Most puzzles in IF are essentially either doors or chests: some combination of actions and/or items is required to “unlock” an obstacle that provides us with something new. For “doors”, this is access new section of the map; for “chests” this either a treasure or a new tool to use in further puzzles.
Today I’m wondering about how different authors create puzzles from a blank slate. Is your puzzle design objective-based or solution-based? That is to say, do you start with an objective or obstacle in mind and work backwards to devise a means to achieve or surpass it? Or do you have an idea for something the player must do, a fun solution for a puzzle, and create an objective with an obstacle necessitating that solution?
I’ll use Violet as an example to illustrate what I mean.
Objective-based puzzle design: the story calls for the PC to need a pen, and you decide to impede access to it by lodging it in a sprinkler that is too high to reach. With this as your starting point, you work backwards to create a solution wherein the player has to create a makeshift slingshot to knock it down.
Solution-based puzzle design: you have an idea for a puzzle solution where the player has to create a makeshift slingshot using household items. With this as your starting point, you give the player an objective where they require a pen that is lodged stuck in the ceiling.
I’m sure everyone’s answer will be different, but I’m curious which of these methods people tend to use more.