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rvharten

How explain dragging to a young user

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Hi, We currently have a virtual world game online with steadily increasing amount of users. The game is targeted at a young audience of 8 - 12 years old. They can walk around in the game , play minigames, buy clothes, furniture. Currently to look around the map you have to drag the screen. As we have many buttons,menus,textfields etc. on the edges of the screen we dont want to use touching the edge of the screen to scroll the map. Using the keyboard is also not an option since it's a Flash game and therefore want to keep everything usable by just the mouse. This dragging is giving us a problem however: how do we explain it to the user? We have a tutorial they go through the first time they play the game, but many of them seem to forget already afterward or just got through the tutorial by accidentaly scrolling. I would not really know how to make it totally obvious they should drag. I would really like to hear your ideas, or maybe you have even a better option than to drag the map at all.

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I think the easiest way to explain it is to just explain exactly what needs to be done (eg. hold done the left mouse button on with the button held down move the mouse. release the mouse button when finished.) or use the phrase Click and Hold.

One other option would be to have arrows on the sidebar they can click to scroll the map.

Is it really a problem though, if your gradually getting more people doesn't that suggest that most of them can do it? or how else can they play the game?

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The problem with explaining is that they don't read anything, I suppose that goes for all ages :) Your arrow buttons is a really simple but obvious idea! We will add this in addition to the dragging.

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Just implement pushing instead of dragging. When the mouse goes off the right side of the screen, it stays on the right side and the view moves left -- not continuously, just as much as the over-move. Works fine with sidebars and is considerably more intuitive than click-and-scroll.

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Quote:
Original post by Sneftel
When the mouse goes off the right side of the screen, it stays on the right side and the view moves left -- not continuously, just as much as the over-move.
For the most part, I'd agree wholeheartedly with Sneftel, but remember that some people might actually prefer it to move continuously, especially if there's a lot of distance to cover. Click and drag suffers from having to do it multiple times to go any great distance, and that can be a minor annoyance after a while. If you have to keep moving the mouse to move the screen, you essentially have the same problem. As long as the mouse is at the screen border, it should move. The closer it is to the border, the faster it should move.

Just make sure the buffer zones are well away from the "work" area (ie, the portion of the screen wherein the mouse wont cause it to move) or any buttons the user might want to press. Too many games put clickables right next to the scroll zone, so when you try to click them...

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Another points with edge touch scrolling is that with Flash you don't have fullscreen. So you cannot "park" your mouse on the edge with a fast sweep to the left or right, people will have to exactly touch a small border within the Flash window to have it scroll.

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You could implement the kind of scrolling present in Master of Orion and many other older games - if you click anywhere without a clickable object, the screen scrolls with that point as the new centerpoint. It's pretty intuitive and easily discovered.

Obviously this can coexist with dragging.

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