New user feedback/questions

General feedback and discussion of the game.

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

User avatar
Eolith
Posts: 138
Joined: August 11th, 2008, 2:45 pm
Location: Oh, about six or seven different universes at once.

Re: New user feedback/questions

Post by Eolith » December 25th, 2009, 9:55 pm

Zarel wrote:
Gambit wrote:The tutorial should be THE FIRST THING anyone does anyway. If you have a question about the game:

1. Tutorial
2. Manual
3. Stickied Threads
4. Forum Search
5. Forum Thread
[...]
178. Propose a change to the game to suit.
...again, it's called KISS. Just because you have a tutorial is no reason to make the game hard to understand for no reason.
Um, isn't it common sense to try the tutorial first? I would think that that would fall in with "Read the directions before you use/fix it."

As for hard to understand, I do not find that to be the case. After the Age of Empires series and civilization building games like 1602 A.D. and 1701 A.D., this one is very easy to understand, since you only have about a dozen or two factors to consider and one kind of resource instead of 50 to 600 factors and 20 or 30 resources. Again, playing the tutorial gives most, if not all, of the basic information. The tutorial available now is easier to understand than the one I learned to play with (something like 4 or 5 years ago with an early version of BfW- one that came with a Linux CD.) That one did not bother to say things like "Gaining 32 experience through fighting will allow this unit to advance to level 2." It also tried to put everything into a single scenario, and took away much of the player's ability to try things other than what they were supposed to do, which gives them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes (not following directions gives this opportunity, as does fighting an Orcish Grunt at night with and Elvish Fighter using a sword- sometimes it is a good idea, but not always.)
All in all, I think this setup, while far from perfect (for nothing is perfect), is far better than some of the previous arrangements of the game.

*Sigh* I guess there are some people who were never taught to read the directions/play the tutorial (not to mention pay attention, and maybe play the tutorial several times, like I did) before jumping into a game.

One good rule of thumb: Play the tutorial first, in any game that you have not played before, and play it if you have not played the game for a significant length of time, such as one year (or, in some cases, less.)
Completed Add-Ons (BfW 1.4): Dark Century (era); From Darkness to Light (campaign); Rise of Toraila (era); Forty Years Exile (campaign); (BfW 1.6.5) Improved Era (era)

In Process (BfW 1.6.5): Crystal of Sight (campaign)

User avatar
Gambit
Loose Screw
Posts: 3266
Joined: August 13th, 2008, 3:00 pm
Location: Dynamica
Contact:

Re: New user feedback/questions

Post by Gambit » December 25th, 2009, 11:17 pm

Um, isn't it common sense to try the tutorial first? I would think that that would fall in with "Read the directions before you use/fix it."
That was my thoughts exactly Eolith. It's a video game, not a toaster.

Zarel believes KISS == self explanatory.
The two sometimes coincide, but not always.

xanthan
Posts: 12
Joined: December 20th, 2009, 5:03 pm

Re: New user feedback/questions

Post by xanthan » December 26th, 2009, 2:15 am

Wow, Gambit and Eolith, you are really not into usability! Fortunately the developers are, as the game is clearly well-designed in this regard. Yes, the tutorial is important-- and I find it very well done, in fact. However there is a lot to cover and not all of it will sink in. The tutorial is a (very good) aid to learning the user interface but it cannot replace an intuitive interface.

In the referenced thread about the notation, there was a mention of a tooltip that would come up if you hovered over the notation, explaining what it meant. That is not there now in the stable version, but that would be an acceptable solution to me. As would anything that made it obvious without having to leave the game and do research on what it means.

Gambit wrote:
If you have a question about the game:

1. Tutorial
2. Manual
3. Stickied Threads
4. Forum Search
5. Forum Thread
[...]
178. Propose a change to the game to suit
I totally disagree. If you are playing the game, the way to find out what is going on is:

1) It's obvious because the game is well-designed.
2) There's automatic assistance in an obvious place, such as a tooltip or a help icon.
3) In-game help.
4) On-line Manual
5) Forums
...
177) Propose that everyone play the game the way you do, even though you know it well and they are just learning.

As for ">>178. Propose a change to the game to suit." If everyone thought that way, there would be no open-source games such as Wesnoth for you play. Really Gambit, ease up. We are suggesting minor, unobtrusive improvements to the user interface. Constructive feedback is very useful in most of life's endeavours, as you will eventually learn, I hope.

Velensk
Multiplayer Contributor
Posts: 3984
Joined: January 24th, 2007, 12:56 am

Re: New user feedback/questions

Post by Velensk » December 26th, 2009, 2:24 am

I do not believe that Gambit considers the way it currently is unintuitive.

I'm inclined to agree but then I'll acknowledge that I've a prejudiced view as I've been playing the game or many years.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

User avatar
Gambit
Loose Screw
Posts: 3266
Joined: August 13th, 2008, 3:00 pm
Location: Dynamica
Contact:

Re: New user feedback/questions

Post by Gambit » December 26th, 2009, 2:48 am

It's not even that I don't believe it's unintuitive. I just don't understand where the confusion is. You learn it right away if you're doing things right.

How do you learn to play the game? Seriously? How do you learn? Don't tell me you just picked up the game and randomly picked stuff to click on until you figured it out. The answer is [for most people?] the tutorial (which covers the damage strikes notation). I don't see why they have to change something that most users should will be learning first thing up to bat anyways.

Maybe I'm predjudiced because I don't try to telekenetically guess my way through all of my video games and expect to understand them.


Trust me, you change it to an X and 5 months from now there will STILL be someone [who didn't take the time to learn to play] posting on the forums wondering wtf it means and suggesting a change to something "more intuitive".

Because people are crap. I'm crap. You're crap. Sometimes I stand in large crowds of people wondering who left this crap everywhere. And if you're sitting there thinking "Yes you're quite right. Everyone is crap but me." Then you're a double bacon crap burger with a side of fries Mr. Crapface. Oh I'm sorry. This reflects badly on me. I should have said Mr. or Mrs. Crapface.

User avatar
Zarel
Posts: 700
Joined: July 15th, 2009, 8:24 am
Location: Minnesota, USA
Contact:

Re: New user feedback/questions

Post by Zarel » December 26th, 2009, 4:58 am

Eolith wrote: Um, isn't it common sense to try the tutorial first? I would think that that would fall in with "Read the directions before you use/fix it."
What kind of non-sequitur is this? "I think we should fire Mr. Hambley, his students aren't learning anything." "Isn't it common sense to use Google?" Perhaps it is, but what does that have to do with getting better teachers (or improving the game, as the case may be)? This goes for you, too, Gambit. "Read the tutorial" is the correct answer to "How do I learn what this means?", and is a completely nonsensical answer to "How do I improve the game?"
Gambit wrote:It's not even that I don't believe it's unintuitive. I just don't understand where the confusion is. You learn it right away if you're doing things right.
There is no confusion. The only confusion is that you're asking yourself the wrong question.

"How can I improve the game?" "Read the tutorial."

WTF? We are discussing how to improve the game. How does reading the tutorial improve the game at all?
Gambit wrote:How do you learn to play the game? Seriously? How do you learn? Don't tell me you just picked up the game and randomly picked stuff to click on until you figured it out. The answer is [for most people?] the tutorial (which covers the damage strikes notation). I don't see why they have to change something that most users should will be learning first thing up to bat anyways.
Although this is a bit off topic, that's indeed how some people learn. It's kind of obvious, you click on a unit, then you click a place for it to go. The dark areas must be the places it can't go. Oh, look, its number of moves decreased to match. It's almost as if it were like every other turn-based strategy game. Not exactly rocket surgery there. Oh, hey, if you click a unit, then click an enemy, it brings up an attack dialog! I wonder what that means, I think it either means you attack, or you cook dinner for your friends... Does "attack" mean "attack", or does "attack" mean "dinner"? Such a difficult question...

Regardless, this discussion is pointless, because, as above, you're asking yourself the wrong question.

---

In this specific case, points can be made about whether or not changing "5-2" to "5·2" is a good change or a bad change. I'm not going to argue that in this post. But "it's in the tutorial" is never a valid reason not to make a change (in fact, it's often a good reason to make the change in the first place).

Or, in other words: A tutorial is only for explaining concepts in a game that cannot be explained in any more-accessible way.

Now, I am a game developer. I would be accurate to say I have firsthand experience with game design. I'd hate to appeal to authority, but if we are going to discuss how to improve a game, we do need to understand game design (cough, this goes for you, too, Gambit), so let me take a while to explain how a certain aspect of game design works - specifically, how features are explained.

If "4-2" meant "Take pi to the 4th power, and round it down to the nearest integer. That's your attack strength. Now, the number of times you hit is three to the negative 2 power, times ten, rounded up" and included that in the tutorial, would that be a good game? No.

In terms of how features should be explained, the list goes in the order of:

=== Core features: You can't play the game without knowing these
1. Self-explanatory (Numbers that appear during an attack represent damage dealt)
2. Explained in-game next to the feature (the end turn button is labeled "End Turn")
3. Explained in-game the first time it becomes relevant (Delfador explains not to put mages in your frontline)
4. Tooltip (Ability descriptions appear when you hover over the ability)

=== Important things: Things that the game can be played without knowing, but are still central to the game's enjoyment.
5. Tutorial (It is explained that you should leave your elves in forest terrain)
6. In-game documentation (Unit resistances can be found by hovering over the unit and pressing 'd')

=== Extras: Things that can help, but aren't really central to the game.
7. Included documentation (The game manual explains the interface in detail)
8. Website official material, wiki, and forum stickies (The "How to play" series contains intermediate strategies for mainline factions)

=== Secrets: Things that aren't officially acknowledged
9. Unofficial fan discussion (For a FOSS game like Wesnoth, this is usually nothing but advanced strategy, but cheats for most games often fall here)

Now, unless there is a reason otherwise (such as cluttering the interface), a feature should always be as far up on that list as possible. Tutorials, especially, are a special case: Many players simply skip tutorials; they usually just explain things that any gamer is already familiar with. Rarely does a tutorial explain anything that can't be learned by watching another player play for a few minutes, or a bit trial and error - and reading tooltips - when playing the game yourself. Tutorials are made to explain the game to someone who knows nothing at all, so people who've played a vaguely similar game before, or even people with above-average amounts of common sense, are often bored by them.

Now, a reader may be thinking "If a player doesn't play a tutorial, it's his/her own fault." And this is true. But this is no comfort when your users spam your tech support forum with questions about things that are already explained somewhere in the game. And at some point, you have to realize that everyone's human, and blaming users will get you nowhere, and perhaps, if you changed your documentation to be more easily accessible or understandable, you would get fewer support requests.

And this brings us back to our initial issue. Games should be designed to be easy to understand. The only reason to add complexity to a game is to make it fun. Is it fun to figure out what "5-2" means?
Proud creator of the :whistle: smiley | I prefer the CC-0 license.

User avatar
Gambit
Loose Screw
Posts: 3266
Joined: August 13th, 2008, 3:00 pm
Location: Dynamica
Contact:

Re: New user feedback/questions

Post by Gambit » December 26th, 2009, 3:18 pm

[cheap shot]more like a maintainer[/cheapshot]

User avatar
zookeeper
WML Wizard
Posts: 9740
Joined: September 11th, 2004, 10:40 pm
Location: Finland

Re: New user feedback/questions

Post by zookeeper » December 26th, 2009, 4:56 pm

Zarel wrote:
Gambit wrote:How do you learn to play the game? Seriously? How do you learn? Don't tell me you just picked up the game and randomly picked stuff to click on until you figured it out. The answer is [for most people?] the tutorial (which covers the damage strikes notation). I don't see why they have to change something that most users should will be learning first thing up to bat anyways.
Although this is a bit off topic, that's indeed how some people learn. It's kind of obvious, you click on a unit, then you click a place for it to go. The dark areas must be the places it can't go. Oh, look, its number of moves decreased to match. It's almost as if it were like every other turn-based strategy game. Not exactly rocket surgery there. Oh, hey, if you click a unit, then click an enemy, it brings up an attack dialog! I wonder what that means, I think it either means you attack, or you cook dinner for your friends... Does "attack" mean "attack", or does "attack" mean "dinner"? Such a difficult question...

Regardless, this discussion is pointless, because, as above, you're asking yourself the wrong question.

---

In this specific case, points can be made about whether or not changing "5-2" to "5·2" is a good change or a bad change. I'm not going to argue that in this post. But "it's in the tutorial" is never a valid reason not to make a change (in fact, it's often a good reason to make the change in the first place).

Or, in other words: A tutorial is only for explaining concepts in a game that cannot be explained in any more-accessible way.
Agreed. I rarely bother to play game tutorials with much thought - if I get a new game, I quickly skim through the tutorial (and maybe not even finish it entirely) in order to get to playing the real thing ASAP. Tutorials are often way too simple and require me to spend time on unskippable boring things I would have figured out anyway (such as how to move or attack). So if I skip a tutorial because they're boring, it's pretty annoying when the only thing making it hard to figure stuff out on my own is the lack of tooltips or other help like that which could perfectly easily be there.

A tooltip for the attack notation is a good idea. Tooltips are almost always a good idea. They certainly never hurt.

User avatar
Gambit
Loose Screw
Posts: 3266
Joined: August 13th, 2008, 3:00 pm
Location: Dynamica
Contact:

Re: New user feedback/questions

Post by Gambit » December 26th, 2009, 5:38 pm

"This attack hits strikes times, doing damage base damage each time."

edited: some units have mutliple attacks. Dur. Should be this "attack hits blah blah blah" not "this unit"
Last edited by Gambit on December 26th, 2009, 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
thespaceinvader
Retired Art Director
Posts: 8414
Joined: August 25th, 2007, 10:12 am
Location: Oxford, UK
Contact:

Re: New user feedback/questions

Post by thespaceinvader » December 26th, 2009, 5:39 pm

Boom. Someone put in an FR ;)
http://thespaceinvader.co.uk | http://thespaceinvader.deviantart.com
Back to work. Current projects: Catching up on commits. Picking Meridia back up. Sprite animations, many and varied.

User avatar
Eolith
Posts: 138
Joined: August 11th, 2008, 2:45 pm
Location: Oh, about six or seven different universes at once.

Re: New user feedback/questions

Post by Eolith » December 26th, 2009, 5:46 pm

zookeeper wrote:Agreed. I rarely bother to play game tutorials with much thought - if I get a new game, I quickly skim through the tutorial (and maybe not even finish it entirely) in order to get to playing the real thing ASAP. Tutorials are often way too simple and require me to spend time on unskippable boring things I would have figured out anyway (such as how to move or attack).
To each his own. I personally prefer to play the tutorials, but I can understand that those who play a large number of relatively similar strategy games would find them boring. For those who do not, however, the tutorial may well not seem too simple.
Zarel wrote:"Read the tutorial" is the correct answer to "How do I learn what this means?", and is a completely nonsensical answer to "How do I improve the game?"
I am sorry. The question that stood out the most in this discussion for me was "How do you play the game?", accompanied by "How do I learn what this means?" "How do I improve the game?" seemed to be a result of not finding an answer to the previous two questions. English can be so confusing... even for those who learned it as a first language.
Zarel wrote:In this specific case, points can be made about whether or not changing "5-2" to "5·2" is a good change or a bad change.
Personally, I do not think I would notice much difference with this change, partly because I have pretty much memorized the stats, but also because the difference between a dash and a dot is not all that noticeable when it (the dot) is about half a millimeter in diameter, and the length of the dash is equal to the diameter of the dot. So far as I am concerned, this change would make little difference, though there may be those who find it easier to understand, and those who have been playing the game for many years may not notice the change for the same reason as I would not, but then again, there are those who would (and might not like it.) Personally, I think it is a matter of opinion.
Completed Add-Ons (BfW 1.4): Dark Century (era); From Darkness to Light (campaign); Rise of Toraila (era); Forty Years Exile (campaign); (BfW 1.6.5) Improved Era (era)

In Process (BfW 1.6.5): Crystal of Sight (campaign)

User avatar
Kalajel
Posts: 213
Joined: March 18th, 2009, 10:42 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: New user feedback/questions

Post by Kalajel » December 26th, 2009, 6:41 pm

xanthan wrote:Wow, Gambit and Eolith, you are really not into usability!
*facepalm* And they're not into reading other people's post either…

Gambit, I already explained how, despite the tutorial, it could be possible for someone to get confused by sharing my own (humiliating) experience. I even quoted myself to answer one of your post… don't you just love it when others just disregard your posts?

I find your "Dur, play the tuh-toh-rial you big moron!"-tones of post quite irritating and insulting. You seem to have this bad habit of treating people who don't think the same way you do like utter morons… The new years resolutions are coming soon, please do take this opportunity to become a better human being…


Sincerly,
Kalajel.

User avatar
thespaceinvader
Retired Art Director
Posts: 8414
Joined: August 25th, 2007, 10:12 am
Location: Oxford, UK
Contact:

Re: New user feedback/questions

Post by thespaceinvader » December 26th, 2009, 7:05 pm

Folks, chill out with the ad hominem, lest the thread be locked.

You have been warned.
http://thespaceinvader.co.uk | http://thespaceinvader.deviantart.com
Back to work. Current projects: Catching up on commits. Picking Meridia back up. Sprite animations, many and varied.

User avatar
Zarel
Posts: 700
Joined: July 15th, 2009, 8:24 am
Location: Minnesota, USA
Contact:

Re: New user feedback/questions

Post by Zarel » December 26th, 2009, 8:02 pm

Gambit wrote:[cheap shot]more like a maintainer[/cheapshot]
Not entirely sure if you're serious with this (sounds like a joke, but you can never be sure), but I do a variety of tasks, including improving the AI, improving the interface, fixing bugs, balancing, art, documentation... in addition to maintaining the Mac OS X port.

(Defending myself against an ad hominem is hardly the same thing as an ad hominem, right?)
zookeeper wrote:Agreed. I rarely bother to play game tutorials with much thought - if I get a new game, I quickly skim through the tutorial (and maybe not even finish it entirely) in order to get to playing the real thing ASAP. Tutorials are often way too simple and require me to spend time on unskippable boring things I would have figured out anyway (such as how to move or attack). So if I skip a tutorial because they're boring, it's pretty annoying when the only thing making it hard to figure stuff out on my own is the lack of tooltips or other help like that which could perfectly easily be there.

A tooltip for the attack notation is a good idea. Tooltips are almost always a good idea. They certainly never hurt.
Back on topic, I would still prefer a change from "5–2" to "5·2" in addition to the tooltip. It's close enough not to throw off existing players too much, while making it impossible to misinterpret as a range or subtraction.
Last edited by Zarel on December 26th, 2009, 11:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Proud creator of the :whistle: smiley | I prefer the CC-0 license.

User avatar
Gambit
Loose Screw
Posts: 3266
Joined: August 13th, 2008, 3:00 pm
Location: Dynamica
Contact:

Re: New user feedback/questions

Post by Gambit » December 26th, 2009, 11:10 pm

The dot is the best out of all the proposed replacements (it does actually mean multiplication). Still don't see the need to to replace though.

Post Reply