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  #16  
Old 10-31-2010, 08:23 PM
Luda Luda is offline
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I expect Luda in a toilet
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  #17  
Old 11-14-2010, 10:38 PM
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(Edit: This post is a bit of a tl;dr for most people, so summary: It's about the design behind the main puzzle featured in the video, the blocks vs. sewer canal puzzle.)

I realize that this thread is about two weeks old, but I just visited your server... Having never played Classic before I quite enjoyed what you've got up so far. During the intro, the tips on how to control the character, use the map, and the icons on the map, et cetera, were all very useful. I actually mentioned to Development staff-person there that it was the best that I've experienced so far during my brief Graal relapse... We then transitioned to a rather heated discussion concerning the merits of "Respawning 101" but that's neither here nor there.

To my point:

There are always ways to improve your game design by making things easier for the user without taking away any of the fun. Find out what the core "fun" is to any given element of your design and trim around it removing the unnecessarily burdening, or possibly frustrating elements. It may end more quickly, shortening your play time, but when the user comes out of it they will better remember the fun bits you've created because they have no frustrating bits to consider!

In the context of what you've shown here I'm referring specifically to the push-block / water way puzzle. What are the fun bits here? My money would be on:
  • Thinking of the puzzle's solution (Somehow put a block on the switch to keep the gate open... How do I do that?... Oh! push the other blocks into the canal to create a bridge!)
  • Getting a reward (opening the gate)

That leaves the rest of the bits which aren't the most fun:
  • Physically solving the puzzle (pushing blocks around is slow)
  • Messing up and starting over (see your Quote below as well)

So I think you can see where I'm going with this. It's even apparent in your video. The part where you're putting the blocks in the canal really slows the flow of the video down, imagine if I'm playing instead of watching. The solution here is simple:

Keep the "drop block through hole in ceiling from floor above" mechanic, but have only one extra block down by the canal. Replace the vast expanse across the canal with a broken bridge/catwalk that is missing a piece just the size of one block. The user must then only move two blocks, not 5 or 6... This way the fun bits are still the same (It still takes the same thought process to figure the puzzle's solution out, and the rewards the same). But one of the boring bits gets taken away! It's win / win!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ffcmike View Post
I actually have to add a pull-handle which we had used within the previous Ninja Trial which resets puzzle related objects such as blocks.
This is another seemingly small mechanic that would greatly improve a user's experience were a more... elegant(?) solution devised. As you say above the pull-handle exists in the Ninja Trial, which does the job, yes, but does could it cause frustration?

I noticed this when I did the Ninja Trial. If I re-call correctly: the handle is placed at the beginning of the trial, and the block puzzle is near the end? This means that if I mess up the blocks, I have to travel back to the beginning (easy enough) but then go back through the 1st half of the trial again... through the laser trap. It would be a bit frustrating to have to go through that section again since I had already mastered it once.

Perhaps the solution to this problem is as simple as moving the pull-handle closer to the block puzzle? What do you think? Unfortunately I can't make any suggestions beyond that without further understanding the layout of the quest, but hopefully I've provided some food for thought.

Modern day game design has evolved. Punishing the user is out. Fun is in!

Anyway, I hope this was helpful and that you take my comments & suggestions with praise. I look forward to seeing more. Very cool stuff!
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  #18  
Old 11-14-2010, 10:51 PM
ffcmike ffcmike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haunter View Post
Keep the "drop block through hole in ceiling from floor above" mechanic, but have only one extra block down by the canal. Replace the vast expanse across the canal with a broken bridge/catwalk that is missing a piece just the size of one block. The user must then only move two blocks, not 5 or 6... This way the fun bits are still the same (It still takes the same thought process to figure the puzzle's solution out, and the rewards the same). But one of the boring bits gets taken away! It's win / win!
This does make sense, I shall do this.

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Originally Posted by haunter View Post

Perhaps the solution to this problem is as simple as moving the pull-handle closer to the block puzzle? What do you think? Unfortunately I can't make any suggestions beyond that without further understanding the layout of the quest, but hopefully I've provided some food for thought.
The reason I had the lever at the front was because there was a chance of players becoming stuck by pulling a block onto the bridge and so if you had the lever at the end of the level they wouldn't be able to reach it, which is something I later saw happen several times, having it at the start could possibly be a chore but it does make it slightly more accessible.

Glad you like what you've seen so far, though I would be interested in knowing what the respawn issue is.
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  #19  
Old 11-14-2010, 11:17 PM
Loriel Loriel is offline
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And here I thought making videos showing off your stuff in absolutely abysmal lighting was a purely minecraft problem.
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  #20  
Old 11-14-2010, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ffcmike View Post
The reason I had the lever at the front was because there was a chance of players becoming stuck by pulling a block onto the bridge and so if you had the lever at the end of the level they wouldn't be able to reach it, which is something I later saw happen several times, having it at the start could possibly be a chore but it does make it slightly more accessible.
Ahh, in that case what you did makes sense. Perhaps as an alternative the laser trap could disable once you've passed it once? (per user of course)

Hmmm... In the context of the sewer quest though, perhaps two block-resetting levers would work best? One on each floor:

Lever on "floor 2": would only work if the block is still on floor 2. Once the user pushes it through the hole it does nothing (shouldn't even animate).

Lever on "floor 1": This would have 3 "modes" based on the user's progress with the quest:
  1. If there is only one block in the room: Pulling the lever returns the block to the original position
  2. If there are two blocks in the room: pulling the lever returns both to their original positions within that room (i.e. the extra block you dropped in stays in the room)
  3. If there is a block on the switch (it should lock into place once the user places it correctly*): pulling the lever does nothing.

* I noticed this was absent in the Ninja Trial as well. I was told to "Be careful not to push it too far"

Sorry, I'm getting a bit carried away here. :P Onto the next thing!


Quote:
Originally Posted by ffcmike View Post
Glad you like what you've seen so far, though I would be interested in knowing what the respawn issue is.
I think it's a problem with GraalOnline's original design itself rather than how you implemented it. From what I understand it is (or emulates) how respawning worked on the "original" Graal Classic? My issue was as follows:

I died and got the standard death screen with the "End" scroll on it. My first instinct was to press "Enter" to continue. That did nothing, so I tried the action buttons (Space and "S") which also did nothing. I then tried clicking on the "End" scroll, thinking it was actually a button which also did nothing. At this point I was becoming frustrated, it was also at this point that the Staff member I mentioned earlier arrived. I chatted "How do you respawn?" Being frustrated and impatient, I began pressing every button on my keyboard at once; lo and behold I respawned! I had no idea how I did it though.

I then began chatting with the staff member through PMs. They explained that to respawn I must use the move (arrow) keys. I expressed my concern that this was not intuitive, nor was it explained to me. They retorted with the fact that this is how Graal Classic always worked, and posited that I should know that, since I'm not a newbie (they recognized me from the forums). However, to that I say "irrelevant".

Reason 1: I haven't played in 3 or more years.
Reason 2: There are new users who will (hopefully) be playing this server one day...

...Not to mention the fact that I'm told how to move the moment my character wakes up from their bed! I don't believe trial and error is any way to teach new players the basic controls and mechanics of a game, and based on the tips / tutorial system you have on your server, I think you'd agree with me.

So in short, my issue with the respawn was that using the arrow keys (which are used for movement) when your character is dead is a highly illogical userpath.

I see no problem with the arrow keys advancing the user past the "End" screen, but I do have a problem with it being the only way. I would suggest also allowing all major keys (S, Space, Enter) to respawn the user (unless they're chatting of course) as well as (possibly) a click of the "End" icon. You could even go so far as to have a message that says "Press [whatever] to respawn." Just like you did at the beginning of the server with "Press S to start" (brilliant intro by the way!).

There were a few other observations and suggestions I made to that staff person while I was checking out the server, but based on their reaction to my comments about the respawning I doubt you will hear about any of them. :P

Cheers,
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  #21  
Old 11-14-2010, 11:49 PM
ffcmike ffcmike is offline
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I see your argument but when you consider that with both Default and all the different Custom systems the server has had since the beginning it has never been a known problem that an explanation of how to do it might be going a bit too far, I can't say I've ever seen or heard from somebody that doesn't know how to respawn, I would guess that the vast majority of peoples first instinct would have been to press one of the arrow keys, I shall however extend it to the other main keys.
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  #22  
Old 11-15-2010, 12:14 AM
haunter haunter is offline
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I see your argument but when you consider that with both Default and all the different Custom systems the server has had since the beginning it has never been a known problem that an explanation of how to do it might be going a bit too far, I can't say I've ever seen or heard from somebody that doesn't know how to respawn, I would guess that the vast majority of peoples first instinct would have been to press one of the arrow keys, I shall however extend it to the other main keys.
I may have put too much emphasis on the "tips" thing... That was more for the case of only the arrow keys respawning the user, since it seems so backward to me (even though I played Graal with it like that for years and never thought twice about it.)

The [Enter] or [Space] keys should be the first guess for any new user trying to respawn. It's obviously not a 100% catch-all solution, but I'm confident that for the majority of new users one of those keys will be at least the second (if not the first) key they try individually when figuring out how to respawn... And of course, keeping the arrow keys functional for this will ensure that oldbies will be comfortable as well.

Cheers,
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