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Old 24th Sep 2011, 12:18   #1
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Thoughts on Tutorials

When I was offered the chance to review the upcoming game Men of War: Vietnam, I initially leapt at the chance, but with the disc came a warning:

‘These games are bloody hard,' Harry said loudly, repeatedly, while looming behind me and staring at my laptop screen. 'Probably the closest thing to digital masochism I’ve ever seen.’

http://www.bit-tech.net/blog/gaming/...-on-tutorials/
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Old 24th Sep 2011, 12:36   #2
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See while I take you point of any game being able to facilitate new players, I not sure that it would be so easy while keeping the . Granted the actual action of creating a tutorial would not be ludicrously hard, but viewing the entire game creation as a whole it may disrupt the essence of the game, and so it will feel like a chore, undesirable. A comparison would be forcing all artists to write a short introductory monologue to the style of art, technically it would be easy but it would remove some of the flare that the artist had.
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Old 24th Sep 2011, 13:25   #3
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Pro tip for downing the Hueys:

1) Sneak around the East side of the base, use silenced weapons to pick off the guards round the Hueys and then RPG them on the ground. If the pilots hear noises, they'll take off.

2) Sneak all the way round to the back end of the base and there's an unmanned machine gun tower. Takes Hueys down really easily.


Men of War is one of those games that aims for a hardcore audience, and I think that's reflected in the lack of tutorial. Even the earlier games in the series had hardly any 'teaching' - you're relying on prior knowledge of RTS games. It also has so much depth that a tutorial would last weeks...

My biggest gripe with Vietnam is that it deals solely with small units, whereas Assault Squad allowed much larger control over what would essentially be a full-size company. Micro-managing 4-6 units can get tedious.
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Old 24th Sep 2011, 13:28   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TFSakon
Granted the actual action of creating a tutorial would not be ludicrously hard, but viewing the entire game creation as a whole it may disrupt the essence of the game, and so it will feel like a chore, undesirable.
I still don't see why they couldn't include an optional tutorial though.
Take Arma 2 for example- it's a pretty harcore mil sim and it can take a long time to get the hang of the controls. However there's pretty much no tutorial in the actual campaign, instead the tutorials (which are broken down into seperate, independantly playble categories such as basic controls, commanding, aircraft, tanks etc.) are available from the beggining as optional missions, completely seperate from the campaign.

By doing something like this a game can offer the best of both worlds,- pleasing old fans who can get straight on with the campaign but giving new players an optional access point into the gameplay.
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Old 24th Sep 2011, 14:18   #5
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The problems probably arise from dev mentality after a long development cycle. Most devs have literally put thousands of hours of gameplay time in by the time of title release and thus everything becomes so intuitive and second nature to them - in a word 'easy'.

Everyone knows how competent they become after a 8 or 9 hour single player campaign , compared to how they were when they started a new game. So we can only imagine what it's like as a dev, if you've played thousands of hours, including perfecting the actual gameplay mechanics themselves. They lose the ability to empathise with beginners.
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Old 24th Sep 2011, 14:21   #6
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What tutorial do you want from men of war?
An interface explanation? Finding out how to get unit to execute you tactics/strategy?
Despite men of wars complexity any computer gamer will work it out within 10 minutes + those kinds of tutorials are always, always horribly condescending and dull.

Or do you need some kind of tactic/strategy primer to understand how to actually use your unit to win the mission?
In that case its either a case of poor level design e.g. you wren't sure why the hueys were suddenly appearing or its the kind of thing which is more suited to a on-line walk-through.
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Old 24th Sep 2011, 14:24   #7
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Why do FPS still have the pointless tutorial first level? Who doesn't know how to fire a gun, run, jump, crouch and swap weapon? All you need to do is look at the control settings if you do need help.
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Old 24th Sep 2011, 14:39   #8
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The big problem is that Men of War: Vietnam is actually a pile of crap. I didn't see it at first because the MoW pedigree is such a good one, I thought I had to be missing something. But no, it's just awful. A top-down strategy game set in canopy jungle is never a good idea, and it feels like a huge step back from Assault Squad.
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Old 24th Sep 2011, 14:43   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mucgoo View Post
What tutorial do you want from men of war?
An interface explanation? Finding out how to get unit to execute you tactics/strategy?
Despite men of wars complexity any computer gamer will work it out within 10 minutes + those kinds of tutorials are always, always horribly condescending and dull.

Or do you need some kind of tactic/strategy primer to understand how to actually use your unit to win the mission?
In that case its either a case of poor level design e.g. you wren't sure why the hueys were suddenly appearing or its the kind of thing which is more suited to a on-line walk-through.
Better to condescend than to discourage from continuing.

Ok, some stuff may seem obvious, but many people don't want to have to pick things up by trial and error online, not when a separate tutorial could've covered them. Classic example for me is helicopters in BF :BC2 - having a playable spoken ( think Company of Heroes) tutorial that's kept separate from an actual campaign wouldn't have hurt. It'd just prepare people better and it'd use in game assets anyway.
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Old 24th Sep 2011, 15:01   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ayrto
The problems probably arise from dev mentality after a long development cycle. Most devs have literally put thousands of hours of gameplay time in by the time of title release and thus everything becomes so intuitive and second nature to them - in a word 'easy'
QFT. The opposite is also true - you end up adding every single little detail to make sure that you aren't assuming anything and end up going too far the other way.
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Old 24th Sep 2011, 17:36   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMIFFYDUDE
Why do FPS still have the pointless tutorial first level? Who doesn't know how to fire a gun, run, jump, crouch and swap weapon? All you need to do is look at the control settings if you do need help.
While a lot of games share generic keyboard setups, not all FPS games have identical features. Some games include crouching, some have inventories of items, some feature alt-fire options for weapons, and some include all of the above. I find that a very brief rundown - often using the skills to get out of the first room - is nice because it lets me get quickly acquainted with any features specific to that game.
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Old 24th Sep 2011, 19:37   #12
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Some games include crouching
and squatting
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Old 24th Sep 2011, 19:40   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMIFFYDUDE
Why do FPS still have the pointless tutorial first level? Who doesn't know how to fire a gun, run, jump, crouch and swap weapon? All you need to do is look at the control settings if you do need help.
Obviously you didn't played MoW. Forget all others you ever played. MoW is a unique RTS and it is, imho, the best of them all.
The american campaign in the first one that was kinda stealth is the best one in a RTS title.
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Old 24th Sep 2011, 20:37   #14
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Once again, Deus Ex had it right: a completely separate tutorial level (I know, it's not the only one.)
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Old 24th Sep 2011, 23:30   #15
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I'm not a much of a fan of tutorials. It's ok if they are optional, but I cringe when you are forced to go through some crappy assault course to learn the buttons/moves.
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Old 25th Sep 2011, 00:20   #16
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I don't mind tutorials as long as they're optional and essentially a normal level with instructions. RTSes always should have a tutorial.
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Old 25th Sep 2011, 05:17   #17
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It annoys the hell out of me. We've got 95% of games now are just totally dumb, simplified, streamlined to the point where you can basically just close your eyes and press the same few buttons and win. And then you've got another 5% like this which are not always necessarily difficult, they are just completely user-unfriendly.

The one that bugs me the most if the X series of games (the space games). At first they are totally intimidating and everything is a chore to do and the UI is completely unhelpful. But once you overcome that you realise that the game is actually so easy, it's perhaps even too easy. You can fly everywhere on autopilot, you can even engage in combat using autopilot, and shooting at bad guys is EZ mode now too. A red dot predicts where they will be and tells you exactly where to shoot.

I just think game developers are just lazy and cheap *******s these days. They either, assume that their game needs to be totally dumb to have mass appeal, or they make a game with depth but don't bother to ease the player in to it.

I remember seeing a video on The Escapist which talked about all this and explained that they don't need to keep dumbing down games, they just need to ease players in to the game and give them a chance to get a grasp of the complexities and challenges. In the good ole days, a lot of games did this. Nowdays they seem to not care and prefer to just rip everything out of the game until there is no complexity or challenge at all.
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Old 25th Sep 2011, 11:40   #18
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Originally Posted by rogerrabbits
They either, assume that their game needs to be totally dumb to have mass appeal, or they make a game with depth but don't bother to ease the player in to it.
This is what happens when gaming is brought to the masses, and it's really not usually the devs, it's the publishers, terrified of losing sales for being a bit different, too difficult or not having instant in-your-face action.

What most people don't seem to realise is that we, the consumers, are in control of this. Spend your money on the games that don't dumb it down and don't spend your money on the ones that do. It'll take time but the message will get across eventually.

Same goes for DRM.
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Old 25th Sep 2011, 20:05   #19
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A good tutorial is very hard to do right, but it's still better to have a slightly crappy tutorial than none at all.

(also, tutorials can be great, I mean portal is about 75% tutorial)
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Old 26th Sep 2011, 07:26   #20
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Tutorials as free DLC? Anyone? No?
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