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khawk

Puzzle Game Design

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Original puzzle games would probably be defined by there being a net type of puzzle or a new presentation of already existing puzzles.

If youve ever seen the game Fools Errand (on Mac/Amiga), they had a slew of existing puzzle all wrapped up into a story, and was pretty cool.

-Geoff

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if you think back to the old sierra games, like KQ1 and 2, and SpaceQuest 1....

they had all sorts of puzzles, mainly of the "get and item and use it to solve a problem"

and, more importantly, there were usually at least two ways to solve a problem, and the more clever/less violent solution was awarded more points.

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Adventure games were normally built on the 2 stapple puzzles of "unlock the door" and the "errand boy - go fetch the item", which also ultimately breaks down into unlocking the door.

Which spawned the catch all of "theres no puzzle you couldnt solve in an adventure game with a big rock."

I think in the future we'll see more wheeling and dealing type puzzles, where it is more human interactions and bartering, deal making, etc, which have a much larger scope to them then simply getting a key. This will be a ways off though, but it still will normally break down to a lock and key situation anyway.

-Geoff

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Guest Anonymous Poster
The whole lock and key thing comes back to the nature of conventional non-action video games. It is an unavoidable consequence of a programmatic set of rules. Invariably, no matter how complex the rules, they break down into simple statements that tell you what you can and cannot do, and you may want to do something no matter what the rules say.

If you want to do away with that, you have to do away with those kinds of rules and introduce real people who can make up new rules when the old ones get boring.

-Jered.

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well just a piece of my mind..

about the puzzle design i dont know anthing i can say.

about adventure games.. i just wanted to know something.. dont you hate whne you have to dig up a little hole and need a fu****** shovel ?? or you need to catch a mouse and you need about 6 things to get him ?? dont they know the KICKING action ?? that should be cool... dont have a key ? TAKE IT DOWN )

bye

------------------
Bruno Sousa aka Akura
Founder and programmer - Magick.pt
magick_pt@geocities.com
http://magickpt.cjb.net

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So does anyone have any ideas on puzzle game design? Generally, puzzle games don't have some fantastic story, nor do they have fantastic characters. So how ARE original puzzle games designed? (not clones)


Khawk

------------------
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http://www.gamedev.net

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Well, i dont know how puzzle games are designed, but if we look at recent computer puzzle games we could approach the problem from the stand point of what does it take to make a good puzzle game? Now when we start injecting subjective words like good, its possible that these conclusiions are only relevant to the person making them, so take them with a grain of salt.

Good puzzle games with a justification for their classifciation as puzzle games.

-Tetris and all variants (
Hextris,
Gems,
etc..
)

Simple pattern matching puzzle, could be classified as variant of jiggsaw puzzles but with the added interactive constraint of time limit per puzzle piece. Like all puzzles they offer great replayability due to the enormous ways combinations of puzzle peices can laied.

-PacMan and all variants (
Bomberman,
Lode Runner,
Sentenil,
etc..
)
Interactive pursit, and avoidance puzzle. A realworld analogue would be the hide and seek games.

-Pong and all variants (
Arkinoid,
Defender,
Space Invaders,
etc..
}
Reflex puzzles, where timming, and coordination are main dynamics.

Mule and all variants
{
Master of Orion,
Civillization,
etc..
}
Resource management puzzles. Players are given constraints on resources which they have to optimize, competively against either computer or human oppenents.

-Minesweeper and all vairants (
Battleship,
Slidding picture puzzles,
etc..
)
Logic puzzles, where players can interactivly query the board to deduce the layout of hidden elements.

You dont know Jack! and variants (
the whole Jack series..,
etc..
)
Knowledge base puzzles, where players are quized on their knowledge of arcane subjects.

-Jigsaw puzzle and variants(
3D jigsaw, etc..
)
Pattern matching puzzles anaglous to tradational realworld puzzles, imported over to the comptuer.


So there we have a good range of puzzles, from the traditional to the native computer puzzle games.

What do they have in common?
Obvious similarities:
-Simple rules
-Straight forward interface
-Direct and efficient graphics
-Replability
-Interactive

Subtle similarities:
-Progressive :
That is the puzzle cannot assume a previous state. Though that doesnt rule out returning to a near previous state.
-Competitive :
Player competes against timmer, puzzle master, their highest score or another player.
-Graded Success:
Player has varying levels of success. Whether its based on score, compleletion of percent of puzzle, or number of points racked up against oppoents. (this is arguable)

So i think this is a start. Its very possible to combine the various elements listed above to create a new puzzle game. Such as crosswords, are a combination of pattern matching, and knowledge base puzzle. Perhaps we could combine crosswords with the persuit and avoidance puzzle! A crossword Pac man where you have to pick up letters littered in the maze and drop them off at the approioate location of form words. Use your imagiantion 8^)

-ddn

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