Found this "Look left" street marking, which seemed ridiculous, but then also maybe useful to someone?
Not using puzzles because ultimately given the limited interface, the puzzle would have to either be too easy or almost unfairly hard. A single-choice puzzle isn't really fair: one wrong choice and you fail? A multiple-choice puzzle might be the most player-satisfying format (LRL, or LLR are solutions, but the rest fail) but that's too much work to write and code for one small aspect.
On top of all of this, any puzzle always has the danger of being a read-the-author's-mind puzzle, which is even more unfair to player.
The biggest reason though not to use puzzles, is what to do with the player when they fail? The failure can't be too punishing: if you end then game then and there, most players will tap out, not willing to put in the extra time to replay everything just to try a second time. You can make the failure state take extra time or something like that, but ultimately it will still just pipe back into the plot, usually with a sort of deus ex situation or character getting you back on track. At this point, why even have a puzzle when failing has no bigger consequences?
It's possible to get all that right: an intuitive but challenging puzzle that feels fair with an appropriate punishment of a delay that makes in-universe sense, but that's a tall order. And, even if all those difficult and disparate boxes were ticked off, would the puzzle have made the scene more enjoyable to the player? Probably not.
So it's better, easier, simpler not to use puzzles, and instead focus on the "how" and "why" instead of the "what" with regards to the action.
Good point! It might still be OK without depending on the UI feel, but I'm not sure.
For the most part I've avoided puzzles. For the rare places where there might traditionally be puzzles, I've added choices where both paths gain the same thing, but with some drawback that makes it feel like victory was just barely achieved.
I do have one actual puzzle so far in my game (a memory puzzle: were we supposed to do X, or do Y?), but it's tied to a test that players might want to fail on purpose anyway. Even with this "puzzle" though, I actually use a mechanic where the game asks you to confirm your choice with a hint towards the correct answer ("Are you sure it was X? I could have sworn it was Y...")
I personally wouldn't want a tap-to-advance feature. Or at least, that feature disabled. That waiting for text to appear is what makes it feel like a conversation between people, instead of something pre-recorded. At least for me. I recommend playing the phone game Lifeline to see how that real-time delay feels. (It feels real.)
Pressing Esc closes text-entry dialogue boxes.
A way to give images Alt Text that can display for blind players. (A big issue: a lot of the interactive fiction players are blind because it's the only kinds of games they can play.)
Sounds like an extra character for the reply space to me
Thought I'd share a screenshot of how I've been organizing my rough drafts, since it's really easy to just write in the flow with a regular text editor, and also keep track of the different splits.
And of course, it looks like this in Sequel:
I feel like this format of writing might be helpful to people who are newer to Interactive Fiction writing. If it's not, just do your own thing!
Question about Player / Self. Should all the Self nodes be updated to "player"? Or will they be automatically pulled?
I just finished Maplecroft. Really great lovecraftian monsters with interesting women characters. Totally recommend.
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