Poll

Of these which do you think is worst aspect of adventure game puzzzle design.

Mazes
Tile/Jumping/Slider puzzles
Box puzzles
Standard/Cliched puzzle design (Door, key, and newspaper, etc)
Conversation-style puzzles
'Fetch Quests'
Rube Goldberg/MacGyver (unusual use of mundane items to solve puzzles)
Dead-ends
Deaths
no-deaths
Action/Arcade/Mini-games/Combat, etc (hybrids: QFG, Iceman, KQ8, Indiana Jones, Mean Streets, Conquests, Beyond Zork, Dreamfall, Freddy Pharkas, SQ, PQ, Inca, etc).
ingame hint system
no hint system
Linear or chapter-based
Non-linear
Parser (requires typing)
Multi-cursor & menus or verb menus (no typing)
Simplified menus (one or limited  # of cursors)
Dumbed down context sensitive cursors or highlighted items (telling you what can be interacted with, i.e. KQ7/KQ8)
The graphic system influence on puzzles (text or graphics 2-d or 3-d)
Treasure hunts (Zork Trilogy, KQ1, KQ2, etc)
Physics and Environmental puzzles
Useless Items/Red Herrings
CYOA Book-style puzzles (visual novels/interactive movie adventure genres)
Gatekeeping/checkpoint progression (visible or invisible)
Timed puzzles

Author Topic: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!  (Read 38354 times)

Offline Baggins

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2011, 08:47:00 AM »
Hmm I think the desert in Wizard and Serenia works that way to some degree.

Also the desert in KQ3, which you don't actually have to enter. But I think it basically warps you around, because if you travel five screens west for example, going five screens east probably won't take you back to the desert edge. But in that game, the changes might actually be random?
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline MikPal

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2011, 05:29:28 PM »
My usual problems with adventure game puzzles can be pretty much summed up with this. "I don't need that", "Why would I want to do that?", "That would be stupid."

Offline Baggins

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2011, 05:37:12 PM »
Sounds like you should vote for Rube Goldberg/MacGyver then!
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline Fierce Deity

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2011, 05:48:12 PM »
My usual problems with adventure game puzzles can be pretty much summed up with this. "I don't need that", "Why would I want to do that?", "That would be stupid."

Heh, I couldn't help but laugh at that. It's exactly that kind of BS that annoys me the most.
Freudian Slip - "When you say one thing, but mean your mother."

Offline DawsonJ

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2011, 09:35:01 PM »
My usual problems with adventure game puzzles can be pretty much summed up with this. "I don't need that", "Why would I want to do that?", "That would be stupid."

Heh, I couldn't help but laugh at that. It's exactly that kind of BS that annoys me the most.

I DEFINITELY AGREE!
I voted for Action/Combat/etc.
But, in any game, TIME LIMITS make me want to scream! I'd rather scour the net  for a trainer than play even ONE stinkin' TIME LIMIT section!

Offline Damar

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2011, 10:17:28 PM »
It's a tough choice for me.  Things like fetch quests honestly don't bother me that much, as long as they have something to do with the plot and aren't there to just pad out the play time of the game.  I think the main problem with fetch quests in MOE is that they weren't particularly necessary to the plot.  Most of them were just to get power ups which made the fighting easier, but not necessary.  In fact, after beating the game a few times, I purposely didn't do the fetch quests just to make the fighting more challenging.  And in KQ7, I think the main issue was that the fetch quests were too basic.  Particularly in Ooga Booga.  Everything in those chapters revolved around the ghoul kids.  All the triggers, all the fetch quests were somehow attached to them.  But I don't think that was the fault of the fetch quest, more an issue with the puzzle design in the first place.

Likewise Rube Goldberg puzzles don't bother me much.  I kind of enjoy trying to figure them out.  As long as there's an underlying logic (or logical illogic if that makes sense).  For example the fan game Space Quest The Lost Chapter, to me, was illogical to the point of being unplayable.

Really it comes down to the hybrid games or the dumbed down interface.  It's my opinion that with hybrid games the game creators end up not doing either genre well.  Even Quest for Glory, which people seem to love, suffers from this in my opinion.  There's just not enough adventure game puzzles for me, but if I were really in to RPGs, I could see myself feeling like that part of the game was too watered down as well.  I don't think that genres lend themselves well to being mixed.  There may be exceptions, but by and large I can't really think of any.  I also think that the jumping boxes puzzles and such are also a symptom of a hybrid game because those kind of puzzles are more an outgrowth of the platformer game (or what happened when platformers went 3D like Mario 64).

That said, the dumbed down interface bothers me a lot too.  Some examples aren't as bad such as Torin's Passage or Black Cauldron.  Those are special cases though, because they're aimed at children so the dumbed down interface is actually making the game accessible.  You can't really complain about the interface in those games any more than you could complain about Sesame Street being too childish.  It's kind of the point of the games.  That said, when adventure games meant for adults dumb down the interface, it's annoying and makes the game seem overly simplistic.

Honestly I don't know which one to pick.  I feel like the hybrid games changes the adventure game into something that's not an adventure game.  Meanwhile the simplistic interface waters down the adventure game.  It's a tie between the two for me.

Offline Baggins

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2011, 10:43:03 PM »
Torin's Passage was actually aimed at children and adults, humor for both groups. KQ series was also aimed at children and adults. This is according to the assorted designer interviews. Hell even the back of the box for Torin's passage says "...designed for experienced adventure players." It was actually designed in such a way a child could watch their parents play the game and enjoy the humor. But alot of humor in the game is filled with innuendo for adults!

KQ7 may actually be aimed at a slightly younger audience than Torin's Passage was since it's completely clean!
« Last Edit: August 06, 2011, 10:50:49 PM by Baggins »
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline Damar

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2011, 10:48:55 PM »
True enough, though I think the difference is who the primary audience was.  I see Torin's Passage as a children's game first and foremost with the graphics and much of the humor, but made so that adults could appreciate it as well.  (And it does a really fantastic job of appealing to both age groups in my opinion.)  King's Quest was made for adults, but children could enjoy it as well, as long as they were old enough to understand it (be it the parser interface or the plot in general).  I think that's why KQ7 feels so out of place.  It shifts the audience to being more like Torin's Passage.  It feels like a children's game (particularly with the jackalope and Faldaral and...well come to think of it, pretty much all the game).  It's like there was an audience shift that came with the Disneyesque graphics.  That King's Quest went from an adult game accessible to children to a children's game accessible to adults.  It was still entertaining, but a jarring shift.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2011, 10:51:16 PM by Damar »

Offline Baggins

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #28 on: August 06, 2011, 11:13:45 PM »
It may be up to different interpretations but Al Lowe has stated he wanted to make a game he could play that his daughter would enjoy playing with him! He mentions his inspiration was actually Mrs. Doubtfire. This may come down to the difference between a children's movie and a family movie (Doubtfire is a PG-13 'family movie', not a 'children's movie')!

The intentional inspiration for the KQ7 was Disney and Don Bluth! I believe she had said she had children in mind!

The irony is reviewers when reviewed the early KQ games back in the early 80's described them as having Disney-cartoon graphics! Alot of the death animations in those early games have a looney tunes aspect to them!

Actually KQ4 is probably the first game in the series that reviewers took more seriously as far as art design!

(Posted on: August 07, 2011, 12:54:37 AM)


Quote
xes puzzles and such are also a symptom of a hybrid game because those kind of puzzles are more an outgrowth of the platformer game (or what happened when platformers went 3D like Mario 64).
Actually jumping box puzzles predate platformers era by many years! They appeared in early adventure games and puzzle games first on Apple II and early IBM. Largely found in text adventures or games with limited graphics back then, like the Indiana Jones text adventure. It might be said those types of puzzled were inspired by Raiders. One also appears in the The Last Crusade adventure game! KQ6 has a variation without the jumping but with the tiles. One or two of the zork games have them as well! The final puzzle of Return to Zork is a tile jumping/chess style puzzle! As shown in earlier picture one of Torin's Passage's puzzles is one of those types of puzzles! Even the third Gabriel Knight had one. Sierra also included one or two in the two Dr. Brain adventure games (Castle and Island), they also showed up as a puzzle variation in the Seventh Guest/11th Hour series. It's been a long time, but I also seem to recall one or two in Simon the Sorcerer games as well. I think there was one in Gobliiins series as well. It would almost be too much work to try to list all the games that have had some variation of a tile puzzle, jumping puzzle, or the like!

But many of the early ones were before Nintendo. Keep in mind that most of the 3-d games, like 3-d action-adventures and 3D platformers came about 1996 and after. Torin's Passage (which I've pointed out has one of these jumping puzzles, came out in 1995) Most of the adventure games with these types of puzzles came out before 1995.

Keep in mind that 2-d platformers were more primitive in 1995 or before, and couldn't handle these types of puzzles (not unless they had some kind of Isometric interface)! Most platformers in 1995 or before were 2-d side scrollers, and lacked puzzles!

So ya, Torin's passage's puzzle predates Tomb Raider by a year (and there are much earlier examples);


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbI8TZILsWY (see 5:27)


There are earlier 3D shooters like Wolfenstein, Doom, and Duke Nukem, but none of them as far as I know have tile puzzle elements, no block puzzles, nor any real puzzles at all. So your history is off!

Also keep in mind that Tomb Raider has historically been part of the Adventure sub-genre (a derivitive of the Adventure genre), known in the industry as Action-Adventure. As opposed to part of the genre the industry calls "platformer"! Although both have 'platforming elements'. It has more to do with the focus of the game. Tomb Raider has been more about the 'adventure' with action, rather than its assorted platforming elements.

But ya a few modern "true" platformers adopted the idea (starting in 1996 and later). Platformer versions are worse, since usually the jumping is free form, as in you can actually miss jumps (jump too short, or jump to far). The adventure game versions (early or later ones) tend to automatically make you land on the tile you choose. So the only thing you have to worry about screwing up, is choosing the wrong tile.

I don't know if you have an iphone here is the type of jumping puzzle, stripped the bare bones (well its actually fairly complicated, but the tile jumping puzzle is made the focus of the game), and turned into a casual puzzle game (no its not a platformer);

http://www.slidetoplay.com/story/indiana-jones-and-the-lost-puzzles-review



It's alot of fun!
« Last Edit: August 07, 2011, 07:34:49 AM by Baggins »
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline MusicallyInspired

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #29 on: August 07, 2011, 07:19:56 AM »
Goldeneye for N64 has a tile puzzle on the Aztec level.

Offline Baggins

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #30 on: August 07, 2011, 07:27:26 AM »
It's also a 1997 game, so it still came after most adventure games with tile puzzles!

Come to think of it Don Bluth's 1983 laser disk Dragon's Lair and possible it's sequel, and Space Ace, also had one or two tile puzzles! Those are not platformers! They are actually some of the first interactive movie games, some class them as adventure or action/adventure games.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2011, 08:13:27 AM by Baggins »
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline MikPal

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #31 on: August 07, 2011, 11:25:33 AM »
Sounds like you should vote for Rube Goldberg/MacGyver then!

I think my problem would be more the design choice that the player knows excactly what the designer wants them to do.

Example: In Still Life, there is an object on the wall that you need later, it doesn't highlight at anytime else except when it is needed.
Another example from Still Life: There is a moment, where the character says "I know exactly what to do." I knew excactly what toi do, but the game wouldn't allow me to do it before I talked to somebody about doing what I knew I should do because otherwise the game character didn't know what I wanted to do when I did what I knew I was supposed to do which was the same thing I was supposed to do after talking to this person I had no need to talk to.

Offline Baggins

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2011, 12:12:01 PM »
That might  closer into the linear progression issue then.

Less you have a better term for it?
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline MikPal

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #33 on: August 07, 2011, 02:34:57 PM »
I would use the term "not untill you've eaten your veggies that I've hidden within 5 km radius of this house."

Offline Baggins

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2011, 03:52:06 PM »
Ok 'gated progression'?
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline MikPal

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2011, 05:29:42 PM »
Ok 'gated progression'?

But the gate would have to be invisible.

Offline Baggins

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2011, 06:16:54 PM »
Sure 'gates' can be invisible or visible!
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline MikPal

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #37 on: August 07, 2011, 06:38:05 PM »
But if it were visible, I would know that the option is not possible. Frustration comes from banging your head against the gate like a bird against a window.

Call it a "glass gate progression" or something like that.

Offline Baggins

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #38 on: August 07, 2011, 07:33:26 PM »
Well I point to a visible gate, that people complain about!

The snake in KQ5. It's there, yes you know you gotta get past it. But you never specifically told when you can get past it! The tamborine only appears in one screen after you meet the requirements (if you don't wander back to that screen you might overlook it)! Also not everyone gets the idea that the tamborine works to scare the snake away!

Another 'visible gate' is the kind where it tells you "You don't think you have found everything you need to leave", over and over, until you find every needed item. The visible part is the message.

Another 'visible' gate is in KQ3, that if you enter the cave and talk to the oracle, the pirates will show up. But say you never head back to the town to find the pirates, and take too long they could sale off before you even now they leave!

That is a timed/visible gate!

So even 'visible gates' may be unseen, if you aren't in the right place at the right time!
Well, ya, King's Quest is on Earth. Daventry is very old city from a long time ago. It's in ruins now and people aren't quite sure exactly where it used to be. There are some archaeologists searching through the ruins, they think they know its Daventry. But its somewhere on Earth."-Roberta Williams http://kingsquest.wikia.com/wiki/File:Daventryisearth.ogg

Offline Haids1987

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Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #39 on: August 08, 2011, 07:40:40 AM »
The snake in KQ5. It's there, yes you know you gotta get past it.
The POIsonous snake?! :shock: :watchout:
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