I admit that game designers need to be creative and make the game challenging but they all too often go way beyond that. What they think is "cute" and/or "tricky" is really just being totally absurd. A short example will better explain what I mean.
I played one game where shortly into it I became hopelessly stuck. After several days of trying everything I could think of, I contacted the Author of game (he had included his email). I explained where I was and asked for just a little nudge to get me going. These are the steps I had to do:
Seriously? Would any of you have ever thought of doing those steps in that exact order? I doubt it. I bet many of you have had similar situations or even did it yourself in a game you made.
PLEASE use some common sense and remember that not everyone thinks like you.
Rant is over - thank you!
I hope you have found this thread as I moved it to a more proper forum.
I feel your pain there, but I have to ask...
Were there solid clues that might have led you to complete each of those steps in that order? I guess what I am getting at is that the puzzle you've mentioned sounds like a good one IF there were reasonable clues that would lead you to complete those steps. If there were not, then, I totally agree with you.
My biggest struggle writing games is what you bring up here. I have no interest in CYOAs as I find them rather dull. I get much more out of reading a good book. TAs, to me, are much better because of the challenge in their puzzles. I try and walk that fine line between making an appropriately challenging puzzle and too difficult/absurd. I like to "hide" (in plain site) clues to puzzles within a bit of text (which you have to be careful not to make too long) or create puzzles that definitely require a bit of logic without being overtly obvious. It's a tough line to walk sometimes because you are definitely correct - not everyone think's like the author!
Also, the second greatest challenge in writing a TA is trying to cover all of the possible ways EVERY player may try to solve a puzzle that makes sense. For this challenge, an easy solution is hyperlinks, but I feel like those are too great a hint for many of the puzzles so I tend to remove hyperlinks from my game. The alternative to hyperlinks is often a long and lengthy and frustrating bit of code for something that should seem simple. Maybe I don't code quite well enough yet, but that, to me is the toughest things about writing games because I know it is SUPER frustrating to know what you have to do to succeed as a player but you're not sure how the author coded the task into their game.
Check your email. I've pm'ed you.
I agree here...
Was the puzzle from a movie that everyone might know about one way or another?
Maybe a picture somewhere in the game?
If you are going to put a puzzle feature in your game, then you MUST include sufficient clues to solve the puzzle. To not do so is incredibly lazy and really bad game design that alienates players.
as I read someone's excellent point, to add to jennifer's post:
if you put all this time, effort, money, etc into making a game, why would you want a puzzle blocking out people from enjoying the game (entire/full game) that you spent so much time, effort, money, and etc on, to make? why would you sabatoge your own game with puzzles that prevent people from experience and enjoying the full game that you've worked so hard on making?
(I personally feel that one should create: a 'hint and then solution' system, and/or 'cheat' codes/Commands system, into such games where you got to solve a puzzle to progress within the game)