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romenamath

How to make puzzles more fun (and stop people chearing)?

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Tips are good start, like monkey island with talking to npc's, but what are some other good ideas? I was thinking remove any ingame rewards and achievements so the urge to achieve something other than for personal satisfaction is gone.

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Achievements make no sense in an adventure game. I think they make some sense in action games, so that you have proof (of sorts) that you pulled off something difficult, but they don't make sense in a linear, story-based game.

I guess you could add some lame pixel-hunting challenge (Pickle Hunter: You found all 200 pickles!), but that's just a lame way of adding pointless minutes to a title. Boo achievements, boo.

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What about the idea of having some other puzzle on say a DFA adventure web site that you punch in where you stuck at, then solve the puzzle (some form of puzzle like spot the difference for example). If the puzzle is solved correctly you get a clue for the actual game. So rather than having to cheat you can just solve a sort of puzzle to get clues for the actual game. Does that make sense or am I just high on excitement.

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If someone wants to cheat their way through a game these days they will, thanks to the 500 walkthrough guides which sprout all over the internet a day or so after release. Sometimes these guides are justified (good luck finding some of the secrets in the old FF games without one for example), but using them for a game like Monkey Island devalues much of the point of playing.

Its a difficult problem to overcome. You could make the game easy enough that the urge to cheat is removed, but everyone is different and some would be unsatisfied by this. Plus a great deal of the magic of point and clicks is finally figuring out a puzzle and watching the hilarious fallout (like trapping Stan in a coffin). The best middle ground would be to try and stay away from bizarro logic as much as possible - the one part that really stands out with me is using the

hypnotized monkey on the water pump on Phatt Island in MI2. That took the younger me ages to figure out and got quite frustrating. I think I eventually simply brute forced it by trying every possible item/combination. It was funny, but made no sense.

In the end someone is only doing themselves a disservice if they elect to "cheat", It's not really the game designer's problem.

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What about the idea of having some other puzzle on say a DFA adventure web site that you punch in where you stuck at, then solve the puzzle (some form of puzzle like spot the difference for example). If the puzzle is solved correctly you get a clue for the actual game.

I think Machinarium had an in-game hint system where you had to play a minigame before it would let you access the hints.

It's an interesting idea, but really I think it's more trouble than it's worth. As said, there'll inevitably be a full and detailed walkthrough available on the internet whatever you do.

Also, who cares if somebody wants to 'cheat' at a single-player adventure game? If somebody plays a single-player FPS but puts god mode on during the really tough fights because they just want to get to the next story cinematic, should they have to complete a crossword first? They might find the game more satisfying if they kept at it until they won legitimately, but that's between them and their willpower.

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The first adventure games I ever played were Maniac Mansion and Zak McKracken. What was a particular joy was going to school and comparing notes with friends, and so the progress through the game was incremental and in collaboration.

To be honest, the best thing to do is to include the 'win game' key, as seen in the first Monkey Island game. Only, that's been done.

Anyway, I think that one possible solution is to not have a linear/rigid story/puzzle progression. By which I mean multiple paths through the story, and multiple solutions to various puzzles. (Maniac Mansion did a little of this.) Of course, that can be dependent on design costs, but I would personally prefer a shorter game with massive replay value, than a longer game that never changes!

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...actually, come to think of it, why not a hint system that berates the player every time they use it? Not in a nasty way, of course. Perhaps positive berating, if there is such a thing. Wait, that's called 'goading', I think. Anyway, the sort of thing where you get a message saying, 'Come on, you're doing so well,' to begin with, but escalates with every use until it says something like, 'requiring a hint is not clever and makes you less attractive to potential mates.'

Even then, doing that without any actual hints to offer could be a lot of fun: the 'berate me because I'm stuck' key!

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What's wrong with 'cheating'? If the game intends to take the player on an exciting ride and entertain them (such as Monkey Island) and the player ends up 'stuck', what is wrong with looking at a walkthrough to help get through the next section? I'm not just saying that because I have caved before, but because it actually makes sense that a player might want to do this.

If the player is 'stuck' to the point of being frustrated at the game and unable to progress, then the experience the game is intended to provide is put to a standstill if not ruined. Thus, the player would want to be able to progress. If there were some magical (or scientific) way of preventing the player from being able to look at walkthroughs, that may be a very poor decision to implement as it basically says, "Well, if you can't figure out what to do next, you might as well give up." Sure, the player could go around and try using every object with every other object, but I don't think the player spent X money and Y time on a game so he could hear "I can't put these two things together" 100 times in a row. I don't think that the designers intended for that either as it is a pretty poor, unengaging experience.

Trying to prevent someone from cheating is like trying to prevent someone from pirating. If there's a will, there's a way and that person shall do it. You could try to implement all sorts of systems to try to stop someone from doing it, but you won't stop the person and you'll likely ruin the other players' experiences in the process. Instead, you want to simply offer a better product (as you seem to be saying in the title with "make puzzles more fun"). You make the game or puzzle more fun and more accessible (ooh... this comparison to piracy is holding up well there too). If the puzzles are more fun to go though, the player won't be as tempted to leave the game. The player will remain engaged and keep trying to solve the puzzle. But you also need to deal with the difficulty of the puzzle. Too easy and there's no challenge, too hard and you're in danger of alienating the player (and not in some literary manner like Bertolt Brecht) and thus the walkthroughs. I think the hint mechanisms (like those Telltale has had in games like the recent Monkey Islands) are a brilliant way to do this. You can turn hints off if you're experienced and want the challenge, or turn them on if you can't figure it out. One problem I have with the adjustment of frequency of hints being the only mechanic for it is that if a player has tried with no hints and just wants the game to give a hint. If the player has to adjust the frequency, walk around a bit, then adjust the frequency again, that can feel a little roundabout. It might serve well to have some way of just having the hint right there and then rather than having to wait for it. This way the player can still get the hint in-game (thus lessening the disengagement of the player) and it's more convenient.

Really, the 'cheating' is a symptom rather than a disease. The disease being a puzzle (or any other element really, I've had a couple times where I've needed a walkthrough simply because I didn't realize I could walk to this area of the screen to go to a new area) with such a design that it disengages players from the experience of the game due to difficulty of realizing the answer. If going to google and typing in "Gamename walkthrough" is more engaging and fun than actually playing the game at the moment, then either Google has a really cool new doodle for that day, or the game needs work.

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The better adventure games, historically, have worked hard to keep the player from feeling as though they have ground to a standstill, and offer up alternate activities that help maintain the engagement, and also provide additional clues. So, for example, if you're stuck on a puzzle, there's usually one or a few people around to speak with, or a different puzzle to try and solve.

Good design, in my opinion, is when a player gets stuck, but still feels that they're part of the experience because they're still playing, rather than trying 50 keys in one lock.

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I will never stop chearing and you can't make me!

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How I would lessen the cheating is just to randomize some object placement. You can still know what to do from a walkthrough, but if you have to find object X that could be on the ground anywhere in a whole area, people would still have to do some exploring.

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How I would lessen the cheating is just to randomize some object placement. You can still know what to do from a walkthrough, but if you have to find object X that could be on the ground anywhere in a whole area, people would still have to do some exploring.

But adventure games are more about actually solving the puzzles rather than just finding the Items^^ everyone should be able to find Items but not everyone can solve the riddles.

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Personally, I like it when games allow you to work on several puzzles simultaneously to prevent such frustration, as long as it doesn't make the story confusing.

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There is nothing wrong with cheating, its a personal thing but in my case the few times i have cheated in a game i feel bad about myself. Its a feeling you cant shake and no matter what you do you cant get the joy back, 2 mins to cheat, game memory tar'ed. Thats why the option to earn a hint or a tip intrigues me. You no longer feel like you have cheated yourself in that weak moment, you have rather earned the help you need.

Also "WHY WONT ANYONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN". The younger generation has more choice in games, easier chance to cheat, short attention span. Giving them something to do when stuck rather than changing the game they are playing or cheating and not enjoying the game for what it was, is something i wish people would consider. They will be the ones making games in 10-20 years, lets instill them with good ideas while we can. They also are becoming a MW3 trolling generation, lets help the ones that dont want to be like that

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The real trick is to use subtle hints to make the player come up with the solution on their own, without them they were told the solution. They should think, "ah ha! I solved it on my own without any help. Take that game designers!" Hopefully a puzzle is logical, and would require few in-game clues to solve, but it should also be challenging enough to make the player feel that they accomplished something. Having a fisherman say, "the bartender likes fish" might be too obvious, and could insult the player's intelligence. However, overhearing two NPCs joking about the bartender's fish breath could be a clue disguised as setting fluff.

In my opinion, the game designers' are to blame if most players are cheating their way through the game's puzzles, and it means the game they made is flawed in one way or another. It's an indication that the puzzles are too difficult or illogical, or that a really good story is being compromised. I cheated my way through Riven, but only because I was more focused on the game's story.

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Have you ever heard of the Bartle Quotient? The four categories of the Bartle Quotient are Killer, Achiever, Explorer, and Socializer. Bartle came up with it for MUDs, but I've noticed that it correlates to the sort of gameplay challenges a player likes. For example, people that get high Killer scores tend to like PvP on MUDs and MMOs, but they're driven by a competitive nature - they really like to play games with a clearly defined winner and loser.

Adventure game players typically have a low score for Killer and a high score for Explorer. The relative importance of exploration is nearly unanimous. To quote from Wikipedia:

Combat and gaining levels or points is secondary to the Explorer, so they traditionally flock to games such as Myst and its four sequels. In these games, you find yourself in a strange place, and the objective is to find your way out by paying close attention to detail and solving puzzles. The Explorer will often enrich themselves in any back story or lore they can find about the people and places in-game. Whereas an Achiever may forget about previous games as soon as they've conquered them, the Explorer will retain rich memories about what they experienced about their adventures.

Contrary to what some may expect, Explorers can enjoy restrictive games as well as permissive ones. The challenge in such a game is to get it to do something its programmers probably didn't intend for it to do; gamers who share a high Explorer percentage with a high Achiever one will often be the ones who set unusual objectives for themselves (like completing the game within a certain amount of time, under certain restrictions, or in a certain order) to put the tricks they've gathered to use.

So now we understand what the player's primary motivation to play is - to explore the game space. And I don't just mean physical exploration. I also mean exploring branching plot points, game mechanics, and dialog trees. Exhausting every line of questioning and conversation isn't necessary to beating most adventure games, but we still tend to do it anyways.

Here's a small detail that would impress me - a line of dialog specific to every verb/object & object/object combination... beyond "You can't do that," or "You can't use those two things together."

With a single-player game, it's okay for the player to cheat if they want to because it doesn't give them an unfair advantage over someone they're playing with. I consider reading the walk-through to be cheating, but that would never stop me from writing the walk-through for the game. Some players, like myself, love a good challenge. We play our games on the hardest setting. Others just want to enjoy the story without having to solve the puzzles or have trouble solving puzzles but still want to experience the game.

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Cheating will occur. The internet is so open, accessible and full of information. It wasn't around when most of these games were released, blocking that avenue. I remember in the days of yore that companies would have Hint Hotlines, where you payed like $1.65/minute to talk with some guy who would give you help. You had to be REALLY stuck to resort to that (I did more than once).

They will HAVE to put some sort of hint system in game to give less incentive to cheat online. People don't like being stuck for too long, it makes them feel stupid and their time is wasted. A hint can provide enough of a push that there is still a feeling of accomplishment, cheating robs you of it. I think most people would prefer to use a small hint before just looking it up on the internet. There just needs to be some infrastructure to provide it. It also needs to be limited in some way, so people don't click hint every 5 minutes.

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Indeed cheating will occur, and there's no problem with that. You paid for the game, how you want to play it is up to you. The only person you are cheating is yourself. There are going to be players who don't have the time or inclination to solve all the puzzles, but still want to finish the game.

That said, if you want to limit the amount of 'cheating', I kinda like a "Stacking" like approach. Make multiple solutions, some more obvious than others, and only require one to move on. Those who want a challenge can try to find them all, those who don't can just pick the easiest. Though that also means you need 3 times the number of puzzles for the same amount of game progression, which cuts down development time on other things. To be honest though I'd rather play through an awesome 6 hour game than something with 30+ hours just for the sake of it. I have more games to play than time these days, so it's quality over quantity for me.

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Indeed cheating will occur, and there's no problem with that. You paid for the game, how you want to play it is up to you. The only person you are cheating is yourself. There are going to be players who don't have the time or inclination to solve all the puzzles, but still want to finish the game.

That said, if you want to limit the amount of 'cheating', I kinda like a "Stacking" like approach. Make multiple solutions, some more obvious than others, and only require one to move on. Those who want a challenge can try to find them all, those who don't can just pick the easiest. Though that also means you need 3 times the number of puzzles for the same amount of game progression, which cuts down development time on other things. To be honest though I'd rather play through an awesome 6 hour game than something with 30+ hours just for the sake of it. I have more games to play than time these days, so it's quality over quantity for me.

Then people will complain that the game is too easy without realizing there are tougher solutions.

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I love really finding really elaborate and surreal solutions to puzzles, but at the same time, I get super frustrated if I'm not able to think 'sideways' enough for particular solutions. I was thinking it might be a good idea to have 'easy', 'medium' and 'hard' solutions to some of the puzzles with some gentle nudging away from the easy ones, and you could get achievements for doing things the most ridiculous way possible.

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Indeed cheating will occur, and there's no problem with that. You paid for the game, how you want to play it is up to you. The only person you are cheating is yourself. There are going to be players who don't have the time or inclination to solve all the puzzles, but still want to finish the game.

That said, if you want to limit the amount of 'cheating', I kinda like a "Stacking" like approach. Make multiple solutions, some more obvious than others, and only require one to move on. Those who want a challenge can try to find them all, those who don't can just pick the easiest. Though that also means you need 3 times the number of puzzles for the same amount of game progression, which cuts down development time on other things. To be honest though I'd rather play through an awesome 6 hour game than something with 30+ hours just for the sake of it. I have more games to play than time these days, so it's quality over quantity for me.

Then people will complain that the game is too easy without realizing there are tougher solutions.

You mean gamers will complain on the internet? Perish the thought! :P

You put a list in the menu of solutions you've found with empty boxes for the ones you haven't (again like Stacking). It reminds those gamers that find it too easy that there are other solutions, and prods people to fill the empty boxes by finding all the solutions.

But yeah, people will still complain. Someone always will.

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I cheat all the time in adventure games. It's not a matter of me and my willpower, I'm happy to admit upfront that I cheat - I also work - the unfortunate truth is I like a lot of games (and TV shows/movies) and there's only so much time in a day after 10 hrs work.

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