Author Topic: The Danger of Verb Coins!  (Read 4168 times)

Danvzare

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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.

Snarky

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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

Danvzare

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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 »

Ali

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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).

Mandle

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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 »

VampireWombat

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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

cat

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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!

cat

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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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cat

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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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