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Author Topic: Help needed with puzzle design  (Read 7345 times)

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Lemonhead

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Help needed with puzzle design
« on: March 16, 2005, 12:59:02 PM »

Hi everyone,

I'm in need of help with puzzle design. Two colleagues of mine and I have been designing the story and feel of our game for the past 6 months, and have recently come to a point where we're all happy with the quality of the plot. Still, it would be very nice to have some fresh blood, especially now that it's all about creatively weaving interesting puzzles into the storyline.

Please PM me or email me at admin@dreamagination.org .

- STORY -

The project's name is 'Curse and Effect'. It's set in the 1930s and deals with a thief named Scott who gave up his profession in exchange for an ordinary job ever since his sister died and he was the only one left to care for his 8 year old niece Maxie. Still, the legend of his master thievery lives on. As a mysterious client approaches him to steal specific artifacts from a Mayan exhibition in a museum, Scott denies it numerous times... but since he is the only one qualified enough to break into this specific museum (he's done it before, after all), the client forces him to take the job by kidnapping his niece.

In shock and afraid to risk Maxie's life through his own rescue attempts, Scott actually complies and plans to break into the museum.
After avoiding numerous obstacles, he finds the required artifacts. But when one of them, a golden disc with a handle and ancient inscriptions, touches an electrical alarm cable by accident, it suddenly starts to glow and float in the air.
As Scott stares in wonder at what happens, someone beats him down from behind. The last thing Scott sees before he loses consciousness is the blurred image of a dark-haired woman who grabs the artifacts and then splits.

After Scott escapes from the museum and meets with his client, he is even more pressured to retrieve the artifacts. As he is beaten down again, he sees Maxie being shoved into a limousine where an elder man is waiting... seemingly the man who is behind the whole job.
So now Scott's job is to find the mysterious woman, retrieve the artifacts, find out about their origin and have his niece back in safety.

These are the first 2 of 10 chapters which will take the player to New York City, Spain, the Caribbean, South America and Hollywood.

There is a more complete project description available at http://www.dreamagination.org/index_eng.html.

Here are some concept sketches for the characters:

http://www.dreamagination.org/img/concepts/scott_02.jpg
http://www.dreamagination.org/img/concepts/kelani_02.jpg
http://www.dreamagination.org/img/concepts/kelani_03.jpg
http://www.dreamagination.org/img/concepts/maxie01.png
http://www.dreamagination.org/img/concepts/yaeger_01.jpg

And 3D renderings of the main character:

http://www.dreamagination.org/img/concepts/scott_wireframe.jpg
http://www.dreamagination.org/img/concepts/scott_beard_toon.jpg
« Last Edit: March 23, 2005, 02:45:56 PM by Lemonhead »
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scanmaster_k

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Re: Help needed with puzzle design
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2005, 02:40:50 PM »

Just an idea, when I read your story I realy felt that the niece was the dark haired woman that took the disc. This can be used as a red hearing and a good one if done correctly.
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Lemonhead

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Re: Help needed with puzzle design
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2005, 05:18:32 PM »

That's a cool idea... however, I'm afraid it won't work since you (the player) get to see the niece AND the dark haired woman in the first chapter. Besides, the niece is about 7 years old and they're both visually quite different from one another (there are some crude preliminary drawings at the website).

Still, thanks for the input :)
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Nihil

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Re: Help needed with puzzle design
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2005, 07:45:27 PM »

I can't help you myself as I don't even have enough time for my own project, but there are some nice articles about puzzle design over at adventuredevelopers.com, and I think at adventuregamers.com, too, maybe they can be of a little help for inventing your own ones.

Another advice I can give you is to read as much walkthroughs for other adventures to get a little inspiration on good puzzles for your own game.

Oh, and don't forget to implement a "open the locked door by pushing a piece of paper under it and the use something to get the key out"-puzzle. That's a must-have today ;-)

organican

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Re: Help needed with puzzle design
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2005, 03:56:51 AM »

I can't help you myself as I don't even have enough time for my own project, but there are some nice articles about puzzle design over at adventuredevelopers.com, and I think at adventuregamers.com, too, maybe they can be of a little help for inventing your own ones.

Another advice I can give you is to read as much walkthroughs for other adventures to get a little inspiration on good puzzles for your own game.

Oh, and don't forget to implement a "open the locked door by pushing a piece of paper under it and the use something to get the key out"-puzzle. That's a must-have today ;-)

I was thinking more like that with a new twist...

the key falls off to the side of the paper, and then when you try to get it it just gets farther and farther away...
in the end you use a magnet but that wont work either cause the key isn't magnetic,
so finally you call macgyver and he comes over and disassemble a refridgerator which he uses
to freeze the lock and smash it into a million pieces
and then of course you doze off from the toxic gases and wake up with the tresaure gone and everything,
that Stargate bastard!
Anyways, you realize that Macgyver just went through the stargate to get to a parallel universe where the treasure wasn't stolen
so he could get his share but then of course he woke up in his bed realizing that it was the eighties and he
had to repeat the last fifteen years of his life. Phew!

So there...


But as to the "getting help with puzzle design on this forum"...
My guess is that most people here are already busy with their own projects and games,
so maybe you have to search someplace else.
Just my hypothetical speculation....

Good luck!
« Last Edit: April 09, 2005, 04:10:15 AM by organican »
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Lemonhead

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Re: Help needed with puzzle design
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2005, 01:53:55 AM »

But as to the "getting help with puzzle design on this forum"...
My guess is that most people here are already busy with their own projects and games,
so maybe you have to search someplace else.

Most, but not all. There's a fair share of people who have great ideas but lack the artistic talent / musical talent / organizational skills / basic story / plain perseverance to follow through and complete a project. What I'm offering is a chance to be part of a project that actually gets published (although not commercially) and to have your name on it. And what I'm expecting is a more or less objective view from an outsider, and a couple of good ideas and pointers to stay on the right track.

Oh, and if you catch me using a puzzle of the infamous door-key-paper variety in the final product, feel free to drag me out, have me whipped and hang a sign around my neck that says 'I've been a bad, baaaaaad game designer' ::)
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