Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments
December 11, 2013
It’s been a long time since the last posting! Time flies. As you have probably heard our main Sherlock Holmes website has received a vigorous facelift. We did our best to make the Crimes & Punishments site to be a real mine of information on the new Sherlock Holmes game. A rich gallery of screenshots and videos, as well as everything you wanted to know about the game: its aims, production and, above all, a vast amount of information on the gameplay mechanics. So if by any chance you have not yet investigated the new website, please do now! I am sure it will take you some time to learn about all the features that we designed to convey the feeling of BEING the renowned Sherlock Holmes, whose extraordinary talents you are going to exploit to the max in Q2 2014 (believe it or not but I’d love to communicate a more specific date here).
Once finish, I warmly welcome you to come back to the devblog as I have prepared something special for you. To be honest I like thinking that you consider most of my blog updates to be special and you look forward to the new articles :-) Ok, let’s be serious and talk about Puzzles in Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishments. Today I am joined by Igor Salnitskiy, Frogwares puzzle designer:
There is no Sherlock Holmes game without puzzles to solve and many players and journalists who I had a lucky chance to meet and discuss they all were asking about puzzles. If you flash back to The Testament of Sherlock Holmes, you will probably recall the number of puzzles we had in the game and their difficulty. Not that it’s a deadly feud for our players but we end up having those who criticize us for making puzzles that tough, and those criticizing their easiness; anyway it’s a good thing that our games combine people, even though personally I’d prefer them to unite in order to compliment but criticizing is good as well – so if you have something to say, please talk to us!
Puzzle difficulty is a delicate balance and we continue our experiments here. As we always learn and try to build on our previous experience, with Crimes and Punishments we tried to insert our puzzles into the story and to make sure they do not distract you from the actual gameplay. This means that we have less unlock_the_door_to_proceed_further puzzles replacing them with story-wise puzzles instead.
At the moment we have 79 (!) puzzles for you, let’s see some of them without going into spoilers:
Your investigation will bring some engaging clues and objects to consider: what’s this? who could use it and why? Therefore you are going to test different substances and pieces of material found at the crime scenes trying to identify their nature and usage:
By the way, all these tests are based on the real laws of chemistry and physics, as well as the common methods of investigation in XIX century! So I doubt if you can do anything of this at your home today.
Once you realize where the clue leads you to, we will give you a huge variety of articles, magazines, maps, books and Sherlock Holmes’ personal archives to look for, match and juxtapose some specific pieces of information:
If done correctly, you will be able to reconstruct the crime timeline within a minute accuracy:
Another kind of awesome puzzles you are going to solve is the so-called 3D Constructors. You dint want math puzzles – rejoice as you get this:
We have also created a new concept for lock snapping. On the whole the process of creating a new puzzle does not really differ from any other process here at Frogwares: design-discuss-reject-start over. Somewhere on the 10th circle it works and you can explore the concept deeply, remove the downsides and add the required features to it. Here are some pictures that illustrate the actual creation process - concepts go first:
Visualization goes second:
As the detective is known as a master of disguise, there is another mechanic for you to play with – you will reincarnate Sherlock Holmes into complete stranger:
I guess we all are going to have a big laugh when sharing the fancy screenshots of our detective later on Facebook.
We have also spiced it up by bringing some slight action to the game. Thus we will force you to quickly make decisions instead of the usual logic solutions. Fighting, arm-wrestling, first aid, snake charming (SNAKE CHARMING!! would you ever imagine it for a Sherlock Holmes mystery?) and many other:
For those of you, fans of Sherlock Holmes as depicted by Guy Ritchie, we have added some weapon to the game. A tricky one but still a weapon – you will have to handle a gastraphete, a crossbow used by the Ancient Greeks. Smart, isn’t it?
I guess we have revealed enough by now but there is another talent of our sleuth that you are going to exploit in Crimes and Punishments – his sense of smell! You read that right – we are now working on the next gen puzzles that will allow us delivering various scents via the screen for you to identify…
Igor Salnitskiy and Olga Ryzhko