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Author Topic: Labeled Hotspots and Touch Screen Devices, etc.  (Read 5316 times)

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Nipples

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Labeled Hotspots and Touch Screen Devices, etc.
« on: August 14, 2013, 03:01:08 AM »

This is probably something for consideration well down the line, but I wanted to suggest that you make the labeled hotspot option set to on by default for touch screen devices.

I have played through several point and click games on my iPhone, and I can tell you that labeled hotspots are A MUST when playing this way. You can drag your finger over the screen and see what you are selecting and what's available to interact with. Playing without labels on a mobile device is excruciating (LSL: Reloaded suffers here, for example), and I can imagine that many customers would give up after a few minutes (assuming they didn't know to switch on the labels) and then might leave a bad review in the App Store. It can be hard enough using a mouse to play a no-hotspot label game, and with just your finger it's just not fun at all and is a major struggle sometimes doing something as basic as picking up an object.

Also, I'd consider making the "verb coin" interface the default for touch screen versions of the game, since the icon bar can be a bit of a pain with the touch screen.

Finally, consider including a special, detailed gameplay tutorial with the mobile versions of the game. It can be a bit tricky playing on a touch screen, especially if you haven't played many of these kinds of games before.

Also maybe consider making the action go back to "walk" after each action. It's annoying having to keep selecting walk just to move around after looking at something. And maybe when tapping on certain hotspots, the game will do a default "look" action. Switching back and forth a between  look and walk on a small touch screen device is really special kind of hell. I like what MI2:SE did by using the look action as the default action for various hotspots. It requires less fiddling with the interface.

Finally, let us use the walk action to open doors. It can be annoying struggling to do basic things just because of a finicky, clunky interface.

I'm just basing these things on having recently played through LSL:R and other games on my phone.

I also hope you streamline and simplify your interface in future games. Maybe only allow certain actions for particular hotspots, and list the available actions for a hotspot after it is selected... sort of like in LSL7.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 03:12:39 AM by Nipples »
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GameDevChris

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Re: Labeled Hotspots and Touch Screen Devices, etc.
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2013, 08:27:22 AM »

I fully agree that interface design is of paramount importance on touch-screen devices. Players will be stuck with these controls for the entire game, so if they're repetitive, non-intuitive, or if it simply takes too many taps to cycle through various icon modes, then it just becomes tedious, and that's off-putting to the player.

I don't think we'll ever give our games the "TellTale treatment" by simplifying the interface to only bare bones interactions and providing no background descriptions whatsoever. The large majority of our fan-base seems to prefer that we keep all of the traditional Sierra cursor modes, as the additional interactivity and descriptors make the game world feel more realistic - not just like a propped-up wooden film set.

The smartphone version of Mage's Initiation will feature only one interface. It will most likely be the verb coin or Action Bar. This way, the player only needs to hold their finger down on the screen for a brief moment to bring up the GUI with the Eye, Hand, Mouth, Inventory, and Options buttons on it, ensuring that only 2 taps are required to look, use, or talk to anything in the game world. It eliminates multiple taps to cycle through cursor modes while still allowing us to keep the verbose game world fully intact. You will also be able to quickly tap once to walk or quickly tap twice to run. And yes, text labels for hotspots, characters, and so forth will also be enabled by default. This is actually necessary to make sure that the player can read the descriptions for their inventory items and any gems they collect and identify from combat loot.

I think that there's a happy medium between designing a tedious interface tedious and implementing one that's too hand-holdish. We'll put in the necessary attention to find settings that are smooth and intuitive.
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Nipples

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Re: Labeled Hotspots and Touch Screen Devices, etc.
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2013, 07:56:35 AM »

You're the greatest and have such a good reputation for a reason. You seem so meticulous, and I am sure the touch versions will be well done.

I would recommend playing all the way though (if you have time) touch versions of games like Fester Mudd, LSL:R, Monkey Islands 1&2, etc., if you haven't already. After playing all the way through (not just for a few minutes), you have a really good feel for what works and what really, really drives you batty. Sounds like you already have things well thought out, though!

One other little thing. I have no idea how any of the technical stuff works, but it would be helpful if you could somehow make it so that when you long tap on the very edge of a screen, an arrow might appear, and when you release your finger the character would move to the next room, when applicable and when there aren't doors. All without the player having to worry about selecting the "walk" action or tapping more than once. Or something like this.

LSL:R didn't have anything like this, and little frustrations related to basic things like going from room to room in the touch version of LSL:R after awhile seriously started to detract from the entertainment. In a game with lots of wandering and movement, I think I would go insane if I had to use the LSL:R interface the whole time. So many times I accidentally would "look" or "taste" or use my "member" on the ground when all I wanted to do was go to the next screen in a hurry.

« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 09:24:35 AM by Nipples »
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Nipples

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Re: Labeled Hotspots and Touch Screen Devices, etc.
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2013, 09:25:07 AM »

Update: I just saw what you said about quickly tap once to walk or twice to run. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That will solve everything beautifully. That was my biggest problem with Larry Reloaded. Makes my arrow idea less important. I am so glad you are doing it this way. I read your response too fast. Thank youuu!!!
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DThrasher

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Re: Labeled Hotspots and Touch Screen Devices, etc.
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2013, 10:20:08 AM »

Although I plan on playing Mage's Initiation on my laptop with a mouse, making the design work for touchscreens can also help improve the usability of the interface for those of us with a more traditional setup.

I wish more games ported to the desktop from mobile versions took the same care in brushing up the interface for non-touch devices!
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