Nice Game Hints is not just a hint web page. It is also a way to implement gradual hints inside your game. Read more to find out how!
Rarely any adventure game has an in-game hint system. Return to Monkey Island did it right providing gradual hints on puzzles and only showing the hints for puzzles that were relevant for the player. Writing, and especially implementing, these kinds of in-game hints can seem an overwhelming task on top of the game development. But it doesn't have to be that hard.
The reviews are for a game called Terminal Madness: The Awakening.
In Terminal Madness: The Awakening you play as Crypto, a hacker wanting to become the greatest hacker of all time. The game is a classic point-n-click puzzle game. But, Crypto has a hint book with him that will give small gradual hints if the player is stuck on a puzzle. Together with Jordi, the developer of the game, we wrote the first batch of a few hints for the first part of the game. Integrating the hints into the game was easy and first in-game hints were visible quite fast to prove it was doable. After the initial integration extending the hints was as easy as writing more of them with our favorite text editor. The hints were tested and reviewed using NGH tools so there was no need to rebuild the game each time. The hints were written using the Nice Game Hints guide format. You can read more about the format here.
Working with the Nice Game Hints system, enhanced my experience by providing simple and easy to write markdown hints. It allows you to define a gradual, and low spoiler hints tree that makes the player not afraid of using them to spoil the fun.
This ensures that players of all skill levels can enjoy a smooth and engaging gameplay experience without getting stuck or frustrated. I actually got several nice five star reviews of users that loved it!
-- Jordi Puigdellivol, Developer of Terminal Madness: The Awakening
Nice Game Hints uses native implementations trying to keep the disk size footprint as small as possible. Reading the hints does not require Internet access so the hints work wherever your game runs.
Overall, the hinting domain is quite simple, and there should be no need to update NGH often. Even if the game-making tool is updated the NGH library should still work. NGH will follow the updates for the supported tools and, if necessary, update accordingly.
Nice Game Hints source code does not cause any burden to the licensing of the game. The usage of the NGH libraries is licensed per game for the whole lifetime of the game, including possible updates. My humble ask is to be credited in the game credits.
Nice Game Hints supports translations. The hints are translated with the file format so that even when translating you don't need to write the same text multiple times.
I am still evaluating the pricing and financing options of NGH in-game libraries. So, for the time being, I am doing this free of charge. I am gathering actual cases from real games, like Jordi's Terminal Madness game, so send me an e-mail if you want to try it out.
Of course, but it will be a hassle. The logic around these hints gets quite complicated quite soon. On top of that some adventure game tools have quite complex ways of defining dialogue trees and menus. The hints refer to other hints and you end up repeating the same text in multiple places. Updating those repeating texts becomes error-prone quite fast. And then comes the translations...
With Nice Game Hints, you write the hints once, using your favorite text editor, marking the text and hints with special tags that will keep the text hidden until the player has done the correct tasks. Then you expose the inner variables from the game to the engine and you get just the correct guides and hints for any given moment in the game. Related hints are automatically appended to the hint trees. All the complex logic and testing tools are provided by Nice Game Hints.
Nice Game Hints already supports multiple programming languages and game-making tools. If your selected tool is not on the list contact me. I am eager to implement support for as many technologies as possible. In general, each of these solutions doesn't need access to the Internet to work. All the logic is done offline, inside the execution space of the game. You just have to embed the hint files with your game to get them working.
Visionaire Studio is a quite popular adventure game engine. Scripting for it is hard, though. That's why getting the hints into the game requires an extra step. The hints are generated into a dialogue tree. Then that dialogue tree is injected into a specific Character in the Visionaire project file using a script provided by Nice Game Hints. This injection supports Visionaire's translation methods and can be easily updated. After injecting the dialogue there is this one special character that can "talk" with the player automatically adjusting based on the boolean variables of the game. You just have to choose how to activate that Character in the game. The script is not yet in public release but you can contact me to get help with it.
I am implementing a Unity script that creates the desired Unity UI when it is reloaded. It reads the current variables and inventory items from Adventure Creator to generate the relevant guides for any given moment in the game. The hints are read one at a time by calling a function from, for example, a button click. The script also supports a spoiler button, if you want to warn your player that they are about to see a spoiling hint.
Swift is a programming language used to develop iOS applications. Terminal Madness: The Awakening is developed with Swift. There is a Nice Game Hints Swift library on Github.
There is a generic C# library to use Nice Game Hints. This library is used in Adventure Creator but can be referenced in any .Net Standard 2.1 supporting project.
No worries. I am planning to extend this to other languages and tools. Contact me and let's figure it out.
Glad you asked. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help in setting up the hints and doing the technical tasks. I can even help with writing the hints.
My name is Juho Rutila. I have almost 30 years of coding experience, starting from childhood game development. Adventure games have always been near to my heart and hatred for spoilers has led me to set up Nice Game Hints. I work as a software architect designing complex digital solutions. My driving force is to design solutions that provide actual value for the customers, while still being intuitive and easy to use for the users. This is the case in Nice Game Hints, too.