Hi, Matheus here.
I want to talk about a interesting video that I watched other day that gave me very insightful info about how to design the puzzles for the game. And here’s a little more about the video and what i learned from it:
The video talked about two different parts of our brains: the fast part and the slow part. The fast part is responsible for aswering easy questions quickly; while the slow part is responsible for focusing and thinking about the answer.
This is very important for this game, because I want the commands to be on the fast part, so that the player don’t have to think about typing commands or remembering which command do what; And at the same time I want the player to be focused on the puzzle that they are solving.
Another interesting fact is that the slow part can only work with 4 chunks of information at a any given time. So every puzzle has to have at most 4 elements to it (4 files, 4 person of interest, 4 necessary commands, etc).
I’ll be designing the puzzles and missions of the game keeping all that in mind. I’ll also try to design the game in such a way that the player is being trained without realizing it, so that commands will eventually be on their “muscle memory” but the puzzle they are solving will be on the slow and thinkful part of their brain.
How am I gonna do that?
I’ll build a box with some limitations: every puzzle has to have at most 4 elements to it. So every puzzle will have no more than 4 images, folders, people, passwords, files, etc. I can have more than 4 elements for the whole puzzle, but at most 4 at any given moment.
Another thing I’ll do is make the player repeat the same command lots of times, but not pointlessly. I’ll have to find a way to repeat command in such a way that everytime the player runs them, they are doing so for a reason. So the player always gets a stimulus after running a command and getting so, they are actually being rewarded for that. Simple action-reaction system to imprint in the player’s mind what a command do and how to run them.
I’ll also make everything that it’s crucial to the puzzle really hard to understand. You may think that this is a bad idea, why would i want to make things harder to understand? Well, research shows that when a question is harder to read (because it was hand-written for example), the reader has to pay more attention to it, thus reducing the risk of the fast part of their brain answering the question.
When something is really clear and seems obvious at first sight, the fast part of your brain thinks it knows the answer and gives you what it thinks is right. The problem is that this is almost never accurate. Since this is a game where the player is doing things that they don’t do on their day-to-day life, these automatic answers will be wrong most of the time. I need to make the player think about the problem before answering. And making the problem harder to understand actually makes it easier to solve with less mistakes. And we want to avoid mistakes as much as possible, since they only frustrates the player and makes them feel stupid, which is exactly the opposite of what I am trying to accomplish.
So, just to organize my thoughts:
- Make puzzles that have no more than 4 elements at a time. The slow part of the brain can only work with 4 chunks of information at any given moment.
- Make important part of puzzles hard to understand so players will have to use the slow part of the brain to solve it.
- Make so that the players will have to run the same command multiple times – but always with a clear purpose and result – so that they keep this commands on the muscle memory.
- Make commands be processed on the fast part of the brain- so that players don’t have to think about how to execute a program, but rather think about what program to execute.
These are the four points that I’ll build my puzzles upon. I don’t actually know how I’ll apply them, but I’ll find a way to do so.
Hope you enjoy this little entry, have a great day!