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MWiF Tutorial - 1/23/2006 10:48:27 AM   
Greyshaft


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I'd like to get some ideas for the MWiF tutorial. Many of us here already know WiF but the wider gaming community who buy the game need to learn about impulses and 'flipping' and all the other good stuff that makes MWiF great, What we need is a tutorial that will get them 'over the hump' of learning the rules and into enjoying the game.

So I'm looking for some collective wisdom here.
* What other computer games have good tutorials?
* What parts of those tutorial were the most helpful?
* What tutorials didn't work ('Europa Universalis I' comes to mind)
* What was wrong with those tutorials ( No examples of play. Large slabs of contiguous tortured text. Not written by a native English speaker)

Here's the place to unload about your best and worst learning experiences.
Please provide examples if possible. Don't just say that a game sucks - tell us why it sucked and how it could have been better.

_____________________________

/Greyshaft
Post #: 1
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/23/2006 2:09:41 PM   
terje439


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Greyshaft
* What tutorials didn't work ('Europa Universalis I' comes to mind)
* What was wrong with those tutorials ( No examples of play. Large slabs of contiguous tortured text. Not written by a native English speaker)


Civilization4 - When you started the tutorial you had to follow it precisely. If you built a road before the tutorial wanted you to do, you would "freeze" the tutorial in such a manner that you had to restart it.
Another thing that would be nice would be the ability to save the tutorial, so that you do not have to play through it all in once.

(in reply to Greyshaft)
Post #: 2
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/23/2006 2:51:40 PM   
c92nichj


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I think that some of the RTS games have quite good tutorials.
You get to play around on your own with a limited set of units. Korsun pocket also had something similiar to this if I recall correctly.
The tutorial could be playing out part of the civil war in spain.
- Some units moving around and performing an assault.
- Next could show the effect of groundstrike and disrupted units.
- Next would be to move some units around and show the effect of supply, for example a unit could be overrunned
- After an attack that a ground support mission with an airtoair battle, possily using the blitz table and breakthrough effect.
- Then reorganise with an HQ.
That would cover most of the land and air rules.
- Next chapter could try out the naval rules.
- After that production and partisans.
- and specialist units (subs, Para, Marine, artillery, engineers)

(in reply to Greyshaft)
Post #: 3
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/23/2006 2:53:33 PM   
Caranorn


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Actually I had EU1 down as a good tutorial example. While obviously dozens of issues were not covered, it easily introduced players to the game. The rest was more an issue of missing documentation (manual). The best example to my mind of what can go wrong with tutorials is the simple lack of any in later Paradox products which made entering the game pretty slow for experienced players (it must have been devastating fo new ones).

Just a general note, it might be good to make multiple tutorials for MWiF, essentially a land combat one (a Barbarossa tutorial), a naval combat one (a Guadalcanal tutorial) and finally one that requires use of the production system... The appropriate scenarios already exist in WiF FE, now we have to build a tutorial around it.

The relatively small tutorial scenarios would also make saving them (terje439's comment) less important.

_____________________________

Marc aka Caran... ministerialis

(in reply to Greyshaft)
Post #: 4
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/23/2006 2:56:06 PM   
wodin


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Good tutorial HTTR.

Very bad one Uncommon Valour!!

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https://www.facebook.com/Tacticalwargame


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Post #: 5
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/23/2006 5:48:38 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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I have an idea - not well developed yet, but perhaps you can help in that regard.

Have each tutorial start with a game in progress (one of them starts at the very beginning of a game, of course). The tutorial essentially loads a game in progress. Under tutorial mode, the player is replaying a game that has already been played by someone else. He does not have to enter any orders or move any units, etc.. The player is just a watcher of a previously played game.

Tutorial mode includes an additional information box/form on the screen that describes what is being done (keystrokes, mouse moves), why it is being done (tactics, strategy), and other controls. The other controols would let the player go backwards or forwards, the speed of the replay, and skip over sections (fast forward or fast backward).

This is not well thought out, but it addresses the concerns about: (1) not having to tediously go through a tutorial keystroke by keystroke, and (2) spliting the tutorial into sections that focus on one or more specific aspects of game play.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to Caranorn)
Post #: 6
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/23/2006 6:06:58 PM   
Froonp


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quote:

RTS games

What's this ?

quote:

EU1

Europa Universalis ?

quote:

HTTR

And this, what's this ?

Please, explain your acronyms.

(in reply to c92nichj)
Post #: 7
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/23/2006 6:11:03 PM   
SamuraiProgrammer

 

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I mentioned this several months ago, but I will reiterate it here to generate discussion.

I think that several tutorials are in order. They should start with very small focus and slowly enlarge in scope. As they enlarge in scope, it might be very useful to automate some of the details so the 'lesson' will be easier to think about for the user.

Many of these will be insanely simple, BUT if the user will bite of small chunks, they will be able to digest them better.

The user should be graded after the tutorial based on the desired and likely outcomes. This will be more important in the more complex tutorials. Generic suggestions would be useful. These suggestions might be along the lines of:

* You should spread your defenses out more to prevent a breakthrough.
* You should concentrate your defenses more to be more effective.


For example:

A tutorial with a land combat
A tutorial with a land combat with air support.
A tutorial with a land combat with air and HQ support.
A tutorial with movement ending up in combat.

A tutorial with air to air combat.
A tutorial with offensive movement that results in several land combats and perhaps air to air combat on one of them.

A tutorial with defensive movement to prepare for an impending attack.

A tutorial with naval combat.
A tutorial with naval combat with air factors.
A tutorial with naval movement.
A tutorial with naval movement resulting in perhaps several battles in several sea areas.

Tutorials that demonstrate some of the mechanics of the game such as ending the turn. These would not require the user to do very much. Perhaps it would be useful to ask the user questions such as 'In this situation, what rolls of the dice will end the turn."

A tutorial that introduces production.
A tutorial that introduces production gearing limits.
A tutorial that allows the user to do the production and the rest of the game plays itself. (THIS MIGHT BE AN INTERESTING SUBGAME.)

There might also be tutorials that allow the user to manage:

* all of the land units while the navy and air is automatic.
* all of the air units while the navy and land is automatic.
* all of the naval units while the air and land is automatic.

Again, some of these might be intersting subgames.


To me, the most effective tutorials have been Starcraft, Warcraft, and Rise Of Nations. Remember that the entire single player 'game' of Starcraft was a tutorial comprising 27 lessons and 3 final exams. When you finished it, you had the mechanics down and were ready to hone your skills.

This game is considerably more detailed than those. I don't think you can have too many tutorials. (Of course spending the resources to create them is another decision.) I think the success of this game in spreading to non-WIFfers will depend on the tutorials.

I hope these ideas are helpful, even if you choose another path.



_____________________________

Bridge is the best wargame going .. Where else can you find a tournament every weekend?

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 8
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/23/2006 8:28:30 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: SamuraiProgrammer

I mentioned this several months ago, but I will reiterate it here to generate discussion.

I think that several tutorials are in order. They should start with very small focus and slowly enlarge in scope. As they enlarge in scope, it might be very useful to automate some of the details so the 'lesson' will be easier to think about for the user.

Many of these will be insanely simple, BUT if the user will bite of small chunks, they will be able to digest them better.

The user should be graded after the tutorial based on the desired and likely outcomes. This will be more important in the more complex tutorials. Generic suggestions would be useful. These suggestions might be along the lines of:

* You should spread your defenses out more to prevent a breakthrough.
* You should concentrate your defenses more to be more effective.

For example:

A tutorial with a land combat
A tutorial with a land combat with air support.
A tutorial with a land combat with air and HQ support.
A tutorial with movement ending up in combat.

A tutorial with air to air combat.
A tutorial with offensive movement that results in several land combats and perhaps air to air combat on one of them.

A tutorial with defensive movement to prepare for an impending attack.

A tutorial with naval combat.
A tutorial with naval combat with air factors.
A tutorial with naval movement.
A tutorial with naval movement resulting in perhaps several battles in several sea areas.

Tutorials that demonstrate some of the mechanics of the game such as ending the turn. These would not require the user to do very much. Perhaps it would be useful to ask the user questions such as 'In this situation, what rolls of the dice will end the turn."

A tutorial that introduces production.
A tutorial that introduces production gearing limits.
A tutorial that allows the user to do the production and the rest of the game plays itself. (THIS MIGHT BE AN INTERESTING SUBGAME.)

There might also be tutorials that allow the user to manage:

* all of the land units while the navy and air is automatic.
* all of the air units while the navy and land is automatic.
* all of the naval units while the air and land is automatic.

Again, some of these might be intersting subgames.


To me, the most effective tutorials have been Starcraft, Warcraft, and Rise Of Nations. Remember that the entire single player 'game' of Starcraft was a tutorial comprising 27 lessons and 3 final exams. When you finished it, you had the mechanics down and were ready to hone your skills.

This game is considerably more detailed than those. I don't think you can have too many tutorials. (Of course spending the resources to create them is another decision.) I think the success of this game in spreading to non-WIFfers will depend on the tutorials.

I hope these ideas are helpful, even if you choose another path.


Your list of tutorials is very good.

The mechanics of presenting them to the player could be done several ways.

1 - player watches (see the pretty blinking lights)
2 - player follows instructions (press this key now!)
3 - player explores (if you do XXX now, YYY will happen)
4 - player is tested (try to make this happen; what is the answer to this question)

Rather than commit to a single style of mechanics, I think a combination might work out best.

Personally, I do not like #4 - I have taken quite enough tests in my lifetime already, thank you. I also find #2 grating on my nerves, but in combination with #3 can be used effectively. Even #4 has a role to play just as long as taking and passing the tests isn't required. It can be used by the player to meaure his understanding of the topic being presented.

There are considerations of what it will take to prepare the tutorials. Those can be addressed later and shouldn't be taken into consideration when trying to figure out information content and presentation. Once we know what we think would be great, we can review what we can afford (in time and effort).

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to SamuraiProgrammer)
Post #: 9
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/23/2006 8:49:01 PM   
SamuraiProgrammer

 

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I agree that mandatory taking or passing the tests do not make for a tutorial that anyone would enjoy.

The key point is that there are some game mechanics issues that will be fairly automatic in how they are handled. Even though there are no explicit actions to be perfomed, the player needs to understand them in order to plan for them. In these situations, presenting a situation and asking the player to infer the possible outcomes will do two things:

1) Give the new player confidence that they understand the situation.

2) Expose misunderstandings when the player thinks they understand (much more important).

Perhaps test is the wrong word. However, being in a situation where the tutorial can tell the player that they (a) did a good job or (b) may need to improve would hopefully be welcome to a player who is trying to decipher an overwhelming game system.

I agree wholeheartedly that none of the tutorials should be mandatory. Those who will use them will appreciate them. Others will ignore them. Since this is an entertainment product, that is exactly as it should be.

While I am at it, here are a few more ideas for tutorials:

* Arrange this combat to maximize the chances of killing 3 units (i.e. How to throw a soak-off attack)

* Arrange these air missions to maximize the chances of clearing a bomber to the target (i.e. how to engage CAP advantageously)

* Land combat with bombardment factors.

* Setup and execute a sea to land invasion.

* Arrange your units to maintain a garrison while throwing an attack on a nearby theatre.

* Lend lease a unit

* Understand the implications of US Entry Actions - could be (dare I say it) a quiz.

* Maneuver to open a supply line.

* Combat to open a supply line.

* Something for strategic movment.

* Overrun attacks

* Choose between blitz and normal

* Breakthrough advance movment.

(Some of these may be combined into the same tutorials but these subjects probably need to be touched on.)

Thanks again for allowing us to have so much input!

Dean


_____________________________

Bridge is the best wargame going .. Where else can you find a tournament every weekend?

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 10
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/23/2006 9:02:32 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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If I can get the product design past all you guys, without large smoking holes in vital parts, the product should do well on the marketplace.

Or at least that is my theory.



One of my strongest motivations it that I absolutely detest writing code that is never used. I have spent, in total, probably years of my life doing that - what a waste of time and energy. If the end product gives players pleasure, then I will be extremely happy.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to SamuraiProgrammer)
Post #: 11
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/23/2006 10:08:56 PM   
P8654

 

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A tutorial on a complex game should be broken down into parts that a player can go back and look over again. I like to get the basics and jump into a small game, then come back and learn more before I start a bigger game. I find that if I have to go through a long tutorial before I start the game I forget or don't yet understand the finer points the designer is trying to get across.


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RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/23/2006 11:33:41 PM   
abj9562


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If tutorial's also include a small movie of play mechanics, players could easily review those steps whenever needed. If it is accessible during play; then, a player wondering how to do such and such opens the appropriate tutorial movie to refresh their memory and off they go. Most games are not as complex as WiF and would not need such a tool. However, with the myriad amounts of rules and procedures in WiF an "instant recall" of help would be of immense help to newcomers.

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RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/23/2006 11:47:51 PM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: abj9562

If tutorial's also include a small movie of play mechanics, players could easily review those steps whenever needed. If it is accessible during play; then, a player wondering how to do such and such opens the appropriate tutorial movie to refresh their memory and off they go. Most games are not as complex as WiF and would not need such a tool. However, with the myriad amounts of rules and procedures in WiF an "instant recall" of help would be of immense help to newcomers.


I like both of your suggestions here very much.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to abj9562)
Post #: 14
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/24/2006 2:52:35 AM   
Glen Felzien

 

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Food for thought regarding the format the tutorial is presented in:

I like SamuraiProgrammer's detail and c92nichj suggestion of using the Spanish Civil War or some other "game in progress" as Steve suggested. So to combine all this why not have the tutorial cover a single game turn step for step.

Have the turn cover a predetermined number of impulses. Each impulse would cover very specific items to convey a very specific lesson. Each impulse would be progressively more complex as certain issues are covered. So, if the turn had 7 impulses, for example, Samurai's list could be broken up into these 7 impluses and the player would do a combination of:

quote:

1 - player watches (see the pretty blinking lights)
2 - player follows instructions (press this key now!)
3 - player explores (if you do XXX now, YYY will happen)
4 - player is tested (try to make this happen; what is the answer to this question)


So from determining initative through the impluses to completing production and ending the turn, each step can convey particular lessons which increase in complexity. Game interface can be discussed at or near the beginning. Basic land unit movement covered in the first impluse etc. I feel that this approach would allow the flexability of using a variety of teaching tools and the format itself will assist the player to learn the various functions within the game turn. I think a Spanish Civil War would be a good scenario because it has all the elements required to teach the complete system: land/air/sea/production/placing reinforcements etc and yet only has two sides, low counter density and a small map area.

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RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/24/2006 5:29:36 AM   
abj9562


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i like most of the suggestions presented except one

Please no tests, after all who wants to purchase a game and have to pass a quiz or test. Life is too full of that already. Additionally, alienating customers is usually not a good thing to do and this seems to be a point some people may be frustrated with. However if the guadacanal and/or barbarossa scenarios are used then leaving them open to play the scenario after tutorial completition is a good idea. This would allow for hidden knowledge testing without being over bearing or intrusive. Furthermore, playing out the tutorial scenario as an option allows players to evaluate for themselves if they need to repeat the tutorial or not and does not put judgements or value assignments from the author/publisher.

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Post #: 16
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/24/2006 6:30:18 AM   
scout1


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I would also agree there should be no tests.

But stand back and asess just what the purpose(s) of a tutorial are as well as the scope. Like the game it represents, it should cover both strategic as well as tactical events/information. For example, the strategic nature of should be to cover/convey knowledge in terms of overall game play. What happens in what order. Then the tactical portions should focus on how to perform specific (sub) tasks. These don't need to be combined into one grand tutorial but rather a semi-lose grouping that can either be followed in a specific order or selected one at a time.

If any given tutorial is long in duration, the ability to save wouldn't be a bad thing.

(in reply to abj9562)
Post #: 17
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/24/2006 9:58:46 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

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While in concept the Spanish Civil war would be a good choice, in practice it isn't really feasible. One of the hardest things to do from the programming side is to get all the data correct for a scenario. Basically, the program wants every hex and every country 'properly' set up. All the units too. Who is at war, has trade alliances with others, who controls what units, who is aligned with whom, and dozens of little details about units. This list is quite formidable.

I suggest that we work with Barbarossa and Guadalcanal. It would be nice to have one (like the Spanish Civil War) that is very small scale; these two are the smallest of the 11 scenarios in MWIF . All the others involve more countries, all of which need to be cycled through to complete one impulse.

Aside from that, the other suggestions being made here are sketching out a nice design for the tutorials. If I can get to it tomorrow, I'll try to summarize them all.

_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

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RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/24/2006 12:54:17 PM   
dhatchen

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets

I suggest that we work with Barbarossa and Guadalcanal. It would be nice to have one (like the Spanish Civil War) that is very small scale; these two are the smallest of the 11 scenarios in MWIF . All the others involve more countries, all of which need to be cycled through to complete one impulse.


One possibility for a little tutorial would be the 1939 invasion of Poland. You could use the parts of the data you already have from the Global War Scenario. It is a good basic start for the land and air support rules. Difficulty levels can be incorporated with a German force of 1/3, 1/2, or 2/3 of his total against Poland, although it might be better if this was just set for the player. It is the first land attack of the war and everyone has to weather it, either as an attacker or defender at sometime. An expansion to this could be the inclusion of the French border. The AIA could conduct attacks there if weak held. The player could be rated by how long it takes to conquer Poland.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 19
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/24/2006 1:15:27 PM   
Greyshaft


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We must not lose sight of the objective of the tutorial. Regardless of the scenario selected or the style of learning experience, it is important to ensure that the player is given the opportunity to learn the ropes of MWiF. To that end I'm interested in tapping into the experience of the newbies on the recently posted list of MWiF testers and documenting their learning experience.

* What were the hard concepts in MWiF?
* Were there any 'light-bulb' moments? What triggered them?
* What point did the other player's explanations of the rules become too confusing?

etc etc.

_____________________________

/Greyshaft

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Post #: 20
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/24/2006 1:23:17 PM   
JanSorensen

 

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I believe the questions to ask before designing anything in too much detail are:

Should the tutorials be made expecting or advising that the player has read a particular section of the rules before engaging in the tutorial or not? (Probably not for most of the tutorial - but it could be usefull for those covering more complex topics)
Should the tutorials be made expecting or advising that the player reads a particular section of the rules after doing the tutorial or not? (I believe every single tutorial should advice which sections the player should read in the manual at the end of the tutorial at the very least).
Should the tutorials cover everything or just the core principles leaving the details for the player to learn from the manual (or by trial and error)? (I feel that leaving some dark areas unmentioned by the tutorial is alright and that it should be stressed that playing through the tutorials is not a full substitute for actually reading the manual).

I realise that some computer players (and a few board gamers) will avoid reading the manual at almost any cost - but I still do not believe that designing the tutorials for a game of this complexity should cater to that point of view. Rather, I think its important that the tutorials actively encourage the reading of the manual by referring to specific sections and advising the player to read those - be it before, during or after particular tutorial.

(in reply to dhatchen)
Post #: 21
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/24/2006 1:25:28 PM   
dhatchen

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Greyshaft

We must not lose sight of the objective of the tutorial. Regardless of the scenario selected or the style of learning experience, it is important to ensure that the player is given the opportunity to learn the ropes of MWiF. To that end I'm interested in tapping into the experience of the newbies on the recently posted list of MWiF testers and documenting their learning experience.

* What were the hard concepts in MWiF?
* Were there any 'light-bulb' moments? What triggered them?
* What point did the other player's explanations of the rules become too confusing?

etc etc.


And that feedback will be the best ground work for an effective tutorial system design. Bye the way, thanks for all your work on this, and the descriptions. I have read most of the air descriptions, good work.

danh

(in reply to Greyshaft)
Post #: 22
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/24/2006 6:16:21 PM   
SamuraiProgrammer

 

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When I learned how to play WIF, I had a friend who owned the game and taught me how to play. I spent a lot of time reading the rulebook, playing, and reading the rulebook again. During play, we spent a lot of time reading the rulebook and discussing the finer points. (Did I say discussing? Hmmm...) Often as not, the rereading of the rules would uncover a serious flaw in how were were playing.

My career has been writing custom software for small businesses. As part of that function, I have been responsible for training people to use it. Over the years I have come to some conclusions about teaching someone how to use a piece of software.

Knowledge is taught by explaining facts and having the student remember them. The student demonstrates knowledge and the task is done. Think of this as reading the rulebook.

Skills are taught by coaching. First the teacher does it. Then the teacher helps the student. Then the student does it and the teaher critiques the performance. Then, over time, the student demonstrates skills and the task is done. Think of this as learning to apply the rules to pushing cardboard.

In my opinion, to learn this game with the minimum effort, there needs to be COACHING.

I have seen many MANY good games go by the wayside because they were too complicated to learn easily. The player, not understanding the game, would decide that it was a crappy game, move on, and often voice a bad opinion of the game.

THIS WILL PRECLUDE EXPANSIONS!!!!!

Because I feel that this is a complex game, and so many of the useful skills rely on success of other skills, and that the most effective way to teach skills is coaching, I strongly feel that there needs to be something about the tutorials that covers these points:

1) Feedback to the player that lets him know if he is doing well.

2) Feedback to the player that lets him know what other things he can try.

#2 is hard to do with software.

The Starcraft single player scenarios were nothing more than a tutorial. When you learned how to apply the skill that was being taught, you were able to move on. I didn't like the concept that you HAD to succeed at one before moving on and I don't recommend it. But, as a player, you knew whether you had mastered that aspect. If you didn't care or felt you didn't need it, so be it. Bring out the cheat codes. But at least you knew.

To me, that is the essence of coaching.

The alternative is many short, small tutorials that have a simple objective so the 'student' can easily evaluate their own success. These should be followed by more, larger tutorials that require combining the 'skills' into coherent plans. While I think that Barbarossa, Guadalcanal, and the invasion of Poland are great candidates for part of the tutorial, I also feel that things should start with 3 to 5 units and work up to those.

To save time, I think it is certainly appropriate to turn over some of the detail to the AI so the student can focus on the problem at hand. This could probably be controlled by an option setting at the beginning of each tutorial. (Even the small ones - so the player can see how it is done.)

One last thing and I will cease.

The biggest barrier to learning is the idea that you already know and do not need to learn.

I will illustrate my fears with this:

A new player fools around with the game and begins playing in earnest. Unbeknownst to them, they do have misunderstood the modifiers that apply to the ending of turns.

He/She is playing and at the end of an impulse, the turn ends unexpectedly. Ok, no problem - it is a dice roll. Later the turn goes on and on. If the new player is losing (a high likelyhood), they may start blaming it on these 'random turn endings' that do not conform to their view of reality.

Quickly, their conclusion becomes that there is a flaw in this program (It's buggy, don't buy it)or the AI is given special dispensation when it comes (It cheats, don't buy it).

Face it, there are a lot of arbitrary things going on in this game system. By hiding the mechanics - (one of the main reasons for writing a program) - it becomes even more difficult to learn the mechanics and to confirm that you really understand them.

This is why I suggested 'tests' or 'quizzes' or 'question and answer' for some of the tutorials that explain game mechanics that are reduced to the program telling you what happened. Since there is no interaction by the player, there is no other way for them to know whether they are doing a good job.

Sorry for the long post, but you should have seen it before I cut it down.

I will stand down on this subject. I have voiced my opinion. Please comment, but don't fear -- I will only say more if asked a direct question.

Thanks for reading my post.

Everyone, keep on with the ideas - This is the most dynamic forum without flaming that I have seen. It can only help with the quality of the project.

Steve, keep making the good decisions.



_____________________________

Bridge is the best wargame going .. Where else can you find a tournament every weekend?

(in reply to dhatchen)
Post #: 23
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/24/2006 7:03:24 PM   
Ballista


Posts: 179
Joined: 1/21/2005
Status: offline
FWIW from my days of playing WIF with DOD and introducing new folks into the game (I realize DOD is not in the scope of this game, but I can dream can't I :) )

I have used the Spanish Civil War to introduce new folks to the game (and refresh my mind after a long hiatus from the game). But it is somewhat atypical. I was introduced to the game years ago (the one with the orange, unnamed neutral counters- think it was Version 3 or somesuch) by a friend- without which I would probably have not bothered to learn the game. I never really enjoyed the Final Edtion as much for some reason- I could never seem to get a long enough period to start and play the game to a meaningful conclusion. That being said, tutorials/coaching is a MUST for this game.

Back when I knew the game thoroughly (before the Final Edition came out), I'd break the game down into parts to teach new players what to do. I dug up my "syllabus" (such as it was- on a 3x5 notecard). It was hands on- we'd randomly pick some units and I'd set them up on a part of the board (or in a sea-box) and roll some dice. It always seemed better to start at the small (tactical) level (e.g. single attack), then work up to operational level (e.g. turn sequence), then to strategic level (e.g production) then to Political level (e.g. US entry choices). I had no set "mini" scenarios, but usually went in order something like below (and it took at least 1 gaming session to get it down- usually with 1-2 folks new to the game). One of the nice things about CWIF is that it will keep you from doing some things that you unintentionally shouldn't be able to do.

1. Overview- unit scales, what the unit types, terrain types are etc. Most wargamers take to this instinctively. Includes a rough overview of how a turn goes.

2. Ground Combat examples, starting from simple and getting more convoluted (e.g. simple hex to hex combat, then adding in some planes for another example)

3. Ground Movement/Rail Movement (usually just explainable)

4. Naval Combat (growing more complex with each example)

5. Naval movement (This has changed the most in my time and I'm not quite up to snuff on it for FE WIF)

6. An amphibious landing mini scenario (using all of the above). Repeat any of the above that was not quite clear.

7. A rundown of production- factories, transporting resources, etc etc.

8. Some explanation of US entry levels and some of the options allowed (for DOD this took quite a while, but was one of the most satisfying things I enjoyed about the game- the sheer amout of options and how the nuances played out at the start of General War.).

We did this as teams, so the most experienced folks took the others under their wings a bit. We never had a new player totally alone on a side (we worked in teams because it allowed continuance of the game when someone had to drop out for a session or two to handle "real world" contingencies).

The group sort of went its own ways as time went on, and my work schedule/real life (I was chief arbitrator and owner of all the games/modules (multiples of most in fact- I certainly helped ADGs bottom line... :)) inhibited me from putting on any more games. I still keep in touch with one or two of them, but as far as I know they haven't played WIF in years. I still can dig up some of the old "General War Starts" setups I've got buried in the basement amongst my boxes of WIF stuff. Fun days indeed- which I hope will come again with the introduction of MWIF.


In short- on-hand tutorials are definitely a MUST. I'd need the help myself as well to get back into the flow of things..... :)


(in reply to SamuraiProgrammer)
Post #: 24
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 1/24/2006 8:06:31 PM   
abj9562


Posts: 787
Joined: 7/8/2005
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: SamuraiProgrammer

This is why I suggested 'tests' or 'quizzes' or 'question and answer' for some of the tutorials that explain game mechanics that are reduced to the program telling you what happened. Since there is no interaction by the player, there is no other way for them to know whether they are doing a good job.


Perhaps this could be done by simply informing the player when an illegal move is made with a popup stating illegal move see rule x.xx. Hyperlink the rule and additionally have a short movie playback button to see an appropriate example of the rule in action. These same movies with 3-5 counters involved would come from the tutorial. Finally this allows them to be present in game and in tutorial.

IMHO this would promote reading the rules to increase understanding. Additionally it would avoid any feelings of alienation among new players.

_____________________________

Integrity is what you do when nobody is watching.

(in reply to SamuraiProgrammer)
Post #: 25
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 2/7/2006 5:58:24 AM   
Shannon V. OKeets

 

Posts: 18411
Joined: 5/19/2005
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
Status: offline
Here is my first pass at the design document for the tutorials. I think you will see why it took me a couple of weeks to organzie the suggestions that were made.
===========================


Tutorial Design
(as of February 6, 2006)

I Tutorial Design Overview

An absolutely complete set of tutorials would take the player through the entire rule book, explaining every section in detail with maps and units. It would include all the optional rules and give examples of tactics, operations in a theater of war, and strategy. While that might be a good and noble thing to do, it is clearly impractical for MWIF.

Some items will have to be cut from the complete list. Part of the pleasure of playing WIF is learning the different tactical, operational, a strategic possibilities and trying them out. This will be even easier to do given an AI opponent to play against. Therefore, those aspects of the game will be primarily left to the written text and not part of the tutorial system.

Instead, the tutorials will focus primarily on teaching the players two things: (1) WIF rules as coded in MWIF, and (2) the MWIF user interface. The joke here is that I consider the following lists to be incomplete.

II Structure

Number
Working on the principle that you can’t have too many tutorials, there will be multiple, with each one focused on one or more aspect of game play. The tutorials will be designed to be accessible whenever a player likes, so he can review them while playing a game. Many tutorials will start with a game in progress, so this may require having the program automatically exit the player’s current game and return to it after the player reviews a tutorial or two.

The overall structure will be to provide many tutorials that are short in length, with each tutorial assuming some level of knowledge on the part of the player. Some of them will be introductory, while others will be for players who have mastered the basics. Besides being accessible individually, the tutorials will also be linked so the player can go through them in a series that provides an increasing amount of knowledge on a broad topic. Therefore, there will be a land combat tutorial (e.g., Barbarossa), a naval combat one (e.g., Guadalcanal), and one that includes the use of the production system.

Size
After the introductory tutorials, the next set of tutorials will be quite small, starting with perhaps as few as 3 to 5 units, and slowly enlarging in scope. For these tutorials, the September/October 1939 Polish campaign will be used. If possible, some decision making will be automated so the 'lesson' will be easier for the player to understand. In each case, the tutorial will have a simple task for the player to accomplish. Ideally, they will also include enough feedback on the player’s decisions that he can easily evaluate his own performance. Similar, very simple, examples will be created for each type of naval combat (naval air, surface, submarine) and air combat (air-to-air, strategic bombing, ground strike, anti-air). Some of the tutorials will cover one impulse, step for step. By linking a predetermined series of these the tutorials will demonstrate to the player what constitutes a single game turn. Each impulse in the turn will be progressively more complex.

Scenarios
The smallest scenario used in the tutorials will be the 1939 invasion of Poland, and the larger ones will be the Barbarossa and Guadalcanal scenarios. In the case of the latter two, the player will have the option of playing out the scenario from the point that the tutorial ends.

Watching
Some of the tutorials will simply have the player watch a previously played game. An additional information box/form on the screen will describe what is being done (keystrokes, mouse moves), why it is being done (tactics, strategy), and give the player some control over what is on screen. He will be able to direct the tutorial to change the speed of the presentation, skip over sections (fast forward), or return to an earlier point (rewind). This might include a small movie of play mechanics

Examine and Explore
In the Introductory Tutorials, the player will mostly examine, looking at the map and different unit types. He will be able to click on a unit and get a description of its capabilities, learn about its advantages and disadvantages. During the first Scenario Tutorial, he will be able to move units around on the map and see what their limits are, including the effects of terrain and other constraints on movement.

Feedback
Providing the player with feedback on his actions will be used often. In some cases this will be as simple as having the player press a key or click on an item and having the program respond. This will be used extensively when teaching the player the game interface system. At other times simple questions will be asked such as: “Which of the enemy stacks is the weakest?”, “What units would be best to use in attacking it?”, and “Is it better to choose the Blitz table or the Assault table?”. These questions will all be on very basic game concepts, not places where understanding the complexities of the game are required.

The intent is to enable the player to assess his own understanding of what is being taught, without requiring him to take a test. These might be offered in side boxes, where the player clicks on the answer he thinks is right and the tutorial then gives an explanation of what the right answer is, and why. We want the player to gain confidence in his understanding of the game systems and (2) expose any misunderstandings he may have acquired. The answers might expand on the topic being taught by offering advice on other things the player could do in the given game situation.

Rules Manual
The rules as coded (RAC) will be mentioned in each tutorial but not repetitively. The intent is to let the player know that more details are available, should he so desire, without belaboring the point. In particular, there will be instances where the tutorial will advise the player to read a particular section of the rules after going through the tutorial. To cover the many subtleties of the rules that will inevitably have to be omitted, the tutorials will actively encourage the player to read RAC and the MWIF player’s manual, with references to specific sections in both.

III Introductory Tutorials

It is important that the tutorials start with the basic elements of the game: Map, Countries, Units, Time, and Objectives. Countries and Objectives are easy to explain and should come first. Time can best be taught using the sequence of play, which requires that the map and units be covered previously. Therefore the order for the introductory tutorials is: Countries, Objectives, Map, Units, and Time/Sequence of Play.

The purpose of the Introductory Tutorials is to provide an overview of the unit scales, unit types, etcetera. Most war gamers understand these concepts readily, so elaborate explanations are not required.

Tutorial #1 Countries
Countries are described in the first tutorial with the distinction between major powers, minor countries, territories, and regional areas within countries explained and demonstrated. For example, the USSR is a major power, Rumania is a minor country, and Bessarabia is a regional area within Rumania. Hawaii and the Philippines are territories held by the USA at the start of the war. Within each country the objective hexes can be identified (e.g., London) and then expanded to include those not within a major power’s country proper (e.g., Gibraltar).

Tutorial #2 Map
For the map, the following items need to be displayed on screen and explained:
∙ terrain in a hex
∙ terrain in a hexside: river, canal, straits, and all sea, alpine, and lake hexsides
∙ coastal hexes versus invasion hexes
∙ sea areas
∙ rail lines
∙ cities and ports (can be iced in and/or damaged)
∙ factories and resources - both oil and regular (can be damaged or destroyed)

There are 3 separate tutorials on the units, one for each of the primary categories (land, naval, and air). Within each of the unit tutorials a further subdivision is made by unit type.

Tutorial #3 Land Units
∙ What the symbols, numbers, and colors indicate
∙ Infantry - regular, motorized, territorial, garrison, partisan, divisions
∙ HQ - armor and infantry
∙ Armor - armor and mechanized
∙ Artillery - artillery, anti-tank, anti-aircraft
∙ Specialized - cavalry, mountain, marine, paratroops, engineers, ski
∙ Elite units (i.e., “white print”)
∙ Stacking
∙ Other - forts, synthetic oil plants, saved build points, saved oil points, offensive chits

Tutorial #4 Naval Units
∙ What the symbols, numbers, and colors indicate
∙ Battleships
∙ Cruisers - heavy and light
∙ Carriers - regular and light, with an explanation of carrier class
∙ Submarines - all the different kinds from Convoys in Flames
∙ Transports - TRS, AMPH, convoys
∙ Stacking in minor ports and task force profiles during combat.

Tutorial #5 Air Units
∙ What the symbols, numbers, and colors indicate
∙ Fighters - all the different types
∙ Land based bombers - all the different types
∙ Naval air - regular and flying boats
∙ Air transports - ATR variations
∙ Carrier based air - fighter and naval air, with an explanation of carrier class

Tutorial #6 Weather
∙ Weather zones, how the weather is determined, probability of changes in the weather
∙ Types of weather and their effects on terrain (lakes, swamps, ports), movement, combat, air and sea operations, and supply.

Tutorial #7 Zones of Control, Control of Hexes, and Control of Sea Areas
∙ Zone of Control definition and its effect on movement, combat, and supply
∙ Control of hexes - how it happens and the effects
∙ Control of Sea Areas - how it happens and the effects

Tutorial #8 Supply
∙ Primary and secondary sources
∙ Supply lines from: unit to primary and secondary sources, and from secondary to primary
∙ Supply lines overseas
∙ Effects of being out of supply
∙ Emergency supply

Tutorial #9 Sequence of Play
This tutorial will introduce the user interface by having the player click on various buttons to advance through the sequence of play.
∙ Scrapping units
∙ Setting up units
∙ Declaring war
∙ Aligning neutrals
∙ Setting up attacked minors and neutrals
∙ Calling out reserves
∙ Reinforcements
∙ Initiative and weather
∙ Action choices: land, naval, air, combined, pass - with activity limits described
∙ Impulses with phasing and non-phasing player described
∙ End of turn, including the probability of ending a turn
∙ Production and other end of turn items - just mentioned lightly

IV Scenario Tutorials

Land
Movement
∙ Basic land unit movement
∙ Movement to set up a land combat (assault and blitz)
∙ Movement showing the effect of supply.
∙ Overrunning enemy units.
∙ Rail movement
∙ Maneuver to open/close a supply line.
∙ Movement to defend against an impending attack
∙ Possibly allow the player to manage all of the land units while the AIA handles the naval and air units

Combat
∙ Several land combat examples, starting with simple and getting more complicated
∙ Increased complexity comes by adding more attacking hexes and unit types, bringing in air and naval power
∙ The effects of armor, including mechanized, motorized, and anti-tank units
∙ Retreats, shattered, disruptions, advance after combat, and breakthroughs - with overruns
∙ Choosing between blitz and assault
∙ Combat results table in detail: odds shifts, effect of terrain, weather, and unit types
∙ Specialist units: paratrooper, marines, artillery, engineers
∙ HQ support and offensive chits
∙ Surprise impulses
∙ Maximizing the chances of killing 3 units in a hex
∙ Air support for land attacks: ground strike, ground support, carpet bombing, paradrops
∙ Naval support for land attacks: shore bombardment, invasions
∙ Combat to open/close a supply line
∙ Garrison one segment of the line while attacking elsewhere
∙ The last section of the combat tutorial sequence will be the September 1939 attack on Poland. It is the first land offensive of the war and everyone has to experience it, both as an attacker or defender. An expansion to this could be the inclusion of the French border. This would be the player’s “final exam” to see if he understands the basics of land combat.

Supply
∙ Supply lines in detail with many examples
∙ Effects of being out of supply

Available (face-up) verus passive (face-down)
∙ The different ways a land unit can become Passive
∙ The different ways a land unit can be restored to Available status

Naval
Movement
∙ Basic naval movement from a port to a sea area and into a sea box
∙ Naval movement where the range and movement points are different
∙ Importance of selecting a sea box
∙ Moving convoys into position for transporting resources and/or establishing supply lines
∙ Moving submarines
∙ Moving loaded transports to carry land and air units from one location to another
∙ Moving loaded transports, amphibious units, and SCS units in preparation for invading
∙ Limits on naval movement (e.g., into and out of the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas)
∙ Return to base during turn
∙ Return to base due to combat results
∙ Return to base at end of turn
∙ Forced rebasing of naval units (due to overrun)
∙ Forming task forces
∙ Strategic as well as tactical positioning of naval forces (e.g. for the USA and CW)
∙ Possibly allow the player to manage all of the naval units while the AIA handles the land and air units

Combat
∙ Interception of naval movement
∙ Fighting through interception versus stopping
∙ Moving naval task forces to engage the enemy
∙ Moving submarines to attack convoys
∙ Searching for enemy naval units
∙ Importance of sea box for naval combat, selecting sea boxes to include in combat
∙ Surprise points, how they are acquired and how they are used
∙ Surface combat
∙ Naval air combat
∙ Submarine combat
∙ Attacking and defending transports, convoy, and carriers
∙ Supporting an invasion
∙ Combat to open/close a supply line

Supply
∙ Supply for naval units
∙ How naval units are used to build, maintain, and destroy supply lines

Available (face-up) verus passive (face-down)
∙ The different ways a naval unit can become Passive
∙ The different ways a naval unit can be restored to Available status

Air
Movement
∙ Air unit mission types: ground strike, ground support, carpet bombing, strategic bombing, naval, port attacks, para drops, air transport, and air resupply
∙ The benefits and risks of each mission type
∙ Rebasing air units
∙ Forced rebasing of air units (due to overrun)
∙ Possibly allow the player to manage all of the air units while the AIA handles the land and naval units

Combat
∙ Air-to-air combat going from simple to complex combinations of engaged air units
∙ The effect of ground strikes
∙ The effect of ground support
∙ The effect of carpet bombing
∙ The effect of strategic bombing
∙ The effect of port attacks
∙ Benefits of air units in naval combat
∙ Use of carrier air units in naval combat
∙ The effect of paradrops
∙ Maximizing the probability of clearing a bomber through to a target

Supply
∙ Supply for air units
∙ How air units can be used to supply other units

Available (face-up) verus passive (face-down)
∙ The different ways a land unit can become Passive
∙ The different ways a land unit can be restored to Available status

Production
Producing Build Points
∙ Resources - both oil and non-oil
∙ Factories
∙ Using rail lines to transport resources to factories
∙ Using convoys to transport resources to factories
∙ Submarine interference
∙ Partisan interference
∙ Search and seizure
∙ Production multiples, yielding build points

Producing Units
∙ Unit costs
∙ Delay in unit arrival times
∙ Units that take two cycles to build
∙ Gearing limits
∙ Construction pool and repair pool
∙ Reinforcement arrival times

Politics
War
∙ Declaring war
∙ Aligning minor countries
∙ Conquering countries - complete and incomplete
∙ Liberation
∙ US entry
∙ US entry pool and tension pool
∙ US entry actions
∙ US entry choices
∙ Vichy France

Peace
∙ Trade agreements
∙ Neutrality pacts
∙ Border garrison level
∙ Lend lease

V Do’s
∙ Overcome the biggest barrier to learning: the idea that the player already knows and does not need to learn.
∙ Provide an easy and smooth introduction to the game
∙ Inform the player when an illegal move is made with a popup that states “Illegal move see rule # xx”. Enable the player to hyperlink to the rule.
∙ Promote reading the rules to increase understanding
∙ Provide coaching
∙ Provide the ability to save any tutorial partway through, so that the player does not have to start at the beginning every time.


VI Don’ts
∙ Make the game complicated to learn.
∙ Leave out documentation (there should be a good player’s manual).
∙ Begin with a long tutorial before starting the game, because it is hard to remember everything and the finer points are hard to get across and not appreciated.
∙ Require following the tutorial precisely (e.g., going through a tutorial keystroke by keystroke).
∙ Require succeeding at one section of the tutorial before moving on to the next.
∙ Make taking or passing tests mandatory.


_____________________________

Steve

Perfection is an elusive goal.

(in reply to abj9562)
Post #: 26
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 2/7/2006 1:04:28 PM   
wodin


Posts: 8014
Joined: 4/20/2003
From: England
Status: online
A quick point here.

I imagine the manual being a hefty piece of work.

This means a big expense to get it printed and with a game like this you need a manual.

HOWEVER. The idea of watching replays whilst the game mechanics are being explained thorugh pop ups is a fantastic idea.

Also hyperlinks during play to the manual is another superb idea aswell.



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(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 27
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 2/7/2006 4:52:52 PM   
Froonp


Posts: 7899
Joined: 10/21/2003
From: Marseilles, France
Status: offline
quote:

Tutorial #1 Countries
Countries are described in the first tutorial with the distinction between major powers, minor countries, territories, and regional areas within countries explained and demonstrated. For example, the USSR is a major power, Rumania is a minor country, and Bessarabia is a regional area within Rumania. Hawaii and the Philippines are territories held by the USA at the start of the war. Within each country the objective hexes can be identified (e.g., London) and then expanded to include those not within a major power’s country proper (e.g., Gibraltar).

The Philippines is a Minor Country, not a territory.
A Minor country has a capital city, a territory has not.
This is important for conquest purposes.
The Hawaiian Islands is a territory, and is conquered when all ports in the Hawaiian islands (Honolulu & Midway) are conquered.
The Philippines is a minor country and is conquered when Manila is conquered.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 28
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 2/7/2006 4:54:50 PM   
Froonp


Posts: 7899
Joined: 10/21/2003
From: Marseilles, France
Status: offline
quote:


Tutorial #2 Map
(...)
∙ rail lines

And roads too. Burma Road and Petsamo Road.

(in reply to Shannon V. OKeets)
Post #: 29
RE: MWiF Tutorial - 2/7/2006 4:55:55 PM   
SamuraiProgrammer

 

Posts: 338
Joined: 10/17/2004
From: Paducah, Kentucky
Status: offline
Wow!



If this isn't enough to help new players gain knowledge and confidence, I have no idea what would!

Keep up the good work!!!!



_____________________________

Bridge is the best wargame going .. Where else can you find a tournament every weekend?

(in reply to Froonp)
Post #: 30
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