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  • Designing For Short And Long Term Fun

    - James Kay

  • Short-term

    The short-term experience is the fun of completing a puzzle, seeing the solution, seeing the object become part of the world and seeing how well you did. Puzzle clearing itself is an addictive built-in element of logic-puzzles. Even so there is still some design that comes into play. How can I ramp up the challenge and size of the puzzles without hampering the fun of clearing puzzles too much. It's no fun to have 2 or 3 easy puzzles and then be stuck with an endless series of puzzles that each take too long to clear. Similarly you don't want too many small and easy puzzles in a row.

    So many puzzles dotted around the world

    In Piczle Cross Adventures it's a lot harder to design this progression because to an extent the player can choose which puzzles to play in whatever order they come across them. There will be some designed roadblocks that will steer the player in certain ways, or rather blocks them from progressing in certain areas too early, but generally it's fairly free flowing. As such I'm trying to mix it up a little. There will be a steady progression of puzzles in size and complexity but at every point on the map you can still find easier puzzles, as little palette cleansers. It won't be until the late game that players will be tackling mostly larger complex puzzles. Until that time it is important for the player to feel the pleasure of clearing a puzzle at decent intervals.


    As the player is experiencing all these immediate and short term game mechanics, and hopefully enjoying themselves, there are some intermediate goals to keep the player engaged.

    Most obvious will be the story progression. The player will find and open up new areas, which act as puzzle themes. Some new skills are learned (or rather objects are found), fairly early on, that help with your adventuring. Some simple world puzzles will lead to new map areas. New characters are found and can be conversed with, all while you find out more about the story's arc and eventually its final denouement.

    It is important that NPC interaction is fun or useful. There won't be extensive dialogue trees, just throwaway comments or plot exposition when you chat with NPCs. The throwaway dialogues should all help solidify the characters, their motivations and personalities, as well as throw in a few jokes here and there. Players of Piczle Colors may have noticed Score-chan's propensity for lame puns. Expect some groaners in Piczle Cross Adventure as well!

    The trophies/achievements screen

    Part of the intermediate experience also lies in earning trophies. As the player progresses they can earn trophies for reaching certain milestones. Most of these will be automatic (clear an X number of puzzles, e.g.) to ensure a steady drip-feed of achievements. Others will require some special thought, which will become a long-term goal.


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