Player Experience Best Practices

How to design easy-to-understand experiences in Creative

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The Do's

Use Billboard Devices to communicate information about the game.

Don't assume that players know the game's rules or goals, and don't expect them to take the time to read about the game's rules after they have left the Hub. While they are waiting in the Hub, use the time wisely to communicate information to your players using a Billboard Device.

Billboard sign for a corn maze

Make sure that the billboard blends into the theme and level layout. Communicate game rules and player goals in the game Hub, and write just one to two short sentences for each billboard.

To place a Billboard Device, open CREATIVE > DEVICES, then under Informational, select BILLBOARD DEVICE.

Use HUD messages to communicate information to players.

HUD messages are great for communicating objectives and tasks to players. For example, when a player is going to a level or a new game mode for the first time, you can display HUD messages that help players get into the experience.

HUD message to enter movie theatre

To place a HUD Message Device, open CREATIVE > DEVICES, then under Informational, select HUD MESSAGE DEVICE.

Select a HUD Message device

After placing the device, press E to customize the message. Go to HUD Message Device > BASIC OPTIONS > Message and enter the message.

For more information, read device information about HUD Message.

Use Map Indicator Devices to orient players with the minimap.

When you use map indicators on the minimap with marker information, these help users find key landmarks. If a player needs to go to a named location on the island, they may need to see the orientation of their destination relative to their place on the map.

Map indicator for concession stand

Map Indicator Devices are under Informational in the DEVICES menu. To customize the Map Indicator Device, navigate to Map Indicator > BASIC OPTIONS > Text and enter text for your label.

Use Tracker Devices to display player progression.

If players need to progress through a sequence of events, or complete a series of steps in a tutorial, Tracker Devices are a good way to display a player's progress.

Tracking a player going to the movies

Tracker Devices are usually combined with Trigger Devices that use channels to receive and transmit signals to each other. When setting up a Tracker Device, make sure to select a free channel.

You can browse channels being used by device under MY ISLAND > Browse Channels > CHANNEL USAGE.

Find a free channel by browsing Channel Usage

Teleport players to a distinct tutorial area.

If players need to learn your game's mechanics in a safe environment, it is a good idea to create a separate tutorial space. You can use that tutorial space to teach players the basic game mechanics before teleporting them to the main island experience. To move players to a tutorial area, use the Teleporter Device.

Teleporting a player to the tutorial area

You will need an origin teleporter as well as a destination one. Teleporter Devices are under Informational in the DEVICES menu.

Tell players where a Teleport Device will take them.

If your game teleports players to random locations on a map, they can get confused. That's not a great experience!

Tell players where the teleporter goes

Use informational devices, like billboards or map indicators, to tell players where they are going.

Add social and Support-A-Creator (SAC) information around the map.

Give your players your social media and SAC information! It's a great way to build a community, while also getting some support from players who enjoy your island experience.

Integrate social and SAC information with your island's theme and gameplay. For an example, play Lunar New Year by Sunday, Island Code 0996-8935-5644.

Provide recommendations for games and other experiences players can try out.

Players like to try out new experiences and games in Fortnite Creative, especially if a creator they like makes a recommendation for them.

When adding portals to recommended games or experiences, place them to the side of the player's initial field of view when they spawn. If it fits with the theme and gameplay of your island, place these portals at the end of the island experience. Finally, when selecting a game or experience for a player to try out, make sure to play those games first to verify that your player base will enjoy it. For an example, play Finest's Practice Hub by Finest, Island Code 1334-8979-5898.

Use scripted tutorials for brand new players.

Players who are brand new to an island usually won't have any experience with the gameplay or the map. To help the player, create a scripted tutorial for new players so they can easily learn about the island's game mechanics and map layout.

When scripting tutorials, it's important to give player feedback as they progress through the steps that take them to the tutorial's goal. A well-scripted tutorial guides players through Begin, Update, and End play states of your island experience.

Play State

Purpose

Begin

When a player enters the Begin state, the creator must communicate the tutorial's goal.

Update

When a player enters the Update state, the creator should clearly display and update information about objectives, so players can track their progress toward the tutorial's goal.

End

When a player enters the End state, the creator should provide the player with feedback to tell the player whether or not they successfully achieved the tutorial's goal.

Use branching paths to onboard players.

If your island experience has both new and experienced players, you might need to provide different onboarding experiences depending on a player's level of experience with your island.

Create a tutorial experience for new players that is different from the tutorial for more experienced players. For example, you can have one portal lead to a tutorial for new players, and one portal lead to a tutorial for more experienced players.

Create beginner and experienced tutorials

Use social channels to push out information to players as much as possible.

Social media is a great way to share information about an island with a community of users. Make sure that all players can get equal access to your information; don't display URLs; and make sure that the context and content meet the community guidelines. For more information, refer to Epic Games Community Rules.

When you share information on a social media platform, make sure to save that information so that it can be shared with players later. You can create a website, or make a video landing page where players can access past, current, and future information drops.

Place important gameplay information or game mechanics in front of the user when they spawn.

Gameplay information or game mechanics are the primary way to engage players, and those should be the first things that a player sees and interacts with when they spawn into an island.

Placing Player Spawn Pad to face gameplay

When setting up the Player Spawn Device, make sure to have the player facing gameplay information (like rules or objectives), or game mechanics. To place a Spawn Pad Device, open CREATIVE > DEVICES, and select Player Spawn Pad under Player.

Place the player spawn facing gameplay or mechanics

After placing the pad, you can place and rotate the pad so that the player is facing a billboard or a game mechanic. For example, while placing the Player Spawn Pad on a flat surface, tap the E or R keys to rotate the device so the player faces a specific direction.

Spawn players in front of gameplay objectives and win conditions.

Players look forward to being challenged with an island's gameplay so that they can progress through objectives and make it to the island's winning conditions. Spawning players in front of those objectives and winning conditions will immediately engage them.

Find a fun objective, then playtest to see if players get interested in the level as soon as they spawn in. As an alternative, spawn players in front of the win conditions to motivate them to immediately get into the game.

Have clear navigation pathways to points of interest and objectives.

The map should have clear points of interest that draw players to necessary objectives and locations.

When designing a path to focus areas in the map, make sure the pathway is clear and easy to navigate, and that every point of interest and objective can be viewed from all other areas in the map.

Match visual areas with gameplay purpose.

Visual areas that have a gameplay purpose are engaging and fun to explore! So when you're laying out props, think about how the visuals might invite the player to engage with the gameplay behind the device.

Visuals and gameplay

If you have a rift that players take to teleport to another area of the map, make sure the visual area surrounding the rift is interesting and inviting. For example, if you have a launch pad so players can access a tall building, make sure that the building (or what's on top of it) is interesting enough to motivate players to interact with the launch pad. You can have a rift shining on the building's rooftop, and that might be enough to spark a player's curiosity about what's up there.

The Don'ts

Don't use transparent Billboard devices unless it fits a theme.

Unless there is a gameplay reason for using transparent Billboard devices, avoid using them for these reasons.

  • Text is only visible from one side of the Billboard device. If players pass the transparent Billboard from the non-rendered side, they will not see the information being communicated.

  • Because the Billboard geometry is transparent, it will collide with the text behind it. If players view a transparent Billboard that was placed in front of another Billboard, the text on the transparent Billboard will be unreadable because it collides with the text on the Billboard behind it.

Transparent billboard in middle of room

Billboards are transparent by default. To make them solid, open CUSTOMIZE Billboard > ALL OPTIONS, and set Show Border to ON. If you don't want to show the prebuilt border, but you still want a solid background, open CUSTOMIZE Billboard > BASIC OPTIONS, and set Background Color from CLEAR to any of the available colors (like BLACK or GREY).

If it fits your game's theme, you can use a transparent Billboard Device, but make sure it is placed on solid geometry.

Don't overwhelm players with too much information at once.

When onboarding players to an island, it's important not to overwhelm them with too much information.

Too much information

Only present one or two new pieces of information at a time, so that players can easily learn about your island's gameplay and map without getting overwhelmed.

Don't spam players with too many HUD messages.

When effectively implemented, HUD messages can help onboard players with important information. When displayed too many times in a short period of time, HUD messages can overwhelm players with too much information at once, which can confuse players during the onboarding process.

Too many HUD messages

Try to write HUD messages with eight words or less. Also, make sure to give players at least three seconds to read the HUD messages. To change the display duration from the default time of five seconds, update the parameter under HUD Message Device > ALL OPTIONS > Display Time.

Don't confuse players with inaccurate or incomplete information.

Inaccurate information discourages players from completing the onboarding process. Additionally, if information is incomplete, players will become frustrated while trying to understand how to engage with the island experience.

Before onboarding players, verify that all of the information you're presenting is accurate and complete. Set up a checklist to help you review all of the information in your onboarding process.

Don't block important information from the player's view.

If there is important information that a player needs to know during the onboarding process, it should be easy to see and it shouldn't be hidden by anything.

Blocked information

Make sure that there is at least one block of clear space between Informational Devices and geometry that might block a player's view of it.

Don't front-load information that isn't about the game or its theme.

Prioritize information about the game or its theme over other types of information, like SAC or social media content. Players want to experience the island's gameplay first.

Put yourself in the player's shoes when playtesting the onboarding experience. Take notes about what sort of information you're seeing first. If you see information on billboards or in HUD messages that isn't about the game or its theme, cut it or move it to the end of the experience.

Don't confuse new players with important information that is hard to find.

Players in your island want to feel connected with each other, and if you hide information and don't give players a way to access it, you will confuse a large number of your players. Although we recognize that secrets and Easter eggs can be fun and engaging, don't make them too difficult to find. Try to make information as freely available as possible—your community will thank you for it.

When sharing information with a community, give them plenty of time to act on the information. Also, make sure there are plenty of breadcrumbs that lead players to where they can get new information about an event or a point of interest in your island.

Don't hide objects necessary for initial gameplay.

Objects like weapons and resources are critical to a player's success during the onboarding process, because player's use them to progress toward the goal of the onboarding process. Make sure players don't have to randomly guess the location of those weapons and resources—adding well-placed clues can make guessing feel less random and more fun.

Select a group of trusted community members to playtest your island, and verify that they can find the weapons and resources needed to accomplish the goal of the onboarding process.

Don't make tutorials too difficult to finish.

If the tutorial is too difficult to finish, players will get frustrated and it will be hard to communicate new information to them. Tutorials should be logically organized and not too complicated, so that they are easy to finish.

Before building a tutorial for the player's onboarding process, plan it out. Some designers like to make a paper-and-pencil prototype before building a tutorial in the game, and others like to plan their tutorial sequences with flowcharts or spreadsheets. Pick the best planning tools for you, and make the best tutorial you can for your players.

Don't make advertisements a player's first experience.

Players want to experience gameplay, objectives, or win conditions above everything else—not advertisements.

When designing a player's first experience, place advertisements (like SAC or social media information) off to the side of the player's initial field of view when they spawn. Make sure that your social media information meets our community rules, so you can display social media and SAC information rather than URLs.

Don't make lobby wait times too long.

Single-person players or players in a party don't want to wait in your lobby area any longer than it takes them to read your game instructions and rules. Long wait times may result in players quitting before they even start the game.

Playtest your game and time how long it takes you to read through your instructions and rules in the lobby area to ensure that players are waiting the least amount of time before your game begins.

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