Emphasis on tutorials. Emphasis on New Players.

Discussion in 'Planetary Annihilation General Discussion' started by Kekouse, August 18, 2012.

  1. Kekouse

    Kekouse New Member

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    Hello all.
    I often see the same names in the ladder of other RTS (people from Voices of War, TAGs).
    Surveys from GPG and Stardock said that only 20-30% of players are playing multiplayer. In fact multiplayer in RTS is scary as hell.
    It's intimidating, scary, stressful. The first game is always a 5 minutes oneway stomprolling pain (my first TAgame was like that).
    And you know how it is in games. The first impression is the one that last. If you feel yourself overwhelmed, you won't launch the game a second time.

    FPS don't have this problem. Even if you are abysmally bad, you will do at least one frag. It's enough for the ego. You will launch another game the next day, do 2 frags etc... ending in yelling on those "******* noobs" after 100h.
    In RTS sometimes you struggle 1h to suffer a complete defeat. With time you can lessen the blunt by saying your micro was ok, or review the replay to learn something. But still it's TOTAL defeat.

    The genre is really scary and that's why the competitive playerpool is so small.
    Let's see how Starcraft2 handled this problem:
    -Many tutorials (can be done by the community)
    -Artificial leagues with cool names...YAY I'M IN SILVER ALPHA THETA LEAGUE┬ž (in fact in a ELO ladder you would be just meh)
    -No dead-ends. Every unit, every choice is valid. In Supcom you could do so much bad moves without knowing it. For example putting generators around mex...you can do it, but you will lose.
    -Achievements everywhere
    -0 Numbers. You don't know that you are the 352.567th in the ladder. No you are third of the Bronze Bravo League. Candy for the ego :)

    Those are little decisions to take before making the game but I think that it's important not to scare new players.
    -Give them little tutorial missions with a ladder where they must produce the most ressource in a given time. Or Horde/Survival type mission (score and ladder too) to learn how to defend.
    Copy the SC2 tutorial missions. THEY ARE GREAT.
    -Give them a profile page with a list of unlocked achievements, a list of the number of killed units, the grade (military style)....candy candy candy
    -A ladder without stressing numbers. Use Colors or icons. FAF and the spring lobby is doing it and its great.

    And a lobby Spring/FAF style. IRC tab, 2-3 moderators and the community will do the best possible to help new players.

    That's all :)
    (and good luck for the project)
  2. cola_colin

    cola_colin Moderator Alumni

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    well this game is focusing on multiplayer, which is good, and therefore everybody who backs it basically wants epic multiplayer-matches. So the percentage will be quite high.

    You can do many many many many many things in starcraft and just loose because of it.
    You can play 20 minutes really good, make one stupid move and loose because of it.
    Any RTS just has this "problem".

    my ego isnt happy with not even knowing my rank. I want to see that my rank increases from 100k to 10k after wining alot and getting better. sc2ranks.com ftw. Blizzard failed at this. Also beeing bronze actually can be painful, as soon as you understand that it is just the worst possible league.

    That would be nice but probably quite expensive. We could just go with community-made tutorials. Supcom has alot of them.

    The numbers should be visible, if you switch to a detailed view. There are alot of ppl who like such numbers. For sc2 there are actually ppl who reverse the ladder to calculate an elo-rating for a given player.

    hell yes, we need this :)
    and make it just work well and dont waste time on fancy looks or things like gui-skins and stuff.
    GPGnet had very weird functions if you looked at its options. I wonder how much time was wasted on those.
  3. tripleomega

    tripleomega New Member

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    You are drawing very wrong conclusions here. Yes the game is focused on multiplayer, but since there will be AI, that does not necessitate people wanting competitive multiplayer. I certainly don't. What I want most out of this is playing co-op with a friend versus the AI.

    What the OP describes is certainly applicable to me. Competitive play, especially 1v1 and FFA, but also in small groups is scary to me. Knowing how complex an RTS is and how much I don't know how to do properly is very intimidating. So taking any kind of weight off my shoulders would certainly help incentivise me to take the plunge. Actually the prospect of being able to join a 6v6 or larger game is already helping a lot.

    Also, since there will be AI skirmishes, the game isn't as multiplayer focused as you make it out to be.
  4. Kekouse

    Kekouse New Member

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    Cola_Colin, we are not representative...really not. Ladder, 1vs1, learning BOs, clanwars...we are so niche that the names in those ladders are always the same. You know what, in PA if the game offer a ladder I can already give the top10. There will be Zock, FunkOff, Luxun, 1 or 2 TAG member and 75% of all names in the TOP200 won't be newcomers but old veterans from TA and supcom.

    If I played "competitively" it was more by luck than anything. Began with the right peoples on Norush games on Spring and little by little I began to love playing against other humans.
    It's clearly not intuitive and easy and the majority of the players are either playing against IA or norush-like games under friends.

    The thing is HOW CAN WE CHANGE THE ODDS? Because yes playing against other humans IS fun. Because clanwar IS fun. But nobody does it :)
  5. 6animalmother9

    6animalmother9 Member

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    In TA, the first 5 missions of the ARM campaign had a very nice learning curve to it. You learnt about unit behaviours and selection in the first mission, the economy on the second mission, then learnt about paralysis weapons of the spider bot, multi-tasking in the fourth, and capturing structures in the latter.

    Although Uber have said that Campaigns are expensive and not likely to be implemented, setting something up in a similar vein which acts more of tutorial than a campaign would be nice. Just a slim selection of maps, or even just one map that gradually gets bigger as the more you learn about larger conflicts, multitasking and eventually MAD.
  6. KNight

    KNight Post Master General

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    I agree, there needs to be good solid learning tools for new players.

    Anyone really wanting to talk about tutorials should watch these first;

    Extra Credits Season 2 Epi 8 - Tutorials 101 Extra Credits as a WHOLE is pretty awesome and provides an easy to understand insight to the art of designing and making games, everyone should watch it.

    Sequelitis: Megaman Classic VS Megaman X(NSFW - Swearing) - Skip to 5:55 To get right to the Tutorial Stuff

    Now, I don't have much to say in specific in regards to how to make the Tutorials, but I have something related to Tutorials.

    Uber, Please make sure you either plan to update the tutorials as the Meta-game changes(either via players just getting better and learning new ways to do things AND/OR from balance changes and such as the game gets patched) or make sure a special place to talk strategy and such is available and EASILY accessed by the player, FROM WITHIN THE GAME. Shove it in the players face if you have too, but make sure they know about it.

    Mike
  7. tripleomega

    tripleomega New Member

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    I don't know about other people, but for me the biggests hurdles are:

    1) Lack of training. Even after I went out of my way to learn the basics of SupCom on Youtube(this is not how players should be getting this information), I still didn't have a clue really. When I watched two top-tier guys battle it out in a replay I realized I had no idea why they were doing what they were doing. And unfortunately RTS's don't work like FPS's. You need to be taught what to do properly, you can't just mimic other people without knowing their reasoning.

    2) Pressure. If you don't really know what you are doing, you can't be confident about it. When you are then put under pressure by another player, you'll likely start to crack. This is what turns fun into stress(at least for me) and is also the reason why I despise playing high-micro/high-APM RTS games like StarCraft.

    So the best things you can do if you want to pull other people into the competitive scene is setup a good training system and organize fun games with little pressure. This can be large team games or personal training games, etc. Anything that doesn't overwhelm a player is good in my opinion.

    Of course having a matchmaking system in the game that actually puts newbies into games they can handle after you've convinced them of the fun is equally important. Otherwise all your hard work will be for nothing.
  8. cola_colin

    cola_colin Moderator Alumni

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    duh... the AI is just a placeholder to test builds, isnt it ? ;D

    ... seriously: I might have drawn wrong conclusions. You have a point, maybe even a very good one. We need more people who play vs humans and as competitive as possible. So tutorials are good and very needed, but actually I think they are best done by good players after the game has been played a while. Ofc the game can offer basic help, but honestly I dont think it is possible to provide in depth tutorials before the game has been played alot by competitive players.
    So while tutorials are very important, Uber cant really provide them at the start, since balancing and tactics tend to change alot in the first phases of an RTS.

    Just a question: why do not-so-competitive players like big teamgames so much? Just because after a loss you can blame somebody else? Also failing in a teamgames results in a loss not only for you but your whole team.
    Last edited: August 19, 2012
  9. tripleomega

    tripleomega New Member

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    Simple. More teammates = less pressure. If you are only 1/5th of your team, and you screw up for 20%, it's only 4% of the total. Basically you're relying on your team to carry you if you do screw up.(Which is of course less likely to happen as there is less pressure.)

    It's funny how you as an obviously competitive player thinks very differently about teamgames. You think about how you can screw over your entire team by making mistakes while less competitive players think about what their team can do for them.
  10. KNight

    KNight Post Master General

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    It can also be said that having teammates help not only relieve pressure, on the player's mind, but also in game support, getting attacked and you forgot to build tanks? your allies can support you and help you out.

    Also we have to remember that in the end, Team games have a rather different meta-game compared to 1v1s, to use SupCom as an example, having an Aeon player build T2 Hover shields to help protect his Cybran allies' naval units. So it really can be a whole new game per see.

    Mike
  11. Kekouse

    Kekouse New Member

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    PA won't have a solo campaign. So it's really important not to lose 80% of the player...and it will happens if you offer only competitive game. Ok there will be skirmish, but that's not sufficient.

    Let's see what is played on FA:
    -Phantom. It's Mafia put in a RTS. And it works great. It should be present in the game at the start. No RTS offers this and Phantom players knows how awesome it is.
    -Murder Party. X players, after 5 minutes of normal playing each player has a target. Total Mayhem. Fun. Giggles.
    -Survival. X players Vs hordes and hordes of Ia units smashing the players defense. Easy. Fun. Teamplay.

    This is Emphasis on New Players. Having the game only offering a Ladder, team vs team and skirmish is the old way of playing RTS.
    It may work for Stacraft2 because of the Esport aura and such (and the fact that 5+millions boxes were sold)...but it will fail in PA. Like it failed on any other RTS.

    If you don't do it that way and only offer 1vs1 and Skirmish...the majority will either go in Norush games (and never learn how to play the game) or simply go away.
    And we don't want that. We want a BIG playerbase, even if the competitive ladder is not pushed forward. What's the point of putting the ladder in the front if nobody plays it?
  12. thygrrr

    thygrrr Member

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    I think PA will work with UGC a lot (user generated content), meaning that from the get-go, those alpha and beta participants should be encouraged to create let's play videos, tutorials, etc.

    Don't let it bog down the project, but create a fertile soil on which such projects could grow.
  13. Satch3L

    Satch3L Member

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    The game is modable! Why not let uber create the game and let the modding community create the game modes for us to play! I'm thinking in the ways the custom games work for Starcraft2 and Warcraft3!

    Maybe the developers can throw in a world editor? making it easier to create Custom maps like TD and Dota?
  14. BulletMagnet

    BulletMagnet Post Master General

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    Calling shotgun on making a multiplayer economy tutorial map+mod that's like multiplayer Tetris.

    Basically, you don't have any direct combat. You win by growing your economy faster than your opponents. The faster your economy, the more tanks/robots are spawned for you. These tanks and robots automagically march towards the enemy base, while your opponent's march towards yours.
  15. lophiaspis

    lophiaspis Member

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    We don't know that. It may very well be a stretch goal. In fact, given how many RTS fans never even dare to try MP, the optimal solution seems to have a good campaign and bake as much MP tutorial as possible into that. Not just 'here's how to make units' but 'here's how to maximize production' and 'this strategy is good against that one'.
  16. cola_colin

    cola_colin Moderator Alumni

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    One of the -probably higher- stretchgoals is a campaign, I think that is pretty much a known fact by now.
  17. thygrrr

    thygrrr Member

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    [​IMG]

    I'm gonna post this in every thread that's being derailed by you single player carebears. :p
  18. cola_colin

    cola_colin Moderator Alumni

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    Let the last stretchgoal be a campaign, so that many ppl pledge on PA and we get as many MP-Stretchgoals as possible.
    They really should start to reveal the first stretchgoals now :S
  19. thygrrr

    thygrrr Member

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    They are deciding on the order internally, obviously. Meaning if more people keep whining about a campaign, it might move down on the list.

    So let's keep whining about good matchmaking, and maybe even free to play / pay as you go whatever. Seriously, I'd want as many players as possible to be in this game so it's a strong, successful example of how RTSes might go.

    Sick and tired of zoomed in tactics games (played LoL, played End of Nations at Gamescom... the zoom is so limiting. Once you go strategic zoom, you can NEVER go back).
  20. cola_colin

    cola_colin Moderator Alumni

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    Please no f2p, any kind of f2p concept needs to push ppl to buy useless stuff, or worse buy an advantag ingame.
    Thats both bad and I think neutrino agreed on something like this on reddit.

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