GDC Vault offers for free a lecture from the 2009 Game Developers Conference on how to design puzzles effectively to help players feel smart, given by Tiger Style's Randy Smith.
Rather than providing too much advance information or dumbing the challenge down, Smith argues for user-centered puzzles that provide "guidance on demand." He shows Tomb Raider and Portal puzzles as excellent examples that scale to the players' needs and provide more hints only if necessary.
In this presentation, Smith covers puzzle structure along with six principles of user-centered design: visibility, affordances, mapping, visual language, feedback, and conceptual models.
Check out the free video here.
Session Name: Helping Your Players Feel Smart: Puzzles as User Interface
Speaker(s): Randy Smith
Company Name(s): Tiger Style
Track / Format: Game Design
About the GDC VaultIn addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent GDC events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers. Those who purchased All Access passes to events like GDC, GDC Europe, and GDC China already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscriptions via a GDC Vault inquiry form.
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