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« Blogs Index < Game Guides < HATPC Guides < Cave Design
« jebby's Blog

Connecting Traps: Why and How

Before I start, let  me just explain that this section is not about special traps called ‘connecting  traps’. It is simply about how to connect one trap to another and how to make a  cave flow.

A cave, as we know, is not about one big  trap. It is a series of traps – all of which are designed to trip you up in  some way or another. A cave needs some way of linking these traps up that makes  it attractive to play. It isn’t just a case of finishing one trap and starting  another. Okay, sometimes it is, but there are ways you can do it to give the  cave style.

Some trap connections are purely for show  and are a bit useless when it comes to affecting gameplay. Other connections  are complicated and involve one trap directly influencing the other.

How do you do this? Like trap-making, the  way traps are connected is usually unique to the person who makes them. There  are several common ‘base connections’ that you’ll see in a lot of caves. It is  here that I am going to point them out to you.

Placing  Time Limits

Let’s take the unknowing cavemaker and ask  them to make a cave with two traps. They might make this:

Time Limit Example

This isn’t necessarily bad, but each trap  is very separate from the other. These are both floating traps. The only  connection we have at the moment is the fact that you have to jump from one to  the other and you can spend as much as you like doing that as long as you get  the first treasure chest. Already we have two starting points:

1. You jump from one trap to the other.
2. You have to complete one trap before the  other.

How can we add to this? First, we can join  the two traps up visually. The first platform will be extended and a ladder  will connect the two traps. Secondly, there can be a more interesting  connection that forces an action from the player. If we skip the first trap  (which is impossible in this particular situation) and then tackle the second  trap, we won’t be able to beat the cave because it’s too high to jump back up  to the first again. We have to beat the first trap to finish the cave. As I  pointed out above, you are only limited in time within the actual trap (get the  treasure chest before steel crates block it) – you can spend as time as you  like going from to another. Therefore, a time limit can be placed between the  two traps:

Time Limit Example

The player no longer has the luxury of  having all the time in the world to finish the first trap, has a more  restricted route from one trap to the other and you have to get to the first  trap in a shorter time limit. As this is such a small example, it could be said  that the two traps have been connected to become one. Placing time limits on a  larger scale with more space between the traps makes it obvious that you’ve got  two traps with a connection rather than one.


On many occasions, you may not want to  connect traps with arrows where you have to get somewhere in a certain time. In  caves where there is a lot of terrain and spikes, you may want to have a simple  passageway in between with no time limits. The only limit in these connections  is movement. Here is a pair of traps with a pretty boring connection (note that  the blocks of dynamite aren’t really traps and are just used for the example):

Filler Example

You finish one trap, climb up the ladder  and start the other. If simplicity or enjoyment is the theme in your cave then  this may be a nice connector that is very playable. If you are making something  of rather more complex design, you may choose this one:

Filler Example

This is more sinister than the simple  ladder from bottom to top. It breaks up the rhythm of play and fills up useless  gaps. If you’re a really good cavemaker, you might even be able to make better…

From  One Trap Straight Into Another

We’re moving into the realms of continuous  motion caving here – a cave with constant movement and an infinite need for  concentration. The idea of this kind of connection is that as soon as you reach  the objective of one trap, you bump into the incentive of the next trap. Let’s  add this to the above example:

Connecting Example

As soon as you finish the bottom trap, you  walk into the arrow that sets off a chain of events. You have to get the  treasure chest before it gets blocked off and through the top opening before  the steel crates drop down. As soon as you go through the opening, you set off  the next trap. This is the ideal form of trap connection though it is sometime  pretty hard to put together. The second picture on this page depicts a similar  trap connection.

Before we move on to  discussing layout ideas, I’ll say that caves aren’t all about making the best  traps possible. The best caves are the ones that make you think, give you many  different options to choose from and confuse you from the start. Some examples  of these types of caves will be analysed later in the manual.

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