I want to start off by saying how impressed I am that you have pulled off this one man show. I have tried several games and can never seem to get them finished. From way back in Borland Graphic Engine, to DirectX, to Flash, and I still don’t have a published game. Ok, on the other hand I have coded and sold shrinkwrap software over the internet since 1997. My current project is a video convertion engine…
So one professional to another you’re way cool and I mean nothing but respect and help by my following comments.
First lets start with the simple things (a bug):
This dialog does not show in full screen on either of my machines(laptop, vista; desktop, winxp). I believe you can get the full image with right click -> save as (they are hosted on my server).
This mechanism from the “Deploy” screen could be used here to simplify selecting and deselecting ships.
As you can see from this after-action report, I have to click a large amount of frigates to deselect them all as I am interested in the contributions the fighters made to the battle.
Next topic same image:
In addition, the pie charts are useless to me without a total amount of damage. 6% of what? 6% of the total damage the ship did/or could have done, but 14 shots looks just like the pie chart of a ship that fired 100 shots. Leaving me unable to determine how much damage this ship is adding to the total damage my fleet is doing. Does this make sence?
In the image I have over 200,000 honor and I have to click each Module and Ship Hull and unlock it individually? This proved to be very tedious, and I was annoyed at the time it took. I still have not unlocked the ship hulls because it’s not worth it until I need them. If I had a “mass unlock” button I would have unlocked them all and been done with it. Mass Unlock would warn you if you did not have enough “honor”.
A crash I suffered…The crash dialog is off to the right. Sorry I searched the web for how to scale my images but nothing worked on your server (maybe you don’t have those mods?). And I want to host the full size images so that when you download them they are easy to read. Hate doing software development with scaled, hard-to-read images.
You really need to look at the whole diagram to understand this. Background, this is a form interaction diagram, a mainstay of my software modeling process. I believe I took this from Deborah Kurata, and adapted it. This is an incomplete model of your application (I only worked on it for an hour). Also I did not model how Deploy interacts with Ship Design.
Also I want to say before I go on, that I do not mean to reveal anything you don’t want revealed. I totally respect your need to protect your technology - I mapped it so i could propose some improvements.
As you can see you can’t get to Fleet HQ from any Ship Design screen. This has annoyed me many times. I am trying to design a ship to deal with a paticular challenge and I need a module I don’t have unlocked and I have to back out of the challenge to go to the Fleet HQ screen, unlock the module, go back to the challenge, then to ship design etc…
You have three “modes” of your “Deploy” screen (I don’t mean Normal, Hard, or Expert either). If you look I have “Deploy” on this diagram three times, I drew that to highlight the differences of the modes and to show some errors (Normally I would model all the modes in one box with sub boxes).
Deploy (Make Challenge Mode) does not need to have Normal, Hard, and Expert sub modes. I saw no need for them, and the “Fight” button is visible (although disabled). Another issue is the “Go Back” button does not go to “Custom Challenges” where I came from but to Battle!!
Only Deploy (Battle Mode) should have sub modes Normal, Hard, and Expert.
I am getting tired and am not going to post everything I was planning on. If you respond and are interested I’m sure we could have many more UI design discussions.
Some general thoughts:
I would like the UI to run by race. When I change races I want to see the honor and completions I have gotten with that race. It’s ok not to award honor by race, but display the race and honor I have earned as well as the race I am now in the mouse over.
I have never won any of these missions as Rebels (the race I have selected) but my Federation stats make it impossible to tell what missions I have done as Rebels.
Some of your ‘dialogs’ leave the screen below them active (the ‘Main Menu’ button is the biggest offender). When rating a challenge, if you leave the rate dialog up and return to the “deploy” screen the rate dialog is still visible and should not be (the submit buttons are missing as well).
When I leave a deployment/fight and go back to the battle screen, the battle I was in should be the selected one not the Tutorial mission. Especially when playing another race and I can’t tell what battles I have done with that race.
OK, I am exhausted, I can’t work any more. I have really only just begun to get into the meat of the forms and their interactions.
Again, this is an impressive game, and it has the power to be much more than it is. I think you are taking it that direction - this feedback is designed to go that direction as well. As I have said in another post, I bought this game because of the upcomming ‘Campaign’ module. I can’t wait.