Tutorial Mode

It’s been a while since my last post, but I’ve now started working on Knights again.

One thing that Knights badly needs is more players. So at some point I am going to want to approach various indie gaming type websites and try to get some ‘press’ for the game. However, before I do that, I want to make sure that there is some sort of tutorial mode in place. The reason being that, since Knights is fairly difficult to learn (imho), I think we need to do as much as possible to ensure that new players can easily learn how to play. The last thing I want is for there to be a huge influx of new players, but then most of them disappear again because they can’t work out how to play the damn thing…

So the plan at the moment is to do one more release with tutorial mode added (and perhaps a couple of other things) and then start on the ‘marketing’ stuff.

Here is a screenshot of the tutorial mode so far (click to enlarge):

The tutorial is basically just going to be a standard Quest for Gems, except there is going to be a little window at the top right (as you can see in the screenshot) containing various hints. The idea is that as the player goes around the dungeon, certain events will trigger a message to appear. For example, the first time you see a door, a message explaining how to open doors appears, and the first time you pick up a trap, you’ll get a message explaining how to set traps.

I tried a couple of other approaches – like having windows pop up during the gameplay – but I found that just got annoying and interrupted the flow of the game. I also thought about making the tutorial more ‘active’ and giving the player little tasks to do – like ‘now go to this room’, ‘now set a trap on this chest’, and so on – but to be honest I don’t really like that sort of tutorial. (I remember downloading some space sim once, where the tutorial was trying to teach you about a million different key commands, and it wouldn’t let you move on to the next one until you had completed some little task with the previous one. I got so bored with that, I gave up half way through the tutorial and didn’t play the game again!) With the scheme I proposed above, at least people can just skip certain things if they want – for example if someone’s not very interested in traps, then they can ignore the instructions on how to use traps and just get on with the rest of the tutorial.

Anyway I think I’ve ranted on long enough for now… Expect another post when this tutorial stuff is finished. Also, at some point I am going to get Trac installed, and put all the outstanding tasks into it. I expect there will be time to put a few bug fixes or minor new features into the next version, as well as just this tutorial stuff.

4 thoughts on “Tutorial Mode”

  1. Great! That should be very helpful for new players.
    Can I make a suggestion.. Instead of the “messages” box, which isn’t much use without other players, how about an extended version of the stats that has been suggested before..
    So, basically everything you can do is counted..Doors opened. Doors smashed. Daggers thrown. Bats killed. Chests poisoned. Locks picked. Orbs viewed. Levers pulled. etc etc etc..
    This way, people can see what they are doing by just experimenting, and also it’d let them see which things they haven’t done yet.
    In your tutorial, is the dungeon layout predetermined?

  2. Thanks for the suggestion, I like it. Unfortunately I’ve finished work on the tutorial for now, so it’s too late to put this into the next release. I suppose the best thing to do is release it how it is now, wait for feedback, then maybe do a “Tutorial Mk II” at some point incorporating your (and other people’s) suggestions.

    The dungeon layout is randomly generated in the tutorial, just like a normal quest for gems. The reason for that was just that it was the quickest way (I already have random dungeons working very nicely and it would have been more work to add a predetermined dungeon).

  3. Ah, ok.. So new release soon? 🙂

    I thought if it was a random dungeon, the player could come across several new things in one room.. How would it deal with this?

  4. Yes, new release soon, maybe this weekend. 🙂

    There can indeed be several things in one room. It shows you the message for the thing that’s nearest to your knight. So as you move around the room new messages will pop up. Sometimes this means messages pop up very quickly (if you move around quickly) but I’m hoping people will actually stop and read the messages before they move on!

    Also item messages only appear once you actually pick up the item, which cuts down the number of messages and puts things more under the user’s control.

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