See How to Unobtrusively Incorporate Good Teaching into Your Game's Mechanics
Learn to Play: Designing Tutorials for Video Games shows how to embed a tutorial directly into your game design mechanics so that your games naturally and comfortably teach players to have fun. The author deciphers years of research in game studies, education, psychology, human-computer interaction, and user interface and experience that equip you to make dynamic tutorials that help players enjoy your games.
The book links game design principles with psychology through the game tutorial. It offers easy-to-implement changes that can make a huge difference in how players receive your games. It explains how you can educate new players and engage experienced players at the same time through a combination of good design and basic understanding of human educational, motivational, and cognitive psychologies.
Transcending disciplinary boundaries, this book improves your understanding of the science of learning and the art of teaching. It helps you design game mechanics, or tutorials, that teach people how to have fun with your games without ever feeling as though they're being instructed.
Matthew M. White is an assistant professor in game development at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, where he teaches game design, computer science, and software engineering. He previously worked on interfaces, human-computer interaction, and game programming at the University of Prince Edward Island and Snow Day Games, a small indie studio. He earned his M.Ed. in instructional design and technology focusing on the design of games from the University of New Brunswick and his Ph.D. in education from Memorial University of Newfoundland, co-supervised through York University's Education and Game Studies faculty.
Introduction Video Games Video Game Tutorials Cheat Sheet The Tutorial What Is a Tutorial? Why Tutorials Are Necessary How Tutorials Teach Three Tutorials in the Wild Examples of Existing Tutorials in Current Games You've Said Right and Wrong: Why? Cheat Sheet Learning Things How People Learn Stuff Why People Choose to Learn Stuff How to Teach People Stuff Cheat Sheet Rage-Quit Frustration and Boredom Cognitive Apprenticeship "Flow" and Other Reasons People Keep Playing Balance Feedback Clear Outcomes Summary Cheat Sheet Facts about Players Age and the Education Gap (Experience + Skill)/Challenge = Fun It Is Never Okay to Throw the Controller The Big Five Motivational Factors and Games Summary Cheat Sheet Eyes and Ears Visual Stuff in Games Audible Stuff in Games Why Does This Matter? Mayer's Principles: Designing Learning for Our Eyes and Ears Summary Cheat Sheet Return of the Tutorial: Escape from Skull Island Escape from Skull Island Overview of Mechanics and Gameplay Controls and Inputs Overview Interface Structure and Overview Tutorials and Learning in Escape from Skull Island Summary Bullet Point Learning Design There Are Really Three Things No Exclusionary Mechanics No "Club" Behaviors Offer Learning Support Follow the Cognitive Principles Let Skilled Players Be Skillful as Fast as Possible Reward Failures No Small Punishments No Small Rewards Immediate Feedback on All Inputs Massive Explosions of Juiciness Harsh and Brutal Corrections of Unwanted Behaviors Rewards Must Scale in Their Splendor and Awesomeness Dynamic Difficulty Adjustment Test and Retest Player Skill Level Use Just-in-Time Tactics to Reward Continued Play Procedural and Dynamic Rewards and Punishments You Cannot Have Too Many Data Collection Hooks Summary Appendix: Further Reading Index