Emily had a good point in the unwinnable states thread about a WINNABLE command the player can type in to see if the game is still winnable.
What other out of world commands have you implemented for your own games, or did you like?
Listing Exits, Calling up a help menu, seeing credits, taking score/full score, Undo/Save/Restore, etc are pretty commonplace, but is there anything else?
I was considering a GOALS command that told the PC what he was trying to accomplish- the current game is fairly long and puzzle-heavy, so if the PC knew what he was trying to get done (or could easily remember) it might help him.
Anyone have any other good ideas?
I like the way Emily Short herself put this in her game “Floatpoint”
When you THINK it lists off things you have to do, which is very helpful since the game can take so many turns for its small size.
I think instead of requiring the player to type WINNABLE every other turn to make sure they haven’t shot themselves in the foot, I think taking a page from Blue Lacuna would help - make the player hesitate and throw up a warning when something that seriously affects the game is about to happen.
“As you reach out to feed the flamingo food to the flamingo, you pause for a moment and think that somehow, somewhere, this flamingo food might serve a higher purpose.”
Along the same lines, J. Robinson Wheeler’s “First Things First” had a device that you could point at something to find out whether it was useful for a puzzle or was just some scenery (useful because it was a big game with lots of flavoring items); “Jigsaw” had a device that told you whether you’d found all the maguffins in a particular area before you left that area, because sometimes it wasn’t going to be easy to get back.
Re the “winnable” thing – I don’t know if anyone’s mentioned the idea of freezing the “undo” history when the game becomes unwinnable. So there’s no explicit warning as you play, but “undo” always rewinds to the last winnable move. (Probably with some kind of warning that you were jumping back many turns.)
I don’t know whether this would come off feeling more or less artificial than the “winnable” command.
Actually, I see this is already in the “Unwinnable” thread, close enough.
“City of Secrets” also had commands to list and identify the people you’d met (since there were a lot of NPCs, and it would be possible to put the game down and come back later having forgotten who was who), and a thing that, instead of score, listed the chapters you’d experienced so far.
I grew very fond of Broken Legs’ >WHO IS system.
As suggested by a blind acquaintance, the command CLEAR (or something similar) to erase the text buffer window.
If that’s desirable for people using screen-readers, then it should be an interpreter feature, not a game feature.