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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

67 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationConference Proceedings - The 30th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2012
Pages59-68
Number of pages10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012
Event30th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2012 - Austin, TX, United States
Duration: May 5 2012May 10 2012

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

Other

Other30th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2012
CountryUnited States
CityAustin, TX
Period5/5/125/10/12

Keywords

  • Analytics
  • Games
  • Multivariate testing
  • Tutorials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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