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Enhancement Request Part 3: Main Menu - Single Player


cwestbrook20
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Intro

I mentioned in my review of EoS that I would take some time and provide feedback on areas that distracted from my great experience with the game. I spent the time to put my perspectives together because I do feel this game was one of best overall experiences that I have had with a game in the past year. I feel the developers deserve this game to become a major hit (or net them enough to meet their personal goals.)

This feedback was based on version 1.01 (Build 8164)

I used a 1-4 scale to rate what I felt was important or not important

4 - Very Small, Display Issue, Nice to have, the 1%

3 - Minor Issue, some missed value, not intuitive

2 - Distracted, Caused Confusion, Took time away from game, good value

1 - Must Have, Critical Feature

Main Menu - Item Breakdown

My time for tonight is running out, so this section is going to be a little less detailed.

Single Player > New Game

Rating: 2

Think of 1...2...3... It's logical grouping that helps make things often times, seem easier. Larger than normal numbers create the sense of simple (think of you childhood wooden cube number and letter blocks)

Suggestion: Try to group the steps, even in the same layout, into some type of category. One idea might be: Version Beta, have a checkbox for "Advanced Settings", then hide everything but "Map Settings" and Players. Now the complexity of your game setup just dropped massively, Players feel like their is 'more' advanced content that they can explore later, basically it's all about perspective.

Enhancements

  • Please let me fill in my name on the Map Settings page, don't get me all excited and ready to play by clicking "ok", then giving me yet another popup window. Think of all of those clean web page forms that don't use popups any more for 'punishing' users. They tell you your password doesn't match by showing you on the same page, not in an alert box. As users, we are expecting this type of 'integration' now. Also, if I am logged into EoS, please use my name on file. Save me the time and effort, plus better for stat tracking.
  • Some type of indication that "Generate Random Map" is actually a pull down menu. I didn't even know this was one until recently and noticed the slight black/gray onmouseover type function.
  • If I "Load Map" and can see a preview of the map on the load screen, then I should see one when I am on just the normal "Map Settings" screen. Reason? So I don't have to click on "Load Map" to remember what map I am about to play.
  • "Map Is Known" is not an intuitive option to me personally. Off the top of my head I could not think of something better, but worth a brainstorming session considering even the help doesn't cover this feature.
  • The above could be addressed with a tooltip, similar to what you have when you hover over any of the "Resources" in a game. By hovering the mouse over a label field display a tool tip. This page is a form, just like any website might be.
  • Please Please Please bold your label fields, it really helps the eye distinguish between label and value.
  • "Add Random Number of AI Players" is confusing because you can have 9 AI players, and then think you can have 9 more random AI players. Since this is an either/or feature, some validation or pull down allowing you to select which one.
  • You should be able to store your single player settings. Since I see we have the feature for "Restore Previous Settings" you already have the schema in place for capturing and restoring the settings. Allow us to Name, Load and Share single player game settings.
  • Tie the random map generator to a 'seed' number that is editable. Helps with sharing, and this would be the start to a leader board feature I will mention in a later post.
  • The "?" in game help should document all of the features and options.
  • Heights and Width should not be 'text' boxes since you cannot enter data into them. Makes me question if this is a bug or expected, which you can tell by the 'step' value used by the arrows, this is expected.
  • Heights and Width arrow boxes, when at the 'Min' or 'Max' value, they should disabled the button, no longer showing the act that it is being clicked.
  • Bug - Cities/Resources: I loved the option, but not the interface, it seemed be hard to use. Also, the text label doesn't display all of the values, even if the popup window is expanded. Oil is cut off the label width.
  • Geography - Again with trying to save me from thinking, give me a minimap or a representation of each type of 'land mass' so I know what the difference between Small Islands and Medium Islands within EoS.
  • Give me a quick play button, reviewers eat this up, yes we all know that EoS is not a 'quick' game, but that is beyond the point. You will have yet again saved me from thinking and let me get right to the game.
  • Make the "Ok" button on the Map Settings popup bold or something. Draw my eye to where I need to go 80% of the time.

Single Player > Load Game

Not much to say here

Enhancements

  • It's just a little UI change, but probably a lot of programming, but you should be able to filter columns when click on the name of the table, rather than clicking on the "Recently Saved" button (didn't even know it was a button at first), then filtering.
  • I would love to see games sorted by game id, meaning that if I play a random map, all of my saved games are children of that one game map. I can then delete them all at once or load an AutoSave for any game map group, etc.

Single Player > Start Tutorial

Despite loving to play games that last forever, we do like to feel like were accomplishing something when starting out. It's why we to research short items towards the start, and willing to spending longer, once we are 'into the game'. Here is a quick Point of View to consider.

Imagine this...

Would you rather have a game that has:?

A.) 5 Tutorials, that you can replay each one if needed, and tracks each one.

B.) 1 Tutorial that takes 5x longer, and if you need to replay one part, you must play the whole thing.

Ok, so a little leading with the questions, but it hopefully makes my point. Yes, the long term goal of taking over the world is great, but you have to start small. As a designer/developer wouldn't you want to reward a new player to your game 5 times, than just once? You might think that 5 little green check marks might not mean much, but remember it's all about perspective.

Now with this multi-tutorial model in place, you can do a number of things.

  1. Add new Tutorials easily
  2. Consider creating 'Advanced Strategy Tutorials' which are included in the 'demo', which don't hide the features of the game (I disliked demos that don't let you experience the full game), but show that if you purchase, you get more... (Again, with it being locked until purchased your creating 'value' for your game, without much work.)
  3. You are engaging the player, they just got five green checks on each tutorial icon, the game shows that they have invested time, they want to purchase more now to prove that their time was well spent. This gets into psychology and much to deep for here.

Single Player > View Old Game

Couldn't get to work, not sure what this is. If it is legacy, then maybe move or add something to help users not feel like they are 'missing' out on something.

In Summary

Save me from thinking, Create Wizards or Sub Groups (easy as 1,2,3), Find ways to create value through changing the perspective, be consistent and complete, and again try to 'design for the moment' or watch someone 'new' play the game.

I hope these are appreciated and feedback is meant to be constructive. Telling you how great feature x or y is doesn't help you get to your goal. I try to highlight little ones here and there, but overall I am focusing on the usability of the game. If EoS needs it to be said again, this is a great game, I wouldn't spend the time to do this if I didn't believe that.

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