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Month: January 2022

Clash of Clans: Brita the Villager

First I dissected the tutorial of Clash of Clans to get its anatomy.
Then I took some notes based on my personal experience.

The Villager is the first character that the Player of Clash of Clans meets opening the game for the first time. I see margins of improvements for this specific character. She helps the Players understand the game’s basics, but especially in the second part of the tutorial she is too formal. The Players will learn the core loop of the game with the help of standard messages. My goal is to improve the narrative function of this character making her more memorable.

The Lens of Problem Statement

The main reference is taken from one of my favorite TV shows: Norsemen. Particularly, my intention is to use as a guide the character of Liv interpreted by Kristine Riis.

Find her description on this website

“Can Liv from the Norsemen become a character capable of engaging the newbies of Clash of Clans better than the Villager?”

Problem Statement


  • Target: Newbie Players of Clash of Clans
  • Challenge: transform Liv in the new Villager
  • Playtest: observe people that never played Clash of Clans react to the new tutorial and check heuristics


I created a brainstorm framework using chapter 6 of the book Game Writing – Narrative Skills for Videogames. Mr. Andrew S. Walsh writes an essay on game characters. The chapter invites game writers to reflect on the Gameplay Purpose VS Narrative Purpose of the character we create. 

Summary of brainstorming process with ideas already selected

The new Villager should onboard the Players, teach them the game’s basics and also reward them when they do good.

Narratively speaking, if I imagine Liv from the Norsemen having to do that: 

  1. I imagine pretty exaggerated reactions toward the success (she is capable of doing anything for her status). 
  2. I imagine her getting a little bit in the way of the Players, in order to achieve what she wants. 
  3. She may also reveal secrets, things she believes she only knows. 

Thinking in adjectives, Liv is generally grumpy (except when she wants something). Grumpy can be funny for the Players, let’s keep this adjective for her personality.

Regarding traits, my brainstorm was focused in finding the right governing, conflicting and secondary traits. After reflecting, double checking the pre-existing tutorial dialogues, I believe that the fact that Liv is a gold digger can be a good reference as a conflicting trait. So I decided that the governing one should be something more like Prudent: showing care and thought for the future. I think that it is a positive trait, since this character will also show the future of the game to the Players, in the revised tutorial. In order to further mitigate the “gold digger” trait, using the same book as reference I opted for “honorable” as a secondary trait.

Final Touches

I notice that the last drawing of the villager has a collar. So I looked for Viking professions and I found the trader and the jewelry maker pretty interesting for my purpose.

Finally, a good character has a name. I looked for Viking names and their meaning and I found an interesting link. The name Brita means ‘dignified’ or ‘noble’, which fits the personality of the new Villager!

What’s next?

Time to revise the dialogues of the tutorial and see if Brita may work the way I am thinking of her.

Game Writing: Narrative Skills for Videogames

This book is one of the best I have ever read on the art of making games.

I like books that permit me to create my frameworks easily. This is one of those. Multiple authors so that you don’t get the vision of just one person. And it’s great because every chapter brings insight, practical examples and a final set of exercises to make in order to grow as game writer.

I loved it!

Clash of Clans notes on tutorial

Read the first part of the analysis here.

In this second part I want to write on what I experienced personally during the tutorial experience. It is very important to write down notes for a game designer.

If you have no time for that, you have no time to learn.

The game welcomes you with the main view of the Village. Here the Player can already decide “this is my kind of game” or quit. The welcome is given by the Villager, one of the two characters introduced in the tutorial. The girl has changed visually:

Her expressivity has become more exaggerated and her proportions are nearest to the beauty standards. I preferred the old one, since she reminded me more of a tough and rude viking. But I get why this one was selected: especially on a small screen you need to emphasize gestures and expressions.

The first mechanic is introduced. The tutorial makes you build a cannon to defend from a goblins’ raid. The sequence is pretty memorable. The goblin is fun and informal, but uses sophisticated words and spells correctly. The animation after the build, which is an idle mechanic with its rewards per se in the game. The defense mechanic is not completely introduced to the Players. Players will learn it alone later simply by playing and discovering they can tap on graves to earn some extra elixirs. Which is pretty smart!

Just after, the Player learns the attack feature and all of its mechanics. A group of 5 wizards join your village and you can use them to get revenge with the goblins. First of all, I believe that wizards are chosen because they are narratively meaningful. In fact the Villager has explained that your village is built on a Ley Line, so that your buildings will auto-repair. Magic is on the air. Second, wizards are pretty fast destroying buildings which is great to keep the tutorial shorter. Last, wizards are a kind of troops that a Player can unlock later in the game. So that the Players can get a hint of future unlocks and test two troops during the tutorial (later, they will use the barbarians).

The third part of the tutorial puts its focus on the importance of building and improving your village. I believe that the Developers, after giving an hint on the possible thrills and best moments, considered proper for the Players to really learn the core loop deeply. The Player builds 5 important resources, completing the core loop five times. It is more than enough to learn the basics of the game. 

The tone of the Villager is very formal, and that is when I want to work for personal exercise the next few days. I believe that this part hasn’t aged well and I would like to improve it as an exercise. Many clones of this fantastic game popped out and also many evolutions are at the door. The next successful game can be possibly based on this masterpiece. Especially for new players, I believe that the Villager is a character which should have a more relatable personality. Messy, complicated and interesting. Just like people in real life!

The 2022 tutorial ends with one of the newest features of the game: challenges and rewards. The overview is too fast and based on skipping dialogues, more than actually learning something meaningful like in the first part. Which makes the tutorial experience ending with many questions. This can be interesting for newbie Players, especially for the most hardcore part of the audience that can perceive suddenly that this game is not linear but deep.

When the Players return into the SHOP section, they will find the first offer which is the third builder. No pop-up, no constant prompts looking for no-brain conversions. The value is there. During the tutorial you entered the SHOP enough times and now you know that the SHOP is critical to the experience. You will find the offer and, if you want, you will convert. That is what I call: treating Players with respect.

Clash of Clans tutorial anatomy

This weekend I want to do an experiment, the first series of articles. This one is dedicated to one of my favorite games of all the times: Clash of Clans. The purpose of this post is to share my way of breaking down the tutorials of the games I play.

Being scrappy is OK

There is a simple process you can follow, it takes a work day more or less:

  • Play the game recording the session
  • Create the brickfile for the Tutorial
  • Use a spreadsheet to dissect everything

The result is something like this

You can see the google sheet here and make your copy if you want.

  • The first two columns are the report of every dialogue step by step
  • Then I detail the feature (or mechanic) the game wants to teach every step and the action needed to pass to the next step
  • I take notes on narrative. The character speaking and the word count are important for the translation budget. The dimension of every script, in fact, depends directly on the number of characters speaking and the locations used. You can check out this masterclass on short stories.
  • Finally, I put my bias into commenting on the narrative, assigning an intensity score to every beat and focusing on the tone. For reference, I left the list of tones in a separate tab. The list is taken from this article.

Intensity score goes from 1 to 5, and:

  1. Already seen, not exciting
  2. New thing on screen, still not exciting
  3. Interesting
  4. Cool surprise
  5. Thrill

It is just a personal valuation useful to me to see where I would like to improve the things!

What is Talent exactly?

A definition of talent is people or a person with a natural ability to do something well.

Companies are looking for Talents. Recruiters are posting messaging on the importance of finding the right talent. Coaches and leaders are repeating how is important to keep the Talents.

Natural ability. Let’s explore this concept.

What is a natural ability? An ability that’s inherited. Aptitudes that stabilize around age 14, that make certain tasks or activities easy to complete, and that require relatively less time, effort, or energy to perform. When we operate in an environment where we can employ these Natural Abilities, we are happiest and perform our best.

Is it possible to develop a natural ability? Skills are learned and don’t always come easily and take relatively more time, effort, or energy to complete. Natural abilities are just inherited.
According to the experts, you may have or not talent. You can put the effort you want to grow your skills.

Companies and leaders are looking to find and keep the talent. To test your talent they test your skills instead!

You may or may not have the talent, the natural ability. It is not your choice. You may be able to spot your talent and bet on it. You may be able to grow the proper skills and become a skilled talent.

Or you may never discover your talent. I would be a super talented technical artist, who knows! I work as a game designer. Am I a talent? I don’t know. My mother says I am!
You have your passions! So that you are growing your skills to nurture your passions. Still, you have not discovered your talent in this scenario.

You have your job! working everyday you are growing your skills for your job. Also here, it is very possible that you still didn’t discovered your true talent. You would be a tremendous guitar player.

You can think that you have talent in something, but you are just skilled enough to do your job above average.

It is good for our mental health to stop showing off our natural abilities, since those are there. Focus on grow our skills everyday, instead. Because it is the only thing we can actually control.

Look mama: I’m in the metaverse!

I am looking to move the first step on the concept of metaverse. So that I:

  • Created an avatar on Ready Player Me. It is a new standard proposal for open avatars. Pretty cool!
  • Downloaded on Steam the application Animaze
  • Imported the Ready Player Me avatar into Animaze
  • Used OBS Studio to put the Animaze avatar with green screen on the final video
  • Recorded a 4 minutes video with my early exploration in CYBR

Here it is the result:

An opportunity for role playing video games and NFTs

There is something that I have always missed out while playing role playing video games: interpretation.

Producing a story with many branches and possible endings costs too much, then you have to translate it in many languages. That is simply not viable. Reproducing that feeling of “do whatever you want” that is present in tabletop role playing games is hardly achieved by the videogames of today.

You will also need a human (dungeon master) to adapt the scene and the story to the spontaneity of the moment.

What we have

What is possible right now is to provide tools for the people to connect together in a server. Create and explore virtual worlds, also in real time. 

Having a customized avatar that can interact with things and make gestures is also pretty suitable nowadays.

I was just thinking that maybe those new technologies which promise uniqueness and decentralization may grant tabletop role players being rightly represented inside a virtual community.

The journey

You start playing some designed adventure, just to get in touch with the controls and functionalities from a Player standpoint. Then you can look for your first party. 

When you reach a certain status in the community, playing or mastering stories, the game government (developers) recognize your contribution by issuing NFTs.

If you are a player, the more you play, the higher the value of the Character (PC) represented by the NFT. You can sell it and start with new characters. New players may decide to buy a PC and skip the process of getting noticed, for instance. Developers earn a part of every transaction.

If you are a DM the Worlds and Stories you create will become publicly  visible and free for everyone. You may want to pay for the developers to issue you a World-NFT or Story-NFT. Having one of those you can decide to let parties having an entry fee to your adventures, because you got a name in the community. As a dungeon master you should also create and use NPCs. The more you use those, the more your Players will be able to get in touch with them and enrich their background. Developers may decide to issue you an NFT to the highly recognized NPCs inside of the community, encouraging you to create meaningful NPCs.

Your creativity and interpretation, in that way, can be truly compensated!

Saying that NFT-games is the new F2P has lot of flaws

I lived in first person the success of the free-to-play business model. I remember the times when you could register your bank account to Facebook, purchase credits and use those to buy items inside of a videogame.

That thing was completely different from what is today the NFT-gaming. One of the main goals for the experience of this new kind of game is not pure fun. It is to try to guess where to put your money in order to get the most benefit. It is speculation.

When I read that NFT games are the future I think: maybe the games of the future will also feature this technology, who knows.

When I read “people were skeptic also with f2p”, I say caution. Free-to-play has been born thanks to widely accessed technologies such as social networks and mobile phones without messing with people investing skills. The business was built on facilitating spending for the 5% of people who are willing to. The value proposition was pretty clear: you invest your money, you get the items you want, you get to overcome your pains and you get extra content. This is NOT what NFT is about.

NFT games are hard to access ON PURPOSE and clearly give advantage to wealthier players thanks to a base of poor grinders.

see you soon

My plan with this blog is to write a post daily. Anyways, life comes first. Now my life gave me a very hard moment to live and face.

I will be out for some time. I will be back writing for you.

The channel to follow if you are into the Metaverse thing

If you are willing to start the adventure of developing a new Metaverse, you may want to learn from the history of games the good and the bad things happened to the creators and players of MMOs.

I spot this beautiful channel which dedicate each video to a different title. You can see the struggles and the values that a lot of MMOs brought to the industry.

Josh Strife Hayes, check him out and consider support his Patreon!