Publishing your source is easier than writing a walkthrough

(Dan Fabulich) #1

A lot of people publish Inform games without a walkthrough and without an in-game hint system, which makes those games hard to finish for people who aren’t that good at puzzles, or if the puzzles are harder (or more unfair) than the author realizes.

My favorite approach is to write an in-game hint system that dynamically detects which hints to give you, giving progressively stronger clues until you figure it out, but I recognize that this requires a lot of work.

But you know what isn’t a lot of work? Providing the source code of your game so players can search through it.

I recently got stuck on a game I encountered on IFDB that included its Inform source code. When I found myself unable to continue, I found that using Cmd-F to search the file for keywords was itself a pleasant albeit spoileriffic experience, at least as good if not substantially better than reading a turn-by-turn walkthrough.

I’d still prefer an in-game hint system, but if you can’t bring yourself to write a walkthrough, publishing source may be a nice alternative.

Just a thought!

(Brian Rushton) #2

I like this idea a lot as an easy alternative.

There are some games abandoned long ago without walkthroughs. For those games, I sometimes use toastball.net/glulx-strings to dump the text. It’s not nearly as good as having the source, but it’s been a lifesaver on some of the 15-year old games out there.

#3

Another option is to release a transcript of the game, which you can do either by manually playing it, or exporting the “blessed” path from the skein.

#4

That’s a great site. I didn’t realize the HTML page worked as a local file, too. I think you can just download the github source: github.com/jcmf/glulx-strings

I’ve also had a few people write me and say they learned neat tricks from my source, which is nice, too. I like seeing what others have done, or how they did certain things.

One thing about publishing source: it is a very good thing. And while it is easier than writing a walkthrough, I know when I take the time to write a walkthrough, it forces me to question if my puzzles work. I often cringe at my explanations. So I fix things.

I suspect some people may be embarrassed their code isn’t very good, but most people will probably be reading it to see what to do next, not to grade someone on their coding finesse.