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Jatopian
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icon things I have heard from the person(s) I introduced FDROD to IRL (+4)  
Apparently we're doing this publicly now.

This person has no forum account, so I'm passing on bits of my conversation with them as valuable genuine-first-time-player input. For context, the person in question seems like someone who might actually like DROD - he's a programmer by trade, a fairly hardcore gamer who enjoys dungeon crawls (he's also currently playing Dredmor) and puzzle games.

quote:
"A new type of roach with no introduction?"
"It's a roach queen. I think we decided players could figure it out on their own."
"If I hadn't seen you play this before, at this point I'd decide the game is just bad overall at explanations, and play something else."
Don't we have an explanation of roach queens somewhere we can stick in level 2 1E and 3N? Already written and translated?

quote:
"This room is way too hard for a new player."
"Which room is it?"
"The secret room with the roach queen in the maze. You don't even mention that roach queens can be manipulated. Or that the game is completely deterministic."
"Huh, we don't? Anyway, secret rooms are meant to be hard, since you can come back to them later."
"Most players don't think like that."
So we should mention more explicitly that secret rooms can be returned to later. I also like Trickster's idea about putting the secret room explanation in whatever the first secret room you encounter happens to be.

quote:
"Oh hey, another room you're supposed to solve without knowing game mechanics."
"Huh? Oh... yeah." *embarrassment*
I think we need to just tell people roach queens don't spawn on dropped yellow doors or trapdoors.

quote:
"So I just have to restart the whole level to get these achievements?"
"No, you just restore to before you beat that room."
"How do I do that?"
"With the 'Restore to a Room' entry in the main menu."
"Uh-huh."
...
"This is really unintuitive."
"What would you do differently?"
"Have a button that refreshes the room."
"That's the R button. It restarts the room."
"Not once you've beaten and left it."
Not sure what to say about this one. It does give me an idea though: What if we had a key or Escape menu command (both, ideally) which restored directly to the point in the level that represents the start of this room. Since we only save that information once, we might as well turn that lack of functionality into a feature. We'd need a warning dialog like in DROD, something like this: "Restoring to before you conquered this room will undo progress made since this room. To fix this you can restore back to a later point in the menu, afterward."


Anyway, he quit partway through level 2. PROMISING.

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[Last edited by Jatopian at 06-17-2012 07:43 PM]
06-17-2012 at 07:39 PM
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Trickster
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quote:
Jatopian wrote:
Apparently we're doing this publicly now.
Yes. We are now testing FDROD in public. :D
quote:
Jatopian wrote:
"A new type of roach with no introduction?"
"It's a roach queen. I think we decided players could figure it out on their own."
"If I hadn't seen you play this before, at this point I'd decide the game is just bad overall at explanations, and play something else."
I hadn't gotten there yet but I concur wholeheartedly. There needs to be at minimum a scroll, and probably even Beethro saying something. E.g.: Roach queens run away from you, they can't hurt you, and every 30 turns they spawn eggs all around them which become new roaches in five turns, and eggs won't appear on arrows, doors, or the tile the queen was sitting on the previous turn (if she's on the run).
quote:
Jatopian wrote:
"So I just have to restart the whole level to get these achievements?"
"No, you just restore to before you beat that room."
"How do I do that?"
"With the 'Restore to a Room' entry in the main menu."
"Uh-huh."
...
"This is really unintuitive."
Complete agreement, hence my earlier suggestion for a "restore to start of previous room" command.

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06-17-2012 at 10:10 PM
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Jacob
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Maybe we should add a help file or link(s) to such.
e.g. http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewsiteboard.php?b=50

The roach queen page explains, for example, that queens don't harm you, that they run away, that they lay roaches...

I personally, don't see a great problem with players having to find things out by experimentation, but clearly this is an issue for some and is a cause for people to stop playing, which is a shame.

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[Last edited by Jacob at 06-17-2012 10:50 PM]
06-17-2012 at 10:47 PM
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Trickster
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quote:
Jacob wrote:
Maybe we should add a help file or link(s) to such.
e.g. http://forum.caravelgames.com/viewsiteboard.php?b=50

The roach queen page explains, for example, that queens don't harm you, that they run away, that they lay roaches...

I personally, don't see a great problem with players having to find things out by experimentation, but clearly this is an issue for some and is a cause for people to stop playing, which is a shame.
Let me explain why I think that's a terrible idea.

People don't invest a lot of time trying to "figure out" a flash game on the Internet. Nobody will want to visit another webpage to see a FAQ on how to play a flash game, especially one they have to hunt and click through. Flash is casual play to the extreme. It's like an impulse buy at the check-out counter. You need to make it as user-friendly as possible so the person playing it won't decide to go off do something else instead.

That list you linked to is enormous, contains 95% stuff from other games in excruciating detail, and to find roach queens you have to dig into the "monster behavior rules" section and scroll down several pages. Even if it were a good idea, it's not accessible. It also fails to mention that a moving queen won't spawn on the spot she sat last turn.

User-friendly is the one thing Caravel does not do particularly well, IMO. I've always felt Caravel's website setup is terribly unfriendly to people who come here looking to purchase the game. There are lots of outdated legacy pages and you have to navigate a maze to find where the software is being sold. The forum is much, much better than the rest of the website, but even the forum hides some of its best features, like the map interface.

Just remember that people who haven't seen DROD before are going to be wary of it. They don't have any idea it's awesome. They don't see the puzzle potential, and they don't know any of the details that make it worth playing. They need to be led into it gently. They're not going to work extra hard in order to make themselves Drodiots like the rest of us.

To be honest, I have finally realized that the reason all those people for whom I purchased KDD+JtRH+TCB stopped playing is that I told them to play KDD first, and I regret saying this already, but KDD isn't a very good hold. The rooms are too large and tedious (FDROD thankfully fixes that for the most part), and it takes much too long to meet new monsters and new features. In retrospect I would skip KDD altogether and let JtRH be someone's first taste of DROD. Hopefully KDD Lite will not fatigue players given that it is smaller. So far I like what I see from it, though.

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06-17-2012 at 11:09 PM
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Jacob
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I think you're right on all of those points, actually, Trickster.

However, it doesn't mean that there should be a link somewhere to additional helpful info if they decide they want it - just that it shouldn't be essential for them to access those pages in order to get that info, and that the necessary info should be presented in-game.

So we should probably add some roach-queen explaining text (scroll or even entrance text).

I also agree that the caravel pages are labyrinthine and have tried to help a little with Quick Links at drod.caravelgames.com
At some point, we should try for a more logical overhaul.

Also, Jatopian's idea about a secret room that isn't blocked by crumbly/secret walls is a good 'un.

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06-17-2012 at 11:52 PM
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quote:
Jacob wrote:
I also agree that the caravel pages are labyrinthine and have tried to help a little with Quick Links at drod.caravelgames.com
At some point, we should try for a more logical overhaul.
I have some free time coming (a rarity) in a few months and am tempted to put together a sitemap proposal and send it to Caravel. It would be a lot of work but I'd be fine if it were rejected...I just think something needs to be done about the site and I feel guilty for not pushing harder.

Also: all information about DROD should be contained in a public Caravel-run wiki. Period. A wiki reference to DROD would be a tremendous boon, and could actually make use of the community to improve the site. DROD is (nuts-and-bolts) more complex than any other game I play, and the reference to game elements and their interaction is sporadic and piecemeal. E.g., when I ask a question about some game element, TF says "play Advanced Concepts 2", which is good advice, but AC1 is enormous and takes many hours to play through already... It should be simpler than it is to figure out what will happen when you take move X in the game.

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06-18-2012 at 12:07 AM
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Jatopian
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Oh yeah, forgot one.
quote:
"There seems to be no way to kill this roach? What is backswiping?"
"It's what this room teaches you."
"Oh, I see. So I'm supposed to flee until
Since this room is pure tutorial, we should probably tell the player to flee the roach. "Use backswipe to kill the roach" does kind of sound like we expect the player to already know what that is.

And I am more and more thinking this room should be unmissable. Perhaps it shouldn't even be a secret, and we should make the northeastern level 1 secret accessible via green door, and put blue door at the other borders of the last required room on the level. Since that level is the one truly linear level, it shouldn't be a problem.

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06-18-2012 at 03:50 AM
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quote:
Jatopian wrote:
And I am more and more thinking this room should be unmissable. Perhaps it shouldn't even be a secret, and we should make the northeastern level 1 secret accessible via green door, and put blue door at the other borders of the last required room on the level. Since that level is the one truly linear level, it shouldn't be a problem.
Maybe replacing the orb with a scroll (possibly surrounded by broken walls) that explains broken and secret walls (and points you to the secret)? That way that part of the room wouldn't just look oddly empty.

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06-18-2012 at 04:05 AM
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mrimer
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quote:
Trickster wrote:
I've always felt Caravel's website setup is terribly unfriendly to people who come here looking to purchase the game. There are lots of outdated legacy pages and you have to navigate a maze to find where the software is being sold. The forum is much, much better than the rest of the website, but even the forum hides some of its best features, like the map interface.
I'm not sure what you guys are referring to my Caravel's website, but I think you mean the DROD fan site, correct? That site has been cobbled together by fans. I agree it is hard to find things there.

On caravelgames.com, I don't think it's hard to navigate to a game to buy it. Just click on the game you want and click Buy. Or click buy right from the main page. Please help me out here if I'm misunderstanding something. I'm not trying to be obtuse.

I agree Caravel should have a DROD wiki. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone has ever expressed a desire to actually be the one to help make one.

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06-18-2012 at 04:15 PM
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quote:
mrimer wrote:
I agree Caravel should have a DROD wiki. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone has ever expressed a desire to actually be the one to help make one.

Let's set it up then! Just don't set it up on wikia. Actually I could lend my own server space if you want and it is possible to somehow pin, let's say, wiki.caravelgames.com to my server.

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06-18-2012 at 04:38 PM
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quote:
skell wrote:
quote:
mrimer wrote:
I agree Caravel should have a DROD wiki. Unfortunately, I don't think anyone has ever expressed a desire to actually be the one to help make one.

Let's set it up then! Just don't set it up on wikia. Actually I could lend my own server space if you want and it is possible to somehow pin, let's say, wiki.caravelgames.com to my server.
Sure, I could set up a redirect page to your server. Let's try it.

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06-18-2012 at 04:52 PM
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Jacob
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Hopefully this will mainly be a question of copy-pasting info from the current sites, FAQs, wikipedia and help files.

Am happy to help to some extent once someone's got a site set up.

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06-18-2012 at 05:15 PM
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I can help administrate if needed. I've been an administrator on the Elona Wikia for a while; although it is wikia and not whatever system we'd be using, most wikis are similar in operation.

Edit: This should probably be a discussion for another thread though, as this thread is about the more short-term-important topic of FDROD feedback from real, live DROD newbies.

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[Last edited by Jatopian at 06-18-2012 05:37 PM]
06-18-2012 at 05:35 PM
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I've PMed more detailed thoughts to Mike, but I think a lot of the things that seem appealing about a wiki can be accomplished with changes to the fan site as well as tweaks relating to that. The amount of problems that a wiki will lead to aren't worth it in the short (And possibly long) term.

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06-18-2012 at 05:45 PM
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I think lessons about mechanics are best taught not through explicit instructions, but rather by intelligent game design.

If we need to teach that roach queens run away from you, place the first one in a room where it runs away from you right from the get-go, while other roaches in the room run towards you.

If we want to teach that roach queens spawn on empty tiles, but not on trapdoors or yellow doors - design a room that clearly shows all of these different scenarios in an easily comparable way.

We shouldn't rely on the player to experiment to discover mechanics on their own. Not everybody has the patience. But we also shouldn't force feed the raw information - that only serves to remove the player from the experience.

I'm reminded of this video, which talks about the level design in the introductory stage of Mega Man X. I think someone on the forum may have introduced me to it? Anyhow, though the video is vulgar, I think it makes some great points about so-called tutorial design. Worth a watch.

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06-18-2012 at 05:56 PM
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Jatopian
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Again: Flash game. Not console game, nor even PC game. Players have a lot of chaff to sort through, and on the list of things that could ruin the experience, a summary of roach queen behavior is very low. The only thing I'd let them find out is how long it takes roach eggs to mature, information they'll only need later.

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06-18-2012 at 06:05 PM
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quote:
gamer_extreme_101 wrote:
I've PMed more detailed thoughts to Mike, but I think a lot of the things that seem appealing about a wiki can be accomplished with changes to the fan site as well as tweaks relating to that. The amount of problems that a wiki will lead to aren't worth it in the short (And possibly long) term.
I like the ideas Patrick PMed me. As discussed with skell, we'll hold off on trying to set up a wiki for now and continue discussion in a more public place.

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06-18-2012 at 06:56 PM
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I do think it's probably about time for DROD to have a wiki.

As for the rest - maybe legit, but mostly I read it and think "does Jatopian know Udderdude in real life?" But then, I've forgotten my DRODn00b experiences by now.

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06-18-2012 at 10:48 PM
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Hey, he didn't complain about the control scheme, although the weirdness where Num Lock only partially disables the controls did hit him.

Nor did he complain about bishops in chess diagonal spaces.

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06-19-2012 at 12:06 AM
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Jacob
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2 other points:
1. When using my caravelnet key I'm told that I've got a forum account but am not signed up to caravelnet, so my scores will only be remembered for 2 weeks.

2. If explanations are an issue, maybe in the level 1 secret room the first scroll should say: "Flee to the left side of the room to learn about the backswipe technique", rather than just "use the backswipe technique", which may confuse the player who has never heard of that.

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06-19-2012 at 12:37 AM
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I have a hard time finding the Caravel site from the fan site. That's my only problem.

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06-19-2012 at 03:33 AM
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quote:
The spitemaster wrote:
I have a hard time finding the Caravel site from the fan site. That's my only problem.
I have bigger problems wrt the site, but no time to bitch until I finish redesigning the course I'm teaching this semester. In a few days I'll elaborate more constructively.

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06-19-2012 at 04:23 AM
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quote:
The spitemaster wrote:
I have a hard time finding the Caravel site from the fan site. That's my only problem.


Currently, just click on Games.
But things are being changed soon.

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06-19-2012 at 05:06 AM
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skell: Currently, Shift+Numpad only works sometimes on this guy's computer (I watched him play and can verify personally that something is wrong). Sometimes the command simply doesn't get acted upon, other times Beethro moves but fails to move back again. He hypothesizes that commands simply aren't getting queued properly, because of the slowdown from him simultaneously running The Binding of Isaac, which also leads to Beethro sometimes continuing to move after he stops holding down the key (probably not a bug).

quote:
"When it says 'before any eggs are spawned', does it mean before they hatch or before they're laid?"
"Before they're laid. Why?"
"Then why is there another achievement saying 'before they lay eggs'?"
Talking of achievements in KDDL1, 2S2E and 2S3E. Apparently we should standardize phrasing for similar types of achievement, or risk confusion. I guess it's a good idea for stylistic reasons anyway.

Edit: BoI music and FDROD music sync... interestingly.

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[Last edited by Jatopian at 06-20-2012 03:09 AM]
06-20-2012 at 02:46 AM
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quote:
Jatopian wrote:
Talking of achievements in KDDL1, 2S2E and 2S3E. Apparently we should standardize phrasing for similar types of achievement, or risk confusion. I guess it's a good idea for stylistic reasons anyway.
This is a good idea for the game in general. DROD is one of those hyper-rule-particular games where formal language would help a lot in alleviating confusion, and there are already areas where multiple names are used for things canonically, somewhat regrettably (e.g. raft vs. water platform, three related meanings for the word 'turn', green door vs. room clear gate, etc).

I'm reminded of the rigor that needed to be established for Magic: The Gathering once they realized how rules-sensitive the game was. By standardizing rules text with templates, they eliminated a lot of ambiguity which resulted from multiple wordings. I don't think they really got this down until around five or six years after the game became popular, though.

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06-20-2012 at 03:16 AM
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skell
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icon Re: things I have heard from the person(s) I introduced FDROD to IRL (+1)  
quote:
skell: Currently, Shift+Numpad only works sometimes on this guy's computer (I watched him play and can verify personally that something is wrong). Sometimes the command simply doesn't get acted upon, other times Beethro moves but fails to move back again. He hypothesizes that commands simply aren't getting queued properly, because of the slowdown from him simultaneously running The Binding of Isaac, which also leads to Beethro sometimes continuing to move after he stops holding down the key (probably not a bug).

If it won't work now, I am afraid it won't work ever. As I mentioned in the other board, there is some strange voodoo going on around in flash when you try to hit any numpad key while holding shift and having numlock disabled. I have tried to circumvent it, but I have no idea what can be done now.
BoI in the background shouldn't be a problem, rather I'd blame a different version of Flash Player, browser, o/s or even just computer. I will look into it but I don't promise I can fix it.

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06-20-2012 at 06:47 AM
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skell
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icon Re: things I have heard from the person(s) I introduced FDROD to IRL (0)  
As I was afraid, none of these bugs are reproducible, so I will have to assume the problem is on his end. Lagging down my computer didn't seem to help.

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06-20-2012 at 04:44 PM
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