Posted in Design.

Instructional Design

Instructional Design is something that I was aware of before I even knew this name. I would find myself playing games and picking up on instances when a game for teaching me something in a way that didn’t fell like I was being taught or be means of a tutorial.

Instructional design is something that can be delivered through a variety of ways. some that I have been looking into recently are environment and progression, I will explain what I mean by these.


Having what you do in a level teach you of a mechanic or interaction that you, as a player can do. It’s one thing to write on the screen, press A to jump to tell players what they can do. This is something that is a simple solution to teach a player but can intrude on a game and make it feel like you just looking for the next textbox to tell you what to do.

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A successful example of this is Play Dead Studio’s Limbo and Inside.

Both games have simple controls, but at no point do they tell you what these are when you start the game (if you are stuck is only when a prompt will show on screen). By the means of the level design, these games first obstacle is a ledge that is the height of the player that with no instruction, player natural will press the jump button and now know that this is something that thy can use to progress. This is then built upon each time the player is giving a bit of information they can then use in different situations.

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First Inside Jump.


This is something that I have been looking into this trimester as I have been working on a training app for a client. I have been looking into other apps that people use for different uses and how they progress in them based on what or what they feel rewarded.

Methods to better a that of Instructional design that has been researched and applied to our app are that of:

  • ADDIE (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate).
  • Rapid prototyping.
  • Motivational Designs.
    • Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation.
  • ARCS (Attention, Relevance, Confidence, Satisfaction)

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I have utilised these methods to in my level design for a project called ParaLeap. A game being made from a fellow game dev and friend Alex Muir. He was keen in allow me to work on the sections of this presacral generated runner. This has allowed me a good challenge and a great way to break my levels and interaction up into playable and effect chunks to help my instructional design.

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I took the approach of breaking the concept for the section into three different stages;

  • Teach the Player
  • Allow to practice and be rewarded.
  • Challenge the player for reward.

Highlight The Core

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The concept above was made to build on the switching mechanic which allow players to avoid obstacles and maintain their speed. I wanted a combination of switching and jumping to highlight these two core elements. The first step allows the player understand the basic action of the section (Jump the gap and switch to the backplane) to get the reward.
The second step takes the players knowledge of the jump and switch actions and allows them to practice and then tests them with a hint of a reward to extend the players skill and drive.
The final is now the platform to challenge the player by adding more of the same actions for players to test and want to improve their skill.

Teach Something Different

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This section will show the players that doing the norm isn’t always the way the go if the player just falls down the gap they will lose speed. however is a player can time a jump so they land in the hole so they maintain speed.
Step 2 adds the reward for so the player is mixing up the actions and tempting players to risk it for the reward.
Step 3 again is now the challenge so the player by doing more than one late jump to test their skill.

These sections would be useless if you could have them come at you in any order. To help the intent of this design, each stage would have a percent of interaction. The first would be the only accessible stage with the chance of the next stage increasing after each interaction with the first step of the section. With the same happen when the players have experienced the second step, with only the third stage be giving to the player after several interactions with the first two.

Building these sections in a way with a progression that has players learning and understand what they can do with the first stage. This then gives the player a drive to achieve the next sections for the reward knowing what is possible. Players will then feel and want to take on the challenge of the third stage after being exposed to these first few stages after several plays of the game.

I hope to portry this in my future work as a developer.

Thanks for reading.

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