I’ve been encouraged to play more of FTL: Faster Than Light, and a challenge map series for Minecraft called The Code results in some really brain-bending puzzles.

 FTL: Faster Than Light

FTL is an indie game funded from a Kickstarter campaign. The premise of the game is a good idea, where you are a spaceship with information you need to keep way from the rebels, and you are traveling from one galaxy system to another with a set goal to arrive at the end of the 10th ahead of the rebels.

After dedicating 6 hours to it though, I’ve found it to be lacking a special something. The trouble is that it’s just not engaging enough. After the first hour I read some FAQ’s on how to get the most from the game, but I’m finding that it just seems that I don’t have enough investment in the game to warrant me spending large amounts of time with it.

The game certainly is good and interesting to visit for short periods of time, but I don’t receive enough perceived value when compared with other things that I could be doing. Maybe it’s because a vast amount of the time is spent staring at a static view of your spaceship, maybe it’s because there are just random encounters as you work your way through to the end of the game.

I’m not looking for a skinner-box model from the game either to keep me compelled to play it. There’s a good Extra Credits piece about the Skinner Box model in terms of game design too. I’m looking for a more enjoyable engagement throughout the process of the game, which is that special something. A mystery to solve as progress is made, or more of a mental challenge, or just a decent narrative to help keep my interest going. I don’t know what would help in the case of FTL, but something extra is definitely needed to lift it up above the rest of the pack.

The Code Challenges

For the rest of the day I was engaged with solving some challenge maps from an excellent designer called Jesper, who has created a series of three challenge maps, called:

  • The Code
  • The Code II: Infinite
  • The Code III: The End

The Code

consists of a hallway with 30 doors, 15 on each side. Each leads to a different challenge or puzzle to solve, resulting in a five digit code to unlock the next door. Each door contains very different types of challenges and puzzles to solve. One of the nice things about this challenge map is that some of the puzzles are interlocking, resulting in you heading back to an earlier solved one to find that there’s more you can do with it. It’s a clever mechanism, and the author plays with your sense of direction too, resulting in a non-Euclidean experience that is interesting to get your head around.

The Code II: Infinite

This challenge map takes a major non-Euclidean doorway from The Code and creates an entire challenge map from it. The techniques that are used result in a highly challenging experience, as you attempt to figure out what you should be doing. Sometimes an area will not be possible to solve and when you backtrack to an earlier area, it instead leads to a completely new and different place that helps you to carry on.

The Code III: The End

This is the masterpiece of the authors non-Euclidian work. The mechanism of your movement from one place to another makes no sense on a normal map, and yet coming to grips with understanding eventually gets easier. You may find yourself in a large room with an access area high up across the room, and yet when you head across to the room to a lower hallway, turning in to a side passage results in you now being in that high up area looking down on the large room you just came from. The design of the puzzles here are quite brilliant, and some of the best technical effects that I’ve ever seen in Minecraft are performed here, resulting in whole new ways of interacting with the environment than have ever been seen before.

After finishing off The End, I found out that it was released just a few weeks ago, so tomorrow I plan to get started on creating a walkthrough to assist others who may be looking for some extra assistance with it too.

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