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Author Topic: The Danger of Verb Coins!  (Read 3034 times)

The Danger of Verb Coins!
« on: 24 Jun 2018, 23:42 »
This is making me worry, my current project uses the verb coin. I didn't realise there was so much dislike for it. But I would struggle to replace it even if I decided to change it to something else.

I was planning on having a text box pop up explaining how to use it, at least.
« Last Edit: 27 Jun 2018, 19:46 by Snarky »

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #1 on: 25 Jun 2018, 15:47 »
I don't see anything wrong with verbcoins at all. If done right, they are pretty much self-explanatory and work pretty well on touch devices. The only problem is that the verbcoin implementation that ships with AGS is totally f*ed up. The verbcoin should open directly on left-button click. Maybe the template should be either fixed or removed from the project at all.

This is making me worry, my current project uses the verb coin. I didn't realise there was so much dislike for it. But I would struggle to replace it even if I decided to change it to something else.
Maybe you can just change the way the GUI opens i.e. make it appear immediately on left click and not only after holding down?

As for this topic, I can see some interest in a discussion regarding interface design. So if the mods would like to change the topic or something, I'd be down with that.
You can rename it, I can split the topic or we can start a completely new topic for interface design on the board.
« Last Edit: 25 Jun 2018, 15:50 by cat »

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #2 on: 25 Jun 2018, 16:05 »
The Verbcoins in CMI and Full Throttle all required you to hold down the left mouse button for a period of time. If the coin appears instantly, how does left clicking to walk work?

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #3 on: 25 Jun 2018, 16:09 »
Click somewhere where no hotspot is? Just the same as with a single click interface. Click on a hotspot -> a verbcoin is opened/an action is performed directly vs. click somewhere else -> walk there. I don't see any difference here.

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #4 on: 26 Jun 2018, 12:27 »
Well, this proves what I've always said: verb coins are a terrible UI and should never be used! 8-)
The Verb Coin is not a terrible UI. What makes it terrible in most cases, is having to hold in the left mouse button to make it appear. It should appear as soon as you click on a hotspot.
If that was the case here, everyone would have figured out the system as soon as they tried to click on something. Since it's quite literally a single-click system with more variety.

If you truly think that Verb Coins are terrible, then you must hate the pop-up menus on windows, which appear every time you right click on something. Since other than the buttons being reversed (and instead of the choice of buttons being context sensitive, the actions the buttons do are context sensitive instead), they're basically the exact same thing.
You click on something, a list of actions you can do with it appears in a menu, you click on one of those, that action is executed.


This is making me worry, my current project uses the verb coin. I didn't realise there was so much dislike for it. But I would struggle to replace it even if I decided to change it to something else.

I was planning on having a text box pop up explaining how to use it, at least.
Don't worry about it too much. This is a forum for Adventure Game enthusiasts. We're all a bit elitist when it comes down to the simple things.
Just make sure that the verb coin comes on whenever you click on a hotspot, don't make people hold the left mouse button like on CoMI or Full Throttle.

Also, a tutorial never hurts. You can easily put in an extra room, which includes detailed instructions on how to complete the very simple puzzle in it. The tutorial could be something as simple as picking something up, looking at it, talking to someone about what you just looked at, combining the item you picked up with the item you got from the guy when you told him what the item looked like, and using that combined item on a slot in the background. The tutorial could even be optional, with players being given the option as soon as they start a new game.
I actually recommend a tutorial like that for the left-click right-click interface as well, to force people to use that damned right mouse button.
« Last Edit: 26 Jun 2018, 12:46 by Danvzare »

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #5 on: 26 Jun 2018, 13:25 »
The Verb Coin is not a terrible UI. What makes it terrible in most cases, is having to hold in the left mouse button to make it appear.

Having to hold down a button makes it particularly terrible, but it's not a good UI even aside from that. (We've had this discussion many times before.)

Quote
If you truly think that Verb Coins are terrible, then you must hate the pop-up menus on windows, which appear every time you right click on something. Since other than the buttons being reversed (and instead of the choice of buttons being context sensitive, the actions the buttons do are context sensitive instead), they're basically the exact same thing.
You click on something, a list of actions you can do with it appears in a menu, you click on one of those, that action is executed.

Relying on context menus for essential functionality is very rarely a good idea. (An application where you had to right-click to bring up a context menu for everything you wanted to do would probably be a terrible UI, too.) As shortcuts they can be fine.

But also, a game is not an operating system, and verb coins are significantly different from context menus (they typically take up far more screen space, for example, and usually cover up the thing you clicked on).

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #6 on: 26 Jun 2018, 14:10 »
I'd like to have the mouse left click straight away to bring up the verb coin but I don't know what I'm looking at in the default verb coin script. I sped up the time required to bring it up at least.

Thanks for the advice, however I have got a really easy starting room to put a short tutorial in. It's short enough that it doesn't really need a skip option. :)

Indeed I was sure to make my verb coin not too large, it only has look and interact, with right click to bring up the inventory with save and load etc on it. I also made the verb coin semi transparent, so Snarky should be somewhat happy lol.

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #7 on: 26 Jun 2018, 15:06 »
Relying on context menus for essential functionality is very rarely a good idea. (An application where you had to right-click to bring up a context menu for everything you wanted to do would probably be a terrible UI, too.) As shortcuts they can be fine.
Yeah, you're right, relying on menus for essential functionality is a terrible idea, and results in some of the worst UI desicisons ever.
That's why we use it for everything. Including Real Time Strategy games (click on a building and a list of options of what you can build with a building appear at the side), MMORPGS (I don't even need to mention the number of menus you'll get from clicking one thing on World of Warcraft), and The Sims (which has been using a context menu since the first game).

But yeah, you're right. You can't rely on menus for basic gameplay. It's been tried and tested too many times, and proven to work each and every time. Which just goes to prove that it not only doesn't work for Adventure Games, but games in general. :~(

They typically take up far more screen space, for example, and usually cover up the thing you clicked on.
Yeah, because the verb coins ALWAYS has to be huge. And we can't go covering up the things we clicked on, because otherwise we'll have no idea what we clicked on with our ultra short memories! And as we all know, it's utterly impossible to place a verb coin slightly off center. It always has to go directly over the thing you clicked on. Yep, there's just no way to solve any of the complaints you have with verb coins. And they're definitely 100% valid complaints

I suppose you're right, verb coins are irredeemably terrible. :~(
« Last Edit: 26 Jun 2018, 15:11 by Danvzare »

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #8 on: 26 Jun 2018, 15:42 »
Bwahahaha!!
« Last Edit: 26 Jun 2018, 15:44 by ManicMatt »

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #9 on: 26 Jun 2018, 15:54 »
verb coins are significantly different from context menus (they typically take up far more screen space, for example, and usually cover up the thing you clicked on).

Have a look at the screenshot below. It's straight from Windows Word, I simply highlighted some words and right-clicked on them. It's obvious that it does take up a large chunk of screen space and that it does partially cover the thing you click on. It's just that we have become so used to these effects in years of Windows usage that we've stopped wondering about them. Since it is easy to make a context menu go away, we don't seem to mind the covered space.



Here's a verb coin of Netherworld, the game that started this discussion. I think that the covering aspect is comparable.



I might be wrong, but to me it seems that context menus have become even more prevalent lately than they used to be. For instance, call up a browser such as the Internet Explorer or Edge.  The standard way of "opening in another tab", "Save destination" and so on is the context menu.  There used to be top-down menus etc., too, but those seem to have fallen out of fashion.
« Last Edit: 26 Jun 2018, 16:24 by fernewelten »

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #10 on: 26 Jun 2018, 16:07 »
That screenshot reminds me of another thing I dislike about verbcoins specifically used by Windows: Placement isn't always consistent, so you can't automatically move your mouse to the option you want. As an example, if I want to select a bunch of files one at at a time to rename them, once I get to the end of the screen, rightclicking pop up the menu in a different place than usual, so your flow is disturbed.

So yeah, verbcoins are a horrible interface, and anyone who uses them should be locked up in a room with a slider puzzle lock that's broken.
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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #11 on: 26 Jun 2018, 16:14 »
But you'd use hotkeys for things you often use (like cut, copy, paste..). Otherwise it would drive you crazy!

I'm not a fan of verb coins either, but they can be done in a way that isn't frustrating. It really depends, in some games I find them quite annoying, in others I don't care too much. Then again, I haven't played many games that use the verb coin, and I think there's a reason why they're not the preferred design choice.

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #12 on: 26 Jun 2018, 17:37 »
To return to the matter at hand:

The discussion started out when people (seemingly, _a lot_ of people) didn't even find the verbcoin: The act of holding down the mouse button was so counter-intuitive to them that it wasn't something they would even try out.

That's a matter of custom. If you construct a car where you have pull up the gas pedal in order to brake, this is going to lead to trouble. People just won't be expecting that - no matter how “logical” or “functional” it might be. You might document it in the user manual - but many drivers don't take the time to read user manuals before they turn the key.

The thing that makes this particularly diffcult is that several ”customs” have come up by now. For instance, when you switch from Windows to, say, Gnome, you end up tearing your hair because a lot of clicks and keystrokes that have become second nature to you just don't work the way you expect them to.

By now, operating systems have prescribed certain functionality with certain keystrokes or mouse clicks for decades. For instance, on a Windwos system, CTRL-C is prescribed to be "cut", CTRL-P is prescribed to be "print", a right-click is prescribed to call up a context menu and ALT is prescribed to call up the top-down menu. This has always made life hard for people that code software for several different operating systems such as Inkscape - or Emacs. (Emacs is a powerful public-domain text editor. In Emacs, CTRL-C is a sort of lead-in character combination and this is constantly very jarring to a Windows user.)

This is highly relevant here: We have clashes of tradition. Old gamers will expect mouse clicks to work “just as they do with LucasArts” or “just as in BASS” etc., but thes games predate the prescriptions that have come up with modern operating systems. Very new newcomers might have grown up with touch devices so much that they aren't even comfortable with a right mouse button. They will expect games to behave "the iPhone way" or "the Android way", where others will (still) expect "the Windows way".

How do we get the most people abord? How do we avoid alienating our target group? The answer will depend on that target group, so slim chances for an one-fits-all solution.

« Last Edit: 26 Jun 2018, 17:44 by fernewelten »

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #13 on: 26 Jun 2018, 18:15 »
From a practical point of view, I don't mind at all using a verbcoin interface when it is provided, but I wouldn't currently it in my own projects. The reason is, a verbcoin makes the most sense when there are a lot of options: If you only offer LOOK and INTERACT, you could simply assign the one to the left mouse button and the other to the right mouse button and make away with the verbcoin.

But the trouble is, a lot of options means a lot of programming and wasted energy. It's the same as with lots of objects that can be picked up: You waste huge amounts of time coding what happens when the player uses an apple core on a passport, an apple core on a kitchen faucet, an apple core on a jar of fresh milk and an apple core on the door leading to the atomic power plant.

In the same way, having "push" and "pull" options means coding how you "push" an apple core, "pull" an apple core, "push" a rose bush, "pull" a rose bush, "push" a whiff of bad air, "pull" a whiff of bad air, and so on. Currently, I can't be assed to. But it's no dogma, I might change my mind when the right project idea comes along.

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #14 on: 26 Jun 2018, 19:17 »
i don't want to have right click for my alternate action because then i have to have an onscreen icon for the inventory, and I like my minimum screen litter when walking around.

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #15 on: 26 Jun 2018, 20:09 »
The discussion started out when people (seemingly, _a lot_ of people) didn't even find the verbcoin: The act of holding down the mouse button was so counter-intuitive to them that it wasn't something they would even try out.

That's a matter of custom.

True to an extent, but that doesn't make the 2 options equal. People who expect to hold down the mouse button will still figure out clicking, but people who expect to click will not necessarily figure out holding the button. That makes the clicking verb-coin superior in my view.

As for the verb-coin itself, I think verb-coin offers some advantages over other multi-verb interfaces. You don't need to move the mouse all over to the bottom of the screen like the lucas arts 9-verb, or to the top of the screen like sierra (or right click a billion times). And verb-coin can contextually disable some of the options, so I won't have "push" or "pull" enabled for the apple core, so it can actually reduce the number of interactions you write, compared to the standard 9-verbs (or, realistically, reducing the number of clicks the player tries, as the developer probably just uses a lot of default responses in 9-verbs).
That's of course, presuming you do have a lot of verbs.
However, if you only have 3 verbs like in the picture above, then it makes a whole lot of sense to just merge talk and interact together and have the 2-click interface, which is simpler and reduces the number of clicks the player needs to make.

I think where verb-coin can truly shine, theoretically at least, is if the actions are completely contextual and dynamic. Meaning that if you have a bible in your inventory and then use the bible on the priest you'll be offered a menu with "give bible to priest", "ask priest about favorite character from the bible", and "knock over priest with bible". This gives you true expressiveness, equal in power only to the text parser, but without needing to guess what was the designer thinking.
I say theoretically, though, because I don't recall seeing any adventure game that actually has a fully dynamic context menu.

People don't even understand a two-click interface any more. I swear some people played through The Fowl Fleet without right clicking on anything (even though it tells you how to do it), and then complained that the puzzles didn't make sense.

Kids today!
It's even worse. I've seen youtubers playing "9 Months In" and not right clicking (and missing vital hints). Youtubers! Those people have played their share of games yet still it didn't even cross their minds that this was an option.
That's why when I wrote "That Damn Dog" I added a timer and if the player does not right click after some time has passed I show a message box with "Did you know? You can right click on stuff". No idea if that worked, though.

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #16 on: 26 Jun 2018, 20:54 »
That's why when I wrote "That Damn Dog" I added a timer and if the player does not right click after some time has passed I show a message box with "Did you know? You can right click on stuff". No idea if that worked, though.

In the Fowl Fleet, you have to right click to solve the tutorial puzzle at the start. Players do it, and then never right click again, I'm sure of it. I wrote SO MANY lines that I'm sure at least 1 reviewer (who found the puzzles incomprehensible) never heard.

Click somewhere where no hotspot is? Just the same as with a single click interface. Click on a hotspot -> a verbcoin is opened/an action is performed directly vs. click somewhere else -> walk there. I don't see any difference here.

Good point!

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #17 on: 26 Jun 2018, 21:01 »
That's why when I wrote "That Damn Dog" I added a timer and if the player does not right click after some time has passed I show a message box with "Did you know? You can right click on stuff". No idea if that worked, though.

What an interesting idea! I'll probably implement that.

I suppose one could force players to LOOK before INTERACTing, whether they want to or not -- by interpreting every first click on any interesting thing as a LOOK action and every subsequent click on it as INTERACT/TALK/PICKUP/COMBINE action. To make this work, you could introduce a property "EXAMINED" for characters, objects and hotspots. The on_mouse_click event would first read out this property and then set it to 1. Afterwards, it would trigger the LOOK event if the property had been 0 beforehand, or else the INTERACT event.

Thus you would only need the left button for both LOOK and INTERACT/TALK/PICKUP/COMBINE. So the right button could open/close the inventory GUI. That gui could contain the buttons for loading, saving, quitting, too.

Very minimal - I've thought about it several times. But I didn't follow through so far, because I feared that this might dumb down the game experience too much.

EDIT: Come to think of it, the two ideas could be fruitfully combined. Set a right-click timer at the start of the game. If it runs out and the game engine finds out that here's a player that won't use the LOOK action - well, it won't say a word about it and switch to forced look-before-interact mode silently for the rest of the game. ;)
« Last Edit: 26 Jun 2018, 21:08 by fernewelten »

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #18 on: 26 Jun 2018, 21:15 »
I say theoretically, though, because I don't recall seeing any adventure game that actually has a fully dynamic context menu.
I attempted to do one last month. It didn't go too far because I lacked the scripting knowledge to do so. It was just text used as objects that appeared near the hotspot that was clicked on. It was clunky and would have caused issues if implemented in more than one room.

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #19 on: 26 Jun 2018, 23:08 »
I suppose one could force players to LOOK before INTERACTing,

That would probably be the worst idea. I can see players clicking on something, receiving a 'look at' response and simply not checking whether there's another action they can perform. Then proceed to wander around aimlessly stuck, because they won't think to click on something again for 'interact', instead thinking they've already interacted with that hotspot.

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #20 on: 26 Jun 2018, 23:42 »
Reminds me of Runaway 2,when you have to interact with the same storage thing more than once to take some things from it, but there's no indication you should do it again. Also you might have had to go somewhere else first to trigger being able to take the second item.

Well memory is foggy, but it was a really badly designed game with a detestable protagonist who kicks his own girlfriend out of a plane, and then chats up women while she's being held captive.

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #21 on: 27 Jun 2018, 08:46 »
Relying on context menus for essential functionality is very rarely a good idea. (An application where you had to right-click to bring up a context menu for everything you wanted to do would probably be a terrible UI, too.) As shortcuts they can be fine.
Yeah, you're right, relying on menus for essential functionality is a terrible idea, and results in some of the worst UI desicisons ever.
That's why we use it for everything. Including Real Time Strategy games (click on a building and a list of options of what you can build with a building appear at the side), MMORPGS (I don't even need to mention the number of menus you'll get from clicking one thing on World of Warcraft), and The Sims (which has been using a context menu since the first game).

But yeah, you're right. You can't rely on menus for basic gameplay. It's been tried and tested too many times, and proven to work each and every time. Which just goes to prove that it not only doesn't work for Adventure Games, but games in general. :~(

Once again I'm searching in vain for the "unimpressed with this bullshit" smiley...

RTS games and RPGs are somewhat notorious for their complex UIs. But when you have a huge selection of possible commands, it's difficult to create a great UI. UI design is always about constraints and tradeoffs. That can mean going with the "least terrible" option. Which then might be context menus – though these games also tend to rely pretty heavily on keyboard shortcuts.

Does that make those "least terrible" UIs great? Does it mean we should use them when you don't face those same tradeoffs? Where, for example, you only have about 4 different, standard options for every interaction (like in most verb coins)? Of course not.

If someone is making an adventure game where there really are custom interactions for most objects, with a huge variety of actions, or where there's a lot of specialized information to bring up about objects (perhaps you carry some kind of scanner that can present useful data, idk) then perhaps a "verb coin" or some other kind of pop-up menu/display would be warranted. Sure.

They typically take up far more screen space, for example, and usually cover up the thing you clicked on.
Yeah, because the verb coins ALWAYS has to be huge. And we can't go covering up the things we clicked on, because otherwise we'll have no idea what we clicked on with our ultra short memories! And as we all know, it's utterly impossible to place a verb coin slightly off center. It always has to go directly over the thing you clicked on. Yep, there's just no way to solve any of the complaints you have with verb coins. And they're definitely 100% valid complaints

Making the verb coin smaller has its own problems. And you don't in fact always know what you clicked on. And if you're actually thinking rather than just randomly clicking, you might easily leave the verb coin up for longer than short term memory lasts...

Certainly there are ways to mitigate some of the problems with verb coins, but the fact is that they are generally done badly, because the "standard" examples that most games take their cues from had these problems.

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #22 on: 27 Jun 2018, 08:46 »
Have a look at the screenshot below. It's straight from Windows Word, I simply highlighted some words and right-clicked on them. It's obvious that it does take up a large chunk of screen space and that it does partially cover the thing you click on. It's just that we have become so used to these effects in years of Windows usage that we've stopped wondering about them. Since it is easy to make a context menu go away, we don't seem to mind the covered space.

I think you're wrong that people "don't seem to mind". The Word UI is generally derided (it faces a lot of the same challenges as RTS games), and I would argue that this context menu is much longer than it ought to be.

There are some exceptions, and perhaps selecting text is one of them (I wasn't able to replicate this placement, and the menu I get looks quite different), but in general the context menu should always show up right below and to the right of the cursor.

Here's a verb coin of Netherworld, the game that started this discussion. I think that the covering aspect is comparable.

Perhaps, though it's hard to say since the Windows screenshot is cropped. I will say that I think the Netherworld verb coin is quite intrusive, covering up a large part of the screen and obscuring the thing you actually want to do.

Quote
I might be wrong, but to me it seems that context menus have become even more prevalent lately than they used to be. For instance, call up a browser such as the Internet Explorer or Edge.  The standard way of "opening in another tab", "Save destination" and so on is the context menu.  There used to be top-down menus etc., too, but those seem to have fallen out of fashion.

The menu bar is still accessible by pressing Alt. Also, these are not primary actions (I would bet you my parents have no idea about them), and in many cases I would think the more common way to perform them on the desktop is through key combinations (Ctrl-click, Shift-click, Ctrl-S etc.).

Don't take me to mean that I don't think context menus are useful or good for certain purposes. They are very convenient for less common, truly contextual commands. I would still pretty much always recommend having other ways to access the functionality.

I suppose one could force players to LOOK before INTERACTing, whether they want to or not -- by interpreting every first click on any interesting thing as a LOOK action and every subsequent click on it as INTERACT/TALK/PICKUP/COMBINE action. To make this work, you could introduce a property "EXAMINED" for characters, objects and hotspots. The on_mouse_click event would first read out this property and then set it to 1. Afterwards, it would trigger the LOOK event if the property had been 0 beforehand, or else the INTERACT event.

Thus you would only need the left button for both LOOK and INTERACT/TALK/PICKUP/COMBINE.

Yeah, I was gonna say: then you've effectively reverted to a one-button interface, like Ali describes.

It does mean you can't do anything with repeated looks (mostly used for jokes, in my experience), and it also means that after the first look you can't repeat the description (unless you put some rule that would eventually make it revert to "unexamined" state), so you probably shouldn't put can't-miss information in there. In other words: you have to take it into account in the design.

I do sort of like the idea of the timeout, or alternatively a configuration setting. It would be a kind of accelerator option for more experienced players.

I feel like how to deal with one-button/two-button depends to a large extent on your audience. If it's experienced adventure gamers, two-button is fine. If you anticipate some wider interest, tzach's idea of a reminder if you detect they aren't right-clicking is probably good to have. If you are aiming for a broad audience, one-button or this kind of hybrid one/two-button might be necessary.

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #23 on: 27 Jun 2018, 09:07 »
Whatever you decide to go with, make sure you nudge the player into doing it correctly from the outset, and it will be fine.

Virtually any interface will work as long as it's warranted, internally logical and tutorial-ized early on. Just because a one-click interface seems to be in vogue now for adventure games, it doesn't mean a player can't learn a new system after some practice.

You want a drop-down menu? Go for it, just make sure the options in the menu are needed, and frequently used. In Lure of the Temptress you have menus, and they're kind of needed since you can instruct your sidekick to do pretty complex things*. However, in most adventure games having the kind of menus you see in strategy games or sims is probably hard to justify.

Verb interfaces are great if there's an emphasis on various important interactions that can't be separated otherwise, like giving something to someone as opposed to using it on them, talking with instead of touching, looking at as opposed to interacting with, etc. If that's important enough to warrant a slightly more clunky interface, then go for it. People will get used to it. But don't use it just because you have one gimmicky puzzle somewhere in the middle of the game that kind of requires it, if 99% of all interactions could be handled with one click.

Prime your audience into often using all verbs, and understanding that their differences may be really important, and not only some extra flavour.

* However, both the menus and the system of having NPCs independantly wander around the game environment (made possible by the virtual theatre engine) are probably detrimental to the gaming experience in the eyes of a modern player.

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #24 on: 27 Jun 2018, 09:08 »
I say theoretically, though, because I don't recall seeing any adventure game that actually has a fully dynamic context menu.

I've seen one in the past made with AGS, but it was made for russian community competition (RuMAGS) and I don't think it was ever added to database (and do not remember the title).

Author coded a dynamically constructed honeycomb-shaped context menu (kind of like this), supporting many simultaneous items added in spiralling order. I felt that was pretty cool, although the game was closer to "visual novel"/"first person look" style of game, and this UI perhaps worked better for that.
« Last Edit: 27 Jun 2018, 09:11 by Crimson Wizard »

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #25 on: 27 Jun 2018, 09:14 »
Snarky, when my verb coin appears, there's hotspot text hovering nearby, that will change to say, "open draw" for interact, or "look at draw" for, well, you know. So, there's no doubt on what was clicked on. :)

I don't really like one click, i like to be choosing if I want to look at something or interact with it. having only one choice of clicking the left mouse button feels like I have less control than the little control one generally has already in a point and click adventure game.

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #26 on: 27 Jun 2018, 12:35 »
If someone is making an adventure game where there really are custom interactions for most objects, with a huge variety of actions, or where there's a lot of specialized information to bring up about objects (perhaps you carry some kind of scanner that can present useful data, idk) then perhaps a "verb coin" or some other kind of pop-up menu/display would be warranted. Sure.
I couldn't agree more. :)
You see, verb coins aren't perfect. But the whole discussion on this thread has proven that no interface is perfect. I've heard compelling arguments for why you shouldn't use any of the common interfaces. No one uses the right mouse button on the left-click right-click interface, no one would think of clicking twice with a single-click interface, the 9-Verb interface has too many options that usually go unused, the Sierra interface involves you right clicking a whole bunch of times, the text parser requires you to guess what the designer expects you to write. They all have problems, and some interfaces solve the problems that the others have.
As your comment suggests, you need to pick the right interface for your game and your audience.

Although with how you and Babar have been talking, I was starting to think that a verb coin killed your parents or something. (laugh)

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #27 on: 27 Jun 2018, 14:26 »
I just find the verbcoin to be a compromise UI system that takes the worst of both worlds and adds some extra problems of its own. I honestly can't think how a game would be better served with it rather than something else on either side. Obviously I can't say without seeing something like that in action, but even Snarky's example, which I'm imagining would be something like Lure of the Temptress seems it would be either too complex with too many possibilities (and spoilers or jokes- "Oh, I can squish the knife inside of the cake? Great, so THAT's how I am able to get it to the guy in prison! And here I was just planning on cutting a slice"), or too simple and thus unnecessary.
The verbcoin as it was used, had 2 advantages that I could see, either of which could be done better with another system, but the combination of both being what seemed to necessitate it:
- Verbcoin clears up screen real-estate (except two-click, one-click, or even Sierra iconbar pop-up systems do that better)
- Verbcoin allows greater choice of action (except the verblist does that better)

To list down the most perfect possible implementation of the verbcoin (culled from comments here):

Left-clicking where there's no interactable makes you walk there
Left-clicking where there's an interactable opens up the verb coin
What does right-clicking do? Is it unnecessary? A shortcut for the most common/obvious interaction?

The verbcoin opens in such a way so as to not block what you want to work on.
It makes a frame around the object (could be distracting), or it opens offset
Near the edges of the screen, the verbcoin that pops up will have to be displaced differently, making where the player has to move the mouse after be an unfixed thing.

The verbcoin has to be designed so as not to be so big as to cover too much of the screen, but not so small so that there isn't constant misclicking. What is this size in proportion to the size of the screen?

Will the verbcoin pause the gameplay when it is opened? This seems to be the more traditional behaviour, but it causes things on screen to be covered if there are lots of moving bits, not to mention how the verbcoin itself is covering stuff. If the verbcoin was not paused, however, we'd have it worse, with things happen that we can't see clearly, and if we made a mistake with what we clicked, we could be in trouble.

Speaking of making mistakes, how would the verbcoin handle a misclick?
Simply moving the mouse out of the UI space can cause it to close, but this could lead to problems where the UI is constantly unintentionally closed (goes back to the issue of the perfect sweet-spot size of the verbcoin),
The other option is to have the player click outside the UI region, and click again what they actually meant to click.
« Last Edit: 27 Jun 2018, 14:28 by Babar »
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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #28 on: 27 Jun 2018, 15:25 »
Speaking of making mistakes, how would the verbcoin handle a misclick?
Simply moving the mouse out of the UI space can cause it to close, but this could lead to problems where the UI is constantly unintentionally closed (goes back to the issue of the perfect sweet-spot size of the verbcoin),
The other option is to have the player click outside the UI region, and click again what they actually meant to click.

What about "ability wheel" kind of UI, where regular cursor gets locked and/or hidden, and verb highlighted depending on the direction of mouse move? This prevents from misclicking outside.
This may still need to complement with touchscreen somehow.

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #29 on: 27 Jun 2018, 15:50 »
We do have a thread about verbcoins every couple of months, and they generally show that using a verbcoin will prevent a substantial amount of people from playing your game. Bear in mind that AGS forum users are more knowledgeable (and more tolerant) of different GUIs than players on the internet in general. So as a game designer, ask yourself if you think it is worth it to use your personal favorite interface, if that keeps people from playing your game.

This applies to several other interfaces as well. As I recall, Dave Gilbert once adviced this forum to avoid the Sierra interface, because only people who grew up with Sierra games understand it (and that's probably not a large part of your audience). It is clearly NOT equally true for every interface ("all options have detractors so it doesn't matter which I pick" is not a great way of making decisions :) )

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #30 on: 27 Jun 2018, 16:52 »
What about "ability wheel" kind of UI, where regular cursor gets locked and/or hidden, and verb highlighted depending on the direction of mouse move? This prevents from misclicking outside.
This may still need to complement with touchscreen somehow.
That seems like a cool effect, but will probably make the other kind of misclick even worse: when the player clicked the wrong object on the screen in the first place, there would have to be a "CANCEL" option among the other verbs (or right-clicking to cancel?)
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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #31 on: 27 Jun 2018, 17:35 »
Soon we will have an interface where the game reality simulation just reads the idea you had in your mind for using a hotspot and then obeys that thought.

Or... do we already have that..?

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #32 on: 27 Jun 2018, 17:49 »
I swear some people played through The Fowl Fleet without right clicking on anything (even though it tells you how to do it), and then complained that the puzzles didn't make sense.

It just might be that bad walkthroughs explain the phenomenon:

Let's pretend you're a busy reviewer and that you need to play through a looong Point & Click. You'd probably need to expend lots of energy and brain juice to solve all those riddles. But the deadline is near, and, well, there's that internet so conveniently at hand, and, well, a walkthrough can be found.

Now here's the thing: A lot of (badly written) walkthroughs just list the clicks necessary for getting to the end screen:
Quote
“Pick up the YELLOW THINGUMMY behind the rose bush, then knock on the BRASS DOOR, when the POLICE OGRE answers, you get a DIALOG where you choose 3, 1, 2, 4, 5. The police ogre will hand you a BROKEN FLOOBY.”


Note that those walkthroughs DON'T usually tell you how you would deduce that knocking on the door was the right thing to do at that point in time. You might perhaps get that easily if you have EXAMINEd the door beforehand, but this examination isn't required to get you to the end screen, so the walkthrough doesn't record the right click on the door.

Also note that all the clicks you do for advancing the game (opening doors, responding in dialogs, picking things up) are usually left clicks; you need the right clicks for finding things out.

The effect is that the time-pressed reviewer is confronted with a riddle, can't be assed to think about the solution, consults the walkthrough, is given a list of left clicks with little or no context, exclaims “I'd NEVER have arrived at THAT solution” and complains that the riddles “don't make sense“.
« Last Edit: 27 Jun 2018, 17:55 by fernewelten »

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #33 on: 27 Jun 2018, 18:42 »
We do have a thread about verbcoins every couple of months, and they generally show that using a verbcoin will prevent a substantial amount of people from playing your game. Bear in mind that AGS forum users are more knowledgeable (and more tolerant) of different GUIs than players on the internet in general.
Is that true though?
Because from what I've been seeing, it's seems more likely that the opposite is true. With the users on this forum being less tolerant, and the casual players not really giving a crap, so long as it's clear how the interface works.

Maybe I should look at the Steam reviews for the Day of the Tentacle remake, and see how many complain about the verb coin that was added and how the interface was changed. I'm sure I'll find loads
...
And after doing a quick search, no one has mentioned it. See, no one cares. Only us elitists do.

I can't even find anyone complaining about the option for a verb coin when looking at the reviews and the forum discussions for Randal's Monday.
None of the reviews on the GOG page for Curse of Monkey Island mentions the verb coin or interface either!
Please, someone, correct me if I'm overlooking something here, because even I'm starting to find this hard to believe. Surely someone would at least mention it!
« Last Edit: 27 Jun 2018, 18:57 by Danvzare »

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #34 on: 27 Jun 2018, 19:30 »
I doubt most people outside of AGS even know what a verbcoin is, so you're not going to find people complaining about "verbcoins". And if this is their only experience with the game, they probably wouldn't be able to even pin down exactly what is bothering them about it (unless they're game devs, perhaps, and look at it through that lens).
For the Day of the Tentacle Remaster, however, going through the reviews, especially of people who played it back in the day, nobody is comparing the new interface favourably to the old, in fact, I am seeing complaints about the context sensitive wheel giving spoilers, and that you can't walk and interact with stuff.
EDIT: :cheesy: at the thread title
« Last Edit: 27 Jun 2018, 19:47 by Babar »
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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #35 on: 27 Jun 2018, 21:37 »
Maybe I should look at the Steam reviews for the Day of the Tentacle remake,
DOTT allows the player to choose between three different interfaces, only one of which is verbcoin; plus controller support and keyboard shortcuts. Clearly nobody is going to complain about that.

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #36 on: 28 Jun 2018, 01:37 »
The effect is that the time-pressed reviewer is confronted with a riddle, can't be assed to think about the solution, consults the walkthrough, is given a list of left clicks with little or no context, exclaims “I'd NEVER have arrived at THAT solution” and complains that the riddles “don't make sense“.

I think you just found the solution to what Ali has been wondering about that reviewer.

They do exactly this on Mostly Walking when they get too stuck and fed up with a game. They quit halfway through The Last Express even though the mechanic they were most interested in was the time-rewind feature and never used it except once at the start to show how cool it was and then instantly forgot its existance. They couldn't figure out what to do next because they had missed a vital event. So instead of rewinding time they gave up and used a walkthrough and were like "Oh my God, you won't believe what we were supposed to do. How the @%&# is anyone supposed to figure that out?!" and ragequit the game forever.

Ali, I'd say you can safely call that reviewer out with "DISCLAIMER: The puzzles in the game make absolutely zero sense if you use a walkthrough as this reviewer obviously has."

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #37 on: 28 Jun 2018, 09:12 »
They're my personal favorite, but I didn't let that make UI decisions for me; instead, it was pretty much a requirement because of our game having two protagonists that both have a special ability in addition to use and examine. It should also work decently on tablets with a bit of tweaking.

From a comfort and user-friendliness perspective, I'd theoretically be in favor of the one-click interface, but that tends to remove the 'examine' part, and is what really brought down Broken Age for me, for example. I agree with the fact that people are idiots and forget to right click - I am in fact one of those idiots, and went through half of Primordia (I think?) until I realized I could right click on stuff (and kept forgetting throughout).

Unforeseen Incidents did an interesting thing with both click and right click acting as the same thing, but tbh that was super confusing to me, and maybe I'm slow but I think I was half-way through the game until I realized that both clicks do the same. Having the character say one thing on left click and another on right click made it hard to be sure what did what exactly, and I would've preferred right click to open the inventory (I may be in the minority, but I dread inventories that appear on hover in games).

So, yeah, if you do have at least 3 interactions that are consistently used throughout your game I think verb coin is justified and welcome. We actually experimented a 2 click no verb coin interface by accessing the sidekick from the inventory, but it lead to more annoying clicking every time you wanted to use her on a hotspot and...eeeh.

Another interesting thing that I think Unavowed does, and can lead to a nice compromise, is descriptions of hotspot appearing in text while hovering over them. Saves you VO budget, too! :)

And, as a verb coin user and endorser, I do agree they should instantly pop up when you click the hotspot. I have no idea if it's also doable in AGS, but you can both click-hold down-drag and release, or click, verb coin pops up, click option. It's pretty friendly, but again, it's Unity, don't know about AGS.

And that's my rant done :)
« Last Edit: 28 Jun 2018, 10:45 by Mr Underhill »

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #38 on: 28 Jun 2018, 09:52 »
Hey Mr Underhill! As I said on here, I have right click for inventory, so you'll like that! I also was confused with Unforeseen Incident's left click and right click, I was trying to work out what was look and what was interact. Although it didn't take me as long to work it out, haha.

Here is my verb coin. I said it went see through, but I was mistaken, that is when it's at the bottom of the screen so you can see the text as it was obscuring under the verb coin. (My wall is lacking detail because I haven't finished drawing this background)

I would actually like to have it one click to bring up the verb coin. But it's too advanced for me to code. :(


Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #39 on: 28 Jun 2018, 10:43 »
Maybe going radiant might help? I find it a bit easier to either flick the mouse to the left, right or down instead of a vertical or horizontal arrangement.



I think it also makes life easier for the player in case a touch screen is involved.


E: Scratch that, just saw that you only have two options, so my point is moot.
« Last Edit: 28 Jun 2018, 10:46 by Mr Underhill »

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #40 on: 28 Jun 2018, 11:06 »
Alright, I've been thinking about this for quite a while, and I think I've finally found a way to settle this debate once and for all.
We've been arguing about opinions here, such as whether or not the verbcoin covering what you've clicked on, being important. And we've been basing these opinions on our previous studies of design. But as we all know, what's considered best practice in one book, can be considered worst practice in another book. Just look at the oxford comma, or indentation style for programming.

So we need to look at facts. Now correct me if I'm wrong here, but if verb coins are truly a terrible interface, then people will be complaining about them. We'll see a lot less favorable reviews for games which use them, we'll see clearly less sales for games that have verbcoins, and we'll no doubt find loads of complaints about how people just couldn't get into the game because it felt clunky for some reason.
Point me towards all of these things, and I will gladly admit to the verbcoin being terrible. I'll have to, because all of the evidence will be pointing that way.

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #41 on: 28 Jun 2018, 11:23 »
Excuse me, this perhaps is a little offtopic, but I found this 2016th blog entry recently, and keep laughing very hard now:
https://spacequesthistorian.com/2016/08/16/battle-of-the-u-i-s-pt-2-verb-coin-vs-single-click/

Quote
What’s not time consuming, but somehow more infuriating, is the single-click interface <...>

The single-click interface is, in my opinion, the worst adventure game interface of all time. It reduces you to just clicking randomly at objects with the hope that the protagonist will do something worthwhile. You have literally no control over what the character does, with the exception of trying various inventory items on these objects.

You can make many arguments for or against interfaces like the verb coin, the icon bar, or the verb bar, in terms of user-friendliness versus freedom, or how it immerses you in the game. The single-click interface fails on all those accounts.

Sure, you can call it user-friendly, but it’s the most dumb kind of user-friendliness, and it makes the player feel dumb. Worse yet, it also makes the player feel trapped by the protagonist’s (or, rather, the game designer’s) whim, and it completely breaks immersion by not letting you be in control.

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #42 on: 28 Jun 2018, 11:38 »
Now correct me if I'm wrong here, but if verb coins are truly a terrible interface, then people will be complaining about them. We'll see a lot less favorable reviews for games which use them, we'll see clearly less sales for games that have verbcoins, and we'll no doubt find loads of complaints about how people just couldn't get into the game because it felt clunky for some reason.

In fact, if you Google "verb coin" I find that the majority of relevant results are criticism of the UI style, or discussions about whether it is any good. So, yeah...

But even if you don't agree with that impression, I think your assumption is way too strong:

-People's expectations are based on experience: if they are familiar with a certain design they will rarely complain about it even though it is clearly inferior to alternatives
-Many adventure games have poor UIs (whether verb coin or not) – the standard of comparison is low
-Adventure game UIs receive little attention overall (few reviews even mention exactly what sort of interaction style the game employs)
-There are too many confounding factors (other elements of game quality, age of the game, etc.) to identify an overall trend

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #43 on: 28 Jun 2018, 12:10 »
In fact, if you Google "verb coin" I find that the majority of relevant results are criticism of the UI style, or discussions about whether it is any good. So, yeah...

But even if you don't agree with that impression, I think your assumption is way too strong:

-People's expectations are based on experience: if they are familiar with a certain design they will rarely complain about it even though it is clearly inferior to alternatives
-Many adventure games have poor UIs (whether verb coin or not) – the standard of comparison is low
-Adventure game UIs receive little attention overall (few reviews even mention exactly what sort of interaction style the game employs)
-There are too many confounding factors (other elements of game quality, age of the game, etc.) to identify an overall trend
A quick Google search for me yields nothing but people asking how to program one. But that's just Google being Google. If you find so many results about people criticizing the UI style, then clearly plenty of people are criticizing and discussing it. Like what we're doing right now.

Also I think you're right about my assumption being too strong. Your reasons why are good. But those reasons pretty much makes this whole discussion meaningless.
This debate is an act of futility. We may as well be arguing whether DC is better than Marvel, because all we're doing is spouting opinions with nothing to back them up with other than more opinons. (And I already know someone is going to disagree with that, which is my point exactly.) And what's worse, the more we argue, the more we'll believe that we're right.

So at this point I have one of three options. I can abandon this thread, and let everyone argue until either the conversation dies down or the thread gets locked, and this will become another thread people will reference to point out that verbcoins are bad, despite no conclusion ever being reached. I can switch sides, and start to fight against verbcoins, because no one else here is ever going to switch sides, and at least I'll be able to say I'm open minded. Or I can keep up with this meaningless fight. I'm leaning towards the first option.

Either way, due to the reasons Snarky listed, there is no proof of whether or not verbcoins are bad. So all we've got is conjecture.
Unless someone is going to disagree with the reasons Snarky listed, in which case, where is this proof of verbcoins causing people to dislike your game?
« Last Edit: 28 Jun 2018, 12:44 by Danvzare »

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #44 on: 28 Jun 2018, 12:49 »
Unless someone is going to disagree with the reasons Snarky listed, in which case, where is this proof of verbcoins causing people to dislike your game?

I think examples of people quitting games because they don't know how to use verb-coins are probably proof? Some people hate single-click games, but no one has ever stopped playing one because they were confused.

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #45 on: 28 Jun 2018, 13:08 »
It's interesting then, to ask how people got along with Hellblade, Setsuna's sacrifice, a Ps4 game that explains nothing, not even what buttons block or attack (because it detracts from immersion apparently). I kept dying when she was on the floor from too many hits,  and because it was so cinematic, I thought it was a gameover cutscene. But it turned out you could mash the buttons and she will definitely get back up if it's the first time she collapses.

I'm going to stick to my verb coin in any case, I absolutely hated sierra right clicking through cursors in my last game, but had even less know how on gui's than I do now. So I was thrilled to have the verb coin, something I've always enjoyed in curse of monkey island. I just hope those who dislike verb coins will find the game intriguing enough to put up with it..

And yes. I will definitely spell it out to the player, with perhaps even a small animation with a mouse graphic to demonstrate.
« Last Edit: 28 Jun 2018, 13:10 by ManicMatt »

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #46 on: 28 Jun 2018, 13:45 »
I think you're twisting the definition of "bad" a bit in your favor, Danvzare: Clearly it is possible in 2018 to make a popular adventure game that uses a verb coin interface, and you probably won't face any significant backlash. If that's your standard, then sure, it's "not bad".

But if your standards are usability (with aspects like learnability, error rate, speed, etc.), immersion, expressiveness, transparency, flow, etc., there is evidence to back up the criticism. Threads like the one that spawned this, where an experienced adventure gamer just could not figure out how to play a verb-coin game, represents such evidence (as Ali points out). The observations of game makers who have observed numerous playtests of adventure games with different UIs (e.g. Ron Gilbert) is another. Some of it can be verified analytically.

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #47 on: 28 Jun 2018, 13:48 »
I think the reason this is going nowhere it's that it's devs discussing games, whereas this should simply be put to the players - not to mention that for this to go from anecdotal to statistical you'd need quite a lot of people. I'd say that unless, say, 500 people pitch in, the results would still be irrelevant. And getting together 500 people that play adventure games is a bit of a tall order ;-D

And let me remind you folks that last year's most commercially and critically acclaimed game sported the clunkiest and most antiquated UI of them all (and didn't even take full advantage of it, heheh).

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #48 on: 28 Jun 2018, 15:01 »
Someone needs to make a game called "GUI Quest" where the player collects the elements to assemble their own user interface as the game goes on, starting out with one-click. They can design it as they want and continue playing the game as the interface evolves, for better or worse.

Like "The Stanley Parable" but about GUIs instead of freedom of choice.

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #49 on: 28 Jun 2018, 15:15 »
Someone needs to make a game called "GUI Quest" where the player collects the elements to assemble their own user interface as the game goes on, starting out with one-click. They can design it as they want and continue playing the game as the interface evolves, for better or worse.

Like "The Stanley Parable" but about GUIs instead of freedom of choice.

Oh man I would play that in a heartbeat!(laugh)Make it so!
« Last Edit: 28 Jun 2018, 15:45 by Mr Underhill »

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #50 on: 28 Jun 2018, 15:24 »
Haven't played The Stanley Parable, but GUI Quest does sound a lot like Evoland. But with adventure games instead of rpgs.
So, it should also go through different graphics styles and other changes in adventure games over the decades.

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #51 on: 28 Jun 2018, 15:33 »
Starting with text adventure, yay.

You are in a room

LOOK AT ROOM

You make a note of the amount of room in this room.

GO WEST

You don't have a compass or know which way is west.

GO LEFT

You go left, falling into the hole. You have died.

GAME OVER

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #52 on: 28 Jun 2018, 15:46 »
Starting with text adventure, yay.

You are in a room


LOOK AT ROOM

Single click, two-click, verbs or verb coin?

QUIT GAME

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #53 on: 28 Jun 2018, 20:21 »
I think examples of people quitting games because they don't know how to use verb-coins are probably proof? Some people hate single-click games, but no one has ever stopped playing one because they were confused.
Can we please stop ignoring that there is a difference between those hold-down-to-show and single-click verbcoins?

But Danvzare has a point: we don't have any facts yet. Maybe we should collect what we have?

GUI typeHow many interactions?Intuitive?Suitable for mobile devicesCovers screen spaceErgonomic
Lucas Arts 9-Verb GUI9Yes?YesYesNo (long distance mouse movements)
Sierra (right click rotate)~4NoNoNoNo (several clicks required)
Verbcoin (hold to open)2-4NoYesOnly when activeNo (hold)
Verbcoin (click to open)2-4YesYesOnly when activeYes
BASS (left-right click)2NoNoNoYes
Single click1YesYesNoYes

Intuitive means "can be figured out easily without a readme or tutorial"
With ergonomic I mean how convenient is it to use by mouse i.e. multiple clicks, long ways, holding buttons etc.
« Last Edit: 28 Jun 2018, 22:18 by cat »

Cassiebsg

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #54 on: 28 Jun 2018, 20:45 »
LOL

Well, my BSG game uses a verb-coin... but have no idea if I should keep it for the next, improve on it, or drop it for something else, since there's no feedback about it. :-\
But basically, and to address Snarky's dislike of the verb-coin:
- You do no have to hold down for it to pop-up. I use the right click to open it up.
- It will not close up, if you move the mouse away from it. To close you just either choose an option, or abort by right clicking (or left clicking anywhere else but an option).
- It does not obstruct what you clicked on (for the most part), as I made it a thin ring (transparent in the middle) with the options hanging a far enough away, but not far either.
- You can see/read what you clicked on, since there's also the hotspot text, that will stay on while the GUI is open.
- On the edges of the room I had to move the GUI enough pixels in, so here yes, there's a chance it might block what you clicked on. But you still have the text to remind you. This is a trade off. Yes.
- It's "context sensitive". As in it'll only show you coded options. If I only coded "Look" for a Lamp, then only the Look icon will show up. But if I decided to let the player talk to the lamp, then all I needed to do was code the talk interacting and it'll be shown.
- There are 4 options to choose from: Look, Talk, Interact and Blaster (as in draw your gun). Change character would also be here, if I had 2 characters to play with, making it 5 options (like I plan for my next BSG game... assuming I'll ever do it).

Did I forgot anything?

Oh, you can see it in action here (remember right click to open, anything else to close):
Spoiler: ShowHide




Ps - For the most part, I dislike single click games also.
« Last Edit: 28 Jun 2018, 20:49 by Cassiebsg »
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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #55 on: 28 Jun 2018, 20:46 »
I think examples of people quitting games because they don't know how to use verb-coins are probably proof? Some people hate single-click games, but no one has ever stopped playing one because they were confused.
Can we please stop ignoring that there is a difference between those hold-down-to-show and single-click verbcoins?

But Danvzare has a point: we don't have any facts yet. Maybe we should collect what we have?

GUI typeHow many interactions?Intuitive?Suitable for mobile devicesCovers screen spaceErgonomic
Lucas Arts 9-Verb GUI9Yes?YesYesNo (long distance mouse movements)
Sierra (right click rotate)~4NoNoNoNo (several clicks required)
Verbcoin (hold to open)2-4NoYesOnly when activeNo (hold)
Verbcoin (click to open)2-4YesYesOnly when activeYes
BASS (left-right click)2NoNoNoYes
Single click1YesYesNoYes

With ergonomic I mean how convenient is it to use by mouse i.e. multiple clicks, long ways, holding buttons etc.

This is great, I took the liberty to share it on the AGS discord. Thanks!

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #56 on: 28 Jun 2018, 20:49 »
Well, my BSG game uses a verb-coin... but have no idea if I should keep it for the next, improve on it, or drop it for something else, since there's no feedback about it. :-\
- You do no have to hold down for it to pop-up. I use the right click to open it up.
Ok, I'll give you honest feedback: I didn't like having to right click to open it. It was straining because it's not what I'm used to.

Quote
- It's "context sensitive". As in it'll only show you coded options. If I only coded "Look" for a Lamp, then only the Look icon will show up. But if I decided to let the player talk to the lamp, then all I needed to do was code the talk interacting and it'll be shown.
I like that part.

Cassiebsg

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #57 on: 28 Jun 2018, 20:52 »
Thanks Cat :)
I never thought about making it open with left click on hotspot. Only downside with this is one has rooms where there are tons of hotspots, might be hard click on a non-hotstop to walk there (though this is not the case in most games, so might never actually be a problem).

EDIT - Where you playing with a mouse in windows, or some other system? Cause I right click a lot in windows. And in 2 click games (yes, I'm on of those that uses the look and even clicks more than once just to make sure there's really one reply, and not a bunch of them... and if there's a bunch I just keep clicking until it starts repeating ;) I really don't want to miss anything!).
« Last Edit: 28 Jun 2018, 20:55 by Cassiebsg »
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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #58 on: 28 Jun 2018, 21:08 »
I was playing with a mouse in windows. It wasn't the right clicking itself (as you mention, two click games are no problem) but having to bend my mind to the new system. Call it inflexible if you want :P I have to admit, I didn't play that long, otherwise my mind probably would have adjusted to the system.
However, the interface was only a minor reason for me to stop playing, more important was the lack of time and not knowing anything all about BSG.

Cassiebsg

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #59 on: 28 Jun 2018, 21:21 »
Yes, time is the enemy. Work takes way too much of our free time... kid take the remaining. (roll)

Actually an easy fix. I could just code it to open up with left click too, or set up a setting in options to choose one or the other. If it helps, I wan always do an update. ;) Can't help with last part, except say that you really don't need to know that much about BSG (though it might help to get a joke or too... but not that much, since I'm not a very good writer... (wtf) ).

EDIT: Another thing that could be use with verbcoins, is the option of several option for each specific hotspot. Imagine that clicking in on an NPC you could choose a hand shake, a punch, a push or pull hair... On another NPC You had Talk, hand shake, push and shoot, etc... how to do this? One could use the costume proprieties, and the verbcoin would read what options were available for that particular character/object/hotspot. This could allow the game to have more than just the usual suspect verbs and have a more variety and context sensitivity options. Just a thought it occurred to me now based on all this discussion. Also there's the extra option of an additional verb if one needs more options that the verbcoin provides. That is that left click on hotspot (if one is just using right click to open the verbcoin) could do the look action. So one would have: Left click anywhere that is not a hotspot = walk, Left click on a hotspot = look, Right click on a hotspot open verbcoin... (and maybe an option in settings to invert mouse click when over hotspot...)
« Last Edit: 28 Jun 2018, 21:44 by Cassiebsg »
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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #60 on: 28 Jun 2018, 22:08 »
I agree with you cat, except that I think BASS is also very intuitive. But maybe tone it down to halfway intuitive as some users can't be bothered to rightclick on something to hear the hero's thoughts and maybe get a hint this way ;) :P
Also leftclick with BASS are 2 different interactions, talk or interact, depending if you click an object or a character. also walking, but this is for every guitype.

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #61 on: 28 Jun 2018, 22:09 »
I think examples of people quitting games because they don't know how to use verb-coins are probably proof? Some people hate single-click games, but no one has ever stopped playing one because they were confused.
Can we please stop ignoring that there is a difference between those hold-down-to-show and single-click verbcoins?

I acknowledged that you were right about that earlier in the thread. Nonetheless "verb-coin" as a category includes "traditional/bad verb-coin". I suspect that - as Cassiebsg says - the click-and-hold verb-coin was designed with hotspot-heavy rooms in mind.

cat

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #62 on: 28 Jun 2018, 22:16 »
I agree with you cat, except that I think BASS is also very intuitive. But maybe tone it down to halfway intuitive as some users can't be bothered to rightclick on something to hear the hero's thoughts and maybe get a hint this way ;) :P
I disagree. As we have heard before, not all players realise that a right click even exists. What I meant with intuitive is "can be figured out easily without a readme or tutorial".

Quote
Also leftclick with BASS are 2 different interactions, talk or interact, depending if you click an object or a character. also walking, but this is for every guitype.
Except for Sierra, where walk is a separate cursor. But you are right, walk could be considered a different interaction (but I think it would make the table more confusing)

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #63 on: 28 Jun 2018, 23:36 »
I'd say there are a lot more factors than the ones you listed, cat, but just wanted to point out that "Covers screen space" should probably more accurately be divided into "Uses up screen space that could be used otherwise" (eg. verbcoins in earlier LucasArts adventures, inventory in first Kyrandia, I think, etc.) and "Covers the playable screen" (eg. verbcoins, Sierra's VGA games, partially).
And technically, the number of interactions in all of them (except the last two) could be as many as the dev chooses (or can fit on screen) :grin:

Also, I'd say a more scientific use of ergonomic might be better. I think I remember the last thread about verb coins brought up Fitts's Law, which is quite useful here. So something like the LucasArts or Sierra verblist, with the buttons along the edges of the screen is actually MORE ergonomic, because the size is infinitely wide (in the case of Sierra; In LucasArts verblist, the lower buttons are infinitely wide, but the buttons themselves are quite large as well, so I'd say they are still ergonomic- and all this is talking about mouse, not touchscreen or mobile). Verbcoins, however, tend to be fairly small (otherwise they cover up too much of the screen, which is bad), so that can make them unergonomic.

Judging from my preliminary investigations, at least in terms of Fitt's law, verbcoin vs Sierra/LucasArts could be almost equal, but if we're talking about the hypothetical "perfect" solution, well done verblists could probably still win out (again, the limitation that verbcoins can't be too large comes in).
I'm trying to find a game screenshot to be able to approximate the values, but I'm tired and this seems complicated (the way players would use the two systems aren't really the same, so I'm being sure how to make them comparable). Someone else do the hard work? You might prove that verbcoin is even better (at least insofar as Fitts's Law goes) :P!
As a side note, talking about Fitts's Law, I started wondering why LucasArts didn't put the more common interactions (I'd say maybe Use/Talk/Look, or something other than Look if people figured out the right-click shortcut) right at the bottom...

PS: I just tried BaSS right now because I didn't really remember it, and I think it gives a very interesting solution for the "People don't even realise they can click the other mouse button" problem. With the right click to interact, left click to walk/look, as a casual player, you would begin by left-clicking stuff, which gives very obvious "Look" responses, but there's no way to continue without interacting with stuff, so you'd end up right-clicking (people might not think to click and hold the mouse, but they would eventually right-click, I think).
« Last Edit: 28 Jun 2018, 23:51 by Babar »
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Ali

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #64 on: 29 Jun 2018, 01:12 »
In the era of touch screens, I don't know if you can assume that someone would eventually right click. Making the thing the player wants to do (interact) harder to do seems like a poor choice. (I say that as an enthusiastic Blender user.)

I'm not sure I understand what you mean about buttons being infinitely wide in SCUMM / Sierra interfaces? Surely distance is a factor too? In those interfaces the mouse has to sweep all the way across the screen, whereas the verb-coin puts the buttons right next to the thing you wanted to interact with.

EDIT: Thanks for explaining!
« Last Edit: 29 Jun 2018, 13:22 by Ali »

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #65 on: 29 Jun 2018, 03:58 »
I'm not sure I understand what you mean about buttons being infinitely wide in SCUMM / Sierra interfaces? Surely distance is a factor too? In those interfaces the mouse has to sweep all the way across the screen, whereas the verb-coin puts the buttons right next to the thing you wanted to interact with.
Fitts's Law involves width of the click target, and distance to the click target. If one assumes that a mouse is being used (rather than it being a touchscreen), then for buttons that are along the edge of the screen, their width would be "infinite" along the direction of motion, because you can't go beyond the edge of the screen.
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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #66 on: 29 Jun 2018, 09:16 »
But Danvzare has a point: we don't have any facts yet. Maybe we should collect what we have?
Regarding economicity, note that the click-to-open verbcoin requires click - precision movement - click again, which is not ergonomic. Conversely, the LucasArts GUI has right-click for the most common interaction AND has keyboard shortcuts, making it ergonomic. Sierra's is also ergonomic because its cursor type is persistent (most players select 'eye' and then start clicking it everywhere; this is different from having to select the verb for every action); it also uses right-click AND keyboard shortcuts to bypass the long mouse movement to the top of the screen. And Fitt's law also applies, as Babar points out.

Lucas GUI can handle up to fifteen interactions (e.g. Zak McKracken) whereas Sierra's goes up to about 10 in e.g. Quest for Glory.

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #67 on: 29 Jun 2018, 09:52 »
I think the Secret Files series had a pretty great solution to the two click interface on pc, where the mouse cursor consisted of a small icon of a computer mouse,
and when the player moved it over a hotspot that could be interacted with, the left mouse-button would light up green, or if the hotspot could be looked at the right button
would be green, and there was a tiny eye symbol next to the right button on that sprite.

I think a dynamic mouse sprite changing on context is a neater solution than a verb coin, and more intuitive if you use easily understood symbols,
like making the mouse change into a hand over something to interact with or an eye/magnifying glass over a hotspot you can look at.

Verb coins or menus can still work on more slow-paced games that want to encourage the player to fully investigate an area,
but they're pure torture when you have to solve a timed puzzle. If anything, it reminds me of David Cage's games, where characters have to do
complex quick-time events for every interaction, and the result is that most players struggle to make the characters do even simple tasks like
opening a door.

I personally don't use more complex GUI's much since it means coding so many events that have no impact on the game and most players won't even consider, for example, most players who see a door will try to open it, but few will try to talk to the door, so why even have it as an option then?

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #68 on: 29 Jun 2018, 09:57 »
the LucasArts GUI has right-click for the most common interaction AND has keyboard shortcuts, making it ergonomic. Sierra's is also ergonomic because its cursor type is persistent (most players select 'eye' and then start clicking it everywhere; this is different from having to select the verb for every action); it also uses right-click AND keyboard shortcuts to bypass the long mouse movement to the top of the screen.

Now that I remember this, I think the lack of shortcuts (of any kind) was what annoyed me in the verb coin most. You have to perfom same verb selection over and over again. I don't know if there's verb-coin game that lets you skip verb coin. That should've been possible to implement though.

To think of it, this also may be the weakest spot of the context-based verb menu. Since each hotspot may have its own verbs, there is no way to use shortcuts. Well, maybe only for most basic verbs that are used everywhere.
But then, with context menus, you often won't know which commands are available for a new hotspot until you click on it for the first time.
« Last Edit: 29 Jun 2018, 10:01 by Crimson Wizard »

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #69 on: 29 Jun 2018, 10:16 »
Now that I remember this, I think the lack of shortcuts (of any kind) was what annoyed me in the verb coin most. You have to perfom same verb selection over and over again. I don't know if there's verb-coin game that lets you skip verb coin.
That's precisely the problem. Any interface needs shortcuts, because the point of an interface is not to look pretty, but to make it easy for the player to interact. For instance, Full Throttle's verbcoin does offer keyboard shortcuts.

It's the same as non-skippable cutscenes, really. If as a developer you find that you spent hard work on the cutscene therefore everybody must watch it, or you made the popup interface look really nice therefore everybody must use it, then you're just going to end up frustrating players.

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #70 on: 29 Jun 2018, 13:00 »
While I agree that keyboard shortcuts can be helpful for experienced gamers, IMO a point-and-click UI should also be convenient to use without a keyboard. Actually, I hate it when I have to use a keyboard in adventure games (for example for opening the inventory or typing in passwords). I often play games on the TV while sitting on a sofa.

Anyway, I've added the column "Clicks required for action" and text parser UI:

GUI typeHow many interactions?Intuitive?Suitable for mobile devicesCovers screen spaceErgonomicClicks required for action
Text parserInfiniteNo(Yes)YesNo (switching between typing and mouse)0
Lucas Arts 9-Verb GUI9Yes?YesYesNo (long distance mouse movements)2 (1 for default action)
Sierra (right click rotate)~4NoNoNoNo (several clicks required)1-4, depending on how it is used by the player
Verbcoin (hold to open)2-4NoYesOnly when activeNo (hold)1
Verbcoin (click to open)2-4YesYesOnly when activeYes2
BASS (left-right click)2NoNoNoYes1
Single click1YesYesNoYes1

Of course, this is just my personal view. Feel free to post different tables, aspects, etc.

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #71 on: 29 Jun 2018, 13:07 »
I never once used a keyboard shortcut while playing an adventure game (for interface, skipping text sure). Always one of those 'huh' moments for me when people mention them.

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #72 on: 29 Jun 2018, 13:22 »
I hate it when I have to use a keyboard in adventure games (for example for […] typing in passwords)

I suppose one could code a game where passwords and savegame names have to be entered in Morse. :P

Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #73 on: 29 Jun 2018, 13:34 »
I specifically underlined "shortcuts (of any kind)", because I also don't remember using keyboard much in P&C games. (Well, maybe that's because I don't know they exist)
But it doesn't have to be keyboard.
For example, in Sierra and 9-verb the last chosen verb may be remembered and repeated endlessly. This is especially useful when "looking" around.
With verb-coin interface you usually have to manually choose "look" for every item on screen.

Perhaps verb coin or contextual verb menu may be useful to know "what you may do with the object", but if there were a way to quickly fire some action too, that would save some trouble.
« Last Edit: 29 Jun 2018, 13:37 by Crimson Wizard »

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #74 on: 29 Jun 2018, 14:27 »
For example, in Sierra and 9-verb the last chosen verb may be remembered and repeated endlessly. This is especially useful when "looking" around.
With verb-coin interface you usually have to manually choose "look" for every item on screen.

Perhaps verb coin or contextual verb menu may be useful to know "what you may do with the object", but if there were a way to quickly fire some action too, that would save some trouble.

Well, how about a verbcoin with a persistant cursor? So it's just like choosing the Sierra cursor except without the clicking/scrolling involved?

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #75 on: 29 Jun 2018, 17:31 »
I never once used a keyboard shortcut while playing an adventure game (for interface, skipping text sure). Always one of those 'huh' moments for me when people mention them.

And that is fine. The point is that different players favor different control methods, and therefore a well-designed interface will have multiple different ways of giving a command, to facilitate a greater number of players. This goes for applications as well, e.g. there are four or five different ways of bold-ing text in MS Word.

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Re: The Danger of Verb Coins!
« Reply #76 on: 29 Jun 2018, 17:54 »
what about a verbcoin that IS a context menu that on click lists all the Lucas Arts verbs and all the sierra mousemodes like a windows context menu... *shivers* that would be ugly :X