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Hidden Object games

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I'm interested in hidden object games and am working on specific design concepts. So far I have not been able to find game engines that specifically work with this type of game. At the moment, it seems developing a simple exploration of my ideas in this genre would be easiest with an existing engine. Engines abound, but all discussion about them is for other game types. Anyone know of or can recommend a source for more direct information? HO games are mostly 2D with some 3D elements, but is it best to think of using a 3D engine? Or just a graphics savvy 2D engine? Thanks

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I think you're going to need to explain for the benefit of most of us what a "hidden object game" is. Google turns up a lot of spam and a few sites that sell such games.

I did find this:
Quote:
In such games, the player must locate various objects which are hidden in a cluttered scene. Once each of the objects has been located, the player is allowed to progress to the next stage of the game. This may sound simple, but often there are many, many objects, with some being particularly small and difficult to pick out. Hidden object games definitely challenge the ability of a player to analyze, differentiate, and identify.

Once upon a time, otherwise-good adventure games were criticized for "pixel hunts". This sounds like some kind of nightmarish version of that.

To answer your question to some extent, PyGame is probably as good as it gets for building 2D games. You're not going to find a good (and free) specialized engine for *any* kind of game.

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Game engines often don't require games built with them to have a particular style of gameplay. Just because most people use an engine for a certain style of gameplay doesn't mean it can't be used for another style of gameplay.

If you need to use 3D at any point I would suggest using a 3D engine.

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Quote:
Original post by Umbrae
Game engines often don't require games built with them to have a particular style of gameplay. Just because most people use an engine for a certain style of gameplay doesn't mean it can't be used for another style of gameplay.

But it might mean that it's not easy to discern whether or not the engine can handle that type of game. But since I have no idea what a hidden object game is, I can't be sure that has much relevance to the topic.

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Am I correct in thinking that you mean games along the lines of The Crimson Room (mentioned here as an "escape the room" game) or the appropriately-named Escape: The Room?

If so, have you looked at the Wintermute Engine? It's designed for adventure games, I believe, and I think that it should suit such games as I mentioned quite well.

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Thanks for the replies so far. I'm surprised folks on this forum were unaware of Hidden Object games. Yes, Wikipedia does a good job of defining the basic game style.

Check out RealArcade or Big Fish Games for examples. Some good ones - Mystery of the Crystal Portal, Pirateville, Mysteryville, Little Shop of Treasures, Hide and Secret, Dream Chronicles...

HO games don't seem to require 3D for game operation, though lots of artwork may have been designed in 3D. The scenes are full of layered objects, some of which may be in front of others.

Some developers write their own game engines and that's great. So many games in this type exist that many different game engines must be in use, and not all of them may be dedicated to this genre.

In lots of searching for information I found NO tutorials about HO, though I found lots of discussion about how popular the style is and the various different ways the basic game operation is deployed with the goal of keeping the game interesting.

Game engine sites, both free and for money, discuss tons of useful and interesting features of each engine, but most of it does not apply to HO games. It leaves the impression that I would struggle to find one or two useful features that in the end might not work well for HO games.

Thanks for the suggestions, I'll check some of them out.



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Quote:
Original post by LarryB
I'm surprised folks on this forum were unaware of Hidden Object games.

I am a little bit surprised myself, but this forum doesn't seem to have many casual game developers posting. I've only played a couple myself as they're not really my cup of tea. In the casual arena I'm more a fan of the time management genre (Diner Dash et al.), action arcade and of more abstract puzzle games.

The games I've played were all 2D, and I'd think nearly any 2D framework would suit a hidden object game - at least if you're going with static 2D artwork. You don't need to worry about performance as hidden objects games aren't CPU intensive, so go with whatever you feel most comfortable with.

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The Wikipedia description didn't *really* help, so I downloaded Mysteryville. OK, so it's the computer equivalent of Highlights magazine's Hidden Pictures. Strung together, in this case, using a thin plot and with some rather bad writing. Color me somewhat surprised that adults are interested in playing such games.

But yes, unless you're looking to do something technically novel, 2D is all you need.

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Yes, Mysteryville is a bit simplistic, but when you compare several of these games it's easy to see that great interest and complexity can be developed using the same basic HO mechanism.

I checked out the Wintermute engine and it seems it would likely handle the tasks quite well. Since then I read up on some of the games listed on http://www.ambrosine.com/resource.html and found a couple more likely possibilities.

A well designed HO game would include effective use of many aspects of a "adventure/detective" game. It might depend on what the designer has in mind, paying close attention to overall "look and feel" in the graphics, animations, effects, sounds, transitions, and number and quality of numerous puzzles. All of that carefully woven into the games primary subject and theme. I've chosen HO because I like a foundation of a fairly simple activity which can be adapted to any subject matter and level of complexity and sophistication - with a bit of creative effort.

Thanks for all the input!

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