Walkthroughs - Author's Perspective

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Chris Knight

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Jan 23, 2007, 12:26:23 PM1/23/07
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Just curious what everyone's opinions -- as authors -- are on the use
of walkthroughs by players. If a player needs to use a walkthrough to
complete your game, do you feel as though you have been successful
("Ha! I outsmarted the player!"), or unsuccessful ("I made it too
hard")? Somewhere in between, maybe?

I suppose the above could apply to an individual puzzle, as well as to
the game overall.

Now I realize, of course, that there are no "one size fits all"
puzzles, and that something that I breeze through in a few minutes may
leave someone else stumped for weeks. I often feel, as a player, that
if I have to use a walkthrough that I have failed a little bit....
Although there are times where I end up thinking, "Heck, I *never*
would have thought of that" (the stupid lantern in "Zork: The
Undiscovered Underground" being the most recent painful example in my
memory); in those cases, I suppose, the walkthrough has actually
enhanced my experience with the game overall since I am then able to
keep playing.

Anyway, just wanted to get some thoughts from the collective wisdom
here. Apologies if this has been discussed before, I searched the
newsgroup and IFWiki and couldn't find anything recent.

- Chris
chris07knight -AT- gmail -DOT- com
http://mirrorshades.at.preempted.net/wordpress/

u...@mail.ru

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Jan 23, 2007, 12:52:18 PM1/23/07
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"""Chris Knight wrote:
"""
> Just curious what everyone's opinions -- as authors -- are on the use
> of walkthroughs by players. If a player needs to use a walkthrough to
> complete your game, do you feel as though you have been successful
> ("Ha! I outsmarted the player!"), or unsuccessful ("I made it too
> hard")? Somewhere in between, maybe?
>
Completely neutral, in fact;).

Valentine

fel...@yahoo.com

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Jan 24, 2007, 1:17:13 AM1/24/07
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On Jan 23, 12:26 pm, "Chris Knight" <chris07kni...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Just curious what everyone's opinions -- as authors -- are on the use
> of walkthroughs by players. If a player needs to use a walkthrough to
> complete your game, do you feel as though you have been successful
> ("Ha! I outsmarted the player!"), or unsuccessful ("I made it too
> hard")? Somewhere in between, maybe?

I discovered something funny during the beta-testing of "Sabotage!"
A lot of puzzles which I deemed trivial (and in fact were only meant
for pacing) proved to be pretty much insolvable, even after I added
lots of extra clues. On the other hand, I often find myself resorting
to the walkthrough in games other people consider easy.
I don't think it's a matter of puzzle difficulty. Rather, it's about
different ways of thinking. Some people simply have incompatible
minds. When one's an author and the other a player... you get the
picture.

Regards,
Felix

J. J. Guest

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Jan 24, 2007, 7:36:19 AM1/24/07
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On 24 Jan, 06:17, "feli...@yahoo.com" <feli...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> On Jan 23, 12:26 pm, "Chris Knight" <chris07kni...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Just curious what everyone's opinions -- as authors -- are on the use
> > of walkthroughs by players. If a player needs to use a walkthrough to
> > complete your game, do you feel as though you have been successful
> > ("Ha! I outsmarted the player!"), or unsuccessful ("I made it too
> > hard")? Somewhere in between, maybe?

I'd regard my game as unsuccessful if the player couldn't complete it
without
the walkthrough. I'd take it to mean that my puzzles weren't
sufficiently clued
or weren't sufficiently logical (within the internal logic of the
game). I'd also like
to think that if a player did resort to the walkthrough for a solution,
she would say
to herself, "oh, of course!" and be slightly cross with herself for not
thinking
of it. Whether I've actually succeeded in this is another matter, but
it's what I aim for.

J. J. Guest

Mike Snyder

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Jan 24, 2007, 11:47:58 AM1/24/07
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"Chris Knight" <chris0...@gmail.com> wrote in message
news:1169573183....@k78g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...

> Just curious what everyone's opinions -- as authors -- are on the use
> of walkthroughs by players. If a player needs to use a walkthrough to
> complete your game, do you feel as though you have been successful
> ("Ha! I outsmarted the player!"), or unsuccessful ("I made it too
> hard")? Somewhere in between, maybe?

I was less in favor of them a few years ago. I didn't like the idea of my
games being spoiled so easily, because the purpose *of* my games was to be
puzzly and challenging.

I'm still a little worried that walkthroughs are too easily used. When I
play IF, I tend to avoid the walkthrough because I want the -- hmmm...
pride? satisfaction? -- of solving the whole game on my own. But, once I
peek (or use hints), it becomes almost impossible to stop. Maybe it's
because I've already failed, so what does it matter? Or maybe it's because
I'm worried that the part that stuck me was so obscure that *anything* I
encounter next that's at all challenging would be something I'd never solve
on my own.

I think a good idea is to include a walkthrough separate from the game. That
makes it available, but it requires the player to at least go find it in the
archive or on my website. Depending on distribution, it also kind of lets
you track how often people are downloading it.

As a player, I appreciate walkthroughs. I play console games, and I'd be
lost without GameFaqs.com (or something similar). If I pay for a game, I'd
like to be able to finish it, even if it means I have to "ask" for help at
times. I'm still able to complete games without a walkthrough, but when I
really get stuck, it's great knowing that somebody somewhere has already
solved it and shared. :) I guess the same thing relates to IF. Is it better
to leave a player stuck in your game indefinitely because help isn't
available? That's no fun.

So ultimately, I guess it's up to the player. Even if using a walkthrough
ruins the experience, that's just how it has to go. If players can enjoy a
game even making extensive use of a walkthrough, then it's not necessarily
time wasted. And I don't think I've failed if players use the walkthrough,
any more than I think video game designers have failed if *I* need a
walkthrough at spots in their games (some exceptions -- I've found puzzles
and situations to be completely absurd and unsolvable, even if in commercial
video games).

If you design for the lowest common denominator, with puzzles that are
easily solvable by *anybody*, then the game isn't really a challenge at all.

--- Mike.


Poster

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Jan 26, 2007, 7:28:20 AM1/26/07
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Chris Knight wrote:
> Just curious what everyone's opinions -- as authors -- are on the use
> of walkthroughs by players. If a player needs to use a walkthrough to
> complete your game, do you feel as though you have been successful
> ("Ha! I outsmarted the player!"), or unsuccessful ("I made it too
> hard")? Somewhere in between, maybe?

I would definitely feel unsuccessful. I'd rather provide maps, hints,
feelies, anything but an actual walkthrough. That's why I loved the very
concept of Invisiclues so much as a player. They helped me out without
giving away the game like a walkthrough would have.

-- Poster

www.intaligo.com Building, INFORM, Seasons (upcoming!)

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