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Old 02-16-2004, 01:26 PM   #1
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kubera is on a distinguished road
I am currently working on overhauling the help system on our mud and really haven't ever played on another mud.  So the first question is what does everyone think makes a help system really good for users that are just starting out?  I am working out a system for interactive npcs for a newbie training ground, reworking the help documents, building some more help docs into our web page and potentially having a mentor system where players volunteer to be mentors and they get a new player mentee.  At any rate, any suggestions or feedback on what you think makes a help system and a quick start system good would be appreciated.

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Old 02-26-2004, 03:06 AM   #2
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I like simplicity.

In-game having help-files for most everything is great. Accessed through: Help (for a list of general topics) then help (topic) for a narrower list, and so and so and so until you get the most acute file. For example you might have a tiered system like:

-Look is a command, blahblah....
syntax is look.

(You wouldn't actually type all that, but there would be helpfiles for each consequtive tier, so you could try 'help commands' and see information on commands in general, or 'help look' for help on just look.

As for offline, having all the helpfiles readily available offline is a plus. An easy (for a knowledgeable web-master at least) way to do this is either a searchable database, maybe with a cgi-script maybe. Making people that may not have actually entered the game able to find out information on various topics.

Interactive and helpful staff is always another plus on the assistance side, and anything along the lines, like maybe a system of 'Helpers', etc.
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Old 02-26-2004, 12:21 PM   #3
Join Date: May 2002
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Simply put, a help file is a standard that assists even immortals in maintaining a consistent story about a world.

Make your help files as newbie friendly and as complete as you can with simple access and it can honestly replace staff needed to run your world. We use help <keyword> as well as a help index <letter variable> to show all the ways of working each command or function. The tough part is keeping it up to date and in a similar format.

Do anything it takes to remove immortal involvement in players lives which includes a huge help file. The bonus is when they ask for help, ANYONE can say see help <etc>.
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Old 02-26-2004, 07:25 PM   #4
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1. Add a function that logs the word to file whenever someone tries to access a helpfile that doesn't exist. This helps you find gaps as well as let you know what words people are using to try to access help. You do need to survey the file on a regular basis or it will swell to mammoth proportions.

2. Make the helpfiles available on your website as well as in the game.

3. Include plenty of examples along with the syntax for using commands.

4. Run your helpfiles through a good grammar and spell checker before hand, and then have a human editor take a look. Helpfiles that are full of typos look bad.

5. Before you start writing them, figure out the format for them and write it up.

6. Look at each helpfile and try to think why someone might have tried to access it, in order to figure out see alsos that are meaningful (should you choose to use them).
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