Posted at: 2020-04-06, 16:23
I just looked at the 'basic controls' tutorial for the first time, to see if I think I can recommend this game to my friend without helping them.
The tricky thing is that there are a huge range of different people who might play the tutorial. For some people it would be enough to just explain what the red, yellow, and green houses in the 'show building spaces' mean, and leave the rest up to experimentation. For others, more detail is required. I appreciate that a fair bit of effort has gone into the tutorial. It has a lot of good stuff, and a lot of detail. I've got a couple of suggestions which I think could improve it:
- When the tutorial takes control of the cursor, it should block the player from moving the cursor. When the tutorial was showing me how to show/hide building spots, I completely missed it because I was still moving the mouse around. When the tutorial tried to open the mini-map, the mini-map didn't open because I moved the mouse cursor at a bad time.
- (less important) When the tutorial takes control, it would be good if there was some kind of visual cue so that the player knows the watch rather than try anything. For example, perhaps the viewing area of the screen could shrink a little bit, dimming the edges. (Or anything really - just have some kind of visual effect so that the player expects something to happen.)
- Actually, in many instances it might be better to not do a demo at all, but instead simply highlight where you want the player to click. (eg. instead of showing the cursor moving towards the menu buttons; just show an animated eye-catching highlight on the button that you want the player to click.)
those might be pretty tricky to implement though
- After the tutorial demonstrated how to build a road to the quarry; the next tutorial message had a heap of unprocessed html tags. (The message reads
One more thing: around the field where...; but it includes stuff like
<rt><div width=100%><div float=left padding_r=6> etc.)
Can't reproduce on master, probably fixed already
- Some messages are unnecessarily verbose. In particular, the message about enabling the 'census'. Most of that text isn't necessary. I remember playing the Barbarians campaign, and in many ways it is a tutorial itself. So I think the 'basic controls' tutorial could be made a bit more concise.. There's a lot of reading. The player isn't going to remember all of it; and some of it just isn't relevant at the time. For example, when explaining the 'messages' window, it says twice where the messages button - once is enough; it gives examples of what the messages are about (resources found etc) - I don't think that's necessary. The current text is all good information; and all of it is useful; but since we aren't asking the player to do anything interesting, I think it's best to make it as concise as possible; because a lot of the stuff could be learnt in a more fun context while playing the barbarians campaign. All that said, I know it would be a significant amount of work to go through all the text again to rewrite parts of it; and the current stuff is not bad. So that work would be very low priority!
I think the tutorials are written in a way that they give new players an understanding of the basic mechanisms, then players play some campaigns and perhaps a few free games, and then it is useful to play the tutorials again and then the massive information there is better understood and appreciated. This goes for all tutorials really. The first tutorial could be simplified a lot but these points also apply to the others where this wouldn't make sense because esp. tutorials 3 and 4 are targeted at players with some experience.