There’s been a bit of talk about tutorials so I wanted to write a bit about it and ask if anyone else has thoughts. We’re not working on it this patch. We’ve had this discussion before and there is some GDD material on it. I think I agree with the general vibe of the GDD but I’m not sure about some of the specifics so I wanted to start a fresh thread on it.
To quote from the old thread
Now i know for a fact that the best way to teach a game to a new player is through play and exploration, not though text
I think this is a great starting point. One of the things I am most proud of in my steam game is that it has a wordless tutorial which eases the player into the game through play. You can watch someone playing it and figuring out the whole game (and complaining about the lack of sound and poor presentation lol).
The outcome of the last discussion was to make a wordy, placeholder, tutorial and while it was nice to have something I think that had an anchoring effect I would like to avoid. We knew it was not the optimal approach but once we had done it that kind of became the tutorial, this time I’d like to only work towards a really great tutorial. Thrive is a really complicated game and will need text in places.
Here is where I think we could be when we release 0.4.1 just as a natural consequence of what is already planned:
You start as a single hex of cytoplasm, there is only your species and the population is 1. Clouds of glucose, ammonia and phosphates are so abundant you can’t die.
You go to the editor and make some changes. When you return to swimming the patch is filled with members of your species as the population is now high, however there is still only 1 species.
You return to the patch / editor screen eventually and choose to split your species. This causes one of the halves to become ai controlled and from that point there is an exponentially growing number of ai species filling the patch map.
I think this is already pretty good for a smooth ramp of complexity that doesn’t need much explanation. I think when we are ready to go further a couple of ideas which I think would be good:
When you first spawn there can be a simple WASD logo on screen which flashes when you press the appropriate button, just enough for anyone who has not played games before.
When you first go to the editor you only have enough MP for one organelle and maybe only 3 choices are unlocked, that makes it very simple to constrain people into trying the system out with limited functionality.
I think once we’d got that far we could hone it with playtesting however with the tooltips which are already in I think it should be pretty close to explaining itself.
If anyone has opinions on how a tutorial should work or ideas they want to contribute please feel free.