Designing Logic Tiles

This mini-game was directly inspired by one of the puzzles in another Total Eclipse game, The Clockwork Man: The Hidden World. In that game, the player entered a Steampunk submarine and had to solve a puzzle in order to activate the engines. It was a unique and challenging puzzle, based on logic operations and pattern matching.

Logic Tiles relies on the same concept, while introducing additional attributes that create a somewhat different mechanic.

Logic Tiles mini-game from Prototype to Final version

Logic Tiles mini-game from Prototype to Final version

Description

There are two sets of tiles at the top of the screen and an addition sign (+) between them. At the bottom of the screen there are 2 to 4 options for the player to choose from. The player has to mentally perform the logic addition on the top two cards and select the option that corresponds to the result of the operation.

Difficulty & Progression

The difficulty of the game is affected by several parameters, which allow for a great variety of difficulty levels. The size of the grid reduces as the levels increase, which means that the tiles are getting more in number and smaller in size. Also, the fill rate can significantly make the game more challenging; the fuller the shape, the more information to process. Another attribute is the options the user can choose from also increase, starting from 2 and going up to 4.

Symmetry in Logic Tiles

Levels of symmetry in Logic Tiles (horizontal, vertical, both, none)

A very important factor is the symmetry level of the shapes produced by the filled tiles. The more symmetrical the shapes, the easier for the brain to process and make operations on. The symmetry can be on one axis (vertically or horizontally), on both axes, or there can be no symmetry at all. The higher the symmetry, the easier the level, because the brain can infer parts of the shape just by processing half or a quarter of it. When the symmetry breaks completely, the brain needs to process the whole shape.

A final parameter is the type of operation. I mentioned that players have to add the two shapes together, but there is another option as well, which appears in more advanced levels; subtraction. Players have to visually subtract the second shape from the first. This is significantly harder than adding the two shapes together, so it can make the game very challenging.

Subtraction Operation in Logic Tiles

Subtraction Operation in Logic Tiles

Insane Round

During the most difficult levels of this game, the tiles become very small and the grid fills up to a large percentage. There is no symmetry in both the cards and the options and the frequency of the subtraction operation increases significantly.

Until next week!

Dimitrios Bendilas
Lead Game Designer
@dimitriosb

The Story Behind Storytelling – Part 1

The Clockwork Story: Genesis

The modern day has seen some dramatic changes in the field of writing. Less than a hundred years ago, a reader could expect a novel with paragraphs that went on for a page and exposition that carried on for an eternity. That was a time of tell, don’t show and visual writing was unheard of.

The Story Behind Storytelling - Part 1

A novel these days tends to be quick paced, consisting of three lines conjuring images to the mind. This has largely been the result of how pervasive movies have become. Eventually, the precepts of screen-writing seeped into novels and short stories, changing the nature of writing at its core.

My education was firmly rooted in classical literature. I’m a movie fanatic and love plays. Video games were a hobby and pastime that I really loved but I never thought about writing for them more than passively (usually when a game’s story was bad and I thought that there was no way I could do worse). Still, familiarity breeds curiosity and when the opportunity came about, I couldn’t turn it down. Continue reading

The Clockwork Man – Steampunk goes Casual!

This article was originally posted at Gamezebo.com on Aug. 30th, 2010. We have since updated some of the images and text.

The birth of The Clockwork Man World

Think London, England, turn of the 19th century. You are walking down glistening wet streets dressed in your best Sunday dress (or gentlemen’s suit). Something momentarily blocks the sun; you glance up and see a commercial zeppelin flying above, probably bound for Heathrow. The world of The Clockwork Man is much like our own, and yet not. It is filled with wonders of Steampunk fiction, where the ingenuity of the industrial revolution blends with futuristic steam-powered machines. An amalgam of anachronistic technology, Victorian values, fashion and décor makes up this familiar and yet fictitious world that had never been attempted in a casual game before. Back in 2008, creating something like this was quite a challenge (and risk) for us in Total Eclipse.

Still from The Clockwork Man introductory scene

Continue reading