Author Topic: How to Tutorial  (Read 89 times)

De-Legro

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How to Tutorial
« on: November 23, 2017, 10:25:54 PM »
Thatís a good idea, generally speaking, but thereís actually more to it than that. I personally consider it to be a matter of players adding value to each other, and the importance of history to provide context. I had the good fortune of starting amidst a group of players within Ascalon, and whilst we did a lot of stuff amongst ourselves, the interactions that happened as a result of the Princeís County being in the same court as other players were good because it meant that people talked and argued to a broader range of people in a good general context, which is great.

Itís completely understandable that people want to do their own thing because it seems appealing, but in reality, itís unwise. Players add value to each other through interaction, and Iíll admit that I donít see enough of it happening, and a lot of times itís difficult to chat with your neighbour without seeming like youíre only talking because you need their resources or whatever. Inter-realm diplomacy can be good, but itís too infrequent and a lot of people tend not to play ball when theyíre approached by something interesting from abroad, but perhaps thatís as a result of the bunker mentality entrenched in the oldest realms whose core players somehow managed to keep playing the game after so much time without development. As they still exist, we can all hope that a bit of nudging alongside some good and appealing updates might draw some more good players out of hiding.

Still though, itíd be nice to see what else we can do in the future to give new players a better introduction to the game.

Tom was always against a tutorial, but I think some sort of tutorial run in a area separate to the game world is needed. Something like earning your spurs before being allowed to announce your presence to the world maybe.
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Cipheron

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Re: How to Tutorial
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2017, 05:30:14 AM »
Well, another way to soft-code a tutorial is through and achievement system. e.g. you make a bunch of achievements, give them some nice appealing graphic, and when clicking on the info-tip for the achievement it links you to the relevant section of the manual or wiki. The advantage is that achievements are entirely optional and can be achieve sooner or later, but they are very appealing for a wide range of player types, and don't give the same groan factor of having to do a tutorial.

De-Legro

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Re: How to Tutorial
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2017, 12:46:06 PM »
Well, another way to soft-code a tutorial is through and achievement system. e.g. you make a bunch of achievements, give them some nice appealing graphic, and when clicking on the info-tip for the achievement it links you to the relevant section of the manual or wiki. The advantage is that achievements are entirely optional and can be achieve sooner or later, but they are very appealing for a wide range of player types, and don't give the same groan factor of having to do a tutorial.


Or you just give a tutorial a skip buttons, and then don't need to find money to pay for graphics.
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Cipheron

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Re: How to Tutorial
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2017, 10:47:05 PM »
By graphics I was just thinking of nice icons and stuff, not actual pictoral things. Generally, the idea was just to make it appealing, it doesn't need to be expensive.

De-Legro

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Re: How to Tutorial
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2017, 10:55:42 PM »
By graphics I was just thinking of nice icons and stuff, not actual pictoral things. Generally, the idea was just to make it appealing, it doesn't need to be expensive.

I fail to see the difference. Icon creation, at least good icons is still the domain of artist. Unless we could find a set of matching icons that would suit the task in the free domain we would still need to pay someone to make them, or find someone willing to donate their time to create them. Given that currently Andrew is already putting his own money into advertising and simply keeping the server up and running just where is that extra money supposed to come from?

For reference when I paid a UI artist to create a set of 10 icons in SVG format for a game prototype I was working on, it cost me $700 AUD.
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Cipheron

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Re: How to Tutorial
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2017, 02:27:07 AM »
I think you're focusing on the least important part of the suggestion here. Having colorful icons and stuff is a "nice to have" thing because it makes systems more appealing to use, however that's not the actual suggestion itself.

A "nice appealing graphic" was all I actually said in the actual suggestion. No more detail than that, so critiquing that on hypothetical details that I never actually said while ignoring all the relevant parts of the suggestion isn't really helpful.

An "appealing graphic" could be as simple as a simple shield outline, but with well-chosen color fills dependent on the type of achievement and a gradient / metallic finish. It doesn't have to be something you pay for, because that's nothing to do with what I was talking about. it's just good graphical design sense and understanding how color theory works, along with basic psychology. You make a bunch of colored basic shields you can collect for achieving different types of things and people will strive to collect them no matter how pointless it is. People don't care that it's pointless, they see slots that can be filled, they will want to fill them. And if you're clever about what those slots relate to, then you can give the players an extra push to achieve the meta-goals you have for what you want players to be doing, without forcing them to do it.

Also, standalone tutorials are heavily frowned upon in game design, the idea is almost completely outdated - it's much better to integrate your tutorial into the game itself, but in an ongoing way. Basically, instead of having people do some out-of-game tutorial, you have a small number of achievements visible to start with, and completing each one opens up related ones, e.g. you have "pathways" that the player can explore that go into more and more detail for a specific type of activity or play style. Hell, to build a tutorial system you'd really need to build all these systems anyway, it would just be easier and simpler and have more benefits to build it into the game as an "achievement system" which players love rather than calling it a "tutorial" which is basically groan-worthy to most players. It's about psychology here: the exact same system phrased in a different way can be perceived in a different way.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 02:49:21 AM by Cipheron »

De-Legro

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Re: How to Tutorial
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2017, 02:49:19 AM »
I think you're focusing on the least important part of the suggestion here. Having colorful icons and stuff is a "nice to have" thing because it makes systems more appealing to use, however that's not the actual suggestion itself.

A "nice appealing graphic" was all I actually said in the actual suggestion. No more detail than that, so critiquing that on hypothetical details that I never actually said while ignoring all the relevant parts of the suggestion isn't really helpful.

An "appealing graphic" could be as simple as a simple shield outline, but with well-chosen color fills dependent on the type of achievement and a gradient / metallic finish. It doesn't have to be something you pay for, because that's nothing to do with what I was talking about. it's just good graphical design sense and understanding how color theory works, along with basic psychology. You make a bunch of colored basic shields you can collect for achieving different types of things and people will strive to collect them no matter how pointless it is. People don't care that it's pointless, they see slots that can be filled, they will want to fill them. You can utilize this to get players to achieve some of the goals you have for the game if you're clever.

No actually my focus was on why this system would be superior to a completely skippable tutorial in terms of actually producing system the eases people into the game. Graphics was a throw away comment at the end of my actual point. Since you only replied regarding graphics, I followed the thread of the conversation as it was.
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Cipheron

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Re: How to Tutorial
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2017, 02:53:15 AM »
All you said was "give the tutorial a skip button". That's not really addressing my suggestion at all, so how can I go into depth about that?

Tutorials, especially standalone ones that are flagged as such - they suck. All good designers say that you shouldn't do this. You teach through doing, every design guide says to do that.

Phrasing the learning as achievements lampshades the fact that it's a tutorial system. People are collecting badges instead of "completing tutorial objectives". And if it's an achievement system you're free to pick and choose the order you try the things, and people can voluntarily skip parts of it, but come back later and complete them later if they feel like it.

Also, it allows you to structure things in the achievement system to support your broader goals for the game, e.g. a "become a vassal" achievement will ensure that most new players will take at least one knight's offer instead of just dropping into the game wanting to be a lord straight away. And chain one on that where you have three of your characters being vassals, you get another badge. Plus you can make badges for creating your first knight's offer, having 1 vassal, having 3 vassals and so on. You can thus incentivize the behaviors you think players aren't conducting enough.

The thing is, the systems you need to build for this are less complex than what you'd need to build to create a special "tutorial world" and make sure it's got a unique slice that resets for each player that is doing the tutorial at the same time (thus needing many copies of the tutorial world - one for each player who hasn't completed the tutorial). Also, many of the game actions have a time component, e.g. travel, troop production etc. It's just not suited to having separate world(s) for the tutorial. How long are things like travel and troop training going to take in the tutorial? If it is regular speed, then you're forcing players to spend significant time outside the game if they want to see the tutorial content, and if it's accelerated, then they might get the shits once they get into the game proper and it's slow. either way, it's not going to be good for retention.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2017, 03:07:09 AM by Cipheron »

De-Legro

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Re: How to Tutorial
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2017, 03:07:06 AM »
All you said was "give the tutorial a skip button". That's not really addressing my suggestion at all, so how can I go into depth about that?

Tutorials, especially standalone ones that are flagged as such - they suck. All good designers say that you shouldn't do this. You teach through doing, every design guide says to do that.

Phrasing the learning as achievements lampshades the fact that it's a tutorial system. People are collecting badges instead of "completing tutorial objectives". And if it's an achievement system you're free to pick and choose the order you try the things, and people can volutarily skip parts of it, but complete it later if they feel like it.

So long as people reailse from the start that the achievements are indeed structured to be a tutorial, then what you have is

wait for it....a tutorial, simply not a scripted one.

The reason a scripted tutorial is worthwhile for something like M&F is because there are facets of the game that you can't rely on being readily accessible. Things like teaching people how to mobilise troops, how to spot people using watch towers, starting battles, joining battles, settlement defense. These are all things that require specific circumstances, ones that quite possibly people don't encounter for months. Yet if you wish to teach and more importantly showcase everything that M&F encompasses, you need a way to unlock all those parts in a timely manner.

The entire point of tutorials is that you ARE doing, either through a scripted system or otherwise. If it wasn't doing, it would simply be a walk through or digitised manual. The tutorials I personally find most useful are those that are broken down into different topics and lessons. Allowing me to go to the ones I think I need, and also to return to things later when I find I didn't intuitively know as much about a system as I thought I did. So sure we could add "achievements" on top of a properly functioning tutorial system in the manner you prescribe, but that in no way addresses the issues of giving people the opportunity to pursue those achievements in a time frame that doesn't require significant dedication.
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Ehndras

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Re: How to Tutorial
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2018, 11:48:55 PM »
The whole achievement-as-a-tutorial concept is wonderful. After questioning fellow players in hundreds of games of every genre and UI-style over the years, the most well-received and respected tutorials were nearly always that of nonscripted ie open-ended tutorials. Guided by a series of achievements with associated tooltips that follow a logical step-by-step process, or an achievement Tree that branches out into different activities, this method allows players to learn the ropes at their own rate, while amassing and keeping track of minor accolades. (which do bring some weird pleasure to some, including myself, for entirely unknown reasons).

For example, Medieval Engineers. Their newest system is more comprehensive, however, now split into a Tech Tree where you do a little tutorial mission where you test out every new major block/item/tool and unlock it as a result, leading up to you actually knowing wtf to do with the more complex and dynamic components and items.


Step 1 is usually thus "go to x location (first time, teaching you HOW to do so, what buttons to press, little tips on what to do and not do for optimal performance), then "gather x number of materials A B and C" (helping you learn to identify different natural flora/fauna/geography in the process!) or "Access panel/button/UI/hotbar X via Y to proceed to Z" so you know where to go, what to do, how to do it, what you need to achieve it, and then, most importantly, what you can do/make/achieve as a result.

In this case, first you just do the basics like gather rocks and make a campfire, or gather stone/flint+sticks from x y or z natural resource (berry bushes, saplings, etc) to make your first tool, a stone axe. Then you start the one where you equip said axe via a tooltip that explains how to use and cycle thru the ever-useful hotbar, then use it to cut down a tree, then cut that into logs and scraps, then make your first crafting table, all the way down to how to find natural ore veins, up to cooking logs to make charcoal for fires and steel, and later even advanced engineering processes and logic of the physics system, because no one likes it when your fancy new windmill collapses because your rickety stone tower topped off the side of a mountain because the game just expects you to know everything magically.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 12:36:09 AM by Ehndras »
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De-Legro

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Re: How to Tutorial
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2018, 12:09:03 AM »
The whole achievement-as-a-tutorial concept is wonderful. After questioning fellow players in hundreds of games of every genre and UI-style over the years, the most well-received and respected tutorials were nearly always that of nonscripted ie open-ended tutorials. Guided by a series of achievements with associated tooltips that follow a logical step-by-step process, or an achievement Tree that branches out into different activities, this method allows players to learn the ropes at their own rate, while amassing and keeping track of minor accolades. (which do bring some weird pleasure to some, including myself, for entirely unknown reasons).

For example, Medieval Engineers. Their newest system is more comprehensive, however, now split into a Tech Tree where you do a little tutorial mission where you test out every new major block/item/tool and unlock it as a result, leading up to you actually knowing wtf to do with the more complex and dynamic components and items.


Step 1 is usually thus "go to x location (first time, teaching you HOW to do so, what buttons to press, little tips on what to do and not do for optimal performance), then "gather x number of materials A B and C" (helping you learn to identify different natural flora/fauna/geography in the process!) or "Access panel/button/UI/hotbar X via Y to proceed to Z" so you know where to go, what to do, how to do it, what you need to achieve it, and then, most importantly, what you can do/make/achieve as a result.

In this case, first you just do the basics like gather rocks and make a campfire, or gather stone/flint+sticks from x y or z natural resource (berry bushes, saplings, etc) to make your first tool, a stone axe. Then you start the one where you equip said axe via a tooltip that explains how to use and cycle thru the ever-useful hotbar, then use it to cut down a tree, then cut that into logs and scraps, then make your first crafting table, all the way down to how to find natural ore veins, up to cooking logs to make charcoal for fires and steel, and later even advanced engineering processes and logic of the physics system, because no one likes it when your fancy new windmill collapses because your rickety stone tower topped off the side of a mountain because the game just expects you to know everything magically.


Great, so now explain in the context of a massively multiplayer RPG, where the bulk of actions either require access to settlements which you may or may not have at the beginning, access to certain buildings which again you may or may not have, or the interaction of other players, how all that is going to work in a time sensitive manner?


If you want people to be able to quickly access the various parts of the game then you need a environment for them to do so. We can't expect they will get that within the game world, thus the concept of having a separate tutorial area where the game can provide the needed access and resources.


The trick would be forming it in such a way that it is not just a single scripted start of the game thing, but something you can access at need.



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Ehndras

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Re: How to Tutorial
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2018, 02:43:18 AM »

Hmm. A few thoughts, then.


First, we can all agree that no one wants to take part in a lengthy simulated tutorial. Nobody - especially not impatient new players and RPG vets who want to interact with actual human beings.


Outside of providing a player-run tutorial area replete with its own drawbacks and biases, it seems the optimal way forward is an unobtrusive, basic framework simulated tutorial that shouldn't take longer than 5-10 minutes to complete.


Have it as a basic requirement for new accounts, and an optional link for others who desire a refresher course in mechanics. You access the simulation and there you are in the map view to begin with, in zoom-tier 5. (furthest before settlement names no longer display) Cue tutorial:

"This short tutorial will teach you the basics of interaction in Might & Fealty. Lets begin!"

"Welcome to the village of Whitemead![/size] T[/size]he Map and Travel tab lets you see and navigate the world: first lets zoom in using either your mouse-wheel or the + & - buttons on the upper-left zoom slider. (you can minimize tutorial text-volume by using visual UI aids like arrows, outlines, cutouts, and highlights)

Click on the red circular settlement icon to learn more from the settlement tooptip: Whitemead is a large village in a dense forest biome, owned by Lady Alina Huntsmaster. Later you will learn about biomes, settlement types, and ownership. For now, lets find the city of Hawks Hold!

Find the settlement search bar a
[/size]bove the zoom slider[/size]: typing Hawk or Hold will display every settlement containing those words. Type in Hawks Hold and click on its entry in the drop-down menu to proceed. Note the map has selected Hawks Hold and highlighted it with a yellow circle. But how do you get there?

Click the Travel tab located on the bottom-right and c
[/font]lose the Hawks Hold tooptip. Drag your mouse pointer across the map and note the blue circle that marks your destination. Now click on the Hawks Hold settlement icon to set your destination, then set route to begin![/font][/size] If you make a mistake, just [/size]remove [/size]{[/size]the} [/size]last[/size] waypoint or [/size]clear[/size] all movement. Note that y[/size]ou can set multiple waypoints for point-to-point long-distance travel.
[/size]
[/size]For this tutorial we'll speed things up, but long-distance travel occurs over a period of in-game days. O[/size]ne day in Might & Fealty happens every 6 hours. For more information read [/color][/size][size=78%]http://wiki.maffans.org/w/Manual/Units#Time[/size]


By now you've reached the gates of glorious Hawks Hold! You're currently outside the city walls, where bandits and enemy armies can attack you. Click or hover your mouse over the Actions tab and select Enter Settlement. Oh no, the gate guards deny you entry! We'll notify the guards for you this time, but in the future you'll need permission from the estate owner to get inside. Can't just let any random army wander past our defenses, now can we? Please see [/size][size=78%]http://wiki.maffans.org/w/Manual/Permissions[/size][/size][size=78%] [/size][/size]for more.[size=78%]

[/size]Lets try that again, shall we?

Success! Through the Actions tab you can now access Local Quests, visit the Tavern, and get a drink or hire mercenaries at the Inn. With certain permissions you can even Train Soldiers, Recruit Entourage, Trade, construct Buildings, andmuch more!
[size=78%]


[/size]Looks like your liege Alexios Eirenikos, ruler of Hawks Hold, has sent you a missive! Click or hover over the Messages tab - Conversations Overview and Messages Summary will list all your future discussions, but for now just[size=78%][/size] select Unread Messages. Note that all in-game messages are In-Character unless otherwise noted. Communication takes place between the characters of two or or more players who don't necessary know one another face-to-face, representing different ranks and cultures in any given realm. For more information see [/size]http://wiki.maffans.org/w/Manual/Knight

"Hail and Well-Met,

Welcome to Hawks Hold, young knight! We are currently in the midst of war against the Kingdom of Badlandia, so you must be on your guard. I've instructed my captain to assign you a few soldiers and give you x gold with which to recruit mercenaries. I trust you'll serve with honor.

Nearby is the village of Gnarley Wood, held by the enemy lord Vidar Lindholm. We've harried Vidar in the western grasslands so now would be an opportune moment to strike while his army is away. Recruit a band of mercenaries at the Inn to supplement your unit and travel to Gnarley Wood. Once there, you are tasked with initiating a takeover. If you succeed, you will replace Vidar as the Lord of Gnarley Wood and become master of your very own estate.

While Knights rely on the troops and supplies of landed nobles, a Lord can train, equip, and lead his own men into battle. There is more to Lordship than combat, of course, but lets focus on the task at hand for now. Take your men and secure Gnarley Wood for the good of the kingdom, and we'll speak again when your mission is complete.

(OOC: http://wiki.maffans.org/w/Manual/Lord )

For the Kingdom,

Alexios Eirenikos
Duke of Hawks Hold

[/size]Exemplar of Hawks"


[/size]In the actual game its wise to reply to messages, especially from your liege. To learn more see [size=78%]http://wiki.maffans.org/w/Manual/Messages[/size] .

Remember the Inn from earlier? Via the Actions tab, select the Inn and hire a group of mercenaries. For this exercise their equipment, size, and experience doesn't matter. Hire a group then return to the Map and Travel tab to make way for Gnarley Wood. Once you arrive you'll notice you can't enter the settlement. You're their enemy, after all!

This is where your army comes in. You'll want to Take Control of the village once you've forced your way inside; though you'll have to force your way into a defended settlement first."

So on and so forth. I'd keep going but none of my characters are in a non-owned settlement so I can't recall the proper button names and texts atm.

You get the gist. With near-instant travel and action timers (5 seconds perhaps) you can guide a new player through the gist of travel, interaction, combat, takeovers, and basic lordship in a few minutes' time and completely eliminate that dastardly "the hell do I even do" feeling we all start with.

Hell, it'd be a boon to those who've been gone long enough to not remember certain details or nuances, or who predate certain mechanics or changes made over time. One could also script a scenario that teaches some more complex strategic maneuvers like bridge blockades, multi-party battles, sea travel, and the like.

Yeah, I know it might be a pain in the ass to script all this within the context of the game, but perhaps it'd be easier to just simulate the gist of it independently, since the simulated tutorial world would look like MF but not actual BE MF. Just a barebones framework to teach you the basics, complete with links to the respective manual/wiki entries for those who want/need to learn more. I've written tutorials for a few smaller games along these lines, and the simulated environment bit always seemed to work out for the better, as long as you do so in a streamlined and "natural" manner.

Thoughts?
[/size][/font]
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Ehndras

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Re: How to Tutorial
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2018, 02:45:59 AM »
Woops, forgot to mention, if you code in "chapters" you can allow people to partake specific bits of tutorial piecemeal by jumping into the segment they need a refresher for, rather than do the entire thing from step 1. More like a series of linked interactive scenarios at that rate, though it need not necessarily be designed as such.
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Ehndras

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Re: How to Tutorial
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2018, 02:49:28 AM »
Honestly, if you don't feel like doing all the work, or just want an ultra-barebones example to base it on, anyone (Esp. veterans, anyone whose served as a recruiter or in a technical capacity. Death by Powerpoint!) can take screenshots of in-game screens and create your typical Powerpoint-presentation styled sequential tutorial.

Hell, I could bang it out for the hell of it if you want. It'll be a little ghetto since I lack fancy applications, but it'll give you an idea.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 02:51:50 AM by Ehndras »
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De-Legro

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Re: How to Tutorial
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2018, 02:56:51 AM »
So basically exactly what I have been saying.


If we are making non interactive tutorials, video tutorials are all the rage these days. Tom even put one together long ago


http://mightandfealty.com/en/manual/videos
« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 02:59:11 AM by De-Legro »
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