Nicholas Carlson – The Puzzle of Designing Puzzles

Hello Everyone!
This past week has been tremendously busy, as we’ve been preparing for a big build and demonstration tomorrow (May 23rd). The majority of my time this week has been spent on designing and building our third, and currently our hardest, puzzle. It makes use of our laser splitter and merger pieces, forcing the player to experiment with color combinations while navigating multiple lasers.

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When I was first tasked to make a hard puzzle, I quickly realized that the more lasers the player has to deal with, the harder the puzzle becomes, just because they can’t touch the laser without tipping the alarm. With this information in mind, I first made a full laser grid, that consisted of double the lasers you see above. I quickly realized this idea was overkill, and would annoy the player rather than pose an actual challenge, regardless of the lasers/checkpoints color.

While building this level in Unity, we ran into multiple issues with our laser / pedestal code. The biggest being that I wasn’t correctly handling all of the possible laser combination in the splitter’s main switch statement. This was causing every laser that passed through the splitter to have the wrong color information. Another issue was that the prefabs that I had made and set in the level kept getting re-written or changed in strange ways. This is likely due to issues with Unity Collab causing my files to de-sync from our cloud build.

I also had a little extra time to add to the main menu, including making the options screens “Break” when hit, complete with shattering glass sounds!

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Thank you for reading, be sure to check out the other developer’s posts, and tune in next week for more updates!

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