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How Important are Game Tutorials?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by jonmalave_, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. jonmalave_

    jonmalave_

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    So i'm curious to know how important is a good Interactive Game Tutorial?

    I have a tendency to Skip any and all Game Tutorials when Prompted if or when I start playing a new game... I like to think most players are like me and just want to jump in and play and figure it out as they go, but I could be wrong.

    How important would you say an Interactive Game Tutorial is? Anyone know of any Analytic Data that actually shows how many new Players skip Tutorials vs actually doing them?
     
  2. jonmalave_

    jonmalave_

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  3. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    So important we need two threads at all times.
    Edit: Correction, three.

    Maybe we need a tutorial on creating tutorial threads? ;)
     
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  4. BrandyStarbrite

    BrandyStarbrite

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    It's almost very important!
    And it also depends om the type of game you are making too.

    Virtua Fighter 4 tutorial mode is a good example. :D
    And it rewards a player for completing certain tutorials too.


    The tutorial mode in VF4 helped alot of us Virtua fighter players, who hadn't played the game in a long time.
    And showed off brand new mechanics not seen in previous VF entries.
    Otherwise, if it didn't have that tutorial mode, that was also Fun.
    We wouldn't have had any idea what the heck to do.
    Or how to do certain things in the game. Lol! :p

    Fun factor in tutorials, is another thing you will have to think about.

    Bayonetta 2 has one too.
    But it shows up as you fight certain enemies you meet along the way and advance further into the game.

    Metroid Prime 1 does this too.
    As you progress through the game, or acquire a new weapon or item, the game tells you how to perform certain moves.
    And you have to perform them in real time.

    Zelda is another fine example too.

    Always remember: For certain types of games, you have to make the tutorials fun and interesting to encourage gamers to learn your game.
    Especially for the "lazy gamers," and grumpy grumbly gamers, who love to complain about the simplest of things,that becoming quite common these days! :p
    And that can be quite a challenge! :D
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014
  5. FrustratedRocka

    FrustratedRocka

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    I was going to make a counterargument to that, but this explains my objections far better than I could. I'd say that your tutorials should largely be integrated into your level design, and any onscreen prompts should only happen once, if at all.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  6. CrossGuard-Games

    CrossGuard-Games

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    I too am a tutorial skipper, I hate it when I'm just looking for a new mobile game, and I'm just sitting there flicking through the tutorial, by the time I get to play I have to go do something. I think they should be accessible yet easily skiped, and still there, like in a help folder or something somewhere, so you can check them out of you missed something from all that skipping ;P
     
  7. RJ-MacReady

    RJ-MacReady

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    I like when I have no idea how to play. Figuring it out is fun.
     
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  8. BrandyStarbrite

    BrandyStarbrite

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    Yeah! :D
     
  9. 3agle

    3agle

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    I make E-Learning programs as my day job, and can't emphasize the importance of some form of player guidance. However, a tutorial in the traditional sense should always be optional!

    Guiding or teaching the player doesn't have to be as direct as most normally jump to when someone says 'Tutorial' though. We are fairly liberal with the hints and suggestions in our applications as they are primarily Learning, so someone not knowing what to do defeats the point of the program. I'm positive that subtle guidance is essential even in games though. Even if it's something simple like brighter lighting near the correct path to take, subconscious hints make a world of difference.
    As for teaching in terms of mechanics, do it piece by piece, sometimes you don't even need words.
    As a great example, look at any of Valves single player games, Half Life 2 for example. There is a developer commentary mode where you can hear thoughts from the devs as you play through sections. There are so many helpful tips on how to guide and teach a player things, I can't recommend it enough. Portal also has a commentary mode worth checking out.
     
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  10. Aiursrage2k

    Aiursrage2k

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    Just add a tutorial level that takes the player by the hand and introduces them to the core concepts.
     
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  11. jonmalave_

    jonmalave_

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    Thanks all! For now I think giving Basic Written Instructions, and Linking to a YouTube Video of How to Play the Game (for Closed Alpha / Beta Players) could work. I think it's better than nothing for now until I can get around doing something more in-depth like an Offline Practice Game Session that walks the player through the core mechanics.
     
  12. Centigrade

    Centigrade

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    I've played through entire games without ever learning about certain abilities because there were no tutorials and no mention of the fact that the mechanic even exists in the game. Other games I've played, I've stumbled across abilities purely by accident during game-play and often quite a way into the game.

    With some older games (purely disc-based retro stuff) it's even necessary to consult the on-disc read-me for changes made between release and the print of the manual etc. (details that might be lost with services like gog etc.

    Personally, I think there should at least be a prompt or a mention of these kinds of things on screen or accessible via the options menu, even if there's not a formal tutorial.
     
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  13. jonmalave_

    jonmalave_

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  14. BFGames

    BFGames

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    Depends on your target group. Small kids and hardcore gamers got different needs of guidance.
     
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  15. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

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    This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately with regard to our High Frontier game. It's not like pretty much any other game, except possibly KSP, and even there the mechanics of our design mode are a bit different. I've gotten email from several users who are stumped about how to assemble their colony. Of course other users have successfully figured out how it works through experimentation — we do make the controls as intuitive as possible — but for some, at least, it's not obvious what to do or how to do it.

    So, something has to be done. I don't think putting written instructions anywhere is likely to help much, since users don't read. A video tutorial may be better, especially for today's yoots who seem incapable of digesting (or producing) any information not in the form of a YouTube video.

    But the ideal, I think, is something built into the game. And better than a separate "now we're doing a tutorial!" mode that people skip through (yeah, I do it too), is something integrated into the gameplay itself. My favorite example is Corporation Inc, which presents a series of objectives, with a nice (game) cash reward for completing each one. The early objectives are simple demonstrate-that-you-know-what-you're-doing kind of things, like "Place an office". So, in the course of completing the objectives, you're learning the game mechanics and getting tasty rewards in the process.

    An achievement system could serve a similar purpose, if done right. But it would have to be the sort of thing that shows you the next available achievement(s) in some really obvious place, and maybe even with a "help" or "more info" button on each one that explains how to do whatever it is if you don't already know. Note that the more common achievement system, of showing you some UI only after you've achieved something (or hiding the achievements in some window you have to go open and read), is useless for this purpose.

    But High Frontier currently has neither money nor achievements. So, I'm not sure whether I should just post a video for now, and implement something better when we have economy and/or an achievement system; or build some special set of tutorial goals and hope people care even without the rewards; or something else. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
     
  16. jonmalave_

    jonmalave_

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    LOL! That's funny... and makes sense, I think that's what i'll do for now... I don't think my game will be too hard for most to figure out since it provides a Standard WoW (World of Warcraft) kind of Controls, I have a Sandbox mode where you can pretty much do whatever you want, then a MOBA mode where people will need to understand the goal which is to capture some strategic points, defeat other players in PvP, and destroy their main structure (ancient) to win. Because my game is a bit different than other MOBAs i'll definitely need to add some tutorial gameplay mode eventually, I can't really integrate it into a live gameplay session otherwise other players would get pist that their noob team mates are training while they are trying to win the match lol!

    I'm not sure what advice to give in return for your game as i'm trying to figure out what to do with mine... lol
     
  17. Tomnnn

    Tomnnn

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    In place of tutorials, I've noticed a new great trend of having the first area in a game require each input / use of a skill to get through. If the player needs help, they check the controls or read signs in game that tell them what to do at that area. Otherwise, they can run through the first level like it's nothing without being bothered by slow and drawn out cutscenes or repeating certain events 3-10 times.