Up and down

One more little post to announce some progress… and maybe ask a question.

Cards could be face up or face down in OCTGN 2.0, from the very beginning, I think. But this week I coded the core OCTGN function which allows users to change the face up/down status. And just like the rotation, the change is animated, which is nice. Of course, if you want extra coolness, you should tap and turn the card at the same time! (In which case the two animations combine and create a smooth transition from one state to the other)
Mmmm… maybe next time I’ll tap and flip and turn, I guess the effect would be even cooler. ^_^

That done, I also added the “play face down” functionnality. This is an important one. When a card comes in play tapped (for you Magic fans), it’s no big problem: just put it on the table and then rotate. Et voilà! But when it comes face down, you can’t simply do that. Because the opponent sees the card between the time you put it on the table and the moment you turn it face down. Which ruins the surprise.

I choose to go the OCTGN 1.x way, so that players would feel at home: using the SHIFT key one can play a card face down. But I’m a bit unconfortable with this. A new user has no way of knowing that SHIFT would have this effect…

OCTGN 2 is slightly better than 1 in this regard, because there is a visual feedback, and you always see whether you’re currently playing it up or down. So there should be no bad moves. But you have to guess about the SHIFT key in the first place.

Unfortunately, I can’t think of another efficient way to do this. To mitigate the issue, I’m thinking about adding “Did you know…” hints when the application is launched (of course you can disable it). If I find some place for a status bar (which is doubtful since I want to maximize the table space), I may also put a message in it when drag and dropping, like: “Shift: face down”.

If you have better ideas how to teach the new players that SHIFT = face down, or if you have an even better idea to replace SHIFT, please left a comment!

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12 Comments on “Up and down”

  1. Discord Says:

    Hmmm…

    Face-down dragging with Right-click would at least be easier to discover(provided you’re not using it for anything else).

    Regardless, just bundle a small readme file or quick reference chart with the software, with this important info.

  2. jods Says:

    Right-click pops up the context menu with all possible actions.
    Middle-click is probably gonna be used for targetting.
    I assume most people don’t have more than 3 mouse buttons.

    The surely will be some kind of user guide, but you know how people (me included) are: they never read those.

  3. viparas Says:

    Perhaps you could make it so that when you hold an effect key over a card in your hand you will get a text box that says what effect you will get. Like, if you hold shift and hover your mouse over a card, you’ll get a little text box by your cursor that says “face down”. Could also work for put onto bottom of library, and such.
    Unrelated question: Will there be an option for targeting a random card?, I recall a few games of magic against a chaos loving friend of mine who would use random targeting effects often, and the only way we could think of to do it was assigning a number to each card that could be legally targeted and then having me roll my 20 sided dice.

  4. jods Says:

    I don’t need to show a tooltip with “face down” when you press the shift key over a card, because there already is a visual clue when you drag and drop a card, which clearly shows if the card would be moved face up or down.
    The problem here is: how can I suggest to use the shift key in the first place ?

    Your question about targetting a random card is a good one, I wouldn’t have thought of that.
    Random numbers aren’t coded yet (useful for many things, amongst which dice, coins, and random cards selection). Neither is the targetting function.
    But when both are available, the game creators should be able to combine them into one action. (That’s the power of creating custom actions from core functions).
    In theory, I don’t see any problems creating an action that targets a random card amongst any subset of cards (e.g. the cards I control on the table).

  5. mothlos Says:

    I would like an on-hover clickable “play face down [shift]” with a short delay. this would also be helpful for those who have difficulty using command keys in conjunction with the mouse (e.g. those people with one hand).

  6. jods Says:

    To be honest, I’m not sure that I understand exactly your suggestion. It’s a bit unclear to me when this clickable message would appear.

    But I fear that having this popup every time you hover a card, or simply every time you drop a card, would be too intrusive. I believe many people love OCTGN because it’s very simple and efficient, no questions asked (à la MTGO). Also I’m worried about the additionnal visual noise it would create (the disappearing card view already creates enough visual noise, IMHO).

    Moreover, things start to get more complex when I ask (and I ask everyone who reads this blog):
    1) how do you move a card to the bottom of a pile ?
    2) and face down to the bottom of a pile ?
    3) and at a random place in a pile ?

    Currently I was thinking about using [Ctrl] for 1 and [Ctrl + shift] for 2. Of course, this isn’t very discoverable. I haven’t decided how I’d do 3… Maybe [Ctrl + Alt] ? ^_^

  7. mothlos Says:

    Well, when you design a UI you have to walk the line between functionality and simplicity.

    I would see the buttons pop up on hover for more than a quarter second, perhaps a series of buttons either on top of or to the side of the card.

  8. eyerouge Says:

    I don’t see any problem with shift = face down: It’s not as if OCTGN 1.x would have a larger userbase simply because it wast totaly iconized. I’m swede, I’m not even supposed to know english but I read the documentation 3 times and what I didn’t see I figured out. Things are pretty straight unless you’re brainded or a total novice to computers. In either case each software that comes out shouldn’t have that as it’s point of origin. Don’t take me wrong, intuitive interface and a simple comfortable one is always prefered, but such an interface isn’t eqaul to look-i’m-a-dork-and-i-can-use-this. Think about the average Joe, not about the guy who doesn’t know how to move the mouse once the end of the table is reached.

    As has already been mentioned every extra popup, click, hint etc makes a player who knows that already – which any normal player that isn’t analphabet would after playing 10 games – want to puke and the program full of clutter.

    If you’re going heavy on this-is-idiot-proof-and-a-4-year-old-can-learn then please make it an option to turn every hint etc off.

    Why not just create a demo? It could be either a macro, if you’re adding record/re-run function, or if not – just program it or record it as divx – the options are many. A visual demo, or 2-3 of them showing different games, where you guide people through with a nice (female? then people would pay attention ; ) voice explainign everything and showing it makes it all look easy – just as it is. Later on they can check out the usermanual. If that is written in a clear way and a user still doesn’t understand, well, whatever, then it’s not your problem.

    Shift button is also good because of the obvious: It’s big and easy to find / use. However, let’s not favourise certain games before others. In many cases it would never be used, in others all the time. Who knows what people would play?

    Also, why not just make all the keys configurable? That way all would get the standard default layout from you which could be restored by a click, but, depending on how they’re handed (left/right), what keyboard they have (ergo or not, pads or not, etc), and what games they play they might want to remap the keys. I can’t actualy come up with any reason why this shouldn’t be done.

  9. AkumAPRIME Says:

    Right click produces a menu, but should Right Drag be a different action, and thus be able to produce different results? If not, what about Right click on the mat, menu. R. Click on a card, see Card options? Just an idea, not even sure if I like it.

    I personally like those little hints menus at the beginning of games. A) They can easily be turned off. B) they almost Always contain some Small hint I didn’t know.

    But in terms of knowing how to drag out face down, they’ll have to read the manual. The same way they learned to do all the other stuff they do.

  10. Discord Says:

    Or, another idea:

    Make the default background a Tips page. 🙂

    With basic info on anything non-obvious; i.e. how to manipulate cards, and of course, how to change the background to another picture. (definately include another nicer background with the package)

  11. mhtsos_gr Says:

    Something along the lines of ‘R-Click menu’ -> ‘Put Card into play Face Up’ and another option for ‘…Face Down’. It is consistent with the Windows-way of things. You can do the action through menus or through the shortcut keys, which you have to read. Also, if you could implement a R-Click drag-and-drop with a menu popping-up with various choices.

    An approach with pop-up hints (that can be disabled through Options) could also work.

  12. Gremio Says:

    Not sure if I got this out of the other responses.

    The right click menu IMO should not appear until you release the right mouse button. This is how it works in FireFox. I do not like the idea of a right click menu > move card from hand to play zone at all. In OCTGN 1.x it functions exactly how I would expect to move a card from hand to play. You drag and drop. Right Mouse button down + drag should be able to move the card from hand to play face down. Just like Left Mouse button down + drag moves it in face up. Right mouse button release should open the right click menu option, depending on what item it is hovering at that time.


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