I'm working on a side scrolling game that has a number of timed puzzle elements. As a simple example: I have a number of moving platforms that have been setup to transition in a pattern. Ideally I'd like to ensure that as the player first approaches them, they are in an ideal state -- whereby the player can witness the full transition and more experienced players (i.e: speedrunners) can complete the puzzle immediately without having to wait for the current transition to complete.
The issue here, in a nutshell, is that because these platforms begin transitioning at the start of the level, it's impossible to correctly calculate when the player is likely to stumble upon them.
I've done a fair bit of Googling but haven't managed to turn up any decent resources with regards to solving a problem like this. The obvious solution is to only begin updating the objects when the player (or more likely: the camera) first encounters them. But this becomes difficult when you consider more complicated situations.
It seems like potentially the easiest way of handling this is to have an invisible trigger volume that will tell any puzzle elements located inside of it that the player has 'arrived' upon first colliding with the player. But this would mean I'd have to logically group puzzle elements, which could become fairly messy in a hurry. Take, for instance, a puzzle that appears to the right of the screen. It may take the player a number of seconds to reach it. It would look strange if the elements involved were to remain stationary. But by the time the player arrives, it's likely things will be 'out of sync'.
I wanted to post here in the hopes that others know of, or have implemented, a decent solution to this problem?