It sounds marvellous, and a much less painful way of walking through than having to consult and type in a huge long list of commands! Your Ma and Pa deserve it; do it for them if not for us.
Honestly, this reminds me more of a transcript than a walkthrough. A walkthrough is a most direct path, which often cuts many optional or flavor implementations in the game. Reading through a ClubFloyd transcript is the closest thing to a Director’s cut I’ve seen, because you experience the game in a more typical meandering fashion as well as getting the running commentary from the folks in ClubFloyd, who tend to be fairly experienced IF players. Hell, sometimes the author is present and then it is, for all intents and purposes, a director’s cut.
There’s a reason I enjoy the ClubFloyd transcripts so much. I’m able to experience more IF titles, noting their writing and design decisions, in the same amount of time.
Well maybe based on the collective comments here I’ll add more commentary to my readthrough list than I originally envisioned…
This is an intriguing idea to me, precisely because of its proximity to transcripts.
These days I (and those I play IF with) go to some lengths to record and circulate a transcript of any game we play, if at all possible. This is so that, years later, I can share a particularly good passage of text that’s stuck in my mind, or search all transcripts for “which was the game with the tremendous kielbasa”, or suchlike.
Without recording a transcript at the time, the only way to access text deep in a game is to spend the time to do all the puzzles again, which means I’d probably never see it again (and I often regret not having transcripts for the earlier games I’ve played, like Curses).
ClubFloyd transcripts are a precious resource to me for the same reason. (I sometimes wonder about a community-based transcript archive, but that would be a separate thread.)
Having a readthrough mode, and/or a common practice of there being machine-readable walkthrough-ish command lists to power it, would go some way to lessening my need to be on the ball about remembering to keep transcripts.
(I don’t know if there is already productised tooling to apply a bare walkthrough-style list of bare commands to a game to get a transcript? It’s clearly just a Small Matter Of Programming ™, but is it actually done in practice?)
even within slideshow mode, they can type as many autonomous commands as they like, to see what happens, and play around, with the caveat that (unless they explicitly exit the mode) the next time they enter an empty command line, the game state will back up to the last point they left off in the “slideshow”, and proceed with the next command from there
To be clear – does this reset all game state, so that if the player chucks the macguffin down the bottomless well during their unscheduled tour stop, it magically comes back before resuming the readthrough?
(Presumably quite system-dependent, if so!)
Yep, you can burn, smash and pitch your macguffins all day long, and the next time you enter an empty command all is well! In TADS you can manually call undo() on the VM, and I have it set up so that the VM stops remembering game state while you are entering your own commands. So as soon as you enter another empty command, one call to undo() brings you back to the game state before you entered any of your own commands. And the process can be repeated indefinitely…
Certainly if anyone was interested in using this for Inform, someone knowledgeable in that platform would need to implement it. I’ve only done it for TADS, but conceivably any TADS author could take what I’ve written and use it in their games.
I’m in the dark… what’s that?
I agree with you entirely! I like what’s being proposed here as kind of a “transcript-on-rails” – this mode would gather the text of a game in a way that could be easily referenced at a later time but present it in a way that replicates the experience of playing through the game. I also really value transcripts of games for the reasons that you mention; I do something similar when I play IF, though more piecemeal, by copying passages I like into a text file that I save in the same directory as the game file.
I’m glad for any favorable response! Note that this is not how I approach playing IF, but if I can make it that much more accessible/palatable/marketable, I will…
Any volunteers to make a generic Inform version?
Totally. I’m still relatively new to parser-based IF, and I often (shamelessly) resort to walkthroughs and hints to get past parts of games that stump me. I also think this tendency to get stumped by puzzly parser games is why I’ve gotten more and more into choice-based games, especially those from Choice of Games. The player advances the game by making a choice, and there are very rarely choices that result in dead-ends or premature endings to the game, just a range of different outcomes. The mechanic being described here – clicking through to advance the story – is similar to choice-based games in that way…just without the choice of what to click, I guess!
A widely-used phrase, especially in the indie visual games sphere. A variant of the phrase “get good at the game”.
In short, it’s a demand for…
- Games to require a high minimum level of skill
- Game designers to shut out anyone who fails to meet that level
- “Inadequate” players to simply stop playing games altogether, if they cannot devote the necessary time to meet that skill level.
This completely alienates people with day jobs and/or disabilities, and also gives gamedev studios permission to skip the quality assurance stage of development. If a game has bad controls, no cluing, or horrible balancing, then these players will shout “git gud” at anyone who points out these flaws. This puts the fault of poor game design on those who cannot play games for 12 hours a day.
Sounds like we should be insisting that the developers “git gud.”
Absolutely. This is generally used for testing purposes: before an author publishes a new release, they can automatically run a walkthrough and make sure the transcript matches what they expect.
Inform 6 games generally have this built-in as the REPLAY command (RECORD does the opposite and makes a list of commands entered); Inform 7 ones don’t any more, and I’m not sure why, but it’s not too hard to add back in.
I guess most IF tools have that(?).
I was testing my walkthrough for According to Cain the other day in HTML TADS. The only method I knew was to paste the commands into the command line separated by periods. Unfortunately, the command line could only take a limited amount of characters so I furthermore had to split the walkthrough into many “paragraphs”.
Similarly, Frankendrift lets you read commands from text files where each command is on a separate line. Would be great if all programs could agree on the format or if somebody made a walkthrough “converter”
Note that my posting was not completely negative, but rather a bit indecisive. I think a readthrough is more fun than a walkthrough.
As hanon noted, the readthru can be an useful debug/copyedit tool, being equivalent to the single-stepping in assembler.
OTOH, dear Hanon, as bonus content, I guess can mate marvelously with the good ol’ AMUSING.
Side note, in Diabolical’s source is shown how to implement a post-game in TADS3…
So, I encourage John to put his implementation as a library contribuition and upload it in the IF Archive…
Best regards from Italy,
I’ll see about doing that then!
This is just like Let’s Play on YouTube, but more interactive. I certainly like it.
Especially useful if there are different Replay files available, so people who want to play a certain puzzle can directly jump into it. Even better if the first command is to RESTORE filename for specific path. This can be done as menu choice, built into the game if you want.
The author could certainly provide options to start at different points in the story, if they wished… and users can save readthrough games at various points in the sequence and branch off into regular/autonomous mode wherever they wish…
that is, will became purrfect for debugging IF whose have multiple-solution puzzles, optional puzzles and/or non-linear puzzle solving (that is, the player can choose what puzzle tackle first)
Best regards from Italy,