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#117489 - 07/18/03 12:14 PM Re: A Puzzle Question for Developers
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26890
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Ring has a walkthrough in the user's manual. Lighthouse (second edition) has some hints. I think you could access the hints from the opening menu in Lighthouse.

As for zipping through a game at astonishing speed -- I think there are a few people out there who can do this, even without a walkthrough. Just like there are people who can do other challenges at astonishing speed. You just can't use these speed-demons' (geniuses?)experience to say how long gameplay will last for the vast majority of typical gamers.

I agree with what Gatorlaw said about complaining that the game is too short after using a walkthrough. That's bizarre. Each person knows whether a walkthrough is enhancing his experience or spoiling it. But to complain to the developer because you spoiled your own experience? Give me a break!

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#117490 - 07/18/03 04:13 PM Re: A Puzzle Question for Developers
mulawa1 Offline
Settled Boomer

Registered: 03/28/00
Posts: 664
Loc: Queensland, Australia
Hi Everyone,

I have been following this thread with great interest - I had decided at the start that I would try to key a few lines in response to Becky's original question but now I find myself staring at an empty box (well it was!) pondering.

Basically it's "No" to all 5 questions.

My puzzles are basically ideas that I've had or come across that strike me as "interesting to explore". The Turtle puzzles - which proved so incredibly popular (except for dear Dee I hasten to add) are a good example. I try to develop the puzzle with no preconceptions of how a player will interact with it. Of course I convince myself that the puzzle is soluble by solving it myself but, since I'm not very good at puzzles (I certainly use walkthroughs!), I'm always sure there will be far more elegant solutions than mine.

Magnetic of course brought a whole new realm (for me) into play. As its tag line (the game of games) gives away, the story revolves around many 2 person games. The challenge here was to create games that were ultimately consistently winnable by the player. In some cases this was relatively straightforward in that there was a discoverable win strategy. But what made it really interesting for me were the games that I couldn't find a strategy for.

Life really imitated art here (those who have finished Magnetic will know what I mean). Many different approaches were needed to get the 'puter to play really well and it was fascinating to watch as its skill developed (there is one place in Magnetic where the player gets to experience this fascination for themselves). Some games turned out to be mostly unbeatable which would have been rather unsatisfactory for the players of Magnetic so then it was a case of changing the 'puter's technique so it wasn't so omniscient. This wasn't easy to do.

Well for someone who was lost for words I seem to have rambled on a bit. I guess at the end of the day what I'm trying to say is that I don't regard the player of my games as an antagonist (as some designers do) ie someone that I am pitting my wits against. Rather you are someone I'm trying to share things that I like and find interesting.

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#117491 - 07/18/03 05:15 PM Re: A Puzzle Question for Developers
SuMac Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 12/26/01
Posts: 1988
Loc: New Hampshire
My very first adventure game was Myst Masterpiece Edition, which did give you hints, if you begged long enough. Most of the hints consisted of, "I could help you better if you were in a diferent location." or "The library is a good source of information." Eventurally it did give you some info you could really use.

Then I went on to Riven and was surprised that there were no hints, and I ended up buying the strategy guide. (This was long before I discovered GB.) But I have to admit that puzzles that I actually figure out and solve myself (like in Magnetic) have given me the most pleasure.

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#117492 - 07/18/03 09:11 PM Re: A Puzzle Question for Developers
granny Offline
BAAG Specialist

Registered: 08/27/99
Posts: 7399
Loc: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida USA
I like the way the Myst & Riven Strategy guides are set up in sections according to how much help you want. Little hints, medium nudges, or a full blown shove thru the puzzle are separated so you don't find out more then you want to know.
_________________________
Granny Goodwitch

A woman NEVER shot a man while he was doing dishes!

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#117493 - 07/19/03 01:22 AM Re: A Puzzle Question for Developers
Bea Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 02/12/00
Posts: 2283
Loc: Australia
Magnetic has a companion who is there to help you if you get really stuck (apart from Peter's forum that is If he sees you are having problems he will give you a little hint - if you are still having problems he will hoot again (those who have played will know what I mean) and give you more of a hint - and of course as I said then there is the forum smile
But the game is not linear - you don't normally have to do things in a sequence and you can always leave a game and come back to it without losing what you have gained.
_________________________
Id non feci, me facere vidit nemo, nec aliquid probare potes
I didn't do it, no one saw me do it, you can't prove anything

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#117494 - 07/23/03 05:51 AM Re: A Puzzle Question for Developers
Becky Offline
The Medieval Lady
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 02/16/00
Posts: 26890
Loc: Stony Brook, New York, USA
Quote:
I guess at the end of the day what I'm trying to say is that I don't regard the player of my games as an antagonist (as some designers do) ie someone that I am pitting my wits against. Rather you are someone I'm trying to share things that I like and find interesting.

Peter, I have been thinking about what you said and feeling a bit ashamed of myself.

I did assume that puzzle design was largely a competition between the puzzle designer and the player. I have admired puzzle designers for stumping me, if the solution turned out to be perfectly logical. I have railed at puzzle designers that stumped me in a way that I thought was unfair.

I have felt a kind of mind-meld with puzzle designers whose puzzles were exactly my cup of tea, that were intricate but allowed me to see the solution right away.

I never thought of puzzle design as a form of communication. You are right, it is, but I didn't consider the implications correctly. I guess I've been thinking too much about puzzle challenges as a type of competition rather than as a form of entertainment.

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#117495 - 07/23/03 07:15 AM Re: A Puzzle Question for Developers
Steve Ince (at work) Offline
Shy Boomer

Registered: 05/12/03
Posts: 68
Loc: York
Weak designers can approach puzzles in a kind of "us and them" way. A good designer wants the player to succeed with the puzzle, but wants the puzzle to be a challenge, too.

Sometimes really good puzzles are implemented in a less than perfect manner and a player gets stuck because they aren't clear what they should do. The goat puzzle in BS1 was a prime example of this. It wasn't that it was particularly difficult in itself, just that it wasn't clear what the solution was.
_________________________
Steve Ince

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#117496 - 07/23/03 04:18 PM Re: A Puzzle Question for Developers
Bea Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 02/12/00
Posts: 2283
Loc: Australia
There is a game that I really enjoy playing and a lot of people have produced their own levels in it. We all love this because there is no chance of a sequel coming out. But what is happening now is that the "amateur" level makers keep trying to show just how very clever they are and use every trick that there is so the game stops being fun and becomes just a battle to finish it. frown
_________________________
Id non feci, me facere vidit nemo, nec aliquid probare potes
I didn't do it, no one saw me do it, you can't prove anything

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