Monday, June 3, 2013

Creating A Puzzle in GTH

Now that Ghost of Thornton Hall is out and many of you have played it, it's about time I share some of the secret, behind-the-scenes moments in creating the puzzles in this new game.

Back in 2012, on the 14th of November, one of the artists (Jayme) and our Lead Tester (Jeanne) let me hover over their shoulders to snap a few photos of them working on a puzzle in the crypt: The stained glass window.

It really starts with an early design sketch from our Designer, Cathy, who writes out how the puzzle looks, where it goes, how to play it, and what it does once you've solved it. (See picture on the left below). Then an artist (such as Jayme) will start illustrating the parts of this puzzle, including every little piece, which is set aside.


Once it is fully illustrated and laid out, the artist will pass the pieces over to a member in Production. A game programmer will drop the pieces of the puzzle into the game build, and begin writing the code to make the pieces (the colored glass tiles) able to be picked up, put down, and rotated. While he checks the game to make sure it works properly, the programmer will also add sound effects to each action of code he writes for the puzzle pieces. Clink! Clink! Swoosh! are better sound effects for a glass tile puzzle rather than a Thud! Bang! Clunk! sound that may be for a wood-themed puzzle...


Next, when the puzzle has been created, our testing team will play the puzzle to check to see if it works properly and logically, as well as visually. (See above picture on the right). They need to make sure that the correct solution will also trigger a "solved" state, like if the puzzle will reward you with an inventory object, or for the Stained Glass puzzle: a word.

Looks like many of you solved the weekend puzzle! Here's the solution:


This message could mean just about anything if you are in the middle of playing Ghost of Thornton Hall! However, if you have the BONUS EDITION, this is an extra nudge for you to find all the phone charms...

~Little Jackalope~

9 comments:

Sammy said...

Ohh....We were wondering what that meant, but that makes since! We thought it had something to do with an Easter egg. Thanks for clearing that up!

Anonymous said...

I love this posts about the making of Nancy Drew games! Thank you LJ!

William D said...

Thank you for the concern about that last comment >_< No I never did find the source of that horrific screaming.... I was to scared to look! Thanks for asking though!
On a different note, the way they make the puzzles is really interesting. So they do that for every puzzle? No wonder they start working on the next game before the one they finished is even released! Wow you guys are really busy up there!

Anonymous said...

LJ,

Thanks so much for responding to my question! I've been thinking about joining the Message Boards for awhile now and now I'm going to! :)

Have you guys ever taken an idea from the message boards?

Thanks,
- Wheatley96 (aka Dedicated Nancy Drew Gamer - first name was too long! :) )

Anonymous said...

Ooh nice! I like puzzles and behind the scenes! I'm just curious, what is your job at HeR? Is it marketing intern or something?
~ Mystery Sleuth ;)

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I still don't get the "T" and the "S" symbol, though even without them deciphered the solution could only be "Check (t)he (s)howroom"

Anonymous said...

Now,if I play GTH I can come to this post and find the solution to the puzzle. ;) I may not though cause I solving those kind.

From me,
Silvertongue.

Anonymous said...

almost at the 200th weekend puzzle!!!!! that might be an excuse for me to make some cake...
~Z

Sheesh4 said...

What was the purpose of the above symbols that go through the alphabet?