Advices for making TE more newcomers friendly

General discussions about the tennis games Tennis Elbow
Forum rules
Speak English and don't hijack topics, troll, use profanities nor insults

Advices for making TE more newcomers friendly

Postby justathought » 17 Jan 2015, 15:27

I love the game now, but I remember finding the first few hours really, really frustrating. I wonder whether it would be worth putting some work into the presentation, because the tennis part of the game is so much stronger than the menus and documentation.

A few things like:
1 * ALT by default seems to move in the menus - so that doesn't let users Alt-TAB.
2 * Gamepad support works, but I feel a lot of new players (perhaps most) would be using a game controller rather than a keyboard. All the docs seem to assume keyboard.
3 * The menus are generally very clunky. Navigation in the menus is strange, especially with a gamepad. I resort to the mouse, it's easier.
4 * All this talk of b1+b2, b1 - etc is quite confusing. I'd just label them slice/lob/risk shot, etc. Nobody reads the docs sadly :)

I mean no offence, and I don't want to sound negative. As a fan, perhaps some of the simple things could be improved and it'd help make a much better first impression. The game should be so much bigger than it is!
justathought
Guest
 

Re: Advices for making TE more newcomers friendly

Postby manutoo » 18 Jan 2015, 05:19

Hello,

thanks for your feedback, it's always useful ! Personally, I'm often baffled at how uneasy are the 1st steps in some games, and it's probably because they didn't have report like yours..! :P

0- New Menus => topic15-19240.php
1- if you want to Alt-Tab, you can change the Alt Key for the Keyboard in the Controls Menu ; you can also use right Alt + Tab ; the global solution would be to use by default Shift instead of Alt, but I feel the 3 Fires are better with Ctrl/Windows/Alt (although I changed it on OSX, because Apple + Arrow = shortcut to manipulate windows, so it was totally unplayable)
2- Docs assume a pad + 2 buttons ; ie, this :
Image
(Gravis pc gamepad)
It's what I had in hands when I created the game at 1st, 20 years ago... :blackeye: (with using only 2 buttons as the 4 buttons had to be shared when using 2 pads while playing with a friend)
And today, I still use a pad (but with more buttons!)
3- menus aren't designed to be conveniently navigable with a pad ; there's just too much stuff all around to achieve that (compare the numbers of available options in TE against games on console), while a mouse is just perfect
4- I'm not sure what you mean about this one ; is it in the doc ? It's written with the default control scheme in mind ; if people change the controls, they ought to know what they did ; but it's sure that for the serve explanations, it can get pretty confusing ; I'll see if I can do a rehaul of all that for TE4
ManuTOO
== Mana Games ==

>> I don't answer Private Message, except if it's really a _Private_ topic <<
User avatar
manutoo
Game Author
 
Messages: 15813
Gaming Since: 24 Jan 2004, 15:38
Location: France

Re: Advices for making TE more newcomers friendly

Postby justathought » 18 Jan 2015, 13:00

Thank you for taking the thoughts so well, I know how hard it is when people criticise things you've worked so hard on!

0) That's great! For me, the problem with the menus is that they're often 'shapes' rather than lines. Lots of games go either:
A B C D (horizontal or vertical)

TE goes:
AB E
CD F
G
etc. So when I'm at A does down take me to C (spatially) or B (the next option)? It doesn't do what I thought at first!

There's also an expectation mismatch. When I start TE, I would expect the highlighted option to be the most common ('play tennis'), and probably top/left. With TE it's far right. It's like it has a tabindex of
5, and so going left takes it to 4 ('D') - but I would have expected 'C', since I'm at the same level:

Until you realise it's really this, it's quite confusing:
12 5
34 6 (etc)

The training and the warning about holding the direction is really good, by the way.
1) Yes, it's a tricky problem I see. I think for new players, alt-tab should 'just work', as it's standard system function. Could alt be ignored in the menus, and then if window focus is lost in game auto pause it and disable alt again (hope that made sense).
2) I remember those too! My guess is lots of people have more buttons now - 360/PS3/etc controllers.
3) I think it's possible to make it work with a pad, but I know it's not easy. I have suggestions but if you're reworking it for TE4 I'll keep quiet :)
4) Well, all available strikes in the quickstart, it's the b1+b2 etc.

Ideally, it could detect a couple of the most common controllers (my guess is 360 is most popular?), and draw an overlay with the controls on. If I can see 'ah, B is slice, A is topspin, etc' it's so much easier to start with. Anybody else with a strange keypad ;), they can go to the menu and config it. But it's so nice when you pick up a controller and games just work.
justathought
Guest
 

Re: Advices for making TE more newcomers friendly

Postby manutoo » 19 Jan 2015, 06:24

0) TE4 menus will likely have only vertical order buttons (ie: text + small icons, 1 option per line, I guess it's the most standard nowadays), so it should be more pad friendly. It's good you bring this, as I hope I'll be able to port TE4 to consoles and it's better to think ahead about the menus usability. For PC, the keyboard/pad handling was just a little plus, but not a full part of the design.
Thus said, I just changed the default selected icon in a few menus, so it's not on the "Profile" icon by default.

1) For next update, I'll see if it's possible to delay the Alt action till the key is unpressed, and cancel it if Tab has been pressed meanwhile, that should do the trick

4) In-game screen is meant for people who play with keyboard, or people who only reconfigured b1/b2/b1+b2 with their pad ; if you remapped completely your strikes, you should normally not care about the in-game help anymore but be able to recheck your mapping in the options if needed.
But having a completely different set-up when detecting a Xbox controller with a picture showing each button function is a good idea, as the default settings don't work with it (and it's probably same for PS3 controller).
ManuTOO
== Mana Games ==

>> I don't answer Private Message, except if it's really a _Private_ topic <<
User avatar
manutoo
Game Author
 
Messages: 15813
Gaming Since: 24 Jan 2004, 15:38
Location: France

Re: Advices for making TE more newcomers friendly

Postby MissionMaximus » 20 Jan 2015, 02:07

I do agree with the buttons and a controller (using xbox 360 for windows) being a bit confusing. I would agree with justathought about adjusting fire 1, fire 1+2, fire 3 and replacing it with Topspin, Slice,normal, Excelleration etc... It gets a bit confusing trying to remember what fire button you assigned to what.
That would be a great idea, to have a picture of said controller being shown with what shots are configured for what button and being able to customize your controls that way.
MissionMaximus
court crocodile
court crocodile
 
Messages: 27
Gaming Since: 18 Jan 2013, 02:02

Re: Advices for making TE more newcomers friendly

Postby megyaem » 21 Feb 2015, 04:28

my suggestion would be the same for name buttons:
topspin-slice-flat (or acc)
I play with pc so i dont actually cares about joypads, actually,the times i play with jp i play really bad :blackeye:
As everyone here, I have more expectations in TE4 :)
for help and support animations go here :
http://megyaemanimste.blogspot.com.ar/
User avatar
megyaem
crazy of the little yellow ball
crazy of the little yellow ball
 
Messages: 2280
Gaming Since: 28 Dec 2011, 22:15
Location: Corrientes,Argentina


Return to Tennis Elbow

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CCBot [Bot], JKK_H, Majestic-12 [Bot], MaxiReturns and 2 guests