So I have cutscenes worked out, which helps me in my tutorial area. But in my design there are these little blocks which are used to describe to the player what to do, and I'm not 100% sure yet how they should work. Think of them as actual tutorial text, vs. cutscenes which are story-related. A player might choose to disable the tutorials but you can't disable cutscenes since they control gameplay.
Option 1: A very advanced tutorial mode that tells you where to click.
This is problematic because it's just a ton of work to get working right. You need to be able to detect everything the player is doing, where they are clicking, and hover indicator arrows over the correct buttons and so forth.
Option 2: A less advanced tutorial mode that consists of some help text, that you can re-read, and a "detector" that can tell when you've completed the tutorial action.
This is probably the way I'll go; it's (yet) another UI dialog, but not a difficult one. My current idea is to parody "clippy" with "gunny", your friendly gameplay six-shooter gun helper. Gunny sits at the right of the screen when there is a tutorial available. The text describes what you need to do, possibly using pictures, but doesn't detect each action and overlay the interface directly. So for example, in a basic sense it would say, "click the inventory button, then find your hat in your inventory and drag it to your head" along with some pictures. Then gunny sits there looking at you and when you've completed the action, he says "Great job! Now you're wearing your hat!" and disappears.
Logistically, this requires only a few triggers: a trigger to detect the start of the tutorial, a trigger to detect if you've moved out of range of the tutorial (i.e., if you seem to not be interested in completing it), and a trigger to detect that you've completed the tutorial.
My current thinking is to tie these tutorials to places and game state; this is very similar to cutscenes so I may integrate with the cutscene system I just implemented (and really, that would be the sensible thing to do). When you are at a specific place and the game state matches the appropriate state, the help text will trigger, and leave a little picture of gunny and a help button on-screen for you to click. If you complete the given action, regardless where you are, a bubble pops up saying you completed that tutorial. If you leave the area, the help button disappears but the tutorial remains active.
Everybody hated clippy. Will they hate gunny?