Final Major Project - Tutorial
Updated: Apr 28, 2021
Tutorials are a tricky one when it comes to design. You need to make sure that players know what they're doing but equally they can easily take you out of the experience, annoy you or grind the flow of the story to a halt. The best way, I feel, to implement a tutorial is to have it as well integrated as you can into the world and story to make it feel natural, but also, importantly I think a tutorial should be skippable where ever possible.
Adding a tutorial was somewhat a last-minute addition to my project, I was prepared to simply dump a list of controls in the menu, but I decided I couldn't let myself get away that easy, I wanted to have a fully integrated tutorial. So, I changed a field outside the town into a training area and implemented a scenario where the Guard Captain asks if he can see some of your Sentinel skills in action. According to Wawro (2015) a tutorial should make the player feel independent, it shouldn’t teach a player every aspect of a game to leave room for discovery.
Following this I created my tutorial so that while it does explicitly tell you step by step with text on screen what to do and how to do it, you are not locked out of other actions. The player still has the room to feel out the controls for themselves, only quickly familiarising players with the basics, not every detail like walking or dodge-attacks. I also ensured the whole tutorial was optional so that players who wish to discover the controls entirely independently have the ability to do so. Additionally, the tutorial is presented in a completely pressure free environment, it's not making you fight a real enemy which can cause the player to not actually feel out the controls and just spam the first damage dealing button they learn.
I am very glad I decided to commit to a full tutorial, it fleshes out the world even more, gives the player a proper learning experience and adds to the overall quality of the experience.