This week we started smashing bugs mercilessly
, shrinking our bug list's number of entries from 80 to 40. We will get it to zero one day! One day...
We also honed our user-interface
quite a bit, since that aspect of our game has been a source of some criticism.
The walk-cursor can now also be seen through foreground objects, but at 50% opacity. Now I think it both gives a cool illusion of depth, while still actually being easy-to-use with precision when you're moving behind pillars and such.
We created a unique look for our tap-and-hold hotspots that we use during a few minigames, which we thought was important so you can intuitively distinguish them whenever you see them.
Also the minigame interface now flashes red when you make a succesful move and red when you're doing it wrong, providing clear and immediate feedback to the player. The goal is that the minigame
won't need a separate tutorial, but it's so intuitive to play
that you'll learn it through a process of trial and error in seconds.
Since our game will be quite dialog-heavy, we also added an auto-forward feature
for our conversations to help prevent unnecessary strain on your left mouse buttons. The time we display a line in this mode is based on the length of the text shown on screen, but the user can also change the multiplier for this (currently with the mouse scroll wheel) so it fits their personal reading speed.
in the beginning portions of the game also got an overhaul.
We tried to make the tutorial non-obtrusive, so it doesn't stop gameplay at any point, and also make them very dynamic, so the instructions will disappear as soon as the game thinks the player doesn't need them any more.
And we made them be context-specific, so they don't only give the players the information that
they need, but also when
they need it, and we spread it out along multiple scenes to give a pleasant learning curve, avoiding heavy information dumps.
One of my inspirations when designing the tutorial was Fallout: New Vegas
, which I thought was very smart in popping up the short tutorials prompts gradually only when you need them.
E.g. in it you might have played the game for several hours already when you first kill someone belonging to a faction, and then the game pops up information about faction alignments. And you pay attention to that information because it's relevant to you right now.