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You'll find all my IF pages at http://www.firthworks.com/roger
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You should be able to send me an e-mail otherwise (don't use the site's
built-in reply), if you really want to. =)
As an exception, EAS3 - Luminous Horizon has a conversation-
based system. Basically, you chat with your companion in the
game. That's an interesting alternative. And Dreamhold is
supposed to notice when you're stuck and give you a nudge, but
it doesn't work very well (though it may have been improved lately).
Personally, I find such systems more natural, but they are really,
really seldom used, so players might expect/prefer traditional hints.
Whatever system you choose, make sure you *do* put hints in
the game. That's what all IF style guides have to say about it.
Dutch Dapper IV managed to do whitout, but only because of
exceptionally well balanced puzzles (my opinion - don't shoot!).
That would be a third option, I guess, if you're a good enough
game designer :-) But it's a risky approach, if you ask me.
Hope that helped,
I think hints are rather a necessity for today's average IF player
(it's not exactly a "hardcore", "dun need no stinkin' help" group of
gamers anymore), but only if they *are* hints. A hint should by its
nature try to nudge you in the right direction, not solve a puzzle for
you. Even if there are 4 hints for a particular room or object, the 4th
one shouldn't be a "sledgehammer", damn-near solving of the puzzle like
some games seem to offer. I mean if that's the case, you might as well
just release a complete walkthrough with your game. =)
> Hmm. I may go menu-based, or I may just stick with the simple system I
> have (you type hint, it shows you the topics... you can then type hint
> topic for the first hint, and then again for another or simply 'G' to
> keep going through them). It's nothing fancy, but it works.
If you'd rather have menu-based hints but think it will be too much
work to write the code for it, (assuming you use Inform) you should
check out SLAG, which is available at:
The SLAG hint compiler will turn a plain text file into Inform source
code, which you can then paste into your game (you just need to remove
the main routine and put in a call to start the hint menu when the
player types help).
there are lots of examples of how source files for SLAG might look.
I also tried Hints.h, which I couldn't even get to work (even after
procuring the other required files, including Utility.h which was
mis-represented as "Center.h" in the file's comments), although it
looked to much more closely resemble the InvisiClues(tm) by Infocom. It
seemed a lot of work to implement in comparison, and I finally just
stuck with SLAG because it leaves more room on the screen for menu and
hint topics, since it only uses a single-line status window at the top.
Thanks for replying though. =)
In "Not Just an Ordinary Ballerina," I coded it entirely by hand. I'm quite
sure I don't have the source code anymore, but I recall making the hint
system not only incremental but adaptive. If you weren't ready to work on a
given puzzle yet, it wouldn't give you the hints, it would just tell you you
needed to solve another puzzle first.