Puzzle brainstorming

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AironNeil
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Re: Puzzle brainstorming

Postby AironNeil » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:53 pm

matt wrote:I really like the idea of a puzzle making you think critically about the story, but I'm drawing a blank thinking of one. Can you give an example?


To be completely honest, I am too. When I first suggested that idea I thought about using curtain facts on characters as a solution to puzzles. For example, if a character had a extreme fear of the color yellow and you had to find that person for some reason, then you'd know not to look in places with heavy amounts of yellow. To put that into an outside setting, suppose it was a forest during the fall, then you'll have to go the path with more trees with red leafs rather than yellow ones. Though, that kind of thing is just creating a maze with a solution to those who paid attention. The problem with that specific puzzle would be that it would still be very possible to do without knowing the solution.

Grabthehoopka
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Re: Puzzle brainstorming

Postby Grabthehoopka » Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:49 am

matt wrote:AironNeil - I really like the idea of a puzzle making you think critically about the story, but I'm drawing a blank thinking of one. Can you give an example?


I can think of one. It's not really a "puzzle", or not a difficult one, at least. The end of Portal 2. I'm assuming by now that everyone's beaten Portal 2, but just in case, I'll spoilertext it, lest I draw the wrath of the Order of the Golden Spoiler Warning. Through the course of the game, going through the old labs from the 60s, one of the running jokes is that Cave Johnson blew all of his grant money on moon rocks, and all of the portal-able surfaces are painted with liquified moon rocks. This doesn't have any effect on gameplay at all, it's purely fluff and background noise. That is until the final "boss fight", when the ceiling breaks apart. They do several things to clue you along here and make it pretty much impossible to fail. First, your character is immobilized. Second, when the ceiling breaks open, the camera forcibly centers on the moon. Third, the moon is big, white, and surrounded by night sky, and the ceiling is similarly dark gray, so it directs the player's eye towards the moon. And lastly, the player already knows that there's one portal on the ground, and they've been conditioned throughout the whole game to think within the interior logic of the world, and they know that a single portal is useless. So, even if the player doesn't realize it, they're still scanning the environment for something else to shoot the second portal onto. Like I said, it's pretty much impossible to fail, so it's not really a "puzzle". However, even though the player most likely disregarded it as being just a joke, it's still established it in the player's mind, so it still follows a logical progression that gives the player that "ah-ha!" moment that good puzzles have.
Last edited by Grabthehoopka on Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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AironNeil
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Re: Puzzle brainstorming

Postby AironNeil » Mon Jan 05, 2015 2:13 am

I didn't even think of that
Grabthehoopka wrote:The end of Portal 2.


I didn't even think of that. Great example.

I suppose the only problem with a puzzle based around some fact with the story is that nine times out of ten there's probably going to be some way to guess around it without making it too hard, and the problem with making it more difficult is that it could lead people to getting really stuck. Without some type of journal system it wouldn't be fair to those who might have taken a large break from the game and may not remember the right fact. At least, those are some of my thoughts on it.

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matt
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Re: Puzzle brainstorming

Postby matt » Wed Jan 07, 2015 10:05 pm

You bring up a very valid point. Some people aren't too concerned with the story, so they might miss it completely. Taking breaks and being totally stuck is the worst. I put games on hold for a while - I have quite a few games on hold presently - and it sucks coming back to them and having no idea what's going on.

I'm not sure there is a good solution to that other than NOT making puzzles relying on story information, which sucks because it's a really cool idea. I wonder if the best solution is to make knowledge of the story basically implicit - ie. based on a rudimentary understanding of the character, the course of action can be determined. However, if that's the case, then it's pretty much obvious and not as interesting as the idea of story based puzzles.

Huh. Lots to think about!
-Matt Gilgenbach
Lead Frightener at Infinitap Games


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