Game Development Reference
However, by giving the player choices that grant players agency, alter the game-
play, relationships with characters, the difficulty of challenges, etc., adventure games
can be much more than a linear progression from puzzle A to puzzle B to puzzle C.
Here are some things to think about when constructing an adventure game story:
Make the puzzles as integral a part of the story as any other element of a story.
Use the setting, geography, and weather to create obstacles that need solving.
Begin with simple challenges as a tutorial and as the player settles into the
Adventure games are notoriously tricky when it comes to pace. As you near
the endgame, consider not just continually ratcheting up the difficulty level
but actually decreasing the difficulty level to increase pace.
Another way to increase pace is to narrow the world: cut off physical locations
as part of a story (landslides, loss of a boat), reduce the number of characters
(a plague or simply a switch to a more isolated location), or reduce the player's
inventory. (I love this one. Very late in TheRiddleofMasterLu ,Ihada
bad guy knock Robert Ripley out and go through his pockets, removing all
those incredibly useful inventory items adventure gamers are so fond of, so
that players had to start from scratch in the endgame.)
Use time. An adventure game by its very nature is turn-based. (I hate real-time
puzzles added simply to change up the gameplay!) Use what I call “event time”
to increase suspense. In one design, the player avatar was locked in a trunk and
dumped into a lake. There were four or five steps the player had to take to
escape the trunk that was filling with water. I designed the puzzle so the water
rose in the trunk only after the correct completion of a step, guaranteeing by
the end the avatar would be up to his neck. It increased the suspense, felt as if
Writing for adventure games presents a number of the same challenges writing for all
games presents. But as we've briefly discussed, there are quite a few that are peculiarly
our own. And there are certainly many not faced in other media. But don't fall
into the trap of thinking that because we're a relatively new medium (not all that
new anymore) that we can throw out methods of good character development and
storytelling that have worked for thousands of years. Differentiate between elements
from other media that work and elements that don't and directly apply the useful
ones, adapt others to our unique needs, and embrace the new ones we can call our