Action Buttons, Scrolling Messages, and iPad Testing

Today was better, in terms of progress. Most of the day was dedicated to mobile, including some art, testing, and dev.

The testing was roughly 1.5 hours in the demo in iPad, and she's really shaping up. The few issues I did encounter with UI were almost all solved by zooming in, panning, and zooming out. Basically, really precise placement of small items was made easier by zooming into a UI region, taking care of business, and out again. And the 1.5 hours means it's getting pretty stable, too. While it did crash at the end when exiting combat, that could very well be the same bug that happens in the Flash engine :)

Next up, I started tackling some new action buttons for mobile. The Scavenge, End Turn, Hide, Run, etc. buttons are faily small, and can be tricky to hit on mobile. Worse, many of them consume moves or even turns if accidentally hit. While Tiago and I have managed to hit them accurately with consistency so far, it always feels like a gamble.

Cue the new action slide-out menu. I'm working on a new tab that mobile users can tap (or slide) to expose these buttons at more reasonable sizes. Most of the time, this slider will hide lesser-used buttons off-screen. But we're hoping this approach will make it easier to use these when the need arises.

And while some of the buttons are off-screen, there is still room on-screen, even when the slide-out is docked. And in that room, I have to decide what to display. Probably more important buttons like End Turn, and maybe some indicators for running/hiding, so the user knows if they're active at a glance.

Finally, I also briefly looked into upgrading the message log to scroll more slowly when new messages arrive. When watching my mom test the game, she hardly noticed new messages appearing because they did so instantly while other things were happening (e.g. pressing a button, ending a turn, etc.)

The hope is that I can get them to animate/slide upward instead of jumping, so the movement draws the eye a bit more. It should be fast enough not to hinder experienced users, but slow enough to catch the eye for new users, and hint at the fact that it's a running log.

That's all for today. Have a good night!


linibot's picture

Can I cast two votes for prominent indicators? They'd be a great UI improvement. Forgetting I'm hiding is annoying to the obsessive optimizer in me, but also annoyingly immersion breaking when rping. Both of me agree it's annoying either way. ;)

NEO Scavenger: FAQ
10 Ways (not) to Die - A beginner's guide

dcfedor's picture

I agree! I often make the same mistake, and watching my mom do it was heartbreaking. She needed all the help she could get :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Rovlad's picture

Absence of sneaking indicator is easily the most glaring inefficiency of NEO Scavenger user interface.
Second one is being unable to repeat last crafting action right away even if you have enough components in the crafting window.

dcfedor's picture

Is that crafting issue still the case? I added the "Clear" button which replaces "Confirm" after successfully crafting, which would empty the output and prime the crafting window to click "Confirm" again.

In theory, the user should be able to spam the "Confirm"/"Clear" buttons to repeat a recipe without needing to move the mouse (or spam the space key), provided the ingredients are still valid each cycle.

Or maybe I misunderstand the issue?

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games