Thanks for letting me test the new game. I started with the tutorial, and there’s a problem with it. At one point, a green pop-up box tells me to click the gun icon in the strip of icons at the top right of the screen, but there isn’t any strip of icons at the top right of the screen. I couldn’t find any way to get the tutorial to progress beyond this point.
Other notes on the tutorial:
Hmm. The game doesn’t let us copy and paste our validation key. When I Ctrl-c the code and Ctrl-v it into the validation box, what I get is “v.” This is fine for the beta testers, since our code is so memorable, but not allowing copy and paste will be a pain in the ass for the real players.
Okay, so now I’m starting the tutorial. The little green pop-up screen informs me that most of the GUI is disabled. Since I’ve played a zillion games, and since my husband is a professor of Computer Science, I’m pretty sure that GUI stands for either “Game-User Interface” or “Graphical User Interface,” but some players might be thrown by having the acronym thrown at them with no explanation.
The photos that illustrate the various areas of government concern are very good and make it easy to remember which physcial area goes with which policy area. The pictures for Welfare and for Foreign Policy are a bit disturbing, but then, they probably should be. Maybe we should have such pictures flashed on a screen at the front of the chamber when Congress or Parliament are voting on these issues.
Do you want to be notified of typos and stuff, or is that just an annoyance at this stage of testing? If you do want to be so notified, then here are a few corrections for the next pop-up box in the tutorial:
You need a comma after “green is good)”
You need an apostrophe when talking about the “groups happiness.”
You need a plural verb, not a singular one:“happiness and membership ARE likely to change.”
You need another apostrophe to make possessive in “voters ‘loyalty.’”
Whew. That’s four for only one pop-up box. Maybe I’ll assume that you don’t want to hear about typos and spelling/grammar errors until later, unless you tell me otherwise.
Next pop-up box, still in the tutorial: You might want to tell players what the GDP is, rather than just using the acronym without explanation. If teachers decide to use this game with students, you might have a considerable number of non-adult players, who aren’t used to hearing about the Gross Domestic Product on the news.
Hey, look at all these cute little red icons. I wonder if I can figure out what they mean just from the pictures? I probably should have done this for the blue icons in the last screen, but it didn’t occur to me until now. I’m sure the icons will have verbal labels once the game actually starts, so being able to figure them out just from the icons won’t be completely necessary. Still, I figure the clearer the icons, the easier it is for novice players to get into your game, and you want that, right?
Wow, the person > house looks like a housing shortage; that’s a great icon. The cloud, I wonder if that’s weather or air pollution? I’m sure the game will make it clear once I start to play. The hangman setup must have something to do with capital punishment, and the wine glass must have something to do with alcohol. What’s the round thing with little dots on it? It looks like grains of rice on a plate to me, though I’m pretty sure that’s not it. The house with a plus sign in it might be housing growth, but since it’s in a red box, which means it’s a bad thing, maybe it’s an increase in the cost of housing. The person with the lungs outlined inside looks like some sort of breathing problem – lung cancer? Asthma? Something bad to do with breathing, for which we’ll need to cut down on air pollution, no doubt. Hmm. Two gears, a big one and a little one. And it’s under “econonmy.” Manufacturing? Red is bad. Losing manufacturing jobs to third-world countries? A bunch of little people icons. If it were under “Welfare,” I’d guess something to do with overpopulation, but it’s under “Law and Order.” A bunch of people in bad law and order – a riot? Hey, beta testing is fun in its own way. Okay, last red icon. A skyscraper with gears next to it. Bad big building working. Hmm. I’d say the infrastructure was in poor repair, but this is under “Law and Order.” Beats me.
- Now a bunch of black policy icons. Whew. At this rate I’m never gonna get to actually play the game. Okay, let’s look at these icons and see if we can figure them out. Starting from the top. Okay, we’re in Foreign Policy here. The ship with a plus in it must mean an increase in the size of the navy. Cliff is English, isn’t he? The English have been famous for their navy since the LAST Elizabeth, 400 years ago. A tank must have something to do with the army, but there isn’t a plus in it, the way there is with the ship, so it looks like it’s not an increase in the size of the army – maybe a decision to deploy them somewhere, instead? Then there’s a person in a cap with a piece of paper. Is the paper money or a document? Something about the cap makes me think of customs – is this about customs duties? Or if I’m wrong about the cap, could it be giving money to other countries – foreign aid?
Okay, next wedge. A bent-over person with a cane. That must be elderly issues. If the person weren’t bent-over, it could have been disabled issues, but the bent-overness is a nice touch that screams “elderly.” A person inside a house. Housing policy? A group of four houses. Hmm. Housing density? Housing developments? Public housing?
Economy wedge. laugh Well, THAT’S unmistakeable. A person with a person inside of them must be something to do with pregnancy, and since it’s in the economy wedge, it must be something where pregnancy would have an effect on the economy. Maternity leave? Next icon. A hammer, a sickle, a saw, and an idunnowhat. Working. Working-class working. Working in a hammer-and-sickle way. Trade unions?
Next wedge. The gas pump must be gasoline (excuse me, I mean “petrol”) taxes. The hand with a cigarette must be tobacco taxes. The car must be automobile taxes. What’s the thing that looks sort of like a suitcase? It’s not the right shape for a briefcase. I guess it could be a suitcase, though it looks slightly off for that, too. Is there a travel tax? I guess customs duties could be a travel tax of a sort. A person wearing a necktie. I guess the two white strips on either side are just his body, though they look a bit like a life jacket. Okay, so a tie says “businessperson.” Is this a tax on businesses? Not sure he would have used an individual person for that, though. Okay, and the last icon in this wedge, a big percent sign. Tax that’s tied to no one particular thing – income tax?
Next wedge. A mortar board with an outstretched hand looks like grants or loans for higher education. Are they to the institution or to the student? Well, higher ed is close enough. A fish with feet. The ones I see on the backs of cars say “Darwin” in the middle. So, evolutionary theory? Teaching science in the schools and not religion? Something like that. Everybody recognizes the atom symbol by now. Hmm. Nuclear power? Money for basic research into physics? I think maybe I’m burning out on analyzing icons. The dots connected by lines icon looks like a model of a molecule, so this one must have something to do with biology or chemistry. A bunch of people and an open book. That could be something to do with schools, though something about the open book reminds me of a prayer book, which would say “church” instead. But the people are really little, which suggests children, so I’ll stick with school. And the next icon has a bunch of little people again, this time with a plus. More little people? Or more schools for the little people?
Okay, and here we are in Law. Cards and chips is a great icon, tells you at a glance that it’s about gambling. The bottle and wine glass is also a good one, we’ve got alcohol here. The gun is self-explanatory, and I guess the syringe must be drugs. A person wearing a hat or maybe an eyeshade. Hmm. Not sure what that might be. I guess it could be a police officer, though the hat doesn’t especially make me think “police.” I’m sure police uniforms must vary from country to country, though. You’ve been in England three times; do you remember seeing any cops while you were there? Now that same person is in an icon with three other people, none of whom are wearing the hat. Well, if we tentatively conclude “police” for the guy by himself, could this be ratio of police to population or something? I’m really reaching here. Okay, and a guy with a gun in his chest. If the gun by itself was handgun laws, then what’s a guy with a gun in his chest? Number of shootings? Number of murders?
- The tutorial tells me to click the gun icon in the strip of icons at the top right of the screen, but there isn’t any strip of icons at the top right of the screen. The tutorial comes to a screeching halt at this point.