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Varying Levels Of Difficulty

posted by Icedhope on - last edited - Viewed by 459 users

So I've been noticing lately a lot of old school fans of TTG have been doing the bellow of the difficulty of the games are too easy. So here we should have a discussion about the difficulty of games what you would want to see. What is to easy what is to hard? But I will throw out some rules here because I can do this because of the sake of discussion.

1. Discuss do not moan.
2. Be insightful. What do you think is to easy and what do you think is to hard?
3. What do you think is the perfect difficuly?

No this isn't an official discussion for TTG, unless they Hijack it or something. I'm honestly curious what is difficulty because well..I think Professor Layton games to hard, and that Sam&Max and Zelda games are just right. So..with out further ado. DISCUSSION!

39 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • I think Sam & Max were just the right difficulty to be mass-marketable. Veteran gamers still had to think and new-comers could still get through them eventually. As for a clear definition, I would consider process-of-elimination puzzles to be too easy. If you have a clear list of choices, or so few items and objects to choose from, that you can actually just guess, it's too easy. Even season 3 of Sam & Max fell into this category.

  • Tales of Monkey Island is the perfect example of how difficult the games should be.

  • I'd say my perfect level of difficulty was Grim Fandango. You never really were at a loss as to what you had to do to move onward and Manny seemed a much more straightforward thinker than Guybrush in the sense that you would often use items in the manner that they're normally intended to be used (ie. fire extinguisher used to put out flaming beavers. Normal!)

    But really, I think the difficulty is slightly based on how many interactable objects there are (not necessarily inventory size) and how creative the uses for the objects are. Barring creative uses, how difficult inventory items are to obtain. I still think back to the Curse puzzle for getting the gold tooth for Cutthroat Bill. It was a very involved puzzle that required visiting multiple areas before even being able to access the location where the puzzle was...and then once there, you had to have been nearly everywhere on the map to get the components necessary for solving the puzzle.

    This is something that I think would really ramp up puzzle difficulty, needing to explore and talk to people in different rooms before having both the information necessary and the equipment to solve the puzzle. It's something that Sam and Max 204 did very well since you had to time travel to pick up items from different timelines and alter the future to access certain pieces of information, not to mention needing to scan various items and people to gain entry to new timelines. I really think this type of puzzling could be incorporated very nicely into more of Telltale's games.

  • There are two rules which I use myself in game design.

    Rule 1: "Linearity is sometimes a problem, which is why I think there should not only be several puzzles to solve at the same time, but also different solutions to puzzles, and these solutions should not just give alternatives, they should change things later in the course of the game."

    Rule 2: Always know your objective first.

    And if you can't do that, and make it difficult, then don't make the game.

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    Dlenart Telltale Staff

    It's obvious that different audiences prefer different levels of difficulty, but what would be interesting to do here is explore ideas of how to allow for both parties to be satisfied. One thing to keep in mind while offering suggestions is the realities of production resources and the fact that we're not able to produce 3 times the content in the same amount of time. That said, if you have any thoughts/examples for varying degrees of difficulty in Telltale games feel free to post em' here for discussion.

  • I'll copy in my dissertation from the other thread:

    @LuigiHann said: I'd like to take this opportunity to present a suggestion that's been brewing in my mind since I played Double Fine's Stacking.

    In that game, there are multiple ways to solve each puzzle.You're allowed to progress once you've solved a puzzle one way, but there's always some contrivance to allow the puzzle to remain available, so that you can solve the puzzle again and again until you've found each of the possible solutions. The game presents this all rather transparently, with a UI overlay in the area of the puzzle showing you how many of how many solutions you've found. Most puzzles have around 3 solutions, one of which is fairly straightforward, and some of which are pretty devious or complex. This lets players who just want to explore the story to cruise through with the easiest solutions, and for people looking for a challenge to explore and tax their mind.

    Now, giving every puzzle 3 solutions may seem like 3 times the work, but from the perspective of somebody trying to find all solutions to one puzzle before moving on to the next one, it strongly resembles the "Bring me three things" gates that are very common in Telltale's games. So in a lot of cases, you guys are already doing that much work, so if you wanted to add an Easy option, you could make it so a player on Easy mode would only have to bring one of the things to the gate. So, say in Situation: Comedy on Easy mode, you'd only have to bring Myra a contract OR a scandal OR a clip, and then she'd let you in. The nice thing about that is that it lets people explore and find the first solution that seems easy to them, rather than eliminating options and restricting them to what the developer thought would be easier. The downside, I suppose, is that the player on Easy would encounter a lot more potential red herrings, but as long as they keep thinking "what can I use to open this door" rather than "what do I need this wrench for" I think it would be okay.

    It's just a thought. It just seemed to me like if Stacking had a Hard mode that forced players to find every solution to each puzzle, it'd feel a lot like an old-school Telltale game, and in my mind a Telltale game Easy mode that's structured more like Stacking seems like it would work pretty well too.

    Short version: put all the puzzles into the game, and let people playing on Easy mode get through the story while solving fewer of them by making the find-3 gates into find-1 gates. Would require some restructuring but would have a lot in common with early Sam and Max episodes. People on Easy would miss out on some of the content but they'd still get the beginning, middle and end of each story.

  • You could also follow in the footsteps of the "Mega" LucasArts games, where the normal versions had some steps cut out of the puzzle (Like instead of having to jump through hoops to get a required item to solve a puzzle, it's just right there). So, I guess an example could be that if you, say, needed a wrench, in the easy version, you could just pick up the wrench, but in the harder version, someone in the room wouldn't allow you to just pick up the wrench. Maybe you'd have to distract them first, using an item or items picked up at other locations in the game, items that would just get a witty one-liner in the easy version.

  • I'm just of the belief that, if possible, the one-click interface needs to be done away with. Old school adventure games were great in that they had a great number of different interactions available. And this interface system was refined and (in my opinion) perfected in 'Curse of Monkey Island' where there were three possible types of interactions at the player's disposal, and each of them HAD to be used to progress through the game. The player was made to examine the environment and gain knowledge of their surroundings, were made to blow on, spit on, or talk at/to their surroundings, and were also made to use items (in some manner).

    When all of these actions are condensed into a single click, the player is often no longer required to think very hard at all, and progress can sometimes occur accidentally. Instead of having multiple options and having to think "Which one do I have to use here?", the game decides for you, and deprives you of your freedom to think and choose for yourself. And, in addition to this, the one-click interface sort of removes a bit of the richness of the games, because the player freedoms are being taken away somewhat; the options are fewer, and the player doesn't have the same level of true interactive choice in the world they're supposed to be immersed in.

    Now, I don't know if a more complex interface would be possible for Telltale; I understand that it would probably be more difficult and time-consuming to implement. But I just feel that it would be beneficial to the games' quality. It would allow for more difficult gameplay and also enhance the richness of the games at the same time.

    Edit:
    @Dlenart said: [...]what would be interesting to do here is explore ideas of how to allow for both parties to be satisfied.
    And on this topic, I agree with Alcoremortis's suggestion.

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