This dev diary will be looking at the game Far Cry 4 by Ubisoft Entertainment and breaking down the prologue level showing all the level design techniques that they used to teach the player the mechanics but teach them about the game and how it’s played.
Teaching The Player
Throughout Far Cry 4, you interact with all types of objects, every object that you can interact with has the white glow around it. Simple as it may be, it’s an important part to teach the player about this or they will become confused about all the interactions with the game. This is how the developers taught the player, in the first area you walk down the stairs, right when you are coming down, the first thing you see is the flickering white glowy thing right in front of you where it’s incredible had to miss because everything else is stagnant making sure it pull your eyes. So when you go close to the white flickering object you learn you can interact with it. This is further confirmed when you explore that room, there is a chest, rewarding the player for learning the mechanic.
This is the way that the game teaches the player the shooting mechanic. You are in a car that is driving towards ‘enemies’ (told to you by the driver), the diver tells you to shoot them to clear the way. You are shown the controls from the prompt in the top left-hand corner. From this, you have free range to shoot the enemy, due to the fact that they won’t be able to kill you in the car, the player is able to safely learned the mechanic in a controlled environment.
Directing The Player
After the base tutorial where you didn’t get really any control, you are pushed into this environment where it seems anything is possible and there no correct way to go. Even though there only one way where you can actually go, someone could really get confused in the area. This is why the developers I believed used the water stream to help guide the player. If you follow the stream, it will take you to the exact right way to that you need to go. In a way, this correlates to the real life thing where if you follow a stream, you will find civilization. Overall this also teaches the player that the game uses environmental paths to show you where to go instead of having it blatantly there, which wraps into the game theme of the play the way you want to (to a point).
Teaching Different Styles / Path
This position that the player is in shows two directions that they could take. Take the red side and go guns blazing, trying to kill everyone or the blue side where its sneaking past them to get to the other side. This is a classic level design technique where you allow the player to play the way that they want to, making sure that they have multiple styles in which they can play the game because everyone likes playing it differently. Not only that it shows that in this game, they can make the choices of how things are executed rather than the game forcing you to do something.
This is another example that comes up straight after the previous image. In this image, you see that there are two paths to take that lead to the exact same place with no difference besides the method that you got there. Once again this is the level design developers teaching you the theme of how this game will operate when you finish the prologue.
Overall when looking at this game and its goals in teaching the playing in the prologue, I believe that it was a successful one. It uses many techniques in trying to teach them how to play the game and how the game will operate. Saying that I believe that they could have achieved this in a more hands-off approach instead of it being blatant with makers showing you exactly where to go and use more environment directions to help them.