Guest Writer Mari speaks about Prototyping in Puzzle Design!

Hey ND Fans, today I have a *special entry* from a guest-writer: one of the designers for the ND dossier series, Mari! I spoke to her briefly about some of her methods for designing puzzles and riddles for games, and she decided to write a little bit about her techniques!


Also, for all the super-sleuths out there, the images are full size (if you click through), no more having to zoom in 400% with Photoshop 🙂 (Hmmm, what do these puzzles mean? *hint hint*)



Subject: Prototyping


After much trial and error, I’ve discovered that this is the single best thing you can do for an activity in a game.  Prototyping can make the kernel of an idea much, much, MUCH better… it can also kill a bad puzzle that I initially thought was a good puzzle, which I suppose makes it better in the long run, anyways.  🙂


This also means that I test a lot of concepts on my poor coworkers and colleagues (this happens to be Melissa most of the time).  See below for some of the things I have subjected them to recently:

DSCN2928 DSCN2929



As you can see, I love my sticky notes… A LOT.  I have yet to find anything that works better when I need feedback quickly. – Mari

Thanks Mari!


If you have any questions for Mari, or any questions about prototyping, post them in the comment session!

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6 responses to “Guest Writer Mari speaks about Prototyping in Puzzle Design!”

  1. Ringbearer says:

    I don’t have any questions, but I do want to say thanks to Mari! That was fascinating and I appreciate you taking the time to write an entry!

    (And thanks to you, AS, for posting it.) 😀

  2. Anonymous says:

    How are the more involved puzzles prototyped? Like the wells at the end of Phantom of Venice or the moving rooms in Blackmoor Manor?

  3. giftedgothic says:

    I’d just like to comment and say I LOVE the puzzles with the astronomical symbols. My favorite puzzle of all time is the moving rooms in Curse of Blackmoor Manor. 🙂

  4. I’ve always wondered how you come up with puzzles for the games. It makes sense that you would use a lot of post-it notes. I think it would be neat if you did some mini tutorials on how to create your own puzzles and post some of your own for us to solve!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I agree Katharine!

  6. Carrie says:

    As a teacher and HI enthusiast I’ve often wondered about how ideas for puzzles are developed. I especially love the ones which reinforce math and science. Let me know if you need a math and science puzzle concept volunteer!

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