Programming Is Bit Like Solving Puzzles

Actually, programming can be a lot like solving puzzles.

Recently I added a flashlight functionality to my zombie game and started pondering how to make it look better. I had some ideas, but thought to ask about this at Leadwerks forums. Here’s how the shadows look at the moment. (yeh, I know it’s very dark picture)

I had some other functionality under development, so it wasn’t until now that I checked the forums and saw idea by tylerp: “Use a transparent cone/cylinder.”

I think that’s a brilliant idea – and bloody simple too. (I’m leaving town now, so I couldn’t test the idea yet)

Programming sure is puzzle solving.

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. I think if you project a realistic flashlight with inconsistencies then players may just think it’s bugged and so a plain one may be better…

  2. Kinda, but I agree with Sargon up there. I’d say Problem Solving instead, not Puzzle.

    Also, on the flashlight. If you project a flashlight spot type thing, it will look much more realistic. Think about flashlights, they are usually not very consistent, they are bright in the middle, have a dark ring, then a bright outside. (Well, depends on the flashlight, but you get the idea)


  3. I often describe programming in a very similar way… it is problem solving… it is like solving a big puzzle that is made up of many levels of micro-puzzles.

    The other day I was explaining to some non-tech people that the project a few of us were working on had a few bugs that we needed to find and squash. The look in their eyes said something like “can’t you just do it right the first time – program it without the bugs!”. After I moved beyond the moment of rage, I explained to them that asking us to program something without ever finding a bug is like asking us to do a 10000 word crossword puzzle in permanent pen… only harder.

    I’m forever having to find metaphors to explain technical issues to non-technical people… explaining it ‘Oprah style’… I’m sure most of us have similar stories.

  4. You know you found the right answer when your bank account starts to overflood, and you need to ask your local bank to upgrade their bank system to 128-bit mainframes. So it’s like solving puzzles.

  5. It’d look even better if you could project an image through it, to get the light corona effect (dark and light rings that form in the torchlight) :)

  6. Programming is not like puzzle solving.
    Because when you solve a puzzle you know that you got to the right answer.
    When you program something, you don’t know if its the right answer and there also might be bugs or things you didn’t think about.

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