Game Design: The Clue Connectionon July 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm
Some time back, I sat down and tried to figure out how Treasure Mountain! worked, because I really liked the problem-solving, clue-acquisition, and exploration concepts in the game. Right before my lunch break, I realized that the gameplay is based on (or inspired by) Clue of all things. It was the number of clues that gave it away.
I’m still trying to work out the particulars, but I think I’ve figured out the basic pattern to determining how many objects there are, and how they’re connected to one another. I still haven’t worked out how there are more or less objects with “shared values” to the main one, except that maybe some are deliberately left empty.
What got me started was realizing that by having some of the Clues reflects fewer of the objects, they could have more clues while also reducing the number of necessary objects. I started with Clue and worked backwards. Clue has nine rooms, six suspects, and six murder weapons, for a total of three hundred twenty-four combinations.
I figured, since there were only nineteen searchable objects in Treasure Mountain!, that having the number of clues would be a good place to start. If you have three quantities, three adjectives, and four nouns, you only thirty-six combinations, which is much closer to nineteen. It’s almost twice as many. Which got me thinking.
The problem with having 3x3x4=36 objects, means that if you’re going to play the game where partially-correct guesses reward the player (and encourage further exploration), then your minimum number of “partials” is going to be approaching ten. At most, Treasure Mountain! give you half that many.
So I had to think about it some more. Some quantities didn’t apply to all the objects. Small/large doesn’t apply to things like trees or flags, which are either all large or all small. Numbers, like groups of one to three, or four to six, don’t apply to the same objects. Trees and bushes may be found in groups of one to three, but mushrooms, flags, and flowers can be found in groups of up to six.
Obviously, there’s more to it. And some math involved. *snerk*