Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
agewisdom

Riddles, Puzzles, Tests: No Multiple Choice, Fill in the Blanks Instead

Recommended Posts

Just a simple idea and request. If PE does incorporate riddles, specific verbal tests or major side quests requiring investigation and deduction, can we please avoid having the answers handed on a platter via multiple choice answers?

 

I believe there were some great riddles in Planescape Torment (Undead Nation) if I remember correctly and in Baldur Gate series. I would prefer if it was a subjective test (i.e. fill in the blanks style). One fine example was the final test in Ultima IV when you came to face the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom.

 

The reason for this is that I really hate when a good riddle goes to waste. When you have an ingeniously crafted riddle, it just goes to waste when you are given the answers in a silver platter of A, B, C, D, E. It would be better if you were required to TYPE in your answer.

 

For a really good investigation and detective side quests, it would be great if the PC can sidestep some preliminary investigation if he's good enough to deduce certain major points and can query the NPCs directly on a certain point. Granted, this should only be used sparingly.

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't mind A, B, C choices if low int and/or low wis characters couldn't get the right answer unless they'd found the proper answer somewhere else (scroll, book, or for really low INT puppet shows in the middle of the big city :) ) This could also be a point where a party member could jump in if it was a game critical point.

 

But realistically how could my 3 Int, 3 Wis Barbarian answer *any* riddle other than by Me as the player knowing it without some in-game reason - someone telling him the answer, or he read it in a book and repeated it constantly so he didn't forget it walking 10 paces to where the riddle giver is from the book he read it in, or you know, that puppet show that he sat and watched with the little children. :p

 

EDIT: the problem with writing the answer quiz like, IMO, would be spelling errors or missing the exact wording looked for by the game to "solve" the riddle which might create issues (or worse, logically equivalent answers that are rejected due to not being the one the creators worked out).

Edited by Amentep
  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about we compromise and have this as an option that you can switch on and off? Sounds very Wastelandish which is all well and good, but not everyone who liked the Infinity Engine games even played Wasteland.

 

I like it, but others may find it jarring.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't mind A, B, C choices if low int and/or low wis characters couldn't get the right answer unless they'd found the proper answer somewhere else (scroll, book, or for really low INT puppet shows in the middle of the big city :) ) This could also be a point where a party member could jump in if it was a game critical point.

 

But realistically how could my 3 Int, 3 Wis Barbarian answer *any* riddle other than by Me as the player knowing it without some in-game reason - someone telling him the answer, or he read it in a book and repeated it constantly so he didn't forget it walking 10 paces to where the riddle giver is from the book he read it in, or you know, that puppet show that he sat and watched with the little children. :p

 

There are games that won't allow you to solve the puzzle until your character has found that answer somewhere else in the game.

 

EDIT: the problem with writing the answer quiz like, IMO, would be spelling errors or missing the exact wording looked for by the game to "solve" the riddle which might create issues (or worse, logically equivalent answers that are rejected due to not being the one the creators worked out).

 

I think Sierra games had problems with that, you had to phrase things very exactly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't played text in an rpg/adventure game since they were less than a megabyte in size back in the 80's...

 

even then i wanted to kill myself out of frustration over finding the exact word or sequence of words to move forward in the game...granted i was barely out of diapers and my vocabulary wasn't as prolific but still...f*ck that, it was nightmarish!

 

 

edit: there is indeed such a thing as too old school.

Edited by NerdBoner
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was thinking of in terms of very limited situations where this would be used. A lot of problems mentioned can be partially remedied by:

 

1. Limiting these to specifically one word - so if you're typing, you can't type more than one word.

 

2. Tying this to specifically certain clues or descriptions that's used in-game. For instance, in Ultima IV - the answers to the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom was tied into the 8 virtues of the Avatar, which permeated throughout the game.

 

3. In cases where there are alternate solutions, I can see where this may be a problem. But in this day and age, I do think having several solutions could be implemented. But, guess that really depends on how specific or vague the riddle or puzzle is.

 

I wouldn't mind A, B, C choices if low int and/or low wis characters couldn't get the right answer unless they'd found the proper answer somewhere else (scroll, book, or for really low INT puppet shows in the middle of the big city :) ) This could also be a point where a party member could jump in if it was a game critical point.

 

The main problem like Amentep's character is that how would a low int/wis character come up with A, B & C in the first place? Unless he's blessed with some divine inspiration. :blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well that would depend on the riddle right? How many forum posters does it take to change a lightbulb? A. 1, B. 4, C. 42. Even a low Int/Wis character could come up with those answers. Or like Fallout offer some stupid answers like A. Huh?, B. Duh? C. Lightbub? that have nothing at all to do with the riddle. Your character is so stupid that no answer is the right answer, find some other way past the riddle block or just never receive the reward.

 

Your only other option is to limit the minimum int/wis roll allowed for any playable character so they cannot be truly stupid.

 

Fill in the blanks is a very difficult system to implement because if it really works it is subject to spelling, translation issues etc and if you try to implement multiple correct answers they system becomes so simple you just can't get it wrong and you might as well have had ABC options.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well that would depend on the riddle right? How many forum posters does it take to change a lightbulb? A. 1, B. 4, C. 42. Even a low Int/Wis character could come up with those answers. Or like Fallout offer some stupid answers like A. Huh?, B. Duh? C. Lightbub? that have nothing at all to do with the riddle. Your character is so stupid that no answer is the right answer, find some other way past the riddle block or just never receive the reward.

 

And see I'd like the low int/wis character to just not be able to get it and have to have an alternate path.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think BG2 actually did a pretty good job of crafting the riddles in such a way that they were still challenging, even though they were multiple choice.

 

Often, some of the wrong answers were quite misleading, or corresponded to what you would intuitively choose as your "first guess" before properly thinking it through.

 

In other cases, having only a limited amount of choices was actually determined by the set-up of the riddle in an in-game realistic manner - like having to place 7 items in 7 pots, in the correct combination.

 

In at least one case, you actually had to crunch some numbers, so having multiple choice answers of "20", "25", "30", "35", "40" (or whatever it was) didn't really help all that much - you still had to do the calculation.

 

As for "filling in the blanks", as others already mentioned there are some problems associated with that, like how can you handle all possible synonyms of a word, and what about spelling errors, etc...

I guess it would be possible to implement in a non-frustrating manner for very specific riddles crafted with the aforementioned pitfalls in mind, but I don't think it can serve as a be-all and end-all solution for riddles in general.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand some of the concerns. I was just hoping that it could be implemented in a limited manner. I don't know how many played Quest For Glory 1, but to enter Erasmus's house, you had to answer some pretty cool riddles - none of which was too challenging. It was largely based on the lore in the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand some of the concerns. I was just hoping that it could be implemented in a limited manner. I don't know how many played Quest For Glory 1, but to enter Erasmus's house, you had to answer some pretty cool riddles - none of which was too challenging. It was largely based on the lore in the game.

god, I loved that series!...played it all the way through part 5 with the same character and everything.

 

 

jeez, they even had romances by part 5...aahh nostalgia.

Edited by NerdBoner

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand some of the concerns. I was just hoping that it could be implemented in a limited manner. I don't know how many played Quest For Glory 1, but to enter Erasmus's house, you had to answer some pretty cool riddles - none of which was too challenging. It was largely based on the lore in the game.

god, I loved that series!...played it all the way through part 5 with the same character and everything.

 

 

jeez, they even had romances by part 5...aahh nostalgia.

 

Hi NerdBoner, an avid fan - I see! Hope you played the remake by AGDI on QFG2. It's pretty fantastic.

 

As for QFG1, another thing I was very fond of was the wizard's game where you could play a mini-game with Erasmus by using all the spells in your arsenal. Quite a cool game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand some of the concerns. I was just hoping that it could be implemented in a limited manner. I don't know how many played Quest For Glory 1, but to enter Erasmus's house, you had to answer some pretty cool riddles - none of which was too challenging. It was largely based on the lore in the game.

god, I loved that series!...played it all the way through part 5 with the same character and everything.

 

 

jeez, they even had romances by part 5...aahh nostalgia.

 

Hi NerdBoner, an avid fan - I see! Hope you played the remake by AGDI on QFG2. It's pretty fantastic.

 

As for QFG1, another thing I was very fond of was the wizard's game where you could play a mini-game with Erasmus by using all the spells in your arsenal. Quite a cool game.

I was about to mention the Trial by Fire fan remake but I figured any true fan would have known about it already haha.

 

and yeah, Mage's Maze varied wildly..sometimes it was simple others times it was screen punchingly hard.

 

the worst was that damn gargoyle though...don't know how many times he made me re-climb that mountain!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haha... the gargoyle was fun... so was Baba Yaga's skeleton. In QFG1, you had to suffer at the hands of Baba Yaga but could exact appropriate revenge in QFG4.

 

Great times! I really loved the QFG series... It was my alltime favourite together with the Ultima series in the 90's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OP, I had the exact same thought while doing the skinner quest in BG2(to refresh your memory: you were supposed to compose the true name of the skinner using riddles from a letter). It would have been much more challenging(and fun) if you had to type the answer yourself instead of choosing one from a list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Sierra games had problems with that, you had to phrase things very exactly.

I still hate Leisure Suit Larry 7. I never got to finish it because it was translated in italian and even though I did found online the solution for where I was stuck, it tried every possible italian translation of that word, and never found it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OP, I had the exact same thought while doing the skinner quest in BG2(to refresh your memory: you were supposed to compose the true name of the skinner using riddles from a letter). It would have been much more challenging(and fun) if you had to type the answer yourself instead of choosing one from a list.

 

You're right, in cases like this it could work pretty well.

 

I guess the best method depends on the kind of riddle then:

  • answer is a uniquely defined combination of characters (e.g. a name, number, ...)
    ==> let the player type the answer

  • answer is a word or phrase expressing a concept (e.g. "air", "death", "love", "forest", "never") which might have different synonyms/spellings
    ==> let the player choose from multiple answers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there's something to be said for typing the answer instead of choosing it from a multiple-choice list. It certainly makes for a harder riddle, because often it's fairly easy to figure out what the answer would be from looking at the other options and eliminating them. Now, aside from the math-based ones, I don't recall any of the riddles in either game being particularly difficult to figure out -- it was mostly a matter of finding the right choice down there.

 

On the other hand, typing it in could create some frustration (spelling differences and errors, capitalisation, not precisely the right wording, that sort of thing). So, I think that either one could work, but they both have some drawbacks. Having both available in different situations could be pretty neat. Basing the available answers on intelligence and/or found information would also be a good thing, I think.


knightofchaoss.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the other hand, typing it in could create some frustration (spelling differences and errors, capitalisation, not precisely the right wording, that sort of thing). So, I think that either one could work, but they both have some drawbacks. Having both available in different situations could be pretty neat. Basing the available answers on intelligence and/or found information would also be a good thing, I think.

 

Exactly my thoughts. Use this in limited situational circumstances so that there it mixes up things a little. Too much and it gets frustrating due to all the aforementioned problems. But used in small doses, I think it does add up to the gameplay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree with the OP.

 

A, B, C choice becomes a simple "spot the inturuder". It makes riddels trivial.

I still remeber the old Thunderscape, where you had to type in the answer to every riddle. It made riddles so much harder and it felt so right.


* YOU ARE A WRONGULARITY FROM WHICH NO RIGHT CAN ESCAPE! *

Chuck Norris was wrong once - He thought HE made a mistake!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree with the OP.

 

A, B, C choice becomes a simple "spot the inturuder". It makes riddels trivial.

I still remeber the old Thunderscape, where you had to type in the answer to every riddle. It made riddles so much harder and it felt so right.

 

But it is a system that is relying on your intelligence, not your characters (which is ultimately my objection; I want my character to be doing as much of the stuff as possible, not me).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree with the OP.

 

A, B, C choice becomes a simple "spot the inturuder". It makes riddels trivial.

I still remeber the old Thunderscape, where you had to type in the answer to every riddle. It made riddles so much harder and it felt so right.

 

But it is a system that is relying on your intelligence, not your characters (which is ultimately my objection; I want my character to be doing as much of the stuff as possible, not me).

 

Sounds like you want to watch a movie more then play a game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like you want to watch a movie more then play a game.

 

No I don't; in an RPG I want as much as possible my character stats to effect the result of the game. Yes there's a certain element of "myself" that can't be taken out, but the advantage to ABC questions is that you can scale the answers to the PC's intelligence, not rely on my knowledge of what walks on four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon and three in the evening.

 

Note that I consider riddles to be different from passwords; I think passwords have a different problem, specifically that while you may have to find them in-game the first time around (lets say the password is to complete a quote from an obscure magical theorist) this "problem" in game is then solveable from then on (unless the quotes randomize, which even still would only have a certain number of permutations before the player could solve the problem without actually finding the answer).

 

I'll use the sun-temple problem in BG2 as an example; you had to place certain items in certain places to open a door. If you used the wrong item you got attacked by a flame based magic attack. There were scraps of paper that told you the order to use the items. After the first time through, though, you never actually had to find the papers (or use magic fire protection), you could work on your previous knowledge and pass through the section quicker because you use knowledge in your possession that isn't in your character's possession. I'm not sure that's the best way to be designing a stat reflective RPG.

Edited by Amentep

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although a good idea it can cause non-native english speakers a lot of problems. Or it can be a system like this:

 

E.g. the question is: It's greater than god and more evil than the devil. The poor have it, the rich need it, if you eat it you die.

The player types in: Notink

The interface asks: Did you mean Nothing?

The player clicks yes.

:banghead:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...