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Designing Tutorials into your Games - Printable Version

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Designing Tutorials into your Games - Syaxamaphone - 11-19-2018

Something really neat I came across recently while playing the new Pokemon Let's Go is this mini tutorial on hidden items:

You can see it in action on this video I posted

I'll break it down step by step:
  • The game starts with this NPC in view as you enter the area. He tells you that his buddy on his shoulder tells him when he approaches an item on the ground.
  • With this information fresh in your mind, you enter the next area and are immediately greeted with a visible item ball. At this point your partner will begin their signal when you approach the ball. Hopefully still remembering what the guy just said, you pay attention and can figure out the signal.
  • As you continue down the narrow path, you'll pass several more hidden items that will each trigger your buddy's signal, prompting you to search for and retrieve the hidden item.
I think that this is a very good example of how to subtly guide a player into making their own discoveries regarding mechanics in your game. There's definitely always still a place for simply telling the player what they need to know, but these kinds of subtle tutorials can be very satisfying for both the player and developer alike.

What are some examples you can think of, MFGG?

RE: Designing Tutorials into your Games - Mariotroid - 11-22-2018

Metroid Prime did a pretty good tutorial with the Frigate Orpheon. It managed to make a minimum viable product for the game. It didnt capture everything the game has to offer but it added up. You learned to shoot, morph ball, scan visor and use missiles. The game wouldn't be the same without the opening sequence.

The developers could have made the game without it, but I'm glad they didnt.

RE: Designing Tutorials into your Games - Q-Nova - 12-31-2018

While it's nice to tell the player how to do certain things (especially if they're optional, though), I consider it good game design when the developer manages to subtly teach the player about the features, such as weapons, enemies, etc. In fact, I often attempt to do them in my own games and mods, especially at the beginning of each of them. For example, in Battle in the Future, I designed the Koopa boss fight to teach the player all the stuff they can do as Goomrisk, the Goomba, through its attacks. Goomrisk's tactics include jumping (used for avoiding the lasers), picking up and throwing objects (to use the hand), moving left and right (to avoid the zigzag flight and ground pound), and both jumping and moving (done when the Koopa ground pounds at the last health point).

Another example that comes to mind is the first level of Keen 6, Bloogwaters Crossing. At the beginning, there are a few point items and a harmless blue Blooglet. You can interact with these without much tension, since there isn't any danger at the moment, and learn how they work. Soon, you'll come across Vivas, which are little creatures that give you an extra life if you collect 100 of them. Some stand on the ground, while others float in the air. The game introduces them with a few flying Vivas and a standing Viva at once, which teaches the player that they come in two variants, and I think it does that quite well. If the flying and standing Vivas were introduced separately, I think the second variant introduced may possibly be overlooked, especially since they don't move.

After the Vivas, you'll see a Bloog (a green, one-eyed creature) running up a slope. Bloogs will kill you on contact, but since they're introduced so early, there isn't much punishment from interacting with them (in fact, you at least get to learn that you shouldn't touch these guys). When you first meet these guys, you're not able to shoot them easily since you can't shoot diagonally and they are going up a slope. During this time, you get to learn how they behave for a bit. Once they get on the flat part of the beginning, you can now shoot them very easily, and discover that it takes one to knock them down (although you might learn about this from the blue Blooglet at the start). By the way, at the part with the Bloog, there are point items formed at an arc. They're not easy to get with a jump, but if you use the pogo stick, you'll reach higher and manage to get these. Along with the high tree branches at the beginning that cannot be reached by a normal jump, you can learn how to use the pogo stick very quickly. The item arc also gives you an opportunity to learn about the Impossible Pogo Trick, where you run, hit the jump and pogo button at the same time, and then you'll blast off quite high in an arc! If you do it successfully, you can get all the items in one swoop and even go over the Bloog if you do the trick right upon getting to that area! About halfway through, you get to meet a red Blooglet, which acts identical to the blue ones. This teaches the player that Blooglets come in different colors, but all act the same nevertheless.

While I wouldn't really say that the level is perfect (it's possible for the Babobba and their little fireballs to be obscured by the tree at the end, meaning the player could be killed without warning), I thought it did a great job subtly introducing some of the basic concepts in the game without straight-up-telling the player!

RE: Designing Tutorials into your Games - Mariotroid - 01-01-2019

(12-31-2018, 10:46 PM)Q-Nova Wrote: Q-Novas post

This is a good example. You seemed to have really thought out the game design before building.