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Has there been any research into how to maximize in-game tutorials effectiveness? Any blogs, articles or research papers would be appreciated.

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From what I understand most developers just wing it, but good luck. =) –  Kenneth Posey Nov 16 '11 at 18:11
    
Yeah, that's what I figured. I would like, if it is possible, to back my decisions up with some scientifically researched material. That's partly because of my university study but also because I like having facts to back things up. –  benregn Nov 16 '11 at 18:27
    
I don't have an answer, but have a search on scholar.google.com, they have loads of papers. If your university has access to it, you can also use the IEEE or ACM databases. –  Ray Dey Nov 17 '11 at 11:57
    
@RayDey: Yeah, I did do a Scholar search but I didn't find anything that seemed useful. That might be because of failed Google-foo :) –  benregn Nov 17 '11 at 13:10
    
It seems like research regarding the use of didactics to introduce users to virtual environments is sparse. Only 'paper' I could find is this study: docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:--3QcCejTHgJ:www.wpi.edu/… –  sarahm Nov 21 '11 at 14:45

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The comments say it all, but ... no, there probably hasn't been much research on it. But, one thing is for sure: in-game, interactive tutorials work better than "read this" tutorials.

This is easy to see in Flash games; you can see the evolution of static screenshots/images linked from the main menu ("Tutorial" button) into in-game tutorials (or tutorial-like levels).

The benefit, obviously, would be seeing things happen and how actions play out, while the game progresses, instead of reading a bunch of instructions before you even have a good idea about how the game will go.

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This might be really subjective, but could be used as a reference. From my personal experience, tutorials with lots of text immediately turn off some players (tldr) and then they get frustrated when they can't do something that was explained because they didnt read.

Also do not give all the instructions at the start. Players will not see the relevance of some gameplay aspect and will be confused or forget when they actually need it.

The best tutorials are the one that you do not notice. Integrate into your gameplay/story. Make the tutorials feel like they actually matter in some way (advancing story etc...). Kinda like "learn as you play" kind of experience.

Good luck! :D

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