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Player Training

Much of the work done on Starfighter lately has been with player-training and mechanic discoverability. Here are a few screenshots and brief updates about what I've been hammering on.

Discoverability: Shop UI has been refined to help you make better decisions about what you're spending your bounties on.

Wave-Clear

Wave-clear mode familiarizes you with the combat before making you play hide and seek in the campaign.

Starfighter's wave-clear mode will handle the combat mechanics training and lock out the campaign mode until a certain wave number is reached. 

Under the guise of a systems check, you'll perform many of the same learning exercises like many tutorial levels, but accelerated and with less context. 

I'm not super worried about teaching the player to fly. This is because Starfighter's been cold-tested at numerous trade shows AND combat controls have been designed around gamepad FPS paradigms that many players already know. 

For example switch weapon is on Y, X is reload (holding it interacts with your target if possible), and A handles movement abilities. Of course, right trigger is shoot. 

From a high level, controls are designed around realizing player intent as opposed to manually operating a machine.

 

Starmap

The starmap gameplay is fairly simple from an abstract perspective, and is based around common gameplay mechanics. But getting the player to realize they already know how to play it can be tricky.

Space is awesome, but let's be honest: it can confuse the hell out of people, even me.

The number one thing my testers (especially new ones) bring up is that the campaign just sort of throws you into it. If they have problems with it, so will everyone else.  

The good news is that I've made a lot of progress on a starmap-level tutorial.

The downside is that it's not very interactive. It's akin to having a board game set itself up and then read the manual to you, highlighting the pieces in question as it goes. It's not ideal, but it's better than nothing, and has helped so far.

 

Moving Forward

Deciding what information is most important at any given time is an interesting problem. Once you add VR into the mix it adds a whole extra set of requirements.

There are still several things to work on before release, and iterating on these front-loaded tutorials is one of them. The good news is that it's really simple to add new tutorial segments, or modify existing ones.

In the far future, I'll likely need to work on a very methodical Starmap mechanic tutorial. 

Until then, you may need a helmet.