Contrary Popular
Design
Kurt Bieg, Simple Machine

Monday, January 6, 14
kurt
@
simplemachine.co

Monday, January 6, 14
Circadia

Monday, January 6, 14

Even Up

4 Thrones

Tomb
Breaker
http://bit.ly/4ThronesKS

bit.ly/4ThronesKS
Monday, January 6, 14
Contrary = Inverse
Popular = Classic Puzzles
Design = Design

Monday, January 6, 14
4 Elements of Every
Classic Puzzle Game
1. Single Step Mechanic
2. Compound Agency
3. Presented Randomness
4. State of Ord...
Some examples:
Mahjongg

Candy Crush
Saga

Crosswords

Tetris

Angry Birds

Triple Town

Monday, January 6, 14
1. Single Step Mechanic
Do one single thing and only one single thing

Monday, January 6, 14
The Rubix Cube

Monday, January 6, 14
1. Single Step Mechanic
The player may
only rotate one
row or column.

Monday, January 6, 14
2. Compound Agency
Sequential repetition of
the single step mechanic
creates EXCITEMENT.

Monday, January 6, 14
Sudoku

Monday, January 6, 14
1. Single Step Mechanic
Writing a number
in an empty space
so long as it’s not a
duplicate in a row,
column, or box.

Mond...
2. Compound Agency
The first answers
are simple.
Later answers
require a
multitude of
crosschecking.

Monday, January 6, 14
3. Presented
Randomness
A set of objects presented in constrained randomness.

Monday, January 6, 14
Bejeweled

Monday, January 6, 14
1. Single Step Mechanic
Swap any 2
neighbors up,
down, left, or right
to create 3 in a
row.

Monday, January 6, 14
2. Compound Agency
Making timed
multiple matches
increases the
score multiplier.

Monday, January 6, 14
3. Presented Randomness
Randomly
repopulated tiles,
presented for
player choice.

Monday, January 6, 14
4. State of Order
A final state the player is attempting to reach

ZEN

Monday, January 6, 14
Solitaire

Monday, January 6, 14
1. Single Step Mechanic
Place a card on a
pile if it is the
opposite color and
1 less

Monday, January 6, 14
2. Compound Agency
Putting cards on
later can mean
ruining the end

Monday, January 6, 14
3. Presented Randomness
The deck is
shuffled each time
the player restarts

Monday, January 6, 14
3. State of Order
All cards sorted
into 4 piles by suit
and value

Monday, January 6, 14
Monday, January 6, 14
Contrary Popular Design
applied to
Solitaire

Monday, January 6, 14
4 Thrones

Monday, January 6, 14
Find Solitaire
Differentiators
• Designed specifically for mobile.
• Easy to use (single handed).
• Inspiring aesthetic.
• ...
Think Contrarian-ly
• What if there weren’t any suits?
• What if there are no face cards?
• What if the goal is to disorga...
Invert Solitaire
Elements
• Remove opposite suit rule, allow any higher
card on a pile.

• Give face cards unique suit req...
Read more at simplemachine.co
Monday, January 6, 14
Thank You!
kurt
@
simplemachine.co
Monday, January 6, 14
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Contrary Popular Design: Using the 4 Elements of Every Classic Puzzle

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Here I describe the 4 elements of I've discovered in almost every classic puzzle game, from Crosswords to Solitaire, and how to use them to create new innovative gaming experiences.

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Contrary Popular Design: Using the 4 Elements of Every Classic Puzzle

  1. 1. Contrary Popular Design Kurt Bieg, Simple Machine Monday, January 6, 14
  2. 2. kurt @ simplemachine.co Monday, January 6, 14
  3. 3. Circadia Monday, January 6, 14 Even Up 4 Thrones Tomb Breaker
  4. 4. http://bit.ly/4ThronesKS bit.ly/4ThronesKS Monday, January 6, 14
  5. 5. Contrary = Inverse Popular = Classic Puzzles Design = Design Monday, January 6, 14
  6. 6. 4 Elements of Every Classic Puzzle Game 1. Single Step Mechanic 2. Compound Agency 3. Presented Randomness 4. State of Order Monday, January 6, 14
  7. 7. Some examples: Mahjongg Candy Crush Saga Crosswords Tetris Angry Birds Triple Town Monday, January 6, 14
  8. 8. 1. Single Step Mechanic Do one single thing and only one single thing Monday, January 6, 14
  9. 9. The Rubix Cube Monday, January 6, 14
  10. 10. 1. Single Step Mechanic The player may only rotate one row or column. Monday, January 6, 14
  11. 11. 2. Compound Agency Sequential repetition of the single step mechanic creates EXCITEMENT. Monday, January 6, 14
  12. 12. Sudoku Monday, January 6, 14
  13. 13. 1. Single Step Mechanic Writing a number in an empty space so long as it’s not a duplicate in a row, column, or box. Monday, January 6, 14
  14. 14. 2. Compound Agency The first answers are simple. Later answers require a multitude of crosschecking. Monday, January 6, 14
  15. 15. 3. Presented Randomness A set of objects presented in constrained randomness. Monday, January 6, 14
  16. 16. Bejeweled Monday, January 6, 14
  17. 17. 1. Single Step Mechanic Swap any 2 neighbors up, down, left, or right to create 3 in a row. Monday, January 6, 14
  18. 18. 2. Compound Agency Making timed multiple matches increases the score multiplier. Monday, January 6, 14
  19. 19. 3. Presented Randomness Randomly repopulated tiles, presented for player choice. Monday, January 6, 14
  20. 20. 4. State of Order A final state the player is attempting to reach ZEN Monday, January 6, 14
  21. 21. Solitaire Monday, January 6, 14
  22. 22. 1. Single Step Mechanic Place a card on a pile if it is the opposite color and 1 less Monday, January 6, 14
  23. 23. 2. Compound Agency Putting cards on later can mean ruining the end Monday, January 6, 14
  24. 24. 3. Presented Randomness The deck is shuffled each time the player restarts Monday, January 6, 14
  25. 25. 3. State of Order All cards sorted into 4 piles by suit and value Monday, January 6, 14
  26. 26. Monday, January 6, 14
  27. 27. Contrary Popular Design applied to Solitaire Monday, January 6, 14
  28. 28. 4 Thrones Monday, January 6, 14
  29. 29. Find Solitaire Differentiators • Designed specifically for mobile. • Easy to use (single handed). • Inspiring aesthetic. • Super easy to pick up and play. • An original variant. Monday, January 6, 14
  30. 30. Think Contrarian-ly • What if there weren’t any suits? • What if there are no face cards? • What if the goal is to disorganize the cards? • What if cards are two sided, like a coin? • What if you can’t use certain cards? Monday, January 6, 14
  31. 31. Invert Solitaire Elements • Remove opposite suit rule, allow any higher card on a pile. • Give face cards unique suit requirements • Condense game to 4 piles. • Placing all 52 cards onto 4 piles. Monday, January 6, 14
  32. 32. Read more at simplemachine.co Monday, January 6, 14
  33. 33. Thank You! kurt @ simplemachine.co Monday, January 6, 14

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