Thursday, June 10, 2010

A puzzle game - Weeping Angels

The basic premise of this game is based around the BBC drama Doctor Who. One recurring race (well, recurred once) of aliens are the Weeping Angels. They move incredibly fast and then kill you. The catch is, they can only move when no one is looking. While someone looks at them, they appear to simply be stone statues. This makes for some properly scary drama and feature in my two favourite episodes of Doctor Who. However, it also suggested quite an interesting strategy game to me.

Or a puzzle game. Troy Goodfellow describes strategy games as elaborate puzzle games (or something to that effect). I think it is more a gradient and this got me in to an interesting discussion on twitter about the merits and demerits of single solution puzzles. That for me is the difference between a strategy game and a puzzle game. In a strategy game, you are given a set of rules and tools and then you have to work out how to defeat the opposition: a puzzle to solve, but one with an infinite (or seemingly infinite) number of solutions and where there is very rarely a right or wrong answer.

At the other end of the spectrum is something like Braid where only one solution exists and you must work out what this is. Games like this are much harder to get in to - you can't just mess around and hope to achieve the answer (at least once you get to the more challenging end of the game)

Obviously you get in to hazy semantic battles here: is Peggle a strategy game; it does have multiple solutions. I would argue yes because you don't work out the entire solution; instead you analyse the situation and work out a logical next step.

The basis of the game would be you would have a set number of people who you have to get from one side of a room to the other. They would each be capable of looking in one direction and while the angles were in their line of sight.

So the question is do I make this a strategy game or a puzzle game (by the above gradient). Do I create each room so you have to move and place your people in a specific place to get across the room, or do I make it more tactical. It would certainly be possible to mix it up, or even choose something in the middle such as elements of the room that have to be solved in one way, but a lot of it could be done in a more free way.