View Full Version : Stage 5 question - Tutorial or Help screen

10-05-2007, 02:56 PM
Goal 1 for stage 5 is: Add either a help screen or a tutorial on how to play your game. -- 10 Points

Now, I have a basic help screen in the game and have had it for quite some time. My question is this, I've also been working on a players guide (owners manual, whatever) with everything from how to control the character, how to successfully engage creatures, and listings of all items and enemies within the game. Together does this fulfill the requirements of this goal?

BTW: The Players Guide will be a PDF file that you can print out just like most manuals found in the games I have seen.

10-05-2007, 05:21 PM
Well if your help screen(s) tells you how to play your game then it pretty much meets the goal requirements.

As for the PDF; The goal was meant to be 'in-game', but considering that that was not specified, it would probably be a pass, unless the judges found some flaw in it's status as a 'tutorial'.

11-05-2007, 11:00 AM
Well, last night I added a help system to Crashblock. I didn't go for the "In-Game" hints & prompts style, but an option from the menu which gives a detailed breakdown of the game and controls. The reason I didn't do an ingame tutorial part was basically, because generally:

1. they annoy the crap out of me.
2. People only care about them once so it's a load of code for very little use
3. Replay value suffers if you have to follow tutorial to start (Good example: Tachyon, bad example: Tribal Trouble)
4. They can introduce bugs into the game. I've seen a really good game

I like games where you can skip the tutorial altogether, or have it as an option. When it's enforced, it detracts from the game and ruins the immersion.

I quite liked the comments on the "Next-Gen" video posted a little while ago when they complained about in game tutorials making games too noddy.. The player walks up to a button and big arrows appear "Press this here - Use Action Key" It should be obvious enough anyway.

So.. I've gone for help pages.

My opinion aside, has anyone gone for a tutorial? I'd really like to see one done properly where it actually adds to the game.

11-05-2007, 12:36 PM
Jason, you and I seem to have the same opinion on this subject. In fact, I don't even mind if a game doesn't have a built in help screen at all. So long as it has a manual I can print out or comes with a manual. Seems that everyone focused on a self playing or teaching tutorial for so long that they forgot how to write a manual for their game.

As I said, I opted for a simple single screen in game help and a full 21 page manual that you can print if you so choose.

11-05-2007, 01:09 PM
I really don't understand the need for in-yer-face tutorials for tutorials' sake.

Very complicated games like Command & Conquer and Total Annihilation didn't have them.. They just had a manual telling the story, the units and the short-cut keys, the player could visit this additional source of information as they needed to.

The levels were structured in such a way that overly complicated stuff wasn't available to muddy things up and the level was just difficult enough to let the player discover how to control the game on their own.. adding to the feeling of achievement and immersion in the game.

If the player had been faced with the full tech tree and AI onslaught of the final levels, a tutorial would have certainly been required to arm the player with enough skills to survive... however, the game's mechanics were such that they could gradually introduce these new elements gradually, thus making a tutorial irrelevant.

The Closest Command & Conquer had was in the mission briefing.. "Build a base, a barracks and some soldiers" if the player was replaying and knew a better way, they were free to try.

In Guns Reloaded, I've got a tutorial, but it's not a required step and the player can just start the game if they want.. It's set in the style of a training course where each mission is about achieving a single set objective, all within the context of the game and without obtrusive popup windows.

(BTW: I'm not complaining about the requirements for the competition, I'm merely discussing the different ways tutorials and help screens were realised in different games with a small coating of personal opinion ;))

11-05-2007, 04:54 PM
No gripe about the stage goal from me either, I just wanted to validate that I was fulfilling the requirements :).