Tutorials, following up

No 18 Rooms release today – I’m still working on Room 16, which is complex enough that it needs more time for testing. Sorry!

However, to follow up from Monday’s post, we’ve been having a fascinating conversation about tutorials in this intfiction.org thread.

I’ve learned that Emily Short wrote a fantastic tutorial extension for Inform 7, Tutorial Mode, which is practically plug-and-play for most I7 games. It teaches LOOK, EXAMINE, INVENTORY, TAKE, DROP, and compass directions, with documented options for adding or removing items from the teaching list.

(The extension above is located in the Public Library, so in the I7 IDE, go to the Extensions tab, then the Public Library tab, and then scroll down until you find it. It’s under section 11.2, Helping and Hinting.)

finding tutorial mode

I am extremely surprised that I didn’t know about this extension until now. I’d really love to see it in wider use.

In the aforementioned thread, I’ve been floating the idea that the parser IF community (authors, players, judges, etc) should strongly encourage games to include some kind of tutorial. In the past, there was a strong and effective push for “beta test your game!”, and I think “include a tutorial!” would be similarly beneficial.

Right now, we’re discussing a) whether this is a reasonable ask, b) how to effectively encourage authors, c) what the definition of “tutorial” is, and d) whether other forms of new player help would be more effective (noun highlighting, valid command suggestions, etc).

If you have thoughts on this subject, come join the conversation, or leave a comment here!

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  1. FWIW if you want to use the current version of Tutorial Mode you should include these lines:

    After looking for the first time (this is the reset the completed instruction list rule):
    remove the teach looking rule from the completed instruction list, if present;
    continue the action. [The first looking action isn’t in response to a command so it shouldn’t remove the teach looking rule from the list.]

    What happens is that the initial looking action that happens automatically gets recorded as moving the “teach looking rule” to the list of rules we don’t need anymore, so typing the command LOOK doesn’t actually get taught. This rule moves it back off the list.

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