Beginners/Newcomers Installation

General discussion for players of Oolite.

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JazHaz
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Beginners/Newcomers Installation

Post by JazHaz »

Having read a few threads recently asking for advice, I realised that we have some new players that have never played Elite before. Not surprising though as 1984 was nearly 30 years ago. Frontier was 20 years ago.

I'm thinking that we should make an installation of Oolite that includes some beginners OXPs. I'm thinking that the ones to install would be ones that help newcomers to learn to fly and trade. A minimalist list though.

My suggested starting point would be (discuss):

[wiki]Lave Academy OXP[/wiki]
Ship's Library OXP
[EliteWiki] Start Choices OXP

I don't know if its worth including a shipset and a planet texture set? And maybe BGS as well?

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Re: Beginners/Newcomers Installation

Post by JazHaz »

Hans Olo wrote:
Commander McLane wrote:
Hans Olo wrote:I remember how long it took to figure out how to do anything. All I could do was putter around the Lave Coriolis station and fire lasers. When I kept getting slaughtered I decided this isn't a game you can just figure out on your own, at least not without great difficulty.
There's also cim's in-game manual, downloadable as an OXP and then accessible via the F4-key.
That would have been very handy! You still have to look for it online, though. For a new person who had never before heard of Oolite or Elite it is nearly impossible to learn how to play by just hitting 'download' and opening the game. That being said, after a quick google to find out what you need to know, it isn't hard to catch on.

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Re: Beginners/Newcomers Installation

Post by Hans Olo »

As I briefly discussed in the quoted post, I discovered Oolite by just googling for good, free games that run on Mac OSX. As I am a teenager, I had never heard of Oolite or Elite before. I downloaded the game and could immediately tell it is a cool game, but didn't know how to do anything other than shoot at the Lave Coriolis station until I read through the Mac Help page that came with the game, and also spent a little time on the wiki.

So I like the idea of making it easier to learn, and I like the sound of cim's in game manual. I would prefer, however, that rather than adding OXPs to start you on your way Oolite came in a folder with a couple documents. One telling the controls and the basics of playing, and one that is much more thorough, discussing tips, recommended OXPs, terminology, history, maybe a rundown of the ships, etc. Like the basics of the wiki, just it is right there when you download the game.

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Re: Beginners/Newcomers Installation

Post by JazHaz »

Hans Olo wrote:I would prefer, however, that rather than adding OXPs to start you on your way Oolite came in a folder with a couple documents. One telling the controls and the basics of playing, and one that is much more thorough, discussing tips, recommended OXPs, terminology, history, maybe a rundown of the ships, etc. Like the basics of the wiki, just it is right there when you download the game.
It does already come with the quick start guide. Maybe you didn't read it?

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Re: Beginners/Newcomers Installation

Post by Capt. Reynolds »

It's an interesting issue, this one.

Back in the day (29 years ago? Ye Gods!) getting a game meant getting a cassette and a written sheet/booklet/extended cassette box inlay of instructions. Luckily, the loading time meant you had plenty of idle minutes to sit and read through it.

These days, practically every game (including the casual flash-type ones) has some form of in-game tutorial, especially now that a lot of the time you don't have a physical copy of the game at all, if you've got it via Steam or somesuch, so there's no way to get a physical instruction document into the player's hands. Might some form of built-in tutorial be worth considering, either the "assisted play" type or a short video file? Of course, that means that the thing has to a)be made, and b)be added into the installer package, but to be fair, by modern standards Oolite is a tiny download. As for making it...

Unfortunately, reading anything is on the decline and is pretty unlikely to start picking back up again. We can bemoan this state of affairs all we like, but that doesn't stop it being true. Sticking to instructional pdf's and the like and saying "just read it! It's not hard to do!" while harrumphing and complaining about lack of literacy will only leave progressively more and more people behind. Adapt and evolve, or gradually become extinct? Look at how far the game itself has evolved.

Mind you, feel free to ignore this completely - I'm blithely bringing up in-game tutorials or videos with absolutely no skill or concept of what would be involved! :D

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Re: Beginners/Newcomers Installation

Post by Hans Olo »

Capt. Reynolds wrote:Unfortunately, reading anything is on the decline and is pretty unlikely to start picking back up again.
This is true. However, Oolite (especially when you first start) is the sort of slow-paced game which is, I think, also on the decline with the popularity of action-adventure games and first person shooters. I do think that Oolite holds its own quality wise against the latest games, but maybe actually reading instructions fits the classic vibe of Oolite.
JazHaz wrote: It does already come with the quick start guide. Maybe you didn't read it?
Perhaps not, I don't recall! :P

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Re: Beginners/Newcomers Installation

Post by cim »

I certainly agree that a different way of presenting information to new players is desirable. Obviously for convenience I'd rather fix this without OXPs: if you can get as far as finding the alternative download with the helper OXPs in, you've got a good chance of finding several other sources of help too.

One thing which could help with this, which I'm starting to play around with ideas for, is to update the Oolite website for clearer access to documentation, more context for what the game is about for people who've never played Elite, and a "getting started" guide.

The "getting started" guide is difficult to balance: I don't want it to give too much away, because I think the early game should be about discovering the universe - but just enough to get someone out of Lave station and into a different one intact after a few goes, and perhaps hint that Fuel Injectors might be a good early purchase. Similarly while trading is about the only way to make a profit right at the start, advice about that again needs to be worded very carefully. I want to keep the "here's your ship, there's the universe, the rest is up to you" feel.

The same points apply to a tutorial (whether video or interactive).

More in-game help could also be useful: one of the things BGS does is add overlays hinting at what the F-keys will do while docked. In-flight might be trickier to manage, though.

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Re: Beginners/Newcomers Installation

Post by JazHaz »

cim wrote: The "getting started" guide is difficult to balance: I don't want it to give too much away, because I think the early game should be about discovering the universe - but just enough to get someone out of Lave station and into a different one intact after a few goes, and perhaps hint that Fuel Injectors might be a good early purchase. Similarly while trading is about the only way to make a profit right at the start, advice about that again needs to be worded very carefully. I want to keep the "here's your ship, there's the universe, the rest is up to you" feel.

The same points apply to a tutorial (whether video or interactive).
A good tutorial is provided by the [EliteWiki] Lave Academy, also I think without giving too much away. It gives help in the basics of flight, docking and combat (against a drone) and I think that despite its age is an excellent one for beginners.

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Re: Beginners/Newcomers Installation

Post by cim »

JazHaz wrote:A good tutorial is provided by the [EliteWiki] Lave Academy, also I think without giving too much away. It gives help in the basics of flight, docking and combat (against a drone) and I think that despite its age is an excellent one for beginners.
Oh, definitely. For that side of things it's what's needed.

It's more the "introduction to the setting" parts of the introduction/tutorial I'm thinking about - how much of what we know should be considered common knowledge for anyone going in to space, and how much do new pilots just have to learn by trying?

I suppose the level of detail in the original manual was about right - it didn't tell you how to make the best trading profits, but if you couldn't figure out how to turn some sort of profit on your first trip you probably hadn't read it.

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Re: Beginners/Newcomers Installation

Post by Zireael »

This is actually a great idea.

In fact, there's several OXPs begging the question 'why isn't it in the core game', as Thargoid pointed out in another thread.
One of them indisputably being cim's in-game manual, the other ones IMHO being Dock Assist System and Military Targeting Enhancement.

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Re: Beginners/Newcomers Installation

Post by JazHaz »

Zireael wrote:This is actually a great idea.

In fact, there's several OXPs begging the question 'why isn't it in the core game', as Thargoid pointed out in another thread.
One of them indisputably being cim's in-game manual, the other ones IMHO being Dock Assist System and Military Targeting Enhancement.
This is why Cim is currently working to have a tutorial in v1.79...

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