What are some JRPGs with good combat tutorials?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Uzuki, Mar 15, 2018.

  1. Uzuki

    Uzuki Kawaii on the streets, Senpai in the sheets Veteran

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    So I was working on my game and I finally got to the point where I discuss the battle mechanics. The issue (well more like an mental roadblock) is how do I describe it without sounding like every other rpg out there. It's not complex, but I don't want to do an generic "HP stands for health points! Use Attack to make it go down to zero!" shtick. I've been racking my brain to think of any standout tutorials and nothing is coming up. Do y'all have any good tutorial examples that stand out?
     
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  2. msazako

    msazako "Lie of msazako" Veteran

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    @Uzuki My principle has always been: Less tutorials, more immersion.
    I cannot stand extremely detailed tutorials. They're basically roadblocks from getting you into the game. Your target audience shouldn't be babies... (unless they actually are)

    A game I can think of that pulls tutorials off brilliantly with characters explaining mechanics is Final Fantasy XII. Even though they break the 4th wall by mentioning controls, at least they don't go too in-depth.

    This is why whenever I make an RPG, I usually have frequent characters that explain combat mechanics without sounding like someone who just broke the 4th wall-- it's good roleplay, and it doesn't bore the player. While there are still tutorial messages in the game, they are at least minimal and leaves the player to figure the rest out for themselves.
     
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  3. JtheDuelist

    JtheDuelist Just a dev who actually got a game finished Veteran

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    As for battle tutorial, I have the protagonist's friend just say these lines and that is it before the protagonist and his friend have a friendly sparring match as the game's first battle. Beyond that, there are no more tutorials in the game- ya got to figure the rest out on your own.
    Tutorial Text.png
    Or you could pull a "Monster Hunter" on players and just throw them in without a single tutorial, and then leave the tutorials as optional sidequests.
     
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  4. ItsAlterity

    ItsAlterity Mirroraculous Developer Veteran

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    When it comes to JRPGs, unless you REALLY have a specific system, I almost think honestly that it doesn't need a tutorial. Sometimes, you can just do it by having the user be experienced into it and learn the basics through playing a bit. Design the level even so they have to learn these things. Shovel Knight is a good example of this sort of thing even though it isn't a JRPG, but is really a good example of how to teach the player without really having that awful tutorial like in many games we both could list off. There are good tips from everybody else said already and another tip I will mention myself, when it comes to more advanced stuff, I almost would suggest have some NPCs around the town explain these things, but make it fit like something someone in said universe would actually say. There really isn't a single defined answer, you really just have to figure it for yourself.
     
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  5. mauvebutterfly

    mauvebutterfly Veteran Veteran

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    A vague idea I have for a future project (and thus currently without a combat system so I don't know if it will need a tutorial) is to have the main character already be a somewhat established expert. My combat tutorial would actually be a simple mission involving a throwaway party of students at a combat school, with the teacher providing advice and the students occasionally screwing things up in funny ways.

    "Oh shoot! I forgot to bring the item that would let me change my weapon element!"
    -> Practical demonstration of why such item might be helpful, with another student stepping in before it gets tedious.

    After the tutorial, you would take over as the teacher who is the main character, and who has a character class that involves manipulating elements for various effects. The students may make a cameo again later where you can see their progress, but they would essentially be outside of the main story.

    The reason I'm thinking of setting up the game this way is that it would establish the main character's competence without making the tutorial feel contrived or condescending towards that character or the player.

    If you want suggestions from published games, I'd consider checking out the first 10 minutes of an LP of each of the megaman battle network games. They essentially do the same tutorial in all 6 games, but they try to mix up the narrative a bit which might give you some ideas of different approaches you could take to the same problem.
     
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  6. Fernyfer775

    Fernyfer775 Veteran Veteran

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    I'm going to agree with @ItsAlterity on this one. Unless you're introducing new or complex battle mechanics into your game, you don't need to waste your or the player's time with the basics. Anybody playing your game is already going to know the basics, like "If HP reaches 0, you die...use attack to deal damage, you need MP/TP(whatever you call it) to cast spells" - especially since your UI probably already shows them this.

    In my current project, you are able to use the "default" keyboard controls, but you 're also able to use W-A-S-D movement/controls, so in the 1st battle I do mention that to the player because I feel like it's important.

    I also give a small tutorial on the healer himself, because he's not your typical rpg healer with direct-healing spells. He not only has your basic MP and TP resources, but he also has a 3rd special resource in the form of a stacking passive buff called "Echo", which is also a requirement for some of his spells. Because this echo mechanic is not something found in most rpg games, I felt it was important to let the player know what it was and how to use it.

    Other than cases where you change up the basics, I say let the player figure it out and don't patronize them with information that is pretty common knowledge for rpg games.
     
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  7. Dark Horseman

    Dark Horseman NPC Veteran

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    My policy is "anything more complicated than Final Fantasy IV mechanics needs an explanation". I don't remember FFIV explaining anything except maybe Kain's jump ability and being perfectly fine grasping it as an 8-year-old kid.

    However, things like FFV's class system and FFVI's special abilities *clearly* need explanations. People aren't going to understand "Blitz" command inputs or how the hell Gau works. The game usually demonstrated how to execute these things one or two times during a scripted encounter.
     
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  8. Kwerty

    Kwerty Veteran Veteran

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    Ever played Dust An Elysian tale? I think this is a good example of a good tutorial to open up the game, introducing mechanics and characters simultaneously.
    (A character introduces a weapon, then other characters introduce game mechanics as you proceed, such as shops, items and special skills.)

    I agree with the above comments, if you're going to execute a tutorial in your game, then add a sprinkle of imagination to make it interesting/exciting, otherwise it will likely detract from your games "engagement factor" just to appease a minority who can't figure out basic and widely used RPG mechanics.

    In the case that you're using something more complex, you would be forgiven for introducing blocks of descriptive text (even ff15 did this from memory)

    Good luck with your project!
     
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  9. AdamSakuru

    AdamSakuru [Null_Value] Veteran

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    [​IMG]

    In my own game project, the battle system tutorial is framed as as computer nerd named Yanfly wanting to show the the main character the "game/battle system" he's working on. Complete with comically bad pixel art and dumb looking versions of the main character/his girlfriend.
    It's funny for those who don't know that Yanfly made the battle system used in my project, and for those who do know they get a bit more out of it. The other purpose of the tutorials visuals is to make the battle system visuals afterwards more impressive in contrast.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
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  10. Andreyla

    Andreyla I'm 98% popcorn Veteran

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    There's a lot to be learned from games other than RPG's too. Super Meat Boy did a fantastic job at teaching. They revealed each new mechanic one level at a time. That way the player can master one technique before getting hit with a new one. It prevents a long, boring tutorial monologue. It's starting to become very popular. I was playing one of the more recent assassins creed games today and was playing for over an hour of storyline before finishing the tutorial. None of it felt like tutorial though because it continued with strong story right the way through. :)
     
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