After some very productive testing with very helpful testers, I’m back to my Inform 7 project.
Since there are players with all sorts of preferences/needs, I know that there is no one size fits all answer to this question:
I’d like to minimize the need for most or many players to deal with —MORE— prompts. Something feels tiring about typing “HELP” and getting more than a page of instructions, for instance. Does anyone have thoughts on a target font/zoom level to target a specific screen output for a majority/plurality of players that still allows for a reasonable amount of text? Are defaults adequate?
I suppose doing a poll would be one option, but I’m curious if this is something other authors think about.
Edit: The idea is that I will test/debug my game with a specific interpreter config.
old timers like me WILL point to the good ol’ 80x25 fixed-width screen as THE standard.
oh, HELP ought not to be synonym of INSTRUCTIONS: the latter descends from the original “do you want instruction (y/n)” at the start of Crowther & woods adv350, whose has as “screen” standard the ASR-33 with a full roll of paper as line depth.
back then, when the facilities for swapping between interactive programs was limited (or the OS was single-task…) instructions was literally printed, on TTYs or, later, printers, so generally the idea was that the sequence
created an instruction file, to be printed and used as reference (cfr. the shareware market, where the manuals was .txt files bundled together with the software; in the IF archive there’s, for example, the then- shareware versions of AGT and TADS2)
This is, I think, the historical context of “wall of text” often generated by INSTRUCTION metacommand, HELP ought, IMVHO, to lead to an interactive menu, whose seems today the standard (I guess that all modern major IF engine has at least one contrib menuing library)
Best regards from Italy,