Thanks for many insightful replies, folks. For my part, I think I'll try to embed as much pertinent info as possible in the flavor texts of items and skills. This enables the implementation of specialized features without the fear of no one ever noticing it. As for a tutorial mode, the current test build of my game provides a very simple scenario (escape from the lead mines) that I might rework as a tutorial scenario later on. In that case, the tutorial would start with a popup explaining the basic controls ("Move with weadzx, use Tab, Space and Enter to navigate inventory/actions menu."), and then I'd add as an NPC a fellow prisoner who tries to escape with you, while shouting pertinent tips and hints. I think it could be a funny thing, because the in-game instance that provides the actual tutorial would be susceptible to die
Also, I might opt to chain the player and the NPC together, as they've been working in the same chain gang1
. And I'd like to make it possible to "clear" the tutorial and enter the real game world, get a blacksmith to hack off your chains and be on your way, but much more probable to die before the tutorial is through. So even advanced players might still play the tutorial as an iron man mode or something.
In a tutorial like that, I'd be able to explain the basic tactics needed to navigate the game (assessing cover when shooting, when to switch between melee/missiles, etc). A written manual could provide more in-depth rules for people who want them, eg. explaining exactly how missile accuracy is calculated.
Mouseover for tooltips is a good idea, and definitely something I want for my own game, but it's currently keyboard-only, so ...
Slash: I liked the frog in Ananias – and the game looking nice in its own right, very polished interface
The title has me a bit flabbergasted, as "ananas" means "pineapple" in several Germanic languages.
Rickton: Yeah, these kinds of tutorial missions, in a RL, will have to be optional, something you'll just as well skip once you've been through them and which don't impose on the rest of the gameworld geography. It's not an idea I'm thinking about using for my current project, anyway.
So if he dies, you'd move at half speed, having to drag the corpse behind you. I guess the idea comes from wanting to implement a system for lassos and ropes (how are we gonna lynch someone if we can't tie'em up first). But also immediately gave rise to an idea for a possible boss monster: the last survivor of a chain gang where the other succumbed to lead poisoning and other dangers of the deep, himself utterly insane at this point, dragging a dozen corpses behind him and craving the guts of whoever comes near. But I'm getting ahead of myself. As always.