Hot answers tagged

161

This is the type of game where the same move performed twice reverses the board to its previous state. So to ensure a board is solvable, generate it by playing in reverse. Start with a solved (blank) board, then start programmatically "clicking" randomly either a certain number of times, or until the board has the desired number of white squares. One ...


108

The reason you see so few high-quality educational games is because the most educational games do not look like they are educational. They don't even pretend to be. As a kid I learned English mostly from playing non-localized RPGs on my Sega Mega Drive. I discovered the scientific method for myself as a teen by analyzing online games and trying to figure ...


92

While the above answers are clever (and probably how I would do it anyway), this particular game is very well known. It's called Lights Out, and has been mathematically solved. There is a solution if and only if two sums of various elements (given on the wikipedia page) add to zero mod 2 (i.e. an even number). In general a little linear algebra should give ...


49

People reading about a game in the net is a problem for all games, not just level-based puzzle ones. For instance a simple search can give you detailed walkthrough/cheatsheet/solutions/guides to any game you can think of. Even games like Fifa or LoL that obviously has no definite solution in the first place. But that being said you can more or less control ...


37

Obvious answer, there's no way to prevent this. If they can see it with their eyes, they can see it with their phone. However, here's two strategies mitigating this: Don't show the entire maze at once. Scroll the maze, show it only in segments, etc. This will prevent a single picture from capturing the entire maze, however, it won't prevent video and does ...


35

I have a top selling Sudoku game on the iOS app store. Here's how I generated puzzles. First I do have a puzzle generator application. But it's not part of the game's code. It' is a stand alone app that I use to make puzzles. It's highly modified so I can set it to create different pattern types, difficulty ratings, number of givens, etc. Generating ...


28

Embrace cheating and modify your mechanics Cheaters gonna cheat - you can't avoid that, and lots of other answers here cover that in enough detail. But, you can certainly edit the mechanics of your game to make the obvious cheating routes like taking a screenshot simply pointless. You don't want your cheat routes to be so easy that a majority of players do ...


24

The issue comes from the fact that the general public hasn't accepted NORMAL GAMES as a learning tool, so in order to be an 'Educational' game you have to make the game with 'education' first, instead of 'fun'. This creates pressure to lean on the side of boring, prettied-up digital homework instead of simply making a game that happens to teach you stuff. ...


18

Most of these answers are on point when they say the game should first be a good game, but an educational game tends to be in a different format than a normal game. They tend to be made for shorter sessions of about 15 to 30 minutes, try to teach you more than you can learn with the same amount of time from a normal game, and have a broader and younger ...


13

Go the other way around when generating your puzzle. Instead of randomly selecting the tiles and turning them from white to black, start from a blank slate, then select the tiles but instead of turning that tile to black, make it as if the user selected it, resulting in flipping all of the other tiles around it. This way you'll be guaranteed to have at ...


12

Puzzle games, with some quests or riddles could be a great start. I think that kids may find educational games boring not because they lack blood or violence but because they lack a goal. For the game above: why should a kid play it? How does he/she gets rewarded? How his/her victory affects the game?


12

What it sounds like you're currently missing is a way for the player to influence the state of the level and its patrols. If all the player can do is identify a sequence of hiding places and wait for their opportunity to cross between them, then I think you're right, the level design space becomes somewhat limited (though you could embrace this dodging ...


11

The sequence 1,0,3,2,4,5,6,7,8 only has one inversion: 1. 3,2 1 is odd, therefore this configuration is unsolvable. Similarly, in 7,0,2,8,5,3,6,4,1: 1. 7,2 2. 7,5 3. 7,3 4. 7,6 5. 7,4 6. 7,1 7. 2,1 8. 8,5 9. 8,3 10. 8,6 11. 8,4 12. 8,1 13. 5,3 14. 5,4 15. 5,1 16. 3,1 17. 6,4 18. 6,1 19. 4,1 Nineteen inversions ...


11

Yes, it's lazy design. But you have to understand that, apart from laziness, time and budget constraints may play a factor in how in-depth a game's puzzle-solving is. Each solution needs to be developed, coded, and tested, and the more you add, the more you have to deal with. Witness how buggy today's games get and you'll have an idea. There's also the ...


11

If a player cheats, it's likely either because they're frustrated with a particular puzzle (and want to continue progressing) or they're disinterested in a particular puzzle and just want to get it over with. Either case may be indicative of a problem with the particular puzzle's design. It helps a lot if your mechanics allow for more than one solution to ...


10

Option 1: Occupy their hands This might be a bit left-field, but what if you forced the user to keep their hands on the keyboard the entire time? For example, you could give them a task like typing the letters that appear on the screen, or using WASD and IJKL to keep their character balanced. Anything that keeps their hands busy will make it more ...


9

At first glance, this seems to me to be a single agent search problem. That is: you have one agent (the AI "player"). There's a game state representing the state of the game board and queue, and you have a successor function that can generate new states from a given state. There's also a goal criteria that tells you when the state is the "solved" state. And ...


8

This is a good use-case for a Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture as often used in software engineering. Keep your model (board contents) and view (how does it look) as separate parts of your program. Motivating example Say you have a board that looks like this: You then delete the red pieces and want to animate the replacement pieces falling from ...


8

This is a known hard problem, determining what rectangles can be tiled with certain pieces. However, if you're building puzzles and can control the pieces, it's the opposite, constructive problem, and easier... Build a solution constructively. Take a few pieces you like, and fill the puzzle however you want. Then throw in enough single-squares to fill it ...


8

The number one thing I have found that limits educational game is a hard lined insistence that the adult programming the game define what will be learned in the game. Much of a game's appeal is from the player deciding what they want to get out of the game. The game maker can make suggestions, but in the end, it is the player that decides. If your game ...


7

I drew it. What everything means Coloured backgrounds are the layout of filled squares just after a block has been placed. Red circles are locations that could potentially be the top-left corner of a quad. Red lines are on squares around a potential corner that must be filled for the shape to be a quad. Red crosses are locations that were checked and found ...


7

The rule of three sounds like good advice, but often times some of the funnest or best things go against practical advice and yet are still somehow fun or good. For instance, many argue that you need to hand hold a player into a game with an intro sequence that orients the player to their abilities. Legend of Zelda for nes dropped you into a world without ...


7

Possibly not the answer you might seek. However that problem does seem like a non-issue. You are searching for a technical solution to a social problem - an endeavour which is often bound to fail. However what should matter more is that your customers, your players, are happy: If someone chooses to seek for a solution guide in the web, that's what s/he ...


7

Consider: "How do I make educational games engaging (and) not boring?" Everything that can be used to make a game engaging in general - and there is a lot to do - should apply to educational games too. The matter is that if you set to create an educational games you are placing upon you an extra set of constraints that may make it hard to desing engaging ...


7

Ed and Alexandre have the right of it. But if you do want to know if every solution is possible, there are ways. There are a finite number of possible puzzles Clicking on the same square twice produces the same result as not clicking on it at all, no matter how many clicks were made between them. That means that every solution can be described by giving ...


6

I'd suggest looking up and taking cues from game play in the following: The Lost Mind of Dr. Brain (personal favorite - plus it emphasizes IQ building from more of a Weschler scale approach, i.e. problem solving over straight memorization) Math Blaster / Reading Blaster (Davidson) Jump Start (Phonics, Reading, Typing) Number Munchers (pretty sure this is ...


5

Just start with finished puzzle, and then make let's say 10 random moves (1 for every second) of tiles to make sure the puzzle is both solvable and can be done in 10 moves. Make sure your moves don't negate previous, e.g. moving 3 tiles in "circle" or moving a tile back where it was before previous move. KISS Edit: A* is not designed to help you in solving ...


5

I added another answer for an alternative explanation of the problem. You can think of this problem as Motion Planning in the Configuration Space of the tetris piece. The Configuration Space Define the configuration of a Tetris piece to be an (x, y) location and a rotation (t). The configuration of a Tetris piece is therefore three dimensional. We can ...


5

One way is to "hide" an obvious message that then gets people looking for a more subtle one. Like a breadcrumb to lead them down the path. For instance, pick a line or block somewhere in the image, and use the high bits in that patch to encode a short ascii string like "LOOK CLOSER" or a phrase significant to your game (like a name or date). This will be ...


5

This is just me brainstorming, but what if: you split the map in stripes, and only show the first stripe a very short amount of time. Then you blank that stripe out and show the next one, blank the next one and so on. If you switch stripes fast enough, you will see the whole map when you look at it, but if you take a still picture, you will only see a part ...


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