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#1 2013-04-18 18:23:45

Registered: 2013-04-18
Posts: 1

Idea: Separate Puzzle Making and Puzzle Solving

This is going to be a bit of a long post. I think this game has potential, but the thief+house building mechanic is flawed:

Hypothesis: Current game is unfun because of unnecessary gameplay linkage and mechanics: 1) need for cash to make a good house, 2) permadeath-- which leads to 3) there isn't an incentive to make beatable houses 4) or solve someone else's house other than skimming/farming off the bottom. (I see the game as fundamentally a crowd-sourced puzzle game.)

Theory: Separate the two mechanics, remove permadeath, and cash.

An account becomes two entities, a gentleman thief and a security company. It's up to the player what portion of the game they are playing at any one time. They can just solve puzzles if they wish, make, or do both.

Thief (puzzle solving):
The thief portion allows you to invade other people's houses to try to solve them. You are still able to start with an inventory of items, but that inventory costs a portion of your rewards, and is tabulated in a "best thieves" scoreboard. It doesn't take any capital to buy them, you just pick it on your load out.

Thief scoreboard (best puzzle solvers):
The scoreboard keeps track of gentleman thief ranking by: 1) total earnings 2) number of first solves of a new house (i.e., they were the first person to solve it) 3) total cost of items used to solve houses 4) total times caught (instead of death, no permadeath) 5) total times escaped (ran away instead of finishing a house) 6) total times looted a house 7) average number of moves before escape, capture, or loot.

This allow people to try to solve houses to get the best score for their thief, they are the "best gentleman thief."

Security company (puzzle creation):
Instead of being a nuclear family, you are a security company that builds secure houses with the existing tools in the game. You have unlimited funds, but the total funds used in a house go towards the pot (vault) in the end.

Essentially a "free build mode."

Security company ranking (best puzzle makers):
Thieves get a voting mode to rank how good a house is (puzzle) after they beat it. This is how we rank puzzles and give puzzle makers incentive to make good puzzles. They don't get to vote until they beat it.

There are four voting options: fair challenge, unfair puzzle, no challenge, and duplicate (this plan seems too like an existing house). Thieves will be able to see the ranking of existing houses, who made them, and then look up the security company which will have the aggregate statistics for all houses (and each house has these stats as well) 1) total cost of houses 2) total captures 3) total escapes 4) total stolen 5) total stolen value 6) thief voting records 7) average number of moves before capture, escape, or loot. Therefore, thieves will seek out good puzzle makers, and puzzle makers will strive to have low total costs, high total captures, with high "good house" voting, i.e., they are a good, hard puzzle maker.

There is special note that the "no challenge" and "duplicate" votes will null the loot/reward of a house to $0 if their get the majority vote (and probably like a minimum number of votes, say 10) to try to prevent exploiting. It will retroactively take the money back from thieves that beat these exploitable houses that are later deemed to be a duplicate or too easy challenge (vault at the door).

Likewise, thieves will avoid puzzle makers that only make deathtraps or combo locks: ones voted as (unfair puzzles) or have never been beat but high captures (though, people may try to beat them anyways). A way to see that is how many moves it takes on average to get caught in a house or give up. Ones with electric grids right at the beginning that require a priori knowledge (it isn't revealed by the creator) should have a high number of captures and low number of moves before capture, for example.

We may have to think of other incentives for players to make good puzzles. Maybe their ranking allows them to buy the paintings in game for their headquarters? I dunno. I'm hoping puzzle ranking would incentive people to want to make good puzzles, rather than just bad, unsolvable ones, like the current state.

Modified house mechanics:
There isn't permanent death, it just gets tabulated against your thief score (you were caught or fled). The value of the vault is a percentage of the total cost of the house. Each time the puzzle is solved, the total payout goes down by half, going to 0. Therefore, there is incentive for thieves to beat new houses and keeps people from learning the solutions of a house.

The house is always reset the next entry in (you have to beat it as-is, though there is still testing mode), and a thief can only loot it once. Retries are allow to go in to beat their best score for that house (number of moves, items used which is kept). (In my version, there wouldn't be a wife or children, because I don't see the point of those mechanics with incentives to make fair houses.)

Anti-exploit measures:
The system detects exact plans of previously made houses. It makes the payout of those $0 or tells the creator they can't duplicate existing houses. The thieves in voting mode are also allowed to vote on houses if they think it is too similar to an existing plan. Majority vote will force the value of the house to $0.

Anyways, that's my thoughts. I think the game is interesting in concept (crowd-sourced puzzle making) but flawed in certain mechanics. I think this solves it because no matter the tools or fixes (like the current bandied about "map" solution), someone is going to "exploit" the game to continuously make unfair puzzles, because there's no reason to otherwise.

Thanks for your time.


#2 2013-04-20 04:31:37

Hunter X
Registered: 2013-04-15
Posts: 8

Re: Idea: Separate Puzzle Making and Puzzle Solving


I've been struggling over this issue ever since I started playing, and I've come to two conclusions very similar to your own: Firstly, it is only possible to play the house-building side of the game or the puzzle-solving side of the game, with players being punished if they attempt to do both simultaneously, and secondly that the current player-vs-player mechanic produces a heavy incentive for players to create unsolvable houses rather than houses that are fun to play. Both ultimately lead to stagnation within the game, where either nobody plays or nothing is possible to play.

Your idea solves both issues. I'm not sure about some of the suggestions (a lack of money-based purchases would reduce the sense of progression within the game - once a player has constructed a good house they no longer have much reason to play the house-building side, and allowing a player to equip any selection of all the items means early-game thieves are just as hard as end-game thieves. Additionally, I would include a way for thieves to replay houses that they've already completed and possibly allow players to take inspiration from existing houses provided they make notable additions to it - also, I suspect an auto-detector for this would end up mistakenly identifying some houses as being copies if players end up having the same idea as one another), but ultimately I would be happy playing this type of game.

If Jason doesn't implement this I may have to try and do so myself (assuming I can firstly set up an environment that allows me to both edit and compile the source code - trying to edit UNIX code on Windows isn't fun - then figure out how to modify the code appropriately to accomplish this, and finally provided you are happy to let others implement this or whether you want to keep it personal).


#3 2013-04-20 10:52:32

Registered: 2013-04-09
Posts: 24

Re: Idea: Separate Puzzle Making and Puzzle Solving

I am not sure I agree with the proposed mechanics, but I do agree the mix between robbery and house building is not working.


#4 2013-04-20 11:00:03

bey bey
Registered: 2013-04-20
Posts: 386

Re: Idea: Separate Puzzle Making and Puzzle Solving


Usual mechanics seems to me to be that one dies a number of times trying to raid a well-stocked house, then one builts a house of one's own with, say, 15k of plunder and has too much to lose to go burgling anymore in a proper sense.

In fact you can be batman.
(if he robbed houses and murdered families.)
- Dalleck


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