E6. Teach One Thing at a Time (Stepwise Learning)

"I never feel overwhelmed as I learn the skills needed to play the game. I am provided enough opportunities to practice skills both individually and in unison without worrying about negative consequences."

The game gives players a learning experience which allows them to practice and master a skill before teaching a new one. Players are also given the chance to practice combining skills sets without consequences.

Learning skills in a variety of ways allows for players to understand the range of their abilities so they later feel confident when needing to use their acquired skills in riskier parts of the game. Cognitively, the brain tends favor learning new information in 3s. That is, a player has the chance to practice a new skill at least 3 times before they move on to a new idea or need to use the skill in game. Learning skills in isolation makes sure players fully understand a skill before mixing it with other skills, and learning skills in unison allows for practicing skills as they would in the actual game, where they are at stake.

Examples (adhered):

  • Arizona Sunshine: Players have the chance to learn how to shoot with the target practice near the beginning of the game. Shortly afterward, they have the chance to practice shooting against slow-walking (non-lethal) zombies approaching from the distance.
  • Thumper: The game introduces new skills gradually throughout the first level in different stages. First the player learns to press ‘X’ when they go over certain spots, then they learn to attack enemies, then turn corners, then hold down ‘X’, and so on. Each new skill is taught in isolation, allowing the player to practice the newly acquired skill, before any additional skills are added on top.
  • RIGS: After being taught both how to jump and how to use his speed boost in isolation, the player progresses through the tutorial and is faced with the task of collecting a floating target. He quickly figures out that he should combine his jumping and speed boost abilities to launch himself off a ramp and towards the target. Combining these abilities comes to the player as a natural next step after he has learned them both individually.
  • The Soulkeeper: Players learn each skill in isolation at the start of the game. They can only start a tutorial if they are holding the weapon that the tutorial is for; otherwise, they cannot do the tutorial. This method of teaching skills in isolation at first helps ensure that the player will learn skills in the necessary order.
  • Superhot VR: The player learns skills in progression. First he learns how to punch enemies, then he learns how to move and attack, then how to dodge bullets, and then how to use different weapons. Each stage presents new challenges for the player to slowly acclimate in learning necessary skills.