Good puzzles in RPG Maker games?

A_Higher_Plane

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What can be done to make the puzzles from events in RPG Maker games sophisticated, intelligent and even challenging? Can you guys help me out here? Can you guys give me good examples of such? I can only think of defeating an enemy for a key or access to a switch that opens some sort of path to further your game. This can be optional and mandatory. What are "good practices"? What is there to avoid?
 

Iron_Brew

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Why do you keep creating new threads for every little thing.

Why not make some puzzles of your own and get feedback on whether or not those work rather than trying to crowdsource your creativity?

EDIT:


I can only think of defeating an enemy for a key or access to a switch that opens some sort of path to further your game.

At this point I'm convinced this is a troll account. How can you not think of pushing rocks, pulling switches, invisible mazes, riddles, pressure plates, image puzzles, number games, codes to decypher, mini game content.

Sorry, this is just too much at this point.
 
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alice_gristle

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Okay sweetie, I keep comin' back to that "sophisticated, intelligent" part and it won't leave me alone. Also the "what is there to avoid" bit. :biggrin: There been a few threads on puzzles, so you may wanna look at those, too.

Basically, I hate puzzles in RPGs altho I love adventure games that have puzzles. And I guess the reason why I hate puzzles in RPGs is I got this prejudice that they of the infantile "push da boulder, flick da switch, find da correct sequence!" type. They feel tacked on, ya know? So I guess that my main "what to avoid" part. Like... make 'em organic? Don't make 'em like GOTTA HAVE A PUZZLE HERE! Like, you chasing orcs, then all a sudden, there's a goddam Sokoban puzzle so you can get a gate open.

(Also ya, like I said I'm prejudiced, I don't even know if puzzles are like that anymore in modern RPGs. I hope they not. :kaoswt:)

Soo, like, make 'em puzzles feel like they belong in yo world. Like that age-old trick that Gandalf goofed in Lord of the Rings? The dwarves made a door, they didn't want any doofus get in, they make a bit of a trick. It's not a real good puzzle, I think, but at least it feels organic.

Another organic-feeling puzzle I can think of wuz in Grim Fandango, and I won't spoil y'all cuz I don't remember how the puzzle goes, :kaoswt: but you in a bling-bling club and you find one of 'em fancy liquor bottles with gold flakes in, okay? And the way to get around was, you chug a bit of it, and get some gold flakes in yo system, and then you walk through a metal detector where the dead-stiff inspector lady is, and the detector beeps 'cuz you got flakes of gold in you, and then... uhh... something happens, and you get ahead in the puzzle.

...I'm sorry, I can't explain that well 'cuz I don't remember. :biggrin::kaoswt: But the point was, none of that stuff is there by accident. There's a bling-bling club, so there's a bottle like that, and there's a metal detector 'cuz there's border control (I think?) and trust me y'all, it pans out altho it's a bit crazy but it's Grim Fandango, okay? Play it and know love. :kaoluv:

Aaaaand now Imma get to the "sophisticated, intelligent" part! I know it looks like I tick neither of those boxes, BUT I LOVE ME SOME SOPHISTICATED, INTELLIGENT WRITIN' like always. :wub:wub

So, the kind of sophisticated and intelligent puzzle I want is like, organic, of course, to start. But it'd also involve like, talking to people and figuring out who's lying, for example. Let's say you stranded in a foreign village and yo daughter got stolen, 'cuz she got green eyes which a sign of divine favour for the locals.

Then you walk around, tryina figure it out, and everybody reticent, so you get bits and scraps of dialogue and you hafta piece it together. And you can bribe folks with booze and tobacco to make the puzzle easier and get more hints. Or maybe if you wanna bypass the puzzle you can just clobber someone and strong-arm yo way through like that, but there's gonna be consequences later when the angry villagers want their vengeance.

Soo... like that, I guess? Like, I wanna see the puzzle as an integral part of the story, instead of a minigame tacked on 'cuz PUZZLES.
 

C64_Mat

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What can be done to make the puzzles from events in RPG Maker games sophisticated, intelligent and even challenging? Can you guys help me out here? Can you guys give me good examples of such? I can only think of defeating an enemy for a key or access to a switch that opens some sort of path to further your game. This can be optional and mandatory. What are "good practices"? What is there to avoid?
Mazes. Nobody likes them. Keep pointless mazes out if games. It's bit a puzzle to be solved, it's just arbitrary and artificially difficult.

I have a point in one of my dungeons where you go through an entrance into a new screen, pass through a tunnel which is drawn as a side view, just one static screen wide, with candles in recesses along the back wall.

It's the only area of the dungeon which is formatted as a side view.

There's another static room in the dungeon in the traditional top down view with a load of pressure plates on the floor in a large grid. Every pressure plate has an event on it, where you can press the action button to choose to push it down or not. At the rear of the room is a sign which says "Follow the light to reveal the path" (or thereabouts).

You press the plates on the floor which match the positions of the candles on the wall.

There are about 120 events in this one room, as pressing an incorrect pressure plate resets the puzzle, but you can activate the correct ones in any order.
 

Nolonar

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What can be done to make the puzzles from events in RPG Maker games sophisticated, intelligent and even challenging?
You need to do things in order.

The first step is to design a puzzle that is sophisticated, intelligent, and challenging.
Only then can you think about how to make it from events in RPG Maker games.

This might sound so obvious that I'm looking like a troll right now, but this is a common trap that many fall into. If thinking about "how do I make it in [engine name here]?" is one of your first priorities, then you'll inevitably limit the scope of your ideas to what you believe is possible, or worse: what you believe is easy (making good things is never easy). Creating something good when you already limit yourself from the start, is way harder than creating something good, and then making it somehow fit.

Therefore: first make something good, only then do you think about how to implement it.
 

Frostorm

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Why do you keep creating new threads for every little thing.
Yea, I've noticed that your (@A_Higher_Plane's) threads are either very vague and/or generic or are questions that could be easily answered by simply testing it out in the editor. It's actually kind of frustrating cuz I come to this subforum to gain more knowledge/insight into game mechanics design, but these kinds of threads are really not constructive in that regard. It's as if you want people to make your game for you. Look at some of the other threads in this subforum. Notice how much more specific they are in general compared to the threads you've started. And while I haven't started any threads these past several days, you can check out some of the threads I've made in the past to get an idea of more constructive questions/topics. Please don't take offense to this personally. I'm just trying to help you create better threads that will, in turn, benefit the community as a whole.
 

Basileus

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I find the best answer is almost always "Shamelessly steal from other games that got it right".

I liked the way some of the Tales game used the fireball from the Sorcerer's Ring to solve puzzles, so I made my own. I like the Portal Gun from Portal, so I made my own. I liked the field skills and jumping in Golden Sun, so I made those too.

Actually using those things in ways just as fun and clever is tough, but as you build the puzzles yourself you start to figure out what works and what doesn't. But it does come down to actually making it. You won't get the insight needed to make good puzzles just from reading forums alone.
 

ATT_Turan

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If you do a Google, there are many articles across the Web dedicated to the JRPGs with the best puzzles. Play some games, analyze how they work, examine how things make you think or feel.

I don't want to discourage you from using the forums, it's what they're for, but you really are making a ton of threads about topics that are very basic level or have information that's easily found if you look.

My recommendation is to play some more existing games with an analytical mindset and read some existing articles about game design, then ask yourself "Do I need other people's input on this topic?"
 

Milennin

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At this point, we need a mod to step in and clean this sub forum up. This guy is pushing the actual interesting and useful topics down the page with a flood of trash-tier topics that serve no purpose (sorry, not sorry).
 

A_Higher_Plane

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Please Read: Ah! I don't mean to "troll". I'm honestly sincerely looking to improve my RPG Maker and Game Dev skills. You guys gotta believe me! I thought that by asking any kind of a question, even a very basic one, not only do I learn, but I also contribute to these forums. Am I wrong? Maybe I should take a break from these forums like a week or 2 or a month?

I am also working hard learning RMMV JS Plugin Development. I appreciate all the help I get in these forums that is genuine, honest and sincere, including some posts to this thread. I need/want to greatly improve these skills until I can make video games that are highly rated and works of art. I want to know everything.

I have a disability too. I don't work because I can't work and have a lot of time on my hands. I want to get busy and heal my disability and return to the workforce. I think about things a lot. It's not like I am advertising anything in the threads. I generally wish to learn. I am a very curious fella too.
 

Trihan

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Please Read: Ah! I don't mean to "troll". I'm honestly sincerely looking to improve my RPG Maker and Game Dev skills. You guys gotta believe me! I thought that by asking any kind of a question, even a very basic one, not only do I learn, but I also contribute to these forums. Am I wrong? Maybe I should take a break from these forums like a week or 2 or a month?

I am also working hard learning RMMV JS Plugin Development. I appreciate all the help I get in these forums that is genuine, honest and sincere, including some posts to this thread. I need/want to greatly improve these skills until I can make video games that are highly rated and works of art. I want to know everything.

I have a disability too. I don't work because I can't work and have a lot of time on my hands. I want to get busy and heal my disability and return to the workforce. I think about things a lot. It's not like I am advertising anything in the threads. I generally wish to learn. I am a very curious fella too.
I think what works against you is that you just kind of ask open-ended questions then step back and leave the work of the discussion to everyone else. It would be infinitely better if you asked the questions and also provided your own opinions on the answers to those questions from your perspective. It's not that these things aren't worth discussing, but if you want to open a dialogue without offering input yourself, the focus should be tighter. Rather than asking what puzzles make a game good, ask people their thoughts on how to make a good sliding block puzzle.
 

pawsplay

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Here's a piece of advice. If your puzzle uses switches with an on/off or up/down position, use a maximum of four switches. Every switch doubles the possibilities. 2^4 is a manageable sixteen possibilities. Any more than that, and people will just google the solution. And for goodness sakes, don't make a multiple switch puzzle where you are supposed to leave the first switch in its initial position. That's just mean.
 

Iron_Brew

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Please Read: Ah! I don't mean to "troll". I'm honestly sincerely looking to improve my RPG Maker and Game Dev skills. You guys gotta believe me! I thought that by asking any kind of a question, even a very basic one, not only do I learn, but I also contribute to these forums. Am I wrong? Maybe I should take a break from these forums like a week or 2 or a month?

I am also working hard learning RMMV JS Plugin Development. I appreciate all the help I get in these forums that is genuine, honest and sincere, including some posts to this thread. I need/want to greatly improve these skills until I can make video games that are highly rated and works of art. I want to know everything.

I have a disability too. I don't work because I can't work and have a lot of time on my hands. I want to get busy and heal my disability and return to the workforce. I think about things a lot. It's not like I am advertising anything in the threads. I generally wish to learn. I am a very curious fella too.

Not gonna lie, the volume of threads you post combined with the nature of the content, combined with the fact that you don't actually contribute anything in the threads you start other than derision or react-emojis set off my troll detector.

If you just say "what creative ideas you have for accomplishing a generic goal", you're just asking people to do your job for you and then profiteering off their ideas, so even if you're not trolling the things you're doing are still problematic. This is why I said it feels like you're trying to outsource your creativity.

If you're not working at the moment you are in an enviable position whereby you have time to actually come up with stuff yourself. I wish I didn't have to go back to work so that I could continue to work on my game and come up with ways to answer the questions you are asking other people to answer for you myself, because that's where the fun is in gamedev.
 

Mr. Detective

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Now, now, guys...

OP: Try throwing in math problems. That'll force the players to use their brain and make the game more educational.
 

Anthony Xue

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"Troll" means bad intent. I recommend not to assume bad intent if the explanation for a certain behavior might also be "total cluelessness". It's funny how often that applies outside the net, too.

@A_Higher_Plane I know where you stand. Had a massive burnout some ten years ago and was quite useless to the main society's profit generation machinery. So I started to work on my own game.

From my own experience I strongly suggest for someone with both time and motivation to read at first, read, read, read and try to work as far as you can on your own. Then, when you encounter a specific problem, come here and ask a question for that specific problem. That's when it makes sense for people to answer, and it also makes sense for you, because ultra-general answers for ultra-general questions will often help you surprisingly little in practice.

But now that we have a thread for puzzles in general, please apologize my shameless plug for the respective link in my signature. I'm too lazy to copy/paste everything here.

Happy crafting.
 

Htlaets

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And for goodness sakes, don't make a multiple switch puzzle where you are supposed to leave the first switch in its initial position. That's just mean.
You know, I thought about it, and every single switch puzzle I know of off the top of my head does just that.

Honestly, though, I don't think switch puzzles are that bad if there's a way to get the exact solution through a clue or riddle. I feel like there should be a pity intervention (like a character giving hints) for people that try to brute force it.
 

ZombieKidzRule

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Ok, here are a few ideas that I have seen in older games that I think could be incorporated in interesting way. I personally don't know how to do them yet, at least not completely, because I am just learning.

  1. Teleport puzzles: This is where you have numerous teleporters that move the party from spot to spot. And sometimes, going through a teleporter that you just arrived from doesn't return you to the spot that you just left. So sometimes going backwards isn't an option. This is usually incorporated as a maze of teleporters where you need to get to certain spots to get certain treasure, maybe fight enemies, and then exit.
  2. Incorporating into a puzzle the need to throw or fire something through a teleporter so it lands on a pressure plate to do something, like open a door, turn on or off a teleporter, etc.
  3. A multilevel puzzle where the party has to drop through holes/pits to progress. At the bottom of the holes could be treasure, enemies, traps, or just fall damage if the party doesn't have anything to climb with or a spell or item with something like Featherfall. Then the party might have to find a spot to climb back up. This type of puzzle could actually incorporate more than just two levels so the party has to explore going up and down in different spots. If you incorporated a spell like Jump, that could be another way to navigate such a puzzle.
  4. Having to place certain items in marked spots to open a door. The earliest version of this that I saw was putting daggers in dagger shaped spots in the walls over multiple levels of a map. When the last dagger was inserted, all the daggers fell out (so you could go back and collect them) and they were now magical daggers. The same game had a similar puzzle of inserting darts into holes in the walls of a single room. When the last dart was inserted, they all shot out, possibly damaging the party and they were also now magical.
  5. The good old fashioned maze or labyrinth, filled with monsters, treasures, and traps. Heck, throw in a few teleporters and pits for good measure.
These types of puzzles were staples in much older games. Now, many players might not like them because it requires trial and error to complete them and it might require you to actually take notes. Of course, wouldn't that be exactly what you might have to do in real life if presented with such a puzzle?

I don't see why any of these couldn't be built with RMMZ, at least based on what I have seen so far.

Happy creating! And if you hadn't thought of one of these and you end up using it, just give me creative credit! LOL!
 

RCXGaming

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Teleport puzzles: This is where you have numerous teleporters that move the party from spot to spot. And sometimes, going through a teleporter that you just arrived from doesn't return you to the spot that you just left. So sometimes going backwards isn't an option. This is usually incorporated as a maze of teleporters where you need to get to certain spots to get certain treasure, maybe fight enemies, and then exit.

Oh I would absolutely find this obnoxious and not add anything to the experience. Trial and error gameplay is antiquated since it usually frustrates people for no good reason. I get it - it's the satisfaction of completing the thing yourself, but you can do that without enforcing confusion/busy work like this.

Plus, you know what would realistically happen if you put one of these in an RPG Maker nowadays, especially the one-way nonsense?

Reload save. That path was wrong and now I'm at the start. I wasted 5 minutes doing nothing interesting for that. Reload again. Even when this mechanic was new I hated it, lmao.

Oh, and if you're the type to limit saving to a specific spot, this would go from unfun to miserable. Either mark your teleporters with colors or symbols (this latter option exists for people with colorblindness) to let your players know they're explicitly going to new places and not just circling around the same spot over and over.

A multilevel puzzle where the party has to drop through holes/pits to progress. At the bottom of the holes could be treasure, enemies, traps, or just fall damage if the party doesn't have anything to climb with or a spell or item with something like Featherfall. Then the party might have to find a spot to climb back up. This type of puzzle could actually incorporate more than just two levels so the party has to explore going up and down in different spots. If you incorporated a spell like Jump, that could be another way to navigate such a puzzle.

This is neat though. I like it when RPG Maker games have verticality to them and the things you do affect other maps, like pushing down boulders in Pokemon to stop the water from flowing.

Having to place certain items in marked spots to open a door. The earliest version of this that I saw was putting daggers in dagger shaped spots in the walls over multiple levels of a map. When the last dagger was inserted, all the daggers fell out (so you could go back and collect them) and they were now magical daggers. The same game had a similar puzzle of inserting darts into holes in the walls of a single room. When the last dart was inserted, they all shot out, possibly damaging the party and they were also now magical.

Ah the good old Indiana Jones trick. I like this one quite a bit because pressure plate puzzles aren't something you usually see. You see switch and button puzzles, but rarely anything that changes based on you putting something of varying weights on the button itself. That could lead to a fun puzzle where the different weights open different doors in the room.
 
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ZombieKidzRule

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You see switch and button puzzles, but rarely anything that changes based on you putting something of varying weights on the button itself. That could lead to a fun puzzle where the different weights open different doors in the room.
Ah, interesting. I hadn't really thought about having different weights have a different effect. I don't think I have seen that before. Usually it is either anything counts as enough weight or you have to reach a certain weight to have the necessary effect. Very interesting.

And I understand your first point. When I first started playing games, all we had was trial and error. A few games sold hint books, but that was it. I even remember living in Japan, playing Wizardry 6, and calling a 900 (pay) number back to the U.S. to get prerecorded hints for the puzzles. That sucked. That game also had a miserable multilevel puzzle, no minimap (HA), and an area of complete darkness in the maze. No light spell, no torches, nothing.

I think older gamers would be the only ones who would generally tolerate nasty stuff like that anymore. :LZSevil:
 

Enigman

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I experimented with a brute force alternative for a couple of puzzles I had in one game I was working on. One of the party's NPC's (MattyMoo - named after a late work colleague) was a 'beserker' type of character. With each failed attempt (or time taken to solve) the MattyMoo NPC would get more PO'd and start muttering "Urge to kill... getting stronGER!" and eventually he'd go beserk, smash through a wall or attack some random object etc that bypassed the puzzle. The plan was for him to be a circuit breaker to prevent players from being frustrated by a puzzle if they found it too hard and abandoning the game.

To give some idea, one puzzle involved a dark room with a plinth on which something can be placed. One of the clues they got was "Many hands make light work" If they place a statue of an octopus the player finds earlier, on the plinth then the room lights up and an exit is revealed/unlocked. I tended to base some of my puzzles on inspiration from old text adventure games, puns etc. I'm not sure some players today would have the patience to get the babel fish in their ear from the Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy game - it both frustrated and amused me, especially when I finally solved it.

When the bypass was implemented other NPC's would comment "Sometime brute force IS the answer!" or " "Not everything is a nail" MattyMoo "Is, when you have War Hammer!"

The only problem was that once the playtester realised that he just needed to trigger MattyMoo's beserk mode he'd fail to solve the puzzle to trigger the brute force bypass.
 

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