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 38483 times)

Offline Fierce Deity

  • Powerful Wizard
  • ******
  • Posts: 1506
  • Gender: Male
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #40 on: August 08, 2011, 08:16:12 AM »
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!

I considered this a Rube Goldberg puzzle. Mainly because a tambourine wouldn't normally be used to scare away a snake. It's these nonsensical puzzles that restrain the player from progressing without a hint or walkthrough.
Freudian Slip - "When you say one thing, but mean your mother."

Offline Baggins

  • Read-Only
  • Magical Genie
  • *
  • Posts: 2554
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #41 on: August 08, 2011, 09:18:15 AM »
Well snakes are actually affected by vibrations from sound, and they can actually 'hear'. So loud noises and stomping of feet can make a snake startle and flee.  That is the logic behind it (KQC, pg 512), for a biology lesson, see here. Most people don't know this however (actually instead believe an old wife's tale that snakes 'can't hear'), so it still is a difficult puzzle because of that. Snakes are also startled by movement and changes in light, so the sun flashing on the silver plates of the tamborine might also have an effect (as long as you don't get close enough for the snake to strike). But ya, its actually a very logical puzzle, as long as you understand snake biology!

But actually the snake is a gate, we have the development notes for that particular encounter which says it is! I'll post them up!

Quote
Roberta also writes a script describing how each room works, although sometimes the action changes as the story develops. Room 2, the scene just south of Crispin's cottage in KQV, is the beginning of the path to the mountains. Cedric is supposed to warn Graham if he doesn't have enough gear to cross the mountains successfully. Here's the original script for that room:

Room 2
Path below Crispin's house.
Hot spots - Path, large tree.
Characters - Graham and Cedric.
Special views or animation - None.
"Look" messages (Eye icon) - Would give an "X" symbol if there's nothing to "see."
Path or tree: "A worn dirt path wanders through a thick wood alive with the sound of many creatures. Between the trees, to the east Graham can see the outline of a great :mountain range."
Manipulation (Hand icon)
Path: Clicking the "Hand" icon on the path causes Cedric to POINT with his wing to the east and say- "See how the path goes to the east up into the mountains? That's the route to Mordack's castle."
Cedric puts down his wing and continues - "If you follow the path to the south over the next rise you'll come to the town."
(On subsequent times (FOREVER AFTER THIS) just put up an "X.")
Dialog-No "specific" dialog between Cedric and Graham except for the "Hand" icon on the path causing Cedric to "speak."
A side note-If Graham is not ready to cross the great mountains yet because he hasn't obtained everything he needs, then when the player starts to take Graham up the :mountain trail (to the east), Cedric will fly nearer to Graham and say - "You aren't ready to cross those mountains yet, Graham! You'll never survive without being properly outfitted."
Of course, the player always has the option to ignore Cedric's warning and go up into the mountains anyway. If the player HAS everything he needs, then Cedric won't say anything.
If the player tries AGAIN to go up into the mountains from here but is STILL not ready then Cedric will say - "You're not going to listen to me, are you, Graham? I told :you you weren't ready to tackle the mountains yet. Ah, well. Do what you will. I'm not going to warn you again."
After that, whether the player is ready or not, Cedric won't say anything.

Later it was decided that something stronger than a warning was needed to keep a player off the path if he hadn't collected the necessary loot to survive the mountains. A poisonous snake was put in as an obstacle; to get rid of the snake, players must have the right instrument. This gatekeeping/checkpoint routine keeps a player from getting to the end of the game only to find he has forgotten to pick up an important item at the beginning.

The snake change was one of 13 changes outlined in a memo to the programmers. Here's the text, with the word thing substituted for the actual object so as not to give away clues. This is how the room works in the shipped version of the Quest.-The Making of the Quests (The Official Book of King's Quest 2nd Edition)

But speaking of snakes, remember KQ4? In real life Cobras are not 'hypnotized' by the sound of the music, but rather the movement of the snake charmer! So only experts that have spent there entire life learning the correct movements would successfully be able to 'charm' a snake. If they didn't do it right they might be bitten (though many of the cobras that the snake charmers work with have been devenomed)! Rosella is lucky!
« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 09:54:20 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 KatieHal

  • Designer, Public Relations Director
  • Administrator
  • Phoenix Groupie
  • *****
  • Posts: 6561
  • Gender: Female
  • Snark Advocate
    • Phoenix Online Studios
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #42 on: August 08, 2011, 10:00:05 AM »
Well, IIRC, Rosella did so some hip-shaking as she played that flute. :)

Katie Hallahan
~Designer, PR Director~

"Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the phoenix." Christina Baldwin

I have a blog!

Offline Baggins

  • Read-Only
  • Magical Genie
  • *
  • Posts: 2554
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #43 on: August 08, 2011, 10:18:49 AM »
Right, but remember snake charmers do it sitting down, there is very little, "hip movement"!. Snake charming has more to do with way the flute is moving! In hand charming its about how the hand is moving mimicing another snake. Some use head movements. It's usually one part of the body, a part that is about the same size of the snake, and can mimic the snake's movements.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVEhnoYJtok

Too much movement, and the snakes will still strike! Snake charming is something that takes ages to learn starting from childhood (training at that age is overcoming fear of snakes).

Here is a charmer that uses his knee (and notice the snake does try to strike, before the music and controlled movement starts)!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gScBzmKXTE

For that matter, once the music ends, the snakes are no longer 'charmed'. So Rosella would never have been able to walk by!

It's not a 'realistic puzzle', its based more on a common misconception and old wife's tale!

That's what I think makes the two snake puzzles interesting! One is based more on an old wives' tale (but isn't realistic), the other has its basis in the logic of reality and snake biology (ignoring another old wives' tale about snakes not being able to 'hear').

I'd liken this to a Popeye solution! The idea in Popeye is that spinach gives him super powers, because of a high content of 'iron' in spinach! However, its now known that spinach does not have a noticeable amount of iron in it (no more than any other green leafy vegestable). How did this happen? Well apparently when a nutritionist was writing about spinach, he placed the decimal in the wrong polace, exaggerating the iron by something like a factor of 30! Other health concious people latched onto the mistake, thinking it was real! So now its believed by many people, even though it is more of an urban legend!
« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 12:59:36 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 Fierce Deity

  • Powerful Wizard
  • ******
  • Posts: 1506
  • Gender: Male
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #44 on: August 08, 2011, 12:08:04 PM »
I was unaware of the snake's senses, but that's interesting nonetheless. I would have settled for feeding the snake a mouse or something, as long as it is widely known. Another puzzle was the Ice Queen in KQ5. I didn't find any logic in that puzzle, but like the snake puzzle, I might have missed something.
Freudian Slip - "When you say one thing, but mean your mother."

Offline Baggins

  • Read-Only
  • Magical Genie
  • *
  • Posts: 2554
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #45 on: August 08, 2011, 12:23:04 PM »
As an owner of a snake, you don't want to get in the way of feeding them! They are more likely to strike with food around! We feed it dead mice which makes it less aggressive, but you have to train them to eat dead mice, it's unnatural (also a dieing mouse is not the most pleasant sounding experience!). Also they are more likely to remain in place as the allow time to digest the food! But not any less likely to defend themselves!

A less obscure way to move a snake is a snake lasso, or a bottle of snake repellent  (both are used in Laura Bow II) or simply killing the snake with a machete or sword! But were would you find a snake lasso or snake repellent in Serenia realistically? The other method is a bit violent (when there are perfectly non violent alternatives to scaring snakes)!

As for the ice queen it's an obscure answer. Part of it is biblical I think, a reference to King Saul/David with a touch of Phaoroh's hardened heart, and knowledge the story of The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson (she had a frozen heart). Another is knowledge of the idiom, "music soothes the savage beast". This is basically what the KQC states as the influence.

« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 07:35:34 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 Fierce Deity

  • Powerful Wizard
  • ******
  • Posts: 1506
  • Gender: Male
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #46 on: August 08, 2011, 01:31:55 PM »
So, some puzzles rely on myth and lore, and then other puzzles rely on science. It's nice to know they are making each puzzle distinct, and not related. I just feel distracted when a puzzle is so abstract from the usual fairy tales that are used in adventure games. Maybe I'm being too stubborn, but the puzzles could use more logic. Like, a flute for a snake would make more sense to me, because of the snake charmers. A tambourine is too off-the-wall for me.  :-\
Freudian Slip - "When you say one thing, but mean your mother."

Offline Baggins

  • Read-Only
  • Magical Genie
  • *
  • Posts: 2554
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #47 on: August 08, 2011, 01:39:25 PM »
I'd like to know who designs the puzzles? In KQ games, How many were Roberta, how many came from others?

Who came up with the cheese puzzle, and what logic was behind it? No one seems to know!

Did you also notice that Roberta switched fairy tale sources everytime she introduced genies? From the three wish kind, to the angry force of nature kind, to the unlimited wish kind! Her trolls never followed any one set of fairy tale! Rumplestiltskin is used two different ways!

Lots of puzzles in KQ are based on obscure fairy tales, quite a few from the green book, or obscure myths! Not the standard Disney list of fairy tales!

As for snakes and tambourines you'll actually see many people associate the two if you google, due to tambourines being able to mimic he sound of rattle snakes! Some even sell tamborines painted to look like a rattler! That adds another possible logic to the puzzle!
« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 01:56:47 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 glottal

  • Devoted Knight
  • ***
  • Posts: 257
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #48 on: August 08, 2011, 07:28:43 PM »
As an owner of a snake...

No wonder you're such a snake geek.

Anyway, I had actually never heard the old wives' tale that snakes can't hear - in fact, I distinctly remember from my biology class in ... elementary school? middle school? ... that snakes have ears.

I had also figured out that the tambourine scares the snake in KQ5 without a hint/walkthrough - it didn't even take me very long to figure it out.

Offline Baggins

  • Read-Only
  • Magical Genie
  • *
  • Posts: 2554
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #49 on: August 08, 2011, 07:33:01 PM »
Well, its technically my sister's snake... (ya she might be weird for a girl!). I've caught garter and king snakes before!

I also once helped donate a taxidermied cobra and mongoose that belonged to a neihbor to a museum once! The good news, it wasn't Graham and Mordack!

My interests are wide and varied though! I love science, biology, history, etc.

Quote
that snakes have ears.
Ya, but I guess many people don't realize it because they aren't external! They are physically internal.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2011, 07:36:13 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 Fierce Deity

  • Powerful Wizard
  • ******
  • Posts: 1506
  • Gender: Male
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #50 on: August 08, 2011, 08:57:58 PM »
As for snakes and tambourines you'll actually see many people associate the two if you google, due to tambourines being able to mimic he sound of rattle snakes! Some even sell tamborines painted to look like a rattler! That adds another possible logic to the puzzle!

A tambourine mimicking the sound of a rattle snake even makes sense, but in the context of the game, almost no information was given. I'm not saying it was completely illogical, just saying it could have done with a comment or two. Not that it was an incredibly hard puzzle either. Given my inventory at the time, it was easy to figure out what was what, and it didn't take me long at all to figure it out. I'm just playing the Devil's advocate towards KQ5's choice of inventory. In comparison to the other KQ games, KQ5 had an awkward set of tools.  :-\

My interests are wide and varied though! I love science, biology, history, etc.

Quote
that snakes have ears.
Ya, but I guess many people don't realize it because they aren't external! They are physically internal.

I got to dissect a snake in my zoology class. Quite an interesting specimen. It was having to identify all of the organs that was tricky. Each organ looked stringy, so it was important for me to determine the differences between each organ. Ahh, I'm so glad I passed that class.  ;D
Freudian Slip - "When you say one thing, but mean your mother."

Offline Baggins

  • Read-Only
  • Magical Genie
  • *
  • Posts: 2554
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #51 on: August 08, 2011, 09:53:06 PM »
Sounds like you got to experience the inner workings of a snake first hand! That's more than I care to see! All I've ever seen dissected was a frog!

I'm not going to dissect my sister's snake to find out!
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

  • Powerful Wizard
  • ******
  • Posts: 1506
  • Gender: Male
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #52 on: August 08, 2011, 10:22:27 PM »
Eh, it's not all it was cracked up to be. It was a zoology class, so I had to dissect a whole lot more than just a snake, but at first I was reluctant to do so. We went through the entire list of Phylum and Subphylum and dissected at least one from each group. For the Chordata phylum, we had to dissect an animal from Class Mammalia, and my professor had us dissect a rat.  :X

Also, I can't imagine your sister would be content with you dissecting her snake. I suggest just looking at pictures.  :P
Freudian Slip - "When you say one thing, but mean your mother."

Offline Baggins

  • Read-Only
  • Magical Genie
  • *
  • Posts: 2554
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #53 on: August 09, 2011, 08:32:53 AM »
The zoology class I took was not nearly that exiting, we didn't even get to dissect anything.
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

  • Staff
  • Great Oracle
  • ***
  • Posts: 509
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #54 on: August 10, 2011, 06:54:08 AM »
The snake in KQ5 is not a good example of what I'm trying to say here. You can try your whole inventory on the snake, you know you have to get past it and you can even let it kill you. What I'm talking about are moments where you don't have those luxuries. "The puzzle is figuring out the script. No clues."


Quote
Too much movement, and the snakes will still strike! Snake charming is something that takes ages to learn starting from childhood (training at that age is overcoming fear of snakes).

Really, I though they just sewed the snakes mouth shut or de-fanged them and let it slowly die of hunger.

Offline Baggins

  • Read-Only
  • Magical Genie
  • *
  • Posts: 2554
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #55 on: August 10, 2011, 01:19:13 PM »
Defanging yes, I don't know about tieing their mouths shut. That would probably be expensive to have to keep replacing the snake. ...and Some cobras spit. But even a devenomed snake can strike. If they bite it can still hurt. It's still something they have to train for years to avoid.
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

  • Staff
  • Great Oracle
  • ***
  • Posts: 509
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #56 on: August 11, 2011, 01:21:04 AM »
Sew, not tie. when sewn, it can still flick its tonque and look normal. You can also remove the glands so that the snakes don't have any venom in them. And if they bite you, hey, just rub some rhubarb on it and say that it's some mysterious natural remedy. Showmanship never fails. If it weren't for the venom, I'd be more scared of a northern pike than a cobra. Now, that is a jaw to be feared.

There was that one episode of Crocodile Hunter called "Island of Snakes", where Steve Irwin went around Sri Lanka and met a group of snake charmers. They had snake eggs ready to hatch and some non-defanged. Couldn't find the clip of it, except for this german dub version. He wasn't really happy with them.

Offline Demidronik

  • Wizard's Slave
  • *
  • Posts: 17
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #57 on: August 12, 2011, 11:49:54 PM »
I was looking for an option for "moon logic" in you poll, but I guess that falls under Rube Goldberg/MacGyver.

Like throwing the bridle on the snake to make it turn in to a pegasus, or killing a yeti with a pie.

Offline MikPal

  • Staff
  • Great Oracle
  • ***
  • Posts: 509
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #58 on: August 13, 2011, 02:47:02 AM »
killing a yeti with a pie.

You know, as a person who was raised with movies where people throw pie at each other for ten minutes straight, that puzzle wasn't really that far fetched.

The hardest puzzle in the game for me and my friend was waiting for Mordack in the library for 5 minutes.

Offline glottal

  • Devoted Knight
  • ***
  • Posts: 257
Re: Worst aspects of adventure game puzzle design!
« Reply #59 on: August 13, 2011, 05:03:22 AM »
Yeah, I'm another one who didn't find the pie-at-yeti far-fetched either.  In fact, I think the pie was the very first thing I tried (and I hadn't consulted a hint/walkthrough either).  I have never been killed by the yeti while playing KQ5.