How to make a perfect tutorial? Tips from PopCap (the second part)!

We are publishing a continuation of the material about how to make the training mode in a casual game simple and unobtrusive. The creator of Plants vs. Zombies is sure that if you follow all the tips given below, “any game can be made as easy to learn as Plants vs. Zombies is.

The first part of the material can be found here.

6. Do not be intrusive

A text alert that popped up right during the game session and stopped the game can anger anyone. For this reason, Fen advises making game alerts passive, not stopping the game and not distracting the user from the process.  

7. Use an adaptive hint system

It is very important that users understand what needs to be done in the game, at the same time, it is not necessary to lead by the handle those who have already figured everything out. 

During the Plants vs. Zombies game test, Fen found that some players did not understand that plants should be planted on the left side of the screen. To solve this problem, he developed a hint system that only works if the player starts doing something wrong.

We have to give the player a chance to feel smart if he does everything the right way. At the same time, using an adaptive hint system, we can be sure that people like my mom will also understand how to play correctly.”

8. Don’t annoy the players

There shouldn’t be many alerts. Otherwise, they will distract the user from the process itself. And, ultimately, it will not benefit the project. 

The hair dryer advises to make all text inscriptions appearing in the game both explanatory and entertaining. Cut out everything superfluous, otherwise you may lose the user. 

Bombarding players with one empty message after another is like being a little boy who constantly shouts “wolf, wolf” – the player will just get tired of them and turn off the game,” explains Feng. 

9. Use visual images

Good visual design and good art can be the most important tools when teaching a player various game mechanics. While working on Plants vs. Zombies, Fen made it so that the image of each character could be used to talk about its game purpose, its role, function in the game. 

For example, Peashooter (a plant that throws peas) has a giant mouth for throwing projectiles, and by its name you can immediately guess what it is capable of (pea in English means pea, and shooter is a shooter). 

And a similar approach, according to Feng, is applicable to every character in the game, from a healthy Screen-Door Zombie (Screen-Door – front door) to an energetic Coffee Bean. 

10. Use what people already know

In fact, Plants vs. Zombies is another variation on the theme of tower defense, but even when developing it, Fen wanted players to understand from the very beginning why the towers can’t move, and the attackers are so unhurried. 

He found a way out in the right selection of characters. Agree, because everyone knows that plants can’t move, and zombies move very slowly (traditionally, without taking into account modern films about strange running brain lovers). 

And so it turned out that both of them are ideal characters for a game in the tower defense genre. 

And, according to Feng, if people see that game characters behave the way they should behave, they are more likely to purchase the game, no matter how absurd it may seem at first glance. 

This applies not only to heroes, but, for example, to game rewards. In most modern casual, social and mobile games, gold coins and diamonds are used as payment and bonuses, that is, something whose value everyone understands perfectly. You could, of course, replace them with brains, but in this case the players would hardly understand why they need to save or collect. 

Actually, everything

Feng himself believes that if you follow all these tips when creating a tutorial, then any game can be made as easy to learn as Plants vs. Zombies.

Write a comment...
Related news