How GTA V Fumbles on the Easy Stuff

Shamus Young

New member
Jul 7, 2008
3,247
0
0
How GTA V Fumbles on the Easy Stuff

Grand Theft Auto V is an amazing visual display, supported by Rockstar's great tech and environmental design. So why is it so bad on the basics of game development?

Read Full Article
 

Rad Party God

Party like it's 2010!
Feb 23, 2010
3,560
0
0
I guess this is a "too many cooks" problem. Somewhere I read that each GTA is made by more people as each iteration is made, sometimes reaching in the hundreds, in GTA V's case, Rockstar even boasted it was developed by a thousand developers. Of course I'm giving them a massive benefit of the doubt, but I can only guess that they dedicated so many resources on the amazing tech, cutscenes, multiplayer (HA!) and story, that they "forgot" to make a good tutorial for the sake of starting the game "with a bang".

What I'm getting at, is that the beginning of the game is, what, 1% of the entire game?, maybe experiencing it once more if you start the game over from scratch. But yeah, of course I'm writing this with an insultingly naive perspective, but that's the best thing I could come up with such a poor excuse of game design from such an experienced developer.
 
Jan 12, 2012
2,114
0
0
SupahGamuh said:
I guess this is a "too many cooks" problem. Somewhere I read that each GTA is made by more people as each iteration is made, sometimes reaching in the hundreds, in GTA V's case, Rockstar even boasted it was developed by a thousand developers. Of course I'm giving them a massive benefit of the doubt, but I can only guess that they dedicated so many resources on the amazing tech, cutscenes, multiplayer (HA!) and story, that they "forgot" to make a good tutorial for the sake of starting the game "with a bang".
Or maybe so many people means that they threw out a bunch of cool ideas when deciding what would be in the tutorial that they hit on a really cool scene while forgetting that it's supposed to be teaching the player how to play, not just drawing in the audience like a movie. I think there's something to be said for the "drop the player into a big brawl at the climax so they can mess about with all the cool powers by hitting mostly-random buttons for a minute, then have a flashback to the rest of the game."

On the other hand, I also know nothing about the development of GTA or any video game.
 

Roofstone

New member
May 13, 2010
1,642
0
0
All GTA games had that problem. Admittedly I don't notice it anymore, status quo and all that, but yes, it is a problem all gta games have.

However, the game DOES tell you everything you need. It shows you the buttons, tells you what to do with them, and then tells you to get good. I can sort off respect that type of tutorial design, even if the practice of it falls a bit flat to new players.
 

Chezza

New member
Feb 17, 2010
129
0
0
Aye it seems like GTA rarely gives you the opportunity to gradually learn the game via sequential missions. It's as if they expect every single player to spend a good 20 hours robbing, fighting, killing, drive-by shooting and exploding everything before taking the game more seriously.

Of course tutorials can often feel too controlling and breaks the immersion of the game but the most clever game designers teach you without you realizing.
 

Hoplon

Jabbering Fool
Mar 31, 2010
1,840
0
0
Yeah GTA really frustrates me with the "hold all the buttons to do these things!" always over complicating these things.
 

Robyrt

New member
Aug 1, 2008
568
0
0
The only excuse for not having a good tutorial is having a game that is impossible not to control, e.g. Flappy Bird. Even Flower and hidden object games have screen-filling, clearly understandable tutorials.

That being said, a lot of developers are bad at making a proper tutorial. This is a challenge unique to games - you never see a movie have to explain to viewers, "A fade or wipe between two scenes means some time has passed". If a game is too overwhelming to explain easily, have copious reminders or tooltips, Paradox style. If a game with buttons like "Reduce War Exhaustion" and "Beatify Local Saint" can explain itself adequately, you can too.
 

Veylon

New member
Aug 15, 2008
1,626
0
0
You'd think it would trivial enough to have a closed circuit to practice on.

Like, story-wise, you're first driving bit is some kind of small racing course that the owner wants you to try out to see if it's good enough. And your buddy comes along and wants to practice shooting stuff out the window while you do so. Because he's a maniac or something.

And then you drive around as much as you feel you need to do and then give it a thumbs-up or thumbs-down when you're done. And if you've done this a bunch of times in previous games or replays of this one, you can just glance it over and rate it without even getting in a car.

The best part is, it's not a wasted effort solely for a tutorial; the track can be re-used later for actual races and events. The owner can be a recurring character with his own ups and downs you interact with from time to time.
 

Amaror

New member
Apr 15, 2011
1,509
0
0
Quite frankly being a gamer for this long i don't even notice bad tutorials even more. The controls are always so similar it never takes me more than a few minutes to get everything i need to know, even if the game has no tutorial whatsoever. That being said i reply here because the opposite can be just as bad. I really really hate the games that force the player to learn the most basic stuff. When the game does not let you play it, unless you waste at least half an hour doing boring things so the game can make really really sure that you have noticed that you need to press forward to move forward.
 

Shamanic Rhythm

New member
Dec 6, 2009
1,653
0
0
Regardless of your overall opinion on GTA V, I think we can all agree that a good tutorial is important.

I think we can also agree that the Myth II tutorial is the best ever.
 

Apl_J

New member
Jun 16, 2011
44
0
0
Its funny that this specific mission gets mentioned, because I watched my 12-year old brother play through this thinking the exact same thing on Christmas Day. I frowned, since the game was trying to teach him with tiny text tutorial blurbs off in the corner of the screen while he was driving at 80mph. But then I looked at him, and he was having the time of his life, despite his repeated failures.

That mission in particular is a pretty significant set piece, and the mass appeal market ('casual' can be a loaded term) want spectacle, at least when it comes to single player. He didn't really care about hitting the fail state, it was all new and exciting for him. He eventually got it and went on with the game, got bored, and started multiplayer.

Now, I'm not saying that GTA hasn't committed these game design sins. They totally have. But in the grand scheme of things, I feel it doesn't actually matter. Hell, a start-stop-start-stop tutorial can even be as frustrating as an unwarranted fail state to these people, especially in the 'point gun, shoot thing' common ground that most AAA games share. They just want to dive in and be entertained at the end of the day. Shooting a guy off a stolen yacht while in a sportscar while weaving through traffic at 80mph while making witty banter is, as a matter of fact, entertaining at the end of the day, whether or not you fail at it a couple times.
 

grigjd3

New member
Mar 4, 2011
541
0
0
Apl_J said:
Its funny that this specific mission gets mentioned, because I watched my 12-year old brother play through this thinking the exact same thing on Christmas Day. I frowned, since the game was trying to teach him with tiny text tutorial blurbs off in the corner of the screen while he was driving at 80mph. But then I looked at him, and he was having the time of his life, despite his repeated failures.

That mission in particular is a pretty significant set piece, and the mass appeal market ('casual' can be a loaded term) want spectacle, at least when it comes to single player. He didn't really care about hitting the fail state, it was all new and exciting for him. He eventually got it and went on with the game, got bored, and started multiplayer.

Now, I'm not saying that GTA hasn't committed these game design sins. They totally have. But in the grand scheme of things, I feel it doesn't actually matter. Hell, a start-stop-start-stop tutorial can even be as frustrating as an unwarranted fail state to these people, especially in the 'point gun, shoot thing' common ground that most AAA games share. They just want to dive in and be entertained at the end of the day. Shooting a guy off a stolen yacht while in a sportscar while weaving through traffic at 80mph while making witty banter is, as a matter of fact, entertaining at the end of the day, whether or not you fail at it a couple times.
I think this matters more for older players. I'm in my thirties, have a baby daughter and a job that takes 50+ hours a week. I end up with very little time to play games and if a game does not get me proficient with it quickly, I'll walk away from it after thirty minutes. At this point in my life, even spending that thirty minutes on a game that is going to be a pain in the ass to learn is already too much time. If I was single and childless, I wouldn't blink an eye at the time investment, but as is, I just can't be bothered.
 

Ghadente

White Rabbit
Mar 21, 2009
537
0
0
I don't feel that a tutorial is a must-have in a game. Some games thrive on leaving out any tutorial at all. Encouraging exploration, creativity, and learning. (Ex: Minecraft)
2 easy solutions if a game has no tutorial: 1. check pause menu for controls/check the game manual (if they still make those) 2. press the buttons, simply try things out and learn (do you really need someone to hold your hand?)

well in any case, if this was the major flaw of the game (enough to write an article on apparently) then Kudos again to GTAV.
 

Steve the Pocket

New member
Mar 30, 2009
1,649
0
0
Ghadente said:
I don't feel that a tutorial is a must-have in a game. Some games thrive on leaving out any tutorial at all. Encouraging exploration, creativity, and learning. (Ex: Minecraft)
Those would be the kinds of games that have no goal, let alone a pre-defined sequence of events to follow to get there. Even so, your choice of example is highly questionable. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't ask someone else how to Minecraft before they start, nor one who doesn't go on the wiki to learn what things they can craft and how (unless they're playing the console version).
 
Mar 30, 2010
3,785
0
0
I kind of agree here, in that Rockstar have usually had trouble integrating tutorials into missions (I'd completed the story mode of GTA 3 twice before catching the tool-tip that told me how to do drive-bys) but I reckon GTA V does do it a hell of a lot better than the rest of the series. During any point in any mission you can pause the game and bring up the 'mission briefing' tab which allows you to peruse at your leisure all of the dialogue and tool-tips so far displayed in the current mission, so if you do miss a tool-tip you can simply hit 'start' and re-read precisely what it is you're meant to be doing. Perhaps not the most intuitive way of doing things, but it allows the missions to flow better without being paused every few minutes while the game expects you to read an immersion-breaking wall to text.
 

Liam Steel

New member
Oct 12, 2014
22
0
0
Action games are so derivative these days, you'd be hard pressed to name one that doesn't burrow the control scheme of a game older than a decade. And they are geared towards players who lack the attention span for an actual tutorial. Teaching players is important but doing so in a way that doesn't insult the intelligence of veteran players is more challenging than you imply.
 

Nimcha

New member
Dec 6, 2010
2,383
0
0
I actually prefer the GTA approach. Throw us in and let us learn for ourselves. All the damn handholding is getting out of hand (hah!).
 

josemlopes

New member
Jun 9, 2008
3,950
0
0
I dont know, the complexity of the controls come from the fact that you can do (and have to do) complex stuff. Either way you can pause and see every bit of info and dialong in the Briefing tab, I think it only resets at the start of a session.

There are some legit things to complain about (no crouching) but this one felt very minor.
 

sXeth

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
2,747
227
68
josemlopes said:
I dont know, the complexity of the controls come from the fact that you can do (and have to do) complex stuff. Either way you can pause and see every bit of info and dialong in the Briefing tab, I think it only resets at the start of a session.

There are some legit things to complain about (no crouching) but this one felt very minor.
Its not specifically limited to that particular bit though, and some of it is critical. Convertible tops, landing gear, and combat rolling all whiz by in blink and you miss it fashion, and aren't easily located in the menus (if at all).

That said, yeah, there's bigger things to quibble on. The absence of criminal activities to do in story mode. The insane loading times for online (what is it loading for 5 minutes plus between every mission/free roam session.... the city geometry is already there in memory), backwards driving invincibility mode shooting in cars with no rear windows (both modes), shoddy hitscan shooting physics, Rockstars endless effort to make it harder to do paying missions online by hiding them off the map and playlist makers so they can sell Shark cards), first person mode being a laughable gimmick, since the entire game is built around third person viewpoints and drive-shooting or cover work is nigh impossible.