One of my goals was to make sure the game had a better tutorial than King of Dragon Pass. Its tutorial was fairly brittle — it was too easy to get off track.
We came up with a different approach, which worked fairly well for explaining all the parts of the game. When you first visit the Relations screen, you get a note explaining it (and to avoid a giant info dump, get more information the next time). There are no exact steps to follow, so the tutorial can’t get confused. And you can learn about a dialog when you get to it, instead of trying to learn everything in a short period. Our playtesters all seemed to like how it worked.
But our playtesters tended to be self-selected as having played King of Dragon Pass. When I added another QA tester who had not played before, and had a friend try out the game, it became apparent that the reactive approach didn’t work well for new players.
Some smaller fixes helped. For example, while the contextual tips served the purpose of a tutorial, they weren’t in the traditional form of a small subset of the game. New players didn’t consider this to be a tutorial. So we renamed our tutorial to “Guides.”
But nothing really helped brand new players get oriented to the game. So I came up with a new design. Rather than try to show you everything (like the King of Dragon Pass tutorial or the Guides), it tries to explain a few topics (particularly things that might be a bit different from other games). It’s even more directed, so you can’t accidentally do the wrong thing. And it hides information, so it’s less distracting.
The Tutorial doesn’t go through an entire year, and you can’t continue the game. Its purpose is to give you enough understanding so that when you do begin a real game, things make more sense. And do so interactively, so you can learn by doing.
The context-sensitive Guides are still there, since they cover things the Tutorial doesn’t. And there’s still a quick introduction and a detailed manual.
Right now we’re testing the new Tutorial, but it seems promising so far.
9 thoughts on “Tutorial”
Mmm… I’ve told you before, David, but I actually rather liked the manual of KoDP. It required some dedication and determination, yes, but it was very clear, and quite enjoyable. On the other hand I might be part of a generation that approaches games differently.
But for all my patience with manuals, man, I do hope the waiting for Six Ages is almost over ; )
Rest assured there’s still a manual for those who want detail.
Oh yeah, that was the part I wanted to include: yes, this is probably going to delay things a bit. But you only get one chance to make a first impression.
Is the manual already available? I’d love to start reading that as an appetizer.
It is done but won’t be available in advance (didn’t you ask this once before?).
Yes I did. But then you told me the game wasn’t finished yet, so the manual wasn’t either. Since the game is in the marketing phase by now, I had hoped the manual would be out.
The game is still in development, so the manual is too.
But when the manual is finished, presumably a while (short or not) before the game is released, could it be published as a teaser? 🙂
I liked the tutorial of King of Dragon Pass, because it didn’t tell us everything.
It was great fun to figure out what quests are for, and how they work!
It felt like I have become a pro at the game, for knowing some of its secrets.
King of Dragon Pass is listed as number 5 in the best 50 strategy games of all time. Check it out…
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