How we make games
By Rabbit Tell
February 10, 2013 - 12:54 am
Games, Rabbit Tell, Reading list
Before starting any games, we needed to set up a few ground rules. Feel free to yell at us when they’re not followed. Here are our Four Commandments for Adventure Games:
The story comes first
Most important than anything else: all games need to have a story to be followed. With acts, characters and twists. It makes no sense to just make puzzles with no thread joining them.
All puzzles must be logical, yet unexpected
All puzzles need to make sense. But they can’t be obvious. This is a really thin line, and we may cross it from time to time (see the mutant pear in The White Rabbit). That’s one of the main reasons we have testers.
No Dying policy
You can’t die. This is more or less of a given in adventure games. Lucas Arts described the reasoning for this better than we could: the whole point of adventure games is exploring the environment and trying everything, so we can’t punish the player in any way for trying different things. Do all you feel like in our games, they’re risk-free.
No Dead-Ends policy
Oh, we had our share of compaints about this. So let us assure you: we extensively test all games to make sure there’s no way you can paint yourself in a corner/reach a dead-end/lose an item that’s needed to finish the game. To this date we only let one of these cases slip through, and the game was updated right away.
When we can, we create multiple ways for a puzzle to be solved. And it may seem like you lost an important item, especially if you’re following a walkthrough without trying other things. One real example is a puzzle where you had to ruin all the popcorn in a machine so you could sell a popcorn bag to a certain character. The first walkthrough that came about said that you needed to put the frog in the popcorn machine, which is right. But then there were loads of comments saying “I don’t have the frog anymore, do I need to start all over again?”. The reality is there were five or six different items you could use with the same intent, so the frog wasn’t really necessary. It was just the way the person who wrote the waltrhough solved it. So, if you think you’ve reached a dead-end, try other things. We wouldn’t be that mean to you.
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