New Help Screen, AI Fix

Hope everyone had a good weekend. My Saturday was nice, when I settled in for a long evening of Civ 5 playing China as a warlord. I do enjoy cho-ko-nu sieges.

Unfortunately, Sunday was almost entirely the opposite of fun: chores and taxes. After briefly lapsing into insanity and thinking I might find an answer in the Income Tax Act, I realized that it was written by witches, and quickly closed my browser before summoning an agent of nefarious power. *

* Note: For the purposes of subsections (12) and (13), nefarious agents that are included in the service of His Unholiness include those that would be so included if paragraph 34(a) did not apply.

Back in the realm of the sane, I spent most of today working on fixes and a new help screen.

First, the fix was to AI's "forbidden hexes" code. Some errors in that design allowed AI to still walk in certain encounter areas when those areas had a radius larger than 0 (e.g. ATN perimeter). This should be fixed in the next build.

Second, the new help screen!

IMAGE( Wait, what? There's a help screen?

That's right! Hidden on that title screen this whole time, there has been a button called "Help." Unfortunately, few see it (or at least click on it), if the forums are any indication :)

And for that matter, in the past it was hardly comprehensive, so I haven't made a huge deal about directing people there.

However, the new and improved version, seen above, includes not only some quick primers on hotkeys and item manipulation, but also two very handy links:

1 - The user-maintained NEO Scavenger Wiki.
2 - The "How to Play" manual that Malacodor assembled based on the Wiki.

Between those two documents, there is hardly a question left unanswered. Finally, users that are truly lost can find help in-game, regardless of where they got the game.

And with that done, there's only the "Credits" screen to look over before the new title screen features are complete. After that, it's time to do some playtesting. Assuming the tests go well, we should have v0.986 up soon!


Malacodor's picture

I once had problems finding the help button despite I knew it was there. The red and green "Continue"/"New Game" buttons simply drew too much attention. I guess my suggestion to label the manual button "RTFM" might sound too rude to some people. ;-)

Ran around with a clown mask before it was cool

ra1's picture

Perhaps adding an additional help screen button/link on the "you died" page might give it more exposure.

dcfedor's picture

It's true that the "help" button was hard to notice on the title screen. There were so many buttons on that screen, particularly those which looked similar to the help button.

The new title screen will have three big buttons:

New Game
Exit (i.e. quit the app)

and three small buttons beneath those:


And there will be a mute button in the top right corner, for those playing the game at work :)

I'm hoping that will make it easier to find. I could make "help" a big, colored button, but then we might start having the opposite problem: too many big, colored buttons.

Let's see if the new layout helps at all. And if not, we can explore changing the button or putting it on the Game Over screen (which is, itself, due for some fixing-up in the future).

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games