PA Learning Curve

Discussion in 'PA: TITANS: General Discussion' started by lulamae, September 11, 2018.

  1. lulamae

    lulamae Well-Known Member

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    Looking to the future of PA, what can we do to ease the learning curve for new players?
  2. MrTBSC

    MrTBSC Post Master General

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    the community: tutorial videos

    PA inc. : rework the ingame tutiorial, add some tutorial missions that explain the varius planes (ground, air, orbital and naval),
    - explain the economy, the neccesaty of expansion and when it makes sense to go for higher tech ..
    - the importance of scouting, intel and keeping as much awareness as possible .. which may still below the ammount of awareness neccesary simply cause that is the greatest challange of this particular game ..
    - preparing a propper offense consisting of harrasment, aggression torwards the opponents army and production how to trade blows, and killing blow with either going for the mainbase were the opponent can hardly get a comeback or go for the commanderkill ...
    - how to defend but not fall into a turtletrap ..
    Last edited: September 11, 2018
  3. acesoyster

    acesoyster Active Member

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    The problem with such suggestions is you make your tutorial long and boring. Many single player games of this age combine their tutorials and campaigns to give you entertainment whilst showing you the ropes. This however doesn't work for PA, given that it is both lacking in a campaign, and best experienced as a multiplayer game. Unless you can find a team willing to redesign PA with a proper campaign, improving the tutorial has limited potential.

    I can't remember who mentioned it first, but the game needs to give its players more constructive feedback after games. The stats page is really useful if you know what it means, but many new players really won't know what's important and what a good or bad graph looks like. If you could give the player Overwatch-like medals, in categories tailored to their current skill, then you can drive players towards improving in areas they might be lacking in. If you do a good job of tying those medals to the skill level of the ranked pool, you might even successfully encourage players out of single player. If you can combine this with some good quality loading screen tips to cover the more situational mechanics, I reckon you could inject a lot more knowledge into the lower ranks.

    I'm not saying it's an easy solution, but I think it's a better direction than massively inflating the tutorial.
    Quitch, nateious, lulamae and 2 others like this.
  4. NikolaMX

    NikolaMX Active Member

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    A while ago I made this skill table for the PA Academy discord to help place people into relative tiers. It is nowhere near perfect, but gives some clear goals as to what the players need to be working on.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/118-fcIDlW_vLTfH2nJboJdYZREvx78eMlMzhK0nod2w

    From my experience in coaching (mostly IRL, but PA as well), the best way to help someone new in a diverse field is to limit their choices so they understand every concept well one at a time.
    In my eyes the best way to deal with this issue is via improved tutorials

    General suggestions:
    Icons should be on at all times by default. PA models are cool and all, but when a player zooms in, he can set himself in "watch this spectacle" micro mentality, which is counterproductive. Icons keep your mind on only what you need to know.

    Factories should be on repetitive production by default. This ties to a point i'll make further down.


    Community based educational materials:
    The community if PA is what has kept this game alive. There are so much resources online that should be accessible to everyone:

    https://discord.gg/VYUQhTf
    -> a secondary discord specifically for coaching and teaching new players

    https://flubbateios.com/pa/
    -> made by @flubbateios , a great guy

    https://exodusesports.com/
    -> made by some other really great and smart fellas


    ->says it on the name
    On tutorials

    Technical:
    Currently on the main menu there are 4 different player-improvement dedicated icons: Tutorial, Player Guide, and Community Guides. The fact that those are spread out on the main menu means a new player, or even someone experienced can get confused and miss out on something. I came across the Player Guide section almost half a year after I had started laying the game, and still learned some new things. If all of these are put under the same sub section of "tutorials" or "training" or whatever, finding and exploring them will be much more intuitive and accessible for new players.

    Arranging tutorials:

    Current tutorials do a couple things well:
    The first Atlas mission provides some good camera basics, and creates a good sense of how planet orientation works thanks to the overarching size of the titan, but it lacks instruction on the Alt+Mouse camera rotation.
    Decreased metal cost of units allows players to get more out sooner and get somewhat of a better feel that this is a macro focus game.
    Orbital and T2 are delivered only after the player is given a good chance to look at how T1 works.


    The issues and solutions:


    Tutorials need to provide a good feeling of scale from the get go. That translates to teaching players about production and expansion from as soon as possible (IMHO missions 2, 3 and 4 need to be partially dedicated to that)
    After the player knows how to operate the camera and unit selection, first followup mission should be on base-building and fabs.



    This doesn't have to be all boring, the game can start with your commander immediately destroying some units and firing the Uber Cannon or something of the sort, but core focus should be teaching "need based economy"
    ->initial metal is ALWAYS low, and INSUFFICIENT TO END THE LEVEL immediately (to teach importance of expansion)
    ->player can only build T1 tanks for the sake of simplicity, as it is in the current second mission
    ->map needs to be linear with 2-3 expansion corridors to insentience rotation around
    ->the goal of the mission is to use your commander to make more factories, and use your fabbers to provide him with the economy to en mass an army
    ->the difference between fabbers and a commander needs to be made clear: commander is slow, sturdy, and good for factory building, and fabbers are fast and good for getting mex



    After that mission is settled, Number 3 can be about raiding, storage, and re-expansion.
    This is where T1 Bots, turrets and radar are introduced. This is where the player should be taught about Ctrl-Clicking new fabbers when sniped, and selecting idle ones...
    ->Map is larger in size with spread out metal on one side, and closer spawns on the other to make a clear distinction between pushing with tanks and raiding with bots.
    ->Goal of the game is to force expansion and use of bots for raiding
    ->additional units like the skitters, grenadiers and infernos can also be introduced, but they shouldn't shift the focus and can be left for intermediate, or "practice" missions
    ->the player must go through a period of storage drainage and energy crisis to learn to manage those actively

    Next ones can be about Air, than Naval, T2 (small map, restricted T1 econ), Orbital, super weapons...

    Core idea is that new concepts should come one at a time, and be introduced as simplistically as possible. No need of a torpedo launcher before naval is introduced. No need of teaching someone about Shellers and bluehawks before they know how to run a proper base. It's a bad idea to give someone the ability to build turrets before they can know how to build an army.

    Well established fundamentals make the learning curve much smoother down the line.
  5. MrTBSC

    MrTBSC Post Master General

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    i said some missions i didnĀ“t say make an entire schoolingclass ..
  6. lulamae

    lulamae Well-Known Member

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    There is so much to learn so we have to be careful not to overwhelm new players with information.

    Focus first on getting them functionally competent.
    Keep lessons as brief as practical.
    If they've progressed through several lessons, permit them to go back and review/replay or relearn an earlier lesson.
  7. acesoyster

    acesoyster Active Member

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    The primary goal is to show players how to have fun. Showing them how to be good comes after you've solidified that
    flubbateios and lulamae like this.

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