In Gamasutra's latest feature
, developer and author Sheri Graner Ray (of Schell Games) writes that with tutorials, "We only get one chance and we usually blow it."
Graner Ray writes, "users rarely like them because they simply don't teach anything well in any way. Yet tutorials are the players' first contact with our product -- their first impression of our work."
The problem, she says, is that most tutorials aren't structured around theories of learning and knowledge acquisition, and are often low priority -- shunted to junior staff as development approaches completion.
Tutorials typically only address one style of learning, explorative acquisition. "Explorative acquisition people are those learners who learn by taking risks. They are the ones who push every button, and flip every lever. They want to find the risks and experience them."
However, there is also modeling acquisition, players who "want to know how something works before
they try it. They need to know and understand the risks and ramifications before making the attempt."
The feature goes into greater depth on these two styles of knowledge acquisition, and how tutorials can be crafted to satisfy a much wider audience -- and it's live right now on Gamasutra