How will the first 10 minutes play?

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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby mrout » Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:02 am

Well anyway, back on topic, I'm almost certain that the tutorial should be singleplayer, separate from normal singleplayer. Do you agree?
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby gbear605 » Sat Sep 07, 2013 12:30 pm

Yes. The tutorial should preferably be an informative tutorial that takes you through most of everything, while not having GIANT WALLS OF TEXT.
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby croxis » Mon Sep 09, 2013 5:11 pm

I don't agree, but I'm ok with either way.
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby mrout » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:19 am

You don't agree with what?
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby croxis » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:48 pm

GoodOldeTymes said it best:

GoodOldeTymes wrote:I disagree. If the tutorial is integrated into the game (such as with Portal), instead of an aside (such as Fire Emblem, GRRRRRR!), then there is no need to make it optional. The player shouldn't even know it is there.


I've never been a big fan of university style tutorials even when they don't have big walls of text. Portal is a fantastic example of a scaffolded tutorial embedded into actual gameplay.

Lets forget the tutorial for a second and look at the first 10 minutes of gameplay. For the sake of this example I am using my proposed game universe backstory of "because of <reason> the surviving human colonies returned to <insert pre-industrial age>, except for some individuals who want to return to the stars." I'm also not being specific on the details of the mechanics because those are still up in the air and may or may not fit the overall design of the game.

When the player starts a new game their starting ship is broken/damaged and needs to be repaired. They do basic repairs and basic customization to start to develop the player-ship relationship. About 30 min to 2-h in the player will have the option to do a moderate overhaul of the ship hull (think Enterprise in the first star trek movie -- obvious changes from TOS but still in many ways limited).

Someone mentioned this in the thread -- there would be context sensitive text and keybindings that would fade in an out to help the player repair the ship. It would use I do-you do-we do to scaffold and differentiate instruction. After repairs are complete the tutorial text would guide the player to navigate to the drydock for the moderate overhaul (where there would be further tutorial along the same line).

At any point the player can deviate from the tutorial system, repair how they want and go where they want. After enough deviations the tutorial will put up a text along the line sayings "you seem to know what you are doing and the tutorial is now disabled. enter options to reinable tutorial"
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby Alderin » Tue Sep 10, 2013 9:33 pm

Had a thought: Training Videos.

No reason there wouldn't be video screens with the ability to play videos, and a nice little library of basic technical training videos in the rack. VCRs were common in the 80's, Laserdisks were around toward the latter half.

That said, video tapes and video cameras would make an interesting addition to the game, people could make their own tutorial videos IN GAME and distribute/sell them. Just because the DCPU doesn't have the power to display full motion video, doesn't mean video isn't possible. People could even make Machinima with in-game video tools, possibly downloading the results, which could add interest and popularity to the game.

Back to Tutorial: I like the situational tutorial beginning to a point, but if a player gets fully frustrated there, there should be an optional single-player in-depth tutorial mode with training to get them back on their feet and back into the game.
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby croxis » Wed Sep 11, 2013 12:04 am

I want to clarify my vocabulary first, there are two kinds of tutorials. There is the introduction tutorial where the player learns the basics of a game, and in depth tutorials for advanced topics. I am talking about the former -- only the situation of tutorials for new and inexperienced players of the game.

The general function of the starting game tutorials are introductions to common gameplay elements that makes the game playable to the player. Your player's short term memory only has enough slots for 5-9 memory primitives*. And I mean primitive. A single digit takes up one short term memory slot. This might be why US phone numbers are 7 digits long. Going too in depth and doing too much too soon will cause more problems for the player. I also have a study sitting around somewhere that found that going too in depth results in greater appreciation for the complexity of a topic, but the person becomes more disinterested in perusing it.

The critical point for any tutorial is the player being able to identify what they are doing wrong and then modify their behavior accordingly. That is the beauty of pedagogical techniques like I do (teacher demonstrates) you do (student does it on their own) we do (student and teacher do it together, here mistakes can be identified and corrections can be made). Some of these will be trivial like moving the player avatar, to something that would be a bit more specific to the game such as repairing a hull breach. The repetition is also how something is committed to memory which frees up short term memory for new tasks.

Another issue is that different players will begin at different levels so the tutorial needs to differentiate instruction to match the needs of the player. I don't need to be taught wasd but someone else might. Everyone will need to be taught how to navigate their ship to another planet. And some players who are well versed in gaming or with good reasoning abilities might want to jump right in. I didn't read the civ 2 manual when I first got the game. My husband combs through any and all manuals and tutorials very carefully before even installing**.

If we are asking players to learn a lot of skills for basic, functional gameplay, especially those that are not common tropes or are different than what one might expect, then we must be really mindful of how the game is introduced to players.

The nice thing about separate tutorials is that they are easy to write and code for. The problem is they are lousy at their job.

*Except teenage girls. The memory area of the brain is powered by estrogen, resulting in young women to be able to hold up to 15 items in short term memory. This is also why teenage girls will remember every way you have wronged them.

**Thankfully I broke him of this habit

I also suggest taking a look at studies of the tutorial for the first Super Mario Brother's Game for NES.
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby mrout » Wed Sep 11, 2013 9:12 am

Having a separate tutorial mode is the ultimate way of ensuring that players don't have to repeat things they already know. If you've played this sort of game before, you don't need to play the basic movement tutorial, teaching you to look around, press WASDQE, etc.
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby ChemicalRascal » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:18 am

Furthermore, integrating the tutorial into a multiplayer experience would be a phenomenal pain, because it'd be nigh impossible to ensure the experience is identical for each new player, as it becomes disruptable - furthermore, it's very difficult to guarantee a specific experience in a randomly-generated environment. Portal and Half-Life 2 can do very good "first stages" because they are able to guarantee that there's going to be a crate to fall on here, there's going to be a guard telling you to pick up a can there, you're going to see yourself through the portal here, and so on. Can't do that in a randomly generated, player-disruptable environment.
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby croxis » Wed Sep 11, 2013 4:38 pm

mrout wrote:Having a separate tutorial mode is the ultimate way of ensuring that players don't have to repeat things they already know. If you've played this sort of game before, you don't need to play the basic movement tutorial, teaching you to look around, press WASDQE, etc.


Sadly this isn't supported in the literature. I used a very contrived, simple example and one case. But again I ask, how many different tasks will a player need a basic mastery of in order to play the game? I've only played the world of tanks tutorial once but if memory serves it only taught about seven simple concepts (memory primatives), and even then a player doesn't need to master them to be successful in the game. If a game is that simple then seperate tutorials can work.

@CR -- Oh I absolutly agree that integrating the tutorial into multiplayer would be a pain. It is possible by instancing an in game tutorial but that can be a really contrived experience. That being said if we look at some of the more successful minecraft servers they have special starting zones and univerities to communicate server rules and special features to a player. That starting experience is way too varied though to implement in vanilla and should be left up to servers to construct their specific starting experiences. The engine could provide some tools/api to help with that though.

One more point I think I forgot to mention -- player achievement. By integrating the tutorial in the starting gameplay experience player achievement in a tutorial is also their achievement in game. Getting player efficacy up early is really important. We've established that we want a strong player bond with the ship which means a lower rate of player loss. While we want players to learn their lesson for their errors we don't want to establish a high death rate, like in DF or KSP, in the first couple hours either.
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