Cheat Happens FAQ Writing Tutorial
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How to write a FAQ by Neo7

1. What is a FAQ?

A FAQ, or "Frequently Asked Questions", has hundreds of defnitions, but for the purposes of cheat sites, it's simple a guide that helps people either defeat a game, become more skilled at it, or provides information about it. On most cheat sites, "FAQ" is often synonymous with "Guide", "File", "Walkthrough", "Strategy Guide", and several other names. Regardless of the nomenclature, it generally all comes down to just providing help for gamers who read the guide.

2. Basics for Beginners

Most likely a person who reads a FAQ is one who is playing the game for the first time. To meet their needs an Author needs to have a list of controls and basic concepts of the game. This is also necessary for the more advanced techniques that the game offers so make sure to include those in advanced FAQs as well.

All games will need the following info:

- Basic Control Layout
- On screen tools and what they mean
- List of elements of the game
- Basic overall objective of the game (what its about)

Most action games will need the following info:

- Types of guns/weaponary
- How to use weaponary
- Different enviornments
- How to interact with the enviornment

Most RPG (Role-Playing Games) will need the following info:

- Races/Jobs/Types of people
- List of all the areas in a detailed format
- All weaponry/armor/accessories
- Abilites of selected units and equipment
- Enemy list
- Item list

Most Fighting games need the following info:

- Character bios
- Move lists for all characters (including secret characters)
- Stage descriptions

Most Racing games need the following info:

- Statistics of all cars (including secret cars)
- Track details

Most platform games need the following info:

- List of enemies and their abilites
- List of items and their effects
- All characters and their abilites

With that in mind it is a good portion of a FAQ that should take AT LEAST 1/4 of an entire FAQ.

3. Stage Description/Strategy

Every game has at least one stage where you must overcome a number of obstacles. It is an Authors job to write and describe every obstacle and the best possible way of getting past it. By describing a stage with more details gives a reader a more vivid picture of what to expect and how to prepare for it. Here are some things you should include when describing a stage.

- Basic over all layout (maps are optional but not required)
- List of all obstacles in the stage
- The locations of items that appear in the stage (If some items require you to skip and come back make sure to list what is necessary to gain that item)
- Basic strategy to victory on that stage

4. Lists

Most games will require you to make some form of lists. It could be items or enemies but whatever it may be you as an Author must list every detail of that object as you can. Here are some essentials to making lists:

For Items:
- Where they can be found
- What they do
- Who can use them
- Who can recieve its effects
- When you can use them

For Enemies:
- Their abilites
- Their HP and MP (average them out if it varies. If nessesary make catagories for enemies that have a wide range of these stats.)
- Their other statistics (Attack, Defense, Magic. Once again round if it varies.)
- Their strengths and weaknesses

For weaponary:
- Their abilites
- Their statistics (usually in RPGS)
- Their ammo clip size and maximum ammo storage (usually guns)
- Their pros and cons

For ability lists
- Describe their effects
- Tell when their best to use
- Describe their pros and cons
- Tell what element it is (Dark, Fire, ect.)

4. Advanced Techniques

Now that you've covered the basics now it's time to go in depth of the games more advanced and harder strategies.

Shortcuts:

Shortcuts are ways of telling a person to use a basic technique first without having to write it all out again. Usually Authors do this by giving the basic command a name. Shortcuts are useful however make sure you give enough information so that your reader knows what to do.

About locked abilites:

Usually in games advanced abilities for a character are locked. You need to tell them how to unlock them. This includes listing what basic or other advanced techniques a character is needed to
learn before being able to use another advanced technique. This method of locked abilites is usually used in RPG based games. Another way an ability could be locked is having a character to pick up an item that contains info for the character to learn. Usually when they use the item or pick it up the
character gains the ability to use it. This is used more on the action based games. Either way you must list how to get them in a detailed format.

5. Secrets of a game

Most games contain many codes and secrets to enhance it. Secrets come in many forms that may change the difficulty of a game or just add some fun to it. For more details of what kinds of secrets please view the Cheat Help help section on the site.

For codes you need the following...

- What to input
- Where to input
- How to input it
- What it does

For glitches you need...

- How to perform it
- Where to perform it
- What it does
- Possible dangers it may have on the game and/or character

For Easter Eggs you need...

- What the object is
- Where to find it
- What needs to be done for it to appear

6. Grammar

Yes what you learned in your English class you still need with you in order to complete a guide. If your FAQ contains so many errors your readers may not know what you are trying to say. Make sure you go through a guide and check for spelling and grammar errors befor submitting.

7. Credits

Make sure you credit ALL SOURCES YOUR INFO CAME FROM! Failure to do this will result in plagerizing which can lead into legal trouble with most sites and other people. Make sure to state
where your info was found even for the smallest things.

8. Mechanics of writing a FAQ

Now that you know what to include a FAQ here's how to type it up.

The best typing tool to use is Notepad. Notepad is the easiest of all to use. However if you do not have access to notepad then proceed on to Wordpad. If neither then you may use a hi-tech one like Microsoft Word however they are NOT recommended.

Make sure to take the auto wrap off. When documents are put on a webpage all the auto stuff is automaticlly removes and every paragraph will look like a big line that streches the browser. Also use of HTML is allowed but make sure to use it rarely. A guide is judged on how informative it is, not how pretty it looks.

Pictures are a real no-no. If you must use a picture never put it into your FAQ itself. Instead put it on a separate site and place a link on the FAQ that leads others to see it. Pictures and take up several space and cause very nasty lag times for those who do not need it.

9. My credits

This is a list of credits for this document.

- CJayC (GameFAQs): For the defenition on FAQ and the mechanics info for typing guides.

- You (the reader and possibly future Author) for taking the time to read this and making your guide the best it can be

- Cheat Happens staff: For hosting this guide

10. Contact

If you have further questions you may send a PM to me or use my e-mail address.

Contact: EnsignN7@gmail.com
http://www.cheathappens.com/show_user.asp?userID=475

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