Summary: Option to suppress automatic help generation from
requirements in ruleset ('quiet' attribute)
                 Project: Freeciv
            Submitted by: jtn
            Submitted on: Mon 26 May 2014 16:11:57 BST
                Category: None
                Priority: 5 - Normal
                  Status: None
                 Privacy: Public
             Assigned to: None
        Originator Email: 
             Open/Closed: Open
         Discussion Lock: Any
         Planned Release: 



As we generalise the game engine more and more, autogenerated help struggles
to keep up. This is particularly true of help which tries to navigate the
requirements system; as we add negation and (maybe one day) disjunctive
requirements, and ruleset authors do more complex things with the engine,
automatic text generation simply isn't going to able to cope (or at least,
produce something humans would want to read).

My approach to this has been to make the help keep quiet about things it can't
describe with reliably satisfactory results, and rely on ruleset authors to
document anything that's missing in handwritten text.
(In principle, this policy obliges ruleset authors to keep up with the slowly
shifting boundary of things the help engine is willing to describe, to avoid
duplicates appearing.)

There are also cases where the automatic help generation is technically
correct but not ideal. Examples include giant unreadable lists of affected
units where the author could have summarised, and the current "Does not apply
to city centers" we see in e.g. Fortress help since patch #3826. (We might be
able to wordsmith this case, but crafting that text to apply to all situations
is hard.)

To help with all this, I propose that requirements gain an attribute 'quiet'
(alongside 'present' and 'survives'). If TRUE, this would prevent anything
that generates help from requirements lists from emitting text based on that
requirement. It wouldn't change gameplay at all.

Ruleset authors could use this reactively to suppress unhelpful help, and
proactively on requirements that they've already documented.


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