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So you want to create a walkthrough?
Well, congrats! A walkthrough can be a great way to attract users to your wiki, and also helps to serve the community at large by giving them a trusted resource for information and help. The following template was created to help you through the walkthrough creation process, but please note that these rules are not set in stone: you are free to tweak them to fit the individual needs of your wiki. However, we believe that the following template will help you create a walkthrough that is both useful and intuitively designed.
It's important to keep in mind what a good walkthrough should accomplish: it's a step by step guide that a fellow gamer can quickly and easily use to advance their place in a game. To that end, here are some general rules to follow:
- Your steps should be clear and concise. Get to the point quickly, and give only enough information to help the user understand what they need to do. There is no need to explain major plot points or elements--remember, the user is not here to be told what happens, they're here to get through the level or to find out how/where/why something is done or is located.
- Be specific: vague instructions will only confuse and confound your user.
- Be visual: A picture can sometimes be worth a thousand words; videos can be even more effective
- Provide links where appropriate: if you discuss a specific item/weapon/character, provide a link to the corresponding article page so users can go and get more information if they want
With those things in mind, we move onto our template, which is detailed below. This template is also adaptable; if you feel your wiki has different needs, please feel free to tweak it as you see fit. Please note the use of the Walkthrough namespace: this allows you to separate the walkthrough from the main wiki itself.
The first thing we suggest is that you build your walkthrough using the Walkthrough namespace. This will allow you to maintain a walkthrough without affecting the information found on the actual wiki. It also allows you to collate all of the relevant walkthrough information and allows us to potentially cull the content should we ever decide to collect all relevant Walkthrough data into one massive collection. It's also good for SEO purposes, which can help drive search engine traffic to your wiki.
Table of contents
Its always helpful to create a ToC where each section of the walkthrough is clearly laid out; this allows gamers to effortlessly find the section/level which is relevant to their needs.
Walkthrough:Name_of_Game - namespace and name of game appears at the top of the article
Introduction/description of walkthrough
[Please use this space to set up the walkthrough and to give users a context. Description should be creative and should "hook" the user.]
Table of contents
- Level/Chapter 1: [link to article]
- Level/Chapter 2: [link to article]
- And so on
Best practices example
- IGN also does a good job of introducing level and walkthrough:
This is where you actually lay out the information that a user will use to get through a troublesome part of the game. We suggest you rely heavily on video (many video walkthroughs can be found on Youtube and other sources shortly after a game comes out), as they can be more instructive and intuitive than text. However, if you prefer text, be sure to be concise and get to the point quickly. Also be sure to try and add in visual elements, whether it's a video or image to help break up the text and give users a better context. Walkthrough:Name_of_Level
- Description/recap of level: [This is the place to sum up the major events and what is ultimately achieved. Please try to stay away from anything that could directly spoil the outcome. You can allude to it, but don't directly spoil it.]
- Complete list of notable collectibles, items, weapons that users may want to be on the look out of.
- Walkthrough text/videos
Best practices example
Walkthroughs can encompass more than a direct guide through a game's levels. There can sometimes be general tips, cheat codes, and other tidbits of information that a user may find useful. Don't be afraid to collect these into their own page. Games with multiplayer components can especially benefit from this sort of page.
- Cheats should be clearly labelled for their platform and should clearly explain how they're performed and what effect they have. If the cheat comes from a specific source, please be sure to give proper attribution and credit.
- General tips encompass various hints and tricks that a new user can use to get themselves familiarized with a game. They can be purely anecdotal (based on your own personal experiences) or grounded in a general consensus reached by the community at large.
Your walkthrough is done! Now what?
If you've made it this far, you deserve a pat on the back for finishing your walkthrough (or at least getting it to a point where people can actually start using it)! Now, the best thing you can do is to promote it. After all, what's the point of a walkthrough if no one can find it? It's up to each wiki community to figure out how best to promote something on their wiki, but a few suggestions are: highlight on the main page; put a link to it in the wiki nav; blog about it; post it into the forums; and spread the word amongst the community in general.
Hopefully, the community also contributes new material to the walkthrough and further strengthens it, making it an even more valuable resource for other gamers. If you create a walkthrough that you're really proud of, let us know about it ! We love to see examples of our community doing good things!