Why don’t authors include a cheat menu?

Tin Star did this I believe (apparently accidentally? I once mentioned how wonderful it was and was told it was an unintentional feature). I really liked it. Restarting a chapter with slightly higher stats made it easier to get through certain scenes if you’d accidentally created a build that had no way out which was in character for your MC.

I did manage to play through without ‘cheating’ in that way, but I also like that I can play it without stressing about missing stat checks and dying heaps, if I want.

I also liked that if one does choose to use that feature, return from death with a slight increase in stats, it’s reflected in the end summary and the legend of your marshal. So it’s not without consequences narratively, either.

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Wouldn’t it be funny to put in some hidden checks later, like if stats are where they should never be at?
Like…

*if athletics > 999
 Before you knew it, the virus had found it's way into your bloodstream.
 *line_break
 This inevitably led to an unexpected mutation.
 *line_break
 You have become preternaturally athletic, but have given up all free will.
 *line_break
 Your story ends, as you are now part of the zombie horde.

 *ending
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Or @JimD perhaps a

*if food > 100,000
“You were overthrown for hoarding so much food for yourself.”

But do it just before the ending scene haha

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“You failed one of the seven deadly tests…game over man.”

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It say here you’ve maxed out all your stats!

Oops, that must be an error! Please contact me @ notafakename and tell me exactly how you got that disastrous error!

We’ll take the liberty to restart your game tho

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My apologies for the shameless plug, but to anyone who cares about a cheat menu, do you think I should put a cheat menu in my game? It’s in the public beta stage right now so it’s otherwise basically complete.
Please let me know. :slight_smile:

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Everyone loves mods, but it might be better t wait to the end-- then you can see what the min and max values are and mad a really good mod/ cheat menu!

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That is where you are wrong. First off, your way of fun may not be my way of fun. Secondly, once I have completed your hard game, it becomes nothing more than just another finished game ready to be archived. A cheat mode may at least provide extra replay value if nothing else. Claiming to not understand the reason for a cheat menu is just ignorance 101. As for achievements, I don’t care about them because they are dead. They cannot be used.

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Honestly I only played two modded games so far.
First whas Choice of Ether because the game went from horrible to okay with enough of the energy and those stones so I could just create and play to my liking without being always just in lack of energy.

Second whas Blood Money because in my opinion the gameplay with the all Stats on 80% run whas just fun enough. Well sadly Android did something because I got an update and all the modded versions where useless. About another game where a walkthrough must be like those of hero rise hero fall on steam is Mecha Ace. Yes there could be fun with just starring the stats high enough so you have more decicions but if a cheat modul would not let me choose to say if I am not warrior diplomat the high stats would be not so usefull. About Cheatmodul or Walkthrough another thing is would it be really bringing the story if I would just make a choicetreelist where I have to look before doing a choice what I should choose for this ending or would it be better tk just show us what decicions would effect.
Well from my experience the best two cheat moduls for being easiest and best at the same time would be a safe option and another where to choose which stat when. I tried in Choice of Romance for example other paths after beating the first part twice waiting for second. Well turned out my thinking for this parts whas not the best so I turned my try down.

Well this was a nice read.

I think, now I should also add my feedback as a reader of CoG/HG games. In my opinion choice-script is very unique and interesting because of it’s stats-based products. Over here many of our intelligent friends pointed out that one can mode or why there should be a cheat Manu but in my humble opinion if you bring something in that neglects the stats than what makes choice-script unique? In above post the discussion orbited around the fundamental concept of reducing or eliminating the stats. There are many places where you can get interactive fiction, like delight games, and a website where I enjoyed a beautiful story called eternals. But they are different they just focus on story telling and that’s mostly it. Choice-script games are well Games and they have stats.

I think cheat Manu is a great option in WIPs like Blood and steel, War for the west, etcetera. But if someone can mode it on PC and as pointed out above in mobile phone you can root it to hack the data than let the person decide who buys it. If they are inclined to hack they will hack. Most of good games I know can be hacked with softwares called trainers or cheat engine and I’m pretty sure there are softwares like cheat engine on mobiles phone something called games guardian or something like that.

I’m sure the people who want cheat Manu are in a majority, furthermore this culture of promoting cheats is not very consumer friendly in the long run. Next thing we see a bunch IAPs popping up and promising to boost some states or give virtual currency that could be exchanged to some other stuff.

Bottom line. Choice-script games are evolving, and they are evolving beautifully. From choice of dragon to XOR you can see it has come a long way. Authors are pressed to do more and more coding and personally as a reader I’d like to see a game releasing 30 in advance and not waiting for the author to code in the cheats.

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Because a lot of the times, adding a cheat menu can cause unintended logical bugs which are hard to spot and hard to clean.

For example, a scene jumping cheat might make a certain action not performed by the user such as choosing a love interest, and when the game expects the player to have made their choice, they haven’t because they jumped ahead without choosing.

Another example, customize stats is not good because stats overflows and underflows may occur (120% good - evil). Furthermore, the writer can’t predict roughly what a player’s stats are with cheat. (The player keeps regening health to 100 in the middle of an intentionally unwinnable fight.

However I like to add cheats in my games as they help with the development process as I can test different parts of my game that need certain stats quickly or to jump around scenes

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I would actually say cheats are the opposite. It’s completely consumer friendly to let a player fully be able to enjoy the game how they want to. In video games cheats we’re very common place and I even know some people who were not even able to fully go through a game without things like stage skipping cheats. It’s more in recent years that companies have gotten greedy and try to get players to pay for something that should be in the games already.

For CoG, I can’t speak on the technical side of things cause I’m not a author here but just on the side of a consumer I don’t think there is anything wrong letting people play how they want as long as it doesn’t effect other players and also I don’t look at stats as the thing that makes a product a game here. (At least the ones focused on skills and management of reserves and whatnot. Relationships are fine to me)

Choices and consequences are the thing for me, because without them your just reading a novel.

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Personally I find that any enjoyment I could get out of stories with micro management or stat checks with hard fails, etc. is just completely destroyed by how punishing they are.
Yes, stats should perhaps matter a bit for the story, but I could never enjoy stories, even if they are good, that were more game than story, where if I picked the “wrong” choice I would just die, or someone else would die and the game just ends, or I get a bad ending.
If I want to play a game I’ll go play a game. When I’m reading what’s essentially a CYOA book, I don’t want the book to slam shut if I flipped the wrong page and be impossible to open back up again to the same page.
Some stories(won’t name names) especially go way too far with this and have complete fail states at the very very end of the story and with unclear choices, or WAAAY too high of a stat check. It’s contrived and imo antithetical to what a choice game should be(yeah “should”, w/e).
And yes ofc this is OBVIOUSLY the writers choice to make, but I feel like if you make it a chore, or railroad your reader in to certain “right” choices, you take the enjoyment out of the most important part, which is the story.
Hence, I would love a “cheat” option in any story that would fall under these categories, not because I want to cheat, but because I simply don’t care to play a hardcore-mode game, but I would still love to be able to experience the story.
Either that or add a save function to the finished games?
Sorry for the(slightly?) off-topic rant.

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I noticed that too. Once you actually start writing, you want to play with it because… so many possibilities lol. Then you start writing what is essentially a game and not a story. There are better games out there (but there are not better stories) so the coding can be better employed to create a sense of immersion rather than a sense of competition. There’s even one with a hard-mode game and a hard-coded fail at the end of it…

I was like “arg… after all that, you’ll just going to make him fail on purpose?” do you think all your readers have a pointless love of suffering or what lol :slight_smile:

I’d say it’s somewhat dependent. I do have a few situations where things don’t go the mc’s way in both my projects to start, however it’s all under the assumption somebody is playing the game as it was meant to and doesn’t have perfect stats from the get-go. Though in the one, technically the mc never so much “loses” as just gets mildly annoyed. The other has a high school kid up against ex-veteran soldiers…so, it stands to reason the fights are going to be pretty one sided at first, no matter how athletic a high school kid may be. Hardcoded failure is more annoying near the end of stories when the mc should have grown enough by now that they shouldn’t still come across as the whelp they were to start.

Personally find it distasteful, i mean a cheat perhaps for gold stats if there is a game where a player can often visit shops, to obtain char equipment…somewhat could swallow it. But the rest, does it not sort of beat the purpose of enjoyment and choices if you can just cheat it to the end? I personally prefer exploration, multiple playtroughs and what not…cheats tend to smack the fun out. :man_shrugging:

From an authors perspective we code our games to check for variables/stats and as we’re the ones writing the game we get to know how they evolve throughout the game so we can set checks appropriately. The moment a player modifies the stats they might no longer follow the estimated thresholds we use. This can end up with a player having a stat be at a score it is impossible to be at which then causes the game to error

From personal experience I’ve wasted several hours hunting down a “bug” that my game couldn’t recreate
Through gameplay or quicktest and randomtest. It turned out they had modified one of the stats to a point the code didn’t check causing the error.

To make up a game for a clearer example let’s say I write Space Game and one of the stats is oxygen. I code it so the oxygen stat consistently goes down. It can be topped up at points but it is meant to keep going down. I then code it so at set points I.e at 75% 50% and 25% key plot stuff happens.

With the above example someone could alter the oxygen stat to be higher or not go down which could make the game crash later or the player miss out on scenes.

I’d prefer an author added cheat code than people altering it themselves as itd be easier to track and adjust the code.

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We are pretty much on the same page with that statement. My point was that if a player wants to just focus on the story or passing every check then it would be nice if the author catered to them in that regard.

I know in my experience with some IF here, there have been times where I felt my character was just a waste of space since I would fail checks or with some others its been more random roll based and just have had terrible luck and would have loved a “What do you want to happen?” option which would look something like a cheat menu.

I guess what i’m thinking of in terms of a really nice and useful menu is like the one for Breach: The Archangel Job WIP here where there are tons of options like difficulty (even has that very easy mode where you pretty much pass everything if you want or hard which makes it nigh impossible) or even being able to disable the random element I believe.

For your example situation, maybe the author could have an option to increase stats but make the essentials like oxygen level not adjustable. Like I said, i’m not an author here but maybe that would take more work which I dont blame a person if they dont want to do that, but I think it definately would pull in more players who may not enjoy failing checks or trying to figure out that sweet spot to pass one. Or it could just make the game be enjoyed even more by people who already bought it.

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If it is about failing checks that is actually quite easy to accomplish with a variable. For example let’s say we offer players Story Mode where you will pass all checks. This sets the variable “story” to true. Then checks could simply be coded like this…

Elseguard draws a sword and approaches Nocturnal_Stilness. 
*if (sword > 50) or (story)
    Who flees.
    *goto next_scene
*else
    who draws their own sword.
    *goto next_scene

A really basic example but it would work.

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