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Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

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Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by TripOpt55 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:15 pm

So most games have tutorials of some kind to teach you the controls and mechanics. What are the best examples of how to handle these? And what are the worst? Feel free to discuss in general how you'd like these handled.
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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by SanAndreasX on Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:45 pm

Any tutorial that is forcibly integrated into the main game is a bad tutorial. Full stop. I shouldn't need to prove that I can walk, jump, or do anything else to proceed.

I know that game companies do this for the benefit of the casuals, but seriously? At this point, most packaged games on PlayStation/Xbox/Wii are played almost exclusively by dedicated gamers that know what they're doing, and game companies should understand this. Most of the audience that forced in-game tutorials are targeted towards really doesn't exist.

I'd really rather they start printing paper manuals again, but failing that, the tutorial mode should always be segregated from the main game as an option on the main menu, and highlighted if there is no evidence on the HDD that the game has been played before. That will satisfy both the non-existent first time gamers and the bulk of the gaming audience that already knows how to play a video game.

I think the best tutorial mode, by which I mean the least worst, was that of Fallout 3, since Bethesda did try to set some of the initial tone of the game with its tutorial mode (Baby Steps, Growing Up Fast, The G.O.A.T. Whisperer), and it was also a sort of cute way of setting your character's starting stats, but I could have done without being forced to prove my prowess at walking.

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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by TripOpt55 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:15 pm

How do you go on that big diatribe and not mention what the worst tutorial you've run into is (that is more what this thread was for, but I thought maybe people would have some good versions too)?

If I am recalling it correctly, I liked Splinter Cell 1's because it was like a short little training mission that taught you the controls which maybe was optional (I think it was). I'm not as offended on a game teaching you stuff during the game (not so much walking which is obviously dumb, but unique stuff to the game I wouldn't just know), but I'd prefer never having to deal with it on a replay.
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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by SanAndreasX on Sun Nov 03, 2013 4:33 pm

TripOpt55 wrote:How do you go on that big diatribe and not mention what the worst tutorial you've run into is (that is more what this thread was for, but I thought maybe people would have some good versions too)?

If I am recalling it correctly, I liked Splinter Cell 1's because it was like a short little training mission that taught you the controls which maybe was optional (I think it was). I'm not as offended on a game teaching you stuff during the game (not so much walking which is obviously dumb, but unique stuff to the game I wouldn't just know), but I'd prefer never having to deal with it on a replay.
Can't think of a specific one off the top of my head. Lately, I've been pretty lucky to be able to consistently find games that aren't quite as egregious on it, so maybe the industry is starting to buy a clue and do it less. I don't know? A lot of my Xbox 360 games were kind of bad about it, since I was into my 360 early on into the generation. Dragon Age: Origins had kind of a frustrating tutorial. MMOs tend to be really bad about it, too. I think the most glaring example I can think of right now is ironically a game I really loved otherwise: Bayonetta. Which, yeah, it has a lot of complex play mechanics, but nothing veterans of Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden couldn't figure out, and I imagine that's most of the audience that played Bayonetta. I never liked the tutorial parts of Metroid Prime, either. I also don't like the "kill 50 rats" BS that a lot of RPGs nowadays stick you with, and that does count as a kind of tutorial. Just throw me into the thick of action the way Final Fantasy VII did, already!

I actually don't mind the game showing spot pop-ups when a new gameplay mechanic is introduced that's particular to that game. The Tales games do this, but they're not hugely obnoxious about it, and they otherwise let you jump right into the action. But again, they also don't really stop you from proceeding until you've done whatever new action is introduced to the satisfaction of the game, either.

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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by ajapam on Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:07 pm

Shadow of the Colossus has the best in-game tutorial.

Here are the controls. This is how you climb. Good luck with the giant monster at the top of this cliff.

The tutorials I really hate are the ones that hold your hand to tell you the most basic controls. They just get in the way of starting the game. All you really need is a short section for players to get used to the controls and to introduce them to the game's main features. 5 minutes is probably the longest tutorial the average action game needs. I can't really think of a specific example of a bad tutorial right now, but there's a lot of them

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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by volvocrusher on Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:27 pm

Worst is Assassin's Creed 3. Shit takes five fucking hours. Portal I think has the best one. GlaDos does a great job explaining the mechanics and everything's explained in a way where you're sure to get it, but the it never feels like hand holding

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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by TripOpt55 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 5:29 pm

I know I've played a few that teach you to look up and down which is a little rage-inducing. "Hey do you see that light up there" or some shit like that. I mean what the fuck... haha.
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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by SanAndreasX on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:11 pm

Yeah, Assassin's Creed 3 sounds like a shit-ton of fuck. If I had to deal with a tutorial like that I'd sell the damn thing.

I'll say it again, keep the tutorial completely segregated from the main game. Or give me a good manual that I can refer to on my own time.

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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by Rainjar on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:24 pm

I really like the idea of this thread. How these are designed is something that can really decide my mood on a game early on. Might post in it every time I play a new game.

I think Grand Theft Auto Online gets award for worst tutorial. One hour of endless pain where you can't play on your own and THE GAME FUCKING TAKES YOU ON A GODDAMN TOUR EXPLAINING EACH AND EVERY MODE INCLUDING A DEATHMATCH. A DEATHMATCH. GAME DOESN'T EVEN TRUST YOU TO KNOW WHAT A FUCKING DEATHMATCH IS. Also Lamar is in it which instantly makes it the most annoying piece of shit tutorial imaginable.

I really like how the Soul's games handle their tutorials as well. They ease you into how every works against some harmless enemies while teaching you how important the signs on the ground can be then shove a bigass boss at the end to fuck you over and tell you to get gud scrub.

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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by volvocrusher on Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:24 pm

I think a normal tutorial can work for story driven games. Mass Effect 2 and 3 are fairly standard, "Now you get to learn this" step by step tutorials, but in the midst of a robot outbreak and Reaper invasion respectively, there's a lot of excitement and you want to keep finding out what happens next. Just don't drag it on too long like many story driven games do and keep it within the context of the story. Those both had Miranda and Anderson respectively tell you what to do in ways where it blended into the story really well.

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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by avidacridjam on Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:57 pm

I love Ocarina of Time as much as the next person but everytime I think I want to replay that, I think of the glorious moment you step out into Hyrule Field.....


And then that fucking owl shows up and brings everything to a grinding halt.

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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by avidacridjam on Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:59 pm

And I know calling that a tutorial is a stretch but all that damn thing does is tell you about contols.

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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by Miraculous Kaydybug on Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:00 pm

I like it when games do a prologue or side story with a character that otherwise isnt playable. Like FFXII or That Last of Us. I like the idea of KH2's too but it was way too fucking long and dont I like Roxas at all.

NieR did this well too. While you still technically play as Nier. The scenes in the tutorial foreshadow a huge plot point.

If the tutorial segments have actual meaning to the plot then i dont mind them. Make them have meaning to not just the people learning how to play the game, but the ones who know how to as well.

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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by volvocrusher on Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:35 pm

Even though the Dead Space 2 tutorial as a whole wasn't that good, this one bit was an awesome tutorial for explaining how to beat the enemies


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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by BretBaber on Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:52 pm

I remember really getting a kick out of Final Fantasy IX's tutorial. Every now and then you'd come across two Moogles, and from what I remember it gave you the option to choose to view them or not. Plus, it would always end with "Wow bro, you really know a lot." "Yeah, I know" or something like that.

Any tutorial that you can skip is always a tutorial done right.

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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by TripOpt55 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:51 pm

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon has somehwat intrusive tutorials like most Ubi games, but then it full on starts mocking those tutorials which was at least kind of fun.
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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by TripOpt55 on Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:25 pm

If I may shit on Assassin's Creed 3 some more, there were like five hours of tutorials and yet there were mechanics that went totally unexplained and I never quite understood. Partly a sign that time might have been better spent explaining some of that stuff than telling me how to sit on a bench, but also a sign that the game just went way overboard with various gameplay types.
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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by SanAndreasX on Sun Nov 03, 2013 11:53 pm

Kayshire Cat wrote:I like it when games do a prologue or side story with a character that otherwise isnt playable. Like FFXII or That Last of Us. I like the idea of KH2's too but it was way too fucking long and dont I like Roxas at all.

NieR did this well too. While you still technically play as Nier. The scenes in the tutorial foreshadow a huge plot point.

If the tutorial segments have actual meaning to the plot then i dont mind them. Make them have meaning to not just the people learning how to play the game, but the ones who know how to as well.
Yeah, I actually liked FFXII's opening with Reks that showed the assassination of King Raminas and laid the groundwork for the first part of the game.

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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by volvocrusher on Mon Nov 04, 2013 12:06 am

TripOpt55 wrote:If I may shit on Assassin's Creed 3 some more, there were like five hours of tutorials and yet there were mechanics that went totally unexplained and I never quite understood. Partly a sign that time might have been better spent explaining some of that stuff than telling me how to sit on a bench, but also a sign that the game just went way overboard with various gameplay types.
Not only this, but they wasted so much fucking time in the tutorial with shit that didn't even matter. Why do I have to spend three days doing nothing but wandering around Achilles' house then go into his barn at night? I already knew he'd let me in from the start because that's how it works, they could have shaved off so much time just by having those Templars come right after Connor gets there. It didn't even pay off later in the story, we barely see any of Achilles after Connor leaves.

It's biggest issue was that it had two fucking tutorials. One for Haytham and one for Connor. Either severely cut Connor's just so you know why he becomes an Assassin and flesh him out after the tutorial's done or don't have Haytham. And both of them were already way too long alone, together it was just absurd. Fuck this game.

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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by Krubixcube on Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:04 am

Metal Gear Solid...VR Missions. Completely optional, a game within a game as it gave you points and timed you and such, and then it would just boot you into the game proper.

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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by Motinator on Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:35 am

I think Metal Gear Solid 4 has it perfect. Give me a room with a bunch of dummy enemies so that I can try out all of the moves, with the instruction manual in my hand.

I've been teaching myself how to play NHL 14, because I haven't played these since '10. So I keep looking at the instruction manual (in game which kind of sucks) and then doing modes like shootout to actually try things without risk. They do that well. Unfortunately at the initial boot-up, there's the un-skippable part of the tutorial where you learn how to shoot!

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Re: Good and bad examples of in-game tutorials

Post by Krubixcube on Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:18 am

I think the sign of a badly done tutorial is one where if you're playing the game for the second time you can't just blast through it because you already know how to play it. It should NOT be "you must do this to progress" bullshit. It should be teaching you how to play by making you play it. So if you're on a second playthrough you should blast through the tutorial because you can already do everything.

Nintendo lately has been especially guilty of doing these unskippable "HEY, REMEMBER TO DO THIS!" every time they introduce something new instead of just doing it intuitively (which they were so talented at in their older games)

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