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Shouldn't problem solving center around the character's actual abilities?


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#1 Slateboard   Members   -  Reputation: 193

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 04:35 PM

What I refer to, is a scenario where the character has a set of abilities (let's say flame generation/manipulation), and then for puzzle solving, you're presented with obstacles that require external methods to solve. Like a gate or some other path obstruction. Clearly the character could burn it to the ground with little effort, but instead, the character stresses the importance of finding the key to advance. This doesn't even touch on simply climbing over it, etc.

Now, I could see the character being a non-destructive type, but in this example, the character is the destructive type and has already melted down several enemies and miscellaneous debris that sits around the level. So I'm wondering if this is the right way to do things, or is it just terrible game design?

I'm working on a game, and I want to have problem-solving suitable to the character's abilities, but also taking into account how some players may perceive it. If the character comes off as an unstoppable juggernaut, I don''t want him to turn pacifist over a locked door.

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#2 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2545

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 05:05 PM

Having destructable doors is not unreasonable, nor would it be unreasonable to construct doors that are less destructable knowing that some people out there have destructable talents. In real life we have doors that range from flimsy, "wouldn't stop a fly" affairs up to 20ft thick doors designed to stop the effects of nuclear explosions getting through. Why would you not have a similar thinking and methodology in your own game world? At the end of the day it is not unreasonable to have security on some doors which act as barriers between a less controlled environment i.e. outside and a more controlled environment i.e. inside, other doors used for internal traffic might be more flimsy persay.

Hope this helps :)

#3 jefferytitan   Members   -  Reputation: 1174

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 05:09 PM

Perhaps as you indicate the key is finding out how to apply the powers, or having good reasons they won't work. For example, can't use flame because you're on an iceberg and it will melt. Or if you have a power like Juggernaut you need to find the way to get a big enough run-up for your powers to kick in.

#4 Slateboard   Members   -  Reputation: 193

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 05:51 PM

Those make a lot of sense.

On that note, in games that actually function like I described, is it bad design?

#5 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2545

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 06:09 PM

Bad design will break immersion or cause you to sit outside the game and in thinking about it, decide that it doesn't make sense. If you play a game and these thoughts don't pop into your head then (while the game may itself not be great) the design is probably adequate. In designing or writing I tend to work on the rule that if I can't justify it ingame or in the plot then I had better make sure I do so or alternatively dispense with the particular issue. However there are times when you may have to include elements that do not strictly get justified by design or writing that is when you have to become more creative ...in order to obscure or distract a player from losing immersion or sitting back going "this is wrong". Unless you choose to utilise very openly such devices as an "Act of God" or "Breaking the Fourth Wall".

Hope this helps Posted Image

Edited by Stormynature, 31 July 2012 - 06:10 PM.


#6 Giauz   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 08:58 PM

I dislike this idea- for the reason that this basically reduces everything to an inventory puzzle. For a CRPG, you must make sure that there will be consequences attached no matter what you decide to do (the player just determines what they are most fine with; I have heard that Wasteland and the first two Fallouts are best to use as references for skill-based system puzzles). But again these are inventory puzzles that don't really require any exploration (just acquire enough points in what you want to use on the door).

I suggest you see how you feel about solving some of your own skill-based system puzzles and go from there.
"... the challenge isn't beating the game but rather slaying the final boss in one round, with just one character, at level one, with the TV off, while having sex with a burning lawnmower."

- Best quote about Final Fantasy EVAR! by HtR-Laser from Penny-Arcade Forums

... Also, I was formerly Glass2099 here at Gamedev.

#7 NaturalNines   Members   -  Reputation: 334

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 01:48 PM

A good reference would be Deus Ex: Human Revolution. By enhancing your characters strength you were able to move large objects that hid entrances you otherwise wouldn't have access to; by learning the Cloak ability you could walk right by heavily populated rooms without alerting them; by upgrading your jump you could reach ledges unreachable by piling (often heavy) objects; by upgrading your combat skills you could just blow through the enemy. Their solution was to provide multiple "gates", as you used in your example, and allowed the player to pick the one they wanted to (or were able to) bypass. To enhance difficulty they would add more obstacles, such as placing a grate higher up, which forced the player to jump to reach it, and having patrols to moniter it. If you didn't have the silent jump upgrade that particular stealth option was effectively prevented, forcing you to find a new solution.

Thus you solve the level based on your chosen abilities.
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#8 Giauz   Members   -  Reputation: 184

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 03:34 PM

I like the example of Deus Ex because while there are some stats, it's not all lock and key. You still get the tactile experience of having to interact with the real-time game physics in order to solve the puzzle.
"... the challenge isn't beating the game but rather slaying the final boss in one round, with just one character, at level one, with the TV off, while having sex with a burning lawnmower."

- Best quote about Final Fantasy EVAR! by HtR-Laser from Penny-Arcade Forums

... Also, I was formerly Glass2099 here at Gamedev.




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