Puzzle game design question

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by GaPeLo, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. GaPeLo

    GaPeLo Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Canutillo
    First Language:
    Spanish
    I was wondering what you guys think about how many lives a puzzle game should have?

    I find a stop in my game design and it all depends on how many lives should the game have? Should I add continues or a password system?

    Right now I have 3 lives and no continues. Every level has 9 rooms for a total of 9 levels or 81 rooms . So basically you have to finish the game with 3 lives, but you can save the game in any room from the menu. Should I add extra lives as the game progresses? or should I put a continue system? Maybe both ?

    I don't want to make the game the too hard or too easy or take away that feeling of achieving something If it has an unlimited number of lives.

    Maybe if I add continues but it resets the game from the begining of the level (First room of the current level).

    To add some sense of achievement I will add a time based scoring system. Cool?

    To many questions aight? I ask if you can help me get some answers as a gamer first and then as a game designer second. It will really help me out in my project.

    Thank you in advance
     
    #1
  2. Des

    Des timefantasy.net Veteran

    Messages:
    1,399
    Likes Received:
    614
    Location:
    Dixie
    First Language:
    American
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    Infinite lives.

    In the past, it was okay to punish players. And to punish them hard.

    Today, things are a lot different. There are hundreds of thousands of games that players can be playing, and if they get frustrated they are very likely to just give up on yours. Especially if you give them a game over and expect them to start over from the beginning. the most valuable resource to a player is his own time.

    ESPECIALLY if it's a puzzle game. The fun of the game comes from SOLVING the puzzle, not from doing it. Puzzle games are thinking games, and if the player has already SOLVED the puzzle, then making him go through the motions again is just wasting his time.

    imo when the player dies, start him in the same room with the puzzle reset but without any other consequences (maybe consequences in a decreased score or something, but nothing that will force the player to waste his time).

    Be generous, and work with your player. The last thing you want to do is frustrate them.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 9, 2012
    #2
  3. Chaneque

    Chaneque Prince of Strange Things Veteran

    Messages:
    687
    Likes Received:
    45
    First Language:
    English
    Primarily Uses:
    N/A
    Professor Layton is a good example. If you fail a puzzle, you can retry infinitely. If your answer is incorrect, you lose some picarats (points, basically).
     
    #3
  4. GaPeLo

    GaPeLo Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Canutillo
    First Language:
    Spanish
    Infinite lives it is!! =) thank you both for your replies!! I will take it seriously and take a note of that.
     
    #4
  5. m4uesviecr

    m4uesviecr Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    126
    Likes Received:
    44
    First Language:
    English
    Just for reference, I find it to be a huge challenege if you are only give a certain number of lives. If your lives are infinite, then it makes the game so much easier. You don't have to be as careful, or mindful, and beating the level doesn't give you that feeling of: I got THAT far with only X amount of lives. *turns to friend* BEAT THAT.

    I like the idea of having a certain amount of lives, but having the opportunity to achieve more of them, like mario or sonic. There are coins (or some type of artifact) that, if you collect enough, you are given an extra life. I'm not sure if you are trying to bypass that particular system, BUT, I would say stick with the numerical amount of lives, giving them a chance to acquire more lives as they progress. I know for me, I feel good that I did so well that I up'd the antie and now have an additional 5 lives to spare.

    You could also do it to where if you die, you can have them start from the beginning of the level. Not to rip off of Mario too much, but the recent releases (like Super Mario World), gave you checkpoints.

    Honestly, I think you should make it like the original Mario. You have to play with a certain amount of lives, and if you lose them, you have to start all over. BUT, you are given the option to save at each world, or level.

    I don't believe too much in Frieza's statement about no one playing it. The bottom line is, if it is FUN and ENGAGING, it will be played, and it will be played repeatedly. Do you know how many people STILL play the original Mario?

    I know I'm a little late in the argument, lol, but I would like to see what your game is about when it is done. It sounds interesting.

    Just don't be afraid to challenge your players! There are going to be some that like a challenge, and some who don't.

    Not sure if you would be interested in reading this article, but it talks about this dilemma exclusively: http://leviathyn.com/blog/2012/07/01/have-our-games-gotten-easier/
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2012
    #5
    Des likes this.
  6. GaPeLo

    GaPeLo Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Canutillo
    First Language:
    Spanish
    Yeah, I agree a lot. I red the article and I also believe the same and feel the same way too. I'm from the NES era and still believe that those were the real challenging games. In my personal opinion, (and I dont want to start a debate here its just a matter of preferences) RPGs have died along time ago. There is a very good few ones like fallout 3 or Tera (Can't believe I got tired very easily, to much grinding ahhh), but for some reason game developers consider a challenge grinding items, killing tons of monsters to make spells powerfull, fight a 5 hour boss special boss, or get a special name tag by collecting playing cards. I remember sitting trough FF8 and grinding spells for hours and when i look back i think, what a waste of time. It wasn't even fun!! It was lame and boring.

    Also games have become so linear that you feel (at least for me) you just watching an expensive movie with all those cutscenes they throw at you. after like 10 minutes I'm like, come on I want to play already. They even overdo it on the save system, there is like 10 save points before reaching a boss in one level.

    I remember I used to have fun more when the NES, SNES, and playstation era was alive. Age doesn't have to do anything with it because I still enjoy some games they currently make (done the right way). Companies need to realize that grinding a lot is not fun but a little grinding is fun, linear gameplay and confusing storyline is dull, and too many saves or lives can ruin the challenge. I also believe the whole idea of if you cannot pass a level then you are not ready for the next one. Practice makes perfection. A good game level designer will make the level go hard in difficulty as the game progresses, That's what I'm trying to do.

    I think I get it now. Taking in considaration all of the replies I got. I will make the game, as Lolo for the NES did.... 5 lives, unlimited continues but respawn in the begining of the level not of the room, and a password system.

    I thank you all for your consideration and comments. It helped me a lot in designing my game... Once i get the demo you guys will be the first to know... have a great day and tnx for the replies
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2012
    #6
    Des and RyanA like this.
  7. Link

    Link Hero of Slime Veteran

    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    United States of America
    First Language:
    English/Engrish
    As a person that loves the idea of an permanent loss (which I believe makes the person think harder if they know when they lose, they lose ALL progress not just 30 seconds), you should give 2 options to satisfy both mindsets; that being a limited death and an infinite death option. But, that's obviously up to you :p
     
    #7
  8. GaPeLo

    GaPeLo Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Canutillo
    First Language:
    Spanish
    Maybe an easy mode with unlimited deaths or a hard mode with only 5 lives but I think that will extra work. No matter how hard you try to do things, there will always be people who will think your game is not worth it. But I like your idea. I guess if I do it I will have to re-event everything and start the game from scratch. Maybe on hard mode you will get a cool ending or a nice screenshot, or an access to an secret level... I don't know to many posibilities. Tnx for the tip mate. I'll give it a try. =)
     
    #8
  9. prexus

    prexus Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    57
    First Language:
    English
    Yes, if you're willing to use difficulty levels then having those be the options would work very well.

    But, why are there even lives to begin with? Do you move a character around a room to solve the problems (like pushing statues and flipping switches) or is it just an interface where you slide/flip panels or match colours?

    Lives are considered archaic and bad form in game design these days, and are used to artificially increase the length of time it takes to complete a game. They can still be used, of course, but you need a reason. If your character "dies" because you didn't solve a puzzle properly... well that doesn't really make sense. If there are spike traps, moving hazards, and pits to fall into while you are solving the puzzle though, that is a different story. You can then use those adventure/platform elements in conjunction with a puzzle to create a tense moment. Of course, the more hazards and more immediate/reactionary they are, the easier the puzzle has to be. You can't expect a player to sit there, jumping platform to platform, dodging missiles and still be able to solve a Rubik's Cube.

    Long story short, lives are considered bad game design but can be used if it makes sense, but to determine whether it makes sense we'd need to see an example puzzle and have more information as to how the player interacts with it.
     
    #9
  10. GaPeLo

    GaPeLo Veteran Veteran

    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Canutillo
    First Language:
    Spanish
    Hi thank you for your thougths. I like what you said but I really don't consider archaic to have lives in games or consider it bad design. For some reason, that's what they teaching in video game schools this days. Like you said, to have lives in a video game it must have a meaning. To have lives in video games has its roots in arcade games. Can you imagine unlimited lives with a quarter coin? probably not to good for arcade game companies, but probably good for parents. It wasn't until gaming consoles got control of the video game market and transformed completely what arcade video games are now. Going back to the lives subject.

    It still makes sense to try from the begining if you are not ready for the next level, so who else than the level designer to say when you are not ready for the level by putting some limits on how much you can try before you go nuts on something. It's like refreshing your memory from trying to pass the same level that you are stubbornly trying to pass with the same mistakes over and over. So to have lives in games really has their own purpose and very handy in puzzle games I must say. Like zuma, it has a life system and it sold like pancakes, and sometimes when I go to walmart from time to time i see a person buying their own copy of ZUma for $10 bucks a piece. The frustration and randomnes of some levels in Zuma its quite big i must say. but people still love the game, not because of the graphics, or the music. But because of the gameplay. Of course music and graphics matter to an extend but playing video games its all about playing a game that will make want to go back to have fun.

    What I learned over the years in gaming is that people play video games for different reasons. Yeah, people play video games other than to have fun. I know that because I still play FF games and still they manage to dissapopint me everytime after FF7. For some, FF13 was a great RPG game. For me, its just an expensive movie that you "play" using only 3 buttons. So I have tried to play FF13 like 13 times, lol and I always stop at some point on the second disc. I just play to continue the saga and to say I have beaten all the FF games up to date. But do I have fun??? O no!! Kind of a waste of time actually. But i "play the game" Probably one day I will finish it. anywayz.

    The game I'm making is simple. It's an heroin trying to get to the last castle of the antagonist to save her hometown. Because the antagonist can cast spells the heroin can die. The game has some action adventure elements too so that will probably justify to lose a live once in awhile. Because once you pass the game, you have all that experience from beating the game (and to add replay value) it makes sense that you want to do it faster, or harder. Thats why I'm adding the hard mode (so if you have experience on somthing you shouldnt do it faster or easier? maybe with less tries?). And the reward for beating the game in hard mode will probably be a hard insane level, and maybe a cute screenshot of the heroin in bikini. Lol. Trusth me that can be very motivational for some, lol.

    I thank you for your point of view and tips. I will take a note of that and probably will improve my game in someway or another. Feedback is always appriciate it. thank you once again and have a nice day.

    edit- Wow, sorry did not notice how long my reply was... my bad... o_O!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 18, 2012
    #10

Share This Page