Loose Ends: The Tightening

Continuing yesterday's efforts to take care of long-standing, non code issues, I decided to tackle some UI graphics today.

First, however, I had to finish up the achievement task. And that basically amounted to copy/pasting text and image links to each of the iTunes Game Center achievements. A bit tedious, but easy enough to do.

When that was done, however, the next issue to jump out at me was the help screen.

NEO Scavenger has a help screen linked from the title screen. It talks about how to move items around, scroll the map, and other useful controls. And judging by comments on the internet, few ever see it. But that's no reason not to make sure it's updated for mobile. After all, those few commendable souls who read the instructions shouldn't be left wondering where the WASD keys on their iPad are :)

So I began working on some new icons for touchscreen to replace the mouse and keyboard icons currently in use. I'll need a tap, tap+hold, swipe, pinch/spread, and possibly some others. And when that's done, I'll also need to rewrite some of the text to go with those icons, as many of the game's functions no longer have hotkeys and are context menu instead.

I'm a little worried users will still not see this page, and get frustrated moving things around. And typically, that's where a tutorial would come in. But tutorials are risky in themselves. A poor one interrupts flow and makes users quit from boredom, and good ones take a lot of work and refinement to make. I'm not sure I can come up with a good one in time.

So help screen icons for now, and I'll maybe tackle something additional if time allows.

Comments

ra1's picture
ra1

Do you have any plans to make mods easy to load on mobile?

Perhaps you could get the top 10+ mods (with permission) and pre-load them, but keep them disabled by default, allowing the player to activate as desired. Otherwise, users would have to figure out how to side-load content - which is less accepted on mobile devices than on a PC.

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

No modding plans for mobile yet.

Technically, the modding code is still there. And I think it'd still work. But there are some obstacles that'd still need clearing.

For one thing, the game barely fits in memory on some devices. We regularly pass 250MB (crashes iPad 2) during longer play sessions, and some of the larger mods would bump that usage up quite a bit. Possibly making it unplayable on some devices.

Secondly, getting the updated mods to the device and storing them are things I'm unfamiliar with. I don't think you can just download files arbitrarily to application folders (where the game is looking for mods) on Android/iOS the way one does on PC. I think they'd have to be packaged a certain way to get into the app folders.

And there would probably need to be mod management tools built into the UI to be able to turn them on/off, since getting file system access is different on mobile than PC.

It's doable, I'm sure. Just not something that was a priority. The base game already went way over budget/timeline :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Galaxy's picture
Galaxy

Thanks for the updates!

I loved the PC version an I absolutely just can't wait until the mobile is released! I hope it comes out soon.
-galaxy

Wouldn't it be cool to have a Zom Zoms in your town?

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

@Galaxy, thanks! I can't wait either :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Asthepanda2iscool2's picture
Asthepanda2iscool2

I didn't even know there was a help screen! I've owned this game for a while, and I never even noticed... What if you resize the text so that people can't avoid it?

Rar! Rar rar rar! Thanks for reading :)

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

You can lead a horse to water...:)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games