Make things more intuitive in general - Example included

Forum for suggesting changes to Salem.

Make things more intuitive in general - Example included

Postby Arillious » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:00 pm

I am a new player and I have been playing online games for over 15 years. The point of that is that I'm not a retard and I figure things out faster than most. There are mechanics in Salem that are extremely difficult to figure out how to work.

Here is a prime example:

As a new player, one of the first things I wanted to build was a fence. This is to stop any random person from strolling in and taking my stuff. I read the wiki and the guides and found information(Very unclear guides out there btw) and train up settling, simple fencing and carpentry. Everything up to this point has simply taken wood or branches to build and has been relatively self-explanatory.

Then, I see a new ingredient called "Board" to create a corner fence. I check all my skills and notice that I do not have a "Board" craft ability. After researching online, I find out that I need a Sawbuck to create a board. After getting a Sawbuck created, I'm now ready to drop some wood in it. I try chopped wood, branches, everything I can think of, but nothing works. Right clicking on the sawbuck does nothing. So now I'm stuck again and have to research online. Online I find that it actually requires a full log. So i grab a log off the ground and haul it back over and try to set it on the sawbuck. This does nothing. I try right clicking on everything to see if I can get a correct command, but nothing works. This takes me back to the internet for answers, where I'm finally able to determine that a fresh log from a newly cut down tree is needed. It was only then that I was able to put together my sawbuck correctly to create my board.

I had to reference online resources 3 times to do something pretty simple. A simple tool tip at certain steps would of helped:

A tool tip when hovering over the board in the fence ingredients to specify that the board requires a sawbuck.
A tool tip when right clicking on the sawbuck to show that its expecting a full newly cut down log and not chopped log or a log found on the ground.

This is just one example. I don't mind things being hard to do, but it shouldn't be confusing about how the simple mechanics work.

Other examples would include tooltips or notifications( at least one time) when you are doing something wrong or inefficiently.

IE, when you are digging or destroying without a shovel equipped, a tip would be helpful. I built a wooden shovel, but had it in my inventory and not actually equipped. Wasted a good deal of time destroying and digging without a shovel.
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Re: Make things more intuitive in general - Example included

Postby painhertz » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:07 pm

I am a new player and I have been playing online games for over 15 years. The point of that is that I'm not a retard and I figure things out faster than most.


And yet despite the 15 years of online gaming can't figure out how to build a fence. Don't be so sore! You'll figure it out eventually! Alternately you could just go back to playing WoW or Everquest where the game hand holds you through everything and damned near plays itself.

IE, when you are digging or destroying without a shovel equipped, a tip would be helpful. I built a wooden shovel, but had it in my inventory and not actually equipped. Wasted a good deal of time destroying and digging without a shovel.


You made a shovel, didn't use the shovel and wonder why you wasted time? When you shovel a hole in your front yard, does it just sit in a wheelbarrow looking balefully at the ground causing holes to form?
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Re: Make things more intuitive in general - Example included

Postby Arillious » Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:32 pm

painhertz wrote:
I am a new player and I have been playing online games for over 15 years. The point of that is that I'm not a retard and I figure things out faster than most.


And yet despite the 15 years of online gaming can't figure out how to build a fence. Don't be so sore! You'll figure it out eventually! Alternately you could just go back to playing WoW or Everquest where the game hand holds you through everything and damned near plays itself.

IE, when you are digging or destroying without a shovel equipped, a tip would be helpful. I built a wooden shovel, but had it in my inventory and not actually equipped. Wasted a good deal of time destroying and digging without a shovel.


You made a shovel, didn't use the shovel and wonder why you wasted time? When you shovel a hole in your front yard, does it just sit in a wheelbarrow looking balefully at the ground causing holes to form?


This thread is feedback for better gameplay. If you would of read, I did figure everything out in the end. I don't want people getting frustrated and quitting over unclear game mechanics.

I develop software for a living. The best feedback is always from the perspective of someone who has never used the software before. User's who are familiar with the software are used to working around even the obvious usability issues.
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Re: Make things more intuitive in general - Example included

Postby Sevenless » Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:05 pm

As far as games go, Salem is not exactly the most intuitive to learn if you're not coming at it from already having played Haven. I had a good break from haven and when I got here I could not for the life of me figure out how to make tanning fluid. There was no crafting option for it, and that's how nearly everything else is made. Completely forgot about left click item right click secondary item to combine.

Right now there's three ways to influence objects:

Crafting recipe,
Left click one object, right click second object
Right click one object and select option

Recipes are explained in the tutorial, and I'm fairly certain that the rclick for option issue is intuitive, but the lclick rclick part isn't taught at any point from what I remember, and it's something that could be done as a recipe but isn't.

Fence building as they're done in this game is fairly novel, and not explained anywhere in game.


Arillious does have a point here.
It's been neat to see the evolution of a game. Salem has come so far, and still has far to go. Although frustrating, I think it's been an experience worth the effort.
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Re: Make things more intuitive in general - Example included

Postby painhertz » Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:08 pm

I don't want people getting frustrated and quitting over unclear game mechanics.


That sounds amazingly like something someone else said several times in another thread where you continually defend him. Wish i were a mod, I'd check I.P.s......
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Re: Make things more intuitive in general - Example included

Postby MagicManICT » Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:56 am

Saying "I've been playing video games 15 years" doesn't really tell us much. You could have been playing Tetris and Mario the whole time for all we know. Experience there doesn't really translate over to games like Salem. If you want respect for your experience here, tell us you played UO, EVE Online, Dwarf Fortress, rogue-likes, etc. ;)

I like to look at Windows and other operating systems for how intuitive things should be. Truth is, none of it is. We all had to figure out the odd conventions somewhere. For some of you younger folks, you might have grown up with this and not think much of it. For others, we had to dig out manuals and books. After all, what's a GUI? WYSIWYG? Never heard of it... :lol: (Yeah, I could be showing my age here, but then there are the geeks that have never touched a GUI on a computer outside of games.)

Look at how many tool tips they provide on actually using things--minimal. You're expected to learn on your own or have someone teach you. Microsoft and Apple have strived (and frequently failed) at making their OS more intuitive and easier to use. The general facts are that it's just easier to pick up a good instruction manual and read through it. The tool tips are just handy for refreshing your memory in a system that can be very overwhelming. Why should computer games be special? Are their players special? In general game players tend to be better at figuring these things out than the average computer user because there isn't any one fixed way of doing things. (Of course, we tend not to spend thousands or tens of thousands of hours with the UI elements, either, like most people do with OS interfaces.)

There are a lot of great guides being developed on using the interface and how to perform many of the things in the game. There's a lot of area lacking, though. The object of a true sandbox game isn't to tell you how things should be done, but to provide you with tools to do what you want. Sevenless has been working on what has been a very good "Salem for Dummies" type introduction to the game. I think I can safely say that any of us working on the various help guides more than welcomes feedback on what needs to be explained better or information that would be most helpful to have in an easily accessible location.

Finally, I'd like to note that this is a two man dev team with a small budget. Only so much can get done at once.
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Re: Make things more intuitive in general - Example included

Postby Darwoth » Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:57 am

painhertz wrote:
I don't want people getting frustrated and quitting over unclear game mechanics.


That sounds amazingly like something someone else said several times in another thread where you continually defend him. Wish i were a mod, I'd check I.P.s......


you remind of a fellow named frumpy lumps that stalked us for 3 years from forum to forum and website to website because he was so butthurt, arillious makes a thread giving feedback from a new players perspective with suggestions on how to retain more folks and you come **** it up with your assinine presence.
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Re: Make things more intuitive in general - Example included

Postby painhertz » Fri Aug 31, 2012 12:59 pm

Darwoth wrote:
painhertz wrote:
I don't want people getting frustrated and quitting over unclear game mechanics.


That sounds amazingly like something someone else said several times in another thread where you continually defend him. Wish i were a mod, I'd check I.P.s......


you remind of a fellow named frumpy lumps that stalked us for 3 years from forum to forum and website to website because he was so butthurt, arillious makes a thread giving feedback from a new players perspective with suggestions on how to retain more folks and you come **** it up with your assinine presence.



Strange, i didn't see anywhere where i mentioned you in this thread? you sir, appear to be stalking ME! Both in game and on the forums. I'm pretty sure I'm not running around with an alt named Darwoth......
"since i am in my 30s and could probably throw you across the room"

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Re: Make things more intuitive in general - Example included

Postby MagicManICT » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:04 pm

The derail ends right now. Any more and you both can sit out and take a breather.
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Re: Make things more intuitive in general - Example included

Postby Arillious » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:38 pm

MagicManICT wrote:Saying "I've been playing video games 15 years" doesn't really tell us much. You could have been playing Tetris and Mario the whole time for all we know. Experience there doesn't really translate over to games like Salem. If you want respect for your experience here, tell us you played UO, EVE Online, Dwarf Fortress, rogue-likes, etc. ;)


Wasn't looking for respect, was simply qualifying myself as not a complete retard when it comes to gaming.

I've played way to many games to list but here's the ones I've probably spent the most time in: Gemstone 3(One of the first online role playing games, text based), Starcraft, Warcraft, Everquest, Warcraft 3, ShadowBane, WoW, Starcraft 2.

Keep in mind I'm not saying that Salem should aim to be like any of the above games. In fact, there's some elements(Especially in WoW), that Salem should(And is) aim to do the opposite of.

I think a lot of the people, especially those coming from Haven and Hearth have gotten so used to the game play, that they just naturally work around it. It is my hope that Salem is able to pull in as many players as possible. As it stands now, you will lose a lot of players early on because they simply do not know what to do. Standing around banging your head against the keyboard trying to do something simple is not fun for anyone.
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