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I am making a puzzle game. The puzzle in question needs to be solved in advance, with the final solution being given as a series of commands which will instruct an object to navigate a maze.

This means I need to be able to provide all the clues necessary in advance, as pure trial-and-error will be tedious for the player.

When it comes to rotation and distance, this is no problem. Rotation is visually obvious, and I can use regularly sized and evenly spaced blocks/objects for the player to count to work out distance.

However - my problem is finding a similar visual representation for time. At one point, the player will ride a lift/platform to 'a place', where the destination will be X seconds away. The player needs to wait this X seconds before continuing forward.

How can I communicate that time delay in an interesting/thought provoking way? I don't want signs next to each lift that simply state the time it will take.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I suggest closing this, as purely opinion based. One can do this milliions of ways. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bálint
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 22:39
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Bálint Please suggest some of these millions of ways? And can a subjective question still not be worthy of consideration? \$\endgroup\$
    – Alfie
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 22:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's a distinct line between game developement and game design. \$\endgroup\$
    – Bálint
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 22:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is interesting question that can be answered in more of a general way. Along the lines of "How to represent time intervals in game" \$\endgroup\$
    – Kromster
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 5:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Bálint you might be correct that this question will likely be flagged as "primarily opinion based" due to allowing too many good open answers. However, it's worthy to point out that being related to game design does not make, per se, a question to be out of the scope of this site. Quite on the contrary, actually. There is even a "game-design" tag here, with more than 1K questions asked under it. Some of them pretty interesting and informative. Similarly, just by having some degree of subjectivity doesn't make a question necessarily invalid as being purely or primarily opinion based \$\endgroup\$
    – MAnd
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 6:26

2 Answers 2

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If I understand correctly, the player needs to 'program' a course through a level. The program will be executed once the player has plotted the entire course (basically the solution to the level).

My solution would be to make a 'wait' command that is context sensitive. Having the player guess the time seems not what you want, since they would end up finding the solution by process of elimination. So you instead you could provide the solution right there: either tell the player exactly how long it will take, or simply take that out of the equation.

So either context sensitive action near/on a platform like "wait for arrival," or have the player 'connect' the wait command to a triggering event:

  • Connect to a platform and mark a spot.
  • Connect to a guard and wait for the guard to be in a certain spot.
  • Connect to a button that calls the elevator.
  • And so on...
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  • \$\begingroup\$ This. It would be very annoying to get the whole solution right, only to misinterpret the waiting command by half a second, squashing the player or making him plummet to his death. It also makes more sense in a scenario where multiple floors are involved. You don't get out when you've spent x time in an elevator, but when it reaches your floor. \$\endgroup\$
    – Peethor
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 9:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Felsir Thank you, certainly food for thought there. I am indeed currently using a wait command, but it it simply accepts time as the parameter. I think making this contextual as you suggested could be a nice solution to this problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – Alfie
    Commented Jan 31, 2016 at 12:34
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Just pop out flash-and-fade countdown numbers to the screen. So you keep player's attention for a little more time while he is waiting.

These numbers are not necessarily should be huge and centered, you can simply show numbers at right-top, or whatever you want actually.

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