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Messages - Ingix

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General Discussion / Re: Communication about releases & future plans
« on: 19 January 2017, 03:51:12 PM »
I'm with Adam that communication of what's to come is suboptimal. For example, the sticky post "Missing Features" from Stef in "Feature Requests" is from December 10th, that is a time when the game was still in beta. The major complaints now might warrant a different prioritization than what was given at that time. Players probably also don't care that much about what's coming this year. They might care more about what's coming next week and/or next month.

Unfortunately there are so many different problems at the moment (mobile client, log problems, UI problems for different cards, no (visible) ratings, AI doing 'stupid' things with certain cards, standalone version) that I assume any progress will only affect one are two areas, and players who are not concerned with those areas will see no progress (a player playing against AI will not care that much about a rating, and a player playing against humans will not care about AI improvements, for example).

So I still hope for improvements, but I'm less optimistic about the game getting better soon than I was a week or two before.

There a few additional things to consider.

1) A pile with different cards in them can ultimately contain them in any order. With Ambassador you could get a split pile like Encampment/Plunder in reverse order or in alternating order or something similar. In addition, for the split piles this is open information. So ultimately, when you implement an interface that allows a player to inspect any pile, you will need to come up with a way to show that this pile has for example 2 Encampments on top, followed by 3 Plunders, followed by 2 Encampments and one final Plunder.

2) For Knights and Ruins the order the cards are in is not open information. For Knights it is at least known what cards the pile started with, but for Ruins even that is not known if you play with less than 6 players.

So I think there are 2 distinct questions a player can ask the game, and they need to be answered differently, although they can share UI:

A) What is the contents of a pile (not Knights/Ruins/Black Market pile) right now (with possible answers as easy as  "2 Provinces" or as complicated as I indicated in 1) above)?

B) What cards where in this pile (not Black Market pile) at the beginning of the game? This should indicate the original composition with the exception that for the Ruins pile the 5 possible Ruins should be shown, not taking into account that a given Ruin may not actually be in the game.

Other Bugs / Re: Game hangs when Provinces empty
« on: 12 January 2017, 07:48:41 PM »
I'm not sure if this is the same problem, but when I ended the game with buying the last Colony, I drew my 5 cards for the "next turn" but then the game thought I was in the buy phase again and I could not do anything (even buying copper was impossible). See the attached screenshot for details:

How to Play / Re: Tables
« on: 11 January 2017, 08:45:49 PM »
The basic problem is simple: If there are not enough players at any time that want to play a certain format (say 3-player games with only human players), the game server cannot match them because they are no such players. The host of such a 3-player game will wait, maybe a minute, maybe more, and then do something else (on his PC/tablet/phone or IRL). If, after some time, some other player joins that table, he will wait for a minute (or more), but the host is not there, so the new player leaves, trying some other table.

The original host will look at his table once in a while, will (in most cases) not see anybody having joined the table (because the interval he checks in is longer than the new player will wait at his table), and continue to to something else.

Meanwhile the "other player" has the same experience a couple of times, and will finally say "I make a table with a 3 player game". After he does this, nobody joins him (lack of players for that format, remember?), and after some time he will do "something else" (because nobody wants to wait excessivly) and the cycle repeats.

The current table situation makes this worse as there are possibly many tables open each for format, but they are not matched against each other. If would possibly be better if you could not only be matched by the game server on 2 player games but on 3 or more player games as well. Then the person who created a table because he wanted the recreate his latest IRL dominion game can do that, and players who simply want to play a 2-3 player game can be matched with him.

Interface Issues / Re: "Crown" Logic
« on: 08 January 2017, 09:49:49 PM »
OK I completely agree with you. I just think that there are no edge cases for Crown that can't be solved by "the next card you click should be doubled whether it's an Action or a Treasure"

...I have not gone through every single interaction though, so maybe I'm missing something.

What I am objecting to is that we should not starting going down that path were we need the computer to understand more and more *complicated* situations in order to provide the shortcut for the player to simply press the "End actions" button in this case.

Why not? The choice here is that either two people write some extra lines of code, or their product is worse. I think the product should be as good as possible.

In Principle:
Sometimes a consistent "game flow" that people can learn and apply is better than little shortcuts that are meant to make the game flow easier in some cases but in the end destroy a players 'confidence' in understanding the game flow when he is confronted with something that doesn't fit his mental model of how the game flow should work (like switching from Action phase to Buy phase after clicking on an Action card (Crown)).

In the current situation:
No code change is "free", it will always replace something else. I think there are still lots of other things that should take precedence.

This is something that will be very hard to effectively solve, as there are just so many effects it can apply to. For example at making fun, I set the "delay" to some middle value so I could reasonably see what happened when computer opponent played a card chain, but then I got to wait "for an eternity" if he used a Trader to get 5 silvers and the game client would show me each silver seperately 5 times.

I think the "too slow vs too fast" thing is actually pretty simple to solve in most cases. First, they need an animation to show everything that happens. Especially things like revealing a card with Herald or trashing with Rebuild. Then they need an option to turn animations off or control their speed.

The problem is that there are just too many cards that have these kinds of effects, and as I tried to explain initially, there are some effects that a player wants to have "slow", other effects that he wants to have "fast", this choice may depend on other cards in the Kingdom, and this disctinction "slow" vs. "fast" is different for each player. I don't think an option screen that lists 50 cards and asks "Do you want Trader gains fast or slow?", "Do you want Rebuild trashes fast or slow?", "Do you want cards revealed by Herald fast or slow?" a.s.o. is a good idea.

The point is that condensed information (each players deck at end of game) is a first step at understanding what happened. The "game over" screen already gives a part of that understanding by showing how the victory point totals were reached. Showing the players' end deck would add a considerable amount of information, at an (as perceived by me) small cost: The player's deck is already known and analyzed (for point totals), should be showable as text at this point.

In the long run, a replay of any past game, with all information visible, would of course be a very nice thing to have, but at the moment that seems far off.

Interface Issues / Re: "Crown" Logic
« on: 06 January 2017, 07:28:29 AM »
What I'm saying is that this is not a case of "how do I best provide an UI for Hamlet that requires as little clicks as possible and that is not confusing" (which I think you also commented on), which is something where it makes sense to discuss edge cases to show why some implementation may or may not work.

This is a case of a player being in his action phase and still having exactly one action card in his hand to play and at least one free game action. Then you want the computer to understand that if this is the case, and if the one action card in his hand is "Crown", it should be treated as "The player has changed to his buy phase and intended the Crown to be played there, not in his action phase" by default and a game option to change that default.

What I am objecting to is that we should not starting going down that path were we need the computer to understand more and more *complicated* situations in order to provide the shortcut for the player to simply press the "End actions" button in this case.

What I think the original post makes obvious is that everybody has a different set of "things" that he wants optimzed in computer play and other things that he wants to be shown graphically in order to "understand what happended":

Original poster mentioned that the current implementation is doing it "to slow":

- The computer plays treasures one at a time. I'm the guy who will just surrender if his opponent keeps doing this, so super irritating for me.

- The game requires unnecessary confirmations. I haven't experienced every card, but if someone plays militia against you, you need to click the two cards you want to discard, then it asks you to confirm you want to discard the cards you just clicked to discard.

Original poster mentioned that the current implementation is doing it "to fast":

- A lot of effects happen instantaneously, which can be extremely disorienting. For example, in a three player game I play a knight. Instead of an animation that shows the other two players revealing the two top cards from their decks, trashing one between 3 and 6 and discarding the other (or discarding both if neither is between 3 and 6), the cards just immediately change and you see the end result. In order to make any sense of what happened, you need to read the game log. Why even have visuals at all then??? This is true for any "reveal" effect (e.g., Herald).


This is something that will be very hard to effectively solve, as there are just so many effects it can apply to. For example at making fun, I set the "delay" to some middle value so I could reasonably see what happened when computer opponent played a card chain, but then I got to wait "for an eternity" if he used a Trader to get 5 silvers and the game client would show me each silver seperately 5 times.

Interface Issues / Re: "Crown" Logic
« on: 05 January 2017, 07:31:53 PM »
I strongly disagree with AdamH's notion that the game client should somehow "guess what is intended" as the default behavior. There are so many things that might be considered edge cases in Dominion, that putting shurtcuts that work 99% of the time into the client is jeopardizing the integrity of the game. Because if this is implemented for the Crown, I'm sure that many more such things will be demanded.

Making the client not autmatically do things in many cases that might be edge cases is what the undo feature is for, IMO. That is a great thing to have for the cases here where it may be 'obvious' to humans that the Crown is supposed to be played in the buy phase and not in the action phase.

I second that. Sometimes you just wonder how the opponent did what you saw him doing, and if you are a new player, you have enough to do keeping up with what you have to do during the game. If you see that he ended the game with 5 of the card that you sought was unplayable, or with only 2 copper, you have at least the chance to learn something instead of justb asking yourself "how could he play 20 actions in one turn".

General Discussion / Re: Some nice words and a simple thank you
« on: 05 January 2017, 06:48:11 PM »
I think for both sides (players and developers) it is important to understand the other side. Of course Shuffle iT is not legally responsible for what happened at Making Fun and they were under no obligation to honor the purchases made there. On the other side, players on Making Fun who made purchases were making it in good faith, knowing that any number of circumstances could mean the end of Dominion at Making Fun.

That this end came not through some problem at Making Fun, but the hands of the licensor Rio Grande Games make it a 3-party problem: Claiming that Shuffle iT are the savior and otherwise we would have a black screen since Jan 1st is backwards: If there was not a prototype shown to Rio Grande, which seems to have convinced them that Shuffle iT have the ability to create a better version than what was currently available, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have cancelled/ not prolonged the agreement with Makign Fun (disclaimer: I have no idea what the licensing agreement between Rio Grande Games and Making Fun was and how it ended/was terminated).

From a costumer/player side, they were denied to use what they had previously (Dedicated clients for Windows, iOS, Android AFAIK) and can now only use a browser implementation. For me (Windows desktop user) this is not a problem, for tablet users it seems to be a mayor problem, considering that 'right-click' is not well supported there.

It seems also (from reading comments here and at the forum of Making Fun) that there are many differernt user types for Dominion online: casual types like me that play on the desktop primarily with bots, competitive types that are used to isotropic (and old text-only based implementation), mobile users that play during commutes and couples that use it to play with each other without the hassle to get the physical cards, a.s.o. For some the bot AI is if no or small interest, for  them the match making and finding players is much more important, for others it is the reverse.

What I think happened is that Shuffle iT set out to make a great client-server implementation of a Dominion game and I think they have succeeded at that, with all the teething problems that are to be expected. What they underestimated (or simply did not have time to do) was that

a) different clients need different implementations, as they represent different restrictions for UI and screen space, and
b) all the infrastructure needed to get players to a game: preference options, general and relating to cards, and matchmaking, and
c) things like tournaments, ladders, scores a.s.o that players expect around an online game in 2017.

Especially good matchmaking among strangers is notoriously hard to do (witness all the complaints about it even for AAA games that have the time and budget to do it).

To summarize, Shuffle iT are in the unenviable position now that they have to follow up on an implementation that was working well on many platforms and had to suddenly stop. The around 1 month beta test was obviously to short (maybe to limited, too) to catch all the UI problems for tablets that were there at the start.

I owned all expansions on Making Fun, transfered my account without a problem to dominion.games, played for a day and bought the Gold subscription for a year (read: I just paid for Empires). I hope that dominion.games will continue to develop and get rid of the mayor problems that plague players, then refine clients, AIs and the infrastructure around that.

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