More Interesting Puzzles Please

30th January 2005

A while ago I made a post about a film and game tie-in idea. The post made two points:
1. Make the storyline different but connected, so that somehow the game needs the film to get the full story. (But not the other way around)
2. Make the game require information from the film. Examples could be codes used to open doors etc.

What I thought would be really cool would be a TV series instead of a film that provided clues over a period of weeks.

Well, I’ve been thinking about how I could incorporate the concept into a game design document I’m working on. Last night I stumbled upon a fascinating website called Grand Illusions. Self described as “The site for the enquiring mind. With optical illusions, scientific toys, visual effects, and even a little magic.” There are a number of interesting effects that could be used within a game. I was specifically interested in The Gaussian Gun and Lenz’s Law. Now I’ll be honest, my physics knowledge is not what it should be and these effects were new to me.

So how do they fit into a game, you ask? Well there must be lots of ways to include them, smashing open walls and doors or descending long tubes without killing yourself when you hit the floor. The point is that unless you really know a lot about physics you are unlikely to have heard of neodymium magnets! So how do you solve this puzzle when confronted by it in a game? Well, either you have to do a little research outside the game, on the Internet. Or the information is available within the game, maybe via a computer terminal or PDA (Doom 3 Style).

I want to see something more from puzzle designers, in FPS games anyway, than just move box A to reach button B. The Havok physics in Half Life 2 will hopefully provide level designers with some interesting possibilities.

I used physics as the example but that’s only one area to look at. The basic principle is: To solve the puzzle you must do some research outside the game. Maybe developers could leave clues on their website.

I have to admit that anything too involved would frustrate me very quickly but these things can be side quests or simple interesting puzzles/effects like the neodymium magnets, that once you have the basic information should be relatively simple to solve.

1 Comment

  1. TibblesEvilCat

    Tomb Raider style puzzle with hl2 gameplay and theme is a wet dream of mine 😛

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