DUST 514: The New Player Experience

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DUST 514: The New Player Experience

Greetings, Mercenaries.

Our motivation for the release of Uprising 1.5 was to do whatever we felt necessary to improve the chances of new players making it past Day One of playing DUST 514. The first step was to consider what sort of players we were aiming at, and decide which teaching approach to take.

Our target audience is, for the most part, gamers who are familiar with other console first-person shooters and want to try something a little more interesting. This led us to focus primarily on teaching the differences between DUST and other FPS games, rather than trying to teach people, for example, what a gun is and how to move around.

To accomplish this, we considered two major approaches: instruction-driven and objective-driven. An instruction-driven approach ensures that players are clearly shown what to do at each point along the way. Commonly this means highlighting every interaction, locking out everything else, and ensuring that every single step is explained. An objective-driven approach, by contrast, tends towards giving players goals to complete, and telling them just enough to let them figure out how to complete it.

Ultimately, we decided to go with an objective-driven approach. With the assumption that our players are mostly familiar with the genre, we can be more confident that they’ll be able to complete the objectives. DUST is also a fairly dense and free-form game, so people who are likely to stick with it in the long term are assumed to be more likely to find an objective-driven approach a good fit. And objective-driven tutorials are a safer long-term investment in a continually-changing game like DUST, since they’re much less sensitive to changes in UI, mechanics, etc.

DUST 514 on PS3

With the approach decided, we discussed what we wanted to teach, and settled on three core things for this release:

  1. Joining a battle. This is not rocket science, obviously, but we need to be sure that players can do this before anything else. While working out the best experience, we decided that it’s better having the Neocom open by default, rather than closed, since this makes the available options more obvious for new players and reduces button-presses for everyone. You’ll still be able to cancel into the MQ from the Neocom, but wherever we used to default to the plain MQ view, we now show the Neocom instead.
  2. Creating a new fitting. This is one of the big things that sets DUST apart from other games, but in order to be effective it needs to be understood at an early stage. We teach the very basics: open Dropsuit Fitting, create a new fit, and make the fit valid by adding a weapon. Again, we’ve made some usability enhancements to the UI here, such as adding tips in the blank panes, to smooth out the experience.
  3. Training a skill. Again, in DUST this is fairly different from most other games, and really needs to be understood early on. Here we’re just prompting people to open Skills, pick any skill, buy it, and train it to level 1. We didn’t find much to fix with the UI here, beyond changing the “Train” button to read “Purchase” when you don’t own the skill.

The biggest thing that we’re not teaching is how to use the Market. It’s obviously pretty important, and something we want to address in a future release, but we didn’t feel confident that we could deliver an effective tutorial for this release in the time available and with the current UI.

Beyond deciding on the specific instructions, we also needed to produce the surrounding systems to support it, and a good UI to convey it to players.

When your new character logs in for the first time (don’t worry, this won’t run on existing characters), you’ll be greeted by an introductory pop-up, and then shown the “New Objective” screen for the first task.

DUST 514 on PS3

Here you can see pretty much what you need to know: what the goal is, what the individual suggested steps are, and what you’ll get for completing it. The rewards for this release are mostly militia gear, intended to get the players into the groove rather than give them a big power boost; the most expensive thing we’re handing out is probably the 1-day active booster in the final stage.

Once you’ve digested that, pressing “Continue” will animate the screen down to the bottom corner, where it’ll settle as an always-on-top reminder of your overall goal and your next step.

This location was picked as it has the fewest conflicts with existing UI, so it shouldn’t ever get in the way of anything. It’s persistent and on-top but it’s not restrictive in any way, so you’re free to ignore it for as long as you like.

As you follow the steps, they’ll complete, scroll off the UI, and be replaced by the next step. Steps where you’re doing something permanent (such as creating a fitting or buying a skill) are saved on the server, while steps that involve opening a UI element are not. This should ensure that anyone interrupted by accidental disconnect or the like picks up again on their next login in a sensible way.

DUST 514 on PS3

Once you complete your objective, you’ll be shown the “Objective Complete” screen at the next sensible opportunity (e.g., not in the middle of a battle). This nicely-animated screen lets you know that you’ve successfully completed your objective, and been given your reward.

Selecting “Continue” will then load the “New Objective” screen for the next objective, and so on until you’ve completed the whole tutorial. There’s one final pop-up to wrap up, and then you’re done.

That’s pretty much it. Simple and straightforward and — hopefully! — comprehensible. The system’s designed to be extensible (it’s actually using the same back-end system as the daily bonus), so we’re well positioned to add to it in future, but for now we’re pretty happy with what we’re shipping.

Feedback in the comments as usual! For more on DUST 514, visit PlayStation.com.

Comments are closed.


  • Please tell me you guys have a PS4 version in consideration. With all the improvements, it could thrive Next-gen.

  • Well, it took you guys long enough. I’ve had the game since April of last year, thanks for the early BETA invite BTW, and this was needed since then. Did you change the tutorial video, its really outdated.

    But, CCP doesn’t respond to comments on here, I almost forgot, I know they don’t. Head to their forums if you wish to discuss things, the team over there is pretty good. Give LogiBro these duties in the future, or Mintchip…

  • Ive been on DUst 514 since the very first Beta, back last year….

    It has come along way but the player count has dropped very low.

    Dust is a cool game its unique. But CCP needs to step it up! We need different game modes

    Skrimish and Domination, Ambush just gets Dull and boring… Prototype are all in Public Contracts.

    Vehicle fixes in 1.5 seems like its not happening.

    HMG gets killed really quick compared to the last built… Suxs… I have around 10Million Skill points and I run better in Militia Gear than in ADV or Proto.

    This Game is just Broken. Hopefully it can be restored and brought back up .. But, I just see it difficult at this point.

    Any who, Back to GTA V

  • Please add Trophy support. So many players will jump back in if they have trophies to motivate them (myself included).

  • I still can’t play this on my backwards compatible PS3. It shuts down when I get into the Player’s Room.. Oh well, maybe it will come out for the PS4.

  • I just hope this tutorial is better than the first one they had. I quit playing because of the confusing upgrade and equipment menu’s.

  • This game is going to have the same end as M.A.G…

    I am sorry, but thats the truth. :/

  • About time they did something with this game.

    I wanted to like this game, even love it but I was expecting MAG 2 not some convoluted cluster frack.

    I never had any idea what I was supposed to do whether in game or in that little bathroom you start in.

    Like trying to build a suit, and having no parts, and not knowing how to get parts, or what they do, or why what they do is desirable, etc.

    Regular shooter has guns with attachements, the attachements are explained and then you know why you would equip one or another.

    Dust just seemed like a no purpose run and gun with poor graphics and confusing mechanics, not to mention the shooting mechanics are the worst I have used to date, thats why I stopped playing, it made no sense.

    Its also why numbers are dropping, give new players unlimited suit stuff, give them some premade suits so they can see what’s good. Take all this away at level 20 or something, when they know wats wat.

  • Hate to be a stick in the mud, but here is a brief summation of my experience with DUST:

    Spent a great deal of time playing a sub-standard shooter to the point of tedium to accumulate skill points;

    used those skill points to be able to use good equipment;

    watched the developers nerf the equipment.

    And frankly, the nerfs had more to do, in my opinion, with placating vocal players on the forums, than with properly balancing the game.

    Complete waste of time. Stay away.

    Additionally, one of the worst online communities I have experienced. Don’t believe me? Hit the forums.

  • This really needs an improved PS4 version.

  • i would love to see this game be all that it can, and should be… also, it would be cool to actually see how your efforts on the ground actually effect the EVE online universe… as it is, i don’t really have any emotional motivation. there’s no incentive other than to shoot people in the face, as hard as that it is, and level up… glad to see CCP hasn’t forgotten about DUST 514… =)

  • One of the main reasons I stopped playing this game is because I spent all my points on buying a flying drop ship only to never be able to use it, because it didn’t have something equipped or I didn’t have some kind of skill, it was Very confusing and Very frustrating! hopefully with this update ill be able to finally use this drop ship that would be Fun!

  • please don’t kill this game, just make it better =)

  • I still haven’t tried Dust since I downloaded…and its been quite some time since that.Can’t help myself…I have to much games to play.

  • This will be a great addition to the Dust 514 conmmunity, with updates for the game coming all the time this will get muc better. PS4 day 1 i’m out

  • I played the game for a day or two, but since it didn’t have any trophies, I moved on to games that did.

  • How about adding trophies to the game?

    It will ultimately get more people playing, and playing longer. Just make them objective driven, and they won’t affect the way people play negatively, if that’s your fear of trophies.

    Ex. Perform 50 hacks over all playthroughs – bronze

    I think it would be a great move.

  • My player experience with Dust514 has all been negative.
    Are they ever going to fix the bug that keeps crashing my ps3 back to standby mode?

  • For returning players check this out: Little reward on return if after October 8th http://dust514.com/events/welcome-back-to-dust-514/

    If you have not played the game feel free to click https://dust514.com/recruit/ieHYdv/ for a friend referral and start out with some nice stuff others won’t have.

  • There are multiple FPS out there that are so much better than this dull looking, convoluted mess of a game .

  • The only real question that I have is this: Why did y’all take out “the way of the mercenary” tutorial video?? That beat was pretty hot!!!

  • need more heavy weapons and mav

  • Okay, I love this game, I seriously do. But I speak for a lot of people when I say that this game is gonna start sucking real fast if CCP doesn’t make a PS4 version. And just to be safe, KEEP the PS3 subset, so those who don’t buy the new console won’t feel left out.

  • neocom for ps vita??????when it will be release?????

  • wheres my tophies?

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