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Repeating task puzzles

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Postby phkb » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:23 am

I've read a few reviews on games that contain puzzles that require the player to do the same task multiple times. Generally these reviews have been negative on this puzzle methodology. However, I was wondering if there is a legitimate scenario where doing the same thing multiple times makes sense.

For example, the player comes in contact with a character who is nervous. The game makes it clear that the player can "CALM" a character, which the player does. This reduces the nervousness of the character, but not completely. The player needs to do it again to get the character to a state where they are ready to help the player. The transcript could look like this:
Code: Select all
Bob is standing to one side, nervously biting his fingernails.
>X BOB
Bob is a financial accountant, something of a maverick in his field. He looks extremely nervous about something.
> CALM BOB
"Hey, take it easy, Bob," you say. "Don't get too worked up."
"Thanks, it's just a bit overwhelming," Bob replies.
>X BOB
Bob is a financial accountant, something of a maverick in his field. He looks somewhat nervous about something.
>CALM BOB
"Don't worry about it," you continue. "Worrying will only make it worse. Besides, I'm here to help."
"Thanks," Bob says, smiling. "That means a lot. Is there something I can help you with?"
So taking this example, could you be excused for requiring the player to do the calming action twice? Or should you just short cut the whole thing and just make the player do it once? Is there another scenario that you can think of where doing things twice is even more important than the one I've described here?
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Postby Horace Torys » Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:08 am

Turning a crank or something on a machine that you need to calibrate correctly? Though I suppose you'd want to offer TURN CRANK COUNTERCLOCKWISE and TURN CRANK CLOCKWISE.

If the example above didn't require examining Bob twice, but hinted in the first exchange that he required further calming, I think it could be acceptable, and might build a bit of rapport.
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Postby DCBSupafly » Wed Feb 23, 2011 3:05 pm

I never like repeating something that could have been done with the first one. If calm bob twice could do it, then why type it twice? While your degree of nervousness report is cool, I'd like it to include a little discovering in between. What if calm bob works but only as far as letting me know that this is what I need to do, and then requiring me to calm bob a certain way. perhaps mentioning some kind of keywords to bob after the initial calm?

On repeating tasks in general. I used to play Hero Questl. One of the things you could do on your turn was search a room. As I remember it, there was no success roll like D&D, it was just a matter of doing it. Regardless, I grew up with Commander Keen and all that so I would search each room for a secret passage or treasure. One time, after the mission, my friend the Chaos Overlord told me that had I searched the room 14 times, I would finally have found something! That's stupid.
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Postby Campbell » Sat Feb 26, 2011 6:40 am

Personally I think that's absolutely fine. Similar to other games where you might dig, then repeating the command digs more and finds something else.
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Postby BlueMaxima » Sat Feb 26, 2011 8:06 am

I agree with this. Don't see the problem with it.
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