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    Gray Matter - Spoilery Discussion
        Puzzles and riddles in the game
               »How do you think it should have been done?
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Talco
hindbrain



So this one is a about Gray Matter's puzzles and the challenge they provided, or lack thereof. No doubt this is a weak point in the design of the game. There are millions simple ways in which the game could have much more challenging and thus better. AGs are not called games for nothing - there has to be something there to occupy us, the players, and engage in gaming, that's what differentiates games from other forms entertainment (e.g. books and movies). A game that poses almost no challenge can still be good, as is GM IMHO, but something is definitely missing.

I guess this thread can be a suggestion box of sorts for how the game's puzzles could have been more demanding, not even mentally, just less of a walk in the park (no pun intended, Timmons Park notwithstanding :P). I'm sure this was discussed way back during the beta testing in some secret location to keep us mere mortals away, but why not discuss it publicly so that the unwashed masses can share their input? All right I'm still a bit bitter for being excluded from the beta process.:biggrin:

There are many things I can think of, but I'll volunteer one example:

The rebus ideograms. I mean they were nice and all, but why not bar the player from using the public phone or going to the meadows before he or she say, I don't know, typed the solution? It's pretty useless to have the riddles at all if you can just guess, or accidentally bump into the solution, especially in the first one with the drawing of the pay phone on it (an image that wasn't part of the rebus solution, just a shrieking "Solve Me!" clue). Was it really so hard to include an input box where the player had to type the answer, before being allowed access to the final location? Just my two cents.

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"In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win."
-Ayn Rand

Total Posts: 129 | Joined Nov. 2008 | Posted on: 2:24 pm on Dec. 25, 2010 | Link to this post
Krss
admin



In the Helena's-old-and-new-ID puzzle, I wanted to have to guess which one was the old and which one was the new by the pictures, not have it spelled out to me. It would have been a fun "real-life" puzzle - how to figure out which one is the horrible pic going by a vain person's criteria.

I would have wanted to perform the magic tricks in real time.

[I'm in a middle of a cat takeover of my desk, he's destroying everything.]

I don't think it would make sense to bar the player from the phone or meadow, in real life no one bars you from accessing locations so letting you access them is a good point for the game in my opinion. It's hard to discover something like 58327 on a phone accidentally. How would you immerse an input box in the game's world?

Total Posts: 2307 | Joined Aug. 2006 | Posted on: 6:36 pm on Dec. 25, 2010 | Link to this post
theozero
dendrite



I agree with Krss in that an input box can not be immersed into the game's world in this case but the ideograms could have been less straightforward and could have required more thinking on the players part in order to decipher them.Perhaps as a code that the player would find partial help to decipher(e.g. notes of someone else about the code that where meant for him and thus the player would have to fill in the gaps and understand the code.Of course this doesn't fit the story here...).I would also have liked the magic tricks to be more of a challenge.It was just following the instructions of the book.It could have been that the player had to find the right moves to steal Charles letter for example.This could perhaps have been possible if various possible working solutions were taken into account or if the instructions weren't so straightforward of which move you should use.

(Edited by theozero at 11:53 pm on Dec. 25, 2010)

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some of my music http://alonetone.com/theokouroumlis/tracks

Total Posts: 26 | Joined Dec. 2010 | Posted on: 9:34 pm on Dec. 25, 2010 | Link to this post
Talco
hindbrain



Of course, I didn't phrase my initial post so well.

What I meant was - until and unless the player managed to solve the rebus puzzle, Sam shouldn't want to use the phone or go to the meadows, because she doesn't "know" that's where she needs to go. It's always been with adventure games like this. Imagine in GK3 if you didn't need to do the right things on your own and you'd be able to just go to places without first deciphering Les Serpent Rouge in the area map. That would have been ridiculous and would have rendered Les Serpent Rouge, probably the best riddle in the series, pointless.

(Edited by Talco at 10:47 pm on Dec. 25, 2010)

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"In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win."
-Ayn Rand

Total Posts: 129 | Joined Nov. 2008 | Posted on: 10:45 pm on Dec. 25, 2010 | Link to this post
theozero
dendrite



What I meant was - until and unless the player managed to solve the rebus puzzle, Sam shouldn't want to use the phone or go to the meadows,

Oh okay,it was a bit like that cause Sam would not go there until you had all the paper parts of the puzzles and if there was no phone booth depicted it would have been ok i think.

Another way the magic tricks could have been a bit more difficult would be if it was asked at some occasions to combine magic tricks to accomplish your goal so then the player would have to find which part of each trick he/she should use and which two tricks.

(Edited by theozero at 1:35 pm on Dec. 27, 2010)

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some of my music http://alonetone.com/theokouroumlis/tracks

Total Posts: 26 | Joined Dec. 2010 | Posted on: 11:34 am on Dec. 27, 2010 | Link to this post
Krss
admin



I would also have liked the magic tricks to be more of a challenge.It was just following the instructions of the book.It could have been that the player had to find the right moves to steal Charles letter for example.This could perhaps have beenpossible if various possible working solutions were taken into account or if the instructions weren't so straightforward of which move you should use.


:nod: That would have made the magic puzzles more like real puzzles that belong in an adventure game than pattern-matching minigames.


I think that stopping the player from trying out or accessing things before he solves puzzles about them only should be used if it makes sense in real life. The Serpent Rouge puzzle pointed out the location where to start digging, which makes sense in real life - you can't just dig all over the huge valley, you need some clues. But an easily accessible red phone stands out like a sore thumb.

It's true that the phone only becomes accessible after seeing the paper put together, even if the player has no idea what the ideogram means - so then if you start poking all over the place you can notice the phone is suddenly accessible so you must do something there.
I think this would have been less of a giveaway puzzle by making the phone accessible all the time, which it actually IS to Sam, and designing the solution so it can't be randomly typed on the phone.

There was one puzzle that I felt satisfied by, C RAILER SWOLL. I enjoyed the double anagram you had to figure out at the end (mage -> game = c railer swoll -> lewis carroll). But I believe that one would have been easier to stumble upon than the red phone one. Lewis Carroll was way more prominent than Judas in the game.

But I still prefer environmental puzzles to word puzzles in an adventure game, even if word puzzles are a change from the usual stuff. I would have wanted Sam's ghost investigation of Dread Hill House and other places to be more prominent/playable than her moving from word riddle to word riddle. I like the "adventure" part of adventure games, everything that enriches the plot. The word riddles in themselves weren't connected with the plot, just with some environments.

Incidentally, that's why I wasn't excited about "The Bride of Frankenstein" on the Daedalus puzzle at the end. Like the other word riddles, it would likely have nothing to do with the plot.

Total Posts: 2307 | Joined Aug. 2006 | Posted on: 9:00 pm on Dec. 28, 2010 | Link to this post
aurora
midbrain


Well, if we'll talk about the first riddle for a second - that one was almost 100% easier to solve by pure clicking and exploring, rather than sheer thinking. Every time I arrived to a new place, Sam remarked something like "oh, the place where souls meet - that must be the place!", whereas I just decided the church is a place I haven't visited for a while (same for the pub, the tower, fire in the tower puzzle, and so on). I found that a pity, since the riddle is really nicely written but the implement leaves much to be desired.

How do I think that could have been changed? Well, obviously not very easily - it would take some harder puzzles mechanisms to begin with, so the design would be quite different (too different to start developing it here). But I just thought the current version of most of the club's puzzles were very pale and unsatisfying.

I agree about the magic tricks - they were completely menial.

Ghost search was also pretty ridiculous, and felt rushed.

I would like to have more puzzles (especially with David) that demanded some more reading. This game wasn't rich with reading material, and the material that it had was hardly obligatory.

I did really like that name - comparing puzzle. Finding the "enemy" of dr. styles. That was a nice puzzle, and not very trivial - yet logical.

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There's definitely definitely definitely no logic to humen behaviour.

Total Posts: 279 | Joined Aug. 2007 | Posted on: 5:41 pm on Dec. 29, 2010 | Link to this post
Krss
admin



I too would have wanted more complex puzzles with David, especially when it was about reading the MRI brain scans. I even made a chart of all the brain views that cycled in those scans and thought it would be significant. I tend to treat puzzles way too seriously, when a lot of the time they were just about clicking through, and then I'm disappointed. =/

Total Posts: 2307 | Joined Aug. 2006 | Posted on: 6:13 pm on Dec. 29, 2010 | Link to this post
 

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