Better introduction/explanation needed for tutorials

Case number:671071-993594
Topic:Game: Other
Opened by:mbinfield
Opened on:Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 13:42
Last modified:Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 00:40

It's too easy for new players to get stuck in the tutorial levels. Many of the tutorials require the players to follow instructions very closely, and if the players deviate at all, the protein falls into a state where the level is nearly unsolvable without resetting.

In chat we often explain to new players that the tutorials aren't supposed to be hard, and that if they're having trouble, they should reset and follow the instructions step-by-step. Unfortunately, we're usually explaining that after a new player has spent an hour on a tutorial level that's supposed to take five or ten minutes. New players tend to think that the tutorials are truly part of the game, not just demonstrations of the tools. So if they go off track, they wind up frustrated and confused and think they're bad at the game. A player might see the "reset" button but think that if they hit it, they'll lose all their work on that tutorial level.

Rather than have players explaining this to the newcomers, there should be a prominent message displayed at the beginning of the tutorials, explaining that these are supposed to be easy demonstrations, that players should follow the instructions step-by-step rather than trying to be creative, and advising them to hit "reset" as soon as they have any trouble. This will alleviate a lot of frustration.

(Tue, 09/25/2012 - 13:42  |  11 comments)

marie_s's picture
User offline. Last seen 2 years 5 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 05/18/2008
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I dont think it is a high priority.
Keep high priority to situation when nobody can play.

Tutorial puzzles are not suppose to take five or ten minutes, they are supposed to take the time the player takes to understand the tool shown.

Players, usually students sent my their teacher,that you listen complaining on the chat, have not read the instructions, they will not read the first message how big you write it.

Joined: 08/24/2011
Groups: Go Science

Good point. It's really not a priority 1.

However, it's unfair to say that the people who get frustrated on the tutorials are not reading the instructions. I've talked with plenty of smart adults who get stuck on the tutorials. The tutorials behave in a counter-intuitive way: they allow the players a wide range of actions, but for at least some levels, any deviation from the step-by-step instructions can render the puzzle almost impossible to solve without resetting. Sure, even if we put clearer guidance up front, some players won't read it. But if it keeps some potential players from giving up and leaving, I think it's worth doing.

infjamc's picture
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"But if it keeps some potential players from giving up and leaving, I think it's worth doing."

I'll go one step further and say that it's not only worth doing, but important for retention. After all, one of the graphs from the supplemental section of the first Nature article on Foldit suggests that more than 90% of the players who started the first tutorial puzzle never completed the entire series. If we could reduce the drop-out rate from 90% to even 70%, the number of Foldit players retained would triple.

kea's picture
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"they are supposed to take the time the player takes to understand the tool shown."

I agree but 'understanding the tool' can require repeating the tutorial puzzle in order to, for example, try using the tool on a different part of the protein. In that case, it would be helpful if, after the tutorial puzzle had been solved, the guide was still available but no longer began automatically when a solved puzzle was reloaded.

This would be another reward for having solved the tutorial puzzle once!

gitwut's picture
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Perhaps if the text bubble that marks the end of the instructions Repeat guide? OK! included a brief sentence or two to the effect If after a while you feel stuck, click the Reset Puzzle button and try again.

I think it would be hard not to notice any message added at that point.

Joined: 04/28/2013
Groups: None

As a current not-dumb newbie working through the tutorials, I have to say that they're quite poor and if you're hoping to retain folks you need to do a few things:

* Make it clear they shouldn't take that long -
* let us turn off the pop-up bubbles after the first time they show up -- very annoying
* have someone to test to make sure they work - I'm on windows 7-64, updated nvidia driver; on 4-2, turn it down, a lot of people post that this one doesn't work right. It doesn't but I can't explain how. I had to cheat to get it to move - i.e., not perform the requested action and do something else to get points. Not appreciated.
* on 4-3 the horizontal flipping isn't working at all
* don't require passing one to do the others. If one of your scripts has a conflict with someone's browser but the others don't then let the person move on and through.

I'm probably going to bag it after this. There's no reason to keep slogging through broken tutorials.



marie_s's picture
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Turn it down works perfectly well, I just test it on win7.
For flipping sheets, you need to shake and wiggle a little before flipping the sheet but it works well after.

I agree that the voids are not useful.

Joined: 09/21/2011

New players need to feel like they grasp what is happening on their screen. They also need to feel like they are gaining an understanding of the game based on their success in the tuts. I had no idea what i was looking at and I felt like I was just going through the motions with no real clear comprehension of what was happening. I did enjoy the "celebration" when a puzzle completed though.

This is fine for some people, but the vast majority feel like idiots when they open the tutorial. I've introduced people with very high intellect to this game, and I get the same response. "I'm sorry, but it was way too hard." That was their response from doing the tuts.

However, these types of tuts are perfect for vets. I think vets could use a new round of tuts just for them. They would include: setting up denovo, placing your sheets and helices, recognizing "ugly" proteins, how to choose the right script at the right time, healing cutpoints, etc.

I get that this is a wish list to get a revamped tutorial for newbs, and a vet tutorial. Just wanted to put it out there.

Joined: 04/15/2012
Groups: Beta Folders

Similar o the thought here:

spmm's picture
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Joined: 08/05/2010
Groups: Void Crushers - 'Feelings of aggression after playing video games are more likely to be linked to gameplay mechanics rather than violent content, a study suggests.'

Perhaps another reason why newbies can become so obnoxious, especially the younger ones.

"Players of games without any violent content were still feeling pretty aggressive if they hadn't been able to master the controls or progress through the levels at the end of the session."

jaiding's picture
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4-2 Turn it down isn't working for me either


Developed by: UW Center for Game Science, UW Institute for Protein Design, Northeastern University, Vanderbilt University Meiler Lab, UC Davis
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