Suggestion: Please dont let me be dumb

By on June 28, 2013 2:44:56 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Wakrob

Join Date 04/2006
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Many times in games Ive been playing along and realize...

Oh, Im researching nothing!

Hey look, my city over here hasnt been producing for who knows how long.

Oh gee, this city has more essence slots I didnt notice be because the graphic is hard to see.

Golly, there is an army over here I forgot about because there is no option to but an obvious bar under them unless I scroll out to map mode.

Please make an options so none of those things happen.  I NEVER want to end a turn with nothing being researched or a city idle.

Please make Essence slots way more obvious, like big empty blue circles.

Please make an option to put an obvious border or health bar over/under my troops in not-cloth map mode.

Please put the unrest of towns (or have an option too) right on top of the cities on the map so I can change taxes and quickly look around to see the effects.  Or at the very least put unrest with the four stats shown when you click on a city.

 

Thanks

Wakrob

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June 28, 2013 8:29:41 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


You can access and manage city production, enchantments and unrest all via the Govern tab.

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June 28, 2013 8:58:18 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

These are the types of UI improvements I've asked for since day 1. A simple DO NOT LET ME END TURN when I have stuff left to do option.

Endless Space is a good example of a 4X that got the interface right in this regard.

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June 28, 2013 9:35:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hand-holding is required in game design, but too much and it gets a dark side. 4X is hardly a genre that is designed to be highly "accessible" in the total spectrum of gaming. Does this 4X game really need to prevent you from forgetting to set research?

Reward or success are a result of your management and care. This game already has a steep learning curve, and demands you pay careful attention if you are going to learn the deeper game mechanics. 

Maybe forcing research won't move the needle too much. But I fear changes like that only help to take away some of the player responsibility, and thus some of the core satisfaction. 

To put it another way, your post title says "don't let me be dumb," but the player must be given room to err and fail for victory to have meaning. I think the new unrest system prevents city count from going exponential, so managing cities should be enough for most players (okay, on huge maps it might still be an issue). 

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June 28, 2013 9:54:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hand holding means telling you which research to pick, which buildings to choose and which enchantments to use. It's not handholding if the UI simply points out that you have to make a decision, or better informs you of the current situation. The challenge of the game should be in figuring out which strategic choices to make, not remembering that choices have to be made at all.

 

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June 28, 2013 10:38:48 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

After all in RL, you had reams of people working within your kingdom helping you with all the mundane crap so you did not have to worry if your research was active or not, etc. The person you put in charge would make sure none of the OPs items would happen. Lewis and Clark did not stop exploring just because someone did not tell them to move every day lol.

As you only have you that needs to take care of all these items and you do NOT have reams of people that can help you in game, the UI should at least somehow inform the player that Lewis and Clark are sitting on their arse and have not moved in a while Versus X turns later, you wonder what they have been up to and look to see you have not been moving them. I do not in any way consider this hand holding or taking away from the game at all.

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June 28, 2013 11:01:49 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Cymsdale,

Hand holding means telling you which research to pick, which buildings to choose and which enchantments to use. It's not handholding if the UI simply points out that you have to make a decision, or better informs you of the current situation. The challenge of the game should be in figuring out which strategic choices to make, not remembering that choices have to be made at all.
 

Well we disagree, fair enough. For the record, I am not using hand-holding intending an insulting connotation. I am considering a UI, tooltips, Hiergamenon, all that, as forms of necessary hand-holding to make the game properly balance player investment to player reward.  

I am arguing that when we discuss the UI informing players that research needs to be done, we are at the line where accommodating the player further risks ruining the game experience.

As it is, the left side of the screen has Zzzzs next to any city not producing research. The research window says "No research" if you are not researching anything.

I am answering the question behind both our arguments, "Is it better for the game experience overall, for most players, to be prompted when research or building is empty?" My answer is no. 

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June 28, 2013 11:09:55 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting davrovana,


I am answering the question behind both our arguments, "Is it better for the game experience overall, for most players, to be prompted when research or building is empty?" My answer is no. 

 

Actually, I can see what you are saying. When I played Civilization. I always thought that the fact that they prompted me to pick a new research really took away something from the game and made it a less complete experience.

...

No wait, I didn't think that, because it would have been ****ing ridiculous.

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June 28, 2013 11:40:05 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think what is being said is true the UI needs to be better and more informative, the player should have a better understanding of what is going on.

 

This is all polish stuff mostly, and the devs seem to have polish in general on the back burner, they really need a polish team working in unison with AI fixes and game balance issues.

Even simple stuff like health level displays (Which are in now) that show at a glance the health values of your troops on their icon, were missing for long periods of time.

 

You should always have research going, there really isnt a reason to not pick something new after completing something.  However I have noticed there not being research going several times, I think its a save/load bug. 

However there is nothing wrong with making the research bar flash if there is no current research happening, and giving an option to turn it off if you dont like it.

 

When you have monsters in your territory you can do nothing about for long periods you get alerted every turn about it, but then when AI comes into your territory you dont get a special alert for that and checking every alert every turn gets unnecessarily tedious.

I should be able to more easily spot enemy units on both the cloth map and the normal map, and tell which realm they belong to or if they are AI or a monster.

I should be able to hotkey my armies and press a number to select them instead of scrolling up and down looking for their icon, or if they are in a town trying to click through your cities trying to find them.

I should not have to click every unit stationed at a city when I want every unit to leave the city.

I should know when there is something new to be built at a city that is producing research/gold/growth.

I should be able to more clearly see how many essence slots a city has, and how many are filled.

I should be able to tell by just looking at a city if it has any negative enchantments on it.

The camera should switch to units that are being attacked with spells, so I know about it.

 

The game should never jerk around my camera angle or assume I am done doing what I am doing.

The game should never auto end my turn for me, especially when I am not done and can do more stuff...this happens often when I am not done casting spells, or while que'ing multiple things to be produced at a single city.

 

 

None of this is hand holding...

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June 28, 2013 1:06:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Cymsdale,

No wait, I didn't think that, because it would have been ****ing ridiculous.

How about a game purposely designed to kill off the player constantly, inducing crushing frustration? Definitely absurd and ridiculous. Demon's Souls and Dark Souls made a lot of money off that. The Contra/Gradius et al. shoots capitalized on that before. Turns out beating that crushing frustration has huge value on the other end.

Not that this is that type of game necessarily, but dismissing an idea as ridiculous hardly means anything when we are talking about video games, a semi-absurd hyper-reality in its essence. 

You don't have to agree with me. I might not even be right. I'm trying to have a discussion about game design. You want to toss out insults.

Tell you what? I'll let you rip me to shreds. Hope the next response is truly withering, at which point you will certainly be right.

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June 28, 2013 2:03:55 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Agree with OP in all aspects.

I think if you load an autosave on a turn you completed a technology the game does not prompt you to pick a new research. Particularly annoying in combination with the possibility to end the turn researching nothing.

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June 28, 2013 2:10:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Agree with OP 100%. The UI has been the biggest issue with all the Elemental games. I love the game but hate the level of attention required to not make dumb moves.

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June 28, 2013 2:56:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting ,


Hey look, my city over here hasnt been producing for who knows how long.

 

If you have a city that isn't producing anything at all, in addition to the ZZZ you also have a yellow outline around the Turn button in the bottom right of the screen.

 

Hope that helps.

 

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June 28, 2013 3:01:00 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting davrovana,
Hand-holding is required in game design, but too much and it gets a dark side. 4X is hardly a genre that is designed to be highly "accessible" in the total spectrum of gaming. Does this 4X game really need to prevent you from forgetting to set research?

Reward or success are a result of your management and care. This game already has a steep learning curve, and demands you pay careful attention if you are going to learn the deeper game mechanics. 

Maybe forcing research won't move the needle too much. But I fear changes like that only help to take away some of the player responsibility, and thus some of the core satisfaction. 

To put it another way, your post title says "don't let me be dumb," but the player must be given room to err and fail for victory to have meaning. I think the new unrest system prevents city count from going exponential, so managing cities should be enough for most players (okay, on huge maps it might still be an issue). 

IT's not hand holding all we are asking for is a better alert system. As far as alerting us to different things in the game like (hey your not researching anything or There is nothing producing in one of your cities) it would be nice if they would put in a better alert system.  Yes they do have on the screen the little Zzzz's for citiy production but it is not very obvious like in other games. Also if your going to tell me that my caravan is being attack then have a button on the message that takes me there to see where it was, otherwise that message is totally useles to me.. Basically similar to the message that we get when a resouce is destroyed.

 

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June 28, 2013 3:22:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Bellack,

Quoting davrovana, reply 3Hand-holding is required in game design, but too much and it gets a dark side. 4X is hardly a genre that is designed to be highly "accessible" in the total spectrum of gaming. Does this 4X game really need to prevent you from forgetting to set research?

Reward or success are a result of your management and care. This game already has a steep learning curve, and demands you pay careful attention if you are going to learn the deeper game mechanics. 

Maybe forcing research won't move the needle too much. But I fear changes like that only help to take away some of the player responsibility, and thus some of the core satisfaction. 

To put it another way, your post title says "don't let me be dumb," but the player must be given room to err and fail for victory to have meaning. I think the new unrest system prevents city count from going exponential, so managing cities should be enough for most players (okay, on huge maps it might still be an issue). 


IT's not hand holding all we are asking for is a better alert system. As far as alerting us to different things in the game like (hey your not researching anything or There is nothing producing in one of your cities) it would be nice if they would put in a better alert system.  Yes they do have on the screen the little Zzzz's for citiy production but it is not very obvious like in other games. Also if your going to tell me that my caravan is being attack then have a button on the message that takes me there to see where it was, otherwise that message is totally useles to me.. Basically similar to the message that we get when a resouce is destroyed.

 

 

I'm with Davroana generally speaking, CivV is a prime example of too much, IMO, likely why I don't care for it. I tend to use the govern screen for my decision making and management, legacy of decades of TBS gaming, so it's rare anything slips by me. That said, the ability to delegate responsibilities in areas you'd rather not be bothered with is a game feature I've always appreciated.

 

But, there are definitely improvements to be made in presenting information, the bolded part of Bellack's comments are a particular annoyance to me. Either make the info useful, or give us the option to turn it off.

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June 28, 2013 7:08:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


I'd prefer less UI in this regard, but this is my preference when playing these games. I want to be allowed to make dumb mistakes. I want to finish my turn while not building anything. I want my units not to use all of there movements. I want my units not to get these bonuses from guarding and such. These are tactical decisions that I want to make and I want full control over my game in this regard. I do know that people do not care for such a style, and every time a game comes up and says you've got something to do, it breaks my strategic thought and story telling.

I many times play games without any UI and leave it as cinematic cameras. It's the way I play sins of a solar empire. I turn it on when I'm having difficulty selecting ships, but other than that cinematic mode all the way. I do not want the game to play for me and stop when there is a decision that should be made that it cannot decide the best action for me.

Put me in the camp that too much helpful UI ruins a game. I play assassins creed and skyrim with the UI off because it is too helpful for that type of game. I know I'm in a minority when it comes to these ideas and so I've accepted the overly helpful UI of games in the future.

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June 28, 2013 10:31:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting parrottmath,


I'd prefer less UI in this regard, but this is my preference when playing these games. I want to be allowed to make dumb mistakes. I want to finish my turn while not building anything. I want my units not to use all of there movements. I want my units not to get these bonuses from guarding and such. These are tactical decisions that I want to make and I want full control over my game in this regard. I do know that people do not care for such a style, and every time a game comes up and says you've got something to do, it breaks my strategic thought and story telling.

I many times play games without any UI and leave it as cinematic cameras. It's the way I play sins of a solar empire. I turn it on when I'm having difficulty selecting ships, but other than that cinematic mode all the way. I do not want the game to play for me and stop when there is a decision that should be made that it cannot decide the best action for me.

Put me in the camp that too much helpful UI ruins a game. I play assassins creed and skyrim with the UI off because it is too helpful for that type of game. I know I'm in a minority when it comes to these ideas and so I've accepted the overly helpful UI of games in the future.

 

I understand what you are saying, but people are just asking for subtle UI improvements. 

It says "No Research"  If that outlined red if you have no research is that going to somehow break your story telling?  That seems simple enough to turn on and off in the options as well.

 

No one is asking for a pop up that says "Sir your city of XXX can currently build a farm but is currently producing growth, would you like to build a farm instead?"

 

But you should be able to look over things quickly and get the info you need, that is the whole point of a UI.  Flipping through 15-20 menus to find basic info every turn is fail, if the info is that often needed it should be at a glance easy to find.

 

Like gold for example, you look at the top, and there it is.  Simple.  

Who would want to click a button and open a tabbed menu, then click a tab, and then scroll down the the bottom of a list to find their gold total? 

It would be insane, and add absolutely nothing but annoyance to the game.

 

Its not tell me my units still have turns, its ok I scroll out to the cloth map and I see all my armies, and they have a 3/3 or 0/3 over their icon as a random example.

You still have to seek or look for the info in some way, its just better if it is easy vs cumbersome and tedious, not asking for bells and alarms and pop ups, just you know, a few small improvements to the UI

 

 

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June 29, 2013 10:03:07 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm just going to skip all of what everyone's said and directly reply to the OP:

So, what you're asking for is a better presentation of already-available information by making small changes to the GUI, not actually the having program preventing you from making dumb decisions.  

The fact that you're researching nothing is a bug that should be fixed.  Beyond the first turn, there should never be a time you're don't have anything selected for research.  I have seen times where I've been researching nothing as well.  I did tell it to research something, but somewhere along the line it just decided not to do it anymore, and I don't know how many turns had gone by that my researchers weren't doing anything.

I do think that the icons next to cities in the Empire Tree (the vertical list on the left of the screen) should be bigger and less translucent.  Sometimes they're very hard to see because they blend in with the background.

It was a couple of games before I even noticed the indicators for the city enchantment slots.  They're just little notches.  They could be better.  The LargeUI mod makes it a lot more obvious by making complete rings for the enchantment slots.  I think that mod should be incorporated into the main game.

I think your fourth item is about how, in the regular Strategic view with all the pretty graphics, it's hard to tell where armies are because there is no HUD for them, and they can often blend in with the terrain.  I agree with this 100%.  Health bars, faction icons, really just anything to indicate that there's an army there would be nice.  If you're just trying to find your own units, you can get to any that haven't moved by hitting Tab, or by looking in the Empire Tree under Units for any that have a green box around them, and click on them there to go to them.  

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June 30, 2013 7:42:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

If you want to see a mature, configurable UI, go play some Paradox game running on recent version of the Clausewitz engine, like Crusader Kings 2. Discussions whether to hold players hand are not very relevant - the player should be able to configure how and when he wants to be informed about what specific types of events. FE UI has some horribly designed elements, depending on obscure dots and little circles that are not very well explained. Even proper unit selection in a group is a painful chore. 

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July 1, 2013 7:08:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Agreed with OP. FE is a long game, more help to make it faster/easier to play would be great (and yes the OP's suggestions will do this by reducing the amount of time spent double checking whether you have done everything you should do).

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July 1, 2013 7:18:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The TAB key is your friend. It points you to units with movement left and idle cities.

I don't really see how you cannot research anything...as soon as the Research screen informs you research is done, select something new!

The essence/available spells icons could be clearer, I agree.

The same goes for the available movement squares in combat. Please devs, make them a bit darker again!

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July 1, 2013 7:45:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The user interface would definitely benefit from a bit of polish. My biggest personal gripe is that it is far too easy to select the wrong tile to move to on large tactical maps. I've lost count of the number of times I've selected a particular tile to move to so that I can use a special ability other than my normal attack when I get there, but I accidentally select a tile next to the one I meant to, meaning I can't attack at all. The tile you're hovering over is not highlighted until you click, which is too late.

The simplest solution would be to always highlight the tile your mouse icon is over, certainly if you can move there. Or, failing that, only have the move happen after you release the mouse button, which would allow you to realise that you've selected the wrong tile, move your mouse to the correct tile, and then release.

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July 1, 2013 8:03:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree with the OP.

The yellow "turn" button is great but I hotkey everything and never notice what color it is. How about a hokey for "next turn only if green"? That would go a long way.

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