Why don’t authors include a cheat menu?


Then you are playing different games (in terms of cog/hg especially) than I do. Which is okay, but seeing what I play, cheats would result in missing out 3/4 of the game


First, I’m writing from the perspective of how CoG/HC (not HG) writes games, which you can read some about here, and here.

That out of the way, I think a large part of the difficulty in writing in NewGame+ features and/or cheats, is that often times the simple path to those conflict with some of the main goals in trying to balance a game. A lot of writing a good CoG is creating a set of good conflicting goals, and balancing the choices between them.

Excerpt from our blog (and the post it its entirety here):

The solution to this problem is to make the different goals independent and indeed often in tension with each other. My partner Jason Hill uses the example of the different goals a student might have in college. A college student’s goals might include: getting good grades and graduating with honors; lining up a good job after college; winning the big game in their sport against the rival school; keeping their student job and earning enough money to pay tuition and other expenses; going to parties and having a fun time; building friendships that will last; and having a satisfying relationship with a significant other. That’s a mix of different goals, all of which could be interesting in an interactive fiction game about attending college.

The thing is, the easy path of difficulties, raising and lowering points gained and/or the difficulty of various tests, doesn’t really translate map well to CoG games, because that directly impacts how the story itself unfolds. And CoG game design is about giving difficult, interesting choices. Just having the player succeed and get everything takes all the tension and interest of the story.

(I’ll continue w/what I think are some fixes when I have time.)


I totally get that. I don’t like a difficulty system either because it starts sounding more like a game than a story you can interact with.

The main point of me wanting to include a NewGame+ is for the experience the reader would have rereading the story with the new bit of information they have learned at the end. This will hopefully will give a new experience by adding a few more options/extra story text.

It’s more that than I want the reader to replay everything again with higher stats, so it’s probably not what most people think of as NewGame+.

The cheating part is secondary. I could do away with it, but why not include it anyway if it contributes to the immersion? I’m talking about fourth wall breaking, by the way.

Anyway, just my two cents. :slightly_smiling_face:


I just wanted to put my 2 cents in even if it’s already been covered…mostly just to show some support for this idea.

I’m the sort of person that will play a game twice, then on my 3rd play through I like to cheat. I know everyone always say, “Well that takes the challenge and tension out of a game,” but the thing is I genuinely enjoy feeling like a God in games.

As an example I love SoI and GoI, and I’ve played both games hundreds of times, they are my go to games when I’m bored between releases, yet I would find it extremely satisfying if on one of my Play throughs I could set soldiering, charisma and intellect to 100 and succeed every choice.

Don’t ask me why I enjoy that as I could say…maybe I have a God complex… and I always play the game normally before cheating.

Any way that’s just my opinion for what it’s worth.


I personally don’t like playing through the game a billion times just to get the options I want, I simply don’t have that kind of time, so i usually stop playing a game that does that. So in that sense a cheat menu or some sort of save system will be very helpful.


From what I understand, it seems difficult to code for some authors.

As a reader though, some CoG/HG need some kind of cheat menu (especially the stat extensive ones) but majority of the titles are playable without them. A save system is a godsend if CoG/HG is quite long. To be honest, I much prefer the save system in place for some titles. Otherwise, I don’t see the need to add a cheat menu for all of them.


If you do decide to add a cheat menu, the next question then is when to enable it. Do you hide it behind a puzzle? Enable it after reaching the end? Leave it always enabled?

Personally, bearing in mind that once someone has your work on their computer there’s nothing they can’t do with it, I’d be inclined to just leave the option enabled - maybe tell the user it’s there and let them disable it if they want. I’m not a fan of hiding things.


Hey I realise this applies more to the modidng thread but if anyone here was thinking of getting an illegal modded version just for a cheat menu, just know all you have to do is send me a receipt and answer like 2 random questions and I’ll help you mod the games without breaking them


I sincerely doubt people sincerely mod just to add a cheat menu. My game was modded and literally all they did was remove the iap to unlock episode 3-6 and add a few of their own codes to the new game plus system that was ALREADY in the game and available to use without modding.

The only difference between their codes and my own is the increases were like 25-30% for them and 5% for me but no-one ever asked for higher increases


Modding thread was merged with this one

The modding cheating something else thread not the debate


Hey I 100% agree.

They just say “it’s for the mods, not the free game”

So I offer them a way out or more helpful, legal way (e.g. beta testing, modding game after buying it) instead of downloading it illegaly.

Just to be clear, I do look upon people who thank/ pay illegal modders and don’t reward the actual content creators with a lot of contempt. Because they make money off of other’s work

I just think if there’s more info and help on modding people who are on the fence may buy the game to help the creator and then mod it themselves, instead of illegally downloading it.


oh don’t get me wrong what people do with the copy they own is upto them and modders can do amazing work. I think companies that help the modders can do some great things. Just look at Fallout and Skyrim or even in my case X-com the mods can make the game so much more fun.

I just find it funny when people say they mod because our games don’t have cheat menus when they also modded a game that HAS cheat menus.


I know I’m not supposed to bring this topic up because the thread was closed and I got a bit overzealous, yet this point annoys me to hell.

@andymwhy HIMSELF has the kindness to ask an illegal modding community what cheats/ bonuses they want-- the reply was that it didn’t matter because he wouldn’t make it free.
(and the fact some of them insulted JimD just for daring to have included an IAP in his game.)

AND I have seen no CoG/ HG modded to add an actual, good, optional, working mod menu/ cheat menu.

I’ve made an awesome one where you can give yourself extra food, money, skip time, etc. in a menu-- not just giving them “9999” stats at the beginning and breaking it later on.

None of the mods those “pro hacker illegal modders” make are even good.


Yeah best not stray too far from the cheat menu talk.

There is already a few cheats in season one of UnNatural and there will be more in season two. I’ve even gone and now added the unlocked new game plus codes with achievements so they can double check their achievements to remind themselves of the codes they have found.


Jason brought up a great issue though–if you mod our games don’t submit a support ticket when the game breaks. Before I knew it was a thing, I spent hours trying to fix issues only to find out people used a modded game.

Also, I actually write a lot of content for failed checks. For example, if you suffer a death because you miss a shot, you will see a death scene of an NPC. That death affects things from other relationships to player motivations. Setting all stats to 100 and “beating” the game means you may miss a lot.

I love to mod too…games like Skyrim, Civ, SimCity…I enjoy them more because I lack time to grind. With Safe Haven, I added Skill Point bonuses because core testers wanted to try out far ranges of abilities. But they found little difference in what happens at a 60 Athletics vs. 90. So now I write high success, low success, and failure outcomes. Sometimes I even do very high, high, low, failure. My point is that it adds greatly to the workload and it is not sustainable for all writers. I spend A LOT of time trying to keep the game balanced for Normal characters.


Just thought as an alternative option what do people think of death boosts

Dying usually resets the stats to the time at the last checkpoint what if the stats didn’t reset so the next time they reach the bit they died last time they’re stats would be higher and more likely to get passed the check.


Hey! I’m having that in my game!
But I haven’t written, mentioned or really fleshed out the idea yet… :sweat_smile:

But it’s kinda like the Ensign right (Unpopular opinion but I loved it- when you died you lost everyone but upon playing again you’d get bonuses from extra equipment to lore knowledge to a sense of pride and acc-- wait a second!


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.


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

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



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