How will the first 10 minutes play?

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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby mrout » Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:37 am

Sadly this isn't supported in the literature.


Instead it's supported by being incredibly obvious. It's completely indisputable. Having a separate tutorial mode is the only way to ensure players don't have to do the tutorials they don't want to do.

I used a very contrived, simple example and one case.


It's still an example of why we shouldn't force every player to go through the bloody tutorial every time they start a new game or connect to a new server.

But again I ask, how many different tasks will a player need a basic mastery of in order to play the game?


I don't know. Lots. What's a 'task'? Is WASDQE movement a task? Is leaning around corners a task, or is that part of basic movement? Is shooting a gun a task, or do aiming and firing fall into two separate categories?

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.


Being simply has nothing to do with whether separate tutorials work.

[/quote]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.[/quote]

Servers do not need to have their own tutorials for the basic core mechanics. Relying on every server to custom build their own tutorials is incredibly dumb. If they're using a heavily modded server they might have a quick explanation in a central location for how it works, but otherwise? No.

By integrating the tutorial in the starting gameplay experience player achievement in a tutorial is also their achievement in game.


We're not aiming the game at 12 year old COD players with the attention span of a goldfish. If they will put down any game that doesn't shower them with praise every 5 seconds they can fuck right off.

Getting player efficacy up early is really important.


Not really. When players start off their should be terrible. They will be terrible. And the game shouldn't be so easy that they're instantly doing really well.

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.


Why not? What's the fun in succeeding if you didn't fail first?
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby croxis » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:21 am

*hits mrout with a reading comprehension stick again*

Also do some bloody research. And stop treating your still non-existent players like shit. And thinking in extreme absolutes.
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby mrout » Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:46 am

Do some bloody research into WHAT, exactly? How to produce shitty COD clones? No thanks. How to build easy accessible games? No thanks.

I'm not treating anybody like shit. I want a deep and complex game, and if that means it doesn't appeal to everyone, SO BE IT.
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby SirAwesomelot » Thu Sep 12, 2013 1:24 pm

Breaking News:
Every game without a distinct tutorial section secretly Call of Duty in disguise
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby amberkilloran » Thu Sep 12, 2013 3:32 pm

We.
croxis wrote:*hits mrout with a reading comprehension stick again*

Also do some bloody research. And stop treating your still non-existent players like shit. And thinking in extreme absolutes.

Don't.
mrout wrote:Do some bloody research into WHAT, exactly? How to produce shitty COD clones? No thanks. How to build easy accessible games? No thanks.

I'm not treating anybody like shit. I want a deep and complex game, and if that means it doesn't appeal to everyone, SO BE IT.

Need.
SirAwesomelot wrote:Breaking News:
Every game without a distinct tutorial section secretly Call of Duty in disguise

This.

Tensions run high and people all have different valid points, but please let's not begin arguing at one another with apprehensive statements, it will only lead to everyone here being more frustrated than we need to be. Can we try to find some common ground and see how we can make a tutorial for those who need one that everyone is at least moderately happy with?

After reading the last few pages, I would like to present what I think is a merging of a few different styles being represented here. If we see issues with this one, and any others presented, please let us talk them out so we can find common ground. (Segmented for readability; note at the bottom about the leaning towards mrout's perspective on implementation.)

Merging Schools of Thought
I believe that the initial experiences with the tutorial should be represented through gameplay in a style not dissimilar from Half-Life and Portal (mentioned by croxis and GoodOldeTymes). The problem with implementing this is that, indeed, it is difficult to creative a particular initial gameplay experience in a multiplayer world (where the starting location may be different or someone may wish to come along and blow you up); furthermore, not all players will be interested in or want to play a tutorial, which is a perfectly legitimate consideration. This brings me to implementation, which I believe is a work around for both of those issues.

The tutorial is implemented as a single-player gameplay segment somewhat separate from the multi-player aspect of the game (as mentioned by mrout) and acts as a catalyst to the multiplayer experience. This is something that I believe croxis touched in one of her (her? Yes? Sorry... D:) posts. Can I give an example? I'm going to give an example.

Example Tutorial
Players begin on a planet with their ship inoperable due to some damage to their ship (we all agreed players should start with a basic terrible ship, no?) and must get it working once again. They explore their static/semi-static environment, learning core mechanics as they do, teaching in a manner not unlike Portal or Amnesia. Mechanics taught can well include basic movement, gathering food and water (if needed), repairing the ship, what different parts of their ship do etcetc... The tutorial culminates in a final test of what skills the player has learned through the player needing to prep and successfully launching their ship. Provided the player has done everything correctly, the tutorial will end at this point.

Following the conclusion of the tutorial, the player will now be all set to join the server of their choosing. The starting location when spawning on a new server (working on an assumption here) will be in the player's ship in a star system, likely a short distance from a planet (from which they "launched"). It is at this point that I will note, however, that this process is: 1. Entirely completed in single player (thus is static), 2. Is entirely skippable, if desired. Players who do not wish to complete the tutorial simply spawn as they would, just without the knowledge they might have gained from the tutorial; players who do complete it spawn just as players who did not, solely with the knowledge they gained from the tutorial. The ship spawned should, ideally, be patched up and ready to fly, but would be something the player would want to switch out of asap.

Questions & Concerns
I can elaborate upon any points, if you wish. I am attempting to create this post as a logical merging of both primary schools of thought, however I may have misunderstood at some point and, if so, I ask you politely point it out so we can go from there.

Edit: I realize now, after the fact, that I really did just end up agreeing with mrout more than anything else. I think I'm simply seeing mrout's and croxis' ideas as being perfectly compatible. That being said, it is not intrusive to teach players basic movement in a tutorial, if done in a way that doesn't hold you back from just doing that (ie. Portal and Amnesia's approach) without instruction. From personal experience, those introductions feel a little slow, but hardly detract from the game in a major way. If we segment the tutorial off to a single player component (optional and explains how the player starts where they start), we can slice off the "easiest" part of the game to leave the rest of the game open to be as unforgiving as designers desire. Doing so also, as stated before, allow those who wish to skip to always skip and provides a consistent experience for all players who choose it which is difficult to accomplish in a very open game.
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby Rivaan » Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:44 am

How about starting Single-player in your ship, just before disaster hits. The tutorial could then be part of a program on the computer that gets wiped (or corrupted) after the crash forces it to reset. Starting out on the ship will also limit the players focus, sort of like saying, "Hey, you need to make some basic decisions here first."

Perhaps it could be like an attachment to the first of two email that is sent to you by whoever is financing your space adventures at this point (some galactic corporation for instance). You could either download the tutorial file and run it, or close the message, prompting the "Are you sure?" message. After that, the computer would receive the second email, leading to the event of your crash. Could be a mission, could be a recall notice on your reactor, whatever.

EDIT: Multiplayer would obviously not have the tut. Start everyone in a station, or have them crash in a bigger ship.
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby Talvi » Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:18 pm

I looked through the thread, and it's entirely possible I missed it, but nobody seemed to mention the fact that even if you don't have a tutorial, you can have popup tips that help new players through the game. For example, you're docking a ship for the first time, and the game displays a helpful popup tip - "Press __ to extend landing gear." It extends the learning period farther than ten minutes, but it makes for a smoother experience. It could provide assistance to newer players in areas the tutorial couldn't cover at all. It also isn't too difficult to set an option to keep tips from popping up in the first place, or to reset them so that a player could have them all over again. You could almost completely do away with a "tutorial" and just have tips pop up whenever the player needs to do something for the first time - letting the player learn to play in multiplayer if they so wished, and permitting them to immediately delve headfirst into the game. No specific seed would be necessary. The drawback would be that it would require slightly more programming effort than just designing a simple tutorial - but it would explain the advanced mechanics much better than a short tutorial would.

The game definitely shouldn't be like DF. I dearly love DF, and consider myself an avid fan, but it scares players away because of its complexity, lack of tutorial, messy interface, and the fact that a new player will always, always die - regardless of whether they have help from the wiki. As a result, DF only has a smallish community of fans that have managed to crack it - while these are strong and long-lasting, there still aren't many that enjoy it. Certainly not as many as a game like Minecraft.
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby mrout » Sun Sep 22, 2013 7:09 am

I looked through the thread, and it's entirely possible I missed it, but nobody seemed to mention the fact that even if you don't have a tutorial, you can have popup tips that help new players through the game. For example, you're docking a ship for the first time, and the game displays a helpful popup tip - "Press __ to extend landing gear." It extends the learning period farther than ten minutes, but it makes for a smoother experience. It could provide assistance to newer players in areas the tutorial couldn't cover at all. It also isn't too difficult to set an option to keep tips from popping up in the first place, or to reset them so that a player could have them all over again. You could almost completely do away with a "tutorial" and just have tips pop up whenever the player needs to do something for the first time - letting the player learn to play in multiplayer if they so wished, and permitting them to immediately delve headfirst into the game. No specific seed would be necessary. The drawback would be that it would require slightly more programming effort than just designing a simple tutorial - but it would explain the advanced mechanics much better than a short tutorial would.


I think that's something we should reserve for really really simple mechanics. Simple movement, etc. Obviously context-sensitive actions would be shown when you come near them: walk up to a door and "Press [T] to open door" comes up on your screen. Go near a computer and "Press [T] to use terminal" comes up on your screen, etc. But they're not really tutorials or tips: you can't do much more than indicate the player should press a key or click a mouse button.

The game definitely shouldn't be like DF.


"Like DF" is pretty broad.

complexity, lack of tutorial, messy interface, and the fact that a new player will always, always die


Good. Bad. Bad. Good.

Complexity is good. Well, it certainly isn't bad. Removing complexity to make something more accessible is pretty much the definition of 'dumbing down'. Not having a tutorial is obviously bad. In terms of interface, Dwarf Fortress's interface isn't actually bad: it's really good once you know it. If it had a built in tutorial it'd be absolutely fine.

Players dying is not a problem in a game with no win condition. It's much better that games end through dying than boredom.
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby Talvi » Sun Sep 22, 2013 8:29 am

I think that's something we should reserve for really really simple mechanics. Simple movement, etc. Obviously context-sensitive actions would be shown when you come near them: walk up to a door and "Press [T] to open door" comes up on your screen. Go near a computer and "Press [T] to use terminal" comes up on your screen, etc. But they're not really tutorials or tips: you can't do much more than indicate the player should press a key or click a mouse button.


If you add a button on the popup that says "click here for more info", it could give a more detailed screen, or walk you through more advanced tips - provided the player wasn't in a position of imminent danger. There's a reason I said it could "almost" replace a tutorial - no matter what, I think we really need a tutorial to be there.
They can be tips, though: Perhaps you could say, "Protip: selling ________ is more profitable when _________". It counts as a tip, and could pop up randomly the first time you're selling whatever the "_______" is, if you have tips on.

Complexity is good. Well, it certainly isn't bad. Removing complexity to make something more accessible is pretty much the definition of 'dumbing down'. Not having a tutorial is obviously bad. In terms of interface, Dwarf Fortress's interface isn't actually bad: it's really good once you know it. If it had a built in tutorial it'd be absolutely fine.

Players dying is not a problem in a game with no win condition. It's much better that games end through dying than boredom.


Complexity is definitely good, and I don't want us to dumb this game down any. I'd rather it have as many layers of complexity as possible, honestly.

As to the rest, most players quit playing a game if it's too inaccessible or kills them repetitively right after they start. There's a difference between "Nintendo hard" and "impossible without a wiki" - the latter of which is mostly what DF is. Personally I didn't use the wiki until after I learned to play it... but I had a number of people encouraging me, too. As far as I know, we want to attract as many players as possible to play this game - and not just attract a cult following. I'm certainly not for dumbing down.
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Re: How will the first 10 minutes play?

Postby SirAwesomelot » Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:58 am

Complexity =/= depth. Complexity is how hard it is to understand a system, depth is related to the number of meaningful choices you can make (pretty much translating into potential for strategy).
Depth is good, complexity is bad. We're not getting any points for confusing our players, and it has nothing to do with "dumbing down."
For example:
Dwarf Fortress is crazy deep and crazy complex. Just figuring out how to play the game is like 90% of the game, but once you get there you can do so, so, so much.
War (the card game) is very shallow and very simple. Very easy to figure out what to do, but literally no choices.
Chess is unfathomably deep and pretty simple. Not hard to learn, but oh boy is there a lot of choice.
Fortunately for humanity, there's not really a good example of a game that's hard to learn and has no depth.

Anyway, it seems like what everybody wants here is depth, not really complexity, although some people don't care much how complex it is. My point is just that it's totally possible (and very common) to make a deep, simple game, and that really is the best option. It's not really arguable. Why on earth would we want to make it complex?
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