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Game Interface Feedback


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#1 U12   Members   -  Reputation: 103

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Posted 11 November 2012 - 01:45 AM

Hello! I am working on an assignment about a game interface and I need feedback. I thank your participation and welcome your opinions and suggestions.
The game aims at the children audience, and features our protagonist, Joe, in his attempts to find a solution to the problems affecting his community. In a 2D platform world he must pass several obstacles to finally find out what the problem was, and solve it.
My interface has a health bar on the typical top left corner of the screen, with buffs being placed to the left of the health bar. Under the health bar there is a backpack icon that shows Joe’s inventory if clicked, including maps and quest log.
Some major functions are:
Command:
Walk – default movement
Left/Right Keys
Sprint – enhanced movement
Hold Left/Right Arrow Keys
Climb – twigs, ropes and also some non-vertical surfaces
Up Arrow Key
Actions
Grab – as grabbing objects to move around or to throw at enemies.
Z
Pick up – as picking up collectible items from the floor – e.g. health potions, or bonus experience points.
X
Action – pull a lever, open a door, or chat with an NPC.
C
Now regarding usability, my interface will implement usability as follow:
Control acknowledgement: selected tags will glow in a particular color and are bigger in size than the non-selected ones. In all there is a specific color scheme to give users control acknowledgement.
Confirmation pop-ups: there will be none because the game will not have items worth interrupting users to ask them to confirm removing them from inventory. It will be a game aiming children so there will be no epic gear or similar items worth players’ interruption of their gaming experience.
>>> The game is pretty basic as it addresses a segment of the market that does not demand the sophistication that, say, needed by MMORPG or FPS players.
Remove unnecessary tutorials: tutorials will be only at the beginning of the game where users will complete few quests that introduce players to the use the interface. The completion of these quests is necessary in order to progress in the game. Also, there will be small tutorials, when new content is introduced to the player.
>>> Tutorials are designed to be as short as possible, so that players do not spend too much time learning to play instead of actually playing the game.
Tooltips: on mouse hover of all creatures and collectible items a small tooltip will inform players of the specificities of the object being hovered over. It will have also a cosmetic intent.
Use active interface: this is a nice feature that many popular games incorporate into their interfaces. It adds immersion and interactivity to the game because players can see what items they have in the inventory and use them if necessary.
Thank you!

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#2 BRRGames   Members   -  Reputation: 235

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 06:25 AM

I hate to say this, but I don't like your input interfacing. Simply, you are expecting a child to be able to coordinate successfully between using both hands and the mouse effectively at the same time.

Instead of using the arrow keys, change to WASD. That way all keyboard mapping is on the left hand, and the right hand is free to stay on the mouse for point-clicking.

#3 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6840

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 11:32 AM

I'll have to disagree with BRR.
WASD are a mainstream adaptation to the current videogames but they represent two severe flaws:
- For kids, WASD is not an intuitive movement pattern whereas arrows have always been self explanatory
- For advanced gamers, the suggestion of control mappings similar to ESDF is more efficient in terms of what can be used as hotkeys in its vicinity.

That said, its hard to tell what may be best. It really depends on how you plan to introduce the mouse. It seems clear you want to click on the inventory icon (as you have no listed a hotkey to access it) but what other input/control schemes will be expected from the mouse? If none, I'd recommend removing the mouse from the equation, make the inventory management hotkey-based if possible, and run with the arrows.

#4 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1936

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 11:40 AM

When you say, "children" what age range are you actually talking about exactly? I'm assuming that when you say "children" you're talking about kids age <5 to 8.

I don't entirely agree with what BRRGames said other than that, yes, you should probably consider trying to stay away from requiring two different input devices.

I would however stick with the arrow keys rather than WASD. Arrow keys are obvious in their function and will probably be the first thing that a kid will try to move a character around with the possible exception of trying to find a way to do it using the mouse. I would expect a kid to use only their dominant hand when trying to do anything, switching between keyboard and mouse as needed. Switching between keyboard and mouse I would expect to be slow so you wouldn't want to have anything in your game that requires quickly going from one to the other.

I don't think that young kids will be as adept at using the WASD + mouse combo as older people would. Getting two hands to work in conjunction with each other isn't an easily learned skill. Stay away from anything that requires simultaneous mouse + keyboard input.

You could maybe get away with a keyboard + mouse combination where the player doesn't need to switch between them quickly, but obviously, the simpler you make things the better. In addition to the concerns people have posted already, you should perform actual tests using kids within the age range of your intended audience. Watch kids play games and see what they do. The more kids, the better.

#5 BRRGames   Members   -  Reputation: 235

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:36 PM

Just want to point out that my kid is 6, and plays Minecraft better than me using WASD and the mouse. :)

Plus, if you're talking about teenagers for the game, they're probably already playing FPS's which all use WASD and the mouse.

But in saying that, you can still keep the arrow keys, just move the other hot keys to that side of the keyboard too.

Edited by BRRGames, 16 November 2012 - 12:36 PM.


#6 kseh   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1936

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:12 PM

Just want to point out that my kid is 6, and plays Minecraft better than me using WASD and the mouse. Posted Image

Plus, if you're talking about teenagers for the game, they're probably already playing FPS's which all use WASD and the mouse.

But in saying that, you can still keep the arrow keys, just move the other hot keys to that side of the keyboard too.


Fair enough. I know kids can surprise at how they can handle tech but I wouldn't have expected simultaneous mouse and keyboard use to be something a young kid would pick up well. I'm curious though, how does your kid do fighting off the mobs? I envision he'd have the sword ready and maybe hold down the mouse button to continuously swing it and hope he hits something. Or is his battle technique as refined as say your own?

And of course, optimally the keyboard should be customizable to whatever the player wants.

#7 BRRGames   Members   -  Reputation: 235

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:26 PM


Just want to point out that my kid is 6, and plays Minecraft better than me using WASD and the mouse. Posted Image

Plus, if you're talking about teenagers for the game, they're probably already playing FPS's which all use WASD and the mouse.

But in saying that, you can still keep the arrow keys, just move the other hot keys to that side of the keyboard too.


Fair enough. I know kids can surprise at how they can handle tech but I wouldn't have expected simultaneous mouse and keyboard use to be something a young kid would pick up well. I'm curious though, how does your kid do fighting off the mobs? I envision he'd have the sword ready and maybe hold down the mouse button to continuously swing it and hope he hits something. Or is his battle technique as refined as say your own?

And of course, optimally the keyboard should be customizable to whatever the player wants.


He holds the mouse down to swing and hopes he hits.

#8 U12   Members   -  Reputation: 103

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 02:00 AM

Thanks to all for participating. I have decided to make the following modifications:
1. No mouse input as it is rather confusing to have children using keyboard and mouse input for a game intended to be similar to Mario – or any other game of the sort – on that respect.
2. I will keep the actions commands with Z, X, C, Space, as a remembrance of those PC games that I played back on the late 90’s.
3. Tooltips will appear and stay on screen for a certain time before disappearing. After all, that was the solely purpose of including the use of the mouse in the interface: to provide tooltips on mouse over.




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