Self-documenting Commands

Generic error messages don’t really tell the player what they should be doing, they merely tell them that something’s wrong with their input. Some MUDs offer help on individual commands, and if that’s the case, then it won’t be too much trouble to type help <command> and read up on it’s proper usage.

When help isn’t available on a per-command basis; however, it becomes a bit more frustrating. If the help system is well-organized, it may be trivial to find what is needed, but that’s a gamble.

An elegant solution is self-documenting commands, or, commands that inform the player how to use them when they type the command with no arguments. If there is a, “cast”, command, for instance, then typing cast by itself probably wouldn’t have an effect, and the player would see an error message.

To spruce things up a bit, this error message could inform the player that they can cast spells they know, cast a fishing pole’s line into the water, and suggest help topics to learn more about each variant of the command.

As Untold Dawn is still in early development, this would be a good opportunity to implement usage information that does more than:

  • Cast what?
  • Huh?
  • I don’t understand that.

To sum up, commands that actually give the player helpful information as to how they may or should be used is far more helpful than those that print a generic error message. Players will have an easier time learning how to play, and, because that information is always available, they may easily call it up by invoking the command with no arguments should they forget how to use it.

Thank you for the suggestion. I have made a note to start looking into this because it is definitely going to turn into a problem at this rate :slight_smile:

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Closed this thread since it has been implemented.