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March 08, 2004

Comments

Jeffool

Haven't played this game, but I'll give it a try as it sounds great. But I'd like to touch on the approaches of tutorials in games.

While obviously it would be nice if the game didn't require a tutorial of any sort, well, they often do. Sure I'm more of a fan of the third method, a more game-related tutorial rather than a completely modular one. But that doesn't mean they're always good. If it's in the context of a continuous game then no, I don't want to be broken up. I want to know it all in advance.

Splinter Cell's tutorial was entertaining enough to me so that I didn't mind playing it, but it lacked some. I think it could've been broken up into a few different training missions throughout the game. Maybe introduced as small-time operations that Sam Fisher's deft touch would be appreciated at, even if just to show some rookie how to do things right.

This would help to combat the problem of forgetfulness by making sure that the player was used to all of the preceding controls needed thus far in the game before building on them. I mean, remember where you do the split between two walls? How far was it into the game before you could use that move?

But on the other end of the spectrum is Black & White. First off, I loved Black & White. I know plenty of people who didn't, but I did. My one major complaint is the lack of mod-ability... Oh, wait, wrong complaint. My second major complaint is that they beat you over the head with the tutorial. Sometimes I get the itch to install it and play it again, and I'm fed up with Whitey and Blackie (That's what I always called them) telling me how to properly move around the world. Grrr.

Though I did love the mouse gestures and hope they're in BW2. And, while I'm on it... Damn. Lionhead's lineup is amazing. Can't wait for all their games coming out.

Larry

Movies slip ALL the time. They frequently show them to test audiences & then re-shoot segments off the film that don't go over well

Hugh "Nomad" Hancock

Yep, movies certainly do slip. Matter of fact, StrangeCo slipped one of our DVD projects back a couple of months ago.

And then you have "development hell", which is essentially massively extended slip time. Neuromancer's been in it for about 15 years at this point.

nic

Too tired to type too much but I just wanted to say that I picked up EON - then took it back. Hated it, which is a shame cos I really wanted to like it.

It felt really hacked together. If your girlfriend was throwing the controller down by level three - I envy her. My patience was stretched by the first driving section. Seemed designed to have you scrapping the bike against the rocks all the time. And the sliding the bike under the thing with the thing… hated that. I fell under the train about 5 times before doing it because the bike was too difficult to control.

Anyway... wanted to point out that there is kind of a fourth way to do the tutorial stuff. Let the player gain abilities throughout the game – don’t load everything up front. This didn’t sit too well with a publisher I worked with – but if you have decent core mechanics, then throughout the game embellish or add to them – it paces the learning curve of the player characters skills. It’s my preference and the publisher was wrong.

MGS does this a little. Giving you no weapons initially so you learn all the sneaking stuff first. Surely it’s more interesting to play a game that keeps on giving?

Nic.

Eric Lulie

Re: tutorials -- many years on, I still remember the tutorial from MW 2 fondly for some reason. Having the drill sergeant bark at me as I ran through the training course was immersive for me at the time...:-)

I think you may be giving tutorial option #2 (tutorial explains game up front) a little too little credit; Rise of Nations does this in some of its tutorials, and I thought it was fairly effective at teaching how things worked, how to perform certain tasks, important game concepts, etc.

I think RoN also covers option #3, tutorial throughout game, in a way: the first tutorial scenario is actually a freeform scenario, where there is no time limit, no non-standard victory conditions, and the game will occassionally offer more-or-less the same advice you would gain through the standalone tutorials. It allowed me to get my feet wet before I tried my hand at the campaign and scenarios.

I think for RTS games, you will need some kind of progressive learning approach to the game, before you jump into the middle of a battle. (Which is why you tend to see more-or-less the same style of tutorial in games like *Craft, AOE/AOM, Dune, Command & Conquer, et al.) I think Blizzard is on the right track by making the tutorial missions the first chapter (what they did in StarCraft) or the Prologue of the campaign (Warcraft III, which I thought was actually pretty well done as an RTS tutorial), which I think is what you mean by #3.

(The only caveat with what Blizzard does is: they don't do enough -- they usually stop short of explaining mid-level to advanced concepts of the game (something explaing how to use spellcasters in Warcraft 3 would have been appreciated). This doesn't seem to happen as often with RTS games that follow #2.)

Actually, I think Diablo's method does work well...for Diablo. On a fairly easy level, it allowed you to experiment with the game and figure out what would and wouldn't work. As well, it allowed you to get to a point, character-wise, where when you tackled more advanced game levels, your character would at least last a little while longer (sometimes much longer, if you obsessively wrung every xp possible from the first level...).

Tutorial option #3 can be annoying: KOTOR's tutorial is bothering me (just started playing the game); I know there are new concepts that I need to know, and the game is introducing them to me; however, in the middle of what the game terms a 'crisis', it feels a little odd to have your companion explain to you the mechanics of switching characters and giving orders to attack the enemies while three Sith droids are waiting around to open up fire on you. :-) Call me silly...

(Still, I wish more modern RPGs had some kind of tutorial level; I really miss the training dungeon from BT II...)

Call of Duty's tutorial didn't bother me so much: I thought it was appropriate for the game, and it didn't distract me from my (willing) suspension of disbelief. If anything, I thought the tutorial underplayed the significance of aiming through whatever sight you have available; sniping is an essential skill in this game (I don't know how much time I spent pouring through all the loot on a level to try and find a sniper rifle...).

Chris Busse

How can you ask if movie slip when the game you are working on is attached to a movie that slipped a few months?

Jamie Fristrom

That slip was in preproduction. I was wondering if movies ever slipped in post. I imagine some movie executive saying, "Well, this edit sucks, but we're out of time, so ship it." But I gather they do slip sometimes.

Nat Loh

re: movie slip
Off the top of my head, Kill Bill volume 2. It was supposed to be out in February but has been pushed back to this April.

Amy

I googled lookin' for an answer to the train situation....did think i would have to read a boring book....and I didn't ...went back to google.

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Jamie's Bragging Rights

  • Spider-Man 2
    The best superhero games of all time Game Informer
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