Escape the Room puzzles

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Victoria Jennings
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Escape the Room puzzles

#1 Post by Victoria Jennings » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:54 pm

It's likely that pretty much everyone on this forum has played or watched someone play (like on TV, or in a book) an Escape the Room game. The objective is pretty much... well, to escape the room. You have to uncover specific objects, codes, clues, etc. in order to find some sort of way out, be it in the form of a key, or the actual door.

My question is, has anyone here ever designed one, and if so, do you have any advice? I:>

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Re: Escape the Room puzzles

#2 Post by CheeryMoya » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:18 pm

Victoria Jennings wrote:has anyone here ever designed one
Well, there's a game called Leave the Room. I think the .rpy files are open for perusal.

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Re: Escape the Room puzzles

#3 Post by Gear » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:57 am

We're designing one now. I grabbed the Wintermute Engine and 'borrowed' one of their programmers for the job. If you know your C++ (or was it C#?) it's apparently really easy to do. On my own, I managed to create clickable regions. I'm sure it's possible to do in Ren'Py, but it can't be very easy.

It's funny you bring this up now. I was perusing LSF to take a break from writing my Escape the Room script. XD
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Re: Escape the Room puzzles

#4 Post by jw2pfd » Wed Oct 03, 2012 9:20 am

Victoria Jennings wrote:My question is, has anyone here ever designed one, and if so, do you have any advice? I:>
If you're talking about a somewhat typical point-and-click adventure style interface, then it's not too hard to emulate that style. You could use imagebuttons and/or mouseareas in the screen language. It would work by repeatedly calling a screen in a loop until the user has completed the correct action(s) to escape and break the loop. Each call waits for the user to click on imagebutton which should return a value and then run, store, or calculate whatever. If the user still hasn't finished everything needed to escape, then the screen is called again.

This isn't the easiest thing to do in Ren'Py, but the tools are there to accomplish it.

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Re: Escape the Room puzzles

#5 Post by Victoria Jennings » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:09 am

Heh... I actually wasn't really asking how I'd accomplish it with Ren'Py. I -do- know it's possible.

I'm mostly wondering what goes on in the design process of the puzzles themselves. I mean, all the good ones just seem to flow together seamlessly, and I'm worried I won't be able to reach that level of skill. orz

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Re: Escape the Room puzzles

#6 Post by jw2pfd » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:27 am

Victoria Jennings wrote:Heh... I actually wasn't really asking how I'd accomplish it with Ren'Py. I -do- know it's possible.
Well, silly me then.

As far as design goes, it seems that you have some specific games in mind as examples of good puzzles. Which games/puzzles are you thinking of?

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Re: Escape the Room puzzles

#7 Post by Victoria Jennings » Wed Oct 03, 2012 10:37 am

jw2pfd wrote:As far as design goes, it seems that you have some specific games in mind as examples of good puzzles. Which games/puzzles are you thinking of?
Well, besides all the adventure games I've played (...which, actually, isn't a lot. Crap.), my main inspiration is 9 Hours 9 Persons 9 Doors. It's a great game, extremely engaging and interesting. After I played it, I started to take an interest in locked room puzzles (I've been on-and-off interested in them for a while now, even before 999, but I never had the resources to make one a reality before now), and so now, I want to make a game comprising of them.

...Also, I'm so into ETR puzzles, I'm trying to turn my whole school into one. >.> <.<

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Re: Escape the Room puzzles

#8 Post by KimiYoriBaka » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:50 pm

Code: Select all

You could use imagebuttons and/or mouseareas in the screen language.
I found it's better to use drags for pretty much everything. it makes it much easier to integrate clicking and dragging together, especially if the player has an inventory.


on the subject of smooth design, the most important thing is planning. once you have a premise for your game, just keep thinking of puzzles that fit with the theme, and then find places in your story (assuming you have a story...) in which those puzzle would make sense.

another thing that helps in tying puzzles together is to give the player clues and items after solving each one, but be careful that you don't hand the player lots of puzzles at once when only one can be worked on immediately.

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Re: Escape the Room puzzles

#9 Post by Gear » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:17 am

I started with a floorplan of a room. I built it like a normal room, then looked at the print and said, "Where can I hide the key? Then where can I hide the ability to find the key?"

Alternatively, you can set up a room with secret passages, then work backwards to the completion of the room's design. But I've found that, for me, the first technique is easier.
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Re: Escape the Room puzzles

#10 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:18 am

Puzzle designs falls well and truely into game design, which is a specialised craft. There really wouldn't be an easy answer for how to plan a puzzle because it would be like 'how do you design a character'. There are lots and lots of answers. If you are serious about getting into puzzle design you will have to start reading up on the actual design process. There are quite a few resources out there on the web.

Here are some to get started: http://devmag.org.za/2011/04/16/how-are ... roduction/
http://www.scottkim.com/thinkinggames/GDC00/bates.html
http://www.adventureclassicgaming.com/i ... tures/423/

I would be inclined to say you need two things when designing a puzzle.

1) You need to know what you tools are. These are the things that the player will use to solve the puzzle and I don't mean a key will open a door. Your tools are your mechanics. What are you going to let your player do? What are the boundries that you can design within? Knowing your boundires is really important with design because it turns infinite possibilities into something you can work with. Maybe you will let player collect pieces of a puzzle that they then have to arrange into a whole. Maybe you will let them combine items. Maybe you will have word puzzles that they have to think about.

2)Start with the solution or end goal. I would think it's much like story telling, you need to know where you are going. You need to know what the end goal is for the player. You then have to create a sequence of events that will lead from point A to the final result. Try breaking down other puzzles games to see all the different steps.

Take the very first puzzle in 999 for example. There are two things you need to get out the door, the two key card packs. To get those packs you need the clues and the keys which you have to search for. It doesn't matter if you open the red case or the blue case first, both have to be done. So for this room the puzzle goes Serach for clues/items>Use clues/items>Use new items to get out. So the idea would be to hide the final clues and items in a place that requires the player to solve other clues or find other items first. While games give you the illusion of freedom with the order you find items or solve clues, they usually have a rigid structure that you have to satisfy first. It wouldn't be much of a puzzle game if you found the final piece and were able to use it first.

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