Beyond the Tutorial: Improving Onboarding in Games with Scaffolding

Learn the secrets of a student project out of Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center that revolutionizes onboarding for tabletop rpgs and discover how their scaffolding technique can be applied to video games. Explore how a companion phone app allows 4 new players and an experienced Game Master to complete the Pathfinder Beginner Box adventure in about half the normal time without players opening a book or referencing a character sheet. Find out how the companion used scaffolding to empower players to engage in creative roleplaying while teaching them action crafting, dice rolling, and preparing them to use a character sheet with little guidance from the Game Master. Deconstruct the scaffolding technique and then apply it popular video games as examples of how this could move games beyond the tutorial.

Attendee Takeaways

Attendees will learn the basics of scaffolding, a technique that vastly improves onboarding in tabletop roleplaying games, and learn how they might apply this technique to video games and other mediums.


Aubrey Scott is a trans woman of color working as a Gameplay Engineer at Monster Games. She completed her Master’s in Entertainment Technology at Carnegie Mellon University in 2015. While at CMU she led a student pitch project that improves onboarding for Tabletop Roleplaying Games, won a judge’s choice award for her global game jam game Press Up in 2015, and became a Randy Pausch Scholar at the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. Since graduating, Aubrey has worked on the released game titles NASCAR Heat: Evolution, NASCAR Heat 2, and NASCAR Heat 3. She also has a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from Sierra Nevada College completed in 2008. Outside of games Aubrey is a yoga instructor, a former roller derby athlete, and an aspiring nomad.

Aubrey Jane Scott

Gameplay Engineer , Monster Games