[UI SUGGESTION] Please no more double negatives, or negative positives

By on January 28, 2012 6:13:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

jeremyosborne

Join Date 02/2008
+3

Version: 0.76 (the version that I have played the most recently and took a bunch of notes against)

PREAMBLE: I consider this really low priority against other bugs, the care and work that it must take to build a great AI, and the amount of number crunching you all must have to do to tackle the deadly balance of the game to appease the masses. However, given that FE is such an aesthetically pleasing game and I can tell a lot of work has _also_ gone into the beautiful artwork and animations, I wanted to at least post something about my feelings of the wordings of bonuses and costs and penalties in the game. I think this comes from one of the Animondays I saw where... sorry, I forget the animator's name... but he mentioned about how when you do Animations right, no one notices them. But when you do them wrong... hence the reason for my post.

And now...

What's the best thing about Dungeons and Dragons v3 versus v2? Non-negative Armor Class! Really, that's it. I'd have been entirely happy with AD&D version 2 rules if it wasn't for the really awkward and annoying moments in the games that went something like this: "Okay, I just got +5 Plate Armor and that means I now have... wait for it... an AC of -2. YAY NEW MATH!" This always left me with a bit of WTF feeling when it came to game aesthetics, or what the developers thought about aesthetics and semantics, but more importantly it killed my feeling of immersion because it was something that was, to me, inherently broken and illogical in the presentation of the game.

I see this same thing potentially happening in FE in the display of game statistics. The new UI is much improved, but as with most things, there is always more that can be improved.

Below is an example image from a game where every time I would see this tooltip in the UI it would break my feeling of immersion in the game. In the image, I'm discussing the display of the "bonuses and penalties" of building a Blacksmith in one of my towns, and how the tooltip is disconcerting to my little essentially-still-paleolithic brain.

The tooltip states the following:

  • That it costs me -10 metal. Yes, yes, I get it, but it's so jarring every time I see it and while I don't believe this should be given the bug fixing priority as the cool stuff like AI and game balance, I really hope this gets some attention. This isn't so bad by itself, but the following line states:
  • That it also costs me +1 maintenance. This is what hurts my brain.
    • Suggestions for display
      • Change "Costs -10 Metal" to "Costs 10 Metal per season"
      • Change "Costs +1 Maintenance" to "Costs 1 Gildar per season to maintain"
  • The tooltip states that it provides +1 Materials. This is fine, although I'd prefer "Provides 1 Material [to the computational seasonal output of the city]"
  • I don't have an example, but some of the "Provides" are not actually bonuses, but they are also penalties.
    • Suggestion for display:
      • Change the wording of "Provides" to "Output" and state more specifically the time scale of the output: "+1 Meterial per season" or the like.

I'm not suggesting a change to the underlying mechanics of the game, or how data is modeled. What I'd like is merely the display of bonuses and penalties to make logical, semantic sense when I see them.

And now for the picture that spawned my brain pain.

 

Double Negative Bonuses and Penalties

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January 28, 2012 6:18:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh yeah, I forgot another one I see often.

-0

In various displays, -0 crops up. I know it's a rounding error, but if floating point values are important, and they seem to be, I'd prefer to see in most instances a tenths digit displayed vs. seeing a -0.

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January 29, 2012 3:27:39 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

THAC0 was unreal. However I agree with your suggestion for this game. 

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January 29, 2012 3:55:17 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I stopped reading after you suggested 3rd edition was was worth playing, more or less better than 2nd edition. No way I could take your comments seriously after that. 

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January 29, 2012 8:47:51 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, it we take into account the main reason (apparently) which is the lack of negatives like armor class etc. it is understandable.

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January 29, 2012 10:31:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think you missed something.  The -10 metal and the +1 Maintenance do not mean the same thing.  -10 metal is a one time thing, I believe, and +1 maintenance means per season.  Given this, I can see what they were going for.  You use ten metal, and your per season maintenance is increased.  It still might be nice to make it clearer, but the other thing your suggestion doesn't deal with is space.  Keeping text as short as possible is really important in UI development.

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January 29, 2012 12:01:06 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

First, all of the things are perfectly clear... well to me at least you somehow managed to get confused.

1. "-10 metal" is a 1 time cost not a seasonal cost and is fine as is.

2. "+1 maintenance" can be renamed as you wished, fine.

3. "+1 materials" is fine and should not be saddled with a stupid "[to the computational seasonal output of the city]"... Also cities don't output materials. When you settle a location would have between 1 and 5 materials, and 1 and 5 grain. Indicating how rich an area it is.

I think what it should look like is:

Cost to build:

200 hammers (or whatever they call it in elemental)

10 metal

Provides:

-1 Gildar / Season

+1 Materials

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January 29, 2012 1:55:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Fistalis,
I stopped reading after you suggested 3rd edition was was worth playing, more or less better than 2nd edition. No way I could take your comments seriously after that. 

I know my article is so tl;dr, and I risk derailing the point of the thread even more by posting this, but this made me laugh so hard this morning. Thanks for the added humor.

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January 29, 2012 2:01:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting taltamir,
First, all of the things are perfectly clear... well to me at least you somehow managed to get confused.

Provides:

-1 Gildar / Season

+1 Materials

I'm splitting the metaphorical semantic hair here, and yes, I agree with you, I can wrap my brain around it, but saying that, "I provide you -1 gildar" is weird. Really you _provide_ me a negative gildar? No you don't, you _take_ a gildar from me.

That's like saying that the credit card provides me a withdrawal of money from my account every month. Or when the baby bear mawls me, he provides me with negative hit points.

Mathematically it is correct. My brakes provide negative acceleration on my car, but it just sounds weird.

Maybe I'm trying to put myself too much in the shoes of someone who is newer to these types of games, but I stick by with what I said in my totally tl;dr rant above. It is _not_ clear the way things are currently worded, and while it might be a low priority overall, I think the confusion detracts from the game.

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January 29, 2012 2:09:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Agreed. There's a few other quirks in UI related to this as well. I always giggle when check my 'Horse Income' and see that I'm earning .2 horses per turn. I wonder what that looks like

Changing it to 1 horse/5 turns is an easy string output change, and reads more clearly, same as you're suggesting for other areas.

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January 29, 2012 2:15:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting jeremyosborne,
I'm splitting the metaphorical semantic hair here, and yes, I agree with you, I can wrap my brain around it, but saying that, "I provide you -1 gildar" is weird. Really you _provide_ me a negative gildar? No you don't, you _take_ a gildar

Eh, I considered it but couldn't decide what to call it instead... how about

Cost to build:

200 hammers (or whatever they call it in elemental)

10 metal

Effects:

-1 Gildar / Season

+1 Materials

Quoting Mtrixis,
Agreed. There's a few other quirks in UI related to this as well. I always giggle when check my 'Horse Income' and see that I'm earning .2 horses per turn. I wonder what that looks like 

Changing it to 1 horse/5 turns is an easy string output change, and reads more clearly, same as you're suggesting for other areas.

it would cause all sorts of issues with income though... I prefer the 0.2 horses a turn.

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January 29, 2012 2:23:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting taltamir,

Cost to build:

200 hammers (or whatever they call it in elemental)

10 metal

Effects:

-1 Gildar / Season

+1 Materials

This I like a lot. Now all they have to do is let us at the source code and we'll make it better

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