Odysseus Kosmos – Developer Diaries #14

cargobay

Hey there, friends! Welcome back on board of “San Francisco”, a huge spacecraft travelling far, far way from planet Earth.
Today I am going to talk about the mini games and additional puzzles in our game. I feel a very special way about mini games. I don’t really like games that are just collections of mini games. Especially when most of these games are just variations of popular game play mechanics. In my opinion this moves them to the category of mediocre games for casual audience. Naturally, there are also good exceptions, but still our game is anything but a collection of mini games.
On the other hand, there is a long-standing tradition of putting small mini games into adventure games as intermediate locations, which I personally find very gracious. Spoiler: we also use this method!
What I find a good option for a quest mini game.
Firstly, it should not be over complicated. The player walks around and solves all kinds of puzzles by combining items throughout the entire game. So we shouldn’t force him to sit around on one screen for half an hour painfully solving a single mini game. Especially since the player will most likely find a solution in Internet eventually. Mini game inside a adventure game should be a kind of rest, a possibility to get away from the usual game play and think “outside the box” for a while.
And secondly, (very important!) the mini game should not come down to mere combinatorics. This happens so often to puzzles. After all, the easiest (and the worst!) way to design a puzzle is to take a popular mechanic – some kind of Sokoban or some shifting gears – pump up the difficulty, and there you go: another boring mini game is ready. Enjoy the next few hours of going through all the options in search of the solution.
I myself enjoy puzzles where you have to guess the solution once, whereas the puzzle itself does not appear very difficult (or it can look that way, but won’t seem complex once you have guessed the solution). So basically it takes a single clever guess about the puzzle principles to solve it
So far we have met these simple rules. In the pilot and the first episodes we have two or three mini games that make the player look at the task at hand from a new perspective or let them rest a while. We are planning to maintain this ratio in the following episodes.
And speaking of next chapters: you just have to update the game and the Ep.2 button will appear in the menu!

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