November 25, 2013

Tell, Show, Do...

A player needs to be taught in the simplest terms not because they are incapable of grasping complicated concepts but because they have no time for it, they’d rather be playing the game!  We must use Tell, Show, Do… to teach the player appropriately very quickly!  In case you don’t know the method, it goes something like this, first you Tell them, then you Show them, and finally you let them Do!!!

Most of us were subjected to this early in life because it is a perfect way to teach a 5 year old in kindergarden.  You might think I am comparing player's to kindergardeners and well you would be right but it's really only in terms of attention span.  We have to capture the imagination of the player so this is a good way to do it and teach while building up to a moment of fun, when we let the player "Do" the action we have built up!

Here are a few great examples of this in games that I love :)

Ratchet and Clank:
The new game uses short cute animated spots to inform the player of the new weapon they have just spent their hard earned bolts on.  Player also has the option to preview before purchase!

When the video is over and the player exits the store the new weapon is already in hand, armed and ready to dispatch any foes in sight.  The best part is the player already knows how to wield the weapon from the "advertising video" so it eliminates almost all trial and error.  Not only is the weapon now intuitive but it also has set the player expectations which will be fulfilled when the weapon is fired.  This is much better than the player inferring something from the title of the gun and then it not living up to the expectations the player has created in their mind.

Here we have a montage of the plasmid tutorial videos from Ryan Industries!

Oddly enough this technique seems to dominate the dentist world which makes a lot of sense after you think about it. "Trust" is the key to doctor / patient relationship and must be established otherwise there are going to be a lot of tears during a simply teeth cleaning.  Teaching players about mechanics should be handled the same way, build "Trust" by being honest with the player about how things are going to work so they are not dying all the time.

So be honest with the player and when you can try to Tell, Show, Do!!!

June 14, 2011


Wow, it's been over a year and finally I have taken some time to update the old blog. Unfortunately this post will not tackle a serious topic but perhaps next time or maybe I'll take another year off.

Anyhow, I was at some dev meet up and John "I hope that's right, and I forgot your last name" over at Naughty Dog asked me to write more about animation systems and theory in the vain of my previous posts. Well that is going to have to wait but in the meantime here is a great article to hold you over.

"Darkstalkers and the Twelve Principles of Animation". If you have already read it, read it again because I do all the time just so I don't forget.

Also here are a few other resources I constantly use to steal ideas from or use to explain something to an animator.

Street Fighter Third Strike Sprite Animation Library
This site is absolutely amazing as it tears apart everything 3S has to offer for your consumption. Each character sprite set is viewable and even downloadable, along with full VFX rips and background rips. In addition to all this, sound and voice files are available along with a nice tutorial for sprite ripping.

The Fighter's Generation
This site is the most complete library of fighting game characters that I know of on the internet! The site has tons of ripped sprites for 2D games, a lot of artwork per character, and news about anything fighting games.

In other news, Mike Birkhead started to blog on all things beat'em up design and a few other things in between. Hurry over to his blog to level up as he has been covering many lessons learned by all the combat designers that have touched the God of War franchise at both Sony Santa Monica and Ready at Dawn.

Combat Encounters
Designing Enemies - part 1
Designing Enemies - part 2
Designing Enemies - part 3

Finally, here is an amazing article "How to steal like an artist" that hit home for me as all I do is steal when I design, I have no misconceptions that I am a thief, fraud, or however you like to phrase it!

Well that is enough pointless stuff for one night.

May 5, 2010

Design Efficiency

If only publishers would allow designers to design tight little experiences like this instead of a "back of the box" features 1 through 100. Sadly most designers would hate to work in small boxes anyhow, so I guess it's not all the publishers fault. Perhaps this is what indie games are for? I'm a big fan of simple clean designs but I have yet to really execute one, this makes me sad. Hopefully one day I will be able to execute a simple and clean design that is quite intuitive much like the original iPod Three Click Design Rule which stated that any menu on the device could be accessed in 3 clicks or less. The 3 Click Rule is also a staple of web page design stating that people will leave the site after 3 clicks if they do not access what they are seeking but this has sort of been proven false over time. I still use this mentality when trying to map mechanics and actions to the controller so it was a good lesson learned either way!

May 2, 2010

Love everything about this: the sequel...

Ok I am pretty sure music is way more interesting to me then games at this moment. I go through this every now and again but by E3 I am sure games will have taken over again. Until then Pitchfork is gonna be my best friend!

March 9, 2010

Love everything about this...

Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear from Gabe Askew on Vimeo.

Ok this is a poor warm up to me actually writing on this thing again... Oh yeah GDC is coming up see you there!

May 18, 2009

Best excuse ever!


I wish there was an equivalent to Senioritis for adults because I am totally going through it right now with this blog and other things. Currently I have zero desire to write about anything because I spend all of my time working on too many projects all over the place to even know what time zone I am in anymore. All that being said, sorry to those of you that visit this thing in hopes of reading something interesting or relevant to video games.

BUT... here is what I have been up doing!

I went on my honeymoon to Grand Cayman Islands. Pretty awesome time, swam with dolphins, saw 60 year old sea turtles, went to Hell, drove on the wrong side of the road, drank lots of cherry milkshakes, nabbed some conch shells, took lots of pictures, almost ran over an iguana, snorkeled, and relaxed on the beach. All in all it was a week of bliss with the lovely wife!

Been playing a lot of games as well since I cannot sleep. Just finished the following...

- Wolverine: Props to Raven and my good friend Derek Daniels for doing justice to the character, Blob fight was AWESOME!

- Star Wars The Force Unleashed: On the final boss, doubtful to finish due to cheap nearly instant death loops, fun physics!

- Ninja Blade: Wow is all I have to say, repetitive but I finished each insane cut scene QTE with a bizarre smile on my face!

Also been playing a lot of SF4, still suck but it's fun for old times sake. If you wanna kick my ass because I know lots of people that love to beat up on game designers, feel free to email me your gamertag.

I promise to get back in the swing of things come June when Milestones are finished and travel has subsided!

Oh yeah E3 is coming up so if you are going and want to hang out or whatever drop me a line!

Finally, I leave you with this amazing clip!