Take On Tutorials!
Bohemia Interactive General

Jay Crowe informed us about a new developers blog update, this time of the Take On Tutorials.

    Quote Jay Crowe :
    Today we’re releasing some brand new information about the Take On Helicopters’ tutorials!
    Below, you can find our more information, including our new developers blog post, screenshots and a brand new video!

    Stick 'helicopters' in the title of your game, and it's likely that players will have at least some idea of what to expect. The rest will make jokes about songs from the 80s. Nevertheless, we want all kinds of players to engage with the 'experience' of helicopters; unfortunately, that might involve crashing into the ground. A lot.

    There's just no getting past it: helicopters can be hideously complex machines, about which the vast majority of people know very little. They're also an absolute pleasure to master, and have an enormous variety of practical applications in real life. Tutorials, then, are incredibly important.

    Take On Focus Testing :: QA Lead, Lukáš Haládik, with one of the 'experienced simmers' group, who also happens to be his dad! Take On Focus Testing :: These tests helped us evaluate how much information any given player could handle. Take On Mothers :: One of the 'noobs' - BIS Dev Karel Mořický and his mum! Take On Discussions :: Talking about the tutorials in a group Take On Testing :: Getting the volume of information just right.

    Potentially, tutorials are a player's first ever engagement with a helicopter, and - if we're not careful - it might also be their last. Ours have been designed with two things in mind. Firstly, there's a lot to learn about helicopters and how to interact with them; secondly, the learning itself can be an engaging process, where a player will first experience numerous things about helicopters.

    Experienced designer, Jiří Wainar, has worked exclusively on these tutorials throughout the project, and below you can find out a little more information about some of our design decisions, processes and goals, and check out a brand new video of the 'start up' tutorial!

    Say what?
    Aside from a quick-start guide, all of our tutorials are voice-led, task-driven, step-by-step guides to various important aspects of helicopters. Everything from pre-flight checks to recovering from catastrophic engine failure. Voicing our tutorials raises a few of issues; chiefly, the volume and complexity of information to present.

    Our focus-group testing, directed by QA lead, Lukáš Haládik, helped to reveal some risks. Some players felt the support of a 'real' instructor added a lot to the experience; others weren't comfortable processing instructions at the same time as keeping the bird airborne. To mitigate this, we made a couple of design decisions.

    Once Upon a Time...
    Placing tutorials directly within the structure of the story is something that we considered carefully. Forcing an experienced player to repeat the basics can be frustrating; yet, we also didn't want our tutorials to be a completely separate entity. They're a very effective method of delivering elements of the 'helicopter experience'. Our new structure of 'mission' progression has enabled greater flexibility. This has given us ways to compromise and, hopefully, mitigate the risks associated with either including or excluding tutorials from the main arc of our simple narrative. Again, we hope this puts us in a better position to cater for a broader range of player.

    Usability, Engagement, Experience
    People are stubborn creatures. That's just something we've had to accept. Offer a whole boat-load of tutorials with a bow on, and they'll still jump right in at the deep end! We know this because we do the exact same ourselves. We're gamers, and we can be kind of arrogant. It's also our game - we'll play it as we like, damnit! As developers, it's our job to enable players, to provide a guiding hand where it's appropriate, to adapt. Like The Borg. Another way we can adapt to a range of player-proficiencies, is by gradually providing more and more complexity within the main arc of the Career Mode.

    Teaching anything to anyone is invariably a tough job. People have different levels of ability; they like to learn in different ways, some learn faster than others, and so on. By taking steps towards empowering the player, we hope to be able to engage with the broadest base possible. By taking measures like focus-group testing, we seek to validate our design goals.

    The goal is usability and delivering a big fat slice of heli-experience to the player, and helping him to digest it. Like a tasty helicopter pie. Mmm.

Read the complete developers blog here!

Leave your thoughts, ideas and feedback about Take On Helicopters on our forums here.

Written on 2011-10-11 20:40 by Foxhound  

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