-to-coal machine doesn’t need fuel [because the pain of destroying a precious diamond is enough, and it’s small].)
The baby diamond is turned into a small piece of coal, and from here you put the small coal in the combustion chute and the big one in the matter-transference chute (after flipping the polarity switch).
Finally, you get a VERY BIG diamond, which is worth a lot! (Maybe you trade it with someone for a goodie? I dunno.) )

EDIT: Apparently, coal turning to diamonds is nearly impossible (or at least infinitely improbable). If you have a laboratory in the house, you can get a pure carbon block (does it come in blocks?), and use the machine with blocks of pure carbon instead of coal.

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Ironically, diamonds can burn despite whatever De Beers might tell you.

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Just a few more:

  • Goodies that are given to you by an NPC (typically after giving them something, doing them a good deed or helping them in some other way).
  • Goodies protected by barriers to another room (typically a locked door, but also NPC guardians such as a troll guarding a bridge, a bouncer at a nightclub, a ticket collector requiring a ticket etc.).
  • Goodies hidden by other things (a pile of junk, long grass, snow etc.).
  • Goodies revealed by digging.
  • Goodies that can be seen, but are out of reach (you’ve already mentioned on top of high places, but could also be under a grate, hanging from the ceiling, in a mouse hole, on a ledge outside a window etc.).
  • Goodies that are frozen (e.g. revealed by melting ice).

Search is generally discouraged, but there’s no reason why you can’t do this if you hint it well (a good example of this is when you X SCRUB in Blorp!) or it seems like a natural thing to do (such as searching a dead body in Submarine Sabotage).


It can be very frustrating when you’re stuck and the thing you missed was that you needed to search something you thought you already covered. It does have the benefit of being memorable though (in a negative way). The point about hinting probably applies to the other ideas here as well.


I don’t mind searching in a game, as long as it’s clear it’s that sort of game, either from the style or author or the game’s provenance.