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    Aren’t games which are dependent on thought-provoking puzzles dead because puzzles are dead?

    The effort of will to avoid googling for an answer is more than most of us would sustain through a whole game.

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      When I get stuck for awhile, I usually try to find hints and avoid answers

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        Many years ago, I actively spoiled “Grim Fandango” for myself by searching for solutions. But damn it I wanted to know what was going to happen!

        I basically did the same thing for “Fallout 3” too.

        I think I’ve learned my lesson when it comes to games…

        I’ve done a fair bit of Project Euler and Advent of Code competitions. These have the same problem (at least for the earlier problems in PE) in that you can find solutions easily. At some point you have to personally weigh the enjoyment of solving a puzzle yourself against the “grinding” of getting another point on the progress board.

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        Why small size texts suck

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          I will say this much about the modern era: At least it is text, as opposed to pictures of text in JPEG form, because the web designer had to have that specific font and loading fonts across the Web was crazy-talk in 1998 and anyone who had heard of PNG wasn’t the kind of person to do that nonsense anyway.

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            That font is the worst, too.

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                For bitmap fonts I used to be partial to the X Windows 9x15…

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            OH GOD THAT FONT. Had to open up dev tools, change the main font to sans-serif at 20px and change the main div to 700px wide.

            Still the advice here is all very good! I think it has pretty much all been incorporated into the mainstream corpus of game design wisdom.

            Unstated here is a simple meta-rule: you break any or all of the sensible rules if it would be fun to do so. Like “I Wanna Be The Guy” offering you a sword and then, if you walk up to it to pick it up, telling you that you died because you walked into a sword, you silly person. :)

            The first thing I’d do is get rid of save games

            A lot of games have more or less completely done this! to very good effect! :) The vast majority of contemporary games do not make a big deal out of save games except for those which have lots of path-dependent story that they want to tell you, where the path-dependence itself is part of the storytelling. (e.g. stuff like Hatoful Boyfriend).

            A not-strictly-related but kind of analogous thing I find in modern first-person shooters is that I often prefer games to get rid of the flashlight (or any other player-controlled light source), for a couple of reasons:

            • if I get a flashlight, the damn game designer will inevitably feel the need to put in a whole dark section where I have to use it to see anything… and fill it with enemies that can see in the dark because their AI doesn’t know that it needs photons to see things, only that it needs line of sight. Cue endless frustration.
            • if I don’t have a flashlight, the level designers have to actually light all the scenery themselves and, no surprise, artists are really good at making things look beautiful and atmospheric. Look at the lighting in the first Bioshock, for example — no flashlight, every scene is lit gorgeously.
            • if I do have a flashlight, I’m going to accidentally fuck up the art by shining it on things that were hacked up by some artist to look really good in context but only when lit from one specific direction (by the lights that were designed into the scene). Perhaps in theory you could fix this by making all your art go along with PBR and never ever resort to any kind of physically implausible hack to get a specific look in a specific context, but nobody is going to have an art or QA budget for that.

            On the other hand, we have lots of games like Aliens vs Predator in which managing photons is a really essential component of the fun (and scary) bit. Or games like Subnautica, Terraria, Minecraft in which player-directed lighting is a really big part of the game’s aesthetic.

            So I think maybe there’s a general principle at work here:

            • if you have a thing in your game (e.g. flashlights, managing past state)
            • but it’s not a hugely important part of the fun/aesthetic/joke/etc
            • then streamlining it out is likely to yield a more entertaining game
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              The interactive fiction community has thrashed this topic to death over the years & has pretty much worked out what works and what doesn’t: I’d recommend exploring the best of the last twenty+ years of the community’s output if you want to experience some fantastic adventure games that don’t suck.