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Author Topic: Game standards: Tutorials  (Read 2091 times)
Offline (Male) Benxamix2
Posted on: May 22, 2014, 11:37:22 PM

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Brief introduction.

By the 90's, some games were including tutorials, explaining how to play. Some were just explaining the most complex areas. Some weren't, but since they had control configuration one could figure it all out.
Today, most games are really explaining you how to do everything. While this remains mostly good for complicated games with loads of buttons and actions to do, there are things that shouldn't be told in my opinion, like "PRESS W TO MOVE FORWARD" (basically, everything that is too obvious already).


Some people consider that tutorials take away part of the essence about a game's fun factor; those prefer to learn by themselves. This is an issue I noticed since a group that's within a YouTube channel, loooong ago -I can't recall the name-, talked about this. What they said could be resumed in this:

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Without tutorials, playing a game from the beginning to the end is like life itself. You first try to move on yourself. Smash buttons around, those you think that would be used for such purposes. When you discover how movement works (left-right, 4dirs, whatever), you then proceed to advance in that game; that's when you find boundaries/limits, obstacles, or death itself (in this last case you'll probably be within a game with multiple lifes so it doesn't matter). In the first case, it's a cycle until you get to any of the other 2 cases. In the second case, you'll have to get over that obstacle. This can result in learning a new part of the gameplay (like attacking or jumping), or stopping to figure out the obstacle, for the case of puzzles. You'll end repeating this formula until you end the game.

While I liked this concept, I'm perfectly aware that some people don't like putting all this "effort" into games (and as a product "seller", I'm trying to cover the most amount of public I can). The first moments of the game (if not the whole game) experience is greatly affected by the simple idea of tutorials. What I aimed to, in my game, was including some sort of help within the game, which shouldn't be in the first level, and either as a plain "help/controls screen". It was more like a "tutorial" option in a main menu. However, this method may be kind of annoying, at least to myself, because I wouldn't feel like I'm progressing in the game while in that tutorial - and that's what I hate the most.
There's also the idea of gameplay hints, which I'm using for my current early release (within the levels for now), trough the placement of signboards where it feels needed.

I'd like to read other points of view, though. I'm not really sure what to keep doing here.

TL;DR

How far should I go about tutorials on my platform game? Should I even include 'em? What do you think?



Off-Topic side note!

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©2007-2012 The ENIGMA team
ENIGMA - home of lesbian seagull raps.

...k
Didn't notice this before...

...lol.
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Offline (Unknown gender) Darkstar2
Reply #1 Posted on: May 23, 2014, 12:45:17 AM
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If I made a game I would like as many people playing it and I would make it flexible and configurable such as:

* Tutorial being optional.
* Hints/subs along the way optional.
* Waypoints/saving optional.

Not everyone has the same patience or taste in games and not everyone seeks the same challenges as Harri :D  However for people who do not like any of the above I would offer the possibility to turn it off.

Given that people's attitude towards games changed a lot, making a game stripped of all the above without offering any option would only get many negative reviews, flames, etc. in my opinion and goes with what Harri was pointing out in the other topic.
Still, I would like for my game to reach as much people as possible.

This way if Harri plays my game he will be happy to know if he dies on level 15 he will have the possibility to start all over to level 1 lol !

Mind you the gaming industry is like show business / music industry, film industry.....you will get harsh criticism no matter what. :P


« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 12:46:56 AM by Darkstar2 » Logged
Offline (Male) Benxamix2
Reply #2 Posted on: May 23, 2014, 01:10:46 AM

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I see you're getting a little obsessed about Harri's standards, from your post
lol :p

If I made a game I would like as many people playing it and I would make it flexible and configurable such as:

* Tutorial being optional.
* Hints/subs along the way optional.
* Waypoints/saving optional.

Well I considered that first one too by, like said in my OP, adding a tutorial option to the main menu.
I didn't think about the ability to turn hints off, because despite being a good and simple method, my game won't keep telling the player to press X to Y, every time Y is possible.
The last one is more like a difficulty setting. Good idea in itself, though.


Mind you the gaming industry is like show business / music industry, film industry.....you will get harsh criticism no matter what. :P

I know that, but it's always a good challenge to avoid them as much as possible.
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Offline (Unknown gender) Darkstar2
Reply #3 Posted on: May 23, 2014, 01:54:36 AM
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I see you're getting a little obsessed about Harri's standards, from your post
lol :p

No actually he has very good points, I'm having some fun :)  Likes the way he makes arguments, and like I said it's a matter of taste, I respect that.  I find nothing wrong with his standards. Imagine if the entire gaming market was like that would call for much more challenging game and longer gameplay as game companies would not have to make games so easy and take you by the hand in every step, such as point the arrow where you need to go etc.  Even though I don't apply such standards myself, you gotta admire his patience though :P
Also he has a point about kids being spoiled and being used to getting it easy, which can translate to games.  But I don't think this is always the case. I was not spoiled and everything I have I worked for through my own efforts, because I wanted to, not because I had to, but due to some circumstances, which I will not get into my life story here, I guess I have a specific taste and patience level.  I don't like easy and short games....but I'd being a lying MF if I said I wouldn't mind starting the whole game over because of one small fucking mistake or because I died at level 15 and have to start at 1 :D  Has nothing to do with wanting it easy......remember that some people lead stressful lives and for some, gaming is a temporary escape into fantasy....for some it can be a dangerous escape, others who are down to earth and use it moderately, can be healthy. 

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Well I considered that first one too by, like said in my OP, adding a tutorial option to the main menu.
I didn't think about the ability to turn hints off, because despite being a good and simple method, my game won't keep telling the player to press X to Y, every time Y is possible.

Nope, that's not what I meant by hints.

The press X or Y key subs could be considered tutorial or help.  Some games have them at the beginning usually when you start a "new game" but as you keep playing it does not show up again.

By hints I mean actually adding full interactivity and AI / Logic, let's say you are playing my game and are stuck, and you've been playing a long time and going in circles....The logic would detect this and display some hints for you.

Example, goal based level you are facing
a concrete wall and reached a dead end
but something on the other side....
After a while a sub would display
"...If only I could get to the other side!"
and later display other hints.  I could also
 set hint levels, subtle, infrequent, frequent,
etc.

Also intend to play around with non linear aspect.  As opposed to making a platform where you go from point A to point B find the exit type, I would like a multi goal/task based level system, where you don't have to necessarily complete goals in a linear fashion, where everything is scripted.  With possibility of even going back and forth levels, sometimes requiring jumping between levels to get certain items you would need on previous levels, etc.

One thing certain people don't like about games is linearity.  Go from point A to point B.  Some like it, I could do both types.

Also intend to add "randomness" where when you play the game again, the objects won't be placed at the same place.  That high jump "ability" potion you required to reach that area above that  contained the red key you need to unlock the door on level 2, would not be placed at the same place and probably require another ability or set of tasks in order to reach it.  Making the game different and offering different paths / possibilities.  That concrete wall you needed to detonate when you first played the game might not be there at all once you finish the whole game and play again or start a new game, or you may have different set of tasks.
But this is all advanced stuff for now I would probably do classical / traditional! Those platform games tend to be so linear (go for the exit) type, this is one aspect I want to work on and eventually make something big.

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The last one is more like a difficulty setting. Good idea in itself, though.

Not only that, but if a player would select HARD settings, I would  disable obviously the help and hints system, and as opposed to difficulty level affecting only health or enemies, I could have completely new elements added to harder difficulty.

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I know that, but it's always a good challenge to avoid them as much as possible.

you got that right, it's a challenge.
I've been in the industry (behind the scenes) and it can be very tough...... Even the best of filmmakers, actors, musicians, singers, game devs, will have their hate and harsh criticism. You can never avoid that completely.....:D
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