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'Tutorials are not fun', so a Klei dev offers tips on avoiding them

"If you can feel like you discovered it on your own, that's the Holy Grail," Oxygen Not Included dev Johann Seidenz tells Gamasutra in a chat about teaching players. "That's what makes the game fun."
"Tutorials are not fun."

- Klei's Johann Seidenz, speaking to Gamasutra about why he tries to design games so explicit tutorial segments aren't necessary.

How do you design a game with as few explicit tutorials as possible?

Klei Entertainment's Johann Seidenz helped do just that in his work as design lead on Oxygen Not Included, the company's Early Access space survival sim. 

When he joined us on the Gamasutra Twitch channel recently to chat about the game, Seidenz acknowledged that it's very tricky to figure out which parts of a game will be hard to understand when you're actively working on it.

"The truth is on the team, the person who implements [a game system] often does not see that there's a problem learning this," said Seidenz. "It's quite hard to try and figure out where people are going to stumble when you made the thing."

The solution? Seidenz recommends lots and lots of playtesting (giving testers free food helps), then careful tweaking of the parts where people stumble so that they can figure out the tricky bits for themselves.

"We just need to put in enough so that you can realize it, and then you can use that knowledge," said Seidenz. "If you can feel like you discovered it on your own, that's the Holy Grail, right? That's what makes the game fun."

You can hear more from Seidenz by watching the full stream right here. If this is the kind of thing you're into, subscribe to the Gamasutra Twitch channel for even more developer insights and gameplay commentary.

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