Game Concpets #3 – Ennundrum

Ennundrum was a game idea I came up with a few years ago. It was based on the zebra puzzle. I had a lot of fun solving the puzzle and it got me thinking that you should be able to generate a puzzle of this complexity at random. After coming up with an algorithm I struggled for a long time with how to actually visualize the game. How do you present the clues in an easy to understand fashion? How would the user enter in their answer?

One day it hit me out of the blue. I’m not completely satisfied with the solution, but you can try it here.

The user had to be presented with all the possible answers, but not be overwhelmed by so much information. At first I had each of the different object types marked as letters or numbers. This made the game way to hard to keep track of. It was also very visually unappealing. I ended up making the pieces easily recognizable images by category. This also made it much easier when I had to describe the relationships between the different objects. I had been coming up with a whole system making relational statements like “the owner of the dog flies a helicopter”, but it was proving very difficult and the grammar was always a bit off. With images I got to let the user fill in the words with their minds.

I think there is a lot of potential for a game like this to be used to make interesting in game puzzles with unique random elements. With a proper algorithm you can even ensure the puzzle will always be solvable.

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