The importance of a new tutorial system.



  • male_fatalitiesmale_fatalities Join Date: 2004-03-06 Member: 27185Members, Constellation
    Is NS really that difficult to learn?

    I would not even compare it to something like Civ4.
  • ritualsacrificeritualsacrifice Join Date: 2012-11-14 Member: 171148Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    Is NS really that difficult to learn?

    I would not even compare it to something like Civ4.

    I don't really get it either. I feel like all that would be needed is a ~1 minute long video that breaks down the alien classes and marine weapons. Stuff like "This is a skulk. Skulks stick to walls and ceilings. This is a lerk. Lerks can fly. This is a flamethrower, it sets shit on fire." is basically all you would need to learn this game. It's not like the average n00b is gonna get stuck in a server with competitive players or anything. He'll most likely join one of the silly 34 player servers, realize what a clusterfuck that is, not be able to figure anything out, then quit.

    I think that's the biggest barrier to learning the game: There isn't any proper environment to learn it in. If you're new, you're going to be playing on public servers which are for the most part 24+ players these days. The game just doesn't work with that many players in it. It's way too much of a shit show for anyone to learn anything if there are more than 18 players on a server.

    I can't imagine what it feels like to load up the game for the first time, save for onos, then round a corner only to be met by 10-16 marines with w3 LMG's.
  • Blarney_StoneBlarney_Stone Join Date: 2013-03-08 Member: 183808Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    Well at this point the playercount has gotten so small that I rarely see any servers without at least 1-2 competitive players on it, they make up such a big percentage of the population at this point. It would be great to have servers where new players can learn without having to deal with this but that won't happen without a pretty big influx of players.
  • YuukiYuuki Join Date: 2010-11-20 Member: 75079Members
    All you need really to do a decent tutorial is being able to trigger sounds when the player enter an area.
    Then you can record voice explanations and play them accordingly in the level.

    For example the first thing to learn is the map, the player spawns in a room with 10 exits, with only one leading to the next room. The voice says something like "welcome to NS2 tutorial, press C to open your map and find the
    correct exit".

    To learn wallwalk you can have a room with lava on the floor.

    To learn evolving you can have a room with lava on every wall (so you can't wall-walk past it) and ask the player to evolve a lerk.


    Well, you also need custom respawn.
  • BicsumBicsum Join Date: 2012-02-27 Member: 147596Members, Reinforced - Gold
    Hugh wrote: »
    Unfortunately UWE does not have the resources to create a new tutorial system. The existing in-game-movie system will be slightly improved over the next few weeks. There will be no free-weekend related to the upcoming balance changes.

    Any community efforts to create a tutorial mod or other cool helpful tutorial system would of course be welcomed with open arms! As has been the case since the birth NS, the best tutorial system out there is people being kind, patient, helpful to new players :)

    I understand that your resources are limited, but this stuff is too important to hope for the community to do it. In almost every ns2 review I read, the steep learning curve was marked as point of critique. You need to do something here and videos are not going to cut it, because either people are not going to watch them or can't remember all the informations in them. Some people don't even understand them because of language barriers.

    Humans tend to remember / understand things better when they practically do them.

    The tutorial doesn't need call of duty like falling sky scrapers, just really basic stuff. Kouji once posted a video of a similiar ns1 tutorial map. Ns2 desperately needs this, including translated sub titles.
  • PaLaGiPaLaGi Join Date: 2008-01-03 Member: 63331Members, Constellation
    Hugh wrote: »
    Unfortunately UWE does not have the resources to create a new tutorial system. The existing in-game-movie system will be slightly improved over the next few weeks. There will be no free-weekend related to the upcoming balance changes.

    Any community efforts to create a tutorial mod or other cool helpful tutorial system would of course be welcomed with open arms! As has been the case since the birth NS, the best tutorial system out there is people being kind, patient, helpful to new players :)

    2 Examples:

    1) When I tried Chivarly: Medieval Warfare during their free weekend, it started me out in a interactive tutorial where you play the different classes and have to kill some AI enemies so you learn the skills (how to block, dodge, different equipment options,etc). I had fun killing the bots and when I joined my first public game, I was immediately one of the average players on my team, improving over time. I played it all weekend, and got Steam friends to play it with me, also learning the same way. We had a blast.

    2) When I tried Planetside 2 when it came out, it asked me to watch like 6 Youtube videos explaining all the different settings, classes, etc. I think I made it halfway through the first one and got bored wanting to play, so I just jumped into a game to see what I could figure out. It was awful. I was this guy with a rifle and I would run around for 30 sec only to be killed by some dude with a tank, or a helicopter, wondering how the hell they even got a vehicle. I asked one of my friends who played it alot to help me and he showed me a few things but I still got super frustrated getting killed by things I didn't understand. Also, the game's performance was terrible and I had to lower my resolution just to get decent fps. I played for about 2 hours that day, and havent booted it up since.

    Just saying...
  • RammlerRammler Join Date: 2013-06-18 Member: 185607Members, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Shadow
    I also recommend a new tutorial system. i think i am a good example for a new player without any ns2 or ns1 experience because i joined ns2 on the last free weekend and never played ns1 or half life before ( btw free weekends are great). I was lucky because my brother already played the game and teached me the elemental things about ns and how to play as alien and as marine. i watched the videos and guides about ns2 play but they did not get me the real feeling about the real play and atmosphere on a server. its a different thing to watch a video than playing in a server where everyone expects you to do the right thing. like all the people said before an interactive tutorial could help a lot to keep rookie players in the game. it gives a good access to the game and helps the new players to enjoy the first exoperiences on an official server. when i think back of my first ns2 game i have to laugh because in my first game i thought my wielder was a pistol and i really tried to shoot a skulk with my wielder. baaaad experience :D.

    PS: I am german. So sorry for my bad english.
  • MMZ_TorakMMZ_Torak Join Date: 2002-11-02 Member: 3770Members
    Pandademic wrote: »
    It might help if we took a moment to think through the scope of making a tutorial. Here’s a start at what might be included:

    I think we need 4 modes, Marine Strategy, Marine Tactics, Alien Strategy, Alien Tactics. Strategy for commanders to learn tech trees. All this takes is a revamped explore mode, where commanders start with nothing but IP/RT and can build anything from there. Include an easy reset button and throw in some bots, and the strategy portion is covered.

    For tactics, we need to itemize all the skills for each lifeform, and decide which are vital for new players before joining a server, which are optional, which should be left to learn in the field.

    I imagine a linear set of objectives for each tactics mode. Marine Tactics will be easiest.

    Vanilla round start.
    Instruct player to build armory.
    Completion spawns skulk bots that target power node.
    When player kills them, trigger instructions to buy welder and repair it.
    Build observatory, “So we can see them coming next time”
    (While he builds, explain phase tech)
    Completion triggers new wave of skulks.
    Now go destroy a harvester.
    Skulk wave tries to defend.
    Finish off harvester and clear cyst to build an extractor.
    (Importance of economy explained while he builds)
    Skulk wave.
    Build phase.
    Now head back to base for a reward.
    But a lerk is attacking base, player gets beaconed.
    When lerk dies rewarded with shotgun researched.
    Now build second half of phase and return to front lines.
    Fade attack.
    Proceed to hive.
    In hive room, all the upgrades have infro bubbles explaining their importance.
    (Destroy crags like this to prevent healing, etc)

    Probably unnecessary, but next the player can build a chair, get rewarded with a jetpack and ordered to assist an exo in killing last hive.

    Somewhere between all this we can cover mines, gls, and flamers. Arcs and Macs can be left for Marine Strategy.

    Aliens might be a bit more work.

    First goal is to find a marine RT, and destroy it.
    While biting, a marine attacks.
    Instructed to hide, wait for him start welding, then attack.
    When the marine/extractor are dead, a harvester goes under attack.
    (Lone marine hacking at a harvester)
    After it’s defended, instruct player to return to hive for reward.
    There’s a lerk egg waiting for you, along with lerk mission objectives.

    Each life form should get a small mission where basic tactics are learned, and each success is rewarded by a new egg. Maybe the eggs are timed, so the player has to learn to move fast enough as one lifeform before proceeding with the next. Fail and a new new egg spawns at the opposite hive, better hussle, and here’s a reminder how.

    The map layout would be very simple. 3 tech points, 2 RTs. “C” shaped map. 1 chair and 2 hives at start. Easily use existing assets to put it together.


    I wish I could Awesome this more times...
  • DeskLampDeskLamp Australia Join Date: 2013-02-03 Member: 182783Members
    Wrote this ages ago to UWE but didn't really get a response. Feel free to critique here:

    I’m sure you guys know this stuff already but I’ll lay some of them out anyway. The ideas afterwards are aimed at addressing these concepts.
    One step at a time
    Often you will see games that have that slow progression aspect which grows your knowledge over missions. The best example that I can think of is StarCraft where each successive mission introduces a new unit and ability. This gives people the chance to get across one thing before moving on to the other.

    Immersive and Fun

    Dying constantly may be a great way to learn, but is not as accessible or powerful as the feeling of success when you accomplish an objective. The difficulty with learning in NS2 is that success relies on team work, which means that providing training materials can be harder, but not potentially impossible. The idea though is to reward for success. At the moment NS2 is such a fun game that many people are prepared to accept the deaths and losses in order to learn. But this doesn’t tap into the more broad gamer market.

    The downside to video tutorials is it requires the attention of someone who is not necessarily very good at giving their attention. Many gamers learn through doing which means that you have to provide a context in which they are performing actions, as well as having fun.

    Ideas for Training

    Art Heavy, Code Light
    Perhaps laying out areas of the map where tips can be found. This encourages exploration of the map (like an Easter egg hunt, though you could just have objectives they follow which would mean they would see everything – or even a combination of the two). Maybe have objects strewn throughout the map (such as a dead skulk, a place where a shootout has occurred with weapons across the ground etc.) which you can click on and a video tutorial pops up.
    Also while Summit is one of the best maps for competitive play, maps like Docking and Mining are great for exploration as they have little stories strewn across it. Docking would be great in terms of getting the feeling that you are on your own seeing that something bad has occurred but it is not clear what.
    I’m not a coder so I don’t know how difficult this would be to accomplish, but it is one way to make it accessible. I could go into more detail on the actual ideas (how to layout the map, what could go where to learn what key piece of information) but you may have great ideas already on how this could be done.

    More Intensive: Medium to Long Term
    There might be some form of Mod which could be created to varying degrees of complexity
    To counter the difficulty of including some form of cooperative mode in training, you could utilise the MAC’s as a method to encourage teamwork.
    One thought I had was that you could introduce a MAC with some form of personality (An example I was thinking of was Wheatly in Portal 2) who guides you throughout a series of tasks. The scenario I had considered was:
    • Start level on a map
    o You may want to create a linear layout on one of the maps (blocking doorways etc.)
    • Get a message from a MAC saying everyone has disappeared and he is damaged and needs fixing
    • You have to build an armoury and research a welder to find and fix him
    • He can then build stuff for you as things go on
    • It is revealed that there is something on the base with you
    • You fight Kharaa structures (instead of having to build bot units) such as whips and hydras using arcs, sentries, and the player
    • The idea here is to get them familiar with the building layout, basic strategies etc.
    As I said before I don’t know a great deal about coding, but I’d imagine it would have to have scripted events
    You would also need to do Audio recordings (you could have a unique voice for MAC).
    As for the Kharaa I’m not completely sure at present what you could do, but I’d imagine it could be something about spreading the bacterium.

    Tech Structure
    Hot Keys

    Alien Types / Weapons and Equipment
    Evolving (Carapace, adrenaline etc.)

    Team-Based Play
    • Marine Squad
    o 2 man team
    o 3 man team
    o Exo / Welder
    o ARC defence
    o Jet Pack squads
    • Alien squad
    o Ambushing
    o Skulks 2-3
    o Skulk and Lerk
    o Hit and Run
    o Double Fades
    o Gorge and Onos
    o Bile bomb Gorge squad
    Skill-based play
    • Aiming
    • Supporting team
    • Movement
    • Shotgun
    • Flamethrower
    • Grenade launcher
    • Jetpacking
    • Single
    • Multi
    • Movement
    • Positioning
    • Surviving
    • Wall jumping
    • Tagging
    • Biting
    • Combat
    • Building clogs and hydras
    • Support
    • Belly slide
    • Bile bombing
    • Spores
    • Umbra
    • Spike, Bite and fly attacks
    • Evasion
    • Shift
    • Blink
    • Attack styles
    • Attacking jetpackers
    • Working with team
    • Knowing when to retreat (how not to die)
  • ezekelezekel Join Date: 2012-11-29 Member: 173589Members, NS2 Map Tester
    Hopefully UWE can contact you guys, and maybe a few community members can help throw a map together and possibly assist on the tutorial. Would be pretty awesome
  • Mad selectionMad selection Join Date: 2013-01-01 Member: 176967Members
    to anyone interesting in building up a decent tutorial do not hesitate to contact me I have a lot of free time at hand. I don't know how I could help but just ask and we'll see.
  • LocklearLocklear [nexzil]kerrigan Join Date: 2012-05-01 Member: 151403Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, WC 2013 - Shadow
    The tutorial system needs to be more "in your face".

    Like SC2 or DotA2.
  • BicsumBicsum Join Date: 2012-02-27 Member: 147596Members, Reinforced - Gold
    edited June 2013
    I finally found it:

    Thanks Kouji
  • RammlerRammler Join Date: 2013-06-18 Member: 185607Members, Reinforced - Supporter, Reinforced - Shadow
    Bicsum wrote: »
    I finally found it:

    Thanks Kouji

    This tutorial in NS2 would be fantastic :-). If anyone here can program such a tutorial. DO IT!
  • w0dk4w0dk4 Join Date: 2008-04-22 Member: 64129Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow
    Youtube comment:
    when UWE kept rejecting this brilliant piece of work, I don't think anyone who knows this would have the encouragement to re-do it for NS2
    Unfortunately UWE does not have the resources to create a new tutorial system.

    If anything, NS1 has shown that the learning curve is steep and a tutorial is needed. Now we are way past the launch and UWE has not the resources?

    Yeah, lets create 10 more maps and 10 more epic trailers with 10 more free weekends that will get the game more noobs that quit after a few hours because they dont know what's going on.
  • LocklearLocklear [nexzil]kerrigan Join Date: 2012-05-01 Member: 151403Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, WC 2013 - Shadow
    Tutorial system is more important than many other issues.
  • CrazyEddieCrazyEddie Join Date: 2013-01-08 Member: 178196Members
    The "primer" video that Hugh mentioned is this one. It is an excellently made instructional video. Hugh did an outstanding job on it, and it's a shame more people haven't seen it. Hugh concisely explains the most important things for any new player to know about the game, and does so in a manner which keeps the subject matter approachable, absorbable, and retainable.

    And it's seven freaking minutes long.

    That's not Hugh's fault. Hugh says exactly what he should say. He doesn't plumb the depths of NS2; he barely scratches the surface. It's literally the barest essentials of the game. It's a testament to the complexity of NS2 that it takes seven minutes to read off a bullet point list of vital gameplay instructions.

    The people who are willing to sit through a seven minute tutorial are the people who don't need a tutorial at all. They're interested enough in the game that they're willing to figure it out the hard way through painful experience, or to go on the web and read third-party guides and watch gameplay videos and whatnot. The people we can reach with Hugh's excellent video are not the people we need to try to reach.

    More's the pity.

  • CrazyEddieCrazyEddie Join Date: 2013-01-08 Member: 178196Members
    I'm going to disagree with the OP and most of the posters here. I'm not certain that NS2 really needs a good tutorial system to retain new players.

    I have this feeling that most posters (and if this doesn't apply to you, my apologies for the implication) wish for a better tutorial system so that new players would more quickly become GOOD players, instead of being laughably bad for so very long. This is itself also a noble goal, but at its core it speaks to YOUR desires to have better teammates and opponents rather than the desires of the new players themselves. Newbies don't want to be good. They don't care if they're bad. They're expecting to be bad. What they want is to have fun, right away, FROM THE VERY FIRST MOMENT OF THE GAME, even if they can't play worth a damn.

    Now, there are some things that they need to either figure out ASAP or be told ASAP in order to have any fun at all. "Press M so you don't get lost." "Stand next to the armory to heal." "Stay off the floor and you'll live longer." "Press E to build the blue things." "Press B to hatch as a different kind of alien." "Cool stuff costs res; help your team get it, and then spend it wisely."

    But most of those bare-bones types of things can be learned very quickly. The tutorial system should focus on those few things and should deliver that information prominently, concisely, and repeatedly until the players certainly no longer need it - which won't take long.

    Everything else can be learned over time simply by playing the game. Players can learn from their teammates and can discover things on their own. Discovery is itself a joy and is one reason that players like to play complex games like NS2. We should have plenty of accessible ways for players to learn new things, but we shouldn't consider it a failing if everyone doesn't pick up on all of it right away. They don't need to. Give them time.

    They'll like the game all the more as they discover how much it has to offer at their own pace.
  • bizbiz Join Date: 2012-11-05 Member: 167386Members
    Hugh wrote: »
    current1y wrote: »
    A basic tutorial that every person should know inside their first hour or 3 of play is needed. A person first booting up the game would watch this...

    Just had a fascinating chat with current1y outside the thread - It turns out he had never realised the existing gameplay primer existed :P

    This fascinates me - Is this a common trend? Were many of you unaware of its existence? If so, did you instinctively dismiss the popup on game start?

    Given it has ~23,000 views, it clearly has not been watched by everyone who bought the game...

    the videos didn't work at launch

    not sure if that ever got fixed
  • PandademicPandademic Join Date: 2013-02-26 Member: 183359Members
    edited June 2013
    Well crazyeddie, nice job punching this thread right in the throat. You make excellent points. We really just don't want this game to die, and are willing to put in any effort to save it.

    If easing the barriers to entry isn't going to do it, I don't know what will.
  • CrazyEddieCrazyEddie Join Date: 2013-01-08 Member: 178196Members
    My candidate for thing-most-likely-to-help-retain-new-players: figure out how to keep them from getting curbstomped by veterans. Figuring out how to play is fun; getting killed over and over and over again while you're still trying to figure it out is no fun. No fun means no retention.

    Better tutorials would still be good, mind you.
  • current1ycurrent1y Join Date: 2003-12-08 Member: 24150Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester
    100% agree Yukki. Very well done video but just too long. Take 0-1:22 then 6:15-7:10 and you got a nice quick 2 min 20 second video.

    Throw in the basics of what generally to do so they feel useful and your golden..

    Early game: build stuff and follow teammates
    Mid game : Press C to open map and follow teammates and commander orders and the importance of spending pres.
    Late game: Go to where your team is organizing pushes.
    All game: Whenever your lost on what to do press C to open map and find Enemy RTs to kill them.
  • IronHorseIronHorse Developer, QA Manager, Technical Support & contributor Join Date: 2010-05-08 Member: 71669Members, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Subnautica Playtester, Subnautica PT Lead, Pistachionauts
    I find the big picture explanation is what is most needed before hands on.. I. E. Explain two commanders, asymmetrical game play, ranged versus melee, pres and tres, how to win a round.

    Sooo many new players just jump in and start hands on without knowing a single thing about the big picture like the point of the game and it's goals.
  • ThraxxThraxx Join Date: 2013-06-19 Member: 185621Members
    Although I have purchased the game I am not actively playing at this point and don't see myself playing for a while yet. The number one reason - which touches on this topic as well - is that the game is still undergoing major changes. I feel like I am not sufficiently "hooked" to warrant constantly having to relearn the latest tweak. In short: the game is not yet complete.

    With all these changes it can be difficult to keep a tutorial current (not to mention adding to my frustration as a player) and frankly speaking who wants to devote all that time and energy only to see it obsoleted in a few weeks time?
  • DeskLampDeskLamp Australia Join Date: 2013-02-03 Member: 182783Members
    edited June 2013
    One potential way to embed some of the tutorial into the game is for the more lengthy tutorials that can't be provided in the 10 second in-game tutes, you could place selectable areas in the ready room which players can use in between games which will open video tutorials (such as monitors, vending machines, or player models). These would be between 30 seconds to 1 minute each.

    - Some delay between players moving into the next game if they are viewing tutorials. Though this could be countered if the tutorials are only "active" for a given period in the ready room.
    - Coding required? (I'm not a coder)
    - Not interactive from a play perspective

    - Players who are frustrated immediately after a game can view tutorials relevant to their frustrations (playstyle, strategy etc)
    - While not embedded as a playable tutorial, it would mean that the tutorials can be easily replaced as new features emerge
    - Tutorials could be perceived as a part of the game. It may seem like splitting hairs having it in-game rather than on a menu, however, people are more likely to seek out stuff that is right in front of them, at the right time.
  • 1dominator11dominator1 Join Date: 2010-11-19 Member: 75011Members
    Just update the damn wiki.
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