Author Topic: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)  (Read 7122 times)

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Offline karajorma

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
I don't understand your point. If you're saying that if we uncouple the tutorials from the rest of the campaign that people will still play the campaign immediately afterwards, then the question has to be why would we do that in the first place?

BtA has a demo as a separate campaign, with a lot of story hooks in it. I don't see how that would be any different from having the tutorial as a separate campaign.

And you expect people to play the BtA demo, go off and play something else like Blue Planet and then come back and play the rest?

Cause that's what splitting off the tutorials would be like. We'd be expecting the player to play the whole of the R1 tutorial, then R2 and then the R1 campaign. That's definitely odd since there is no connection between R1 and R2 beyond that they are in the same universe.
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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
Wha? He means packaging it with the R1 campaign.
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Offline newman

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
He knows that. Splitting the tutorial would still be patchwork at best. If we're going to do something about them, then we should try and address the things people didn't like in them, not detach them from the campaign so nobody ever plays them again. So basically, streamline them a bit, kick out the unnecessary parts, and show the basic things you need to know in shortened missions.
Whether or not something's to be done about this at all or if we'll just focus on R2 dev and live with it is really something that'll be up to the team's fred-ers, though. I just hate patchwork fixes - either fix what's wrong or don't touch it; sweeping them under the carpet would be the wrong thing to do here, imo.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2012, 09:26:32 am by newman »
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Offline docfu

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
I agree on the comments that the tutorials could have been shortened and maybe even skipped entirely...

Here's a very stupid reason why:

Very few people like reading the manual to discover everything a product can do before they turn it on...

The perfect example of this is my iPhone: I had no idea how to organize menus by touch-holding or dragging, nor did I know about the app-killer by double touching the menu button when I first got it...I found out about these a few weeks of using it later.

The idea direction to take Diaspora in is this:

Make the game realistically hard...make it likely you will die if you don't know what you are doing...you don't need to give the enemy bonus HP or reduce the players hull rating, make everything fair, just make the enemies smarter and more accurate.

Then, make the tutorial very short...let players fail and become better with practice... Maybe even put tutorial training in a completely separate campaign...

What should occur in the ideal is that beginner players will go through the campaign and suck at it, they should die a whole bunch of times or maybe not even complete it until they take the time to learn how to fly the ship correctly. This is a normal learning experience. Think about how many times you played the original Super Mario in order until you found out about the level warps...then you notice...you never play levels 2 and 3 anymore...

Why?

Because your goal is to WIN the game, not to learn how to play the game. The goal of the player should be to have a realistic gameplay experience and the goal of the team should be to make a realistic simulator with as little hand-holding and suggesting as possible.

Quite possibly the perfect example of this is Half-Life 2...nobody...NOBODY tells Gordon what he has to do, everyone assumes he already knows and works at helping him toward that goal.

So why does the tutorial assume you've never once played a flight simulator before? No offense to the people who Fred'd it. You accomplished your goal of making a good tutorial mission perfectly.

I might even suggest doing away with Freespace 2's interface/targetting all together. As far as I know...there isn't a single radar system IN THE WORLD that can target a ship because it's attacking another ship...or because it's a bomber...or because it has a missile lock on you...

All of these are inventions to make games more accessible to people who want to have the feeling of accomplishment without actually working for it...it also goes against BSG canon which was to have the most realistic world possible made using current technology with the exception of the story taking place in space...

If you wanna see what I mean, download DCS World / SU-25T (The base package is free to play...) Then turn off all of the enemy and friendly markers to make the game as realistic as possible. While it's impossible to tell who the friendly and enemy tanks are while flying high visually...it really makes you think "Wow, pilots really have a stressful job making sure they don't blow up their own forces by accident..."

As for not changing/patching the tutorial...

Apple just fired the guy responsible for the maps-mess up because of the irreparable damage he did to the company's reputation...the company knows it has to change and that pursuing that style of mapping system/cutting off Google was a HUGE mistake.

The sooner you ditch the tutorial-system in favor of the above or something else the better off you will be.

I'll even attest, I played the tutorial "for the complete experience" only. Not because I didn't know how to fly a Viper, and not because I didn't spend 20 minutes configuring every control to my joystick. I probably would've been happier skipping it and just going straight to the game in retrospect but people feel the need to do it "because it's there."

 

Offline karajorma

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
The majority of people playing our game either haven't played a flight sim in years or haven't ever played one. I'm all for ideas for how to introduce the concepts of flight to someone but repeatedly killing them in the first missions just quickly gets annoying. We'd probably lose far more players to "It's too hard, I didn't pay for this so there's no reason to go back to it"
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Offline The E

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
Quote
Quite possibly the perfect example of this is Half-Life 2...nobody...NOBODY tells Gordon what he has to do, everyone assumes he already knows and works at helping him toward that goal.

you have quite literally no clue what you are talking about. While HL2 lacks designated tutorials (Except for the Gravity Gun!), the basic rythm with every game mechanic introduced there is this: 1. Introduce game mechanic in a non-combat, non-timed situation. 2. Have the player perform the same action under stress (i.e. while being shot at). 3. Twist the mechanic (i.e. use it in a different way).

And yeah, what Karajorma said. There is a balance that needs to be found between providing just enough handholding so that people new to the genre will feel empowered by the mechanics rather than being railroaded, and providing enough challenge for Veterans so that they'll come back wanting more. The XCOM Demo, for example, fails spectacularly on both counts.
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Offline MatthTheGeek

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
Very few people like reading the manual to discover everything a product can do before they turn it on...
Wrong.

Make the game realistically hard...make it likely you will die if you don't know what you are doing...you don't need to give the enemy bonus HP or reduce the players hull rating, make everything fair, just make the enemies smarter and more accurate.
1) **** Realism. With Barbed Wire.

2) The game is already hard enough for most players who, like Karaj said, never played a space sim or did it a decade and a half ago. Diaspora's intended public isn't predominantly composed of hardened FS players, contrary to other in-universe mods like BP, VD or PI.

What should occur in the ideal is that beginner players will go through the campaign and suck at it, they should die a whole bunch of times or maybe not even complete it until they take the time to learn how to fly the ship correctly. This is a normal learning experience. Think about how many times you played the original Super Mario in order until you found out about the level warps...then you notice...you never play levels 2 and 3 anymore...
This would have been great, like, about twenty-thirty years ago, when most gamers were ready to do that because this was how other games did it, and they had the time and motivation to stay on only one game even after tons of frustration.

Times have changed. So have games. Diaspora isn't intended to be a piece of archeology.

Because your goal is to WIN the game, not to learn how to play the game. The goal of the player should be to have a realistic gameplay experience and the goal of the team should be to make a realistic simulator with as little hand-holding and suggesting as possible.
1) Wrong, your goal isn't to win the game, your goal is to have fun. And the player, new to the genre, has to learn about some mechanics before he can start having fun. And learning about stuff is less fun than just playing the thing, which is the heart of the problem.

2) Wrong, the goal isn't a realistic experience. This isn't a space flight simulator, this is a space shooter. If you want a hardcore simulator, go make it yourself.

Quite possibly the perfect example of this is Half-Life 2...nobody...NOBODY tells Gordon what he has to do, everyone assumes he already knows and works at helping him toward that goal.

So why does the tutorial assume you've never once played a flight simulator before? No offense to the people who Fred'd it. You accomplished your goal of making a good tutorial mission perfectly.
Because HL2 is a FPS, a very well anchored genre that has the privilege to be able to expect his players have played other shooters before. Plus, FPS game mechanics are much simpler and easier to master than FS's.

On the other hand, the last successful space shooter was, well, FS2 itself. That's 13 years go. Diaspora can't do similar assumptions.

The sooner you ditch the tutorial-system in favor of the above or something else the better off you will be.
I do not think "not having any players anymore" is the best off Diaspora can be.
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Offline Black_Yoshi1230

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
The majority of people playing our game either haven't played a flight sim in years or haven't ever played one. I'm all for ideas for how to introduce the concepts of flight to someone but repeatedly killing them in the first missions just quickly gets annoying. We'd probably lose far more players to "It's too hard, I didn't pay for this so there's no reason to go back to it"

Probably a simple yet comprehensive training campaign that explains the mechanics and massages newcomers? (The main problem I'm seeing with this is like every other flight sim I've played save for Microsoft Flight Simulator, they're fully optional and don't drive the plot as much as I would hope.)

I remember MicroProse's hella old F-15 Strike Eagle II manual, they did a fine job of condensing how a lot of things work (but I don't see a manual or ref sheet for this mod coming out anytime soon).

This is what I gathered up for thought after looking from training missions from F-22, Jane's USAF, and MechWarrior 3 (if you guys have any better idea on how to streamline/condense/replace this, be my guest):

Day 1: Touch and Go - get to know your fighter (introduce to the basic flight controls, basic maneuvers, such and such).

Day 2: Basic Target Practice - mock Air to Air training, explaining how your weapons systems work (if there's no feasible fighter only bombing operations so you can do Air to Ground, probably put that under Combined Arms training).

Day 3: Advanced target practice / flying techniques (probably feature the glide maneuver, evasive tactics and other flight tactics, such as the Scissors Turn and jinking).

Day 4: Tactical Training - Coordination and communication with friendly assets/wingmen (make your fighter unarmed and let your squad do the work, unless you want to make sure that the player is a leader who can fight as well as communicate), and possibly Combined Arms training (working in tandem with a capital ship asset if you're not going to do bomber ops).

Day 5: Graduation Day - featuring live ammo, try to imagine a complete theater of a real-world-ish combat scenario, something like the Red Flag program.

Very few people like reading the manual to discover everything a product can do before they turn it on...
Wrong.

The sooner you ditch the tutorial-system in favor of the above or something else the better off you will be.
I do not think "not having any players anymore" is the best off Diaspora can be.

Oh god, this is making me recall Knights in the Nightmare. (That was literally one of the handheld games in which if you didn't either read the manual or do the optional in-game tutorials to get how the game worked, you'd be boned.)
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Offline karajorma

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
One of the big ideas with the Diaspora tutorial was to turn that whole "Nugget learning how to fly" idea on its head. You start the game as Theseus' top gun and the reason you are doing the tutorial is not because you don't know how to fly but cause you're testing out the CNP before they let the real nuggets go at it.

Now while I tend to agree with a lot of the criticism of the tutorials being too long (believe me, I know! You have no idea how often I playtested them) I don't think getting rid of them or uncoupling them from the story is necessarily a good idea. The tutorial does more than show how to play the game, it sets up things like who Obit is and why you should care about him in M2/M3.

Diaspora suffers from a problem that many other games don't have. The fall of the colonies was swift (a few hours really) and without warning. There's no time for skirmishes or other such missions to give the player a chance to improve basic skills. The entire game has to fit within a span of a few hours. If we had been able to start with a 1st Cylon War campaign (and in hindsight that might not have been a bad idea), I suspect we'd have done things quite differently.

But in the end, we're still on R1. We've got plenty of time to learn from our mistakes for R2.
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Offline Sushi

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
There's nothing stopping anyone (on or off the team) who thinks they have good ideas on what would make a better tutorial mission/campaign from going ahead and writing it.

An effective, non-storyline, "quick-start" tutorial mission (for example) would be a fantastic thing to make available to new players.

 
Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
Am I the only one who liked the tutorial? I thought it was well paced, sufficiently thorough, interesting, and skippable.

 

Offline MatthTheGeek

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
The problem is that it was too thorough, introducing a lot of superfluous concepts for new players, most of whom would rather only get the most basic controls so they can start have fun right away.
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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
And a lot of the non-obvious concepts were reiterated with HUD tooltips in the real missions ("Press X to target turrets," "Press Y to target bombs"). I imagine the hypothetical Valve-style newbie campaign (maybe something with pirates?) would make heavy use of these.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 06:53:29 am by David cgc »

 
Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
And a lot of the non-obvious concepts were reiterated with HUD tooltips in the real missions ("Press X to target turrets," "Press Y to target bombs"). I imagine the hypothetical Valve-style newbie campaign (maybe something with pirates or raiders?) would make heavy use of these.

I think this would actually be the best method. Instead of having a standard FS-style "tutorial" where you have to sit and do things in order, and slowly, have a mission or three where you actually do interesting things with the controls popping up HL2-style. The important thing being to let the player learn as fast as they're comfortable with, while doing something interesting.

Example: M1, "Patrol"
Follow Red 1 on patrol, while shaking down the new CNP system. Follow a waypoint, target (and maybe scan) some freighters, burn out to follow a transport, engage glide to move past it while keeping it in sight. But only the orders coming from Red 1, the actual keypresses and stuff popping up in a tooltip and directive.

M2, "Dogfight"
Red 1 will observe a mock dogfight against Red 3 in order to test out the CNP weapons controls. When you beat him or lose, a pair of pirates or something jumps in, and you take command of Red wing and get to blast the bad guys. Here you get to learn more targeting controls and how to lead a target to hit it.

The combat part of the actual Diaspora tutorial was pretty good, but the "Target this guy and face him. Good. Now target this guy" part was a bit tedious.

I think the most important thing we've learned from this thread is that a tutorial should focus on the most necessary skills to the game (flying and gliding, shooting accurately, targeting nearest enemy), with secondary skills introduced only when needed, or just referenced instead.

 

Offline newman

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
Sounds like a good idea to me.
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Offline Fish

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
Am I the only one who liked the tutorial? I thought it was well paced, sufficiently thorough, interesting, and skippable.

Nope! I thought similarly. I appreciated the effort to tie it into the storyline (in such a way that it isn't nearly as rich if you skip straight to mission 1).

I think this would actually be the best method. Instead of having a standard FS-style "tutorial" where you have to sit and do things in order, and slowly, have a mission or three where you actually do interesting things with the controls popping up HL2-style. The important thing being to let the player learn as fast as they're comfortable with, while doing something interesting.

Example: M1, "Patrol"
Follow Red 1 on patrol, while shaking down the new CNP system. Follow a waypoint, target (and maybe scan) some freighters, burn out to follow a transport, engage glide to move past it while keeping it in sight. But only the orders coming from Red 1, the actual keypresses and stuff popping up in a tooltip and directive.

M2, "Dogfight"
Red 1 will observe a mock dogfight against Red 3 in order to test out the CNP weapons controls. When you beat him or lose, a pair of pirates or something jumps in, and you take command of Red wing and get to blast the bad guys. Here you get to learn more targeting controls and how to lead a target to hit it.

The combat part of the actual Diaspora tutorial was pretty good, but the "Target this guy and face him. Good. Now target this guy" part was a bit tedious.

I think the most important thing we've learned from this thread is that a tutorial should focus on the most necessary skills to the game (flying and gliding, shooting accurately, targeting nearest enemy), with secondary skills introduced only when needed, or just referenced instead.

This could also be a good way to do it. While the storyline in R1 really required things panning out the way they did, if a story could be written on this basis it would be worth considering. The 'turn to face this guy - good' part really dragged me back mentally to the FS1/FS2 tutorials (are you sure those missiles weren't fired by a Fenris?), and did seem a little out-of-step with the way more modern games do things. Indeed, almost out-of-step with the innovative nature of the R1 missions themselves.
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Offline Cerebus

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
so who is Diaspora's PR guy, because I've been posting here for a while and still haven't identified anyone working that angle in particular

 

Offline The E

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
We have a PR guy? I don't think there is anyone who acts in that capacity officially. Why do you ask?
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Offline newman

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
Doing any form of extensive PR would be the opposite of what we were trying to do - which was to fly under the radar after the whole moddb thing. So no, we don't have anyone doing that. What we could use is someone who'd take care of and maintain our site - but that's about it.
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Offline MatthTheGeek

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Re: Reactions to the IGN Review (Split from Where Have You Seen Diaspora Mentioned?)
The whole "flying under the radar" thing is now over though.
People are stupid, therefore anything popular is at best suspicious.

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666maslo666: Releasing a finished product is not a good thing! It is a modern fad.

SpardaSon21: it seems like you exist in a permanent state of half-joking misanthropy

Axem: when you put it like that, i sound like an insane person

bigchunk1: it's not retarded it's american!
bigchunk1: ...

batwota: steele's maneuvering for the coup de gras
MatthTheGeek: you mispelled grâce
Awaesaar: grace
batwota: oh right :P
Darius: ah!
Darius: yes, i like that
MatthTheGeek: the way you just spelled it it means fat
Awaesaar: +accent I forgot how to keyboard
MatthTheGeek: or grease
Darius: the killing fat!
Axem: jabba does the coup de gras
MatthTheGeek: XD
Axem: bring me solo and a cookie