Garage Usability: A Growing Concern

  • November 8, 2014 at 5:39 AM #103470
    LegacyElite84LegacyElite84
    Moderator
    Lieutenant Colonel
    Total posts : 2516

    I know this issue has been brought up time and time again, but it needs to be seriously addressed now, mainly before the Social Update and a new demo. The Garage has been showing its age, especially over the past few months with a stream of constant and repetitive issues. Enough to the point where an interlude between the Commander Update and Social Update should be done coined the Garage Update, to bring in the next rendition of the Garage.

    The first and foremost issue I have heard from every new player joining our games at the time are the constant ravings about the Garage. Ravings to the point where learning it was so frustrating, players are dropping the game without even getting into a battle, even with assistance from whomever was on Teamspeak at the time, with a handful of times being myself. And those are from Chromehounds vets talking, not just those brand new to the experience.

    Below are the main issues I’ve been noticing, both from new players and my personal experience.

    The New User Experience: To a new user, nothing is given to a player about building or playing. No tutorial, no knowledge of key bindings for the Garage, and not even the simplest of knowledge of how things properly attach.

    The Fix: Have a tutorial implemented through the use of a garage menu tab on the top bar explaining everything, to the point of spoon feeding levels in some areas.

    Needs to Have:

    1: WASD/Right Click allows rotation around M.A.V.
    2: What the 5 icons in the top mean.
    3: Energy, weight restrictions, speed and their sections in the Garage.
    4: Create weapon settings and the concept of weapon delay/ordering.
    5: Paint schemes and details.
    6: Auto generate functionality and the need to set weapon settings.
    7: Save/load functionality.
    8: Brief explanation of each part type/weapon type/explanation of weapon/chassis/armor derivatives (x2,y6,armored,stabilized,extended,etc.).
    9: Functionality of placing parts with the rainbow line connector.
    10: Zoom with mouse wheel.
    11: Weapon rotation while holding of QE.
    12: Advanced part rotation while holding of Shift WASDQE.
    13: Explanation of number of weapon settings/weapon groups for cockpit types.
    14: Explanation of cockpit/chassis kill shots.
    15: The spine/covered cockpit concept.

    Functionality: The complaints are major here too, and is just a nightmare sometimes even for me.

    The Fix: UI definitely needs some revisions in areas.

    Needs to Have:

    1: Part Spawn Area: Either for those being duplicated or spawned in from the garage menu, there needs to be a secure place other than where you’re clicking. There’s nothing more fun than trying to grab a piece buried in your build or in the floor.
    2: Menu Protection: When operating the garage menu or one of the individual parts menu, it get really annoying just to have to angle the Garage properly to click without screwing up your build. Have it to where if any of these menus are opened, the build is locked and cannot be edited.
    3: Connection Points: The rainbow connector has been one of some annoyance here and there and is hard to learn at times. A good suggestion from hunt0rbehunted is that instead of the rainbow line connector, you can select a floating piece, select a hardpoint on that piece, and click on the other hardpoint you want to attach it to from on the build. From there, the rotation tool in the individual part menu can be properly utilized to adjust if need be.
    4: The Infamous Misclick: We’ve all done it. Removed or deleted that one piece that removed/screwed up our design that we’ve been working on for ten minutes. A simple undo button would do wonders.
    5: Auto Generate: We all misclick that sometimes, but a ‘Are You Sure?’ button needs to be added just as the Save functionality has with saving/overwriting a build.
    6: Three Dimensionality: Working in a three dimensional space sometimes with moving parts can be rather annoying at times. Moving unconnected parts around to get a better angle is sometimes a pain, even for me. Having the ability to set part movement to a solid XYZ holding the part and using three pairs of hot keys to move it would help alleviate that issue.

    Optimization: Kind of obvious, but it’s still needed to be added. Not focusing of nitpick areas, but just the larger ones.

    The Fix: Very simple things that can cut costs for our low end users greatly.

    1: Remove the Smoke: First thing that I always hear from a low end user is that smoke on any game tanks their fps, sometimes even rendering the Garage unplayable.
    2: Lighting: Mainly focusing on our guy with the blowtorch in the back. I can easily see how that could reign hell of a low end GPU.
    3: Shadows: Really straight forward. For the lower graphics settings, have them removed.

    Summary

    With the Garage being easily being a good quarter of the game, and being the gateway to the remainder, it’s confusing, hard as hell to use, and a lot to take in, especially to a new player. And it has become a problem where new players are being deterred. The excuse of “It’s just a learning curve.” isn’t cutting it anymore, and seeing new players rage quit as they have been is starting to piss me off, to put it blunt. M.A.V. will not be able to effectively continue to grow a playerbase while in it’s Alpha state, let alone an active one, if this issue isn’t dealt with soon.

    To all other players/lurkers who come across this and you have an issue/idea that comes to mind that is/was a big issue for you concerning the Garage, please post here.

    Part time filthy. Part time opportunist. Full time goat. "Holy f*** that was the greatest thing I have heard from your keyboard." - Cyberdogs7 on my top quality shitposting.

    November 8, 2014 at 8:02 AM #112384
    basrrf
    Participant
    Master Sergeant
    Total posts : 210

    These are just nitpicks here, but:

    -Change Mobility to Chassis, it’s “easier” to understand.

    -A better organization of part categories, and possibly add color coding (Lighter shade on secondary categories, darker on main categories.) Put chassis first in line, cockpit second, and maybe weapons third.

    -Like Legacy said, an explanation of the part derivatives, maybe in some form of a legend or key.

    -Maybe even a completely redone part list. I can imagine it can be somewhat annoying for a new player to traverse it. It was for me.

    -A more obvious energy bar. It can take a few seconds to understand what it’s saying, even for me.

    -An option for Imperial units. A majority of players will probably be American, and knowing how Americans act, they might get huffy and puffy when they don’t understand what they’re reading.

    -A guide/manual to the garage.

    -Fix the preview for paint colors.

    Basrrf
    Columbus, OH

    "We are all just bricks in the house of life." - Brick Scotch, 2015

    November 8, 2014 at 4:00 PM #112386
    SergeDavidSergeDavid
    Moderator
    Colonel
    Total posts : 3065

    Step 1 : Separate those darn buttons and make them a bit larger.

    Save Mech is right next to Auto Generate, and if you accidentally press just a few pixels down you’ll lose your whole build like I did last night. Placing some gap between them and having them slightly larger means less chances of people raging.

    Step 2 : Hold 2 saves of each build for an undo button. If we start with an Auto Generate Build the first thing I’d do is delete the legs. Now the main .build is nothing while the backup.build has the auto generate.

    So pretty much when an “attach”, “detach”, “rotate”, or “delete” it copies the current mech over to the backup before the change is applied. Then if you want to undo something it just copies over the backup onto the current one.

    backup = current;
    current.add(part, bla, bla);

    Bonus points for placing the “oops” part into the backup so you can flip between the two ones.

    build temp = backup;
    backup = current;
    current = temp;

    Step 3 : Add weapon groups to Auto Generate builds, they don’t need to make any sense right now, AI doesn’t have to use them. Just attach like weapons to the different groups and call it a day. Eventually the “weapon group” code can be optimized and tweaked so that we don’t have a sniper rifle and flame thrower on a single group.

    Step 4 : Add part redesign based on priority and attachments.

    Main List

    • Chassis
    • Cockpit
    • Weapons
    • Generator
    • Spacer
    • Auxiliary

    Sub List 01

    • Dart
    • Arrow
    • Dart-Stable
    • Arrow-Stable
    • Armored-Dart-Stable
    • Armored-Arrow-Stable

    Sub List 02

    • Dart

      • Stable
      • Armored
      • Armoed-Stable
    • Arrow

      • Stable
      • Armored
      • Armoed-Stable

    Personally I’d prefer option 2, especially with the parts with TONS of add-ons. The add-on stuff can be ordered by their part level instead of alphabetically.

    "I think you are going to like what I am doing even more than I like your comparison tool and I like your tool a LOT"

    November 8, 2014 at 4:26 PM #112387
    Cyberdogs7
    Participant
    Colonel
    Total posts : 3213

    These are all great ideas.

    I will not be able to get to them right away, but I am taking note and adding them to my feature list.

    Right now this is my mid term plan:

    Finish Commander Upadate-> Social Update -> Campaign mode

    I think M.A.V. is in desperate need of added gameplay depth, something I feel this update path does. If I can squeeze these improvements into that plan, I will.

    November 8, 2014 at 4:46 PM #112388
    Cyberdogs7
    Participant
    Colonel
    Total posts : 3213

    I also created this https://trello.com/b/s5I4DYOF/feature-voting

    This should allow you to create and vote on features you want to see right away.

    November 8, 2014 at 5:26 PM #112389
    SergeDavidSergeDavid
    Moderator
    Colonel
    Total posts : 3065

    How do I use D:

    Oh you have to add people in order for them to edit stuff.

    "I think you are going to like what I am doing even more than I like your comparison tool and I like your tool a LOT"

    November 8, 2014 at 5:34 PM #112391
    Cyberdogs7
    Participant
    Colonel
    Total posts : 3213

    Looks like I have to add the cards, but comments are open to the public.

    Send me an email if you want to help manage the cards.

    MAV@bombdogstudios.com

    November 8, 2014 at 5:36 PM #112392
    Cyberdogs7
    Participant
    Colonel
    Total posts : 3213
    November 8, 2014 at 10:41 PM #112394
    Anvildude
    Participant
    Major
    Total posts : 1884

    I will admit, I have no idea how that website is supposed to work.

    Also, to chime in on the topic at hand:

    I think the best way to fix the building problems (snapping, finding the right points, selecting when spawning the part, etc) would be to have the person select the part they want to add, then, before spawning the part, take the menu away and have them select the attach point they want to spawn it on. From there, increase the built-in rotational controls to include the old ‘change connection point’ option as well as the ‘rotate on this connection point’ so you can move the selected part in all orientations. I think this should also be the way you change attach points for the part- select the part, choose a ‘move part’ option from the part control menu, then be given a view of all other attach points on the current MAV.

    The Crotchety Old Man of MAV

    November 8, 2014 at 10:44 PM #112395
    basrrf
    Participant
    Master Sergeant
    Total posts : 210

    @Anvildude wrote:

    I will admit, I have no idea how that website is supposed to work.

    Same here, and I’m a member!

    Basrrf
    Columbus, OH

    "We are all just bricks in the house of life." - Brick Scotch, 2015

    November 9, 2014 at 3:16 AM #112398
    OmegaNull
    Participant
    Private
    Total posts : 6

    I love how feedback is taken in. <3

    November 9, 2014 at 4:01 AM #112399
    Cyberdogs7
    Participant
    Colonel
    Total posts : 3213

    @Anvildude wrote:

    I will admit, I have no idea how that website is supposed to work.

    It’s scrum based development, I have been using it to keep track of my own work. When I say “it’s on the list” it means I have added it to my trello board .

    Basically, just think of each ‘card’ as a feature, and comment and vote on the features you like the most.

    I plan on using the votes and comments as an easy way for me to incorporate all the player feedback in one spot.

    [Also, this is my first time using it as a public board, so it’s a learning process]

    November 9, 2014 at 4:36 AM #112401
    SergeDavidSergeDavid
    Moderator
    Colonel
    Total posts : 3065

    @Cyberdogs7 wrote:

    Basically, just think of each ‘card’ as a feature, and comment and vote on the features you like the most.

    I plan on using the votes and comments as an easy way for me to incorporate all the player feedback in one spot.

    [Also, this is my first time using it as a public board, so it’s a learning process]

    After awhile I know we’ll figure out how to best display the 1,000 some cards we’ll eventually have on there. It does look like a nice visual way of setting up the TODO list. You’ve got your Update themes all in their own lists with a card for each feature and just label them depending on how they’re going.

    "I think you are going to like what I am doing even more than I like your comparison tool and I like your tool a LOT"

    November 17, 2014 at 5:06 AM #112511
    LegacyElite84LegacyElite84
    Moderator
    Lieutenant Colonel
    Total posts : 2516

    Just had an idea. When the Garage eventually gets the Garage overhaul after the Social and Campaign Update, what would some thought be on doing one of those M.A.V. Free Weekends on Steam.

    Arguably the demo could be used as a baseline for the non-Steam site (I would recommend the new demo be made around this time after the Garage overhaul), but this Free Weekend would be able to show off the game to a lot of people in a much more functional state.

    Part time filthy. Part time opportunist. Full time goat. "Holy f*** that was the greatest thing I have heard from your keyboard." - Cyberdogs7 on my top quality shitposting.

    November 23, 2014 at 10:15 AM #112596
    DRE
    Participant
    Private First Class
    Total posts : 19

    These are all awesome ideas. I especially like click a point on the part and then click the point you want to connected to. I just spent two hours building a M.A.V. and right as I was putting the finishing touches on it I hit auto generate through the menu. I have been a part of this game for almost 3 years now. I walk away from the game for months at a time and it’s usually because I get so frustrated with the garage that I stop playing for weeks or months at a time. I love the progression of the game and the addition of all the new parts but the garage interface is enough to make you pull your hair out.

    DRE

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