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Nutshell icon.png This page, in a nutshell:

These pages are for information a player might want to know before playing the game, or basics to which they may later refer. At least use the Getting Started and Controls pages that are standard across most guides.

On the table of contents, the "Getting Started" sub-page is where information goes that may be helpful to a player before they start playing the game, as well as info pertinent to new players. The content can include gameplay information, or info to help a player understand what is going on in the game in general (i.e. game mechanics). Getting Started pages aren't meant to contain any actual walkthrough information, but rather very broad strategies that apply throughout the game or simple data.

When using the Table of Contents preload button, this section starts out with both the Getting Started section and a Controls page listed below. These are standard pages throughout the wiki that virtually every game could conceivably use. If you find yourself starting to make pages with titles like "Gameplay", "How to play" or "Basics", consider using either Getting Started or Walkthrough instead, as alternately named pages will likely be moved there anyway, or be marked for renaming.

Getting Started[edit]

The Getting Started page is linked from the {{Continue Nav}} on the guide main page, and is automatically added to the table of contents with the Table of Contents preload button. If no Controls page is on the ToC, then this page is mandatory. In rare cases where this page isn't being used, keep the Getting Started section title on table of contents, even if it's not linked. New and returning players should be able to read or even skim this page to get a general refresher on the bare minimum of what's involved. Even things covered in the manual should still be covered in case players don't have the manual for whatever reason (sometimes, re-releases don't even include a manual).

In almost every game you must normally perform some actions before actual gameplay starts. This page is the ideal place to put any information concerning what those actions might be. Topics you may find covered in the Getting Started page include:

  • Installation tips (for old PC games).
  • Background on the game.
  • How to use the menus and what options are available in them.
  • Controls, if no Controls page exists.
  • Information on basic elements of the game, such as the overall goals of the game, things to look out for, basic strategies, etc. Typical headers include:
    • HUD (describing the data elements on the screen).
    • Saving and loading.
    • Controls, movement, and combat.
    • Dying (describe where the game continues after dying, how continues work, etc.).
    • Equipment, items, and power-ups.
    • Perils, traps, and objects.

Note that much of what can be found on the Getting Started page could also be put on individual pages in the Getting Started section, or on the Walkthrough page. Complicated games might need to have this separated into different pages.

Controls[edit]

Important
Do not use {{control selector}} on the Controls page. The control selector is for switching out control images used in text on walkthrough pages.

A portion of every guide is often dedicated to explaining a game's controls. Unless included in the Getting Started page, this page is mandatory. When there is no Getting Started page, the {{Continue Nav}} on the guide main page includes a link to this page. A Controls page is automatically added to the table of contents when using the Table of Contents preload button. This information should be roughly modeled after an instruction booklet. It should be noted whether games allow button customization, and the default configuration settings for each game should be used and noted as such.

Buttons should be listed in a table with a button template wherever possible. If there is no image for the button, it should be written out in bold (using a header cell in the table (!) automatically bolds it for you). If no template exists for this system, or you don't know what its controls are, use {{needcontrols|system name}} to tag it and write out the buttons in full.

Use separate columns for each system's controls, and another column for its function(s). Use a common separator such as a comma or forward slash to list multiple functions of a button, or use a bulleted list. Unless there are very few controls and only for one system, use a table with the {{prettytable}} template to display controls:

GameCube PlayStation Action
Neutral control Neutral lstick Move character
A button Cross button Jump (Hold longer for higher jumps)
B button Circle button Attack; block (press at the same time as the opponent to block)

For simple controls, you can use a bulleted list with the controls followed by a colon (:), then the action. If there are no control images, or you don't know what they are, bold the written-out controls:

  • Analog stick: Move character
  • A button: Jump
  • B button: Attack, block

Computer games use the mouse and keyboard for control ({{mouse}} and {{kbd}} exist for this purpose). Some games also distinguish the typing of lowercase and uppercase letters. For example, in NetHack, pressing z zaps a wand while Z zaps a memorized spell. If the capitalization does not matter, list the key with a capital, as this is the way it is displayed on a real keyboard.

Other pages[edit]

Depending on the type of game, other common pages in this section could include Characters, Items, Locations or other similar topics. In some games a Characters page can give a player information on the characters' stats, special equipment or spells, or other gameplay information that may help them either choose the character they want or be prepared for them in the game. In most games, however, Characters pages are simply a place to put a picture and a description. While this type of page is not explicitly forbidden, keep in mind the scope policy and keep any frivolous information at least constrained to the specific game (e.g. you don't need to go into detail about this character in other games or give your own impressions). As a general rule when making pages in this section, ask yourself what information will help a reader get into the swing of things right from the outset of playing the game.