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March 12th, 2011, 08:40
Jay Barnson discusses puzzles in RPGs, with particular attention to the different types and they can be used without frustrating the player:
The Self-Contained Puzzle: This is a classic puzzle or logic game that requires no external tools to resolve. Worst-case, these may often be resolved by brute force. Some players hate these. Some players think they are kind of fun. Sometimes they take the form of a mini-game. Examples that I’m dredging up from past games might include the riddle-protected chests in Betrayal at Krondor, or a mastermind-style puzzle in Wizardry 7. Or a twisty maze of little passages, all different.
The Sequence Puzzle: Sort of a variation on The Self-Contained Puzzle above, this is a puzzle that requires the player to take actions (often, simply moving) in a specific sequence. Failure may result in having to start over. The key to making these puzzles not suck is twofold: Making sure that there are clues to the correct sequence so that it’s not a pure trial-and-error experience; and making sure that failure is not too punitive. If each stage of an 8-stage sequence takes a full minute to complete, it’s going to piss off players.
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March 12th, 2011, 08:40
I hate puzzles.

I especially hate puzzles that cannot be solved with common sense.


Btw, now I remember why I play mostly RPGs and strategy games and nearly no adventures.
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March 12th, 2011, 08:58
Originally Posted by Roi Danton View Post
I hate puzzles.

I especially hate puzzles that cannot be solved with common sense.


Btw, now I remember why I play mostly RPGs and strategy games and nearly no adventures.
I feel the exact same way. I wouldn't mind puzzles so much if they were purely logic based where it is clear what to do, and from there it is up to the player to figure out how to solve them. Unfortunately, so many puzzles are simply random guess-work where you don't really know what exactly it is you're supposed to even do. At that point, it's no longer even a puzzle, really; more of an immersion-breaking frustration.
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March 12th, 2011, 16:25
The problem with puzzles is what if the player can't figure it out? I've run across some puzzles, even in RPGs, that after I looked up the solution (which is LAME and not a valid response to my opening question) I was still puzzled.
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March 12th, 2011, 21:47
I LOVE puzzles - but only those which I'm able to solve, actually !

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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March 12th, 2011, 22:35
I like puzzles in a general sense - who do I talk to next to solve the murder quest? I hate literal puzzles - the Tower of Babylon door-lock or similar. I just find myself thinking who the hell would put themselves through this shit every time they want to use their study/equipment/storage room/whatever? I imagine the builder staring at the mad alchemist and saying "you want what to open the door"?

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March 13th, 2011, 11:46
If it's clear what to do next then how is it even a puzzle? Puzzles should need some thinking and observation and stuff. If you lack that, don't play games with puzzles, but also don't ask for a genre like RPGs which put characters in a vast variety of situations throughout epic journeys to never ever consider having a puzzle that is beyond the capability of a 3 year old… With the same thinking someone could as well say, I don't like skill or tactical elements so never ever make any combat situation in a way that isn't obvious and clear what I should do to win, making all combat a matter of attacking over and over… Challenges are good, whatever form they appear in, be it a battle or a puzzle.
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March 13th, 2011, 12:19
I'm pretty sure he meant "clear" as in what logical steps need to be taken to begin solving it. Nothing wrong with puzzles being hard, but I want them to make sense.
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March 13th, 2011, 13:13
A good puzzle need not make any sense to begin with, the reason and logic becomes more apparent later when the solution become realised.

Instantly solveable hand-holding puzzles could be seen as having no 'puzzling' qualities whatsoever.

By its very definition a puzzle should not make much or any "sense" at first glance or it would not be a puzzle in the first place!
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March 13th, 2011, 13:44
Originally Posted by Wulf View Post
By its very definition a puzzle should not make much or any "sense" at first glance or it would not be a puzzle in the first place!
I agree. What I meant is that I want the puzzle to make sense to me once it's finished, and to feel like it belongs in the game, not completely random.
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March 13th, 2011, 14:13
Loved riddles in Might&Magic 3-5. Also wizardry games have some quite hard puzzles and riddles.
What I really hate are "search for the tiny button on the wall" type of puzzles. And that button usually opens the door on the other side of dungeon/level.
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March 13th, 2011, 16:44
Should a puzzle be a game-stopper where no further storyline progression can continue unless the puzzle is solved?

Should such puzzles be easy to solve to prevent retard casual gamers from pulling their hair out and smashing their computers with sledge hammers or should they be difficult?
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March 13th, 2011, 23:43
Game stopping puzzles @#$$ me off and lead to instant deletion if I can't find a solution fairly quickly. I remember still one in Betrayal at Antarra where you had to open a challenging riddle/puzzle chest to get an item which allowed you to solve another puzzle without which you couldn't proceed!! No internet in those days.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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March 14th, 2011, 00:54
I looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove puzzles!
Betrayal at krondol riddle chests, LOVED THEM!
Quest for Glory approach to puzzles LOVED IT! (basically, for any situation you could choose one of 3 ways, but you were 'rewarded' with points (meta-game) if you chose the right one for the class you were playing, i.e. a rogue that sneaked his way past the guards would get 'points', while if the same rogue fought the guards he wouldn't get points, but either way he would overcome the challenge.
Time based puzzles… hate them!
Action based puzzles… hate them!
Area puzzles… hate them! (these are where you have to flip a switch somewhere, which does something somewhere else, Mist style)
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March 14th, 2011, 01:08
Some puzzles do need patience yet can be a fun challenge at the same time.

A game stopping example:-

"Dark Earth" - (Kalisto Entertainment) where Arkhan the protagonist had to indulge in a game of Yong and win to continue any further to the lower levels - a board game that looked easy enough but i would loose each time, watching the other players method (was really the computer) showed the secret to winning was in the opposing reverse logic of the diagonals. At least a dozen tries before i grasped the logic which gave a sense of achievement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qptx1p7WybM

So contrary to Jay Barnsons preaching of lame ideology, nevermind the frustration, making puzzles too easy is pointless as they become no more than mere senseless filler/padding.
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March 14th, 2011, 01:49
I hate compulsory mini-games more; not mentioning KoTOR of course!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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March 14th, 2011, 09:24
Well, one really funny puzzle was in Kyrandia 3… it would also not allow you to move on if you didn't finish it ( but this is the entire point of point-and-click adventures ) either way… in this puzzle you had to lose a game of tic-tac-toe to move on…. and losing was actually quite hard…… that was really funny IMHO.

As for puzzles that won't allow you to move on in RPG's….. that depends on what kind of puzzles. In older games this kind of puzzle was very common and it gave a really big sense of achievement after you moved on. On the other hand the frustration could make you put down the game and never return to it again.

I don't think today's mainstream gamers can handle anything which takes longer than 5 minutes to complete.
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March 14th, 2011, 11:33
In the gold version of Draknsang 1, there's a tic-tac-toe minigame in it as well.

And one cannot win, I think.

The solution - I had to ask around to get it ! - is to ask another one in the tavern !

Such a game - such an (for me) unexpected solution !

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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March 14th, 2011, 11:48
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
In the gold version of Draknsang 1, there's a tic-tac-toe minigame in it as well.
Drakensang has a "gold" version? What else does it have that the normal version doesn't? Was that a German release only?

I always hate to think that the version I have of any game isn't the best one.
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March 14th, 2011, 12:16
Well, I don't know whether I'm right or not, but I assume that the german "Gold" version is basically the same as the international version.

You can tell the "Gold" version from others by the fact that an older incarnation of Drakensang 2's Captain is in Ferdok with his ship, for example. There are other points where they differ, but they are only minor details, and a bit more polished (Mother Ratzinski seems not to be that hard anymore, for example, which is my personal impression).

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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