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RPGWatch Forums » Games » Indie RPG » Tactica: Maiden of Faith » Puzzles in RPGs

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May 12th, 2010, 19:07
Joystiq had a interview with Brian Fargo about his new game. Apparently, puzzles are back.

I love good puzzles, and don't mind if they stop progress. What good is one sitting off to the side, unused? I do think there should be multiple work arounds to puzzles, more than one solution. But I think that about every event in a game. Including combat. Which, really, is a tactical puzzle in and of itself. With the end result being death and dismemberment.

I remember a fight in one of the Gold Box games, first time I ran through it. It was a forced event, you couldn't avoid it. It took me a half a dozen tries to figure out a strategy that worked. When I did, subsequent times through were a breeze. It was just as hard as a traditional puzzle to figure out, and had death as a consequence. Other strategies would work as well, depending on party, so it was a more dynamic puzzle.

Treasures of the Savage Frontier, speaking of Gold Box games, had a minor puzzle of sorts that you used to figure out the BBEG's plot. It wasn't major, and a wargamer may have come up with a similar strategy in the end, but that's neither here not there.

I always had Arcomage crash on me in MMVII. Never managed to play it once without a crash.

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May 15th, 2010, 10:34
Your quote about fights and puzzles, I could have made it for DAO, and for more than one fight. But it's perhaps because I never build a very efficient party, or I hadn't been smart enough to fly through the fights.

About the interview, I suppose it's:
http://www.joystiq.com/2010/05/10/in…-demons-forge/

Well not everything clear (for me) in this interview. Anyway more than puzzles I note the quote about dungeons, here at least a CRPG designer that understand how good could be dungeons with modern games (still expecting a remake/redo with a similar setup than Avernum and with modern technology). I also notice that the few snapshots show a deeper landscape/area design than unimaginative copy/paste from reality.

For the Gear of Wars, I don't know anything about the game, and wonder what's so special in it, it seems like a common shooter for me, coop element?

About the section on how old game put the challenge very high, I think there's a misunderstanding here. The first point is that in old time plenty players never finished most games they played. The second point is that there wasn't Internet nor a vast amount of other games available in few clicks.

Internet is the temptation players hadn't, you get stuck 1 hour on a puzzle and don't see where you are going? Well few clicks to get the solution and see more of the game, and the game get rip of from a part that took time to design and build.

Internet put at your disposal ton of games available in few clicks, plus most players have ton of games ready to play. They are the temptation to switch to another game when you get stuck by one.

I understand that solve the puzzles won't be mandatory, it could not be enough. Perhaps some idea to manage more puzzles in CRPG could be inspired by design elements of the Professor Layton series.
Last edited by Dasale; May 15th, 2010 at 11:23.
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May 15th, 2010, 23:29
About the newest Gobliiins game, I read that "there aren't diffcult puzzles, but many of them". A different approach.

Okay, here's the original sentence I referred to :

The puzzles are not very difficult, but there are lots of them.
http://www.gobliiins4.com/description_ru.htm

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July 21st, 2010, 15:58
I'm pretty anti-puzzle. The good ones are cliche, the rest are pointless or occasionally horribly frustrating. The DA:O bridge puzzle wasn't logical at all, it was trial and error, boring and frustrating. Any complicated pressure plate system is bad, the logical ones are just time consuming and the bad ones are just trial and error and that stops the game and isn't fun. A simple pressure plate system ( drop some armor so the door opens elsewhere ) for an optional piece of loot is ok if used sparingly.

I do like your original example though as long as it was only to make a fight easier and not impossible otherwise. Or the ability to enhance the a playstyle like your example of traps. Puzzles should be optional and/or allow the good old brute force method of getting around them. I'd be ok with a puzzle to disarm the trap as long as I can just storm through it and take the hit.

Slight rant warning: It's the same thing with locked doors, in a fantasy setting where I can shoot lightning from my eyes and carry a 40lb two handed axe, picklocks or not, I'm going through that wooden door. Bashing should always be an option, ideally with a non-permanent penalty, altered/extra guards is a nice realistic consequence.

BaK's riddle chests were great, 90% of the time they were pretty easy, and were very rarely required. The ones that were required the answer was usually tied into the story somehow, which was a nice touch.

I enjoy the occasional adventure game but only the whimsical ones because I guess I'm just not that clever. That's why I like ones that give you hints after you don't accomplish something after a certain length of time. I picked up the Tales of Monkey Islands series and that's my kind of puzzles, nothing completely illogical and the designers remembered you're there to play a game and be entertained, not frustrated and resorting to trial and error or internet solutions.
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July 21st, 2010, 21:51
Puzzles done well, I love. Unfortunately, most of the time, they are not done well. The ones from the Infinity Engine games alwasy seemed to be poorly done, and I usually ended up looking up how to solve them online. I remember a lot of the time, you had to look at the pattern in the wall or something. Good idea, but with the interface, you REALLY had to be paying attention to the details to figure that out.

I remember a few in the Ultima series and some of the Siere adventure/rpg games being really well done, but maybe it was easier to do them well in that level of techonology.

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July 21st, 2010, 22:54
I think it's always a question of how yiou define that "it's logical". I was thinking about this definition recently again when I played Ankh 2.

There might be some things the player just couldn't imagine.

And that's the point where things might go wrong. For the player, mostly.

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July 30th, 2010, 18:11
The Moredel word locks, from Betrayal at Krondor, were pretty nicely done, IMO.
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