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.
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.
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.
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!
Lead Game Designer