Transcending Language. Keeping the game accessible for everyone.

As I mentioned last time, I started doing my tutorial over the weekend. After the trouble I had with the end-game scenario, the opening was much easier.

I ended up with something I was really happy with. I'll walk you through it in this post, as well as pointing out some decisions I made to ensure that the tutorial can be understood, regardless of language.

The "tutorial" plays on scene start up if a certain static bool is equal to true. Once the tutorial is finished, the same static bool is set to false. Since static bools are persistent across scenes, this ensures that the tutorial only plays once, when the game is first loaded. 

At any point, the tutorial can be skipped, by pressing a skip button in the corner. 

 Dare I say it... I'm getting quite good with Inkscape.

Dare I say it... I'm getting quite good with Inkscape.

A quick animation plays, establishing the snake as the guardian of the baby monkey. This is just to remove any sinister connotations that might be assumed from a large constrictor snake carrying a baby monkey through a jungle.

The camera zooms out and the player is then told how to move around.

 Obvious enough?

Obvious enough?

The player follows the on screen instructions and the ordinary game mechanics run in the background. When the player reaches a certain height, the time scale is set to equal zero. This 'pauses' time and another set of instructions tell the player to remove their finger from the screen. Time restarts and the monkey goes flying in a perfectly timed parabolic arc.

The timing was great. The tutorial was nice and quick. At any point the player could exit and continue with the game. I was satisfied....

But then I thought about it. If I wanted to release this app into foreign markets I would have to translate the on screen instructions. Could I simplify the language? Would people work it out anyway? if you see a word next to an increasing number you know it means something along the lines of 'the score'. similarly, If you die and you see some big words on the screen, you know it says 'game over'.

However, tutorial instructions are different, they require understanding and sometimes they aren't intuitive. After thinking about this, I decided to swap the text out for animations, allowing me to sell the app in any market around the world without worrying about difficulties in understanding.

the following animation, is to indicate the player should press down on the screen to lift the monkey. 

and this one shows the player to release the screen to release the monkey:

Symbology and animations convey meaning so much more effectively than words. The old saying goes " A picture is worth a thousand words" and I think this holds true in Games. From now on, I will try not to use any words. Opting to use symbols and animations instead.

On A side note, this blog post actually marks quite a milestone. This is the alpha version of the game. The core mechanics work just as I want them too and the actual game is now quite enjoyable to play. From now on I'll be adding little tweaks and polishing the product until I release in about a month.

First up I'm going to focus on a little shop to buy power-ups and maybe some sort of lives system. I might also investigate the need for an options menu by looking at similar games and seeing what they're doing. If it's needed I'll throw one in.