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Author Topic: The Danger of Verb Coins!  (Read 3071 times)

selmiak

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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.

Ali

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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)

Babar

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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 »

Babar

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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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Radiant

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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 »

Radiant

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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.

Privateer Puddin'

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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 »

Mandle

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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?

Radiant

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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.

selmiak

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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