Your ideas for puzzles?

Share your ideas and thoughts for the game with the community and team.
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david
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My brain has been toying with a couple of possible puzzles for GOAT, and it would be fun to hear your thoughts and ideas :ugeek:

As for me, my first idea is sound-based. As you know, Tilo can move very quietly. But let's say he needs to cross a patch of loose gravel behind a skeleton rat guard, without alerting him and the garrison. The crunch of the gravel underfoot would give him away, so he needs to wait until another sound masks his movement noise. Like distant thunder, a sign creaking, rainfall, a cart passing by, etc.

The second one is really fun, but tougher to implement. Imagine that Tilo has come across a group of skeletal rats, too many to sneak past or battle with. There is a big diamondback crab sleeping or munching on a bush nearby. Tilo platforms himself up to a nearby ledge and takes a flying leap onto the crab's back. Startled, the crab takes off running and ploughs through the rats, sending them flying. It would be even more fun if Tylo could somehow control the crab while riding on his back, like driving a tank. In the same way that Pacman eats a power pill, it is nice to feel invulnerable occasionally and kick butt, after running away and sneaking about :mrgreen:
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evilkinggumby
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hmm there are so many possibilites. i guess it depends on the environments and the moment in the story.

Down by the water: play your lute (using the song of Storms) to time and wash approaching enemies into the ocean by strumming as they near the edge of the waves.

Deep in the caves: using a colored berry to plug the hole where sunlight normally comes in to make the room all red (or green) and better lit for sneaking around without getting caught.

In the Woods: using rocks or a sling to pop hornet netss or large acorns from the trees to distract or stun enemies.

In the tombs: assemble as fake Tiloh out of old sacks of rice and clothes to kick down a staircase as a distraction for the guards to chase. Or assemble certain objects from around a room in front of a lantern or window so it has the silhouette of Tiloh so they go running after it in the next room.

pile some seeds at the end of a long downed tree propped on a rock so as a large bird lands to eat them, you are flung up (catapulted) to a hard to reach ledge or entryway.

using a makeshift hand drill, add holes to a close thatch bundle of hollow reeds so as wind passes over them, they "sing" a tone that sounds much like an enemy, drawing attention away from where you need to go.

using a series of found objects and nearby obstacles to guide a stream of water from down the side of a cliff across and into a glyph that opens a temple door. The water could run from the rocks into a hollow tree, across some large flat leaves, into an old rusted war helmet, through some armor, into a skull, down a beehive and into the glyph.. so to speak. :)

using a large buoyant mushroom as a flotation device and riding the slow rising tide up a vertical shaft to get to a high up area. Or have the water pressure "blow" you up to the top like a cork under pressure. :)

thats a few i can think of off the top o my noggin. :)
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david
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@EvilKing... as usual, your imagination impresses me!

I think I'd only be able to solve about half those puzzles: 'hornets nest', 'waterborne mushroom', 'log catapult', and (given the right prompts) the 'song of storms' :shock:

I really, really like the 'water flow' puzzle, though I think it would be tricky (but achievable, using various cheats) to implement without a water physics system... none of the 3 major licensable AAA 3D game engines* to my knowledge has yet implemented anything close to a native full water physics system, because it there are so many calculations involved. This puzzle (and others like it) would be awesome with this kind of water physics though - in fact, one could probably build a full game using that 'direct the water flow' mechanic.

*Unity, CryEngine and Unreal Engine
**I have seen a recent 2d indie games based water physics, but very few in AAA-quality 3d

PS. As I understand Seith's plans with regard to object scale, little Tilo is roughly hobbit-sized relative to natural objects in the GoaT world... so seeds, etc., will still be small to him.
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david
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BTW, here is a really nice video of Nvidia's water physics (too slow for gaming at the moment though... it runs at 15fps on a high end system):



... and here is a Unity game in development, with some nifty-looking water physics too, although I don't think it will be a full-on fluid simulation (like Nvidia):

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evilkinggumby
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Very good examples of what is becoming possible in games. When I did the water puzzle where you guide water using various objects, it was not so much using actual fully fluid physics based motion. You could replicate this similarly with simple interlocking objects, each having an animation cycle of where the water comes out. As you click on the end of the chain to apply the new item it snaps into place and plays the water animation. Each object would need to exist in 3 states.

1: dry (object found in environment with no water animation)
2: flowing - endpoint (it is the last object in the chain, so water free flows off the end onto the ground with splash particles and possibly a "wet" decal appearing below it. There would only be one position it would lock onto the chain to simplify where it accepts and spills water).
3: Flowing - midpoint: it is between 2 other objects in the water path, so animation would just show water moving through/across it (or possibly show the vessel full).

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It would not be as "totally real" as using physics, but it would be a simple puzzle to do and the method I describe is how a lot of modern games deal with puzzles, so it wouldn't seem strange to players. If Seith did this with a multitude of objects, part of the challenge is figuring which objects fill the gap between point 1 (original water source) to point 2 (ending target) without falling short or going too long. :) And once these objects are designed, the puzzle could be used a handful of times across the game with varying solutions depending on the gap being a fairly simple straight line, around a corner, over a large gap, or from varying heights across a set of cliffs.

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Thanks for the reminder about scale, I tend to forget that. So for the puzzle altering light in a cave, maybe substitute the berries for gemstones or glass bottles. :) For the seeds, it is not so much about the seed size and weight as using them to lure a big ol bird down to stand on the tree and launch the character accordingly. Possibly have the birds in the area by the puzzle of the slightly heavy/clumsy and less graceful type so they kind of PLOP down instead of landing gracefully. :)

think of the crow in secret of nymh and how he typically is.. hehehe

the solvability of the puzzles will depend on how they're displayed and any visual cues given by the environment. You could easily show the player how they work by having a similar "already solved" puzzle a few minutes prior (skyrim does this with some of their funky door opening puzzles). Or partially solved ones. Or just have a text prompt to narrate the thought process of the mouse and (early on) guide/tutorial the player. I wouldn't be against a semi-transparent though bubble or text string fading in and then slowly fading out above Tiloh's head as he considers a scene.

"I think I can re-direct the water to flow into that carved symbol."

"It might be easier to sneak through here if I dim that shaft of light with something..."

"I bet those hornets would help"

Stuff like that. I don't know the overall style that Seith is going for in terms of actual character interaction and storytelling, but I am sure he'd find ways to convey hints or tutorial for early parts of the game just to help the players dive in and not frustrate with stuff.

Or if you really wanted to go nuts... have "dream sequence memories" where at night (at checkpoints by the campfire) it fades to discussions had with his mum as a young mouse. She can teach him various skills or methods in a backyard obstacle course as a way to help him survive. They would be optional and the player could skip past them if they liked (handy for impatient folk, and for people who already finished the game once). It would also make for a neat "alternate context" so players slogging through a long dungeon might be able to spend a few minutes in the tutorial seeing a nice sunset in a lush green yard. Good to break up a bit of the tone and not bog the player down too much. This would require rendering an entire worldspace for the obstacle course, his mother, and a younger/smaller Tiloh, so I don't expect Seith to even consider doing this unless he was actually working to implement the idea I posted about Tiloh's mom in a cooking mini-game. hehehe
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david
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@EvilKing... yeah, a series of water-based puzzles, based on interlocking objects, would certainly be interesting, to open a special door to a temple or a special facility. For sure, there is a way to engineer things without needing a full physics solution.

Yeah, you are right about the prompts... the level of difficulty of a puzzle depends so much on it's context 8-) apologies, I confused myself with the seed/bird puzzle... yes, the weight of a bird settling on the trunk to eat the seeds would do the job for sure.

I personally have a bit of an aversion to cutscenes and quicktime events, because I like to fully control my character all the time: it keeps me immersed in the game, and supports the illusion that I 'am' my character. But I also think that, by replacing cutscenes with scripted events and location/object/npc-based storytelling, the story needs to be simpler so the player can keep up. For me personally, I'm ok with a simple story, but I know that other people (like you EvilKing) place more emphasis on story depth.

The concept of Tilo's mum teaching him skills in flashback sequences as a little baby mouse -i.e. player tutorial- is neat and cute :D
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evilkinggumby
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david wrote:The concept of Tilo's mum teaching him skills in flashback sequences as a little baby mouse -i.e. player tutorial- is neat and cute :D
Keep in mind it would be playable, so she would explain to him and then you'd have a chance to try it out and solve the puzzle. So not so much scripted cut scene as one more piece of gameplay. :) And you could implement a timer to allow players a 'time trial' type thing where they can try an do the puzzle a few times and beat their score (not necessary, but some folk enjoy that).

The water puzzles could also be done as ways to get from point a to be. Like we saw that picture of Tiloh carrying a wooden barrel/bucket thing previously. I could see having the player place it on a see saw type thing and then doping a water-channeling puzzle to get the one side weighted down enough for the player to proceed (or to help a NPC proceed). Or route water to a fallen/sick/helpless npc that is in desperate need of a drink. :) Or watering vegitation for a farmer on the island. Or channeling magic water to a vine to grow it high enough to climb to get over a wall.. or or or..

i gotta stop.. lol before i anger the GoaT gods.. hehehe
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david
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evilkinggumby wrote:
david wrote:The concept of Tilo's mum teaching him skills in flashback sequences as a little baby mouse -i.e. player tutorial- is neat and cute :D
Keep in mind it would be playable, so she would explain to him and then you'd have a chance to try it out and solve the puzzle. So not so much scripted cut scene as one more piece of gameplay :)
Yes, that's pretty much how I see it working too, though I do imagine her standing there and shouting directions to Tilo as he does it :D (so we don't need to surrender control to watch her, if possible).

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Yeah, the 'direct the water' puzzles would also work as standard puzzles for sure.
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evilkinggumby
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Puzzle of the echo mountains.

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This is one I think Jeremiah might appreciate, because developing it would be more of a challenge for him than seith. All it would require is some scripting/programming for the quest requirements themselves.

As Tilo journey's across the aisle of Periclave, the path leads to what looks like a perfectly still lake. On the distant other side, you see the other side of the road you stand on (or the remnants of it) . Upon stepping into the lake, it is evident there are some shallow spots, but there are also very deep sections and something seems to lurk in the deeper waters. Swimming or falling in would be too dangerous.

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Looking around, you see several gullies that cut through the surrounding mountains. Letting out a squeak, it is evident that the sound reverberates into a distinct echo loop for a good 30-60 seconds. Also, the surface of the water ripples with the sound over shallow areas, but is still in the deeper sections.

The puzzle is discovering what 3 songs or melodies echo through the mountains strong enough and long enough to keep the water ripples visible (all the way to the deeper part of the river) so you can then cross safely. As the player works through the game(either before or after discovering this area) they have acquired a few different songs and harmonies that can be played on the lute. If the 3 piece melody ends too soon, the player can stay on the shallow spot they're standing on and replay the 3 tunes to get the echo effect going again for a while.

Jeremiah would have to likely try and compose 3 separate distinct tunes that when looped together, made for a really nice melody. The player would get the benefit of solving the puzzle AND unlocking an 'easter egg' bonus song.

As an alternative method, the player coulc collect pebbles or small acorns on their journey (possibly also used as sling bullets) and toss them in the water, slowly crossing the river by watching the waters reaction. Small splash is shallow, more voluminous SPLOOSH is deep water. It would get the player across, though with less of a feeling of reward.

What this would require in terms of game assets:

First and foremost, creating the lake and surrounding area. Since this is a still lake/pond the water would not need to be heavily animated like seawater would. As well the ripples and movement could be simple textures and animated sprites that ddance across the lake and fade. Even in modern games, effects like this are done to shortcut the work it takes to create water. And if there is already any water effects built into the game (light distortion, splash particles, swimming/drowning animations) then this would reuse many of those.

Jeremiah would need to create the 3 distinct melodies, and then create a version pairing up the three properly. If the sound engine has the ability, layering or triggering the "echo" effect should be a simple script or audio subroutine (i may be VERY wrong though, especially if Unity is not as keen on audio stuff).

You wouldn't even need to necessarily show all of what lurks in the deep water, just show movement and maybe render a large creepy eye or tentacle or mouth.. hehehe. In Elder Scrolls Online, if you try to swim out tooo far into deep water the "slaughterfish" attach you and quickly drain your health. The visual effect is just seeing shadowy fish like things moving under the surface and splashing all around your character as they take damage and scream in pain. Really, it works great and doesn't use much in terms of rendering (splashing, animated shadows of fish).

I could see players messing around here (even after figuring out the puzzle) just seeing how different lute melodies work off one another. :) mixing and editing and having fun with it.
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soulcypher
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Here is very nice article how to approach puzzles
http://frictionalgames.blogspot.hr/2013 ... d-for.html
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