如何有效解决益智游戏中的棘手谜题?

作者:Jamie Madigan

你是否曾在游戏中遇到过非常棘手的谜题,但是当你离开游戏并在做些其它事而再次归来时,会发现它变得特别简单了?

我便在最近玩的一款独立益智游戏《QUBE》中遇到了这种情况。《QUBE》是一款第一人称益智游戏(注:有点像《传送门》),玩家可以在某种环境下操控特定的砖块去解决谜题,并离开测试室。不同颜色的砖块将发挥不同的作用,而当你进入一个多种砖块同时发挥作用的房间时,谜题便会变得更加棘手,且要求你投入更多精力去完成。举个例子来说吧,在某个区域,你将遇到一款朝紫色容器滚动的球体,而当这个球体通过蓝色区域时它将会变成蓝色。通过观察去解决该谜题便意味着你需要先让球滚过红色区域,然后再朝着蓝色区域滚动,如此它便会变成紫色的球(注:红色+蓝色=紫色),从而能够匹配斜坡最底部的紫色容器。

如何有效解决益智游戏中的棘手谜题?

Qube(from psychologyofgames)

我发现《QUBE》最后阶段的一些谜题非常困难,因为它们总是要求你以全新的方式去结合不同的游戏机制。尽管我们在后来回想时会发现解决方法很明显,但是在游戏时我却怎么都想不出来。

这便是一款优秀的益智游戏的优点,但是如果玩家在这些谜题中受挫,他们便会立刻前往GameFaqs或YouTube上去寻找解决方法。《QUBE》甚至未拥有任何游戏故事或游戏玩法。游戏唯一强调的一点便是解决谜题,所以我并不想作弊。相反地,我始终牢记在面对一个复杂的问题时,我们可以暂时离开游戏去做一些轻松的事,而不是一直在游戏中纠结着非得想出问题的答案。我们有可能在冲澡的时候,在散步的时候或者在即将睡着时想出答案。通过采用这种策略,我们可以在陷入困境时先离开游戏,并最终回到游戏中去解决谜题。

几周后,我阅读了Jinah Lehrer的新书《Imagine:How Creativity Works》,并发现心理学家们一直在研究这种现象,并将其带到了神经系统科学中。Lehrer引用了Simone Sandkuhler和Joydeep Bhattacharya的研究,即研究人员使用了脑电图学(EEG)去测量人类大脑在尝试解决谜题时的活动。他们发现当人们能够想出一个谜题的解决方法时,可靠的指标是源自人脑中与放松和自由联想相关的脑波,而非与注意力和集中思想相关的大脑领域。当人们缺少足够的脑波时,他们便不可能解决谜题,即使是在获得线索的前提下。

如何有效解决益智游戏中的棘手谜题?

Qube(from psychologyofgames)

Lehrer在他的书中说道,当提到创造性和问题解决时,这便是对于人类大脑中不同部位的运行(或不运行)的说明。当我们的大脑能够在某种程度上徘徊,并挣脱假设和约束去创造各种理念的结合时,创造性见解便会诞生。这便会产生上述研究中的脑波。如此看来,更加集中的努力和关注将破坏创造性解决方法,因为它们将刺激我们大脑中的前额皮质等部位,从而过分强调我们所知道的内容。所以说过分的关注并不是件好事。

我们以Lehrer引用的另一个研究为例:Carlo Reverberti等人在2005年对那些具有问题解决能力的患者进行了研究,他们伤害了自己大脑的前额皮质,并很难做到集中且避免分心。一开始研究人员先提供给这些对象一些较简单的谜题,即包含了罗马数字和数学。如下:

“从下述表达中移动一条线从而得出正确答案。

IV=III+III

很多人都会认为答案便是将最左边的“I”移动到“V”的右边,从而变成“VI=III+III”或者“6=3+3”。超过90%的研究对象会给出这样的答案,即与一群未遭遇脑损伤的控制对象一样。

但是现在我们可以考虑一个更复杂的问题:

“从下述表达中移动几条线去获得正确答案:

III=III+III

你是否能想出答案?如果可以的话,你真的很棒。最终只有43%的控制对象能够回答出正确的答案。而在这些人中又有82%的人是未拥有足够的注意力去解决谜题,即有人将“+”转变成另一个“=”,从而得出了“III=III=III”或者“3=3=3”。那些不能集中注意力的对象便不会去限制自己解决问题的方法,也不会受到一些未声明的假设的约束,如“你不能改变等式”之类的内容。”

如何有效解决益智游戏中的棘手谜题?

mr_freeze(from psychologyofgames)

而在像《QUBE》这类型游戏中也是如此。在较后面的一些关卡中,玩家需要在一个玻璃罩中打乱所有砖块,这便要求他们能够意识到基于这种方法去操控砖块的话,他们便能将其发射到玻璃罩上而击破砖块,从而改变谜题的规则。如此看来,这便不只局限于像《QUBE》或《传送门》这样的益智游戏了。这既有可能是《塞尔达传说》那样的游戏,即你必须想出如何击败最终的boss,有可能是RPG,即你需要加载不同的构建顺序,也有可能是战斗类游戏,即你需要尝试着使用不同武器和武装设备。而作为玩家的你只需要尽可能地放松,并将注意力暂时转移到其它地方,因为这便有可能激活大脑中的其它部位,从而帮助你更好地解决谜题。

所以下一次当你深陷游戏谜题中时,请不要直接转向GameFAQs。出去散散步,与小狗玩一会,折折衣服或者做些其它能转移大脑注意力的事。否则你的大脑便会因为使用过度而遭遇重创。

(转自游戏邦)

Creativity, Puzzle Games, and Brain Damage

by Jamie Madigan

Have you ever encountered a puzzle in a game that utterly stumped you, then wondered why it seemed so trivially easy when you stepped away and came back to it after doing something else for a while?

I have, especially on a recent playthrough of an indie puzzle game called “QUBE” (http://qube-game.com/). For those not familiar, QUBE is a first person puzzle game (kind of like Portal) where you manipulate special blocks in the environment to solve puzzles and exit testing chambers. Different colored blocks do different things, and once you enter a room where multiple blocks come into play, the puzzles can get really tricky and require some real insight to solve. For example, in one area you cause a clear globe to roll down a slope towards a purple receptacle, and when the ball passes through a blue field it turns blue. The insight needed to solve the puzzle is that you need to get the ball to roll first through a red field, then a blue field so that it turns purple (red + blue = purple) to match the purple receptacle at the bottom of the slope.

Now click this to make it go here, then AH NO NO NO! NOT THERE! Start over…

I found some of the puzzles in the final stages of QUBE devilishly difficult because they constantly required you to combine the different game mechanics in new and unprecedented ways. The solutions seemed obvious in hindsight but I simply did not see them at all prior that “ah-ha!” moment.

That’s the hallmark of a good puzzle game, but upon getting stumped in games like these, people (myself included) will often immediately head to GameFaqs or YouTube to find the solution so they can get on with things. But QUBE doesn’t even have a story or any other kind of gameplay. The sole point of the game is to solve the puzzles, so I didn’t want to cheat. Instead I was reminded that when faced with a difficult problem requiring a creative insight we are often greatly aided by stepping away and doing something relaxing for a while instead of trying to brute force things and keep staring the puzzle down until we figure it out. The insight needed for the solution then often comes to us in the midst of a hot shower, during a relaxing walk, or in the moments right before we drift off to sleep. Adopting this strategy, I stepped away when stumped and eventually finished the game.

Weeks later I was reading Jonah Lehrer’s new book Imagine: How Creativity Works and discovered that psychologists have extensively studied this phenomenon and actually honed in on the neuroscience of it a bit. Lehrer cites a study by Simone Sandkuhler and Joydeep Bhattacharya where the researchers used electroencephalography (EEG) to measure the brain activity of subjects trying to solve riddles. They found that a reliable indicator of when someone was about to figure out a puzzle was a steady rhythm of alpha waves from parts of the brain associated with relaxation and free association, and much less activity from areas of the brain associated with attention and focussed thought. When people lacked sufficient alpha waves, they were less likely to solve the riddles, even when given overt clues.

I don’t understand. I keep doing the same thing and not getting a different result.

Lehrer argues in his book that this is an illustration of how different parts of our brain work or don’t work when it comes to creativity and problem solving. Creative insights come about when our minds can wander in a way that lets them to break free of assumptions and constraints to create unprecedented combinations of concepts. This results in the pattern of alpha waves cited in the above study. As such, highly focussed effort and attention are actually the bane of creative problem solving, since they activate parts of our brain like the prefrontal cortex that overemphasize what we think we know and censor possibilities simply on the grounds that they’re weird or supposedly outside the context of the problem. Too much focus can be a bad thing.

Take, for example, another study that Lehrer cites: Carlo Reverberti et al.’s 2005 examination of the problem solving prowess of patients who had damage to their prefrontal cortexes and who thus had difficulty concentrating and avoiding distraction. The researchers started by giving these subjects a relatively simple puzzle involving Roman numerals and math. I’m paraphrasing, but it went something like this:

“Move any single line from the expression below to make it true.

IV = III + III

Many of you probably see that the answer is to simply move the “I” from the left of the “V” to the right of the “V” to make “VI = III + III” or “6 = 3 + 3.” More than 90% of the subjects got that one, similar to a group of control subjects without brain injuries.

But now consider a trickier one:

“Move any single line from the expression below to make it true.

III = III + III

Chew on that one. Can you figure it out? If so, good work. Only 43% of control subjects got it right. However, 82% of those with deficient attention spans solved the riddle, seeing how you just have to rotate one of the lines from the “+” sign to make it another “=” sign so that the expression reads “III = III = III” or “3 = 3 = 3.” The subjects who had difficulty focussing their attention also had difficulty restricting their search for solutions and didn’t hold on to unstated assumptions like “you can’t screw with the operators in the equation.”

Remember how creative you had to get in Batman Arkham City’s Mr. Freeze boss fight?

And so it is with games like QUBE and games of its ilk. In one of the later levels the solution to a puzzle (spoiler alert!) where you shuffle blocks around in a glass-covered pit requires you to realize that you can manipulate the blocks in such a way that one of them gets launched up at the glass cover to shatter it and completely change the rules of that puzzle. And it’s not just puzzle games like QUBE or Portal. It could be a Zelda game where you have to figure out how to beat an end dungeon boss, an RPG where you load out different stats and abilities, a strategy game where you try different build orders, or a combat game where you try different weapons and loadouts. Relaxation and shoving your attention somewhere else are likely to help because of the different parts of the brain that they activate.

So next time you’re stuck, don’t go straight to GameFAQs. Take a walk, play with your dog, fold some laundry, or do anything else that lets you mind wander. Or I suppose you could try getting brain damage. Apparently that works, too.(source:psychologyofgames)