Quick Post: Open Puzzles

Drip, drip

Drip, drip

Looks like it’ll be a little while longer till the TOJam games are available; sorry to delay the reviews.

In the meantime; I wanted to talk briefly about a design problem I found in a I played recently, Liquid Measure. It’s a 2D game where your goal is to transfer water from jugs in to boxes, making sure that the boxes get the proper amount of water; too much and they overflow.

It’s a simple game about routing. The later puzzles involve several jugs and boxes of different volumes, along with numerous obstacles and pipes to let you reroute the water. But at no point in its 20 levels is the game hard, mostly because the puzzles have so few so limited pieces (which you generally need all of to complete the puzzle) that you can solve the puzzle by a process of elimination. The number of combinations in any puzzle is limited, making it more like a multiple choice quiz than a legitimate brain teaser.

It’s just one of those great example for reasons why in the design process it’s best to think of fewer components that have more interactions than it is to have more components with fewer interactions. When objects have more interactions, you give the player more options without making them explicitly obvious — it may mean that there will be unexpected solutions to your puzzles, but it also makes more complicated puzzles possible.

If this puzzle had included the option to rotate pieces or included unneccessary bits, it may have jumped up a quick notch to more interesting.

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