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Opinions on text adventure tutorials

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Opinions on text adventure tutorials

Postby Malle » Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:17 pm

Hello, everyone, I was just wondering what your view on a text adventure based tutorial would be, just because I've made one, which I've attached to this post.
I've found that a lot of my friends that would like to play my finished game have a really hard time understanding the boundaries of an interactive text adventure, often chosing to write things in ways that just aren't natural. Im not very good at explaining the rules either. ^^'' 2 of these people are also really bad at reading long boring instructions, so I figured this would be the perfect way to get them sort of trained up. :lol:

But do you think it will annoy seasoned adventurers if I put this kind of thing in my games? Will it be patronizing? Should I have a codeword you can type to get the hell out of the tutorial once you realize it is one?

Thoughts would be a appreciated :-)

EDIT: It is come to my attention that the below tutorial could be misconstrued as a completely 100% serious attempt at using Adrift. It is not. It is only an illustration of my idea, and a not fully fleshed illustration at that. I am not going to program the finished product in this way :) Just if you were wondering. :blush:
Attachments
A warriors path.taf
My adventure tutorial
(17.01 KiB) Downloaded 177 times
Last edited by Malle on Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Opinions on text adventure tutorials

Postby P/o Prune » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:23 am

Come on Guys, this taf file has been downloaded 8 times. Surely one of you must have an opinion on this subject.

Ok, Malle here goes :wink:
First of all I really enjoy your writing (even though they aren't lengthy descriptions)
I don't think that I would be annoyed but I believe seasoned gamers would have Little interests. Part of playing a text adventure is to think, speculate as what to do next and in your you are pretty much telling the player what to type.
I noticed that you are also highlightening some Words in the text. Maybe you should just choose one or the other.

There's nothing stopping you from making a short intro telling people that this is a tutorial on how to play IF and then have a menu:
Press 1 to continue playing
Press 2 to get teh Hell out of Dodge

Just my 2 cents, or øre to stay with the local currency :wink:
D-Day in progress 86Kb (Slowly drifting)
Just a Fairy Tale: 97kb
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Re: Opinions on text adventure tutorials

Postby Tyson » Wed Jul 03, 2013 5:20 pm

Two ways to handle this.

The first way is the easiest. Leave the tutorials in the game unaltered. Tell players that the game is designed primarily for newcomers.

The second way is a bit more work. At the very beginning of the game, before anything else happens, display the following prompt:
Have you ever played a work of interactive fiction before?

If yes, enable tutorial guidance. If no, disable that guidance. This is more work because you have to program more. But it shouldn't be too difficult.

Choose the second option if you want your work to have wider appeal. Choose the first if you want it to be played primarily by newbies.

Additionally, a suggestion: if you are trying to introduce text adventure mechanics, start with the stock mechanics (take, examine, look, movement, open, etc) before introducing special verbs. It's also important that you introduce these mechanics slowly and let the player use them. Don't just say, "You can take things. You can also look at things." Let the player work through simple problems until they get a feel for how adventures work. Then confront them with the basic puzzle fare.

Of course, this is slow, boring, and tedious from a designer's perspective. (Or at least from mine.)
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Re: Opinions on text adventure tutorials

Postby ralphmerridew » Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:26 pm

One thing I've seen (offhand, I remember it in Duncan Bowsman's Fish of Traglea and Clod's Quest): Put the tutorial into a playable prologue that is selected from the initial menu.

(Also, one of the Infocom samplers had a mini-tutorial where the player caught a butterfly.)
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Re: Opinions on text adventure tutorials

Postby Malle » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:14 am

:Thanks: Thanks a lot guys for your input! I think I'll try Ralphmerridews idea of putting it in a selectable prologue, although Tysons idea about putting a promt in there sounds pretty good as well. Hmmm... I guess I must experiment to find what I think is most natural... :) Since it is primarily my friends and family that are my first priority, I don't think I can forego having a tutorial in there :/ Though I will make it skip-able. :)
And thank you Po. Prune for getting the ball rolling :bravo:
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Re: Opinions on text adventure tutorials

Postby Lumin » Sun Aug 25, 2013 5:07 pm

Bumping this because why not.

Someone (not me, too lazy) really ought to make a small adventure that's whole purpose is to be a tutorial for people new to IF...kind of like Dreamhold was but even more basic. If it could be done 'professionally' enough, maybe it could even be made available right next to the Runner.

The big project I'm currently working on is going to include a small (optional) tutorial area, it was originally intended to familiarize players with some of the weirder verbs, but I guess I could expand it to cover simple things like 'unlock door' and 'ask NPC about whatever' in case somebody really new ever stumbles across it.
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Re: Opinions on text adventure tutorials

Postby ralphmerridew » Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:53 pm

@Lumin:
Nine Points: http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=sk8yxsxkonozfvqi
Infocom Four-In-One Sampler I: http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=wa8crlfz82pra14i

Also, the Infocom games would come with sample transcripts, illustrating the rules: (see the various sample.from files at http://ifarchive.flavorplex.com/indexes ... ation.html )
Bloodhounds can make you laugh and cuss in the same breath. They are endearing, faithful, and can sling drool ten feet in any direction. -- Virginia Lanier
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Re: Opinions on text adventure tutorials

Postby Lumin » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:03 pm

The latter isn't available for download, but I'll definitely give Nine Points a look, might be something to recommend to people in my neverending quest to find a nerd friend IRL. :)
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Re: Opinions on text adventure tutorials

Postby ralphmerridew » Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:30 pm

Bloodhounds can make you laugh and cuss in the same breath. They are endearing, faithful, and can sling drool ten feet in any direction. -- Virginia Lanier
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