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Developer Praises Complexity of Time-Based Puzzles In "Braid" 39

Raven Software game developer Manveer Heir takes a look at the design mechanics of Braid, a recently released puzzle game for Xbox Live Arcade (a review is available at Gamespot). Heir commends Braid's focus on taking an interesting mechanic and exploring it fully through level design, rather than generating complexity with the interaction of many different mechanics. "One of my favorite worlds has time move forward as the player moves to the right, and rewind as the player moves left; Time is being controlled spatially. Another world has the player make a recording of themselves that can interact with certain objects, similar to Cursor*10. ... What is amazing is how complex and devilish some of the puzzles can still be, even though they revolve around the single mechanic for that world. ... Feeling like you have to guess what the designer was thinking is how many old adventure games played out, and it was rarely fun. Feeling like you just made a discovery on your own is what makes this game and games like Portal work so well."
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Developer Praises Complexity of Time-Based Puzzles In "Braid"

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  • They put out an official walkthrough, which basically says don't use one.

    The only thing they say that I disagree with is that it doesn't take trial and error. It certainly does, but that doesn't make the game any less magical. I am stunned by this game and how interesting it is, and that they managed to put a neat story around it. It's a bargain at $15.

    There are walkthrough videos on youtube if you get stuck somewhere.

    • by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) * on Thursday August 21, 2008 @01:35PM (#24692117)
      Well, they didn't really say it didn't require trial and error, they said it didn't require guessing. Which is true: you have to try different methods to solve a puzzle sometimes, but you're never reduced to pure guesswork--you always have an inkling to go on, you just need to figure out how to develop it.
      • by Saige ( 53303 )

        I disagree. There's perhaps two puzzles in the game that are different enough that you just have to stumble upon them or get help. I stumbled across one, and the other I ended up resorting to a walkthrough - and I'm not sure how I would have ever found it myself.

        All the rest, though, are wonderfully designed.

        • There's perhaps two puzzles in the game that are different enough that you just have to stumble upon them or get help.

          Well obviously YMMV, but I managed to actually solve all of them myself, given a lot of retries and several breaks (get stuck, come back to the game next day, fresh view).

          Because there isn't much of an explicit manual telling you how everything works, it's important to just experiment a lot. Try things you know won't succeed, just so see how exactly they fail. Often failing something le

      • What about the "room" with two locked doors, and you only have one key? When you choose hte wrong door to open, the key breaks and you have to rewind. Unless you're lucky, that puzzle can only be solved with "trial and error"

        Unless there is some sort of clue I missed...
        • Again, "trial and error" is NOT the same as guessing. Trial and error is when you know basically what you need to do, you just need to figure out the finer points of it. Guessing is when the puzzle is so obscure, you have no idea even where to begin, and just start trying random things, getting it right in the process.
          • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

            Not necessarily. Trial and error means failure for unforeseeable reasons (you have to TRY and discard approaches that are ERRORS), basically only seeing what you are supposed to do after you fail to do it (e.g. a light flashes and seconds later a beam from the sky vaporizes you*: Only after failing once do you learn that the flashing light means you should take cover). When two choices look equal (i.e. no clues about which is right) and one is right, the other wrong then you have trial and error because you

  • Yay Braid! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) * on Thursday August 21, 2008 @01:33PM (#24692069)

    Braid was an amazing game. It was rather like Portal, but it didn't have any of Portal's shortcomings: it was a good value (longer game, yet cost less), and had an actual half-decent plot (although it was a bit too complex). Unfortunately, it doesn't have Portal's witty dialogue and brilliant voice acting, but I guess that's life.

    The game mechanics were absolutely brilliant, too. I particularly loved the "shadow" mechanic in world 5, those were by far the richest puzzles for me.

    • Maybe they can compete in game mechanics, but the art and experience of Portal is hard to beat,.

      • by interiot ( 50685 )
        The best part of Portal [] had zero FX. (art and experience, sure, but FX wasn't integral)
      • by EComni ( 998601 )
        I'd argue that, yes, the experience (mainly the dialogue and humor) of Portal is hard to beat, but notsomuch the art. To me, Portal was a very bland game visually. Don't get me wrong, the minimalist style worked for its presentation, especially when it contrasted with you leaving the facility proper later in the game, but I didn't find the generic surroundings as the massive selling point. Braid, OTOH, with its impressionist-like backdrops, soothing music, along with the nifty rewind/ff/pause to go along w
    • Re:Yay Braid! (Score:5, Informative)

      by shma ( 863063 ) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @04:37PM (#24695139)
      If you enjoy those 'shadow' puzzles, there is a free flash based game called Chronoton [] which exclusively deals with making copies of yourself to complete objectives.
  • by aerthling ( 796790 ) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @01:45PM (#24692283)

    .. hurry up and release a PC version (which plays plays nice with wine).

    I have a little pile of cash set aside ready to cram furiously into my computer's floppy drive as soon as it's released.

  • Okay, braid is amazing. What I want to know is when more expensive games with bigger budgets will stop sucking.

    • Re:Braid is jesus (Score:4, Insightful)

      by apoc06 ( 853263 ) on Thursday August 21, 2008 @02:10PM (#24692697)

      answer: when we stop letting the big companies and their bigger budget projects make millions off of cheap, subpar work.

    • When every commercial developer cares primarily about the quality of their games. Some do that now, and they make great games (Blizzard, for example). It'll never happen that all developers are like that, though.

      It isn't all bad, though. Even studios who are primarily profit-oriented can still put out great games, it just isn't as common as it is with studios who give a damn about their games. Even EA puts out legitimately good games now and then.

    • Real answer: as soon as you stop generalizing, which will probably be right after you stop believing your taste is the be-all-end-all.

    • Okay, braid is amazing. What I want to know is when more expensive games with bigger budgets will stop sucking.

      My guess is that will happen when the majority of video game consumers stop considering good graphics to be the only factor in determining what makes a good game (and by extension, quit wasting money on games whose sole selling point is amazing graphics). Only then will the business model used for most big-budget games become antiquated.

      • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

        Naah, they're already producing plenty of crap when graphics are not a selling point, they simply decide it saves money to cut the graphics down and still make the same game otherwise.

        Do you think they really say "don't bother with the gameplay, we've got graphics"? Most likely they just have a bad idea or suck at implementing the gameplay or simply don't have the time/budget to fine tune it.

    • by antic ( 29198 )

      I bought Portal as part of The Orange Box for the 360. I don't know that I would've bought it as a standalone game even despite the good reviews - maybe, maybe not. But as The Orange Box combo, the value was undeniable. And I haven't even replayed it or tried Team Fortress yet.

      Anyway, now I'm wondering if studios should cooperate to package a release here and there. e.g., big studio has an experimental arm and releases a decent game with 1-2 extra games to sweeten the deal. Or medium studio does a deal with

    • by KDR_11k ( 778916 )

      Which one? You mean "when will noone ever release a bad game again"? Er, good luck with that one.

  • While I was crude in my post, I fail to see where I was wrong. I know this flies in the face of everyone who is trying to kiss the ass of the indie scene right now, but I could really give a damn about that.

    The game is NOT original.

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