Riddles/puzzles - do they work?

Wish I had have known that! :smile:

Single mark (!) makes All First Letter Capitalized.

Yeah, in Dryad’s Riddle, I originally had a rule that all answers had to begin with a capital letter before someone pointed out the whole !! thing to me. That way, it doesn’t matter if the player uses a capital letter at the beginning, or if they have the whole word in lower case letters, or if they use all caps. The answer will come up as correct either way.


Haha yeah. I didn’t know you could use !'s in if statements like that and so did an if statement for all the main possibilities and then set it to all lower case afterwards. Not sure how I never knew that but would have saved me some time :slight_smile:

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I just said this in a WiP thread, but I think one problem with riddles (or other puzzles) in games like these (other than the exact wording one already mentioned by @CypherCarat and @Avery_Moore), is the fact that the riddles are challenging the player, not the character. Now, if the game is explicitly about solving riddles, this is fine, since that’s the point, but for a game where you have an intelligence stat, I would certainly suggest not including such riddles. If I were playing an intelligent character and couldn’t get the riddle, I wouldn’t be very happy. (That said, if I were playing a stupid character and could get the riddle but my character couldn’t, I’d also not be happy… :sweat:)


It’s all about how a riddle is presented in the game’s flow.
If it is out of nowhere and should not pose a challenge to the character, then no. But if it is a genuine challenge for both character and player alike it doesn’t even have to be an outright riddle.

In BG there was a temple where you could find segments of a prayer to its god. You had to put them in the right order and extract from them the steps to performing a ritual, then perform it later.
What I like about this is that the clues are disguised as flavor text/lore, and you don’t even know they are a puzzle clue until you encounter the puzzle. (Though for this to work there would have to be pure flavor text for it to hide in)

SoH has a detective scene, wherein a description of a crime scene would be provided and you would have to input what was out of place/contained a clue. If you get it right, you’d then have to answer a multiple choice question about WHY it was noteworthy.

There is a board game called guess who, where in you are given a pool of people and drip-fed characteristics of the correct person (gender, age, clothing, etc) and use them to find that person.

I personally dislike the ‘railroaded puzzles’ in many point and click adventure games. For example, not even allowed to guess a puzzle solution until I’ve found a ‘diagram’ for it, which is in a locked box behind a barred door high up on a mountain in a mystical fairy realm. Having to find this specific knife to cut a rope when I have plenty of sharp objects in my inventory and near me. And such.
I very much prefer there be more than one way to move forward (as the situation permits).

Maybe a character who’s specialized in strength and dumped everything else could just brute force the door. Maybe a character with a reasonable amount of craftmanship could pry open the floor and inspect the mechanics underneath the statues (insert circuit board-esque image). Maybe a perceptive character would notice specks of blood from people who tried the wrong statues and paid the price, or scruff marks in a particular area. A charismatic MC could wheedle something out of the locals (if there are any) in a previous encounter.

(A direct bypass seems less fun though. It would be nice if the stats provide extra clues instead of allowing you to skip the puzzle.)

Choosing wrong should definitely have consequences, though instant death is a bit harsh… Is there a health bar? Is the character on a time limit? If they have companions, will they think less of the MC?
Is there a save system?

Oh, I forgot to say before. Treasure of the Forbidden City is another puzzle based game that you might want to look at. In fact, I think some of the puzzles in that game might be similar to the kind of puzzles you’re hoping to add in your game. :blush:

Coming a bit late to the discussion ,but it might be relevant:

We did a couple of puzzles for Highlands, Deep Waters. One of them somewhat early in the game, where you have to unscramble the letters of an address and then type it. A lot of people had trouble with it, even thought it was “supposedly” easy.

I also wasn’t aware that you could code the thing to be automatically capitalized, so I had to do dozens of versions manually considering all the possibilities I could think of.

Another “puzzle” of the game was in a house in which you could only leave after finding two clues.

We did not explicit said to the players that they would only be allowed to leave after finding the two clues(or that there were 2 of them), and one was somewhat hard to find. Many players thought it was actually a bug and that they were stuck on the house forever, and sent reports to CoG support.

I personally don’t like puzzles that much as a player, because I find they feel gratuitous or metagamish most of the time. I think its hard to find a good balance between realism and difficulty regarding them. Of course, when this happens and the puzzle is both challenging without being impossibly hard while also making total sense given the setting and the circumstances of the game, it can be awesome and gratifying.

Otherwise I think they can be pretty frustrating.