Sunday, January 5, 2014

The new tutorial mode and hint system in ADOM

Today I'm happy to present the newly implemented tutorial mode with its integrated hint system. Both have been added in order to make ADOM more newbie friendly. Both modes are far from finished but now provide a rock solid foundation to extend upon.
The short video below shows a sample dungeon crawl in tutorial mode. Note:
  • the streamlined character generation process: Press SPACE once, enter your name and you are ready to go!
  • the hint system: Popup windows show context-depdendent hints that explain commands and situations and try to guide the player through a first dungeon exploration.

18 comments:

  1. Teach the walk command by having a long corridor with one bend in it, and maybe mention how important diagonal movement can be and have a diagonal hallway?

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    1. I'm getting confused with ADOM and ADOM II. Please send your real name for the credits to creator(at)ancientdomainsofmystery.com mentioning this idea ;-)

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  2. It might be a bit much to give them a wand of cold and a longbow. Both of these are very good items that normally take quite a while to gain access too. I would change the bow to a short bow, lessen the arrow count to 10, and script the wand of cold to 1 charge, and have the river have a thinner point across it.
    Very nice work though. This will be a godsend to all new players. I remember not knowing you could kick down doors. Needless to say, I didn't get very far. The fortune cookie that told me that probably is responsible for me still playing the game, lol.
    One other thing, I would introduce the way the skills leveling system works, since it is pretty different. Explain the improvement dice and maximums so people don't keep leveling dodge +1d3 because it sounds useful.

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    1. Well, it's the tutorial (which BTW greatly reduces your final score). Thus I don't see any problem with these powerful items. And the opponent is a minotaur. During tests we learned that one charge just is not enough. People sometimes start to fiddle with that stuff by themselves and when you use up charges too soon, you get frustrated, too.

      One intentional feature of the tutorial is that it should give you some moments of success before you return to the harsh reality of Ancardia - being killed around every other corner ;-)

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  3. I'd say add that you can also open the doors by walking into them, for me it's the most intuitive ;).

    Also, shooting at the minotaur might be a good moment to explain the Tactics setting - switch to Berserk to kill it easier, while it can't hit you. Could be useful for new players to survive bit longer.

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    1. Very good idea about the Tactics setting! And also about walking into doors!

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    2. Please send your real name for the credits to creator(at)ancientdomainsofmystery.com mentioning this idea ;-)

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    3. Yeah, I also think that door introduction area is a "must have" here. Especially locked doors (and maybe trapped?), where new players are not gonna know what to do, and should know about kicking possibility.

      One another suggestion about tutorial mode is to somehow tell new players how skills (and talents) system works - for example by displaying additional window when reaching first experience level in tutorial area . This suggestion came after watching video and trying to think like a new player :-)

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    5. I expected a tutorial window when the player gained a level too.

      I have some other suggestions too. Make the monster beyond the river something that takes three or fewer hits from a wand of cold to kill so it's harder for the player to end up in close range combat. Use walls to make it harder for the player to be in a position where they can't freeze the ice or miss the monster. Finally, get someone off the street or a friend/relative who hasn't played it (maybe your wife?) to try completing it.

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  4. You could do a lot worse than to copy the style of the crawl stone soup tutorial.

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  5. Sorry, I don't like it. Intrusive tutorials are one thing that totally annoys me these days, almost every game I play these days has a forced on tutorial that I hate. Some never end, the entire game is ruined by tutorial popups. "You have found a mysterious thing. While you are still wondering what you have found, I will ruin the mood with this annoying popup and tell you exactly what it is and does." Video game tutorials are totally sidestepping everything we learned in cinema ("show, don't tell"), and are in my opinion very harmful to the open hardcore "try to make a sense of" world of Adom.

    Sorry. I mean, PLEASE include ONE question "Do you wish to see some hints for new players? (y/n)" or something, so I can instantly smash no. And point out, where the tutorial hides, if anybody wants it. I understand the need for hints, that's what the ? is for. But not forced. Spoilers and hand-holding must be consensual.

    ADOM is one of the most grown-up hardcore games I ever played. I could now write a novel how dumbed-down today's entertainment is, but that would annoy everyone including me. For example, why does your new tutorial tell me what my task is, to find the source of chaos? Spoiler! Adom, as I knows it, starts very low scope and only very slowly does the true depth become apparent. Don't hurt the scope. Imagine a pop-up next to Luke Skywalker "This is Luke Skywalker. He is only a farmer's boy now, but he will later become a Jedi on a task to find the source of chaos." ARGH. ;)

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    1. To enable hints you actually have to start a special kind of game - "Tutorial Game", it even has it's own scoring (much lower scores than in a normal game from what I gather) .
      Normal games have 0 hints as far as I'm aware. I guess that's what you want :)

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  6. Maybe the tutorial could teach new players something more about interactions?
    It took me weeks to realise that I can actually give a potion or a bone or fish to some NPC/ dog/ cat. Maybe (c)hatting and (l)ooking too. When I started playing the game I didn't want to read all the manual and missed many keys until much later.
    Throwing potions at a monster or poisoning a weapon to deal more damage was fun to discover while playing again and again, thought.

    Not to spoil anyone or lengthen the tutorial. I tried SIL (http://www.amirrorclear.net/flowers/game/sil/) and thought how well it explains the basics. So I thought about ADOM and what might be fun to learn early on. Maybe you could let a NPC give you a task to catch an item from some further of location and do some of the explanation? Come to think: a new player may not know how to review the message log, but that is beyond scope, isn't it?

    Just thought about further non-combat elements and learned how hard it must be to design a tutorial. Keep up the good work!

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  7. Not sure if it will, but from it may be possible to skip the map position east to the dungeon (going diagonal). Does the screen pop also show up south-east?

    Do pop-ups reappear when you go back? There is quiet some text and key-sequences to remember that can only be tried after the message is gone. Some games utilise special scrolls/ statues for long explanations.

    It wouldn't work well with all notes. But I did not like the "walk-up-to-the-goblin-and-retreat" as it feels slightly unnatural. Would have just run into it to see what will happen. Maybe it should throw the rock before the player reaches it, thought that might frighten in case of actual damage (critical hit).

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  8. Yay! Something that will help me. lol

    Just make sure that if it mentions a command that it follows the players keybindings.

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  9. I think this is an absolutely fantastic idea. I have been playing this game since i was 11 or 12 years old, at which point very much of it was very far beyond my scope of comprehension. Over the many years since i have tried to invite many a friend to the wonderful world of ADOM but all but a very slim few were quickly frustrated and gave up, some simply because they couldnt appreciate the beauty of a game with such an interface, but those that actually tried to play had no idea how to get anywhere without me holding their hand.

    In my opinion all basic essential commands should be a priority topic to be covered. As nothing explained how attacks worked, i literally kicked everything for my first 20 or so characters! The tutorial in the video gives a good introduction to combat and movement but i think even more useful would be an intro to interactions with npcs and other things necessary to stay alive. Thinks like speaking, receiving your first quest, purchasing from shops, and the like. Equally if not more important is the subject of usable skills such as pickpocket, disarm trap or survival, as well as passive ones like dodge, healing and food preservation. To the average novice [and even the adept] most, if not all of these things will not be apparent or obvious, even today after years of play, hundreds of characters i am not ashamed to admit that i dont know what some of the skills i level up do, i just spend points on them because it seems the right thing to do.

    Also useful would be a walkthrough of more advanced commands, things like reading spellbooks and using spells, detecting the stance of others towards you (hostile, neutral, friendly) the various functions of altars (ive found a few by chance but still dont know how to properly use them), prayer (which i still dont know how to use) and other situational things which can keep one alive in a pinch.

    A class guide would also be of tremendous use. Purely by accident did i discover that mindcrafters had unique abilities that define the class, or that bards can play their instruments and tame wild beasts. It is clear that much time and effort was put into each and every one of the classes but the beauty of specialized roles like the aforementioned mindcrafter, the farmer, the druid who is not viewed as hostile by animals if they dont instinctively attack the first bat or rat they see is lost on those who do not know any better.

    I know many of these things are briefly mentioned in the manual but an explanation of game functions and mechanics in the context in which they are used would make the game much more inviting to the uninitiated and perhaps earn this masterpiece of a game some much deserved recognition and a larger playerbase.

    Mr. Biskup, you have brought me years of pleasure with your game and it delights me to see that once again it is at the forefront of your efforts. Sadly i cannot afford to join the prerelease club but i eagerly await the day i will be able to play the new and improved ADOM. Keep up the good work.

    - Your dedicated follower,
    Josh Hajostek

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