Hint system?

I have brought this up earlier in another thread, but I guess this is the right place for it, so I’ll post it again.

Has anyone ever thought about creating a hint system that allows the author to write hints for his / her games? Something like the UHS, uhs-hints.com/ but for us ordinary mortals and without the money involved.
It’s all about getting our games played, and keeping the player interested in playing our games. Nothing is more frustrating than being stuck in a game without a clue on how to proceed. An otherwise great game will be dropped. Best case scenario: The player will move on to another game, Worst case scenario: The player will lose interest in playing IF altogether.

Often we hear the cries for walk-troughs or hint-sheets and it is my belief that more games would be played and enjoyed if there was some way the player could get help, or a hint that would lead him / her on the right track.

Many/most IF has built-in hints these days. I6/I7 and probably TADS should make it easy.

I know… and Adrift has too, although not a very good one in V.4.
I didn’t know that I6/7 and TADS had built-in…

I7 has several extensions. The more tailored you want it, the harder it gets. (Shocker.)
A simple UHS-style list is downright easy-ish, with all questions available whenever the player wants to ask. A system favored these days is one that only reveals questions the player is facing at the given moment, which is more complicated and tends to be much more buggy.

One possibility is to include a walk-through or hint sheet with the game.

The TADS 3 default library includes a pretty nifty hint menu that allows you to set conditions on which hints are shown when.

I’ve had some remarkably buggy experiences with TADS games that use that feature, though, so it’s definitely an option that requires more than a straight out list.

Of course, having one of these does not prevent an author from adding others - there is no reason a game couldn’t have a print-out hint list, a walkthrough, context-sensitive help, and a clue-bat with which you could hit various items to find out their secrets.

To me, the best case scenario is when a player send me an e-mail and ask for help. (But I agree that a built-in hint system is generally a good thing, and I will probably put one in my next game.)

I totally agree with you, but often players want to be able to solve their problem right away, and not wait for the author to get back to them…
I remember in the old days (Yes, I am that old) when the computer magazines had a help section. You had to write your question and then hope to heaven that your problem was answered in the next issue… (We’re talking the 80’s here :wink: ) The difference is that then you paid money for the games, so you were more willing to wait since you wanted your moneys worth. Today, if a game gets too tough, people are more likely to drop it and move on to the next one.

A hint-sheet would be preferble, imo, since a walk-through gives away too much… If I’ve had the trouble of making a game, I want the player to work solving it… but that’s just me :smiley:

Hah! Yeah. I remember those, too. For Amiga owners in Denmark and Norway (I think), it got particularly obnoxious because the only published magazine as I can recall was a Swedish one. That, coupled with the abject pleading commonly adopted when you posted, well, that was a sight to see. “Please help me, Läsarlotsen! You’re my only hope at beating Xanthar!” :stuck_out_tongue:

As for hint systems, I greatly admire the ones that path-find solutions (so that the game itself, in a way, can fluidly keep track of clues and their relationship in the game world). I realize it’s not a universal solution, though.