6 replies [Last post]
S0ckrates's picture
User offline. Last seen 7 hours 3 min ago. Offline
Joined: 05/19/2017
Groups: None

I was curious to know how the Tutorial revamp is going. I'm especially interested in what kinds of changes are being made to be friendlier to a wider audience, and whether or not they're the kinds of changes that could potentially make this game appealing to my varied gamer friends, even if it's only for a short while.

There's quite a bit that I've learned about this game through streaming and having chatters like Susume and Tokens give me crash courses in things like the Ramachandran Map dragging. The problem is that these are things that I would not have learned from the Tutorial levels and normal gameplay alone, and implicitly forcing players to go wiki-diving for learning is a very easy way to lose impatient players who aren't having fun with the game already. You could make the case that Minecraft was/still is a wiki-diving required game to learn but having said this it is much more of a free-form intuitive sandbox game than a scientific, very niche protein sandbox. A good tutorial revamp will have to cover a lot of these commonly used advanced tactics that folders use on a daily basis before running their scripts (and don't get me started on how intimidating those are to a new player either, phew. half the time nobody really takes the time to write down what their script does in plain words).

Teaching players how to play the game within the game is a hallmark of good game design. A prime example of this is how stages in Mega Man present obstacles in a safer environment so that the player learns how they behave before they proceed onwards to more dangerous instances of the same obstacle. Familiar, yet different. Puzzles in critically acclaimed puzzle games such as Portal also follow this pattern, as well as puzzles in non-puzzle games like the ones in Legend of Zelda Dungeons. By this same vein, it'd be nice to have multiple puzzles for practicing the different techniques presented so as to build mastery before plunging into the Beginner Puzzles and Weeklies.

When the new tutorial does come out, I will most certainly livestream myself playing through it and hopefully draw in a few audience members outside the fold (pun intended) to see what's going on. Hope this discussion helps!

smortier's picture
User offline. Last seen 2 days 18 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 03/10/2016
Groups: None
Thanks so much for your comments, S0ck.

I wholeheartedly agree with your statements. Thorough and fun tutorials set the groundwork for fantastic gameplay (Half-Life, anyone?!?).

I've emailed the admin team to see if the person working on the tutorial changes can hop on and give an informed update.

Thanks, again. Really thankful for your perspective and the time you commit to communicating that perspective.

Uttkarsh's picture
User offline. Last seen 3 days 2 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 05/03/2017
Groups: None
New Tutorials.

Hey S0ckrates,

Sorry for the late reply, but yeah we have a few tutorial levels coming up which will delve into Foldit tools which weren't touched in the tutorials till now. We are always looking to make our tutorial levels more inviting and accessible to new players, that is integral to any good introductory level. Your words very well explain how intro levels should behave and we hope to provide new players a better first experience with Foldit. :)

That be awesome if you'd play through the new levels on live stream when they come out. Thank you for your continued support

joshmiller's picture
User offline. Last seen 13 hours 37 min ago. Offline
Joined: 09/08/2017
Groups: None
Hey S0ckrates, If you would

Hey S0ckrates,

If you would like to help the tutorial revamping, I would like to know what strategies you've figured out as an expert folder. If you could give a few tips to new players to solve puzzles better, what would they be?

Thanks :)

S0ckrates's picture
User offline. Last seen 7 hours 3 min ago. Offline
Joined: 05/19/2017
Groups: None
I'm no expert, but...

The following list is either techniques that I've learned or techniques that I want to learn as a semi-experienced but not quite consistent top 10 leaderboard folder.

- Different puzzle types call for different strategies to approach. I personally have the most experience with De-novo folding since those are the easiest to grapple with for me, but having tips on big picture approaches for the puzzle genres is the first thing. Explain what is "early game, mid-game, late game" in Foldit. For example, in the early game for De-novo puzzles, sometimes it's useful to take the predicted structures, use the cut tool to separate them, and lay them out in front of you before choosing what goes where and how the protein is going to be packed. In particular, the Black Belt Folding series is something I think could be translated into an in-game tutorial about general strategy rather than individual mechanics. It's one thing to know how to do the individual actions in the game, it's another thing entirely to know how to put them to use without getting overwhelmed with the complexity. P.S. on this one: I need Design tips other than mutate everything, wiggle, and hope for the best. There's got to be a better workflow than that.

- Use cut/rebind! It turns the amino acid chain into more manageable chunks, kind of like molecular legos (moleculegos if you will) so that you can play around with them and figure out where things go. Moving and wiggling individual segments is taught to you in the old tutorial, but never really put into practice with further examples, so find your own opportunites to do so in the De-Novo beginner puzzles.

- Don't be afraid to assign your own secondary structures on unknowns! The whole point is to see if humans folders can get creative solutions faster than a computer algorithm would, so if intuition strikes, go for it!

- Try recipes for sweet sweet score optimization. You're probably not gonna know what they do so it's probably wise to ask in global chat since the recipe authors don't really put what the recipe actually does in the description and instead just plaster patch notes and expect everyone to pass it on by word of mouth. Annoying, I know, but community learning is community learning.

- Don't forget to use a Medium wiggle at clashing importance (or CI, if you haven't learned that abbreviation by now) 1.00 so that you have the absolute best score possible. Medium wiggle forces backbone ideality calculations when it works, so watch those points go up when you do it. Medium implies there would be a "high" wiggle power, but there isn't. Don't ask me why, I have no idea.

- If you wanna bend an individual segment, try Ramachandran map dragging. This technique (unfortunately) takes a little UI menuing since it's buried beneath some menus and it's not taught in the old tutorial, but go to selection interface, select the segment you wanna bend another way, open the Rama Map (under some menu I can't remember, again, UI is clunky as hell y'all), and look for the little white square representing the amino acid selected. Drag that around and watch how it changes; it's a bit unintuitive but probably one of the better ways to bend a specific segment if you don't think freezing, rubber banding, and wiggling will get you what you want without a denatured mess.

- This tip is also buried under obfuscated UI, but try switching the color mode in the view tab over to "Hydro". This will colorize the residues in your protein by hydrophilicity, so hydrophillics will be completely blue (even the backbone) and hydrophobics will be, you guessed it, orange. This can help a lot in the early game when you're trying to figure out what packs where in your solution.

- Remember to right click your alpha helices and hit "Idealize SS" if they're all sprawled out. They won't automatically wind up when you hit wiggle, much to your chagrin.

- If there are 2 cysteines (short, orange hydrophobic amino acids with yellow tips denoting the sulfur on them), more often than not they're going to form sulfur bridges. Band them together, set the length to about 2.00 by right clicking the band, and crank the strength way up. Wiggle, or use cutting to bring the pieces together. This example doesn't come up often, so if this could be a recurring example that players face to learn to recognize these opportunities, that'd be great.

In general:
The tutorial needs to be expanded with more puzzles to hone mastery of individual techniques in conjunction with other techniques through practical examples. Mere tips are not enough: Opportunities to practice said tips are the key to designing a good tutorial (or the rest of the game, for that matter) that onboards new players and gives them all the tools they need to discover creative solutions. Not to say that hidden mechanics are fun to discover, but with a game as esoteric and arcane as this, clarity and competence are the key things players need to feel as they get acquainted with folding.

joshmiller's picture
User offline. Last seen 13 hours 37 min ago. Offline
Joined: 09/08/2017
Groups: None
Thanks!

S0ck, this is super helpful, thank you so much. If you think of any more, feel free to email me directly at miller.josh@husky.neu.edu. I'm going to be doing a lot of the bulk work on revamping the tutorial's UI and implementing more principles of good game design over the next few months, although it may be a while before we push out the changes.
Cheers,
Josh

smortier's picture
User offline. Last seen 2 days 18 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 03/10/2016
Groups: None
Drafts of the New Tutorials are Up in DEVPREV

We'd very much welcome your perspective on what's been done. Feel free to shoot me a message with any thoughts you have. I'll be compiling feedback and passing it onto the student who has been working on them.

Sitemap

Supported by: UW Center for Game Science, UW Department of Computer Science and Engineering, UW Baker Lab, VU Meiler Lab,
DARPA, NSF, NIH, HHMI, Microsoft, Adobe, RosettaCommons