Achievement Guides: How do you eat yours?

Disclaimer: I’m aware that many have a strong distaste for achievements, and plenty of folk would be adverse to using a guide. However I’m looking for feedback to influence the nature of future guides; even if you don’t use them, I’d welcome any thoughts on the matter.

Were you to use an achievement guide, how would you prefer the guide to be delivered?

Playthrough-type Guide.

This style makes the choices for the player, providing a specific list of choices to make throughout the entire story, which will result in specific achievements. This can be further divided into two more styles:

Branching playthroughs that split at various points, instructing the player on which choices will result in accessing which achievements.

Example: Branching guide for Choice of Magics. Five playthroughs in guide, but each requires multiple replays to receive all possible achievements.

No branching playthroughs - more total playthroughs are then required for the guide - the player however will require the same number of playthroughs.

Example: Simple guide for Sabres of Infinity. Three playthroughs in guide, and each only needs to be played once.

Each Achievement Explained Separately-type Guide.

Example: Achievement guide for Choice of Rebels: Uprising.

This guide explains in detail the requirements for each achievement individually. This enables players to play the story their way, giving increased agency and freedom, but increasing the complexity and difficulty for them, too, as they must make the calculations and predictions themselves to meet the achievement requirements in their bespoke story.

The nature of the book itself will also affect what style of guide is best suited. Some examples include:

  • Samurai of Hyuga 1 & 2 have relatively simple achievement requirements, which make a full playthrough guide unnecessary to an extent.
  • Choice of Rebels: Uprising has some very complex achievement requirements indeed, in which case a full playthrough guide can become very useful.
  • Choice of Magics is so large and complex that a non-branching playthrough guide would become far too big to be practical.
  • My Guns of Infinity guide includes a branch. When its sequel, Lords of Infinity, is released, writing a continuation of the guide will be increasingly complex due to the included branch in Guns; books taking place in a series may be better suited to non-branching playthrough guides.

Here is a poll to illuminate :flashlight: the popular choice:

  • Branching Playthrough Guide
  • Non-Branching Playthrough Guide
  • Individual Achievement Explanations Guide

0 voters

Thank you very much for your time and wisdom.


Though it could easily be more work and thus understandable if you didn’t want to do it, I always like a quick blurb per achievement. Great for completionists and gives them the individual attention to make each one feel significant.

If you ever move on to my story, Nuclear Powered Toaster, please let me know and I’ll give you any info you need about getting them. Would love to see somebody get them all. I know no one has done it on Steam yet.


Would that be in the playthrough guides, too? Say, have notes attached to each achievement unlock explaining its context and circumstances? I like the idea but traditionally I’ve been worried about brevity and conciseness.

Appreciate the offer of support - with regards to the future, though, I have a backlog of planned guides and am jauntily sauntering my way through those.

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When it comes to choice-based games, the guides that use the playthroughs efficiently are the most important. So like, “Do these things this playthrough to get these achievements, then these things next playthrough to get these achievements, and then jump to these scenes and do this to get these achievements.”

That’s a tricky one, as I’ve always tried to ensure the guides provide a way to read the stories simply as a book, without concern for stats or choices. With this in mind the guides usually include [Optional] choices where possible, that the reader might more thoroughly enjoy the narrative along their journey.

By noting these choices as [Optional] we also enable achievement seekers to ignore what may be ignored and speed their way through the adventure.

Very much tried (and will continue to) maintain an atmosphere of accessibility in these guides so that both veteran and novice readers may partake. For example many people have English as a second or third language; therefore conversational guides are less useful than copy/pasted choice lists, as in the latter there is no possibility of misunderstanding the instructions due to linguistic misinterpretation.

I think for a general “here’s what happens” guide or a “do this to get this certain ending” guide, those are all fine methods. But for achievement guides, in my opinion, it’s best to just be straightforward and give a walkthrough of every choice a player needs to make to achieve everything.

Good point! I guess that’s the nature of a “one size fits all” solution. I’ll never be writing separate guides for achievements and “good stories,” though, so for the playthrough guides I’ll continue to include the extra content. Even when making the guides I tend to get distracted and enjoy reading the story as I’m going, and hopefully it’s the same for many achievement seekers, too.

The poll results are interesting - I’ve long suspected that playthrough guides were the less desirable option but have had no data to support this notion. :chart_with_upwards_trend:

As someone who likes collecting achievements, I prefer the individual achievement guides. Especially when you’re simply trying to go after one achievement, the playthrough guides can become convoluted and confusing. They also can spoil some of the game and other achievements you weren’t trying to go for yet.

Although I do feel the playthrough guides are useful if you’re a completionist and are trying to get the last few achievements in one swoop. :thinking:


Seems like the ideal solution is to have both, perhaps.