Continuing the discussion from The future of IFDB: volunteers wanted:
@8bitAG I didn’t realize you were a CASA admin! I had a question about how best to post invisiclues.
I enjoy writing invisiclues instead of step-by-step walkthroughs. But AFAIK there’s really no good place to upload Invisiclues as a file that people can browse on the web and click on. CASA and IF Archive allow you to upload plain text, but then you have to obscure the spoilers with rot13, and readers have to reveal them by copying and pasting to rot13.com, which is a hassle, especially on a phone.
I believe I could convert my invisiclues to HTML (by hand?!) and upload them to CASA, but even then, readers would have to download the hints and open the downloaded file, because CASA can’t let just anybody upload HTML, for security reasons. That also means that the hints wouldn’t work at all on a phone, where you can’t download an HTML file and open it.
My current solution is to post invisiclues here on this forum using
[spoiler] tags https://intfiction.org/tag/invisiclues but I’d prefer it if there were also a good way to distribute the hints on CASA. Is there a way to do something like this?
For IF Archive or CASA, the other thing I’d want in that case is a way to edit my submissions. When I was in the habit of uploading invisiclues to the archive, it was a bummer that I’d finish it and then wait days for the clues to go live, then link to them, and then get feedback, and then wait an unknown amount of time to edit my hints, incorporating feedback.
That’s probably a question that’s above my “pay grade” so I will have to pass it on to the site owner… There must be some way we could incorporate such a hint system but I guess there will probably be some restrictions with the current site structure. Not all hints & solutions are delivered as plain text… we do have images, word documents & the like… and external links are always a possibility to trusted sites.
(I understand that it’s very cool, and there is a retro attraction, to have the invisiclues effect on the hints… but plenty of people would be happy with just the hints in plain vanilla text form. )
The point of “invisiclues” for me isn’t the visual effect; it’s all about hiding spoilers.
When I want to use invisiclues as a player, I just want the tiniest smallest hint that will get me unstuck, and I don’t want to accidentally read a hint that I didn’t need yet.
This forum hides spoilers with a nifty blur effect like this, but for my purposes, I’d be even happier with nested menus, like you’d see on UHS Hints. That way, there’s no way to accidentally see even the questions for a part of the game that you’re not working on right now.
You could use SLAG to create Z-code files. Both the SLAG source and the Z-code file can be uploaded to if-archive, and you can easily create a web link where the Z-code file can be run. Like this one for Zork 1:
I’ve never liked Z menus. You can’t click on them, even if you want to!
Clickable menus are possible with Glulx, see Kerkerkruip. I suggested making that the default (along with some other changes to menus), but like a lot of things it didn’t go anywhere.
Another possibility would be to make an interpreter detect a menu and make it clickable after the fact. Pretty hacky though.
I’m thinking that an audience of text adventure players probably couldn’t care less about having to use the keyboard, especially when there are clear instructions on which keys to use PLUS cursor keys work too.
I don’t mean to be ungrateful. Let me give some more constructive feedback.
- Clicking doesn’t work
- Selecting the sixth option in a menu requires typing
N N N N N Enter. Instead, options should be numbered, allowing players to type
- Selecting Q from the top-level menu in Parchment quits the “game,” blanking out the screen. You have to reload to get the hints back, but that’s not at all obvious.
- On my iPhone, you have to tap on the menu options to raise the keyboard, but when you tap N, the keyboard dismisses, forcing you to raise the keyboard option again. To select the fifth option requires
tap N tap N tap N tap N tap N return
- Words don’t wrap correctly on iPhone, either; it’s using a fixed-width font that wraps in the middle of a word.
- SLAG doesn’t support images. (I often include mini maps or diagrams in my hints.) Glulx supports them, but the SLAG Perl script does not.
- Z menus are disorienting in a screen reader like VoiceOver or NVDA. (HTML links work great in screen readers. In fairness, even the Discourse spoiler blur doesn’t work with screen readers; the reader simply reads the text.)
I think if my goal were “how do I turn my invisiclues into a distributable file,” SLAG might be an acceptable option, but my goal is “how do I provide newbies with the exact hint they need, and nothing more?” Since the hints are oriented towards newbies, usability and touch support are important to me.