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Combing Tutorial and reactive charcter creation.

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I was orignally planning on using a traditonal character creation process where user picks skills and assigns points. But reading the comments and about tutorials and looking over the starting story I''ve come up with so far, I think I can work an idea I''ve had for a while. Heres the pitch. Instead of choosing stats and skills the player goes through a training level. This level not only provides a tutorial on how to play, but creates the player character based on the user''s actions throughout the tutorial. There would be series of obstacles to over come during the training, and the players response to those obstacles would determine the starting stats, skills and proficencies. For instance the first obstacle consists of a locked door. Possible solutions: Pick the lock -> gain locking picking skill Find and repair the broken key -> gain crafting skill Persuade someone on the otherside to open it -> gain persusion Intimitdate the person on the otherside to open the door -> gain Cohersion Break the door down -> strength bonus. The player would go through a series of obstacles where they would face diffrent problems while an instructor explain new controls. So for the first obstacle the instructor would explain the basic control such how to interact with objects. The common or teir one skills would all have multiple instances where they could be used throughout the test while, the teir two skills available at start would only have a single time they can be learned. There would be no real skill tests during the tutorial so the player would always be successful at whatever they tried. There is also the issue of the characters personality. Should that some how be deriveded throughout the test. Or There could be a little personality quiz a la ultima that determines this, which I feel would make more sense. Also for easy of replay, once the game has been completed, new game+ would be available allowing you to skip the tutorial and simply create the main character in the traditonal fashion. Questions? Comments? Concerns? I think its a good system and makes character creation interesting and fun, but perhaps some of you feel diffrently? ----------------------------------------------------- Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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Generally I like the idea. BUT, there is a problem, in my opinion. You try to attach the character creation to the tutorial part of the game, and I think those two should be kept apart. There are two reasons for this:


  1. When players know that their reactions in the tutorial determines what kind of character they will play, they will never try out anything that they don''t want to use in the real game. If I want a sneaky pick-pocket I won''t try to talk to guards at all, for fear that this will decrease my ability to pick locks.


  2. I fear (novice) player would not be able to grasp anything this way. The system demands from players to learn the controls while already knowing what different options the character can take in different situations. After all, not every game offers the possibility to solve a problem in more way than one. Learning to apply different approaches might be better handled in the game itself - in the tutorial it would only add to the number of things a player has to learn. A very well written tutorial might be able to pull this off, but it''s not an easy task to combine the two.



If you already plan on using a skill system, why don''t you just evolve the abilities during the game, instead of assigning them at the start? People who love to have control won''t like a system where they can''t tweak numbers anyway. And all the other people will not notice the difference.

------------------------------
There are only 10 kinds of people: those that understand binary and those that don''t.

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It's a neat idea, but I too fear that it may be counter-productive. Perhaps it would be more effective to have the player run through a course that requires each of those skills to be used once, and then award them a level-up that allows them to choose to upgrade one of the abilities they used, or even to use a "skill point" system. You pick a lock, trick a guard, and smash a door, and then you get five pionts to distribute among those skills. You make sure that the player understands the mechanics of each, and furthermore you allow the player to incline his character toward the method he finds most appealing.

EDIT: Of course, having character generation take the form of a thirty-minute obstacle course makes the tutorial mandatory, which is something that you, I and others have expressed a distaste for. Don't forget the little button at the beginning that lets you just assign skill points and start playing the damn game.

[edited by - Iron Chef Carnage on March 25, 2004 10:26:36 AM]

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someone will just put a tutorial on the internet explaining what ways to solve which problems in order to get the stats the player wants (i.e. "for the maxed out theif character, pick the lock, do not let the guards see you, and climb the second wall instead of using the door at all").

so, while i think it is a good idea (as it gives the player a chance to see how each skill relates to gameplay (in some games, it isn't so apparent which skill applies to which type of problem/obstacle)), you should also give the option to assign points to create a character.

EDIT: also, an obstacle course (tutorial / whatever it is called) will not offer the same granularity of skill point distribution as a build-a-character-by-distributing-points system. unless, or course, it is rediculously long, in which case you could just start characters at nothing, and just let them play the game to build skills.

[edited by - krez on March 25, 2004 11:12:44 AM]

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quote:
f you already plan on using a skill system, why don''t you just evolve the abilities during the game, instead of assigning them at the start?


This is ideal, in my opinion, however caution must be taken that the progression isn''t too slow or too fast. Or that te prgression be too obvious. Morrowind had this sort of system, but it became silly at points. I remember hopping up and down everywhere I went to increase my athletics skill. For a game that was supposed to be immersive and realistic, the image of my character pogoing down the streets of the dingy, moody world sort of broke the fourth wall.

I do like systems that react to choices the player makes in the context of the game as opposed to locking the player into something at the beginning when he is unfamiliar with the play and the world, forcing her to make decisions that will affect the long term play of the game before she has enough knowledge to properly choose.

-erik

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grbrg:
quote:

When players know that their reactions in the tutorial determines what kind of character they will play, they will never try out anything that they don''t want to use in the real game. If I want a sneaky pick-pocket I won''t try to talk to guards at all, for fear that this will decrease my ability to pick locks.



umm, I don''t see the problem here? The player will still learn how how to use the games features whether they use them to solve the problem is up to them. So despite the fact the you never talked to a guard doesn''t mean that the instructor won''t explain how to talk to people.

quote:

I fear (novice) player would not be able to grasp anything this way. The system demands from players to learn the controls while already knowing what different options the character can take in different situations. After all, not every game offers the possibility to solve a problem in more way than one. Learning to apply different approaches might be better handled in the game itself - in the tutorial it would only add to the number of things a player has to learn. A very well written tutorial might be able to pull this off, but it''s not an easy task to combine the two.



Well thats part of the tutorial explaining the diffrent approachs to solving the problems. Features would be present in small mangageable pieces, allowing the player to build on past knowledge. New features would be presented and explained to user one by one as they become available and more complex features would be explained over the course of several obstacles.

Iron Chef Carnage:

quote:

It''s a neat idea, but I too fear that it may be counter-productive. Perhaps it would be more effective to have the player run through a course that requires each of those skills to be used once, and then award them a level-up that allows them to choose to upgrade one of the abilities they used, or even to use a "skill point" system. You pick a lock, trick a guard, and smash a door, and then you get five pionts to distribute among those skills. You make sure that the player understands the mechanics of each, and furthermore you allow the player to incline his character toward the method he finds most appealing.



I assume that by explaining and demonstrating the mechanics of each the the player will be able to choose the one they find most appealing. It will also be clear from that start of the tutorial that the choices the player makes will shape their character. Also if they don''t like their inital choices they can always restart or develop the charcter in diffrent way in game.

and don''t worry there will be the nice big button that allows you to skip the tutorial and simply assign points. Of course a little warning will pop up the first time you click the button without having completed the tutorial.

krez:

quote:

someone will just put a tutorial on the internet explaining what ways to solve which problems in order to get the stats the player wants (i.e. "for the maxed out theif character, pick the lock, do not let the guards see you, and climb the second wall instead of using the door at all").

so, while i think it is a good idea (as it gives the player a chance to see how each skill relates to gameplay (in some games, it isn''t so apparent which skill applies to which type of problem/obstacle)), you should also give the option to assign points to create a character



To be honest I could careless what people post about my game online, thats like worrying about someone realeasing a walkthrough. But I understand your concern and intend to make it fairly clear as to what is gained with each approach to solving obstacles. So the player shouldn''t look at there character sheet and see something they wheren''t expecting.

But I seem some valid concerns, so what about including a theory followed by practal paradigm?

So first I explain and demonstate each new method of solving a problem and then present the player with that problem.

*****
Samplenote controls/interface may change)

Instructor "Welcome initiate, all new acquisitions to our order must be both cunning and trained in a varity of skills. I will facility that training should you survie we will find a place for you in our order based on those qualities and abilites you show here today."

[highlight man]

"You will encounter a varity of people thoughout your career, Often time they will posses information or items of use to you. Move the cursur over the man, you will notice that it will chanage to the default action talk. You can right click to cycle through the available options. Select them to begin a conversation."

[click talk on man]

"You will notice a list of subject words, try choosing a few topics to talk to the man about."

[dialog options: name, why are you here]

"Good, You will now notice a special dialog option option displayed in green called persuade. This causes you to apply gentle persuasion to a topics you ask about, it will remain active until you unclick or close the dialog window. The prison has been trying to escape from this sell for some time try persuading him to talk about it."

[persuade - escape]

oldman "I shouldn''t be telling you this but I''ve managed to file a spoon down small enough to try and pick the lock on the cell, but I can seem to get it open."

intstuctor "Good you''ve learned about his little escape plan, its a shame that he is to old to succeeded. There are times when a people will not respond to persuasion, and so you maybe have to find other ways to illicit there help. You will see a new special dailog option avilable in red called cohersion, cohersion works in the same way as persuasion only you the strong motivates of fear and force. Coherse the man into giving you the pick."

[coherse pick]

"You know have everything you need to escape from this cell, Select the pick from your inventory and place it in the active item slot. You will no have the ability to use the pick on objects, move to cursor over the lock on the door you will notice that pick lock is the default action. Select it to unlock the door and escape"

[picklock and open door]

"You have mangeded to leave the cell very good, you will now notice a few new things in this room. Look over at the forge in the corner. A forage is facility where which contains all the tools need to craft objects. In order to repair or craft an object you will need tools, a forge is useful since it possess all those tools. To craft an item requires you one or more items. Pick up the broken hammer head and handle. then click on the forge."

[pick up head and handle and click on forge]

"This is the forging screen place the items you wish to forge from you inventory window onto the forge. When the items on the forge can be combinded into a known item you will see that item as the final product, finally click forge to combine those items into the final product. the quality of the base items and your skill at forging will determine the quality of the final item."

[forge hammer]

"Very good, many objects you encounter can be damaged or broken to do this you must use an item on that object. Select the hammer as the active item, and move the cursor over the clay pot. You will notice that it changes to the smash option. Select it now."

[smash pot, reveal piece of a damaged key]

"Now for your first real test, There is rotting locked door on the otherside of this room, and guard on the otherside. Your first obstacle is that door, once you have over come it well move on to the next part of the training."

****
end sample.


Well, thats how it could work and it explains how to do everything that can be done to overcome the first obstacle, as well as leaving the player to decieded how to over come the first obstacle which will determine which skill they acquire. Although on one side i think its a good tutorial, it may be to long for peoples liking, but those who wish to skip it can jump right into the game or quickly cycle though the dailog.


-----------------------------------------------------
Writer, Programer, Cook, I''m a Jack of all Trades
Current Design project: Ambitions Slave

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quote:
Original post by TechnoGoth
To be honest I could careless what people post about my game online, thats like worrying about someone realeasing a walkthrough. But I understand your concern and intend to make it fairly clear as to what is gained with each approach to solving obstacles. So the player shouldn''t look at there character sheet and see something they wheren''t expecting.

i did not mean that it would be a problem or concern, i was just saying that you should allow people the option to assign points because some people care about the stat numbers a whole lot, and they will find a way to get the numbers they want (through the tutorial if necessary).

i see you planned that already, in which case i have nothing to add

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Working from Meier''s principle of game design, distribution of stats and skills is an ''interesting choice'' for the player. I don''t think anyone''s debating that; just the method by which the choice is made.

As such I think this could work provided you make the available choices very obvious (or make it obvious that there are multiple choices). Give the player a sword and tell them to get into a building with a guard outside; they could kill the guard and go in, sneak past the guard and go in a side door, or throw a rock to distract the guard while entering the main door. Problem is, giving them the sword straight out is basically weighting the decision; they will assume that you want them to kill the guard. If, on the other hand, you left the sword in a nearby place (a place they''d quite possibly go to in the process of exploration/scoping out the entry), then they can think "ah - I might not have found this, which means the designer probably allowed for other ways to solve the puzzle."

However, problem with that is that it gets in the way of actually learning how to play the game. Perhaps it would work better simply as a first level - that at the beginning of the game the stats are not ''set,'' but they get weighted over the course of the first couple of levels and ''set'' after that point?

Something to look at would be Deus Ex - the end of the Tutorial there has a situation you can complete in multiple ways, depending on which skillset you''d prefer to use. It doesn''t actually affect your stats, but it gives the player a choice.

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