In this level design breakdown of BioShock Infinite by 2K, I will be breaking down how the level designer was able to teach the player the mechanics of what a certain item or object does even before the player has to interact with that mechanic.
Teaching The Player
We will be focusing on how the designers taught the player about Vigors. Vigors in the BioShock universe is the magical power that allows someone to do magical things like picking up big objects, summoning crows, shooting fireballs from their hands. During the tutorial scene, there are 6 events that occur throughout the teaches the player what it is and how it works plus rewarding the player for doing so.
It might not look like much but before entering the carnival, you see the huge tower in the middle of the walkway so it’s hard to miss. This seems basic but by having this here it psychologically getting the player ready for finding out what Vigors are by making it seem familiar to the player.
Right when you go into the carnival, this is the first thing that you see, a demonstration of the Vigors, from this demonstration alone the player learns what the Vigors are, how it works and what Vigors do. By having this here it preludes to what is to come making it not foreign to the player when they finally do interact with it.
This is where the player finally interacts with one of the Vigors. The use of colour is prevalent because it is the same colour as the previous image in the demonstration which pulls the player to the Vigor already understanding that this the the magical power that they have already seen meaning the player isn’t confused about it.
Once you take each a Vigor for the first time, a pop up occurs that plays a video that shows how that Vigor works and the controls of it. This is a more classic showing of tutorial of a mechanic showing the player in a controlled environment making sure that they fully understand how it works.
Once you get the Vigor power for the first time, to proceed through the game you have to use the power on the mechanically guy blocking the path. This method of forcing the player to use the new mechanic correctly before proceeding is a popular way in other games as well to make sure the player has had at least one experience where they have used it before meaning they should understand how it works.
After you go through the door you see another mechanical guy this time not in the way. If the player uses what they have learnt and use the Vigor power on the mechanical guy, it rewards the player for learning the mechanic and how it works.
Overall breaking down the step by step method of now the level designers introduced the player to Vigors seems simple but very effectively. They use this methodology all throughout the game with other mechanics as well making sure the player never feels like they don’t know what to do.