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To Casual Gamers: Hints Are 'Punishment', Says Big Fish

In the course of developing Drawn: Dark Flight, the team at Big Fish Studios discovered that the game's audience considered hints a bad thing, despite trouble with
In the course of developing Drawn: Dark Flight, the team at Big Fish Studios discovered that the game's audience considered hints a bad thing, despite trouble with puzzles. As the development team focus tested the game's hint system, they discovered that "people were reticent to use hints. When asked why, they equated it to being punished." So writes the game's senior producer Chris Campbell as part of Gamasutra's feature-length examination of the development of both games in the Drawn series. The team's expedient solution was to swap the term "hint" to "advice", which did the trick. The team also spent extensive time improving the hint system for the second title of the series, as users reported that hints were not context-sensitive enough to be helpful in the first installment. Writes Campbell, "Instead of assuming where they might be stuck on an objective, the system reads their inventory and knows exactly what they need to do next. This required increasing the amount of hint text written five-fold, but it was worth every minute." The full feature article, which extensively looks at the creative process behind the successful adventure series, is live now on Gamasutra.

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