The image above is an example of a screen that is shown to the player before starting to play a sport in World Games. It gives around 3-4 short paragraphs of information about the history and concept of that sport. It’s a great example of Tangential Learning.
World Games (NES) is composed by 8 sports:
- Weight Lifting (Russia)
- Barrel Jumping (Germany)
- Cliff Diving (Mexico)
- Slalom Skiing (France)
- Log Rolling (Canada)
- Bull Riding (United States)
- Caber Toss (Scotland)
- Sumo Wrestling (Japan)
This way of presenting tangential information to the player is effective, it’s more effective if it’s presented to the player during “dead times“, loading screens, for example. Here are some tips that you and I might want to apply when teaching the player in this way:
- Don’t make it intrusive: Tangential learning is about the player wanting to learn something when that something is presented in a fun way to the player, don’t force him to learn something that the player simply doesn’t care.
- The player can easily omit reading the information from the loading screen if they is not interested, giving the player an option to disable that tangential information from loading screens with the simple push of a button from the same loading screen might be a wise choice.
- Don’t make it long: Again, to motivate the player to learn, you need to make it fun, this means no useless information nor enormous walls of text. You can give the player a resume, if the player is interested, they will investigate more, you can also give the option to display more information or even link to external information in the web.
- You can also use in-world items to teach, for example readable books, imagine playing Else Heart.Break() and learning how to develop algorithms from an in-game book. I would like that.
- In Layman’s terms: If you want to teach the player instead of confusing them, try to use simple terms to teach the player, if you’re trying to teach something technical, you might lose some specific information when simplifying.
- Make it practical: I think that a lot of students don’t enjoy math or physics because of the way it’s taught, in such an abstract way that the students might not realize what’s the point or use in polynomials or imaginary numbers. If you can make something impractical seem practical (that is, making it part of your gameplay) then you can lit a spark in the player’s mind.
Here’s the rest of the screenshots from the pre-screens in World Games: