Tutorial Neighbors

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A neighbor controlled by the game to help players learn the game.

Many of the massively single-player online games on social network sites make use of neighbors, lists of other players that have agreed to have interactions with each other. However, those beginning to play the game do not yet have these neighbors nor may they wish to start to interact with other players at once. Tutorial Neighbors solve this problem by providing a "fake" neighbor that is run by the system.


CityVille, Empires & Allies, and Zombie Lane are all examples of games that make use of Tutorial Neighbors.

Using the pattern

Tutorial Neighbors are created by designing Non-Player Characters than have provide the same functionality to players as Neighbors do. In particular, Private Game Spaces need to be designed for them if other Neighbors have them. These Tutorial Neighbors may or may not also be able to perform the same actions in return.

Diegetic Aspects

Tutorial Neighbors, and the Private Game Spaces they have, are typically created so they do not break a game's Diegetic Consistency; even if this is easily broken by how the other Neighbors are presented in the game interface.

Narrative Aspects

Although Tutorial Neighbors typically act as passive players, they can take the role of Non-Player Characters in giving Quests to players.


Tutorial Neighbors are Neighbors that are Non-Player Characters instead of players. By doing so they can let players make Visits to Private Game Spaces in addition to those of other players. They can provide Smooth Learning Curves to players through giving them Quests in a suitable order, but can partly do on their own by being Helpers.


Can Instantiate

Helpers, Neighbors, Non-Player Characters, Smooth Learning Curves

Can Modulate

Private Game Spaces, Quests, Visits

Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By


Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With



New pattern created in this wiki.