Whats the point? When going into a puzzle, that should be the overriding question. WHY is the puzzle there? Is it just to prevent the player from moving forward? Or will the result of the puzzle have an effect on the game world? Personally, I prefer it when it feels like the players actions have consequences BEYOND what just happened. I break down my puzzles into 4 categories. THE OBSTACLE. THE ACTION. THE RESULT. THE CONSEQUENCE. THE OBSTACLE. First you need to define the obstacle. This can be anything, from a vast chasm of empty space, to a locked door. An obstacle doesn't have to be a physical thing either-it could be a conversation, a riddle

I have a theory about why there are so many Star Wars fan fictions and fan films. Its much easier to write something when you are constrained by a series of rules. I can bet that if I asked, anyone reading this could quickly come up with an outline for a story set in the Star Wars universe. But if I had to ask those same people to come up with an original story, they would find it much more difficult. If you are trying to come up with a story, the easiest way I have found is to start big, and refine downwards. Lets use an example. (Im just making this example up as I go alone, so you can see how the idea is being refined. This entire process only took about 10 minutes) Its important to ask questions. Ill usually find that asking a question is a much easier way of coming up with an idea than just trying to 'be creative'. THE PLANET. We will start off with the entire world. Whats a defining characteristic of the planet where our story takes place? Its a gas giant. There is no solid land. HOW DOES THE PLANET EFFECT THE WAY OF LIFE? If this were the case, what would

When I first played DOOM 3, the thing that really stuck out to me was how each computer you interacted with had a somewhat unique feel to it. Its amazing how that small detail fleshed out the world so much for me. I actually got excited when looking at a new computer system, because it had this sense of 'reality' about it. It was also something that really took me out of FALLOUT 3. I understand WHY they needed a generic interface for the computers in the game, but I cant help but think if they did 5 or 6 different ones, and mixed them up, it would have added another dimension of reality over everything. When approaching the design of the computer screens, I originally was going to use a modified version of the dialog engine for all of the computer screens. Now while this is perfect for things like reading logs, and very basic systems, it really did come off as a bit generic for the more complex computer systems. I think that when you are doing something quite 'puzzle specific', there should be a more custom computer system in place. This is where the fun part comes in-and its something

There are quite a few articles and discussions about puzzle design. When I go to a gamedev, or Adventure Game forum, usually the first thing I search for is Puzzle Design. There are hundreds of different techniques out there to develop effective AG puzzles. Here is one that I use quite frequently. Many puzzles in STASIS have been written using this technique. THE HOW? DESCRIBE THE ENVIRONMENT. Before I start to think about the puzzles, I like to think about the environment. What sounds are there? Smells? Are there flickering lights? Chains clinking from the ceiling? All of these small details really help in setting the scene. LIST THE ITEMS. From the description of the environment, I can generate lists of items that would be found there. Each of these items may have something branching off of them. The lights are flickering, so there is perhaps a light switch? The flickering means there is an electricity problem