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Videogame Design and Programming - 09 Puzzles
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Videogame Design and Programming - 09 Puzzles


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Lecture for the Videogame Design and Programming course for the MSc Engineering of Computing Systems (Laurea Magistrale in Ingegneria Informatica) - Politecnico di Milano. …

Lecture for the Videogame Design and Programming course for the MSc Engineering of Computing Systems (Laurea Magistrale in Ingegneria Informatica) - Politecnico di Milano.

Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
Dipartimento di Elettronica, Informazione, e Bioingegneria

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  • 1. Puzzles Videogame Design and Programming Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 2. Reference 2 § Chapter 14 “The Design Document” of the course textbook: Tracy Fullerton. Game Design Workshop, Second Edition. Morgan Kaufmann 2008. § Chapter 12 “Game Mechanics Support Puzzles” of the course textbook: Jesse Schell. The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses. CRC Press; 1 edition (August 4, 2008) Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 3. puzzles are wonderful mechanisms that form key parts of many games Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 4. sometimes they are visible sometimes they are enmeshed into the gameplay that become invisible Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 5. Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 6. how to make good puzzles? what are the best ways incorporate puzzles into games? Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 7. are puzzles really games? jigsaw puzzle? Rubik’s cube? Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 8. “A puzzle is fun, and has a right answer.” Scott Kim Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 9. once you figure out the best strategy, you can solve the puzzle every time, and it is no longer fun when a single strategy will always defeat a game we say that the game has “dominant strategy” “dominant strategies” should be generally avoided as they reduce the replayability of a game Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 10. Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 11. a puzzle is a game with a dominant strategy Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 12. Puzzles •  •  A puzzle is anything that makes you stop and think, and mental challenges can add significant variety to an action-based game In earlier games, puzzles required the players to stop completely and sometimes appeared incongruous within the game environment 7th Guest has several puzzles like a giant chessboard, etc. §  •  Then, as gameplay became more fluid, puzzles became less explicit and more woven into the gameplay Tombraider Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker The Witness by Jonathan Blow §  §  §  Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 13. Puzzle Principle #1: Make the Goal Easily Understood Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi 13
  • 14. Puzzle Principle #2: Make It Easy to Get Started •  •  •  Once players understood what is the goal of the puzzle they should be be able to start solving it right away With some puzzles (like Sam Loyd’s 15) it is very easy to start although a winning strategy is far from being obvious With other puzzles, the goal is very clear (e.g., identify what digit each letter represents) but players might be disoriented to start solving it Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi 14
  • 15. “To design a good puzzle, first build a good toy.” Scott Kim Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 16. Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 17. Players should be drawn toward manipulating the puzzle Even people who don’t want to “solve” the Rubik’s cube wants to touch it, hold it, and twist it. Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 18. Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 19. Puzzle Principle #3: Give a Sense of Progress •  •  •  •  •  •  Riddles are questions that demand an answer Puzzles also demand an answer but typically involve manipulating something toward the solution In puzzles, the players feel that they are getting near to the solution and this sense of progress gives hope that they will arrive to the solution Early adventure games had riddles that created “stone walls” Riddles can be turned into puzzles using an approach similar to 20 questions Rubik’s cube provides this sense of progress (first solve one side, then another one, etc.) Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi 19
  • 20. Puzzle Principle #4: Give a Sense of Solvability When players suspect that your puzzle is not solvable, they become afraid that they are wasting their time and give up You need to convince players that your puzzle is solvable Rubik’s cube was sold in its solved state J Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 21. Puzzle Principle #5: Increase Difficulty Gradually Difficulty in games should increase gradually and puzzles should follow the same principle How can puzzles increase in difficulty? They are actually solved or not solved… Puzzles require a series of actions that are small step toward the solution These actions should be increase in difficulty (e.g. in jigsaw puzzle one first looks for the corners, then the borders, etc.) Giving players the control over the order of actions is one way to ensure that the difficulty can gradually increase Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 22. Puzzle Principle #6: Parallelism Lets the Player Rest •  •  •  •  Puzzles make a player stop and think What if players cannot solve the puzzle and they are unable to make progress in the game? They might abandon the game. A way to safeguard against this is to provide several related puzzles at once. This way players can move between puzzles and rest. “A change is as good as a rest” Crossword and Sudoku do this naturally Video games do this explicitly, it is rare that a player has only one challenge to solve at once §  §  Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi 22
  • 23. Puzzle Principle #7: Pyramid Structure Extends Interest A series of small puzzles each giving some kind of clue to a larger puzzle Thus combining short-term (the easier puzzles) with long-term goal (the overall puzzle) Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 24. © Tribune Media Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 25. Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 26. Puzzle Principle #8: Hints Extends Interest When players are about to give up on a puzzle in frustration, a well-timed hint can renew their hope and their curiosity Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 27. Puzzle Principle #9: Give Away the Answer! You might consider saving your players the trouble of solving the puzzle, and give them a way to find out the answers from within your game, if they are truly stumped Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 28. Puzzle Principle #10: Perceptual Shifts are a Double-Edged Sword … Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi
  • 29. Puzzle Principle #10: Perceptual Shifts are a Double-Edged Sword •  •  •  •  •  •  “Can you arrange six matchsticks so they form four equilateral triangles?” Puzzles that requires a perceptual shift are double-edged sword (either you get it or you don’t) When players can make the perceptual shift, they receive a great deal of pleasure and solve the puzzle When they fail they, they get nothing These puzzles have almost no possibility of progress or gradual increase in difficulty They are basically riddles and should be rarely used when players should make continual progress Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi 29
  • 30. Prof. Pier Luca Lanzi