Help:Contents/Finding Content/The little things
The Cutting Room Floor covers information on elements in a game that go unused. Well, items out-of-bounds can never be collected, so they ultimately go unused. And for some people, items out-of-bounds are actually some of the most interesting things. You play the game a lot, know it by heart but yet you never knew that below your feet, just slightly under the floor, is an item, left behind for some mysterious reason.
Content-wise, this pales in comparison to entire areas and sound tracks. But who discovers these tiny things? Well, most of the time, it's just luck: someone who was messing around happened to find it. But there are ways to find these yourself on purpose.
Note that this article will cover how to find interesting miscellaneous things, covered in the wiki, and not just stuff out-of-bounds exclusively. You may even find an easter egg instead of unused content.
Basically, it all boils down to this: play a game like normal, but with a few changes. Enable a mode that lets you see stuff that's normally occluded, play with a power that you're only meant to have in another part of the game, or use a different game version.
Finding things out-of-bounds
While designing a stage, some parts of it may be altered in the future, but small bits of the original parts may be left behind, except out of the level's boundary. Most times, the designers won't bother to clean that up because it isn't doing any harm: players can't see it normally, and even if they can, it doesn't have a direct impact on gameplay, most of the time.
Entering wireframe mode
When in wireframe mode, textures aren't visible, only the models' edges. This means that you'll be able to see past the objects' geometry and hopefully spot something not normally visible.
There are two problems with this method, though: first, it's considerably more GPU-intensive: a lot more has to be drawn, because not as many things are occluded by the models in the front, now that you can see past them. Secondly, it may be hard to navigate because you can only see the edges; worst case scenario, it might even give you a headache too.
But if you're up to it, play around normally on a game but in wireframe mode, to see if you can spot anything of interest. Some emulators allow you to enter wireframe mode somewhere on the options. As for Cheat Engine (not in versions 6.X), you can open the program, go to Advanced options, then Direct X-Mess. Choose the game's executable, specify the parameters (if any) and press Ok, and when you're ready to start, press Ok. On the DirectX Settings dialog, go down to Visible settings and assign a key to the Wireframe option. After pressing Apply, go back to the game, and just press that same key to toggle wireframe mode.
Disabling the Z-buffer
The Z-buffer is what controls what's behind and in front of what. In some games, if you disable it, you'll be able to see what's behind walls. This can be a bit confusing to play with at first, but it should prove to be less stressing than wireframe mode. The downside is that you'll likely be able to spot fewer things of interest.
To disable it, check to see if the emulator you're using has any option on that. To disable it with Cheat Engine, follow the same steps that you'd take to enable wireframe mode, but choose a key for Disable Z-Buffer instead.
There is a way to find occluded things in 2D games. Most emulators allow you to disable background or foreground layers. If you're feeling brave, try disabling some of these layers so you can hopefully find some sprites in the background, hidden from normal view. Of course, navigating while you can't see the ground is very hard, so keep that in mind.
Alternately, if you can make it so that sprites are always on top of background/foreground layers, all the better. Gens allows you to do this by going on Graphics\Layers\Sprites\Sprites Always on Top.
Finally, there is one other thing you can do. If the emulator has a script or mode that shows all layers at once, without anything being occluded, you can enable that. For Gens, go to Graphics\Color Adjust..., and enable XRay. This gives the different blocks and layers different tints, and always shows all layers and sprites.
If you have a map editor for this game, you should check it out. Now that you have free control over the camera, you should investigate the insides of inaccessible rooms, suspicious places and overall, just see what lies out of reach.
Some debug modes allow you to navigate through the level freely. Take some time to explore the level thoroughly, taking the chance to see if you can find something of interest.
If there is no debug mode available, try to use cheat codes to edit your position, speed or jump strength instead, so you can get to otherwise-inaccessible areas.
Manipulating the camera
Mupen (for N64 games), Dolphin (for GameCube/Wii games), or Cheat Engine (for PC DirectX executables, but only allows changing the zoom), as well as maybe some other tools, allow you to move the camera freely. You can use this to look around the levels and menus trying to search something of interest. Sometimes you may even find easter eggs, like the hidden "Toyoda" in Pikmin's main menu.
Forcing the camera position reveals an unseen hole in Wonder Boy in Monster World.
|Original game||Hacked camera|
Play a different version
If there's a game you know well, try playing or watching a gameplay video of an alternate version of the same game. Either a different region, or different revision. Then, just write down every single detail you think changed between versions. Then find a way to confirm if this change is real or not. You might just stumble upon an important change.
You can also check for differences in the game's files with a hex editor that supports difference checking, like HxD. With HxD, you need to go to the Analysis menu, pick File-compare, Compare..., choose the files, and press Ok.
If the difference is regarding readable text, you can figure it out right away. But chances are the differences are in some gameplay mechanic or differently placed object in a level; stuff you can't figure out with hex numbers directly. But, if the hex editor did point out a difference, that means there's something different.
Finally, if you see some info somewhere about a glitch or a goofy trick, try performing it on your own. There is a chance that that element was fixed or changed on your version.
No-Intro maintain indexes of mainly cartridge-based games, and Redump maintains indexes of disc-based games. Useful if you want to know how many revisions there are, or if the North American release is identical to the European release, and vice versa.
Play like you weren't meant to
Picture a game that has a special power that you can only use on the final battle. This mode gives you a pretty destructive power that causes the final boss to flash, or freeze, or suffer ludicrous damage, or what have you. You weren't meant to use this power anywhere else in the game, just on the final boss.
So, what you must do is try to play through the game with this power. Seeing as it wasn't meant to be used outside the boss battle, chances are nothing special's going to happen if you use it on ordinary enemies. But sometimes, something might just happen, and it may be particularly interesting. A good example of this is Fierce Deity Link's sword beams in Majora's Mask. No enemy is programmed to interact with these beams, but for some reason, the Dinofol is.
Play around the game with these unique modes or powers enabled, to see if you can figure out any other instance in which these things were meant to happen. Keep in mind that it may not always be an unused behavior. For instance, a unique power that only causes 2x damage is probably going to cause 2x damage to every enemy, regardless of that enemy belonging to the section in which you originally use this power or not. This is because this is a setting in the power, or in the global enemy damage code, and not a setting that was added particularly and purposely for each enemy.
Also note that some developers might take into account that the player might use that unique thing elsewhere in the game, and add behaviors as easter eggs. An example is in Psychonauts: Mr. Pokeylope, a turtle, is only added to your inventory on the end of the game, and only stays there for around 20 seconds, until you deliver it. If, however, you take the time to go back to camp before delivering it, you can show it to the campers to see their reactions. This is intended behavior, not unused. When in doubt, just ask on the talk page if it's worth mentioning.
Find unused within the used
Sometimes, unused content could be right in front of you, as a part of an entirely normal and definitely used bit of the game.
This is fairly simple. Just open up your game's sound test and take a good listen to the entirety of certain tracks. In-game, suppose there's a fixed-length cutscene that plays a certain song, only used there. You've played the game several times, and know exactly when the cutscene ends, and hence, exactly when the song ends. There is no way to delay the cutscene or the song within.
So, when you go to the sound test, you might just be surprised to find out that that song doesn't actually stop at the same time the cutscene does, and has more to it after that. If you're sure that this part of the song cannot be heard by normal means, feel free to add it to the article, as this part of the song effectively goes unused. A good example would be the elevator music in Universal Soldier's 5th level. Another interesting thing you could check is if a given song variation has a starting section (you know, before the loop) that can never be heard in game, because you can't make the game switch to that version of the song before the beginning part passes by. For example: Wario's Gold Mine's in-mine song has an opening that can never be heard.
Of course, if you can't hear a certain song in the sound test, hack a way to have it play elsewhere where it cannot be interrupted, rip it, or find some other way to obtain the full song. Alternately, you could try to jam the cartridge mid-game in order to freeze it, letting the song (hopefully) continue playing without being stopped, but this method is not recommended as it may damage your cartridge. In an emulator, you can just mess around with random RAM values, hoping the game freezes.
Add a screenshot, once we finally have the Mega Man 7 bit on the wiki.
You've played Game X countless times, and you always fought that boss, that appears in the background. You know his ugly sprite like the back of your hand, and you know that the foreground cuts his sprite off at the chest. But what about the rest? What if the boss has feet, and you never knew? Maybe he's sporting some awesome jeans, or has an oddly-shaped waist, and all of the fan artists are none the wiser. This is where you come in: you start the game in an emulator, and attempt to remove the foreground layer. Most of the time, you won't find anything interesting, but nevertheless, if you can confirm that the occluded graphics don't appear in-game normally, you've just stumbled across unused content.
Now, do note that if the only thing occluded is one or two pixels that belong to a hand of a sprite you see all the time, hands included, then you probably don't want to add that. Why waste your time just to point out two pixels of zero interest? Nobody cares. At best, it warrants a tiny mention in the trivia section, but that's it. But if you have a sprite with an unused portion that was drawn well, with attention to detail, proportions, coloring, etc., like an entire half of a regular sprite, that's more noteworthy.
- If playing a game with Dolphin, enable the logging feature on View/Show Log. Then, periodically check the logs to see if the game dumped something interesting. For instance, Kirby Air Ride dumps some basic debugging logs.