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Old 08-26-2002, 03:00 PM   #1
Erwin_Br
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The big 'how to design your puzzles' thread

Hi there fellow adventuredevelopers!

I was wondering how everyone designs the puzzles in their games, especially the large ones.

I mean, it's not that hard to make a little puzzle like:

Pick up lighter
Pick up cigarette
Use lighter with cigarette
Use burning cigarette on bad guy's eye

But how do you design, plan, and flesh-out a more complicated one?

--Erwin


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Old 08-26-2002, 03:13 PM   #2
Thriftwood
 
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Get yourself some pencil and paper then start at the end.

What do you want to happen at the end?

Say for example you decide you want them to make a magic potion consisting of cabbage, oil and H2FO4 solution (Whatever that is).
Take a step backwards.
How do they get the cabbage?
You decide they have to get it from a shop. Do they have to but it? Steal it and sneak out with it? Replace it with a similar looking item so nobody notices its gone?
Say you decide to go with steal it.
How?
You decide they grab it and cant walk out the door because a security guard is there so they have to escape with a grappling hook made up of Hook and Rope.
One more step backwards.
Where do they get these two items?
You decide that they get the rope at a harbour. Its attatched to a boat and you cant remove it because the owner of the boat needs it until he leaves. He will only leave once his friend arrives.
Step backwards.
How do you get his friend there?
You find his friend at a pub and he wont leave because he keeps ordering beers. So you have to sneak into the back and steal the beer while the Pub worker takes drinks over to someone.

Theres countless possibilities. Just start at the end (What needs to be accomplished overall in the puzzle) and then take each strand one at a time and work backwards until you have worked everything out. Then once you have everything drawn out you can make alterations if you need to.
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Old 08-26-2002, 07:25 PM   #3
ptdc
 
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I don't have much experience with this but I have a few ideas. Obviously it would be very difficult to just figure out all the puzzles in a game in one go. I think it would be best to start with just a story and gradually work puzzles into it, and then tweak it as you go along. I think you should try to keep the total number of items in a game down, and make sure the puzzles aren't too cryptic.
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Old 08-27-2002, 05:44 AM   #4
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I'm starting to like sub puzzles.
Like two or three puzzles to solve another.
So in other words, I'm doing it similiar to Thriftwood.

Here's an example from Roger Foodbelly: (SPOILER!)
- You must talk to the magical tree, which is recommended by the elves.
-Go to the magical tree, it's almost dried out. And can't talk to you, because it can't speak since it's almost dried out.
- You have to find some water to it.
- Go to the public well.
- Lower the bucket which hangs on the well's rope.
- It wasn't tied correctly, so you lost the bucket into the well.
- Now you have to find another bucket. Ask around.
- Some will tell you to look inside the tavern. Go there.
- A man is blocking the door, and says there's a meeting inside there (obviously not, because it's never a meeting inside there)
- You must find a way to move him out of the way, so you can go inside.
- If your looking closer, when a dog passes by the tavern, you'll notice that the man blocking the door gets afraid.
- So in other words; he's afraid of dogs.
- Go to your cottage to pick up your dog, or let him follow you.
- Go to the tavern again with your dog, and when you enter, the man blocking the door will run away. Your dog will return back to the cottage. Go inside.
- When you enter, you will have to ask around where the bucket is. They will tell you that it's behind that locked door, near the man drinking beer and the key hangs on the wall.
- If you'll try to get the key, the tavern keeper will tell you not to take it. You need to distract him.
- Talk to the fat man drinking beer, and ask why he doesn't drink the days' special. He'll tell you that he can't drink anything else, because then he will be loosing his sense for a while and start to yell at the tavern keeper - which happened last time. Interesting...
- Go ask the tavern keeper for the days' special, but you can't get it for free. Look at the floor.
- Near the left foot of the man closest to the closed door will you find a coin. Pick it up.
- The fat man with the beer has finished his ale/beer.
- Now, pay the tavern keeper and get the Days' special.
- You won't be able to give it to the fat man which has finished his beer, because he can see it's the days' special.
- Go back to the tavern keeper and ask if you can get the days' special in a beer mug instead. You'll do.
- Now, give the "beer" to the fat man which has finished his beer. He'll be glad now, and starts to drink.
- Wait a bit, so he can finish his "beer", and he'll be mad at the tavern keeper for no reason. He's distracting him now, and the tavern keeper is trying to calm him down.
- Get the key on the wall, and unlock the door. Get the bucket.
- The tavern keeper has given him coffee to calm the fat man now, so when you'll close the door, or not. He will notice you and tell you not to go inside there. (He'll automatically close the door, and tell that he didn't take anything(Yeah right!))
- Now you need to go to the well, and tie the bucket into the well's rope.
- Lower the bucket, and raise it again and you've got water!
- Now go back to the magical tree, and give it water.

That's that puzzle.
And it might help you Erwin, because this is a big one


Regards,
Atle Ragnar Jarnæs Lerøy | Gamedeveloper

Runestone Entertainment

Stay tuned. Soon Launched.
Roger Foodbelly -.- Official Site
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Old 08-27-2002, 08:10 AM   #5
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I read an interesting article on Gamasutra about what you DON'T want to do when designing your puzzles:

Quote:
Puzzles Requiring Extreme Lateral Thinking

These are puzzles of the “use the lampshade with the bulldozer” variety. The designer may think he’s being funny or even surreal, but he’s really just being adolescently tiresome. It’s lazy puzzle design – making a puzzle difficult by making its solution obscure or irrational. You can add to the player’s play-time by creating ridiculous obstacles, but you’re not really adding to his or her enjoyment, and that’s supposed to be the point.

Puzzles Permitting No Lateral Thinking At All

You come to a locked door. The obvious solution is to find the key, but it’s also the most boring, so maybe the game provides some other way to get it open. But like as not, there’s only one solution, whatever it is.

In text-adventure terms, this was known as the “find the right verb” problem – you were dead in the water until you figured out exactly what verb the game was waiting for you to say. Break? Hit? Smash? Demolish? Pound? Incinerate? And a lot of games today have the same problem: an obstacle which can only be overcome in one way. The game doesn’t encourage the player to think; it demands that the player read the designer’s mind.
The whole article is available on http://www.gamasutra.com/features/de...k/19980313.htm but you need to sign up, if you haven't already.

--Erwin


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Old 08-27-2002, 08:22 AM   #6
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Aha! But that's the only reason we have, and can build a puzzle under it. I know it's boring of doing that with the door, but we are looking at the options we have. If a player sees a locked door, the only thing he can think of is; I've got to unlock the door with a key! True?

The game will not be set in the future, but in the past.
So we can't use any advanced things...


Regards,
Atle Ragnar Jarnæs Lerøy | Gamedeveloper

Runestone Entertainment

Stay tuned. Soon Launched.
Roger Foodbelly -.- Official Site
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Old 08-27-2002, 02:58 PM   #7
Esseb
 
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A related thread back on the old ags forum: http://www.sylpher.com/OldForum/Theory.htm.

An article on the 'zine based on it: http://agdzine.adventuredevelopers.c...zle_theory.htm.


Gee, I hope I spelled that right.
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Old 08-27-2002, 04:02 PM   #8
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Well.... I kind of like the key puzzle...


Regards,
Atle Ragnar Jarnæs Lerøy | Gamedeveloper

Runestone Entertainment

Stay tuned. Soon Launched.
Roger Foodbelly -.- Official Site
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