Some discussions about game tutorials

Time:2022-1-28

This article will try to introduce the design of game tutorials based on my experience of playing games and several blog posts as a reference.
Note: the “tutorial” here is not a novice tutorial in a narrow sense, but a broader tutorial including novice tutorial, which plays a guiding role in playing methods, mechanisms or basic processes.

References:
No More Tutorials! How to Convey Information Through Design
4 Ways to Teach Your Players How to Play Your Game
The Perfect Video Game Tutorial: Six Flavors for the Ideal Appetizer
Playful Teaching: How to Create Fun and Immersive Tutorials
10 tutorial tips from Plants vs. Zombies creator George Fan

Importance of tutorials

When players start playing a game, the first thing they contact may be the novice tutorial; With the deepening of the game, players have to contact tutorials of different systems. In my opinion, an important factor in whether the game can retain players is whether it can provide effective tutorials.

Take an example outside the game. I believe many people have had this experience: when they need to use a software, they have to delay again and again because the software installation process is too complex and the installation tutorials found on the Internet can not meet their needs, or they find that the configuration is full of loopholes after installation.

In analogy to the game, if the operation of the game is more complex, or there are operations different from the mainstream operation mode, a good tutorial is very necessary: players need to use the tutorial to be familiar with the operation of the game, otherwise their impression of the game will be greatly reduced.

Tutorial classification

I divide game tutorials into three categories: “explicit tutorials”, “implicit tutorials” and “detailed guidance”. I will introduce these three parts in turn.

Explicit tutorial

I use “explicit tutorials” to describe game tutorials that make it easy for players to know that they are in the tutorial stage.

Next, let’s introduce my classification of explicit tutorials and their advantages and disadvantages. Because it is my own classification, it may be imperfect or wrong.

Graphic tutorial

Some games will throw a paragraph of text describing the rules and operation mode of the game for players to read before starting the game. Of course, there may also be some auxiliary drawings and dynamic drawings.

Here are some examples of using this tutorial that I came up with.

Defense of the Kingdom 3: origin: use a flowchart to show how the game is played, followed by other “knowledge cards” to show the characteristics of the defense tower, the characteristics of the enemy, and tips.
《王国保卫战3:起源》

Zuma Frog: use flow charts and motion charts to show how the game is played and the contents of each part.
《青蛙祖玛》

When I first started playing game jam, I used a lot of such “tutorials”… But of course, it’s far less mature than those mentioned above.

For example, the following one:

At that time, I was extremely inexperienced, and the picture was convenient. I felt that it was good to put such a line of words there. Now think about it, this “tutorial” is really torturing players to a certain extent

advantage

The threshold for designing such a course is relatively low. This is not to say that this kind of tutorial has no technical content. For example, I think the tutorial design of Kingdom rush is more interesting. I mean, people with little experience can also design such a tutorial: describe the playing method in words, with several game screenshots. Whether it’s easy to use or not, it’s at least a tutorial. It’s reasonable to add some optimization. As I said above, I can easily describe the game with words.

malpractice

Although this kind of tutorial is relatively simple to make a reasonable one, it is still difficult to design it well. For example, how to ensure that players will not lose interest because of the tutorial on the premise of maximizing the transmission of information, such as how to control the timing of the tutorial to ensure the player’s game experience. These issues will be discussed later. Moreover, if the content to be taught in a game is too complex, the corresponding graphic tutorials will be more. How to arrange these contents is an important issue. In addition, in this tutorial, there is a relatively long time difference between players obtaining information and operating (compared with other types mentioned later), so this is also a problem.

UI tutorial

Here I refer to the UI with flashing buttons, arrows and spotlight effect, which has a strong indication of target operation. Of course, it is also necessary to cooperate with the corresponding text interpretation.

For example:

“Plants vs. Zombies”: flashing cards, flashing arrows and flashing words guide players to operate.
《植物大战僵尸》

An unknown game(website): use spotlights to guide players.
某不知名游戏

advantage

This tutorial can provide a good guide to players. If combined with a certain novice protection mechanism or mandatory measures, we can better ensure that players complete the operations we want them to complete. For example, in “Plants vs. Zombies”, zombies will not be refreshed before completing the specified actions; In the second game mentioned above, there is no way to skip the tutorial.

malpractice

As mentioned above, due to certain compulsion, this more or less restricts the operation of players; If there is no mandatory, the guidance effect on players is a little weak.

Background tutorial

Here I refer to the kind of tutorial that integrates the operation mode, background introduction, etc. with the game scene. For example, painting on the floor, wall, or information composed of smoke, liquid, etc.

Example: the union of Isaac(Map source network): draw the operation mode on the floor.
《以撒的结合》

advantage

Compared with the two tutorials mentioned above, this tutorial can be better integrated into the game, which is easier to create an immersive experience for players. In other words, due to the perfect integration of the tutorial and the game itself, players will not feel too dramatic when watching the tutorial. Players do not have to read the text description alone, but can try to operate while looking at the operation tips. Players want to play the game, so the earlier they play the game, the stronger their interest may be.

malpractice

Because there are almost no restrictions on players, do players really fully understand the information that the words want to convey? The answer is No. Some players may use it directly because they have experience in similar games, and some unique operations in the game will be ignored.

Level tutorial

Here I refer to designing simpler tutorial levels or tutorial scenes to teach players. Of course, the level design of many games is gradual, so the front level often has a certain tutorial nature, which will be mentioned in the “implicit tutorial” section later. This only refers toDeliberatelyDesigned as a tutorial level.

example:

“Vigorous Knight”(Map source network): designed a level where players will not die to teach.
元气骑士

League of Heroes(Map source network): describe the basic operations required for the game in the novice tutorial.
英雄联盟

advantage

Take a special level or scene as a tutorial for players, which provides a considerable stage for the launch of the tutorial. In a large scene, there is enough space for developers to teach and players to understand new operations. Various other forms of tutorials can also play a role in various parts of the independent level.

malpractice

The design of novice teaching level must be simple to play the role of “teaching”, but this brings the same problem as the previous one: if it is forced to complete, old players or experienced players may feel bored if they play novice tutorial again; If the player is allowed to skip, the information to be conveyed may not be conveyed to the player. But of course, it’s not a problem for developers to skip without looking. After all, if they really skip all the time, developers can’t control it

The above is a brief introduction to the “explicit tutorial”. Next, we will discuss the corresponding “implicit tutorial”.

“Implicit tutorial”

Compared with explicit tutorials, implicit tutorials have a subtle impact on players. What I call “implicit tutorial” is actually to guide players through level design.

In the level tutorial, we mentioned that the level design of most games pays attention to step-by-step, so many times, the front level has a certain tutorial effect on the back level.

Here, I divide implicit tutorials into two categories: “step-by-step” and “potential teaching”.

Step by step

The developer arranges some obstacles that need some skills to be solved in the front level of the game, but the idea of using these obstacles is relatively simple; In later levels, players will be able to challenge more difficult problems composed of these skills. Or the difficulty of the game is gradually rising, and what players can rely on is their increasing game technology.

For example, “frog Zuma”, with the increase of levels, the number of ball types increases. In this level design mode, the playing method remains unchanged and the difficulty increases gradually.

For example, with the increase of levels, the available defense towers and enemy strength in the game increase. Under this level design mode, the playing methods are gradually enriched and the difficulty is gradually increased.

The difficulty of the level changes mainly in the above two ways. One is that the difficulty increases with the improvement of players’ proficiency; With the addition of a new mechanism, the difficulty increases.

There was a popular game “sacrifice road” a few days ago. Its feature is: with the deepening of the level, the ability of the character decreases and the enemy increases. This setting is indeed novel, but it actually follows the first article above. In the process of gradually going deep into the game, the player’s proficiency will be improved, and at the same time, he will have to face the gradually strengthened enemy.

The principle of this design is the heart flow model. Only when a player challenges a level commensurate with his own level can he enter the state of flow – a state of mind in which his mind is highly concentrated and his emotions are greatly satisfied.

Cardiac flow model and its simplified version

Map source network

Map source network

Potential teaching style

Many players may complain: “designers are teaching players to play games!”

The meaning of this sentence is that the designer’s design allows only one or a few games to exist, while the intensity of other games is too low. For example, the legend of hearthstone has been strengthening a certain genre, resulting in a card group being too strong; For another example, in the League of heroes, a hero has only one loading route to play.

“Teaching players to play games” is not necessarily a bad thing.

For some games, this approach has a great impact on the richness of the game – the two mentioned above are examples; But for other games, this approach may also be enlightening to players.

“Legend of hearthstone” and “League of heroes” and other games should be played in full bloom, but because the game balance is difficult to adjust, or it is really intentional by the designer, there is a dominant situation. Let’s not talk about one situation here, let’s look at another.

Another possibility for designers to “teach players to play games” is that they really want to teach players some skills through specific levels.

For example, the adventure “bang bang plan” in the legend of hearthstone guides players to pay attention to the combo between different cards in the game through carefully designed puzzles. (source network)

《炉石传说》“砰砰计划”

Another example is the iron fist mode in the defense of the kingdom. Developers guide players to complete the level by using the cooperation between different defense towers through the iron fist mode.

《王国保卫战》铁拳模式

The two situations mentioned above are only two special ones, and the designer’s intention is obvious. In fact, a similar situation exists in many other games. For example, sometimes, when one idea will lead to card closing, players will naturally try another idea; For example, sometimes, players will find the cleverness in the level design, so that they can understand such an operation mode in future levels.

I divide the “implicit tutorial” into two parts. The difference is that the former pays attention to the consolidation of players’ existing knowledge and the latter pays attention to the exploration of new ideas.

“Detail guide”

The former focuses on teaching players basic operations; The latter focuses on improving the ability of players. In addition, the game can also design details or design potential guides to guide players to try new mechanisms and find ways to solve puzzles.

My definition of “detail guidance” is wide, including guiding players through the behavior of some NPCs in the game, using symbols or graphics to hint, etc.

For example, some of the contents mentioned below may not be called “details”, but I put them all in this category.

In super Galaxy warrior, wall jump is taught to players in this way:(Map source network
《超级银河战士》

In the third boss battle of super carnivorous boy, the player and character Brownie broke through at the same time. Brownie acts as a guide and timer for players, and prompts how to pass customs to a certain extent. (Map source network
《超级食肉男孩》

The gold miner’s purse indicates that the items in the purse are random through the question mark marked on the top.

《黄金矿工》

In famine, showing the game content through what players say at a specific time can also be regarded as “detail guidance”.
Prompt the player to ignite in the evening.Map source network

Or, if there are common elements in life or other games in the game, these elements can also be called “detail guidance”. For example, when players see the button, they will know that they may need to press it, and when they see the lock, they will know that they may need to find a key. Players don’t point to a lock point, and they don’t want to find a key after seeing a button – because such a situation hardly exists in life.

In addition, I have played some games like secret room escape before. In some games, there may be subtle differences in the images where clues are hidden… Although most of them may be because the pictures are not well connected, it does not rule out the intentional action of some authors. If it is the author’s design, I think it is also a kind of “detail guidance”.

The above is the explanation of explicit tutorial, implicit tutorial and detailed guidance. Next, I will analyze two games that I think have better tutorial design.

Case analysis

Next, we analyze two games, namely “Kingdom defense” and “Portal 2”. The analysis of Portal 2 is based on the articlePlayful Teaching: How to Create Fun and Immersive TutorialsBased on, it is suggested to check the original text for this part. This article analyzes the tutorials of Portal 2, radiation 3 and civilization 6. Because I haven’t contacted the latter two games for the time being, this article won’t analyze them in combination.

Battle for the Kingdom

The reason for choosing “defending the kingdom” is that I think it has many advantages in using graphic and implicit tutorials.

First of all, as soon as you enter the game, the UI will remind players of what they should pay attention to at this time:

“从此处开始”

The start interface of the game level shows the map of the game and the plot corresponding to the level. By displaying maps and background stories, players can guess what kind of game this is: the enemy will move along the road, and what players have to do may be to intercept the enemy in some way. Shooting? Is it a platoon? Or some other way? No matter what players think at the moment, they will have a certain understanding of the game content. Therefore, the amount of information faced by players after starting the game will be reduced.

开始界面

Whether it is the first time to play or not, after clicking on the first level, players will see the following tutorial.

新手教程1

新手教程2

新手教程3

The above three-step tutorial introduces the most basic contents required for the game, including game objectives, game playing methods and the characteristics of different defense towers.

The tutorial itself is relatively short and equipped with detailed pictures. Importantly, it allows players to skip. Although the tutorial can be completed by clicking three times at most, the feeling of “clicking once” and “clicking three times” is likely to be completely different.

In addition, there is another point worth mentioning: I don’t know whether it is intentionally arranged. While the pop-up window of the novice tutorial appears, several key elements in the game are still exposed in the player’s field of vision. The exit, destination, buildable point, health value, money, wave number in the upper left corner and the exit button in the lower right corner have several key elements. While watching the tutorial, players can also be familiar with the meaning of each part by comparing the main interface of the game in the background. This processing method is very suitable for dealing with the disconnection between graphic tutorials and actual games.

游戏内-1

After completing the novice tutorial, you can arrange troops. The UI is still used here to guide players. And “build here!” The dialog box will be hidden when the player clicks on an open space; It will only disappear after the player completes the construction of the defense tower for the first time. This ensures that players really learn how to build.

For the introduction of new enemies in the game, a prompt button will pop up in the upper left corner, and the first such button will have a text box to remind players to click:

新敌人按钮

The introduction of the new enemy is as follows:

新敌人

The above figure lists the pictures, descriptions and feature profiles of new enemies, which can help players quickly locate the positions of various enemies when they encounter a wave of enemies in the future, so as to take targeted countermeasures.

The game also adopts the way of achievement to strengthen the positive feedback of the game experience:

第一滴血

Although only a small soldier was killed, it means that the player successfully passed the novice tutorial.

A series of tips will pop up in the game. These tips play a guiding role in the player’s operation. These tips players will see every time they enter the corresponding level.

提示

提示内容

When the first level of the game is over, a prompt will pop up on the interface in the lower right corner to remind players to rise the star.

升星

There is a similar pattern when the later heroes appear, which will not be carried out here. In terms of level design, standard mode levels are designed in a step-by-step order, which will not be described in detail here.

There are two points worth adding: one is the iron fist model, and the other is the “sheep”.

First, let’s look at the iron fist mode. In addition to giving players new challenges, what role does it play?

《王国保卫战》铁拳模式

In iron fist mode, the number of defense towers, rising stars and heroes may be limited. In other words, developers want players to use a certain routine to complete the level. For example, in this level, players need to use barracks to gather monsters and use turret output. I have to say that I seldom use this skill except that I can’t pass some checkpoints. The significance of the existence of “steel mode” has also been mentioned above, that is, to create a “potential teaching” tutorial to guide players.

Then “sheep”.

I found out about “sheep” only after being reminded recently

The Yellow upgrade of the magic tower has a skill: turn the enemy into a sheep. Although sheep no longer have any skills and armor, they can’t be blocked by soldiers, so if a sheep with high blood volume breaks through the front… It’s not easy to deal with.

Countermeasures?

I believe that people who have played the first generation of “defending the kingdom” should all point sheep in the scene, and the designer even added the achievement of “killing ten sheep” to the achievement list

Sheep! Yes, it’s a sheep! Designers have been giving players this hint from the very early stage of the game:Sheep can die。 The same applies to the sheep transformed from the magic tower.

Summarize the ideas of the course design in the battle for the Kingdom:

  1. Give players detailed UI tips
  2. Use graphic tutorials to explain the basic operation, enemy characteristics and game skills.
  3. Allow players to skip the tutorial, but also allow players to revisit it later.
  4. Close the corresponding tutorial after ensuring that the player really completes an operation.
  5. Use the reward system to affirm the achievements of players.
  6. Use step-by-step design to improve players’ proficiency; Use latent instructional design to guide players to try different strategies.
  7. Tell players some special operations in advance in some form, so that players can see when they find these special operations.

Portal 2

Two or three of the articles I checked gave high comments on the tutorial design of Portal 2. Here I will take one of themBlogBased on. (I played part of the first generation before, and then I played part of the second generation. I felt so dizzy that I didn’t continue to play / watch it.) (the following screenshots are fromPortal 2 Beginnin

The game begins and Chell wakes up in a narrow room. Through the broadcast content, we can know that she is imprisoned by aperture technology. Being imprisoned, she had to obey the instructions given by the radio.

The broadcast first asked Chell to take “compulsory physical and mental health exercise”.

Chell was first asked to look up and down for physical exercise. After hearing the beep, the player needs to move the mouse to move the viewing angle according to the instructions of the UI.

上下看

Then, Chell was asked to do mental health exercises. The radio asked her to go to a picture. The player moves according to the instructions of the UI. Then the radio asked her to look at the picture. Then the radio said she should feel in good spirits and played a piece of music to consolidate her achievements – the music was then interrupted by a beep.

看画

The radio then asked Chell to go back to bed. With the prompt of the UI, the player presses the specified key to start sleeping.

睡觉

Next is an animation describing the plot. In one paragraph, the robot wants Chell to answer it, and the UI prompts: press the corresponding key to answer. But in fact, this key is a jump key, so Chell’s reply is to jump.

机器人提出问题

机器人回应“跳跃”

Then there is another animation to describe the plot. In some of these paragraphs, what the robot said is more noteworthy: “on the other side of the wall is the old experimental device.” “Remember: you need to find a gun that can punch holes. It’s not a bullet hole, it’s… Forget it, you’ll recognize it.” “To be honest, you may not be suitable for the next cognitive challenge. But… At least you’re good at jumping.”

Next, players need to complete some simple levels without using the transfer gun. Then get the transfer gun, and then the level becomes more and more complex.

At this point, the novice tutorial is almost over.

At the beginning of the novice tutorial, players arerequirementDo something. Generally speaking, players come to play games, not to be pointed out. This command like tone and attitude are often unpleasant, but in portal, this attitude is understandable: Chell was in a prisoner’s situation at the beginning, soHad to carry out the order。 So of course, the players who play Chell alsoThe command must be executed。 In this case, although it is mandatory, because players understand that this is the need of the plot, the degree of aversion to this will be greatly reduced.

The next robot explains the background story of the game and introduces the next goal of the player. One of the more interesting points designed is that players respond to robot problems by jumping. Such a setting has two advantages: in terms of the plot, of course, the players playing the game have no cognitive impairment, so if you give a normal prompt for the players to answer questions, it is obviously impossible to continue the plot. Therefore, let the players press after the jump camouflage transaction, which can reflect that there is a problem in Chell’s cognition; In terms of playing method: after reading the tutorial before the novice level, we will find that the player doesn’t need to jump at all in this plot: whether it’s Chell’s prisoner life or Chell’s entry into the experimental base, she doesn’t need to jump, but it’s not appropriate to teach the basic operation of jumping in the place used later. Therefore, this design ensures that the tutorial is relatively continuous and will not be too scattered.

Summarize the idea of tutorial design in Portal 2:

  1. Give players UI tips when necessary.
  2. If there is a plot, you can try to integrate the tutorial into the plot. It is not a rigid superposition, but a clever combination.
  3. Design the image of the guide, such as the robot in Portal 2.
  4. Use “detail guidance” in the plot to hint at the player’s next task.
  5. Use step-by-step design to improve players’ proficiency; Use latent instructional design to guide players to try different strategies.

Skill summary

Combined with the above discussion, you can get some tips for designing tutorials.

Don’t use a lot of text

This article will be mentioned in most relevant articles. George fan, author of “plants vs zombies”, even proposed the principle that there should be at most eight words on the screen at the same time. But of course, this is an exaggeration. The core meaning of this sentence is to use as few and easy to understand language as possible to describe the current situation for players.

For most games: players want to play games and players don’t want to read text. I believe everyone has the situation of dozing off after reading a large paragraph of text, and players are no exception. A large number of words can easily lead to boredom, especially when they are mainly boring instructions.

In addition, reading a lot of text may break the rhythm of the game. Imagine that the tutorial at the beginning of “Plants vs. Zombies” reads: “it’s day, so the sun will fall randomly in the sky. You can click on the sun to collect them, and then use the sun to plant your plants faster on the lawn.” When so many dozens of words are put on the screen, generally speaking, players will be curious to see what is written? What do you think? Pause to see? Or distracted? No matter which one you choose, the rhythm of the game at hand will be broken. Breaking the game rhythm has a great impact on the game experience.

Don’t bombard information

Darran Jamieson said on his blog:

Don’t overwhelm the player.

Portal 2 will not guide players how to open the portal or how to use complex functions such as laser in the first tutorial. In addition to not allowing the plot (of course, it may not be feasible to redesign the details of the plot), how much content players can really master is another important issue.

At school, teachers will not directly compress the content of a year to dozens of minutes; Similarly, when playing games, designers will not compress several parts of the game content into a tutorial with a process that may only take more than ten seconds to one or two minutes.

Imagine that if Portal 2 walks all the mechanism props in the game in front of the player at the beginning of the game, can the player accurately remember what functions they have? I don’t think many people can do it.

Combination of learning and Practice

This one is similar to the previous one. To show players how to play the game is to hope that players can master the game, rather than picking out the strongest brain from players. For most people, just watching the tutorial once can’t completely learn the game content, so we need to combine the tutorial with the player’s actual operation.

But of course, as a game tutorial, most of them will give players the opportunity to practice. The difference lies in the time difference and content gap between learning and practice. This semester, the next semester exam, such a time difference is certainly not enough; Teaching 1 + 1 = 2 in class and summing the number series in the exam is unreasonable.

I think the design of “Plants vs. Zombies” is very consistent with the principles of “combination of learning and practice” and “don’t teach too much content at one time”: at most one zombie + one plant will be added in each level, and the types of zombies will often remain unchanged or decrease within a few levels after adding a zombie, The purpose is to give players enough time to understand the characteristics of different plants and zombies.

Tutorial adaptive

If watching the game tutorial is to listen to the teacher, is it better to listen to large classes or private tutors? On the premise of consistent teaching content, I think the effect of private tutoring is better. Because private tutors can allocate time for explanation according to students’ specific problems; When teaching in large classes, it is difficult for teachers to take into account the needs of every student.

This is also true for the arrangement of the tutorial. If you can arrange tutorials in different places because of people, the effect may be better. For example, judge whether the player’s operation level needs to supplement more tutorials according to the number of failures of the player.

In ancient times, League of heroes will allow players to choose proficiency at the beginning. The choice here is related to the arrangement of novice tutorial for players.

Selection proficiency of new players in league of Heroes(Map source network

熟练度选择

In addition to this “adaptation”, the tutorial can also be made to determine the effect of the display content according to the current state of the player. For example, in Portal 2, the UI that guides the player to move will display different keys according to the position of the player and the target point; In the first few levels of “plants vs zombies”, if the player’s pea shooter is eaten, the prompt “please put the pea shooter on the left” will be triggered.

请将豌豆射手放在左边

If the player doesn’t really let the zombie eat the pea shooter in the first few levels, he may never find this prompt, and there is no need to see it – this prompt may be completely nonsense to them and distract their attention. Some players who have just started playing and still don’t know where they are will understand what’s going on after seeing this prompt.

Therefore, arranging different tutorials for different situations is also very useful to optimize the effect of tutorials.

Reward players

We all need motivation. For playing a game, players hope to get satisfaction from it: players are satisfied because they repel the enemy, players are satisfied because they get a higher position in the game, and players are satisfied because they have experienced a legendary story… Therefore, if you want players to prefer a game, it is worth trying to make players feel satisfied and get a sense of achievement through some means.

Possible solutions include: providing customs clearance rewards, unlocking achievements and encouraging contents (text, music, sound effects, lens, special effects, etc.). For example, the “first drop of blood” achievement of “defending the kingdom”, the reward for completing the novice course of “League of heroes”, and the words “well done” that may be used in some games.

“Hoping for plum to quench thirst”

For some players, they want to do thrilling things! Players want to fight the dragon! Players want to save the princess! Players want to
But now players can only help NPC run errands and fight with village wild dogs
bored!

This situation may be very common. It is difficult for most games to show the best parts to players at the beginning. The plot of the first chapter of the battle for the kingdom is just to resist the harassment of bandits and robbers; The beginning of several story lines in the traveller of the eight directions are very ordinary small things.

Some players want to do thrilling events, so they need to “draw big cakes” for players intentionally or unintentionally, that is, to “hope for plum and quench their thirst”.

The two games mentioned above, without saying anything else, the map alone is enough to stimulate the fighting spirit of some players: although only a small part of the plot can be seen now, such a vast map must be worth playing!

For example, in “full moon night”, although players only deal with some people (and items) in the village from the beginning of the standard mode, players can clearly see the world view built by the game from the text used for introduction and the triggered dialogue.

The game always has a way to draw a grand blueprint for players from all angles, so as to attract players to continue playing. But of course, there are many games that don’t need it. Some games just need to attract players with playing methods.

However, it should be noted that the “big cake” should not be drawn too far, otherwise players will feel cheated if they find that it is seriously inconsistent with their initial expectations in the end. The reputation of the game may be corrupted in this way.

Keep the pace of the game

As mentioned earlier, a large number of words will break the rhythm of the game. That’s one aspect of the impact of the tutorial on the game rhythm. Here we will describe the impact of the tutorial on the game rhythm.

Try to avoid “pause”

“Pause” here refers to the situation where the player is forced to interrupt the game due to the tutorial, mandatory or non mandatory.

“Mandatory suspension” refers to the suspension designed by the designer. With regard to the design of “knowledge card” in the battle for the Kingdom, I think there is an inevitable problem: when players view the knowledge card, they must pause the game in hand, which will lead to the interruption of the game. If the knowledge card appears at the beginning of the level, it has no bad effect; If it appears in the middle of the game, the player is in a fierce battle. Do you want to pause the game to see the knowledge card? In addition, in the “battle for the kingdom”, a wave in a level suddenly joined the Ranger tower at the beginning, which is a place where I think the design is unreasonable: when the introduction interface of the Ranger tower pops up suddenly, the player’s game rhythm is likely to be greatly affected.

In contrast, I think the atlas of Plants vs. Zombies is a better design model. When players encounter a zombie for the first time, they don’t know its characteristics. They can only determine its characteristics through observation and speculation (speculation will be mentioned below). When players fight a level with a new zombie, they speculate about its characteristics. The atlas will also record these new zombies at this time. Players don’t have to check the tips in the game because of the characteristics of the new zombies – the game doesn’t give players the chance to do so, so the rhythm of the game can be better maintained.

“Non mandatory suspension” means that players have to suspend the game to understand the content of the tutorial just now due to the unreasonable arrangement of the tutorial. An example is the question of large paragraphs of text mentioned earlier: do players want to stop to see what those words are written? In addition, the influx of new content will also lead to “non mandatory suspension”. Players may have to stop to memorize these new content, such as operation mode, character characteristics, etc.

Ensure the rationality of level design

This is the emphasis on step-by-step design, that is, the emphasis on “heart flow”. Unless some games are designed to make players despair, the level design of most games needs to abide by the principle of slowly increasing the difficulty.

Too difficult levels will lead to a sudden jam in the player’s original smooth game experience; A simple level will lead players to leave the game because they think the game is too boring. No matter which one of them has a bad impact on the rhythm of the game.

A special level is the novice level. Novice levels can create “novice caves” for players to ensure that players practice at will. For example, the novice level of “vitality Knight” ensures that the player’s HP will not be reduced to less than 1; For example, the rookie level of “super carnivorous boy” ensures that players are not killed by mechanisms or may seek their own death.

Maintain a good attitude

As mentioned earlier, players don’t come to play games to be pointed out. Therefore, if you don’t want to provoke players, you must maintain a good attitude.

Programs don’t lose patience, so don’t lose patience with designers who design tutorials for games and programmers who write programs for games. Even if the development process is difficult or the language expression ability of developers is poor, what players see must be a friendly game.

After arranging the text description, carefully check whether there is a bad tone. For example, will it be too strong? Does it sound uncomfortable?

The exception to this rule is also mentioned above. If the tutorial is integrated with the plot and there are special needs in the plot, the tutorial can be launched according to the expectation of the plot.

Use common sense

If a game is disassembled into the most basic elements to teach players, even a small game may need to write a description document of hundreds of thousands of words. But the reality is that most games only need to introduce a key part. The reason why the description document can be so simplified is that most games will not design all elements from scratch, and most games will not completely deviate from life common sense and completely reshape a set of cognitive system.

Players will naturally know that gold coins are valuable when they see them; Players will naturally know that they may need to shoot when they see the gun; Players will naturally consider whether to press the button when they see it… These are taught by common sense of life, so when we encounter them in the game, we are likely to know what they mean directly.

Shigeru Miyamoto, author of Mario, mentionedWhy is the collection coin rather than fruit。 The reason is that coins are easier for players to know than fruits that these are valuable collections, and because of the history of the game.

The above mentioned “game history”, that is to say, players’ common sense includes not only life common sense, but also game experience.

When most games use WSAD to represent movement, if another set of keys is designed to control movement, it may be necessary to remind players of the key position again and again; If most games use red borders to represent enemy units, you may need to emphasize this repeatedly if you set enemy units to green borders. When I was playing “little bone: Hero killer”, I was overwhelmed by its default key position, because its default key position is far from any game I had played before… Fortunately, I can customize the key position, otherwise I think it is really torture.

If the operation mode and game mechanism of the game have been accepted by the majority of players, there is no need to explain this too much in the tutorial, just mention it briefly.

(I would also like to mention that George fan mentioned that the image design of Plants vs. Zombies uses visual cues. I think this also belongs to the category of “common sense”: most Sagittarius plants have a muzzle like a barrel, and pitcher plants have a pole like a catapult… Similar designs can be found everywhere in Plants vs. Zombies.)

This article introduces the content of game tutorial design here. I hope to have the opportunity to design efficient game tutorials in the future. I hope you will criticize and correct me.