About the format of attacks ( damage-strikes )

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Turuk
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Re: About the format of attacks ( damage-strikes )

Post by Turuk »

Simons Mith wrote:d) Could a nice mod please transfer this post into the Writer's Forum?
Done.
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Krause
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Re: About the format of attacks ( damage-strikes )

Post by Krause »

Hi all.

Skipping the typography and correct marking discussion and going straigth into the intuitive/what-looks-good (did I use the right kinds of hyphens?), I rather like the idea of a sword or two marking off the amount of damage and hits. I personally like the little line there just because it looks good, but made correctly some icon would work wonders. It'd save people the trouble of confusing the symbol with another mark with a different meaning, and just leave the 'what's this do?' factor.

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Re: About the format of attacks ( damage-strikes )

Post by Tonepoet »

Turuk wrote:A small change is indeed possible and the easiest to make, but changing things solely for the sake of changing them is also never a good idea.

A space would help if you made it 7 x3, but given that the game currently explains 7-3, which it would still do with 7x3 or 7 x3 or 7 x 3, is the change worth it? I was with Livor when really it did not seem that terribly confusing at all, and this damage indication has been used for a while. That does not make it right per say, but how many players who do not read the forums and just update their games will wonder what the sudden change from 7-3 to 7x3 means?
It's not changing for the sake of changing, it's a user interface issue. Wesnoth was very confusing to me when I started playing it, despite the fact that it shoots for "KiSS" philosophy. I feel the same way as Bert1 about this actually. While it's not particularly a problem now, the thought of 7-3 = seven minus three has come into my own head a few times. Ranges not so much since the first number is usually larger then the second, though the Cuttle Fish's 3-10 could be interperted as such with somebody unfamiliar with how Wesnoth works.

As to what could be used instead, I believe the best symbol to use would probably be the colon. 7:3 would come across as a 7 to 3 ratio (in this case a seven damage to three strikes ratio, hopefully), which is more or less the clearest we'll get to mathematically representing how strikes actually work. Multiplication such as X, x or • is actually the closer in concept, however as mentioned earlier it could be interpreted as two different single hit damage multipliers as pointed out earlier. I also feel adding letters to clarify how the multiplication works would add unsightly bulk. I think the tilde ~ looks too much like a stylized dash to fix the problem of it looking like a range. Using a slightly different context to exemplify this issue 7 A.M. ~ 3 P.M. isn't any different then using a 7 A.M. - 3 P.M. elegance aside. On the bright side we still ditch subtraction if the Tilde is used and I think it would look similar if not nicer to the current state of affairs, if aesthetics is of a concern. If I knew more about the Tilde, I'd mention the mental implications though I've only seen it used as an accentuation mark and a stylized dash... Oh, one last thing, before it's even considered 7/3 would just be confused with division.

Of course on the other hand I'm personally very used to strikes being represented with a dash now and would probably still write it 7-3 regardless...

Edit: I could've sworn this was a single page topic. Where did those other three pages come from? Regarding jb's comment that such a mistake shouldn't occur after playing the game, there are two ways I see. Way number one is that you're brand new and lost in a sea of confusion so thick that the observance of such details escaped you. The other is that your settings don't actually allow you to see the floating damage labels, I.E. Accelerated Speed x16 or Combat Animations/Floating Labels Off...
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Re: About the format of attacks ( damage-strikes )

Post by JW »

I like the ":" idea.

The thread was split into a new thread, but instead of pruning the post it was copied.

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Turuk
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Re: About the format of attacks ( damage-strikes )

Post by Turuk »

It was copied and not just cut off because it was still relevant to the talk here about using a different symbol. The thread it was split to is about changing to proper em dashes from the current form.
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Re: About the format of attacks ( damage-strikes )

Post by halifix »

When I see hyphens or minus symbols in games, I'm too lazy to tell them apart. Also, I generally read "4-4" as doing a minimum of 4 damage and a maximum of 4 damage. I might be a bit confused at "7-3", but my first thought would be they listed the maximum first for some reason.

I like the colon. In general math and games it doesn't represent much other than the score. But what about the tilda "~"? I doubt anyone seeing that would think about equivalence relations.

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Re: About the format of attacks ( damage-strikes )

Post by Darker_Dreams »

I'm going to add my voice to those who read the - as a range. Because of my familiarity with other games I never thought about the fact that it'd be used otherwise, and as an estimator of how effective an attack/unit is it works fine that way... it's just not nearly as useful as it's supposed to be.

As a random aside a tilde is sometimes used as a shortcut for "approximately equals" when using only the keys on a basic qwerty keyboard; ergo ~3pm would be "about 3 pm." Apropos to this conversation only in that it's a possible misinterpretation through over-(mis)use.

Personally, I like 7 x3, as I find it the most "natural." I'm with those who think that using some modification of dice notation (ie; 3x 7) doesn't seem to add that much readability, and it would be an annoyance to those who have learned the current system. I like 7:3 or 7 :3 less for purely personal aesthetic reasoning- however, it would have certainly sent me looking for an explanation where (as others have said) 7-3 just let me assume it was an odd notation unique to Wesnoth and what it was "supposed" to mean.

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Re: About the format of attacks ( damage-strikes )

Post by Glass Pearl Player »

Yet another opinion from the peanut gallery:
Why not use the @ symbol?
"7 widgets @ $2 = $14"
"4 strikes @ 5 HP = (up to) 20 HP"
The elvish fighter for example would then have
"4 @ 5 HP melee (blade)"
"3 @ 4 HP ranged (pierce)"
New players can have three plausible preconceived opinions about the symbol:
  • What's that? (That's a problem with every representation)
  • Is that an email adress? Is this a game about spambots? (Hopefully, such a notion would be abandoned with haste)
  • The one from accounting, which we want to evoke.
On another thought, hitting four times for 5 points could be displayed as "4x @ 5HP", but that might be too long for the sidebar.
The last possibility I want to suggest is simply "4@5", that is "[number of strikes]@[damage per strike]".
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Re: About the format of attacks ( damage-strikes )

Post by Jodwin »

Also an other opinion from the peanut gallery:

Wesnoth is, as everyone knows, played around the world by people from a lot of different cultures. Different symbols have, obviously, different meanings in different cultures. The only symbols that one could safely assume to have mostly the same meaning across the whole world are the basic mathematical symbols. Thus if you want to have a notation that's intuitive for as many people as possible, there are very few symbols you can possibly choose from.

Any kind of special notation, like dice notation, is even worse because only those players who are already familiar with it from a hobby will recognize it. For example, I recall having played a gladiator simulator game years ago that used the dice notation familiar from Dungeons and Dragons, and for months the only thing I understood about damage in that game was that "more expensive weapon = better". That was, until I read the game's manual and learned what the notation actually meant.

Crossed swords is a particularly bad symbol since it's completely made up and doesn't really mean anything - besides the meaning given to it in the game. It is a good symbol in that it can hardly be mistaken to mean something else, but at the same time someone playing the game for the first time won't have any idea what it might mean either. Of course you could say that the crossed swords-symbol could be explained in the tutorial, but the current notation is already explained there and it still causes problems for some players (mostly because they skip the tutorial altogether). If the tutorial can't be expected to explain one notation for every player out there, you can't really expect it to work for some other notation either...

Obviously the clearest way would be to forget about putting both damage and strikes on the same line, and instead have them on separate lines with the words "damage" and "strikes" before the numbers:
Damage: 7
Strikes: 3
The beauty of that would be that it would be easy to translate for other languages, and there would be no possibility of mistaking what it means (or, at least there shouldn't be :P ). The problem, on the other hand, would be that it takes more space. Granted that probably wouldn't matter on the sidebar, but it might be an issue on the attack screen (unless a smaller font would be used?).

Unless a notation that is as clear as day (like the one above) is used, the only way to find a "foolproof" notation is to pick one, any notation, and then force the player to learn by some kind of GUI-tutorial, help balloons or something so that the player will have to learn it before he can play for real. Otherwise, if the player isn't forced to learn the notation in use you are always going to have some people who mistake the notation until they bother to study it.
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Re: About the format of attacks ( damage-strikes )

Post by Joram »

Jodwin wrote: Crossed swords is a particularly bad symbol since it's completely made up and doesn't really mean anything - besides the meaning given to it in the game. It is a good symbol in that it can hardly be mistaken to mean something else, but at the same time someone playing the game for the first time won't have any idea what it might mean either. Of course you could say that the crossed swords-symbol could be explained in the tutorial, but the current notation is already explained there and it still causes problems for some players (mostly because they skip the tutorial altogether). If the tutorial can't be expected to explain one notation for every player out there, you can't really expect it to work for some other notation either...
But if the person has absolutely no idea what the symbol means (crossed swords), he is more likely to look it up in the manual/tutorial than if it is something he thinks he understands but doesn't.

The reason people don't understand the current notation is that they assume it means something it doesn't.
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Re: About the format of attacks ( damage-strikes )

Post by Zachron »

But you presume to much by assuming that "crossed swords" doesn't already have preconceptions. While the hyphen can also be a minus sign, the "crossed swords" in a lot of peoples minds, means "versus" or "arrrgh." :lol2:
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Re: About the format of attacks ( damage-strikes )

Post by Jodwin »

Joram wrote:But if the person has absolutely no idea what the symbol means (crossed swords), he is more likely to look it up in the manual/tutorial than if it is something he thinks he understands but doesn't.

The reason people don't understand the current notation is that they assume it means something it doesn't.
But similarly you could expect people to think "Well, I guess '7 - 3' means 'seven minus three'...but why does it show it that way instead of just saying 'four'...I guess it must mean something different, lets check it out!" - which obviously isn't happening. :P

Really, when it comes to human users, you can never expect them to do exactly the way you intend them to. This is a fact widely agreed upon in computer systems' interface design. So either you'll just have to settle with one "imperfect" notation and accept that there will be people who misunderstand it, or you can try to "optimize" the situation and either write out the meaning in clear words or somehow force the user to learn the notation in use before letting him play.

Of course, everyone knows that, for example, forcing people to play the tutorial isn't going to help much since there'll always be people who will just click-click-click through it, just like they do when installing programs or when confronted with funny dialog boxes while surfing the internet. :P
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Re: About the format of attacks ( damage-strikes )

Post by Skizzaltix »

It's been a while since I first picked up 'Noth*, but, as I recall, the notation gave me trouble for a few minutes, and then I noticed that "oh heeeey! My Fighter's attack is labeled '5-4,' and every time he attacks, he slides towards the enemy four times, and does five damage with each slide! I get it now!" :P (Now all I do is get damage and strikes mixed up. That's another matter entirely, and has to do with my habit of not playing, ever)
In other words, I don't really think there's any need to change it. People will figure it out eventually, right?
That said, if I had to choose one of the things that's been suggested here, I'd go for the "5:4" one. I'm not a huge fan of the ones like "5x 4" and "5x4" or whatever, because, IMO, it looks ugly (same goes for the crossed swords--unless we were to have a custom damage-number font that was drawn in the same style as the swords), and I'd rather not have the "Damage: 5 -- Strikes: 4" because it's a little clunky.
Then, for the "5@4"... this is a fantasy game. I don't know about anyone else, but that symbol just does not say "sword and sorcery" to me ;)

*In the words of Winston Churchill, a prominent British politician, "Prepositions at the ends of sentences are an abomination up with which I will not put!"

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