Tarzanthecat

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What kind of puzzles are people interested in?


When creating puzzles, you often have an extremely hard time answering this.


You don't really want cliche puzzles, or too simple puzzles, but at the same time,


you  don't want too hard puzzles. So... what do you do.


I would like to talk about how to input riddles and puzzles


inside of an rpg without being cliche.


So what kinds of puzzles does anyone like or


want to play?

images (9).jpg
 
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GoodSelf

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 I have an article on puzzle design that you might find interesting. In the article, I talk about how to break away from the norm and create unique and new puzzles for your RPG. 


 I also have a tutorial on the classic "Lights Out" puzzle.  You can find the link to both the article in the puzzle in my signature.


When it comes to puzzles, I think it's important to make the player rethink what they know.  for example, it's not cliché to have an ice sliding puzzle in your game, but it shouldn't be a direct copy of puzzles before it, it should innovate in new ways, and try to shake up the tried-and-true formula.
 
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Tarzanthecat

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Sorry, this does not pertain to the subject, but you like legend of Korra?
 

GoodSelf

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Sorry, this does not pertain to the subject, but you like legend of Korra?

Best show ever!


Take a look at my custom PS4 controller ?

IMG_2085.JPG



While on the subject, I also like puzzles that utilize elements. Such as fire melting an ice wall, or freezing puddles of water to hop over them.
 
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Tarzanthecat

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Oh, good ideas. I like maybe ones that have to do with word riddles. The challenge my mind, but can get annoying.
 

Anthony Xue

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More articles? Here we go:


http://ancient-architects.com/?p=591


http://ancient-architects.com/?p=610


I think with those and @GoodSelf's article, you should have enough material for quite a bunch of original puzzles. As for avoiding clichés - you can turn any cliché into an original idea by changing the puzzle's presentation (see the eyes/mirror puzzle in the first article).


Your question, "what kind of puzzle do people like", is a tricky one. First, there are those people who get annoyed by just about any kind of puzzle, but they are not your target audience anyway, so don't bother trying to appease them. For all others, I think that if a player is generally fine with puzzles and logic challenges, the exact type doesn't really matter. What's more important is to make sure that the player is aware of how things work. Include a few easy puzzles early on to explain the rules, then increase difficulty over time, but always stay true to those rules. Example: If I have solved five "pushing crate" puzzles where I could only move one crate at a time, finding that I can suddenly move two crates at once in the sixth puzzle of that sort will really annoy me, especially after wasting half an hour trying to find a solution that would work with the rules I was "taught" before.


Unless puzzles are the main kind of challenge in the game, I also tend to make the really tough puzzles optional, maybe offering a (equally tough) battle as an alternate way to progress. And it can't be said often enough - you want to test the player's creativity, not their patience. So avoid puzzles where the solution is easy to figure out, but exhausting to execute. Example: I have found out that to open a door, I have to touch the columns in the hall in the order indicated by the number of gems decorating them. Not a difficult challenge. So is it really necessary to have 37 of those columns...?
 

Failivrin

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Good topic, one which many professional game makers ignore completely (by not including puzzles) or get tragically wrong (I'm thinking of a Ys installment where you solve three-piece jigsaws).

Here's a really great article. I like the author's idea for graduated difficulty. Basically, a good puzzle can have multiple solutions. The easiest solution allows the player to progress through the game, but the more difficult solutions come with bonus rewards. http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/Toni...puzzle_of_designing_a_puzzle_game.php?print=1

The Golden Sun games are great examples. The same spells are used both in battle and puzzle-solving. As your character learns new spells, you expand your battle strategies and your puzzle-solving strategies at the same rate. Moderately difficult puzzles are required for game completion; extremely difficult puzzles are reserved for highly rewarding sidequests. (Many of the games' most powerful spells are obtained through puzzle-based sidequests).

Other tips? Make sure the objectives are clear and the solutions are logical. I remember being sooo frustrated when I discovered that one of the summoner temple puzzles in FFX had to be solved by smashing a stone pedestal through a wall of ice. As someone who's lived in the icy climate of Alaska, I know that if this were enacted in real life, you'd be more likely to break the stone!

That's all I have to say for now. Excited to hear what others say, because I personally feel that any game can benefit from puzzles, and they're very much underutilized in RPGs.
 

Alex Nearwoods

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Ahah I'm trying to think of good and unique puzzles for my game but it is so hard. ><
 
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Good Question! To me good puzzles in games give the tools right away in the area that you're placing the puzzles and introduce the mechanic or introduce you to a new element and application of the equipment that you've gained. A good example is Zelda Breath of the wild. Every shrine that you enter always revolve around a particular object that is often found in the shrine, which kinda gives a subtle hint as to what the next area in the dungeon ahead may be like, so for example you are given a spell that can spew fire. You are then presented with two stairways in the next room, one to the upper floor which just has an ice block and the other leads down to the obstacle room. You are then presented with an obstacle that utilises that particular object in an interesting fashion being that there is an ice block above you that is locked off with a metal grate yet there is a ramp that leads down from where you're standing to a spot with a switch, that has a fence around it. This switch requires a heavy weight to work properly.

You think I've just been given a fire ball spell and that block is made of ice and you can melt ice with fire which then leaves water. Water can go through any opening so what if I melt it. You then run up to the ice block above, melt it and it and the water falls through the grate down the ramp and goes to the switch area. You then see that it's still not heavy enough but you know it's previous form was very heavy so you look in your inventory and see that that it has a freeze spell so you then decide to freeze the ice block and it becomes a block of ice again and weighs the switch down and the door opens.

So a puzzle, to repeat, requires a subtle hint as to what you will do with an item given and/or a little word problem, allows the player all the resources at that time and utilise them in a logical manner that corresponds to the ruleset of equipment or mechanic and gives an idea of how properly it can be used.

If you want a good example all round of what puzzles are in games and how they are created, here's a video from Mark Brown that analyses Jonathan Blow's Puzzle Design in games such as the Witness and Braid. Link:
 
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