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captain_crunch

Cycling hints on the loading screen

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It is common to display cycling hints on the loading screen. How should they be cycled? Always in sequence or with some randomness..? How many repeats are acceptable?

 

If the hints are datadriven, it is probably best to give each one a key (ID). Then a text file in the Documents folder can store which ones have been displayed already.

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Whatever you want to do.  Cycle if you want. Shuffle if you want. Use string IDs or data files if you want.

 

Loading a small array and calling random_shuffle() isn't particularly difficult.  If you've got the ability to create a full-blown graphical game then a bit of loading screen text should seem like an easy chunk of code relative to all the other heavy lifting that needs to be done. 

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I think some of these will be answered by the type of hints your looking to implement. Are they just general helpful hints for the game or more specific to the current location or quest. Though you could randomly choose from a set of hints for a specific location.

 

In my opinion they should be cycled, just getting the same hint all the time means its just a normal loading screen and nothing else. Unless some of the hints are linked and should be viewed one after the other or have an already existing sequence to them then I don't think sequenced or random makes much of a difference.

 

Repeating is fine, just try and avoid having the same hints come up every few hints (testing should reveal if things are coming up to much but I would say at a guess, maybe hints shouldn't be eligible to come up again for 10 hints after last displaying).

 

Storing the hints against a key sounds like a good idea, but would suggest that storing where the player is up to is probably only needed across play sessions when the hints are sequenced and not when its random, since the sequence should continue but using random the player will only see a few the same before getting a different one.

 

One thing to keep in mind is that people read at different speeds and people's machines will load the game at different speeds (not to mention loading will take different amounts of time one he same machine for different areas of the game) so consider having the ability to finishing reading the hint after the game has finished loading (or by requesting a key press before leaving the screen, which can also be useful if the player has moved away or got distracted by something). It annoys me when I was trying to read something on the loading screen but run out of time before the screen disappears.

 

I sometimes find that the hints on the loading screen are so simple they are pointless or just not relevant to the type of character I'm player. Consider if hints are really needed or could be replaced with something else instead. Some other options could be:

 

  • Summary of the story so far to remind the player where they are currently at (See Final Fantasy XIII-2)
  • Details of currently active quests
  • World Lore or additional characters details

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