This week, after the study break, I have been focusing on finishing the final plans for the game. I needed to make sure I knew how each of the mechanics for the viruses and bacteria needed to be, and how they would interact with the immune cells, before I could start programming. I have completed the research into the pathogens, minus Ebola, which is proving difficult figuring out how to simulate, I have thought about cutting out Ebola entirely, after all, I cut out all late adult life to scale down the game scope, it wouldn’t be that much more to cut, and I really don’t know how I would balance it.
I have much of the functionality of the pathogens complete now, just trying to iron out the bugs and wrinkles before testing is to commence. To that end I will also need to make up a testing sheet of questions for people, but I need to finish the tutorial before all that is done, more and more things to do. I am feeling very disenchanted with the project, this is the first real decent length project we have to do and I am getting sick of finding more and more aspects to add that will make it more feature complete. Not so much feature creep, more like things that just need to be in the game for quality of life aspects so it is not so frustrating to try and play.
Tutorials are a difficult mess of boredom, learning and scripted events, here is how I hope to make mine interesting. I am going to have a continuous communication with a character I call the ‘Helper’, meant to represent a helper T-Cell, assisting in controlling the units and explaining what is going on. The whole game is meant to be a tutorial really, developing more components as it goes, allowing you an easier time at the start to be able to solve problems with general units, and introducing specific enemies you need to combat with more advanced units and mechanics later.
School of Game Design, a website full of useful lectures and information about game development, goes into tutorials in some depth, both in things to think about while making tutorials, and about the purpose and meaning behind the tutorial for your game. The tutorial should not be something you have in the game simply to explain the controls or what the player is there to do, these are necessary, of course, but your tutorial should be much more than just that. The tutorial is another opportunity to impart meaning and story into the game, whether it is through narrative elements; dialogue or explanations, or building a depth for the player, in learning how to use features, you can impart actual mechanical growth for the player to feel more a part of the game.
One of the key aspects in tutorial design is making sure the information is drip fed at an appropriate rate, front loading information means the player will never remember any of it, while taking too long to explain will cause even the most interested players searching for a skip button. My game will, hopefully, keep it’s tutorial minimal, the first set explaining the basic game mechanics and UI elements/controls (being able to click on units to see descriptions, how to move about the map etc.) and only as you need to learn about further mechanics will it teach you about them (being able to upgrade the base and deploy more complicated units).
Cupp, J. (2016). An Intro to Video Game Tutorials – Top Shelf Gaming. Retrieved from http://topshelfgaming.net/left-click-to-read-an-introduction-to-video-game-tutorials/
For next week, I really need the game testable, I need a complete game loop (still), and to have the tutorial complete, at this point, it doesn’t make much sense to play really.
- Have complete game loop
- Have basic tutorial ready for presenting to players for testing
Please see the build in the google drive, I will be uploading it to itch at the end of the project, but for now that is where it will be.