Odysseus Kosmos – Developer Diaries #10

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(few moments from second ep =) )

Hey there, friends! Welcome back on board of “San Francisco”, a huge spacecraft travelling far, far way from planet Earth.
Today I’d like to discuss the puzzles and riddles in the game. Because no matter how great the game’s visuals, GUI or story are, most importantly the game should be interesting to play.
What are the means to create interesting game play? (Or, should I say, what means are we using? Well, firstly, you have to be creative and think outside the box! For example, we have our item interactions. Yes, items are basically the foundation of the entire quest game play: “find a pair of scissors to cut a ribbon” or “take a wrench to unscrew a nut”. And this could be fun; this is what we like about the quest genre. But when the entire game is played simply by going through all the options – there is no fun in that.
I’m sure that a decent quest requires at least one (ideally several) puzzles that cannot be solved by going through all options. And I don’t mean that players should guess the solution without going through all options. I mean that you literally won’t be able to solve the puzzle without finding some sort of unusual solution beyond the standard “find an item and use it” pattern. An AI “bot” should not be able to play the entire game, only a human being should be able to do that – than it will be fun for a smart player! The metal detector puzzle in “Grim Fandango” is a great example.
Another point that seems important for me is the structure of the game play. I am an avid believer in the classical quest format, and I’ve already mentioned that I don’t like the “scheduled access” to content. Let’s say, we have a lock on the door and players must find a key to open it and go further. The solution is obvious. There is no mystery here whatsoever. Once the door is opened, you get a new portion of dialogue. All players pass the game at a similar pace.
A good quest in my opinion is when having finished examining the locations you can continue playing in your mind, picturing various solutions that seem correct. Than you have a true fun quest. If this is impossible due to the automatically story progress – this game is not a quest.
Next time we are going to talk about the soundtrack or the game’s visuals. Thanks for your interest!

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