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TIGSource ForumsPlayerGamesJonathan Blow and The Witness
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Author Topic: Jonathan Blow and The Witness  (Read 11112 times)
FrankieSmileShow
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« Reply #280 on: April 05, 2016, 02:57:10 AM »

Puzzle games are rigid and limited in scope. So either you go with it on the graphics end with something very simple (as in Tetris) or you go with something more complex and have a mismatch between mechanics and aesthetics. In the latter case you need to get over the hump of learning the rules ASAP. For example, why can't the Sokoban guy pull the boxes? Nobody stops to worry because it's made abundantly clear from the start that this is how it's going to be.

It seems to me like you are judging the game's design from your point of view of how you would make a puzzle game instead of judging it on its own terms.

I think I understand your point of view but let me try to rephrase it first, I'm not sure if this is really where you are coming from:
You think a game like this one, where the presentation is complex, should have had its rules more clear, and that too many of the game's puzzles were difficult not because they were tricky on their own merits, but because their rules were vaguely defined. You need to "think like the game designer", in other words you need to think about the puzzle in some abstract manner instead of as how that puzzle works in the world, as part of the environment. Like, a puzzle should not be abstract and based on arbitrary rules if the game is a realistic-looking trek through a simulated world, it should be things that make sense within that world.

As I understand it, and correct me if I am wrong, you also feel that being unable to complete a puzzle because you do not have all of the information needed to figure it out yet is "unfair" on some level I suppose, or maybe lazy? Again, needing to learn "what the game designer had in mind", its clunky in the same way some old adventure games are, maybe in a similar way a puzzle that requires pixel hunting is, maybe? You should be able to complete any puzzle you are given without the context of the rest of the game, as an independently-made setpiece, with its rules being either self-evident or at least revealed nearby?

I think the game itself is making a very good case for it's approach to puzzle design being valid and worthwhile. I see the value of those guidelines, but I don't see why not following them is a fault, it just seems like the kind of rules that can be broken if done with purpose, something I think this game definitely does.

When I figured out something new and I could now backtrack to some enigmatic door I saw earlier, now armed with new knowledge that would allow me to get through, it felt very satisfying. I was eager to give it a new try. That door which was completely beyond me before was now something I could understand, but even with that understanding, opening it was still a challenge of applying that knowledge in a new way. Given the game's themes of scientific discovery in the audiologs and other things, it seems all pretty appropriate.

You could argue that you feel figuring out those rules is not fun, but then I suppose it comes down to a matter of very subjective opinion, not really something interesting to discuss at length here.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 03:47:44 AM by FrankieSmileShow » Logged

mpolney
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« Reply #281 on: April 05, 2016, 05:04:27 AM »

Most of your speculations about what I object to missed the mark. We could shortcut the whole discussion and point out that it has a boring setting with no life in it, which would be more than enough to sink the game right from the start. But there is a point to be made here about how puzzle games should be designed and designers of all the good puzzle games have subconsciously understood it since Sokoban.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2016, 08:25:21 AM by mpolney » Logged
i.i
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« Reply #282 on: April 05, 2016, 06:26:57 AM »

I really liked this game.  Hand Clap

Good job Jon Blo
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halken
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« Reply #283 on: April 05, 2016, 07:08:58 AM »

I feel that is a very fun approach to making an entirely puzzle-based game, much more fun than basing a game's sequence on keys and locked doors. It proposes a fun alternative to that, anyway.

To be fair, The Witness has the same sequences that would represent "keys" and "locked doors" in a "traditional" videogame. It's just that the locking mechanism and the key to which you it open it with is your mind.
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Mark Mayers
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« Reply #284 on: June 03, 2019, 11:00:50 PM »

Necroing this post for the purpose of discussion.

https://gamedaily.biz/article/910/casual-connect-indie-development-is-stagnant-says-braid-creator-jonathan-blow
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The Armorman
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« Reply #285 on: June 04, 2019, 12:15:49 AM »

Indie Games Boring Now That People That Don't Look, Think Like Me Making Them
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BELOW FOR GOGNIOS

ABOVE, FOR GOGNIOS
raigan
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« Reply #286 on: June 04, 2019, 04:33:00 AM »

I sympathize with the complaints about how frustrating it is to see so many people making (and playing/buying) games that are trying to provide a movie-style experience instead of something more interesting, but I don't understand why SSR is still his only go-to example of "good game design".

I mean, his Cinco Paus highscore is only 245 in 13 jogos?! Talk about clueless! Wink
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alvarop
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« Reply #287 on: June 04, 2019, 09:01:49 AM »

games are fucking shit in general nothing new
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i make games that can only ever be played once on http://throwaway.fun
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