The Impact of Tutorials on Games of Varying Complexity
One of the key challenges of video game design is teaching new players how to play. Although game developers frequently use tutorials to teach game mechanics, little is known about how tutorials affect game learnability and player engagement. Seeking to estimate this value, we implemented eight tutorial designs in three video games of varying complexity and evaluated their effects on player engagement and retention. The results of our multivariate study of over 45,000 players show that the usefulness of tutorials depends greatly on game complexity. Although tutorials increased play time by as much as 29\% in the most complex game, they did not significantly improve player engagement in the two simpler games. Our results suggest that investment in tutorials may not be justified for games with mechanics that can be discovered through experimentation.
Project Members
Erik Andersen
Eleanor O'Rourke
Yun-En Liu
Richard Snider
Jeff Lowdermilk
David Truong
Seth Cooper
Zoran Popović
The Impact of Tutorials on Games of Varying Complexity
Erik Andersen, Eleanor O'Rourke, Yun-En Liu, Richard Snider, Jeff Lowdermilk, David Truong, Seth Cooper, Zoran Popović
CHI 2012 (Paper)
[Paper (2.4 MB)]
[Project Website]
[Refraction on Kongregate (Requires Adobe Flash Player 10)]
Hello Worlds
[Hello Worlds on Kongregate (Requires Adobe Flash Player 10)]
[Project Website]
University of Washington Center for Game Science
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
National Science Foundation