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Old 10-28-2011, 07:57 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by TimovieMan View Post
The objective is something that would fit into the story, of course. "Find the artifact before the bad guys find it" is also an objective, but perfectly within the storyline of the game, and the story is the most important thing, no?
Yes, which is what makes adventure games different from puzzle games. I don't think there needs to be an objective all the time. Let's say in a game I am driving my car through a forest to another location and my car breaks down. Do we need to frame this situation in terms of an objective? I was driving, now the car is broken, and I am in a forest. What do I do now? This, to me, is the great thing about adventure games, the openness of you playing a character and seeing what's out there, rather than being simplified to "objective: fix car" or "objective: explore forest".
Hope that is clear.
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:12 PM   #22
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the openness of you playing a character and seeing what's out there, rather than being simplified to "objective: fix car" or "objective: explore forest".
Hope that is clear.
Again we're not necessarily talking about a WRITTEN objective here, if you were on your way to fight the villain when your car broke down then your general objective is to fix the car whether that's an actual written objective OR just a implied by the story.

Goal, Motivation, Problem etc, there's probably a more suitable word like that for what me (and I believe Tim as well) is talking about.
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Old 10-29-2011, 02:24 AM   #23
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i.e.
a) Predefined Puzzle + Objective (Escape the room, by somehow solving the riddle which books to pull).
b) Predefined Objective (Somehow escape the room to stop the villain).
c) Nothing predefined. (Perhaps you should escape the room, but perhaps the entire game is just about interacting with things in this one room, who knows).
I like this. It takes Myst-style games into account (which the first two options didn't really do).

If I understand it correctly, then examples of games are:
A) Professor Layton games (other examples?)
B) LucasArts / Sierra type of adventures
C) Myst-like games

All my points about the objective are actually rather moot with regards to games ŗ la Myst where exploration is everything. I was mainly referring to games where there's a specific storyline to be followed, and that doesn't necessarily apply to Myst-games where an objective would just be "explore and enjoy".
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Old 10-29-2011, 04:06 AM   #24
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This is interesting. The discussion has finally made me understand what people mean by "exploration" as a separate element of adventure game design besides puzzles and story. (Or at least it has given me a notion of exploration that makes sense to me.)

I tend to think of the issue as how integrated the puzzles are with the story, the extent to which they are disguised as "normal" interactions with the world. If the game effectively pops up a message "Here is puzzle. Solve it!" then the puzzle isn't hidden at all, but if you have to go and discover it for yourself, then it tends to feel more organic to the world. To me this is the distinction between a puzzle game and an adventure game.

For pretty much all good puzzles, I think there should be clues somewhere in the game that tell you, or allow you to work out, what you are supposed to do. So it's a matter of how obvious and immediate those clues are: how much exploration and reasoning you need to do as a player to work out what the puzzle is. And that's not a binary either/or choice, it's a continuum.

In the example in the first post, you can have the game (or another character, which is the same thing except it avoids breaking the fourth wall) immediately tell you that you have to pull out certain books in the book case. Very obvious, very immediate.

Or the game could tell you the same thing, but only if you initiate a conversation with the other character. Still obvious, but slightly less immediate, since you have to "explore" the available actions a bit to discover that.

Or you might have to initiate the conversation, and then navigate a conversation tree before you get the explanation. Once you're told about it it's still obvious, but now there's a kind of simple dialog-exploration-puzzle you have to solve first (and arguably there should be a clue to let you know that you need to interrogate this other character, to provide motivation), so it's even less immediate.

Or when you talk to this other character, they don't straight out tell you there's a secret passage you operate by pulling books out of the book case, but give you a more indirect clue. Then you have a clue that isn't presented as an instruction or obviously useful information, but disguised as something mentioned in passing, for example. That makes it both less immediate and less obvious: you have to notice that it's there, and you have to think a bit to work out what it implies you should be doing.

Finally, instead of having one big clue that tells you about the puzzle, you could have a number of clues scattered around the game, that you need to combine in order to work out what they mean. For example, a character could tell you how the person who built this house loved riddles and built a secret passage somewhere in the house, a book about riddles in the book case could have a note that mentions a passage in the bedroom at the head of the bed, and some detail in the room could show that this room was originally the bedroom, and that the bookcase must be standing where the head of the bed used to be. Now the clues are neither immediate nor obvious: you have to explore extensively to find all the clues, you have to be alert in order to notice them and realize that they are important, and you have to do some significant reasoning to put them together.

So at one end of the spectrum you have an element of a puzzle game: it's obvious what the puzzle is, and you just have to solve it, but it isn't natural or integrated with the story, just an arbitrary obstacle. At the other end you have an element of an adventure game: instead of just solving a logic puzzle you are taking on the role of a character in a story, problem-solving and interacting with a more coherent world. But at the same time, you have to do quite a lot of work just to figure out what direction you should be looking, and if you miss one of the clues (either because you didn't find it, or because you didn't realize that it was a clue) it's possible to get stuck in a much more frustrating way, where you have no idea why you're stuck.

Like, I think, most other adventure gamers, I find the more organic, subtly integrated puzzles more rewarding, although I think it's nice to have a mix of puzzles that are more in your face as well. And I do think that the more you disguise your puzzle to not be immediately obvious as a puzzle, the higher the risk of players getting irretrievably stuck becomes.
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:50 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
Yes, which is what makes adventure games different from puzzle games. I don't think there needs to be an objective all the time. Let's say in a game I am driving my car through a forest to another location and my car breaks down. Do we need to frame this situation in terms of an objective? I was driving, now the car is broken, and I am in a forest. What do I do now? This, to me, is the great thing about adventure games, the openness of you playing a character and seeing what's out there, rather than being simplified to "objective: fix car" or "objective: explore forest".
Hope that is clear.
But in that example, the way the story is told regarding the car breaking down should suggest the objective. Plus, clues gathered from the scene should provide further indication.

Examine car - "Looks like I need (x, y, z)" - would suggest the car can be repaired, thus you have a new objective; Collect the repair parts.

Or

Examine car - "It's a write off." - would suggest the car is no longer of any use and the new objective is obviously to find a new way to your destination.

No text or list of tasks have to appear anywhere, merely the context of the situation should make it clear how your course of action should begin. Internally, your thinking probably goes something like this: Broken car = Objective Repair Car. Investigation yields Car can't be repaired = New Objective, find new way to destination.

The openess is of course an illusion. Adventure Games, moreso than most other genres, are fixed in terms of true exploration. To cite that particular area as AGs strongpoint seems an odd choice.

Last edited by noknowncure; 10-30-2011 at 07:08 PM. Reason: To add clarification on areas I'd hoped were implicit.
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Old 10-30-2011, 03:56 PM   #26
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But in that example, the way the story is told regarding the car breaking down should suggest the objective.
Why? What if it can't be fixed and the game wishes me to explore the forest to find a secret cave? Why would I want the game to tell me that before I discover it?
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Old 10-30-2011, 06:59 PM   #27
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Why? What if it can't be fixed and the game wishes me to explore the forest to find a secret cave? Why would I want the game to tell me that before I discover it?
Er, read on from that quote...
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Old 10-30-2011, 10:59 PM   #28
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Er, read on from that quote...
Ah, you edited
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Old 11-14-2011, 05:33 PM   #29
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B every time. I despise the use of A in pretty much every game these days.
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