UX/UI Suggestions

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  • #20468
    aubergine18
    Participant

    @isidoro – Agreed, but as far as I know the game isn’t yet available on mobile devices (not sure their CPUs would cope with the pathfinding?). Much of the UI would need overhaul to make it usable on touch devices – eg. the small icons in the sidebar would probably need to be bigger, and the number of pop-up windows would need to be significantly reduced too I think.


    @gGeorg
    – What if there were a few different game modes to choose from instead? So, for example, “Sandbox” mode could start with no dirt tracks and the user would have to connect things up at their leisure, a bit like “train table” mode in the game “Railroads”. A “Fever” mode would have the dirt tracks, but allow them to be deleted, and a “Brutal” mode (for want of better word) would have protected dirt tracks (and medium tracks between cities to encourage car ownership and use). That would give rise to 3 completely different types of gameplay, simply by tweaking what happens with the dirt tracks (main lines).

    As for people disappearing from trains, etc., I would approach that with two flags on agents (people). The first, “Protection flag”, is set when they join a line (waiting at a stop or on a vehicle) and protects them from despawn. The second, “Reroute flag”, is only set if their target building is destroyed while the Protection flag is set (otherwise they are not on a line and can be immediately despawned or re-routed). When exiting a line (including transition between lines) the Reroute flag is checked and if necessary they are re-routed or despawned; otherwise clear the Protection flag (if they are transitioning to another line, I assume the Protection flag would be set again once they reach the stop where they will join that line).

    #20469
    isidoro
    Participant

    Without trying to derail the topic, I don’t think that the “main line” feature is such a bad idea.  It adds to the difficulty and challenge of the game and makes cheating somewhat more difficult.  The problem with it is implementation.  It simply doesn’t work.

    Sometimes you make a detour and you can delete a main line, sometimes not.  Sometimes, you can’t delete it and, later you can, and so on…

    For instance, that’s a big problem when you want to update to a highway, but with less curves, and you simply can’t or it’s a pain because of that “main connection” badly implemented feature.

    #20477
    aubergine18
    Participant

    As a new user I found the mainline feature game-breakingly annoying and gave the game a negative review. Then I realised it could be disabled with the inbuilt mod and started liking the game, and now I’ve got used to the game I make extensive use of the mainlines – but have edited the game config files to allow them to be deleted. So, there are two issues at play:

    1. New (and some existing) users are repulsed by the feature
    2. Once you get used to them you are still annoyed at how fiddly they are to clean up (and even then might still want to delete them)

    There’s no point worrying about the minutiae of (2) while (1) is happening, because the game is getting slaughtered in the ratings, harming reputation of UG in the process. (1) has to be fixed before (2) can even be thought about.

    #20485
    isidoro
    Participant

    From my point of view as a user (different from the point of view of the company), I’d rather see a more challenging game than to make it simpler in order to gain more audience or higher ratings in whatever popular ranking.  Most of games are very simple just in order to get more market and that’s specially frustrating in simulations.

    The only thing I’d ask is that the rules were consistent and well programmed.  I really get confused and annoyed when I build a detour and the game still says that the road is a main connection, even with that alternative.

    I like the “main connection” rule.  I only want it to be well programmed.

    Just similar with the “not able to align terrain” when building.  It makes no sense since construction is really possible.   You have to elevate terrain here and there.  Construction should be either impossible or automatic.  If the programmers wants to forbid certain abuse when building, just put a higher price in unrealistic constructions.

    #20492
    gcampono
    Participant

    I could not agree more with isidoro. I also want a more challenging game*. Without the main connection rule it would be too tempting to cheat and delete connections between cities to force users to take my trains 🙂

     

    However, there is a difference between a hard game because it is well designed (rewarding good play and punishing mistakes) and a game that is hard because it badly coded. There are many times that I just want to replace a curvy road with a straight one or upgrade a small track to a larger track … With the main connection I must try over and over again to make detours and (sometimes they are not recognized as such even if they are short) then bulldoze the old line, replace the old track and hope I can bulldoze the detour (which has become a new main connection)… It is really a huge pain.

    It would be much better if the game lets you bulldoze anything but charges you the cost of rebuilding the missing main connections. Even better, it would be if the game lets you enter some “building/planning” mode, build anything with the right to undo the different parts and then commit to the whole construction before reentering the “playing mode”.

    * Suggestion to developers. I think that even hard is somewhat too easy that you must even not really pay attention to optimize anything and still make a lot of money. Because of that I lost most of the interest in the game since all plays are somewhat similar. I though I might try to modify the game – if possible – to increase maintenance costs of infrastructure like rail, road, stations, depots and probably even trucks. However to really bring some more replayability there should be:

    1) more map diversity ( come on, developers, it should not be that hard to do and has been requested by several players … e.g. rectangular maps, cities and industries far apart, coastlines etc.)

    2) some preconfigured maps ( I would love to connect regions or even better countries like Switzerland, France, England, Europe … just make some abstraction of the scale of the maps, put cities farther away from each other and slow the passing of time)

    3) some maps with some quality objectives or scenarios (e.g. reach a really high coverage in certain areas, or implement a certain mix of transportation modes, connect certain cities or industries …)

    4) bring more dynamism in maps, e.g. by spawning new industries over time (maybe complexifying the industry chains over time) and delete the most obsolete ones

    5) competitors or other players to beat ( I know it will never be implemented in train fever, but I have hopes for your next game ).

    #20943
    electricmonk2k
    Participant

    The pencil mark is NOT clutter,  it indicates that you can edit (re-name) the item.

    Or just use F2 to rename if a window has the input-focus. Anyone familiar with the Windows UI might be able to discover this, and even so, this could be mentioned in the docs or on forum-posts from time to time. Of course, double-click-to-rename should work too.

    there’s also way too much info being shown.

    While I agree that there should be some decluttering going on, all the info should still be accessible. If you really want to get rid of tabs, at least being able to hover over things like the financials should show the full financial details. One thing tabs are good at is aiding discoverability, but if you want to go for the ‘hover to bring up more details’ approach, at least make the hoverable area show some sort of change when a mouseover event happens. Less clutter does mean it looks tidier, but it should always be possible to access the information.

    I do like the new vehicle detail screen – especially the age-progression and value-deprecation graphs. Perhaps, there should also be a distance-graph for how far the train has travelled from the previous stop to the next stop (Railroad Tycoon 2 has something like this).

    Text labels of other stats replaced by icons

    If that does happen, it should be possible to hover over an icon to see what it is. The icon for loading-speed does not look very intuitive.

    Another problem could be new interfaces (touch screens).  They are known to be defective regarding hovering compared to older interfaces…

    ARGH! The T-word!!!
    I honestly don’t think that Train Fever is suitable for the user-input-abomination known as the ‘touchscreen’. And if Urban Games did try and make it touchscreen friendly, I hope they don’t have to compromise on the usability of a keyboard-and-mouse interface.

    [re: main connections] There’s no point worrying about the minutiae of (2) while (1) is happening, because the game is getting slaughtered in the ratings, harming reputation of UG in the process. (1) has to be fixed before (2) can even be thought about.

    Perhaps there could be four difficulty-levels: Three (or maybe more) pre-defined levels – ‘Easy’, ‘Medium’, ‘Hard’, and a fourth one – ‘Custom’. Easy, Medium and Hard have things like main-connection fixed (off for easy, on for hard – not sure about medium) and in ‘Custom’ mode, ‘main connection’ can be turned off or on independently of other difficulty-parameters. This way, the Easy mode can have several things turned off (eg. Main Connection) that new players have a hard time with.

    From my point of view as a user (different from the point of view of the company), I’d rather see a more challenging game than to make it simpler in order to gain more audience or higher ratings in whatever popular ranking.  Most of games are very simple just in order to get more market and that’s specially frustrating in simulations.

    This! Very much this! Please don’t insult the intelligence of your players, insult their stupidity instead! Fortunately, TF doesn’t fall into this trap, although the UI can still be frustrating at times (but not as frustrating as it used to be).

    Just similar with the “not able to align terrain” when building.  It makes no sense since construction is really possible.   You have to elevate terrain here and there.  Construction should be either impossible or automatic.  If the programmers wants to forbid certain abuse when building, just put a higher price in unrealistic constructions.

    I agree – more flexible construction at a price. I find that when building a track at a different altitude than the ground, unless a bridge or tunnel is built, the land that is added or subtracted slopes ca. 45 degrees, which can be the cause of many a terrain-alignment-collision error, but if I use the raise/lower tools, I can create steeper slopes – and hence tighter junctions. It would be nice if we could automatically build steeper slopes – even if it came at an extra cost (in the real world, you’d have to build something to re-inforce a steep slope to prevent it from collapsing, so the extra cost would be justified).

    Oh, and my suggestion for the TF UI: could you please change the mouse-cursor-image according to the mode/state the mouse-action is in (a different mouse-cursor for ‘select’, ‘build’, ‘delete’, ‘add-station-to-route’, ‘group-station’, ‘road-upgrade’, etc). Currently, we have this implemented for electrification and high-speed-rail, so why not for all possible action-states? This would come especially in handy if bulldozer-mode is selected – it will reduce the chance of someone accidentally demolishing something when they were intending to select something. Being able to tell at a glance which mode the cursor is in would all of a sudden make the interface feel a whole lot less awkward.

Viewing 6 posts - 16 through 21 (of 21 total)
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