Fortunes work has taken an upswing lately. Regular feedback is a huge help and I've been lucky enough to have made a friend who is willing to do a pretty good job of giving consistent feedback and poke me about making fortunes updates.
I've done a bit of restructuring of the user interface to try and make things like what team you're on and which score corresponds to which team more obvious(the fact that things like this aren't apparent are things you lose sight of when you know the game in and out and have been working on it for a long time.) Still need a way to make the different suits of cards clearer but that may have to be up to the final art to convey. Still would be good to be able to convey this somehow other then relying on the art though.
Also added a score summary at the end of hand before the divination screen to give a clearer picture of how you fared.
If you want to see how Fortunes is in its current state, go ahead an go play fortunes.
I've been on a bit of a break due to moving to Philadelphia and the holidays but one major thing I am looking at as I get back to work on both fortunes and the side task of one game a month is legibility.
The only difficult part was realizing I needed to change the extension of the text file BMFont created from .fnt to .txt to get unity/NGUI to be able to read it properly. Also important is to backup your project before making changes to the atlas. I got some strange results when Unity crashed mid-way through the process.
I have some metrics issues which are preventing me from getting to one of the larger screens of text to show a better example of the new font. But once that is all resolved and bug tested I will get a new version of the game up here which will hopefully be at least 30% more readable and therefore 50% more fun.
Do you have any suggestions on how to make leaving feedback on the game easier? Please let me know!
Not a whole lot visual changing dramatically at this point, but we are trying to get things tested and changed with fortunes.
So I'd like to ask you to give it a shot and leave some feedback in the comments here, there, or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How intuitive is the interface?
How long did it take you to figure out what to do?
Did any actions have unexpected results?
If yes what did you expect and what actually happened?
Do you have any other feedback?
Cards should be greyed out and have white labels while its not your turn. On your turn the labels should turn red if they aren't playable or yellow if you can. Occasionally the labels stay white and the playable cards remain greyed out. At this point the game must be refreshed but I'm trying to find the cause of this.
So I've pulled back some from the grimace kickstarter to focus on getting feedback on fortunes. So now I've got to make things more intuitive to help people figure out what to do. Things aren't as bad as they are confusion wise because there was one major flaw hindering people figuring out how to play...
The rules button appeared to do nothing.
I say appeared because it actually told the browser to bring up a window to load a pdf of the rules, but pop-up blockers have been preventing it from loading. I originally tried to load the pdf in the current window but it just replaced the small box for the game with the pdf and that is not an acceptable solution. So I need to go through and create a dialog to page through the rules and show that instead of just handing off the rules pdf.
This may be better though since I can make this tailored to the video game reference as the pdf is specifically explaining the game as a physical card game. I still want to improve the UI a bit more so that it is not as necessary to go read the rules page in the first place. It's time to grind my UX skills and polish this game up some.
What user interface quirks bother you about fortunes or other games?
So for all of you wondering how the project is coming along, now you can just go play fortunes.
So the divination has been worked out for the most part. Going to have to do a different but similar approach for the smaller screens for phones and what not. Also had some issues loading pages come up when I tried to throw up a web-player here.
How is Fortunes? What is unclear? What could we improve upon? Let us know!
So I haven't updated you all on fortunes in awhile.
I'd been updating testing, documentation, and refactoring a lot recently. Nothing too exciting for the non-developers out there. Recently I've been getting back into some UI though and am trying to implement gestures to play a card by sliding it up instead of just tapping on it. Avoid accidental plays this way hopefully.
Getting some odd glitches happening in some corner cases but its working for the most part. What's left for me to do? In no particular order:
- Tutorial(Not sure how necessary this is given the rule set will not be implementing this before making a web-version available)
- Audio Sliders: instead of just sound effects music on/off
- Respect the sound settings of the phone: This is a pet peeve of mine. If I have my phone on silent I don't want your game playing music/sound. I feel other people may feel the same way too.
- Save Divination: meeting with the client later this month to discuss exactly how this should play out since this portion of the game is more of her thing and is add on/lore/fluff for the game proper.
- Possibly go back and try and fiddle with AI some more.
The Audio sliders and the divination part are the main things I will be working on before something gets released(at least that's the plan) that you all can play. Well that and getting the glitches out of whats already implemented.
A big challenge I've faced recently has to do with data.
Getting data from non-technical people.
James created this fancy spreadsheet for Barbara to fill out for the divination part of fortunes and only have to deal with one card at a time. After handing me this huge spreadsheet I had to figure out how to get the game to use this data.
Proprietary data formats and multiple build targets
After a little bit of google research I got Unity3d and excel to play nicely and had a pseudo-database set up running pulling in data from multiple sheets in the excel file for various parts of the game. Now if any of the card values needed to change, not just the divinations but card names we could modify the spreadsheet and not worry about changing any of the code. Sounded brilliant but it only worked on a standalone windows player. A web player or android build got stuck repeatedly trying to pull in the data from a class it couldn't properly access.
You must take your eyes away from the tree before you can see the forest
I spent awhile butting my head over many days trying to get this excel file reading to work on various formats. I was almost ready to set up a PHP script on our site for the web player, but didn't like having a separate solution for that and for android. Eventually looking at workflowy I realized i was trying to solve the wrong problem. I shouldn't be trying to read the excel file on these separate platforms. I just need the relevant data from the excel file. Some poking from that angle revealed the Resources class in unity3d. Between a little bit of work condensing the data I need into one sheet, saving that off to a tab delimited text file, and writing some code to parse that file I've got the current version of fortunes working with the data on android, windows, and the web player. I don't have a mac to test that but I'll probably get my fiancée to test that sometime soon.
I've been chugging along polishing fortunes. Had an interesting issue with text windows and scrolling because I somewhere down the line changed the input settings in Unity and got scrolling to go the entire text at once.
Once I'm in an OCD enough mood to get the new NGUI interface all aligned properly I'll share some screenshots. In the mean time for the few of you who have expressed an intrest keeping up with the project: Fortunes
Thanks Sophie Houlden for informing me about workflowy!
I came across an interesting post about different factors of success on reddit today which was pretty thought provoking. Avatar Strength doesn't have much to do with any games we've made as of yet but there is a balance of luck and player skill to fortunes.
Earlier on in the project I was concerned about things potentially being too far on the luck side of things for fortunes but James reminded me that it makes sense thematically to be a bit more on the luck side of things for fortunes then I'd normally be comfortable with doing. So yes there is luck to fortunes, but that just makes your victory all the more exciting when you come from behind with poor luck to win anyway.
In other news I am almost done with the NGUI overhaul for fortunes, it is looking much better now and I'm getting excited about the progress. Would any of you readers be interested in trying it out before we release it into the wild for a public alpha?
I've Been working on using NGUI to update Fortunes.
The main benefit is that it will be able to automatically scale with resolution so we won't get awkward overlapping. But it also has some nice handling of drag scrolling that was frustrating me for the cards in hand.
Next up will be the most challenging part of the GUI update, handling Tarot Divination layouts. I have some thoughts from looking at some tarot apps and the better scroll handling should allow more flexibility in that regard.
What has been the most interesting tarot deck art you've seen? Let us know in the comments.