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《Drifting : Weight of Feathers》

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Monthly Play-Test Session 2020-09-25

Hello Everyone!

Since yesterday is the last Friday of September, I attended the monthly play-test session as usual and would like to share the latest feedback I received from other indie-developers.

I've written a post not long ago about how I change the tutorial UI to make it stand out from the screen; make the game pause before every tutorial section; the idea is to ensure players will at least take a quick glance of the moves they need to learn before proceeding further. From the first-hand experience I gathered that night, this idea didn't work out as effectively as I thought due to my own mistake.

Among the 6 play-testers, only 1 or 2 players have a habit of clicking off the tutorial menu immediately after it pops up, granted, I've made a 1.25 second delay before players can click it off, I doubt they took that short period to read the text since they exemplify a tendency to blaze through the tutorial level in their own way without external help. This behavior actually isn't an issue for my tutorial level, watching these 2 players play through the later sections seems to suggest that, players who wanted to play the game in their own way exhibit a certain resilience in their play style - they don't stick to one familiar move set and abuse it; more often then not, I watch them mix and match the moves they found out by themselves and "accidentally" get a right combination to solve the puzzle (albeit, not the intended way) and proceed further.

The real issue here is the ones who really took their time to read the description and trying to do what they were told to do. For these people, the gaming experience was mixed. The overly menacing tutorial UI presentation (full-screen width UI with the game pausing) seems to give them the impression that it is the "only way" to pass the level; if they successfully perform the required move, they get pass each section of the level fairly quickly (even smoothly in some occasions, which is a rare sight for me); on the other hand, if they died once in the tutorial level, since the tutorial trigger will not spawn again (the reason is I don't want the game to pause the second time players trigger it) there are no longer hints on the screen, suddenly, they just don't know what to do and kept running around helplessly - not even trying to mix and match what they've learned previously.

Main Menu

Developing tutorial level is like taking care of a child, it is easy to push my approach to either side of the extreme: gave them the necessary supplies and let them figure out all by themselves or be overly protective and holding their hands 24 hours. In the latter case, I could argue that if I made the tutorial hints spawn every time players trigger it, then it "solve" the issue of players lost their guidance and don't know what to do, however, I couldn't help but think further: what will happen if these players get to play the real level? are they capable of solving the puzzle by themselves? are they capable of utilizing the moves they've learned appropriately?

Frankly, I was a bit disappointed (of my tutorial level) after attending the session, it seems after 6 months of iteration, I was running around in a circle and now I'm back to the start - maybe it is not a bad idea to push the tutorial hints to the side of the screen and let players experiment the moves on their own?

Feel free to share your thoughts on this matter and wish we all have a relaxing weekend. (>﹏<)

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