Why don’t authors include a cheat menu?


With games that are very wide (Tin Star, Zombie Exodus) I see the entire coding process to be complicated - as opposed to those with more linear story lines. Just the number of variable that wide games have makes doing any sort of cheat engine complicated and prone to break easily.

An example here is the Breach: Archangel WiP by @MichaelMaxwell - his cheat menu breaks several times each major update and fixing it to work takes both a lot of time and effort by him and his dedicated coder.


Again, depends on the what kind of cheats you’re adding. Different kinds for different genre.


It’s hard to reach a consensus here because at the end of the day we’re talking about two clashing opinions, author vs costumer, legit gaming vs cheating. Authors want people to play the game their way, the costumer, who feels entitled because he bought a product, wants the freedom to use it as they please.

We may have different opinions but nobody can force you to do anything you don’t want to - in the end the power to add cheats is up to you. I just think that enforcing your minset on a costumer isn’t the way to go, I’d rather you kept your reasoning to yourself than saying the way I play is “wrong”.

PS: Just to be clear, I’m not pointing fingers at you personally but people in general.


True. For games like Hero Unmasked, Tally Ho and most of COG’s catalog really, simply making the numbers bigger is enough. But then you run into a game like Highlands, Deep Waters or the Winter section of XoR that are far less stat dependent, and are floated by other variables you need to balance.


I’m not saying your wrong, just saying why some wouldn’t want to add one and why I don’t plan on it.
Enforcing views on author or customer are not ways to go, maybe a more relaxed “cheat” system could work somehow.


Also if someone goes to the “why don’t you buy certain HG/CG games?” Thread and posts "they don’t have cheat engine I’m done lol :joy::joy::joy:

edit they did it…


If you guys like things like that, you need to tell us! Write that you liked it in the reviews you give and say so on here when the games get published. We put in a “cheat” system where you could swing the stats all the way over to the left or right in starship adventures and to my knowledge no one ever commented that they thought it was useful. I put a hints section in Wizardry Level C and I strongly suspect that many people never even looked at it from the reviews.

If you’re looking for ones that do have it asides from that, Adrao’s gamebooks are known for having different different difficulty settings (akin to a cheat mode if set on very easy.)

Anyway from my point of view, for games like Abysm’s veil a cheat system would be hard for me to implement because it would destroy the impact of any decisions you might make and make a mess of the story if I wasn’t careful because of all the flavour text type things that assume you’ve done certain things to get there (rather than having a “yes you can pick/succeed at this” for every choice you want to make. I kind of think it depends on the type of game you’re working with as to how easy something like this is to make work successfully. The more variable rather than stat dependant they are, the more difficult they often start to be to have a cheat mode that works well.


I’m sure you guys will love seeing this…


… image of a developer build.



Authors dictating how I play my games will quickly see their sales drop by 1. What I do with my games once I get them is entirely my choice.

If I see authors start thinking they can dictate otherwise I shall have to start discouraging friends & family from buying CoG/HG games.


Are you suggesting that not including a cheat menu is authors dictating readers how to play their game or are you just making a statement based on the author/reader discussion up above.


Purely referring to Author/Reader wants discussion.

If a person wants to “cheat” just get the steam or chrome store version of the game and unpack the app.asar file (steam) or open up the chrome extension folder to view the scenes in a text editor and make choices as desired.


Alright, I wanted to check which one before replying haha :joy: I agree then.


If authors wanted to make a “cheat” mode though it shouldn’t be hard to add settings to ignore stats, rng and puzzles.

Example from samurai 2 since I have the scenes up:

if (drifter <= 50)

could become

if (drifter <= 50 or ignorestats = 1)

Of course correct to actual CS syntax if that’s wrong.

Cheat mode woulnd’t be as hard as people are thinking for straight up CYOA games. Might be harder in sections like XOR’s stint in the forest though - but even that has a “I don’t want to manage resources” option.


It was apparently harder–but that didn’t stop someone on the internet from doing it, as a bit of Googling makes clear.

Why didn’t I add a cheat menu? Because just writing the damn thing until it worked in the first place took years. :slight_smile: People who want to add cheats (or make all the ROs male, or otherwise revise my version) are welcome to do so with their own legally purchased copy.


Perhaps another insight is why do authors put cheat menus in their game?

As probably mentioned above, it would make testing much smoother, and making sure nothing can stand between you and the ending you want. I put mine in, and I still keep it in there, for the same reason. When my game eventually goes on the shelf, i would most likely disable the cheat feature, or possibly hide it.

Because for most players, what would work best in an interactive novel game, is a walkthrough, instead of cheats. Although creating a walkthrough in a wide variable based game would be just as hard as making cheats.

But honestly, what’s the point of having billions of dollars, and health bars longer than a line at a downtown Starbucks, when you end up with a bad ending anyway? I’d take a walkthrough over a cheat menu anytime.

But that’s just my opinion. I wouldn’t claim it so for everyone else. Also @Eiwynn thanks for the mention!


Although Safe Haven does have something of a cheat system. Not a guaranteed win as it is and you have to do some legwork/pay out of pocket for the bonus skill points, but things are definitely easier with the extra skills. And the same model would work for Tin Star (plus extra money). And increasing/removing the timer for the day could help with a few games in this model (although it’d probably break Safe Haven a bit, given the time dependent events).

That being said, it’s not hard for the reader to go into the code for browser based games and cheat that way, and you get to keep the achievements. Plus most of the hard games have walkthrough/tips on the forum, so anyone truly stuck has an option available, provided they visit the site or use Google, with no extra work (or risk of bugs) on the author’s side.

[Edited for clarity and because my phone submitted on its own and promptly died]


Ahem, only all of the gender flipping RO’s. I’m not skilled enough to rewrite say Calea into a guy in a way that meshes seamlessly with your own writing. :wink: So you see, you yourself are still doing the heavy lifting there by writing a male counterpart for those ro’s, I just try to ensure the male versions will always be the ones that get to populate my game.
Also I did recieve some very useful tips from our resident Tiger on how to manage that, now to see if that tampering holds up when it becomes time to load that savegame into part 2. :sweat_smile:


They already are, you know? Frankly I’m not sure if this is a satirical statement or not for the lack of tonality. Just in case you’re actually serious, here goes:

Seeing as you can only do what the author puts into the game they already dictate how you play the game. If you run a charisma build and the author tosses you in a situation you can only solve through combat for example. It’s their prerogative to lay out the story as they envision it and that means the author already controls how you play the game. It’s a railroad. It just forks a lot.



Not sure if you’re being deliberately dense here. We’re not talking about game design/mechanics here.


I dont think LorOfLA is talking about authors that couldnt be bothered with cheats or didnt have time but about the authors whose motivation was that they want people to play their way or who make cheating purposefully difficult for example i witnessed that some games have purposefully fucked up format when you open them them in text editor.