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Skyward Sword is split into several layers of loading precision. There are three main levels:

  • Maps
  • Areas
  • Rooms

Maps

All Areas and Rooms that share the same map are called a Map. This can be seen when pressing the '+' button. Your coordinates are based off the Map. This means that a BiTWarp (or some other way to change Link's coordinates) can make Link move to Areas and Rooms much further along in the Map, since they share the same Map.


Areas

Areas are sub-zones of Maps. Sometimes a Map may contain only one Area (such as Skyview Temple) and some contain several (such as Lanaryu Mining Facility). If you enter a new room, and the screen fades to black or white, then a new Area is being loaded. When the Area is loaded, all the Rooms in the area are partially loaded.


Rooms

Rooms are generally divided by doors, but not always. For example, all the "rooms" in the Knight's Academy are one large Room. Upon entering a Room, the individual Room is fully loaded. If the Area has not been partially loaded yet, then the room will be unloaded.


Partially Loaded Rooms

Performing a BiTWarp may place you in a different room but in the same Area. If so, the Area is still partially loaded, but you skipped a "Load room fully" trigger (such as a door or a normal file load). Things that are loaded include:

  • Chests
  • Textures
  • Floors
  • Walls
  • Doors/Loading Zones
  • Bird Statues

Things that are NOT loaded include:

  • Actors
  • Enemies
  • Gates
  • NPCs
  • Switches

This means that you can skip past certain barriers while the room is partially loaded. Leaving a room and re-entering it will fully load the room. Alternatively, saving and then reloading the file will also fully load the room.


Unloaded Rooms

If you skip past an Area loading zone via a BiTWarp to a different Area, the room will be unloaded. The following are still loaded:

  • Chests
  • Floors
  • Doors, but they do not load new Areas
  • Bird Statues

The following are NOT loaded:

  • Textures
  • Walls
  • Area Loading Zones
  • Actors
  • Enemies
  • Gates
  • NPCs
  • Switches

As you cannot leave or enter another loading zone, there have been no found uses yet. Unlike a partial load, re-entering a room does not load the room, as you still need to hit an Area loading zone. Saving and reloading also does not load the room. The game thinks you are in a different Area, because you never went past an Area loading zone to update the new Area.

Note: Bird statues are not linked with their respective Maps/Areas/Rooms/Coordinates. They only save Link's current information. There is no event that causes the game to update all of Link's information.


Layers

A layer, also known as a state, is a memory value the game uses to determine which actors, objects and triggers should be loaded onto a given area. This value is calculated in function of your story flags during the loading process. Every area in the game possesses different layers. By default, the layer is 0. For many maps, layer 0 isn't supposed to ever be explored, as those layers sometimes only contain a very low amount of actors. However, with glitches, it is oftentimes possible to avoid triggering the event that will set layer 1, and you can then explore a layer you were never supposed to. This is the case of Skyview Zero and Eldin Zero for instance.

The following tables list the necessary story events to trigger to progress to another layer for each area, with remarks when a layer has interesting properties. The layers are given in their ascending priority order.

Note: Sometimes, some cutscenes will force a specific layer even when the story flag requirements are not met.

LayerStory Event to triggerInteresting Properties
Skyloft
1&2 (Day & Night) - Layer 2 is used for the Fi Chase.
10 Watch the Groose Cutscene The loftwing can be rescued past the waterfall cave (Note: this layer has a lower priority despite being a high number)
3 Loftwing Rescued Wing Ceremony
4&5 (Day & Night) Hero's Tunic or Defeating the Imprisoned 1 or Defeating the Imprisoned 2 Hylia's Trial Gate can appear
6&7 (Day & Night) Stone of Trials placed in the Statue Sky Keep appears
8&9 (Day & Night) Beating Sky Keep The Goddess Statue is no more on Skyloft
Knight's Academy
1&2 (Day & Night) - Sleeping in beds isn't possible
3&4 (Day & Night) Hero's Tunic -
Bazaar
1 - -
2 After meeting Batreaux and talking to past Impa before the True Master Sword cutscene The Fortune teller isn't in the Bazaar because his crystal ball broke
3 Sleeping after collecting the Fortune Teller gratitude crystals The Fortune teller is back in the Bazaar
Goddess Statue
1 - Default layer, same for both day and night
2&3 (Day & Night) Hero's Tunic -
Batreaux's House
1 - -
2 Sleeping after Batreaux becomes human Batreaux isn't in his house anymore
Fortune-teller Sparrot’s House
1&2 (Day & Night) - -
3&4 (Day & Night) Sleeping after collecting the Fortune Teller gratitude crystals -
Sky
2 - Normal sky
3 Loftwing rescued Loftwing Tutorial layer
1 2nd half of the Wing Ceremony Cutscene Wing Ceremony layer. The loading zone all around Skyloft layer 3 will force this layer of the Sky, and so the cutscene can be skipped
2 Hero's Tunic Normal sky
4 - Night time layer
6 Set before jumping into the sky to learn the Spiral Charge (can be unset by talking to Owlan) Spiral Charge Tutorial layer
Thunderhead
1 - -
2 Levias explaining the Song of the Hero quest The Thunderhead is calm
Bamboo Island
1 - -
2 Talk to Peater to start Clean Cut Challenge Minigame layer
Sealed Grounds †
0 - The statue is activated
1 Hero's Tunic The cutscene near the Sealed Temple can be watched. Sealing spike event
2 Playing the Ballad of the Goddess with Impa Imprisoned 1 fight
3 Din's Flame Cutscene (also talking to Golo for the Lanayru Song of the Hero quest temporarely until you learn the Thunder Dragon's Song) Imprisoned 2 fight. The Lanayru Song of the Hero quest locks you out of the Faron Song of the Hero quest until you learn the song by downgrading the layer
4 Levias explaining the Song of the Hero quest Imprisoned 3 fight
5 Defeating the Imprisoned 3 -
6 Defeating the Horde -
Sealed Grounds with Statue of the Goddess †
0 - -
1 Beating Sky Keep -
2 Defeating Ghirahim 3 -
Behind the Temple
0 - No gate, the statue is activated
1 Hero's Tunic After entering the Sealed Temple from the Sealed Grounds, the bokoblins appear and assault the Goron
2 Faron Woods Introductory Cutscene No more bokoblin assault
3 Harp Cutscene Groose Event
4 Din's Flame Cutscene -
5 Levias explaining the Song of the Hero quest Gate to Faron Woods closed ††
6 Defeating the Imprisoned 3 Gate to Faron Woods closed ††
7 Learning the Water Dragon's Song -
8 Beating Sky Keep -
Sealed Temple
0 - No doors
1 Cutscene near Sealed Temple entrance in Sealed Grounds Can meet Impa and beacon tutorial
2 Groose Cutscene behind the temple watched Only layer where you can learn the Ballad of the Goddess and watch the Gate of Time raising cutscene. The closed Gate of Time can appear
3 Din's Flame Cutscene The closed Gate of Time can appear. Only layer where the Imprisoned 2 fight can be triggered
4 Defeating the Imprisoned 2 The Gate of Time opening cutscene can play ††† . Both the closed and the opened Gate of Time can appear.
5 Levias explaining the Song of the Hero quest The opened Gate of Time can appear
6 Defeating the Imprisoned 3 (also talking to Golo for the Lanayru Song of the Hero quest temporarely until you learn the Thunder Dragon's Song) The Lanayru Song of the Hero quest prevents the Faron Song of the Hero quest by changing the layer away from the Imprisoned 3 layer. The opened Gate of Time can appear
7 Beating Sky Keep The opened Gate of Time can appear
Hylia's Temple
0 - No doors
1 Gate of Time opened †††† The True Master Sword Cutscene can be watched
2 Beating Sky Keep -
3 Defeating Ghirahim 3 -
Hylia's Realm
0 - The Horde Cutscene can not be watched and needs to be skipped
13 Beating Sky Keep The Horde Cutscene can be watched
1 Horde Cutscene Can fight the Horde
7 Defeating the Horde Can trigger the Ghirahim 3 fight without having to refight the Horde
3 Defeating Ghirahim 3 Can enter the warp to fight Demise
Faron Woods and Deep Woods
0 - -
1 Sealed Grounds Introductory Cutscene Kikwi rescue and slingshot. Only layer where the Skyview Temple entering cutscene can play
2 Fi text after obtaining the Ruby Tablet This sets the story flag for Machi to have been located
3 Learning Farore's Courage Farore's Trial Gate can appear
4 Completing Farore's Silent Realm -
5 Learning the Water Dragon's Song -
Inside the Great Tree
0 - No water inside the Great Tree on layer 0
1 Sealed Grounds Introductory Cutscene -
2 Farore's Flame Cutscene -
3 Learning the Water Dragon's Song The water level inside the Great Tree rises, no more hanging platforms
Skyview Temple
0 - Skyview Zero (no doors)
1 Entering Skyview Temple Cutscene Skyview 1
2 Completing Farore's Silent Realm Skyview 2
3 Farore's Flame Cutscene Skyview 3
Skyview Temple Boss Room
13 - By default, a cutscene plays in this boss room on layer 13, and that cutscene always forces the Ghirahim 1 fight on layer 0
1 Defeating Ghirahim 1 -
2 Fi Text after obtaining the Ruby Tablet -
3 Completing Farore's Silent Realm Triple Stalfos fight
4 ??? -
Skyview Spring
0 - No cutscene showing off the Spring
1 Defeating Ghirahim 1 -
2 Fi Text after obtaining the Ruby Tablet -
3 Completing Farore's Silent Realm Sacred Water appears
4 Healing the Water Dragon No more Sacred Water
Lake Floria
0 - -
1 Completing Farore's Silent Realm Parella Chase
2 Farore's Flame Cutscene -
3 Learning the Water Dragon's Song -
Water Dragon's Lair
0 - No Water Dragon
1 Completing Farore's Silent Realm -
2 Levias explaining the Song of the Hero quest -
3 Learning the Water Dragon's Song -
Floria Waterfall
0 - No Waterfall
1 Completing Farore's Silent Realm Waterfall
2 Ancient Cistern introductory Cutscene No Waterfall, can enter Ancient Cistern by jumping from a lilypad
3 Farore's Flame Cutscene No Waterfall
Ancient Cistern Boss Room
1 - -
3 Koloktos defeated No Ghirahim cutscene, can theoretically start the fight by interacting with Koloktos on this layer
Flooded Faron Woods
0 - -
1 Levias explaining the Song of the Hero quest -
2 Meeting the Water Dragon inside the Tree and starting Tadtone collecting -
3 Learning the Water Dragon's Song -
Flooded Great Tree
0 - No water inside the Great Tree on layer 0. The Water Dragon Cutscene cannot be started. There are also no loading zones
1 Levias explaining the Song of the Hero quest -
2 Meeting the Water Dragon inside the Tree and starting Tadtone collecting -
Eldin Volcano and Digging Mitts Cave
0 - Eldin Zero
1 Fi Text after obtaining the Ruby Tablet Impa cutscene at the bridge. Can obtain the digging mitts
2 Lanayru Light Pillar Din's Trial Gate can appear
3 Collecting the Water Basin Scrapper escort enemy set
4 Fire Dragon Text after learning the Fire Dragon's Song Many fallen towers and lava floating platforms appear
Thrill Digger Cave
0 - -
1 Fi Text after obtaining the Ruby Tablet -
Earth Temple Boss Room
0 - No door to the Spring
1 Fi Text after obtaining the Ruby Tablet -
2 Amber Tablet Cutscene -
Inside the Volcano Summit and Volcano Summit Waterfall
0 - -
1 Fi Text after obtaining the Ruby Tablet -
2 Lanayru Light Pillar -
3 Collecting the Water Basin Scrapper escort enemy set
4 Fire Dragon Text after learning the Fire Dragon's Song The Fire Dragon's Room is accessible via a lava floating platform
Fire Sanctuary Entrance
0 - The goron appears on all layers as long as you've completed Din's Silent Realm
1 Fi Text after obtaining the Ruby Tablet -
2 Lanayru Light Pillar -
3 Collecting the Water Basin -
4 Din's Flame Cutscene -
Fire Dragon's Room
1 - The loading zone back to the Volcano loads you into Bokoblin Base
2 Fire Dragon Text after learning the Fire Dragon's Song The loading zone back to the Volcano loads you to the normal Volcano Summit
Fire Sanctuary Boss Room
13 - By default, a cutscene plays in this boss room on layer 13, and that cutscene always forces the Ghirahim 2 fight on layer 0
1 Defeating Ghirahim 2 -
2 Din's Flame Cutscene -
Lanayru Mines
0 - -
1 Lanayru Light Pillar -
2 Harp Cutscene -
3 Talking to the Goron about the Lanayru Song of the Hero quest -
4 Learning the Thunder Dragon's Song -
Lanayru Desert
0 - Contrarely to the other trial gates, Nayru's Trial Gate can appear on all layers
1 Lanayru Mines Introductory Cutscene Hook Beetle fight layer. The Lanayru Mining Facility entering cutscene can only play on this layer. The loading zone to enter the Lanayru Mining Facility does not exist before watching the LMF Introductory Cutscene, and as such the first time you enter LMF from the main entrance has to be with the entering cutscene
2 Harp Cutscene -
Temple of Time and Power Generators
0 - -
1 Lanayru Light Pillar -
2 Harp Cutscene -
Lanayru Mining Facility Boss Room
1 - -
3 Opening the door after Molderach -
Sand Sea
1 - -
4 Shipyard Introductory Cutscene -
2 Place timeshift orb on pedestal to open Shark Head -
5 Sandship shot The Sandship is visible
3 Nayru's Flame Cutscene -
Shipyard
1 - -
2 Talk to Goron to start Rickety Coaster minigame Minigame layer
Shipyard Construction Bay
1 - -
2 Fi Text after defeating Molderach 2 -
3 Talking to Skipper after defeating Molderach 2 -
Pirate Stronghold Interior
2 - -
1 Place timeshift orb on pedestal to open Shark Head This has nothing to do with you being able to find the Sandship or not
Lanayru Caves
0 - No rocks inside the crawlspace and no Goron, opened path to the Gorge
1 Completing Nayru's Silent Realm The Goron appears and gives you a small key
2 Levias explaining the Song of the Hero quest -
3 Talking to Groose about the Imprisoned 3 (unsets after learning the Water Dragon's Song) The Faron Song of the Hero quest prevents you from doing the Lanayru Song of the Hero quest at the same time
4 Learning the Thunder Dragon's Song -
Lanayru Gorge
0 - Hitting the minecart timeshift stone causes you to void-out and softlock
1 Levias explaining the Song of the Hero quest The minecart escort works properly. The small key appears only on this layer.
2 Completing the Minecart Escort The past Thunder Dragon can appear †††††
Sky Keep Courage Room
1 - -
2 Defeating the Stalmaster -
Sky Keep Wisdom Room
1 - -
2 Obtaining the Triforce of Wisdom -
Sky Keep Dreadfuse Room
1 - -
2 Defeating Dreadfuse and reloading the area -

Note: More layers exist that are exclusively used in the boss rush. These layers are not listed here.

† - The racetracks appearing in the Sealed Grounds is not a layer thing: they appear after beating the Ancient Cistern, and can appear on all layer. The map with the Goddess Statue in the Sealed Grounds is a different map than the regular Sealed Grounds. In order for the the Sealed Grounds map with the Statue of the Goddess to load instead of the regular Sealed Grounds, you must beat Sky Keep.

†† The Faron Woods gate being open or not depends on a specific story flag. That story flag is set when meeting Impa for the first time inside the Sealed Temple layer 1. However layers 5 and 6 force the gate to be closed no matter what.

††† - To open the Gate of Time, the only requirements are scene flags 2x40 (check the Scene Flag Documentation sheet) and charging a skyward strike in front of the Gate of Time after beating the Imprisoned 2. This means it is possible to open the Gate of Time before the Sealed Temple layer 4, and the cutscene isn't necessary. The Master Sword is technically not required either for this since scene flag 2x40 can be rbmed or bitmagiced (but Sealed Temple layer 3 currently is to start the Imprisoned fight, which in turn requires beating the Fire Sanctuary and with it getting the Master Sword).

†††† - Not necessarely the Gate of Time opening cutscene, simply striking a closed gate of time that you can target is enough

††††† - For the Thunder Dragon to appear, meeting Levias is also required

Last updated 11/25/2019 – azer67