Designing for the 99% [1/6/14 Article]

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"Don’t show 99% of your users something that only 1% of your users care about."

 

Jon Loucks talks about designing situational UI elements in today's Magic Online article. For the full article: READ HERE

 

Please use this thread for article discussion.

Sean Gibbons

Associate Community Manager

Official MTG Twitter: @Wizards_Magic Official MTGO Twitter: @MagicOnline

I thoroughly enjoyed this aticle.  Thanks for putting it where we can see it Sean.

Thank you, Erik.

My suggestion would be for some kind of game info window. This would be a window that players can call up when needed and contains all the information players might want, but don’t need most of the time. This is where you could include the storm count for example. Other information might include turn numbers, turn sequence (for times when players start queuing up extra turns), Zone totals, Match, Game, Tournament ID numbers, and so on. Basically, any information that players might sometimes want.

 

I would also make the player info box customizable, so players can promote info they care about from the game info window to the player info box. Players that do want Graveyard Totals could promote that info to the player info box. I think life total, hand size and deck size are the only information I would display by default, and I don’t think I would allow players to remove the life total.

 

The other thing I would do is have some info automatically be promoted to the player info box if some condition is met. For example, if you have a storm card in your deck, or a storm card is ever reviled by another player, than automatically show the storm count for the rest of the match, as it has actually become relevant. The same could be done for poison and threshold. I would include options for each of these, some players might like a graveyard count if there are threshold cards being played, while others might prefer just to keep an eye on the actual graveyard.

Why can't we have an API so the community can solve these issues themselves?

 

Give us an API, and 99% of these 99% problems can be resolved by the 1% of us who know what to do with the toolbox.

 

Sincerely,

 

Don!

A failure to plan, is a plan to fail.

As a designer, I have a love-hate relationship with options. I love letting players make the game give them what they want. I also hate letting players make choices they don’t want to make, or don’t care to make, or might make incorrectly. I hate when it takes players too long to find the options they want because they have to slog through options they don’t want.

 

Nice so there is actually zero hope that the terrible dual scene will get better eventually, by being able to customize it (looking at you location of the phases bar, looking at you horizontal and popup stack (still can't get my head around that one), looking at you placement of game zones) ...

Why would people want to customize the gui they spend 90% of their in game time anyway, right, after all we are to stupid to know what we want.

Please just implement the Duel of the Planeswlkers duel scene so i can quit mtgo for good, and the casual players are happy.

 

 

This article series is a joke.

Please tell me how the way to display poison counters is anywhere near as good as the way it is done in v3?!?

SteBtwo wrote:

 

As a designer, I have a love-hate relationship with options. I love letting players make the game give them what they want. I also hate letting players make choices they don’t want to make, or don’t care to make, or might make incorrectly. I hate when it takes players too long to find the options they want because they have to slog through options they don’t want.

 

Nice so there is actually zero hope that the terrible dual scene will get better eventually, by being able to customize it (looking at you location of the phases bar, looking at you horizontal and popup stack (still can't get my head around that one), looking at you placement of game zones) ...

Why would people want to customize the gui they spend 90% of their in game time anyway, right, after all we are to stupid to know what we want.

Please just implement the Duel of the Planeswlkers duel scene so i can quit mtgo for good, and the casual players are happy.

 

 

This article series is a joke.

Please tell me how the way to display poison counters is anywhere near as good as the way it is done in v3?!?

Considering in the old client it is just a green dot with a number, having Poison Counter written out is considerably more intuitive than a random dot on a players profile picture.

Myths of Theros: Part 1, Part 2, Born of the Gods Myths

Beta Client, "Shiny", V4.0 tutorial

Momir Basic Primer

A wishful suggestion,

 

When the Preview Card check box is enabled (checked), a high-res portrait of the card - namely the art - should be downloaded.  IRL the art on a magic card is much more detailed than the ones loaded online.  I enjoy this art and sometimes when the opponent is tanking, I pull up the preview card to read the flavor text or admire the art.  However, the quality is still pretty low, which I get for performance issues.

 

Make it happen Loucks!

These articles really give you an insight into why the Beta is how it is.

 

It seems the thought process is more looking at broken things and thinking "How can I make this work somehow" instead of doing that work *before* it was actually implemented.

 

And regarding:

 

As a designer, I have a love-hate relationship with options. I love letting players make the game give them what they want. I also hate letting players make choices they don’t want to make, or don’t care to make, or might make incorrectly. I hate when it takes players too long to find the options they want because they have to slog through options they don’t want.

That does seem like a bit of a cop out, there is a reason why more games/programs have both basic and advanced options. If the client was actually workable for 99% of players by default, people wouldn't need to go delving into the options that much, but those that wanted to do some tweaking should have the option to do so.

 

I also agree with DonTheMage, it has baffled me for some time why they didn't create some kind of API for the UI, I am almost 100% sure that if they had, the playerbase would have created pretty close to the perfect UI for the game, or a series of UIs that suit whatever you might need. You only need to look at what people are able to do in other games, there are alot of talented people around with spare time to do this kind of thing. For me, there are certain design decisions that have been made with the new UI that will never really sit right with me and I guess they are never really going to be changed, sure I will eventually learn with live with them (or quit), but it would be nice to have the option.

Is there an official or an unofficial reason why not to give us an API?

sikonawt                :Winner of the "I love MTGO" contest

Lawnmower_Elf   :Winner of the "Explain your name" contest

 

experience ? no retail, no marketting,  no successes

president obombya speaks anger prejudice and a time for US foreign air strike while the US worries about its rights

Let 'em burn [Frozen Parody]

Well I am still encouraged by what I hear from Jon Louks, and to be fair, the beta is beginning to reflect some of the same thinking.

While 99% is a useful technique for design, it shouldn't be the only simplifying conceptualisation under scrutiny.

It doesn't for example support user experience well. Lets say that some users are experts who can deal with complex board states and who know the shortcut keys etc. because they have experience, while less experienced users may need less information, more obvious visual ways to get things done, and more reminder text. As people learn they require different things from interfaces. e.g. In early versions of shiny I was crying out for more ways to interface via keyboard since mousepad and gui are so slow for some operations.

there's always the Diablo Hot key

president obombya speaks anger prejudice and a time for US foreign air strike while the US worries about its rights

Let 'em burn [Frozen Parody]

Every time I read an article from the online team this is what's in my brain:

 

article: Blah blah this new feature, blah blah this other new feature.

my brain: your client is a gigantic hog of software slowness, fix deckbuilding now.

.....

.....

.....

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article: Blah blah this new feature, blah blah this other new feature.

my brain: your client is a gigantic hog of software slowness, fix deckbuilding now.

Please check out my Blog:

Magic the Gathering Adventures Blog

http://mtgadventures.blogspot.com/

Please check out my YouTube channel:

http://www.youtube.com/user/rubiera22/featured

 

Does this mean they are going back to designing for the 99% using v3? 

rubiera wrote:

Every time I read an article from the online team this is what's in my brain:

 

article: Blah blah this new feature, blah blah this other new feature.

my brain: your client is a gigantic hog of software slowness, fix deckbuilding now.

LOL. Funniest post this year.

Hi Jon,

 

            I'm Bram, a game designer, or you may know me better as... Braman.™  I also participated in GDS2.  I just read your article and disagree with you so strongly on many of your points that I feel the need to say something and write an entire article to refute some of what you said and make you re-think about the way you're doing things.  I play MTGO a lot and have played it since its inception in IPA and I feel the client has become progressively worse with each iteration.  I would have made some very different design choices.

 

            I'll start by saying this: NEVER assume that only 1% of players care about something and thus it's an unimportant feature or should be completely hidden.  Saying things like "let’s take a look at an option that I think has a permanent solution that makes 99% of users happy." sounds like making an assumption (probably wrong) without any data or metrics to back it up.  Are you testing and polling for feedback?  Also CUSTOMIZATION IS EVERYTHING.  You can build a shitty UI and say "You have to use it so get used to it" or you can make a UI customizable and players will appreciate the options even if they never use them.  The settings and customization can be hidden from view but finding the Settings/Customization  should also be easy to do.

 

            What should I address first?  I'll start from the top I suppose.

 

            There's something to be said about showing hidden information all the time.  In the gift card example, if I were designing this for the website and wanted to promote the use of gift cards, I would ALWAYS show the "apply $0 from gift card" checkbox.  Why?  Tangential learning.  Most of the time people will look at this text and see "oh I have no gift card and this is irrelevant."  But seeing it also makes people think "Why would they display this useless option to me?" and realize "If I have a gift card and I use only part of it, I can still use the remainder of the gift card on my next purchase!"  Sure, it's obvious and most companies are going to do this regardless but now you have the buyer thinking about your gift cards and how they work.  Maybe the buyer will look into gift cards in the future just because of this little checkbox letting them know how your company's gift cards work.

            Now there's a little to be said about how this is done.  I wouldn't put it on its own page where you click through and it stops you on a page just to show you this useless information.  But along with your payment information on a page that you're going to see anyways, buyers are almost always interested in reducing their price and getting deals where available.  When buyers see the additional options that would reduce the price they pay next to the payment information they may actually see that "apply $0 from gift card" option and think "If I had a gift card, I could use it here."  Or they could just as easily gloss over it because it's not relevant to entering their paypal or credit card which they were doing on this page anyways.

 

            Design intuitively please.  Yes, Poison Counters only matter in games where infect/poison creatures or other effects are bringing them into play and yes, it should be hidden in games that don't need it.  However, the current MTGO v3 shows poison counters in an intuitive location - beside the life total.  When players track life totals in paper magic (with pen and paper) and poison counters become relevant, the player will make a new column beside their life total and put a number that represents how many poison counters they have.  Poison counters by your mana is NOT intuitive and makes no sense.  Are players going to try to spend poison counters like mana now?  Put the counter where it belongs next to your life total.

            Better yet, make a hidden options menu since you clearly already coded it to be beside your mana and see what people end up using more often - cluttering the space where your mana is or sitting by your life total where you look when you want to know how much of that resource you have left.  Without any metrics or data to go on, I'm still going to say most people would think to look to their life total when determining how many poison counters they have.

 

            If there's an easy solution - especially something that your game tracks anyways and is easy to code "Print number of cards in your graveyard here" then don't hide that information.  Much of the time, the number of cards remaining in a deck is not relevant but should you hide that too?  In paper magic, people don't often stop to count the number of cards in a library but in MTGO, players have the luxury of a simple number that lets them know how many cards remain.  Hiding the icon for the deck or the graveyard deprives the player of an important bit of knowledge.

            I'm not going to get into bluffing and such when players ask "How many cards left in your hand, library or graveyard?" in a paper magic game here but it's important to have that information.  Often times one player will care about it and the other wont realize it's important until the other player makes it important.  I assure you more than 1% of your players care about knowing how many cards are in a zone.  And when you can with nearly no effort display these values then do it.  Again, you can make a hidden options menu to turn it off and see how many people use that feature.  In fact, I encourage greater customization and having that 'hidden options' menu to customize things that most people wouldn't touch is actually a good thing to have if you're already experimenting with such things anyways.

 

            On intuitive interface, limited space, the color column and multipurpose use:  Displaying the 5 color/mana symbols off to the side at first glance may make you wonder why they are there but as soon as you tap your first land and that color/mana symbol lights up with a number on it, you now know and understand why it's there.  Very quick learning curve without any long word-filled explanations.  Floating mana works similar but will pop up over the side of your screen - possibly over a cluttered battlefield.  Now knowing the colors are there, many cards ask you to select a color be it for protection, discard, choosing a type of mana to add to your mana pool...  And you know to go to that color column every time.  This is multipurpose use - the colors on your screen are used for multiple things.

            Now you could take the v3 client and make an arrow that you can click to pull out and hide the mana symbols but even if the colors don't always need to be seen, they always show up in the same place.  In the beta client, the colors can pop up in different spaces depending on when you tap your lands or if a certain type of land has been tapped or not.  What happens if you want to give a creature protection from blue while you only have white and green mana floating?  Where is that blue color/mana going to be?  In the v3 client, it's intuitive and you already know where to look.  In the beta client?  I'm not sure actually.  If I have to think about it then it's not intuitive and it's mentally taxing where it doesn't need to be.  This is bad.

 

            About Storm:  When 3 or fewer spells have been cast, it's pretty easy to count them.  When 4 or more spells are cast, the storm counter starts to show up.  Makes sense to me.  How often are 4 or more spells cast in a turn (outside multiplayer)?  Not very often.  Putting the counter on the card with Storm?  Great idea!  Hiding the counter when you don't hold a card with Storm?  Bad idea.  If one player has the storm card in hand and wants to play it, they need to know the storm count.  If one player is playing AGAINST the player playing storm, they also need to know the storm count.  The current client does this well by simply adding it to the game log in a lighter color so you can see it or just gloss over it if it's irrelevant.  It doesn't take up space on the battlefield where you have limited room and scrolling a game log with information that may be important is ok in this scenario.  Again, don't overlook customization - you should let players hide or show whatever information they want if you can.  And again don't forget about Tangential Learning.

            By the way, it's good that you thought about having the game check to see if storm cards are present but that's a terrible solution for reasons aforementioned but to reiterate, if storm cards are present then BOTH players need to know they're there.  Doing this kind of check and then displaying the Storm Counter if one player is playing storm alerts the other player that someone is playing Storm and that should never be the case until the Storm Card is played or scouted.  This solution will not work.  It's good to keep looking for something better but it's also good to realize when you have something perfectly functional already.  The nice thing about learning about Storm Counters?  You only need to learn it once.  The game is no worse for having it in the game log.

            It may be a rare case that the storm count decides when you make the play but it's important enough that in a time sensitive game (there's still a timer even though it's turn based) it's better to be able to glance one and assess the situation than take multiple valuable seconds to mentally tax the player on something that should and could very easily be displayed to them in a number value.  Don't make sacrifices that you don't have to.  0.01% of a million people is 10,000 very angry people.  If you can keep a minority happy without detracting from the majority you do it.  It's not that hard to print a number that tells you how many spells have been cast this turn much like it's not hard to print a number over the hand or graveyard.

 

            I've talked a lot about a "hidden options" menu.  A lot of applications already do this and have "Advanced/Expert Options" and so on.  You can have a whole slew of customization hidden from the average player but there for the player who really wants it.  If it can be customized then you may as well add the option to do so.  SOMEONE will appreciate it.  Even if it's only 1% of your player base, you just made them very happy without taking anything away from the 99% that doesn't care about this option.  A very simple "Reset to defaults" or "Undo recent changes" fixes when someone completely screws things up and adding a SEARCH function to the options lets players find the options they want via keywords.

            Want an option to disable/enable Storm Count notifications?  Go to options, type in "Storm" and find the option to turn it on/off.  Same goes with a lot of other things.  Adding more customization options is never bad.  What is bad is overwhelming a player with too many options at once.  Give the players the basic options for the most commonly tweaked things and then give layers of more advanced options.  Are too many players going into the Advanced options to find the same thing?  Maybe you should move it from Advanced options to Basic options then.  Having an option is never going to make it worse for 99% of players.  You hide the option in an advanced menu where they have to search for it?  Probably 99% of players won't find it and won't care.  But that 1% will be happy.

            The best example is a very obvious one:  Do you know how much information is on the internet?  I bet having all that information on the internet isn't making 99% of people unhappy.  The 1% that is searching for it is pretty happy if they can find it however.  It's all about hiding the options players don't need and letting the players that do need it find it if they want it.  I just strongly disagree with your design philosophy on claiming that adding an option would make the game play worse for the majority of players.

            And by the way, I've found too many scenarios through years of experience on MTGO where I wish I could do things faster when timers start running low.  You think MTGO isn't a twitch game?  Try playing a long match to the point where both players have about 2 minutes on the clock to play game 3.  You damn better have things optimized to minimize time spent each turn and win that game.  Don't sit back and think it's unnecessary because eventually that exact scenario will happen in a high profile tournament and when the UI causes a player to lose that is on you.

 

            On Flavor/Reminder Text:  I AGREE with you here on it being mostly useless and it cluttering valuable space.  I have little to say here that I haven't already.  You're right.  I actually think zooming in on the card to read the reminder text and/or flavor text is a good idea and ONLY showing it when you zoom in is a good idea.  Reduces on screen text but keeps the information there for when someone wants/needs to read it.  Less text = Less Clutter = Better.  I support a hidden "show flavor/reminder/all text on cards" option however just for those who for some reason want it.  Knowing which options should be up front on the basic options screen and which ones should be hidden in advanced options is important to figure out and can be determined off which options are commonly used.  I must say it again at every chance I get "Don't overlook customization!"

 

            Before I conclude, I'll point out some other flaws with the client and these are purely interface things not getting into any bugs:

 

Screen space and game/chat logs

            - There is no way to dock this to the side of your screen without overlapping the exile/revealed cards zone.  Fix it.  Seriously fix it.

            - Docking it to the top or bottom of your screen reduces battlefield area as the height is far more important than the width of the battlefield.

            - Important messages are missed when you have to minimize and bring up this screen which floats annoyingly over your battlefield because it can't be docked anywhere cleanly.

 

Creatures below/above Lands

            -The way the 'red zone' in the middle was designed prevents you from displaying the lands and creatures the way you want.  I've played since '95 with lands above creatures and that's the way I like my display.  Customization!

 

            I can adjust to the second issue about creatures being above/below lands but I don't like that I have to.  This creates a negative feeling towards the new client.  With good design you want your players to feel happy about the changes you're making.  You should just about never be saying "This is the way it is now!  Deal with it!" to your players.  That's a major reason so many people complain and are angry with the new client.  The more players can customize the new client the happier players will be.

            And I'm really going to nail this point again and say "ADVANCED OPTIONS MENU" in all caps and you can hide all the ridiculous little customization features there.  You can even by design make it look daunting and overwhelming with tons of options so when the casual player looks at it they just go "Ow.  Brain hurts.  I'm not going to bother with this stuff." and just click back to the "Basic Options".  The casual player isn't going to be any worse for wear knowing that stuff is there.  They're more likely they think "This client is well designed and has a lot of options built into it."  And only the really meticulous will actually go in and look what absolutely every option does.  As an example, most players are fine with just going to basic options and pressing a button that turns off/on sound effects and not worrying that you can go into advanced options and customize the sound effects.

            Much like how you decided to remove on screen clutter by making the player zoom in on a card to read reminder and flavor text you can have these wonderful customization options in a place where you don't need to see them unless you actually search for them.  And on that topic of zooming in on cards, for the player that needs to read the reminder text, a little 'Zoom icon' on the card with reminder text goes a long way in telling the player they should zoom in on the card to read what it does.  And an option to 'turn off zoom icons' is in order as well.

 

            I'm Braman™ and I want a better MTGO.  Upvote for me in the next election.

Great post!

 

I recently played in more than one Urza's block draft that turned into a twitch game. Won one match with under 10 seconds on my clock. Thank gosh we can customize the stops we want, and for the "hidden" F6 option.

Braman wrote:

Hi Jon,

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.....

 

            I've talked a lot about a "hidden options" menu.  A lot of applications already do this and have "Advanced/Expert Options" and so on.  You can have a whole slew of customization hidden from the average player but there for the player who really wants it.  If it can be customized then you may as well add the option to do so.  SOMEONE will appreciate it.  Even if it's only 1% of your player base, you just made them very happy without taking anything away from the 99% that doesn't care about this option.  A very simple "Reset to defaults" or "Undo recent changes" fixes when someone completely screws things up and adding a SEARCH function to the options lets players find the options they want via keywords.

            Want an option to disable/enable Storm Count notifications?  Go to options, type in "Storm" and find the option to turn it on/off.  Same goes with a lot of other things.  Adding more customization options is never bad.  What is bad is overwhelming a player with too many options at once.  Give the players the basic options for the most commonly tweaked things and then give layers of more advanced options.  Are too many players going into the Advanced options to find the same thing?  Maybe you should move it from Advanced options to Basic options then.  Having an option is never going to make it worse for 99% of players.  You hide the option in an advanced menu where they have to search for it?  Probably 99% of players won't find it and won't care.  But that 1% will be happy.

            The best example is a very obvious one:  Do you know how much information is on the internet?  I bet having all that information on the internet isn't making 99% of people unhappy.  The 1% that is searching for it is pretty happy if they can find it however.  It's all about hiding the options players don't need and letting the players that do need it find it if they want it.  I just strongly disagree with your design philosophy on claiming that adding an option would make the game play worse for the majority of players.

            And by the way, I've found too many scenarios through years of experience on MTGO where I wish I could do things faster when timers start running low.  You think MTGO isn't a twitch game?  Try playing a long match to the point where both players have about 2 minutes on the clock to play game 3.  You damn better have things optimized to minimize time spent each turn and win that game.  Don't sit back and think it's unnecessary because eventually that exact scenario will happen in a high profile tournament and when the UI causes a player to lose that is on you.

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            I'm Braman™ and I want a better MTGO.  Upvote for me in the next election.

 

Nice post. This describes how i feel about mtgo better and more eloquently than i ever could, especially the highlighted section.

Why is this guy writing random forum posts, while the guy that seems to have no idea what he is doing writes and designs on the official platform (this is assuming that jon louks actually gets enough freedom to design properly which doesn't necessarly have to be the case)

Excellent post Braman.  You have my upvote!

 

I don't know if  I am part of the 1% or not, but I routinely check number of cards in graveyards, etc.  I agree this should be an option. 

 

I also agree that having the colored mana symbols always visible seems fine.  They are used for a number of things beyond tracking mana, and keeping them as is seems useful.  Of course, that could be just familiarity talking.  I have not used the wide Beta in months, and my use before that was quite limited.  (I have a decent, but not cutting edge, decktop, and deckbuilding was unbeleivably slow.  15 minutes - literally - to load my card collection is not acceptable on any standard.  But that was thern.)

 

For pretty much everything Jon mentioned as possibly unneded - I found I sometimes or fotne used it.  I wanted it to be an option, not removed.  The exception is flavor text - I rarely read that.  HOwever, removing flavor removes a part of Magic.  It's almost like giving us the option to remove card art in order to speed up the program. Yes, it might, but woud the result be Magic.

 

I completely agree that all of these should be options.  A basic set of toggles for the 99%, plus a number of more advanced tabs for those really interested. 

 

Just my $0.02.

PRJ

I write State of the Program, appearing every Friday on PureMTGO.com.

I agree with pretty much everything Bram, but if I read between the lines on Jon's Article, every single paragraph has a throughline of "how we're going to cut corners because management is tired of our timeline".

Classic Quarter
(www.classicquarter.com)

PRJ wrote:

I don't know if  I am part of the 1% or not, but I routinely check number of cards in graveyards, etc.  I agree this should be an option. 

 

Let'd quote JL shall we

Jon Loucks wrote:

erdana, sans-serif">Aside #2:erdana, sans-serif"> I find myself wondering if the graveyard indicator in the player info is an example of a 1% feature. 99% of players probably don’t care about the number of cards in their graveyards, and even the 1% who care are probably only counting to seven for the threshold mechanic for cards like Barbarian Ringerdana, sans-serif">, which is pretty easy to count to on your own. I bet we could be presenting this information in a better way. Again, I’d like to get it out of the face of 99% of players, but easily accessible by the 1% who care.

So there we are. He did not say it WAS a 1% feature, he just asked the question IS IT a 1%. I like it when designers question things.

He goes on to ask whether a graveyard count presents what we need to know in the best way. I agree it could be improved, for instance by adding a special threshold indicator, or if you're playing Tarmogoyf, a type counter. There's a distinction between information and knowledge. Seeing that the count=7 doesn't equate to knowing you have reached threshold. The client could help you better by giving out higher level cues.

 

p.s. the graveyard in beta is rubbish, much worse than v3. You try keeping track of several hundred cards in a game of prismatic singleton :/

Well, that article was interesting; too bad it is based on wrong assumptions. Who are those 99% who do not care about storm counts, poison counters and graveyard sizes, and might get confused by such useless information if displayed at inappropriate time? MODO is hardly a den of casual players. Afterall, it's not as if chatting, clans and other social tools are particularly well implemented. So who are the majority of MODO players? Well, there's the constructed crowd. I'm pretty sure they care about such tidbits of data and can handle such dreadful information overload. And what about the limited crowd? You don't need poison or storm in Theros sealed, now do you? Except of course Wizards just ran flashback drafts and holiday cube, and those care VERY much.

 

Seriously, I get that designing an interface for MODO is difficult. But however interesting Jon Loucks insights might be, none offer any meaningful response to the many concerns I have with Shiny. It just tells me a bunch of very smart people are wasting a lot of time thinking very hard on behalf of an imagined 99%.

 

And also, what Braman said.

They should really review what should be redesigned first.

 

The floating window style has a lots of flaws, the way the items are rendered is not efficient but more importantly, why the hell can't the game make "smart stop"?

 

Hey, you don't have an instant? You have one but don't have enough lands? well continue automatically and don't make me click "OK" in a corner out of sight. 

 

Same thing for combat when there is no creatures to attack or block with and no instant cards.

 

Manalink UI was probably 10 times better and made in 1980, with all the progress we made regarding UI in these past few years with the evolution of the internet and creation of multi-platform software requiring adaptation for multiple kind of display, it is really funny to see that we are still stuck with that kind of controls. Isn't the game generating enough revenues to thoroughly accomplish something worth using?

Aknor wrote:

Hey, you don't have an instant? You have one but don't have enough lands? well continue automatically and don't make me click "OK" in a corner out of sight. 

 

Same thing for combat when there is no creatures to attack or block with and no instant cards.

 

Seriously? Sigh. So here's an example: I bluff a combat trick and declare my attacker. Opponent sees the UI moved directly to the "declare blocker" phase and is not fooled one second. Then on his turn, opponent wonders if I have permission. He plays a first spell as bait, and the speed of the UI's response tells him I don't, he plays the rest of his spells.

 

Seriously, your post makes me wonder about this 99% thing.

Alphi wrote:

 

Aknor wrote:

Hey, you don't have an instant? You have one but don't have enough lands? well continue automatically and don't make me click "OK" in a corner out of sight. 

 

Same thing for combat when there is no creatures to attack or block with and no instant cards.

 

 

Seriously? Sigh. So here's an example: I bluff a combat trick and declare my attacker. Opponent sees the UI moved directly to the "declare blocker" phase and is not fooled one second. Then on his turn, opponent wonders if I have permission. He plays a first spell as bait, and the speed of the UI's response tells him I don't, he plays the rest of his spells.

 

Seriously, your post makes me wonder about this 99% thing.

 

So you want to hinder the playability for a feature that shouldnt even be present online? Great. How about adding it later on in a smoother way AFTER the game is usable.

Edit : I would also add that a good player will always account for the possible counters so bluffing hardly matter, even in person.

Aknor wrote:

So you want to hinder the playability for a feature that shouldnt even be present online? Great. How about adding it later on in a smoother way AFTER the game is usable.

Edit : I would also add that a good player will always account for the possible counters so bluffing hardly matter, even in person.

 

You really don't think that completly removing the ability to bluff a combat trick or counterspell makes any difference?

longtimegone wrote:

 

Aknor wrote:

So you want to hinder the playability for a feature that shouldnt even be present online? Great. How about adding it later on in a smoother way AFTER the game is usable.

Edit : I would also add that a good player will always account for the possible counters so bluffing hardly matter, even in person.

 

 

You really don't think that completly removing the ability to bluff a combat trick or counterspell makes any difference?

 

No, if you know the cards of the current format and know it is a possibility, you should always anticipate it. It is not because it is a cardgame that it become poker lol. The only thing that can truly be done is a bait which only usually works if the bait has enough threat, or gamble using a risk factor depending on how much mana your opponent can have and how many cards he still have in hands. Little bluffs will only works against new players not used to them. 

 

And like I said, why would you try to stick to a broken game flow when we could repair it without this futile feature. Its not even necessary to remove it by the way, you could always force the game to stop at a specific moment if needed.

 

Right now everybody are focusing on little details such as chat integration, labels placements, how the overall information is displayed while they should focus on how the game is played. This is not normal after all our advancements to have such a crippled system. Anyway, I will let the other guys comeback with other points which does not even affect that statement, my role here is done; making sure they are aware of their errors. (Also, please, Mr. Jon Loucks, I know this is not specifically your fault since you were probably assigned resolves these little issues, however could you at least show your producer the big picture and make sure he is aware that the longer you sit on it, the harder it will bite sooner or later.)

In other news, PC sales haave just had the worst yearly decline ever http://thenextweb.com/insider/2014/01/09/gartner-pc-shipments-slip-6-9-82-6m-units-q4-2013-seventh-consecutive-quarter-decline/#!rWQIm.

Sales of PC's have been dropping for seven consecutive quarters, and are now back to the 2009 level!

 

I have said this before, and it does bear repeating, WotC must aim their development at the emerging platforms which 99% of people choose to use, i.e. tablets, mobile devices, laptops.

Tying MtGO into PC/microsoft  is becoming a losing strategy.

Aknor wrote:

And like I said, why would you try to stick to a broken game flow when we could repair it without this futile feature. Its not even necessary to remove it by the way, you could always force the game to stop at a specific moment if needed.

 

You mean the way you can F4/F6, auto yield and always say yes/no to individual abilities, and remove and set priority stops for each phase separately on the fly? So basically, you complain because a/ you don't understand the concept of hidden information in a game and assimilate it to bluff, and b/ you didn't bother learning how to use the interface. 

 

Aknor wrote:

my role here is done

 

Yep.

 

 

Aknor wrote:

my role here is done

 

 

Yep.

 

If there were such a thing as the EPotM, this would surely have made it.  Speaking of Shirley, anyone seen SoaS recently?

Thank you, Erik.

Aknor wrote:

 

longtimegone wrote:

 

Aknor wrote:

So you want to hinder the playability for a feature that shouldnt even be present online? Great. How about adding it later on in a smoother way AFTER the game is usable.

Edit : I would also add that a good player will always account for the possible counters so bluffing hardly matter, even in person.

 

 

You really don't think that completly removing the ability to bluff a combat trick or counterspell makes any difference?

 

 

No, if you know the cards of the current format and know it is a possibility, you should always anticipate it. It is not because it is a cardgame that it become poker lol. The only thing that can truly be done is a bait which only usually works if the bait has enough threat, or gamble using a risk factor depending on how much mana your opponent can have and how many cards he still have in hands. Little bluffs will only works against new players not used to them. 

 

You just aren't getting the key issue here. Let's say you know someone has a combat trick, because they already used it in game one. Under your proposed system, the opponent will know simply by watching how fast they get priority whether you have that card in hand on any given turn. That almost completely removes the point of running the card at all. The same applies to multiple other card types. 

Alphi wrote:

 

Aknor wrote:

And like I said, why would you try to stick to a broken game flow when we could repair it without this futile feature. Its not even necessary to remove it by the way, you could always force the game to stop at a specific moment if needed.

 

 

You mean the way you can F4/F6, auto yield and always say yes/no to individual abilities, and remove and set priority stops for each phase separately on the fly? So basically, you complain because a/ you don't understand the concept of hidden information in a game and assimilate it to bluff, and b/ you didn't bother learning how to use the interface. 

 

 

Aknor wrote:

my role here is done

 

 

Yep.

 

And you don't seem to understand that the whole complaint is about making it much smoother, you said it yourself, the shortcuts are hidden. The game should only stop when you can do something and each phase should be toggleable in case you want to absolutely pause at one point despite no action being allowed to be done there. You guys are so used to your system that you are completlely blind to simple changes that could make the game as enjoyable as a game in person.

 

See how the other games make similar situation work flawlessly, think out of your box, think about the proposal before ignoring the flaws and deviating the problem on something else ("my fault", "bluff") which if you had understood in the first place, would not even have occured.

I’ve removed content from this thread because forums disruption is a violation of the Code of Conduct.

 

You can review the Code here: http://www.wizards.com/Company/About.aspx?x=wz_company_about_codeofconduct

 

Please keep your posts polite, on-topic, and refrain from making personal attacks.You are welcome to disagree with one another but please do so respectfully and constructively.

 

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"Lolth be praised; all victory is her doing."

Aknor wrote:
And you don't seem to understand that the whole complaint is about making it much smoother, you said it yourself, the shortcuts are hidden. The game should only stop when you can do something and each phase should be toggleable in case you want to absolutely pause at one point despite no action being allowed to be done there. You guys are so used to your system that you are completlely blind to simple changes that could make the game as enjoyable as a game in person.

 

See how the other games make similar situation work flawlessly, think out of your box, think about the proposal before ignoring the flaws and deviating the problem on something else ("my fault", "bluff") which if you had understood in the first place, would not even have occured.

 

There are games that work like this and recently have made a splash onto the online market.

If you want this kind of behaviour than you should look there.

Magic online is not an independant game, it's not even a computer game really, but a simulator for a real life card game (with all the advantages and disadvantages that come with that). What your proposing would fundamentally change the game.

SteBtwo wrote:

 

Aknor wrote:
And you don't seem to understand that the whole complaint is about making it much smoother, you said it yourself, the shortcuts are hidden. The game should only stop when you can do something and each phase should be toggleable in case you want to absolutely pause at one point despite no action being allowed to be done there. You guys are so used to your system that you are completlely blind to simple changes that could make the game as enjoyable as a game in person.

 

See how the other games make similar situation work flawlessly, think out of your box, think about the proposal before ignoring the flaws and deviating the problem on something else ("my fault", "bluff") which if you had understood in the first place, would not even have occured.

 

 

There are games that work like this and recently have made a splash onto the online market.

If you want this kind of behaviour than you should look there.

Magic online is not an independant game, it's not even a computer game really, but a simulator for a real life card game (with all the advantages and disadvantages that come with that). What your proposing would fundamentally change the game.

 

I gained a lots of experience through my multiple years of work on games to make sure they followed their intended design without any obstruction in the player's way and played magic since the beginning and nowhere in my proposal do I see something that would funamentally change the game, could you point me to one of these change and explain to me how exactly would it fundamentally modify how the game is played? It really seems like none of you even stop for a second to think about the current problem. Do any of you even recognize that the interface is flawed at its core?

 

Do I have to point you toward every critiques about MTGO before you can start reading my posts properly or are you just lost zealots blindly following MTGO path wherever it bring you.

 

I could take pretty much all the screen seen in MTGO and create a guide "How to NOT design your game UI".

 

It is currently so bad that I feel like I should volounteer on creating a prototype that might wake up some of you and might get purchased by wizard for future release. But it would probably be simpler to just look at the other MTGO clones which contain the same mechanics and be illuminated at how better the information is displayed and smoothly the turn goes. Again, don't take me for a fool, I am more than aware of all the magic the gathering abilities and I am saying that we could have a game running as well as the competition while still keeping all its complexity and flexibility. 

 

Aknor wrote:

 

SteBtwo wrote:

 

Aknor wrote:
And you don't seem to understand that the whole complaint is about making it much smoother, you said it yourself, the shortcuts are hidden. The game should only stop when you can do something and each phase should be toggleable in case you want to absolutely pause at one point despite no action being allowed to be done there. You guys are so used to your system that you are completlely blind to simple changes that could make the game as enjoyable as a game in person.

 

See how the other games make similar situation work flawlessly, think out of your box, think about the proposal before ignoring the flaws and deviating the problem on something else ("my fault", "bluff") which if you had understood in the first place, would not even have occured.

 

 

There are games that work like this and recently have made a splash onto the online market.

If you want this kind of behaviour than you should look there.

Magic online is not an independant game, it's not even a computer game really, but a simulator for a real life card game (with all the advantages and disadvantages that come with that). What your proposing would fundamentally change the game.

 

 

I gained a lots of experience through my multiple years of work on games to make sure they followed their intended design without any obstruction in the player's way and played magic since the beginning and nowhere in my proposal do I see something that would funamentally change the game, could you point me to one of these change and explain to me how exactly would it fundamentally modify how the game is played? It really seems like none of you even stop for a second to think about the current problem. Do any of you even recognize that the interface is flawed at its core?

 

Do I have to point you toward every critiques about MTGO before you can start reading my posts properly or are you just lost zealots blindly following MTGO path wherever it bring you.

 

It is currently so bad that I feel like I should volounteer on creating a prototype that might wake up some of you and might get purchased by wizard for future release. But it would probably be simpler to just look at the other MTGO clones which contain the same mechanics and be illuminated at how better the information is displayed and smoothly the turn goes. Again, don't take me for a fool, I am more than aware of all the magic the gathering abilities and I am saying that we could have a game running as well as the competition while still keeping all its complexity and flexibility. 

 

 

Oh we agree, our game UI could receive a major overhaul, I can play properly with the current one, but upgrading it would reduce the amount of mistakes, help the newcomers, improve the visibility of the information and make the game more fluid and faster. I wish they had done something similar sooner, perhaps the community would have grown much bigger by now.  I don't know why they they never thoughts of redisigning it despite their 3? new clients over the past 12 years.

...  I am Braman™

 

I don't like the way Aknor hijacked this thread.

@Aknor: The functionality you're talking about in your OP is there and all you have to do is press F6 if you want it to pass all stops and don't care about bluffing.  F4 if you have a trick or want to bluff a trick.  Whether it's that you don't understand why people would want to bluff or that you didn't know the F4/F6 features were there, I'm not sure.  But I'm really hoping more people see and read my post than watch a flame war develop as my post gets sandwiched in the middle of this thread.

 

On that, one thing that would be useful is having the UI detect when you don't have any plays available and since you have no plays to make anyways, that would be a good time to pop up a little information tip like "Did you know:  You can press F6 (pass all priority) or F4 (pass priority except for on certain stops or when opponent makes a play) to skip/save time..."  and explains their functionality.  Thus giving the player the information they need at the time they need it.  During a time when it wouldn't disrupt play.  This is actually a very good idea.  And makes this post worth making.  Teaching players how to use the client while they're playing with it and when it wont disrupt the play during downtime like this is excellent design.

 

Granted there are so many flaws in the client some of which are listed in this thread and others that have been complained about elsewhere.

Many points made in the thread are also quite valid.  And designing a multi-platform client is probably somewhere on wotc's to do list.  probably.

Aknor wrote:

 

Do I have to point you toward every critiques about MTGO before you can start reading my posts properly or are you just lost zealots blindly following MTGO path wherever it bring you.

 

 

You account is barely a couple of weeks old, you have displayed a shocking ignorance about both the client and the fundamentals of Magic (that latest is a sore point, how can you discuss the UI if you don't even get the game it is meant to represent?), and you have the arrogance of telling us we're zealots who haven't a clue about past critiques (which we made ourselves, coz' we were there and you weren't)... The various options to pass priority are not hidden, they're not even new to the beta. There are many flaws in the UI that have been discussed at length on a variety of fora, including this one, but I have never seen your name there. So as far as I can tell, you're a troll. Not interested, let's advertize F4/F6 exist (it was done in previous daily MTG articles, but I guess we have to do it gain), andf let's please move on. 

Aknor wrote:

See how the other games make similar situation work flawlessly, think out of your box, think about the proposal before ignoring the flaws and deviating the problem on something else ("my fault", "bluff") which if you had understood in the first place, would not even have occured.

 

I cannot think of any other online games with a turn structure similar to Magic's. Can you give me an example?

Cauchy wrote:

Is there an official or an unofficial reason why not to give us an API?

 

My take on this: an API would reveal too many details about the way the client works, and would make reverse engineering easier. I'm not sure this is sound thinking programatically, but it seems to me like something that might be a managment-type thought process.

Go draft, young man, go draft!

Braman wrote:

I'm really hoping more people see and read my post than watch a flame war develop as my post gets sandwiched in the middle of this thread.

 

Dont worry. Your post is not forgotten. You are Braman™

 

99% of us in here strongly agree with you and who cares about the last just 1%? 

 

Still, I find Aknor's viewpoints interesting even if I dont agree with all of them. We are all part of the community.

sikonawt                :Winner of the "I love MTGO" contest

Lawnmower_Elf   :Winner of the "Explain your name" contest