PDA

View Full Version : Puzzle Difficulty?



monsieurdavid
05-12-2005, 11:56 AM
Maybe this question belongs in the "Questions for Rand" box. If so, maybe it will get passed along, or noticed, or maybe it's already been asked. Just having read another heads-up about Myst V which essentially repeats Rand's comments about the puzzle difficulty being diminished, ostensibly in favor of exploration, I want to ask, "compared to what?". I finished Riven with no hints or help whatsoever, which is not boasting, but rather to say the sense of accomplishment was nice. I wasn't able to play URU (no Mac version), but from what I've heard, some of the puzzles were essentially "unsolvable", which is to say very (ridiculously?) tough. So, will the puzzles in End of Ages be: just less "impossible" than the ones in URU, methodical like the ones in Riven, giveaways like Exile, or obtuse like the ones in Revelation?

monsieurdavid
05-12-2005, 11:56 AM
Maybe this question belongs in the "Questions for Rand" box. If so, maybe it will get passed along, or noticed, or maybe it's already been asked. Just having read another heads-up about Myst V which essentially repeats Rand's comments about the puzzle difficulty being diminished, ostensibly in favor of exploration, I want to ask, "compared to what?". I finished Riven with no hints or help whatsoever, which is not boasting, but rather to say the sense of accomplishment was nice. I wasn't able to play URU (no Mac version), but from what I've heard, some of the puzzles were essentially "unsolvable", which is to say very (ridiculously?) tough. So, will the puzzles in End of Ages be: just less "impossible" than the ones in URU, methodical like the ones in Riven, giveaways like Exile, or obtuse like the ones in Revelation?

Mowog
05-12-2005, 01:14 PM
I strongly suspect that Rand's comments were in relation to the physical puzzles and timed events in Uru, as well as to the obscure tasks we had to do in Revelation. There was a lot of criticism of these puzzles even among fans, and many of us thought that the puzzles detracted from the experience and made it overly difficult and frustrating to advance the story.

I was glad to hear him say that there was a rethinking of puzzle designs. Myst has never been ALL about the puzzles, and when the puzzles come to dominate the experience, as they did in Revelation (in my case anyway), I saw it as a loss of direction. I finally quit Revelation before finishing it.

chevis85
05-19-2005, 03:36 AM
I would hope the puzzles are like i played in Myst 3 Exile. I'm sorry to here that you gave up on Myst 4 Revelations because I'm just now starting it. I haven't had to use the walk through yet but there is always a first time because my curiosity wouldn't let me not complete the game even if I had help at least the great scenery is enough to keep going.

Chevis

Mowog
05-19-2005, 06:15 AM
Chevis --

Yeah, I greatly preferred the puzzles in Riven and Exile to Myst IV. They were based much more on logic and intuition than on physical dexterity and seeing invisible passages through the jungle, for example. Grrr.

At the same time, I do respect Ubi for their desire to diversify the puzzles and find original new ways to intrigue us. It's just that some of the tasks went a little too far, in my opinion, and became too frustrating. For me, anyway. Once I figure out what I need to do, I'd like to just do it, versus banging away at a really tricky interface in an effort to effect a solution I figured out hours before. If we were actually experiencing these adventures in real life, we'd have the full use of our bodies; hands, feet, etc. And while that's not the case in the game, at least the interface should reflect that, and not force us to master intricate mouse clicks and motions to complete a task. This isn't Mario Brothers. And in real life, I'm free to walk from place to place at my own pace and observe all the details en route. Even if those details aren't relevant to what I'm doing, at least I have a much clearer idea how I got where I am. As mentioned before, being hustled from node to node was sometimes disorienting, and in the jungle of Haven, made it a challenge to know exactly where you were, and where to go next.

So anyway, it will be interesting to see what the folks at Cyan have concocted in Myst V. I am seriously looking forward to it!

chevis85
05-20-2005, 02:51 AM
Mowog said, <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">versus banging away at a really tricky interface in an effort to effect a solution I figured out hours before. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

yes, yes, i agree one-hundred percent...hum the word i looking for and hate is tedious.

i am new here but i can all ready tell that you are a true MYST fan. for me when i solve a puzzle, being red-green color blind doesn't help, i, like you, then find it very time consuming to usually repeat many steps over and over to complete a puzzle when the solution in my mind was figured a half hour to 45 minutes before.

but with all this said the wonderful music and beautiful images have a very calming effect and me being an "old fart" enjoy this to no end.

i play the game by myself because even though i know the correct way to go, i then have and do try the other routes just to see all dead ends and trickery they used when making the game. See, I'm not trying to be the first one done for bragging rights but i do have full enjoyment that i have figured out the puzzles for my entertainment.

I too will be looking forward to Myst V.

Chevis

Mowog
05-20-2005, 10:48 AM
Best of luck with Myst IV! It really can be done. In my case, I started out with a good deal of enthusiasm and was completely wrapped up in the game. It's visually stunning, the music is great, and I was all set for another intriguing adventure. Naturally I hit some tough spots. You expect that. But I was able to work through them, occasionally with a bump from the hints. But it finally got to the point where even the hints weren't helping, and I resorted to the walkthroughs. I solved a few more situations, but finally got to a couple where I was stuck even with the walkthroughs... like the Mangree and Camoudile puzzle. I couldn't duplicate the steps outlined in the walkthrough. Finally, the more I read through the walkthroughs, the less interested I was in actually completing the story.

And this bothers me, because I've been a serious fan of Cyan's games since 1987, when they released their first title, "The Manhole." I've immersed myself in every one of their games since, and have thoroughly enjoyed them all, even though they weren't perfect. I'm still pretty active in "Until Uru," the fan-supported limited version of Uru Live.

Hence my hopes that Myst V, being developed by Cyan and not Ubi, will return to the earlier pattern and challenge our intuition, and not our dexterity.

By the way, I'm 49, which might explain my preference for logical challenges vs. physical.

Arnium
06-01-2005, 04:45 AM
In defense of URU I would like to say that one must take into account that URU's puzzles were meant to be solved by teams of explorers. When you combine the many heads being better than one factor with the fact that much of the back and forth running is eliminated with multiple players the puzzles in URU become less tedious. On the down side, some of the sit and wait timed puzzles simply sucked.....

I had no problem with the riven puzzles either, excepting the marble puzzle. What "puzzled" me about that puzzle was that I knew what was expected of me but I just could never determine exactly where in the grid to put the darn things!

Mowog
06-01-2005, 11:27 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">In defense of URU I would like to say that one must take into account that URU's puzzles were meant to be solved by teams of explorers. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Oh, most definitely! I've posted that very opinion before, and it was recently verified by Alahmnat. One of the reasons I'm looking forward to Myst V is that it's been designed as a single-player episode from the beginning.

Well, perhaps I'm speaking too soon. Now that I think of it, the worlds we'll see in Myst V were for the most part created for Uru Live (I think). Oh well, wait and see!

Alahmnat
06-01-2005, 01:20 PM
The difference is that the Ages in EoA are the ones that were farthest from completion in the Uru pipeline. According to RAWA, Path of the Shell used up all of the ready-to-go content that was to be released in the first couple of months of Uru Live. The rest of the content they've been working on was much farther away from being finished, (in "phase 3" or earlier, to use the DRC terms) so the puzzle designs will be a lot easier to alter than the stuff in PotS was. It's kind of odd though, because most of the stuff from EoA appears to be some of the stuff that was developed first for Uru... the Great Shaft and Noloben's Beach area are two of the first screenshots we ever saw. Presumably, they were areas that had been built but whose functionality hadn't been implemented yet, or it all needed to be re-built when they upgraded the engine from Plasma 1 (realMYST) to Plasma 2 (Uru). Taking it to Plasma 2.1 (End of Ages) probably didn't require as much re-tooling, though, I hope http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif.

Arnium
06-02-2005, 04:55 AM
I have not been following the "All things Myst" news as closely as I once did (I was a Beta tester for URU and that whole debacle cooled my interest for a while) so forgive me if I am repeating the obvious.

So EoA is a finishing up and packaging of what coulda/shoulda been URU. Well that's good as I really wanted to see those "places".

mszv
06-02-2005, 03:21 PM
Yes, puzzle difficulty is rather subjective. For all that, I found the puzzles in Riven to be really hard. Then again, I find most of the puzzles in the Myst series games to be hard. I did rather like some of the puzzle in Myst Revelation though.

There seems to be some effort on the part of the development team to make the puzzles in Myst V a "littler easier", per the Gamespy article - there's a link to the gamespy article in another post. Personally, I think this is a smart decision. Look, it's the "end of an era", the final game in the Myst series. I want the game to appeal to a wide range of people, including the many, many people who bought the original Myst and never finished it.

Eat_My_Shortz
06-06-2005, 09:52 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Arnium:
So EoA is a finishing up and packaging of what coulda/shoulda been URU. Well that's good as I really wanted to see those "places". </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Not entirely. In terms of Ages, yes. In terms of story, this game is set after Myst IV, many many years before the DRC came along, so not really (although it seems to have Bahro).

About Myst IV - what's with the complaining about physical dexterity? I thought that was the complaint with Uru, not Revelation. What requires DEX in Reveelation?

JustBrett
06-07-2005, 04:09 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Eat_My_Shortz:
In terms of story, this game is set after Myst IV, many many years before the DRC came along </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
The time frame of EoA has not yet been confirmed. Personally, I think it is most likely set after Uru.

Mysthints
06-07-2005, 04:46 PM
Well, the wrinkles on Yeesha's face from the in-game videos make it pretty obvious that EoA is after Uru.

mszv
06-07-2005, 06:30 PM
Wasn't Yeesha something like 200 years old in Uru? So, even though she's part D'ni (and they live a long time) - she'd be pretty darn old!

Where's Alahmnat - he mods here too (and he answers all the hard questions!) - he knows this kind of stuff!

JustBrett
06-08-2005, 12:09 AM
Yeesha was born in 1816, which would make her 187 years old in 2003. Aside from her 1/8 D'ni blood, she's also half Rivenese (and 3/8 human). We don't know exactly how long the Rivenese live, but it seems to be longer than we do, since Katran was still fertile at the age of about 60 (assuming she was about 20 when she married Atrus).

However, it's also possible that Yeesha is actually much younger, given her ability to travel in time. She could have skipped ahead a number of years, looking for the "right" time to begin the restoration.

Edit: I should also point out that the average D'ni lifespan was 325 years. So, 187 years would only be middle age for a fullblooded D'ni. It could, however, be old age for Yeesha.

mszv
06-08-2005, 08:04 AM
Thank you JustBrett!

Serena-1206
06-11-2005, 02:22 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">There seems to be some effort on the part of the development team to make the puzzles in Myst V a "littler easier", per the Gamespy article - there's a link to the gamespy article in another post. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
Yeah, now they are also focusing on exploration as well as puzzles. I don't mind puzzles, but I also love to explore.That's one thing I didn't like about Myst IV; there was just one puzzle after another.It was pretty hard to explore if you had to solve a puzzle every couple of minutes. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

Coronagold
06-11-2005, 07:48 PM
Well, Riven let you explore a lot...then it left you puzzle after puzzle till it got insane.

cs000
06-18-2005, 10:46 AM
help puzzles puzzles i cant the wrapper off let alone play anything they wont let me have anything sharp in here

neo...1
06-18-2005, 12:47 PM
In order to solve a puzzle you have to explore...

Mowog
07-02-2005, 08:55 AM
EMS wrote: <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content"> About Myst IV - what's with the complaining about physical dexterity? I thought that was the complaint with Uru, not Revelation. What requires DEX in Reveelation? </div></BLOCKQUOTE> Well, you're partially right. Yes, the dexterity issues in Uru were considerable, what with kicking fish traps, jumping to pinnacles, etc. But Revelation had the Mangree/Camoudile puzzle that some found a real bugger to manipulate. Actually, I must confess that it wasn't the dexterity issues in Revelation that soured me on it, so much as the difficulty of navigating that lush environment and seeing all the places you had to go. Oops, that could have been put more clearly... What I mean is, I once consulted a walthrough in an attempt to complete Haven once and for all. I'd given the island what I thought was a thorough exploration, and was good and stuck. Lo and behold, I'd completely missed a branch of the trail. It took a walkthrough to steer me down the right path. In real life (or in realtime 3D, maybe), I'd have seen that. There was also the water puzzle in Serenia. According to the age maps, and to the valve settings, I should have had it solved. But I couldn't quite get that one either.

Only to say that adventure games like these, which are in effect simulations of real life, can be frustrating when they fall short in their simulation. I'll say it again, "Anything that's simple in real life should be simple in a simulation." Meaning that if I have to place a fish trap in a stream, then step across it, I should be able to just DO IT!

For example, I've played the guitar for about 38 years, and the instrument is pretty familiar to me. (Not that I'm that good at it, but you get the idea.) I can just pick it up and go. But suppose somebody makes me play while wearing mittens. Woops... I know what I want to do, and I can try to go through all the motions, but there will always be something in the way, and the experience will be highly frustrating. The barrier has taken something that I'm good at, and turned it into an exercise in futility. So the interface in these games should be enabling, not disabling.

I'll close this little diatribe by emphasizing that I fully understand how complex our mundane physical activities are in real life, and how difficult it is to simulate them while ensuring good game play. But it just seems that these interfaces should assume that we're dexterous in real life, versus making us prove it by mastering a muddy interface.

Cheers,

neo...1
07-02-2005, 04:03 PM
Hey MOWOG....

Been generally sticking to my forum but I do feel the need to express another point of view with the puzzle difficulty in REVELATION.

I share a totally different view on the experience of the difficulty in the mangree/ camoudile puzzle but will address your points more on the navigation as you mention.

Just as a side note...after completing RIVEN with no outside help...REVELATION was a piece of cake. Granted I was younger & less "cerebrally oriented" at the time of RIVEN but that taught me several things about the MYST series (as well as real life) & how to approach puzzle solving thereafter both in & out of the series. I VOWED actually from the first MYST to NEVER use a walkthrough or guide...but to take whatever time necessary to find the answers & solve the puzzles. Now a game like SCHIZM for example...you had to know an actual trigonometry formula for one puzzle...so I'd be more "permissive" if you will in that instance...but I think a hallmark of the MYST games is that they make their puzzles tough... but nothing you can't figure out from your "natural" surroundings...

To use your guitar playing analogy another way...you didn't learn how to play overnight or by looking at a "how to play guitar" guide & instantly you were able to play. That's how I approach the MYST series puzzles. I know I know...very "anal" or "compulsive" or "non-realistic" many would say...but that's basically how serious I take it! I WAIT FOR IT! What a loser huh! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_cool.gif

I'm not saying this to toot my own horn but rather to express the following...that I too struggled with the parts you mention in REVELATION...but that is part of the prize & joy for me...the challenge. The new piece of music to be played perhaps? I knew from the moment I was thrown into the "jungle" of HAVEN that it was going to be a maze that would immediately require my patience & scrutiny "from node-to-node" in a way I haven't experienced before. Sure I'm good at games...I'm good at puzzle solving but that doesn't mean I will instantly solve ALL puzzles without considerable effort....where would the fun be in that? By slowly transitioning and keeping my eyes out (of course after having the "training" of RIVEN) it STILL took me a few times to get my bearings (as it would also take me in real life) & saying to myself "just go back again"..."I'm missing something." I felt the EXACT same way you did about thinking I had thoroughly explored the area but...again since RIVEN...I knew it was ME and not the GAME...it would take ME challenging my own thoughts of certainty...and it sure did! Again this is why I loved RIVEN & why I also love REVELATION. My problem wasn't finding the path...it was actually "pullng" down the rolled up "poster" to get further clues. It may have been difficult to find the path in your case or in my own to realize the "rolled up poster" was interactive...but it wasnt impossible. I'll be ****ed if they'll make me cheat to find the answer....that's my attitude towards MYST. The path in REVELATION reminded me of that little path in RIVEN you take in the woodsy area not far from the "Whark" elevator... to find the rotating sphere with the sound of the animal you were to associate it with. That helped me in HAVEN to be sure...

While you may have found the path easier in real life...someone else may not have. Others may have found the path without a problem in REVELATION while others struggled. I feel this challenge or difference to be a both REALISTIC & POSITIVE attribute of the game. Getting disoriented especially in a "jungle" or at least from my own "real-life" experiences from exploring through forests...it is quite easy to miss a path that is just sitting there waiting for you...so again I found it to be wonderfully realistic & challenging.

SERENIA took A LOT of discipline...more for me than HAVEN...but again I feel the reward now! Through drawing a rough map in my head then on paper...then slowly going over it & over it as I adjusted water flows...I was able to decipher & crack it...IT WAS NOT EASY. I fall in love with a game after it makes me "suffer" through it & "prevail" against it! Sounds sadistic huh! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

I felt the simulation to be excellent...at its best since RIVEN (you've heard me say this before)...and very realistic from my point of view. Nothing "muddy" about it to me....but I will say that it took me a few more times than I would have liked to turn those "Mangree handles" but again I looked at it as a challenge & once I got it down like most things in MYST it was smooth sailing...not muddy. So I'm glad we can share a difference...but there are no absolutes!

Again my attitude when it comes to the MYST series puzzles has always been when you expressed:

"I should be able to do it!"

So when I start to struggle I know that...THAT'S the time the real discipline is called for and also how to gauge a game as fair, average or excellent. EXILE's puzzles for instance were great...but too easy from my standpoint. By forcing me to stay in the world to solve a puzzle...many times for longer than I would like... the more I absorb of the world and so it becomes my own...& if "rendered" well...(which I feel REVELATION is) even through the frustration ...I appreciate & grow to love it!

I'm a WACKO huh! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/53.gif