The Art of Puzzle Design | How Game Designers Explore Ideas and Themes with Puzzles and Problems



This Video Explores the Art of Puzzle Design, and how game designers explore ideas and themes using both puzzles and problems. Puzzle design is often viewed as an arcane art only a few are privy to, but in this essay, we explore the many design philosophies creators have employed to manufacture them. What we find is there are as many ways to make a puzzle as there are puzzles themselves, and this pluralism feeds into what the purpose of puzzles have been and are in our society today.

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We explore games as varied as The Witness, braid, Baba is You, Infinifactory, Stephens sausage roll and fez to support the idea that puzzle are ultimately the aesthetic form of thought itself.

Sources

Books
– The Puzzle Instinct Marcel Danesi
– Bob Bates -On game design
– Infinite Powers Steven Strogatz
– Is God a programmer? Geoff Simons

Videos

-Gdc talk Solving Puzzle Design Jolie Menzel

– Empuzzlement Blow, droquen, Ten Bosche

-Designing to reveal the nature of the universe

-The Arcane art of puzzle dependency diagrams

-Open ended puzzle design at zachtronics

– Breaking Conventions with the legend of zelda

-Making Baba is you

-Bob Bates Designing the puzzle

– A look back at fezs Black Monolith

– Designing Baba is yous rule wrtiing system

-How to make a good puzzle

Gdc hearts and minds

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17 thoughts on “The Art of Puzzle Design | How Game Designers Explore Ideas and Themes with Puzzles and Problems

  1. Great video. Thanks.
    Great video! Btw, I need information about music that plays at 6:24
    Thanks!
    Fantastic video, thank you.
    Great video. Thanks.
    Great video. Thanks.
    Fantastic video, thank you.

  2. Great video. Thanks.
    Great video! Btw, I need information about music that plays at 6:24
    Thanks!
    AROUND 40 SHACHIKU NO GOLEM MASTER アラフォー社畜のゴーレムマスター 1~24 : https://youtu.be/bMPmYO0oVnw

  3. Fantastic video, thank you.
    Great video. Thanks.
    Great video. Thanks.
    Great video! Btw, I need information about music that plays at 6:24
    Thanks!

  4. Great video. Thanks.
    Fantastic video, thank you.
    Great video! Btw, I need information about music that plays at 6:24
    Thanks!

  5. Great video. Thanks.
    Fantastic video, thank you.
    Bruh
    Awesome video,puzzles are awesome, of a bit overanalized :p

  6. Great video. Would have also loved a discussion/views on games like Hitman (recent 2) and how they approach the sandbox type puzzle design.

  7. Just, wow. This is probably the best video about puzzle design and probably game design I've ever watched. The thing about the community of Fez brute-forcing the Black Monolith, and "ending up with the solution to a question they did not know" is such a brilliant way of putting that situation. Something else which I find interesting to note is how humans are unique in that we're about the only species on this planet which creates puzzles. There may be puzzles to solve in nature, but we're the only species to actively seek out those puzzles and even go so far as to create new ones, which seems illogical by every definition, but that's what makes us unique.

  8. Generally my experience is that we have an innate desire to “know”. Solving things is a prime way to meet this desire, as coming up with a solution that works is a clear way to show that we “know” whatever it is we are solving for. Puzzles play off of that because they create a scenario to demonstrate knowledge by achieving a solution.

  9. Great video, however I wish you'd omitted spoilers – by which I mean The Witness' environmental puzzle idea (all the more the final environmental puzzle) and, to lesser extent, Baba is you going really meta. I think that showcasing the footage is a bit damaging to player''s experience – I personally loved the feeling of epiphany I had when I first realized that there are environmental puzzles, especially after I missed the first one (at the top of the mountain) as I got distracted by some other idea (but also, my thinking rarely aligns with what developers envisioned for me :)).
    I understand that you wanted to make a point, but I only mean the footage – even a highly detailed description of that process shouldn't spoil the fun as much as an in-game footage does. Still, excellent video, keep it up.

  10. Out of all my Game Design knowledge, puzzle design is easily my weakest, I enjoyed the video a lot, even learned a whole bunch I didn’t know about! Keep it up my friend!😁

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