I’ve been mulling this over for a while along with several other things which I may or may not post later, but I believe it would be in this game’s best interests to include a full campaign. Now, I have a couple of reasons for this, so I’ll just go over them now.
1) It adds depth.
This is probably the most important of all the points I’m going to make. Without a proper background the Star Conflict universe is just stale. Don’t get me wrong here: quite a lot of what you’ve already established is pretty good, but a player has to go and actively search for this information.
Adding a campaign to a game is the best way to establish a storyline and a background. Halo is the first game that springs to mind when I say this. How many of you would have actually bought it if the campaigns had never existed? I’m guessing not very many. It would have just been another dull, repetitive futuristic First Person Shooter with shields and energy swords. But since the first game was produced, the actual history of the game has exploded. There’s a fanmade wiki with over 8000 pages and even producer content such as actual books or timelines that - altogether - depict a universe of such incredible detail it’s astounding. This game has the same potential and I know it can get there with the right push.
You have an entire playerbase at your fingertips, StarGem. And Gaijin, you too. If you find yourselves drawing blanks for levels or plots you can always call on a few select players you can draft in to help flesh it out more. A good story can make for an excellent game, even if its other qualities are lacking, as people can look past them more easily.
2) Gives us something else to do.
Entertainment, It’s what games provide. And the best way to provide more entertainment is to add more content. And the best way to add more content is - generally - a campaign. It extends the fun past just a lobby-based shooter (correct me if I’m wrong) and brings in a whole new element of play: fighting your way through a story. Blaze through levels with unique objectives and new enemies, finally reaching an ultimate fight at the end of it all. Preferably with the Precursors.
Well, there has to be something that doesn’t involve all three races beating the crap out of each other. The Precursors are now conveniently placed in the position to be the real enemy. Perhaps they want to purge the galaxy (sound familiar?). Maybe they’re trying to illuminate the three races, but we (the races) resist (again, familiar, right?). Try to come up with an inventive way of portraying them in a bad light which is ‘detrimental’ to the current state of the galaxy, even if their actual purpose isn’t. That sounds complicated, but if it’s done correctly it will really help to add to the story. Essentially a massive PvE-fest that has you doing other things except just shooting stuff.
3) Strengthens the bond between the two main communities.
For those who aren’t sure which two I’m talking about, these two communities are the Russian community - unarguably the smaller of the two - and the EU & American community. I place EU and American in the same community as we often share the same views, but this is debatable and can wait until another time.
With a co-op campaign it gives players the opportunity to work as a true team, even if one is Russian and another is Korean. At the risk of sounding like a complete prat I think it’s safe to assume most people will have learnt some English in their time gaming. Anyway, back to the point: even with a team with members of both communities and maybe more eastern players communication in a rudimentary form already exists (all eyes on), but with the addition of an in-game chat more advanced tactics are able to be discussed. Information is capable of being relayed. Having a player from ESB (mainly Russian) co-operating with one from NASA? The campaign would nudge them towards working as a team to accomplish their tasks instead, and in PvP, this isn’t a likely occurrence.
Tutorials are a very important part of any game. First thing you should know is that if people skip your tutorial, then you’ve failed as a developer. You’ve wasted resources creating something that no-one will look at. Second:
Text overload is bad.
Too much text on tutorials utterly kills immersion and pacing, and the whole point of tutorial is to draw people in (5 minute rule). So, you have to introduce your mechanics and controls through actual gameplay. Star Conflict is fantastic in this respect as you can teach a player everything on the fly, but it’s always important to include some of the basic controls in a tutorial. Portal is the best example of this. It teaches you how to play continuously throughout the entire game, and doesn’t just lump it in at the beginning.
Now, making a good tutorial should do the following:
- Give the player the feeling that they’ve achieved something.
- Not completely flood the player with lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines and lines of text. Otherwise, you’re doing it wrong. If you need to tell the player something, do it by audial stimulation, and subtitle it if necessary.
- Doesn’t heap everything on the player at the beginning. Essentially, do it the Portal way. Most developers think that they need to give the player every piece of information the player will ever need, right at the beginning. This is a bad idea.
- Allow the player to have fun whilst doing it. Similar to 1. If it’s not engaging, players will just leave. Simple as that.
- It your tutorial is gameplay, you’ve done it right. Again, Portal. 90% of it was a tutorial. Did any of us care? No. That’s good. This may seem a little contradictory but if your game can teach a player how to become awesome whilst they’re doing it, then you pulled it off brilliantly.
That’s it for tutorials. I’ll be back some other time with a more in-depth suggestion on how SCon can improve its tutorial. Thanks for reading, see you again sometime!