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Old November 17, 2010, 15:29   #141
Derakon
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Timo: the fundamental problem with telling newbies to read the help files is that nobody wants to read help files. Yes, they have to read the command descriptions; no, they're not going to read anything more than that if they can possibly get away with it. This has nothing to do with how good the help files are and everything to do with it being more fun to learn by playing than to learn by reading. All of the one-off tips that Civilization shows you during worldgen are also in the manual, but I guarantee that 90% of players, if not more, learn them first from the tips, not the manual.

The tips that I'd envision being in such a system would focus on minor spoilers and tactical advice. Things like:

* Cure Critical Wounds potions also cure blindness and confusion. Carry lots; they're cheap.
* Potions of Heroism will keep you from being frightened.
* Staves of Teleport can be used even when confused or blinded.
* Breath attacks deal 1/3rd the monster's current HP in damage, up to 1600 for fire/cold/acid/electricity and 800 for poison.
* Resistance cuts damage to 1/3rd for fire/cold/acid/electricity/poison, but are less effective for other elements.
* Resistances on your gear stack with temporary resistances from spells and items.
* Never underestimate the value of Constitution. Hitpoints keep you alive.
* Rods of Probing can tell you about a monster's abilities.

You get the idea. Some of this stuff is spelled out in item descriptions, but players don't realize their significance. Some of it isn't spelled out anywhere in the help. It's all useful.
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Old November 17, 2010, 16:52   #142
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I can think of a few more-

-Quivers can hold different types of ammo, but after 99 they will take up more inventory slots
-Many items are bad, but few are cursed to the point of needing magic to remove them.
-Congratulations on finding a nice item! if you don't want to accidentally sell, drop, or destroy it, consider inscribing it (the '{' command) with !s!d!k
-A bigger weapon isn't always better- make sure to check your blows per round using 'I'nspect
-Can't keep track of all the information on the screen? You can add extra windows to show previous messages, items on the floor, monsters present. Set these up from the '=' menu.

Obviously, get too big a list of these and new players will tune out. I know this would be a lot of work, but something like Crawl's tutorial mode would be fantastic. Contextually-appropriate hints and instructions, for example dealing with stores, first entering the dungeon, level feelings, running, picking up items, spells, etc.
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Old November 17, 2010, 18:14   #143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bio_hazard View Post
I can think of a few more-

-Quivers can hold different types of ammo, but after 99 they will take up more inventory slots
-Many items are bad, but few are cursed to the point of needing magic to remove them.
-Congratulations on finding a nice item! if you don't want to accidentally sell, drop, or destroy it, consider inscribing it (the '{' command) with !s!d!k
-A bigger weapon isn't always better- make sure to check your blows per round using 'I'nspect
-Can't keep track of all the information on the screen? You can add extra windows to show previous messages, items on the floor, monsters present. Set these up from the '=' menu.

Obviously, get too big a list of these and new players will tune out. I know this would be a lot of work, but something like Crawl's tutorial mode would be fantastic. Contextually-appropriate hints and instructions, for example dealing with stores, first entering the dungeon, level feelings, running, picking up items, spells, etc.
Guys, this is great stuff. I don't know anyone who wants to code any kind of hint or rumour function, but if someone gathers these together and PMs me (I had long since stopped reading this thread - I just happened to have an idle moment) I'll stick them in my docs branch as "hints.txt" which we could ship with 3.2 and have available from the top-level ? menu.

It's a start, at least.
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Old November 18, 2010, 05:49   #144
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
Timo: the fundamental problem with telling newbies to read the help files is that nobody wants to read help files. Yes, they have to read the command descriptions; no, they're not going to read anything more than that if they can possibly get away with it. This has nothing to do with how good the help files are and everything to do with it being more fun to learn by playing than to learn by reading.
Hm. This might be the fundamental difference between us old veterans and new younger players. I'm used to read through manuals, fast skimming reading if nothing else. It is also pretty much requirement for my job. I didn't think that people don't want to read manuals, I just thought they don't think reading it would be useful.
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Old November 18, 2010, 19:43   #145
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Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš View Post
Hm. This might be the fundamental difference between us old veterans and new younger players. I'm used to read through manuals, fast skimming reading if nothing else. It is also pretty much requirement for my job. I didn't think that people don't want to read manuals, I just thought they don't think reading it would be useful.
Many games these days come with essentially useless manuals. I've seen a few which were 2 pages of "How to Install the Game", a 1 page quick-reference on the controls, and the rest backstory for the game. I've also seen manuals that were clearly written around an early version of the game and the game had undergone major alterations before release, rendering muh of the content in the manual either incorrect or irrelevant. It really isn't surprising that people don't bother reading manuals.
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Old November 18, 2010, 20:28   #146
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The difference between Angband and solitaire is that no solitaire spread takes twenty hours to complete.

I know people who play solitaire for two reasons. Either because it's quick or because it's nonviolent, noncompetitive, and non-time-sensitive. Angband falls into neither category.
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Old November 18, 2010, 20:57   #147
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The manual is what you read when you wish you were playing the game but can't. Either because it's still installing, you're waiting for your computer to boot, you're at a loading screen, or in the WC. In game manuals don't satisfy that requirement.

Heavily hyperlinked stuff like the CIV IV civelopedia can generate the wiki walk effect when you have to go into them to look something up and wind up reading a large, meandering chunk, but even then the chances of someone reading the whole thing are slim.

What might help would be to give full monster knowledge for low level stuff at game start and declining levels through stat gain. That would get people used to looking at monsters because it wouldn't be a complete waste of time for a new player who doesn't yet have a developed monster memory.

The other thing that would help would be some sort of new game plus consolation prize. It's the complete lack of progress that turned me off Angband for several years the first time I tried it.
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Old November 18, 2010, 21:24   #148
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Originally Posted by Atarlost View Post
The manual is what you read when you wish you were playing the game but can't. Either because it's still installing, you're waiting for your computer to boot, you're at a loading screen, or in the WC. In game manuals don't satisfy that requirement.
True, especially the WC part. Though I break that rule myself all the time, I'm a pre-planner kind of gamer so heck, I may make spreadsheet efficiency calculations and strategy plans before even beginning to play ...
Quote:
Heavily hyperlinked stuff like the CIV IV civelopedia can generate the wiki walk effect when you have to go into them to look something up and wind up reading a large, meandering chunk, but even then the chances of someone reading the whole thing are slim.
I read Civ V civilopedia in-game top to bottom except skipped military units ... =P
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What might help would be to give full monster knowledge for low level stuff at game start and declining levels through stat gain. That would get people used to looking at monsters because it wouldn't be a complete waste of time for a new player who doesn't yet have a developed monster memory.
Or huge blaring signs in a single page "read this if new to game" where it says that big ugly monsters reside in the dungeon who may kill unwary and unprepared players in a single turn. And to suggest that if you are not the kind of player who can handle "hardcore" mode in Diablo for example, turn on cheat-death and know-monsterinfo until you have learned the game somewhat ...
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Old December 4, 2010, 16:06   #149
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Originally Posted by bio_hazard View Post
I can think of a few more-

-Quivers can hold different types of ammo, but after 99 they will take up more inventory slots
...

-Can't keep track of all the information on the screen? You can add extra windows to show previous messages, items on the floor, monsters present. Set these up from the '=' menu.

Obviously, get too big a list of these and new players will tune out. I know this would be a lot of work, but something like Crawl's tutorial mode would be fantastic. Contextually-appropriate hints and instructions, for example dealing with stores, first entering the dungeon, level feelings, running, picking up items, spells, etc.
I think only one is needed
MONSTERS CAN INSTA-KILL YOU
(caps for emphasis only)
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Old December 5, 2010, 02:52   #150
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Ironically, this thread has gotten me back into playing the game after a two month absence.
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