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I am writing a guide on how to write a free RPG on my blog. The guide has a series of techniques and tips from inspiration to playtest. I have been writing an RPG as I go along as an example of using the techniques. The guide is to be both entertaining read and reference.

Each section is now getting very long and the inline examples make it less useful as a reference source as there are great chunks of game in the middle.

Should I split out the examples to one end-to-end game creation example at the end or leave them inline?

An example of part one can be found here (without examples).

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You could probably get some excellent answers if you asked this on Writers – user1637 Nov 8 '11 at 18:35
I think this is a complex issue involving many disciplines. I suggest you ask writers, graphic designers and UX experts for their very valuable advice. I also think that this is off topic here. – edgerunner Nov 8 '11 at 22:46
Thanks for the tips, I'll try there. The internet seem to be absolutely in favour of inline with very few dissenters! – Rob Lang Nov 10 '11 at 14:47
up vote 16 down vote accepted

Keep them in-line, but use indentation, italics, or a change in font to clearly mark the creation example sections. That way, those who are interested can read them and those who'd rather stick to the instruction sections can do so easily. I find that having worked examples close to the suggestions is a great way to ease learning of new skills.

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You are a programmer and are presenting this online so you have complete control over your presentation--why not use something good rather than just going with the way everyone has presented reading material for thousands of years?

For instance, two columns, the text taking the first 1/3 of the width of the screen and the code taking the other 2/3. As you mouse over and click various sections of text, the code scrolls to an area of the code detailing the concept and highlights it. Clicking on any section of the code may scroll the text to a place that describes that section of code in detail.

This would require tracking a "Current reading point" that you can return to as well since things would jump around a bit if you got to clicking on both sides.

Hmm, this is actually a pretty good idea...

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+1 That is a really good idea! It's a little out of the scope of the first pass of the guide - which might become a PDF but for general explanations, I like it! – Rob Lang Nov 8 '11 at 17:32

Keep them inline and close to the rule or relevant place that they are illustrating. A different font or/and background or/and frame is essential to see where they are. Make sure they are indexed as well so readers to refer to them later.

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I'm not illustrating rules as such, I am illustrating ideas. For example using mind maps to bottom out an idea for a game would include a description of how they are useful and then a mind map example. – Rob Lang Nov 8 '11 at 12:46

Use pop-ups online--with an option to make them inline--and footnotes (side-notes, side-bars, whatever, but not endnotes) in print.

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Popups are not a good GUI choice for this. You don't want the example obscuring text when the window has popped up. – Rob Lang Mar 12 '12 at 12:48
@RobLang - I understand from the voting that it is unpopular, but I have seen exactly this done well and it is extremely effective. If you want to glance, you pop it up and read it, then move the cursor and let it drop back. If you want to read more seriously, pop it up inline. – Ichoran Mar 12 '12 at 15:04

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