Creating unique content is hard. Smart developers will find a way to reuse content without players even noticing, disguising it as all new obstacles. These has two benefits: 1) it gives the illusion that you’ve created two unique pieces of content 2) in the instance of skill based puzzles, it gives players another challenge to reinforce the same puzzle skills.
In a previous post I outlined the core puzzle of the game (link) and how I reused the idea of solving logical gate equations for a world puzzle (link). But how could I reuse the core puzzle for a world puzzle without the players knowing it? The answer is in slightly changing the equation, not the components of the puzzle.
Look at the top right equation of this logic gate puzzle.
This equation reads from left to right and the order of operations calculates the AND logical gate first with that result cascading as the first bit input of the XOR logical gate. The equation effectively looks like this.
One of the easiest changes we could implement to make this a different equation is to remove the parenthesis. This keeps the base idea of solving logical gate equations while making the same equation effectively different.
OK I removed the parenthesis, so what? Yes the equations can now support answers that work in one but not the other, but the player isn’t going to exactly see this as a completely new puzzle type. Here is where a fresh visual take on a puzzle can completely transform a concept. We can ultimately turn this.
Taking out the parenthesis their cascading effects on the equation, we are now more open to how we can represent the puzzle visually. Here is a “ramp” puzzle, where the bits are changed to elevators that move up (on position) and down (off position). The six logical gates (AND, OR, XOR, NAND, NOR, NXOR) can all be represented by different ramps that move bits from one side to another. The player will see a completely new “ramp” puzzle in the world, but little do they know it is the exact same thing they are solving with the core bit puzzles, but without the parenthesis as part of the equation.
And there you have it. We can reuse the same puzzle paradigm while slightly changing the equation and visuals, and players will think they are solving completely new puzzles. The kicker is, by completely the “ramp” puzzles, players will subconsciously get better at solving logical gate equations and not even know it.