[Android] - Zoom issues and Small Screens
We already talked about this on twitter: https://twitter.com/mithaldu/status/890346970191192064
However in the meantime i found that in addition to that the current zoom handling of the game makes it not unplayable, but so much of a pain to play that I've stopped playing it and will wait until there's been some changes. Right now 90% of my game experience has been fighting the UI and on average it takes me 3 tries to actually hit an item i am trying to tap or open a menu on. It's just not fun.
To be clear on the context for all of the following: I am playing on a Sony Xperia Z5 Compact. This is a small phone with a 4.6" 1280x720 screen. My thumb's width is a third of the short side of the screen.
1. Maximum zoom-out does not allow resizing game-screen to 1:1 game:display pixel ratio. I don't know exactly what resolution the game wants to be at for a 1:1 ratio. The flash game wants to be 800x450, but i expect that the mobile version wants to be a little bigger. The correct fix for this is increasing the clamping of the zoom-out value to allow shrinking the game screen to a size where it is at 1:1, even if this means it does not actually fill the screen.
2. It is hard to zoom to perfect integer ratios like 1:2 and 1:3. While zooming the game perfectly interprets even the *slightest* movement of the fingers and does not attempt to aid the user in the least. This means they need to maintain perfect motor control of their digits, because even when the perfect integer ratio is found, the slightest shift while lifting the finger can push the zoom a single notch off it again. My preferred solution for this would be a "snapping zoom" that sacrifices smoothness in actual zoom depth to being able to actually reach and stay on good ratios (at higher zooms it needn't necessarily be integer). Alternatively extra buttons (top right or so) could do the job too.
3. The maximum zoom is not enough. Right now i can only zoom to a 1:3 ratio, but with how small my device is, a 1:4 ratio would often be more useful.
4. The screen pan is much too sensitive and blocks item selection. Like the zoom it interprets even the *slightest* movement of the fingers and does not attempt to aid the user in the least. This means they need to maintain perfect motor control of their digits, because even the slightest twitch while doing a long-press to open an item menu will switch from select/menu open mode to screen pan mode, requiring the user to let go and attempt again, and again, and again ... Preferred solution is to give the user a pan detection sensitivity option that lets them determine how much a finger needs to move to actually start panning. Hard-coded might work as well, but i am dubious how well that would play with different hardware factors.
5. Small items are impossible to select with confidence. Particularly single-square ones. Even at max zoom a small item is utterly minuscule compared to my fingers or thumbs. Additionally the game does absolutely nothing to let me know where it thinks i tapped. I have never been able to select a small item in less than 3 taps. Preferred solution is to increase the maximum zoom to 1:4; and to add an option that draws a screen-overlaying cross on tap to indicate where a tap was registered. (My phone's developer options allow displaying a tap indicator, however even that one doesn't help as it's just a tiny circle.) Maybe something smart could also be done to aid item selection, like a popup magnification in which to choose the actual target, or a menu of items close by the point tapped.
6. Moving large items is very hard. I made a tarp tent, and tried to move it from the bare ground into the shelter it was intended for. Due to its sheer size i needed to hit the necessary target square column. The fact that the source square was determined by my individual tap did not help either. After a number of attempts i tried to rotate it, but that was also blocked by the other items on the ground. Auto-sorting put the tent at the top of the inventory and was thus even counter-productive. I had to manually sort all the items to one side, then rotate the tent, then move it over. This was incredibly tedious and annoying.
7. Paper-doll target zones are too small. Often when trying to put an item into the hand of my character it ends up just going back to the directory and requires multiple tries to affix it successfully. Pants are similar.