When making Mechropolis, it was very important for us to create open-ended challenges that invite to exploration and have a natural presence in the game environment.
So what makes a challenge open ended? For Mechropolis, we defined an open-ended challenge as one that can be solved in several ways, giving the player a new experience each time the game is played.
When working with challenge design for Mechropolis, I found that the best way for me to reach this goal was to approach it from a narrative perspective. What is this thing that makes up the puzzle? How does it fit into the environment? How can I problematize it? By posing questions such as these, the parameters of the challenge can be defined. How does the player interact with the challenge? What is the win condition? How is the state of the puzzle conveyed to the player? (more…)