Hi all! This is a fairly broad question, forgive me!
I’d had an idea recently of a mystery game concept that wasn’t about finding the right clues, but instead having an abundance of information that you have to sift through and decide on which ones are the most pertinent.
What I want to avoid is making the mystery experience have only one solution, because in that situation, the player isn’t really deducing the mystery, so much as they’re deducing the solution the designer could imagine, if that makes sense.
I also want to create the experience of having an abundance of information but not having up-front knowledge of it’s importance… that’s the deducing part which I’d love to leave up to the player.
Points of inspiration are Scents and Semiosis by Sam Kobo Ashwell and Dwarf Fortress, where in both of these the player encounters procedural generated text that feels rich and full of meaning. Also Ultima Ratio Regum which recently had an update where riddles are generated that have actual solutions inside the game world.
I don’t necessarily need to hit the detail level of those last two, which is enormous, but I would like to approximate the experience.
I recently discovered Shadows of Doubt which initially seems like it’s exactly what I want to do, while also simulating a small city! But my impression there is that while it is constantly generating murder mysteries, the amount of clues are still relatively small: you find the ‘right’ pieces and solve the murder.
I suppose the difference here would be that instead of finding the ‘right’ pieces, the gameplay I’m striving for would be ‘building the case,’ and there might be a minimum threshold necessary for success, but the goal is to build the strongest case, not the minimum viable one, if that makes sense.
(I’ve got other questions, I’m working on, such as if Inform7 is the best choice for this, and how to implement and build the procgen stuff, but I also want to make sure I’m not accidentally making the same thing as someone else!)