SRB2's picking up news coverage... again.

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As dirty as a word as it is, we've even been considering a tutorial level purely to make sure that players understand strafing before letting them loose on the game

If you do this, be sure to also hammer it in that the only way to stop flying forward while jumping is to hold the back key. Letting go of forward does nothing.

Also that you can't touch any controls when you hit springs. I think disabling the controls for half a second after hitting an angled spring would help new players a lot.
 

nothing

Does nothing at all.
As dirty as a word as it is, we've even been considering a tutorial level purely to make sure that players understand strafing before letting them loose on the game, because it's the type of thing that I don't think we can teach without explicitly talking about it.

But isn't this game suppose to be a classic styled fan game?
 

Monster Iestyn

Fangtastic
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But isn't this game suppose to be a classic styled fan game?

Oh don't worry, we won't have Omochao anywhere near SRB2. ;)

That said, being a "classic styled" fangame doesn't mean tutorials are out of the question entirely in any form. Could have sworn SegaSonic at least had a brief on-screen gameplay tutorial or something, but that's probably a lot different than what Mystic has in mind.
 
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Mystic

Member
I do think that a tutorial is distasteful as I personally hate that type of thing, but I think we've gotten enough data to realize that being subtle and gentle about it isn't working. We expect players to understand things that they aren't understanding, and this is making players feel our game controls are "slippery" and "tank-like" when that couldn't be farther from the truth. There are a bunch of things on the list of stuff to test to try to mitigate that, but I think there's really no way around the fact that if we want players to understand certain things that we can't teach by example, we're going to have to tell them.
 

Ritz

Subhedgehog
Sonic Team Junior
I think you can implement this easier than you think -- just allow mouselook camera control in analog mode. Doing this will probably cause fewer unintended issues than having the character sprite face a strafe in 'analog off' mode.
While we're at it, is there any particular reason we can't have a crosshair in 3rd person? I've been wanting that for years.
 

Mystic

Member
The main problem is that our third person camera doesn't actually have the center of the screen be where you're firing. You'd have to actually do math to figure out where the shots are being aimed at and make a Star Fox style multiple crosshair, and that's a lot of work for a minor feature, so it's not on the to-do list.
 

Aegix

Generally Friendly
You can technically play SRB2 without strafe, but you're severely handicapping yourself and you'll find the game far more frustrating. The basic idea isn't to emphasize the mouse (although we should indeed suggest giving it a shot because it's better overall) but to emphasize strafing as an important gameplay mechanic.

Huh. I've been playing it wrong all along then. I'm one of those arrow keys guys. >_>

I HAVE switched to using WASD and the mouse in single player a few times (notably for the endgame bosses), but outside of those cases I've rarely felt that strafing would have helped that much more.

Hmm...Maybe it's time to try for more time attack Emblems while using strafing? Maybe that'll cut a few more critical seconds off my times...


As dirty as a word as it is, we've even been considering a tutorial level purely to make sure that players understand strafing before letting them loose on the game, because it's the type of thing that I don't think we can teach without explicitly talking about it.

If it's optional/skippable, but very heavily recommended by the game I'd totally go for some kind of short tutorial/sandbox level. There are lots of little things here and there that you either have to discover by accident or via the forums/wikia that might trip up new players (pressing spin to make the Air Shield give you a jump boost for example, although that could always be expressed vie Cecho when you pick one up or something), in addition to the strafing thing.

I do think that a tutorial is distasteful as I personally hate that type of thing, but I think we've gotten enough data to realize that being subtle and gentle about it isn't working.

I think there's really no way around the fact that if we want players to understand certain things that we can't teach by example, we're going to have to tell them. .

I understand the frustration. It's better to be able to organically peel back the mechanics and understand them without a tutorial outright telling you. Tutorials can really spoil immersion and engagement in the opening of a game. No one likes sitting in class.

Unfortunately, there are people out there who will not understand something, no matter how important, no matter how clear it is, unless you directly tell them.

*looks balefully at my friend who got stuck in my supposedly "idiot proof" easy mode for one of my games*

*Turns and looks balefully at some of the idiots playing Evolve and not understanding basic things*

Actually, on the subject of "show, don't tell", will there ever be some hint to show players that a wall isn't "knuckles-Climbable" until they try to climb it? Personally I'm just used to it at this point, but it's still a nasty surprise the first few times it happens, until you learn to try to predict where they'll happen.
 

CobaltBW

Community Noise Maker
Sonic Team Junior
Okay look, I'm all for the uh, "learn by doing" approach, but we don't have to pretend like giving the player some helpful text every once in a while is "bad design". Shit, just look at Super Mario World -- there's help boxes in like half of the levels, and it's not intrusive in the slightest. As I've already said, we could very easily just throw a few Sonic Adventure style tooltips into some levels to help the player better grasp some of the less intuitive game mechanics. We don't even need a full tutorial level.
 

TehRealSalt

(σᴥσ)
Kart Krew™️
Personally I'd think it'd be even better to go even more SMW-like and have the hint look like a block (or in SRB2's case, an item/monitor) to those who don't know what it is. Maybe an indestructible monitor that can be hit more than once that gives you a hint when you try bopping it? It'll likely be checked out at least once since it should look a bit interesting. After they've opened one, they can skip past them if they've played the game before or just decide they don't want to look at hints.
 
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fickleheart

ms reflec beat stan
Regarding tips, we really oughta bring back the manual (and maybe ask for translations from the community so that people who speak other languages can make use of it), but I know in dev channels we've also talked about expanding the help screen to a full-out help menu that has a main menu entry as well as the typical F1 access point. That would at least give us a place to explain basics, and for more complex things maybe we could include demos as a visual aid or something like that?

Actually, on the subject of "show, don't tell", will there ever be some hint to show players that a wall isn't "knuckles-Climbable" until they try to climb it? Personally I'm just used to it at this point, but it's still a nasty surprise the first few times it happens, until you learn to try to predict where they'll happen.
This is a level design problem moreso than a game problem. The best thing to do in these cases is use specific textures for non-climbable walls; for instance, in Clock Towers I used the dark stone texture (iirc) for them, and in ACZ2 I'm using the brown ACZROCK variant for the same purpose.
 

SANICBOOM644

Blue Hedgehog Acceleration
What about making a "loading screen" that can be turned off before levels in Single Player and online
 

Aegix

Generally Friendly
What about making a "loading screen" that can be turned off before levels in Single Player and online

So creating dead time or increased screens between levels just for the sake of throwing up a few tips that 100% of people will mash through because they just want to keep the game flow going from level to level?

That seems like the least efficient way to do this kind of thing for a game like this which has virtually zero loading time.
 

arkman

Member
Tutorial demo movie if you let the game sit on the start screen in addition to showinggameplay it has little controller overlays an time stop. . Alternatively or a a single playground level with giant billboard hints that guide the actions
 

Monster Iestyn

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I would have thought you'd learn the gimmicks in each zone by simply playing them? Not like they all throw you into the deep end with their gimmicks straight away, unless it's Egg Rock of course. You usually get some chance to learn how they work for the most part, last I remember.

...On the other hand, a forced "loading screen" would just invoke the Sonic Game That Must Not Be Named, don't go there please. =V
 
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Aegix

Generally Friendly
What about a hub like Sonic Advance 3 so you can choose levels and learn the gimmicks in each zone

The zone gimmicks are fine, though. They're telegraphed enough already (with the exception of Egg Rock which is supposed to be Megaman Levels of Hardcore).

The zone gimmicks aren't what need tutorial-ing. It's the more tricky stuff like using strafing controls when they don't seem like a natural idea for a sonic game, and possibly for the stuff that really isn't clear (like pressing spin to get a double jump with the wind shield)
 
Now that I think about it, you don't necessarily need a tutorial level to teach strafing. You just need to rethink the default controls. Picture this:

As Mystic said earlier, Sonic's sprites would no longer be bound to the direction of the camera, though the controls would stay the same. That means that pressing strafe left/right would make Sonic face that direction.

Using a WASD control scheme with strafing, this would make moving around look similar to using analog mode with a keyboard, except that the camera doesn't move.

Then, up arrow is jump. Left arrow is turn left, right arrow is turn right. And down arrow is spindash.

These controls might be weird for a first-time player, but not more than they already are, and it forces the player to properly learn the controls.
 
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