What makes a good puzzle? / How do you come up with interesting puzzles?

Akihiko

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Hey guys, I'm trying to think of a few puzzles for my spooky game. I'm wondering what you think makes a good puzzle. Also, how do you personally come up with interesting puzzles for your game? Is there anything that inspires you?

There are simple "puzzles" like grab an object and place it here to advance to the next area.

I know some games have math puzzles but I'm not really into that.

Other games might have you figure out a code to unlock a door - the player has to go around the area and find the numbers / code words

So yeah, what do you think makes a good puzzle, and how do you usually come up with your own?
 
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MushroomCake28

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Depends on your game. Are you making a puzzle focused game? Or more of an adventure game that happens to have puzzle? Depending on the type of game, the puzzles' difficulty and complexity will vary. It is understandable that a story driven fantasy adventure game that happens to have puzzles in its dungeon will have simpler puzzles than a game that focuses on puzzles.

My general rule (as someone who is making a story driven fantasy adventure game) is that puzzles in mandatory dungeons, meaning dungeons that the player will have to clear in order to complete the game, are easier to clear than other puzzles. A puzzle shouldn't be too hard as to keep some players from progressing. As for optional dungeons, now that's a different story. I can make harder puzzles with more complexity since I know that if a player can't complete it, or won't take the time to think hard enough, he can just give up and skip the dungeon.

This brings me to my next point: the point of a puzzle is to make the player think. It's an obstacle that blocks the player from progressing in a dungeon and that needs a minimum of thinking to clear. It can be something simple like a switch, or it could something more complex like a system of colored switches that can be activated and deactivated to deactivate portals blocking a way, but with a restriction on the number of switches that can be deactivated at the same time.

I usually come up with puzzles pretty naturally. I suspect that's because I'm someone who loves puzzles and in the past I was always doing puzzle games.
 

Eschaton

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Above all else, keep the random encounters and puzzles out of the same map.
 

Akihiko

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@MushroomCake28 Thanks for your input! :kaohi: The game I'd like to make is a spooky one. I was thinking I wanted at least one puzzle that should be solved under a time limit.

@gstv87 Thank you, I'll definitely take a look at this. Hopefully it'll give me some ideas~

@Eschaton That sounds like it would be a nightmare lol
 

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