Recently, I’ve been playing Zachtronic’s latest game SHENZHEN I/O. The game is about using assembly level programming to create programs by using circuitry and CPUs. To help, the game features a 41 page manual that reads like the company manual you get at work. Despite the manual, I had to turn to outside help to learn the basics of the game.
Trying to learn the game, I started to think about how we learn things both in and outside of a class setting, and that games might hold a better solution.
It’s time to return to the topic of making video games easier to understand, and that begins (and sometimes ends) at the tutorial stage. Trying to teach someone the basics of your game is vital and can be difficult to get right, because every game is different. For today’s post, I want to focus on the use of immediate feedback and how two very different, yet complicated titles, handled things differently.
Video games feature different levels of complexity based on the genre and design, and it can be very hard to teach someone how to play a title if it’s their first time. Thinking about this more, I’ve come up with a simple hierarchy of how designers can help design the flow of a game or a tutorial to teach someone the game mechanics effectively.
Today’s post returns to an important point I’ve talked about before — Feedback and how it relates to learning and not just in video games. In the past I’ve talked about the differences in abstracted systems like strategy games vs. real time systems like in fighting games. But a recent conversation that will be a podcast soon got me thinking about how it’s not the type of mechanic, but the time it takes for the feedback that impacts learning.