Design Problem:

Players cannot gain the skills to succeed in a game through the usual means of training used by the game.

Design Solution:

Players can practice in a variety of ways in their own time so that they can gain the skills needed to succeed in the game.

Related Patterns:

APX Design Drivers:

The above design problem can occur in the following contexts:

  • Players with physical disabilities may need to practice skills to trial new control configurations.

  • Players with cognitive disabilities may need to practice skills longer to gain skill competence.

  • Players may need to practice skills to gain skills competence or mastery.

Examples of this Pattern in Action.

Practice skills in sandbox levels in Rocket League


Rocket League includes “Free Play” and “Exhibition Match” modes that allow players to practice their skills. In Free Play, players are able to play by themselves without other player-controlled characters or computer-controlled characters. In this mode, players are free to try new moves, make mistakes, and hone their gameplay skills without any interference from opposing characters. At any time, players may reset the ball to reposition the ball and initiate their practicing.

Players may also play an Exhibition Match against computer-controlled bots. The exhibition matches have no effect on rank and players may change factors including the difficulty of opposing bots, team size from “1v1” to “4v4” (including asymmetrical team sizes like “1v4”), and mutator settings (for example match length, max score, max speed of the ball, ball size, respawn time, etc.).

Modes like Free Play and Exhibition Match give players opportunities to practice their skills in a game environment that is independent of performance in the main game.

Tutorial Levels in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided


While the first mission in Deus Ex largely serves as a tutorial in and of itself, it also contains 3 tutorials that teach you the basic mechanics of the game: the cover tutorial, stealth tutorial, and combat tutorial. Players are prompted with an available tutorial when they approach a situation in which the skills in each tutorial would be useful. Players may choose to enter into these tutorials or skip them altogether. If players choose to enter a tutorial, the game allows for players to experiment in an area that has no consequences on their progress in the game. These tutorials allow players to reset at any point in order to retry. Tutorials can be repeated or reset as many times as a given player desires. Players may also leave the tutorials at any point. Each of the tutorials includes multiple opportunities for the player to practice the skills that each tutorial focuses on.

Within each tutorial, directions for how to complete each action are presented on screen in yellow-colored font presented on a dark background. Markers indicating points of interest or advancement are present in order to give the player an idea of where they should proceed to. Additionally, players are directed to follow a “hologram” outline of the player character that indicates where the player should be in order to facilitate the skills being demonstrated in the tutorials. Of note, audio is not necessary for completion of any of these tutorials.

References and Other Citations.