Game Tutorial? Nah, Just Skip It!
Are you sick of game tutorials? We have to admit that we do quit playing some games because the tutorials sucked too much. Now, we are not proud to be judgmental, but hey, it happens, and you do it too. Do we hate learning? Or do we hate to learn in certain ways for certain subjects?
Ever since you have portals like STEAM and your app stores, looking for a new game to play is as simple as looking for a video on YouTube. And because the landscape has shaped so much over the years, getting a game has transformed into a low-involvement purchase. Players hardly read pre-launch articles, or watch interview videos of every game they were considering anymore.
As much as this movement benefits game developers as it lowers the barrier of entry to downloading their game, it does create some messy issues for them to take care of. You may want to turn on some dark background music as you read further.
Game Tutorials; the one important feature that people tend to overlook. You hardly read about game reviews talking about tutorials, or game description saying stuff like, ” intuitive tutorial! You can play this game even without knowing what an iPad is!” And because getting a game on your device has gradually become an impromptu process, players hardly know anything about the game before downloading them. (Oh yes, downloading them. We can’t deny that).
So what is going to educate our players? Well, in-game tutorials! But everybody hates tutorial. Developers, we know your (our) pain. They are usually done at the last where everybody is rushing to push for the launch date. Producers will need to bleed extra resources to create one. The team has been living, breathing, eating this game for the past year; they wouldn’t even understand how could anybody not know how to play this game. And more importantly, your players just want to get on with the game, they want to start having fun.
Game developers must understand that these tutorials give players the first impression to your masterpiece. The onboarding has to be fluid. If the tutorial sucks, players will either drop out from the game, or dread will start whining for being long winded.
So here are a few tips. You can thank Gameographics later, so just pay attention.
Drop the text! Stop flooding your players with chunk of text. If they are not visually attractive or non-interactive, players are likely to be tapping all over the screen, hoping that one secret spot will allow them to skip through all these words. Understand how do people acquire knowledge. Maximize on visual, audio and kinect to make your tutorial a stunning one.
Visual: Infographics has taught marketers and researchers that putting heavy text into graphical form does contain consumers’ attention. Replace those heavy paragraphs with short 7-10 seconds cut scene videos or comic panels. Add in some trinkets for players to spot as they go along, and there, you may be looking at a winner!
Aural: Most tutorials involve this very wise guardian NPC that will explain some key mechanics. Have the NPC to speak instead of just planting text boxes. Giving them a voice helps to shape the game in terms of mood, tempo, and it is easier to inject personality into your characters. Having audio-aided tutorial also allows players to pay attention to other details in the game such as the interface, subtle animation and all the other graphical details while still learning about the game.
Kinect: Get your players to be in motion while learning. This may be a little challenging for games, which doesn’t involve accelerometer features. We have seen one common thing among all racing gamers; their body tilts as they drift or make an insanely difficult swerve. Basically, getting their bodies involved in the game come subconsciously. Furthermore, as movements and exercising increases the release of endorphins, players are more likely to get their mood regulated. A happy gamer right from the very start, how cool is that for your game, aye?
As much as possible, such games tutorials should be as elegantly integrated into the game as possible. Take MMORPGs like World of Warcraft for example, players are playing, exploring and learning at the same time. This gives players a huge sense of mastery. Earlier quests that allow repeated completion can be helpful in allowing players to understand particular subjects better.
In conclusion, getting your players onboarding the game starts right from the tutorial. Allowing your players to explore in game, model movements, and learn on the go can help to reduce such friction that is preventing your newly acquired players to get more heavily involved in your game. Text may be the most economical, and easiest method to pull through, but as much as possible, keep it as a prototype among the developers. These players deserve way better!