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Hawkey

~ Suggestions & Improvement ~

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I don't mean to sound abrasive but when I first saw screenshots of this game, my impression was "wow, that's a lot of words." Even the non-textual aspect of the game looked overcomplicated. Nevertheless, I am pretty open-minded to games that try something unusual, and I like simulation games a lot, so I used google to find this website. Then I read the page and laughed when I saw "intended for audiences ages 9+." It almost looks like the writers for this game went out of their way to make their words more complicated (they might just be too educated to be able to use a simple vocabulary, though), yet it says "9+." I just had to show my friends.

 

Nevertheless, I wanted to try out the game. Character creation was a hilarious and infuriating experience. So much negative space and so little functional space.

My screen resolution 1366x768 so some of the unnecessary space is cut off, but oh man! There is no need for the logo to be that huge, whereas the lists, the most important part, is so tiny. On my screen, the logo took up half my screen vertically, and the whole time I was thinking "why?!" I appreciate that there is a back button as well as the next button indicating how many more "options" I can pick, but as far as I could tell there was NO indication of how many pages of lists I had to go through. On the first page I filled my list, and then I clicked next and went, "Oh, another page?" and I went back and took some off. Each time I thought I had hit the final page of lists, and each time I would be wrong, and I would think, "This is ridiculous," especially since there was no scroll bar (can't tell how long the lists themselves were) so I had no idea how long this crammed little listbox went on for unless I scrolled all the way to the bottom first, then went through them. (edit: in a similar vein, the half-dome shaped scroll buttons in action selection aren't obvious enough. I didn't know they were scroll buttons for quite a while, I didn't even notice the text on it because it was so light.Try turning the text black or just plain making it arrows? Pictures "speak louder" than words.)

It would be much more sensible if there was a bunch of (non-clickable) tabs to show you your progress through character creation. Smaller logo, smaller flavor text, more room for what's really important. I also disagree with the suggestion on the first page of this thread. I don't want the "flavor text" on top, I want to immediately know what boost it has on my character. Maybe it would be better if you put them in two different boxes?

 

I can tell that this isn't the most mainstream game and that a lot of work was put into it, but the game, in all aspects, really seem overcomplicated and not all that intuitive. I might even go so far as to suggest that the calendar only list one day at a time, as when I first started I thought I had to plan the entire week, and then I wasn't sure if that brown button at the bottom did anything, as there was no text or hover animation for it like the red VERIFY button. I would definitely recommend putting a GO! or some kind of explanatory text around it if you're going to keep the text near the red button. Also, an explanation of the holidays by clicking on the day's name would be nice so I could, for example, train practical jokes in preparation for that day of pixies or what have you.

Furthermore, I admit I didn't check to see if I could do it, but being able to close some of the Daily Feedback categories, or one of them in particular: the rumors one. I really could care less about all the classes random students have been attending, it's just a bore to scroll through whenever I want to see the current merit point score.

 

Other small trivial suggestions would be to be able to generate a random name and surname and also those white "shine spots" in character portraits... I rarely ever realize that they're supposed to be shine spots and I either go "why is there a strange white feather on their head" or go "what, a maggot?" The character portraits are like, one of the best visual aspects of the game, the white blobs don't really do anything but detract from them.

 

I don't suppose much can be done about the massive amount of phemes and skills without changing the entire game, so I will leave this post at that. I'm not sure what made me play long enough for me to get to the point to start to enjoy it, but by reading posts on this forum is looks like you have some very nice people who actually do like the game and it would seem that the staff is also very nice. As such, I wish you luck in your endeavors.

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Reibear;

 

Thanks for the comments. There are some good suggestions here.

 

I am not sure if we will be able to revamp Backgrounds prior to Year 2, but a sense of progression (and ending) would be good to have.

 

We'll try to have a little more intuitive explanation for the two buttons- perhaps the appearance of text around it, when you mouse over?

 

I like the idea of being able to click on the Holidays to see an explanation- I'll see what we can do.

 

I hope you continue to play the game, and hopefully continue to enjoy it!

 

Thanks again. :)

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One strong recommendation is that you guys consider moving the lore column to the left part.

 

lore is very long and require my pressing down on the down/up scroll buttons without the benefit of pgup/dwn.

Lore got many subsections

press lore

press academagia compounding centre

press academagia compounding centre ability (out of 4 abilities it has)

check the description

 

If it's on the left we can move around the lore section easier.

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Laclongguan;

 

I do not think we will move it over to the left (because it would not have a category specific to it), but we do plan to allow you to collapse them (and probably move them below Locations.)

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There is no need for the logo to be that huge, whereas the lists, the most important part, is so tiny.

 

You are totally right! I am ashamed that thought didn't ever cross my mind (during feedback) :) - just one of those things where you need to step back, take a break, and get a fresh pair of eyes!

 

So many details :blush::huh:

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You really should make a small change to the letter from Gera and Oan's visit. Namely, write in big letters that it's the TUTORIAL.

 

It seems to me that most complaints about the game's first days comes from people who haven't played/read them for some reason. They explain almost all of the functionality in the game, including the calender's week/day relation.

 

 

My other issue is that it's game mechanically too powerful to Study a subject. Supposing grades will matter in Year 2, you are likely to Study all of your subjects to 10. However, if you do it in the beginning of the game, you can even get increases to attributes, which in turn helps you accumulate skill points. It is therefore game mechanically optimal to Study everything to 10 as soon as you can. And therefore it isn't really a meaningful choice, as the default is to simply Study them as soon as you can.

 

I understand that the game supports a wide variety of playing styles and all that, but if one option is so obviously more powerful than the rest, it becomes annoying. I am a person of poor willpower, so it's very hard for me to resist the temptation of Studying the subjects to 10 immediately. And if I do that, it becomes more of a chore instead of a fun "I wonder what I should do this day?". I understand that part(much?) of the blame is on me, because it's my choice, but it'd be great if there was some game mechanical reason not to Study them to the max as soon as possible. For example, you get huge Stress if you Study a lot in a small time, or perhaps you can Study only 1 level per month. Or simply take away the attribute increase from some of the subjects and turn it into a skill increase. Many of them already are simple skill increases, and that's okay. But as some are attribute increases, the advantage of Studying them early on is simply far too good. There's no point in Training your weak parts of a subject, if you can just Study the subject itself and gain the attribute linked to it, whereupon you will gain the skills a lot faster as well.

 

Kinda takes away some of the point of being a rebellious youth who doesn't like to study, but loves to have fun, if each time you play you are "forced"(by your own weakness) to be a bookworm.

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Tiavals,

 

I think you are right. Perhaps there should be a chance of your study failing if you're trying to get it higher than your training in the subskiils.

 

For example, if you're trying to raise your study to 9, but your actual training in the subskills is 5, than there is a 4 * (chance %) it will fail. So if that chance was 10% for example, you will have a 40 % chance it will fail.

 

That still means that you can get your study up to 10, but it will take you more time to get there and it will make moving your study-level with your training level more attractive.

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Tiavals;

 

I am glad you raised this, actually: originally, Studying did not give you any bonuses at all, and the Attributes may be too much to encourage Studying. While Studying is or can be Stressful, simply adding Stress would only delay players rushing to the Attribute. I like the suggestion of limiting it to once a month- I will think what can be done.

 

For the time being, we will review the Attribute increases in Content Patch 1.

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For what its worth I think that study should give perks since otherwise it would be something only done before the exam to secure good scores and not anytime else.

 

I'm not even sure it is such an optimal way and making attribute bonuses more scarce would only serve to make it even more optimal to choose attribute bonuses at start anyway.

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I think it would be nice to have at last 2 or 3 Bully Skills made aviable trough learning Schoolyard Education. (I have Schoolyard Education at 10 and are sure that I didnt get any Bully skills from it so that I only have Brute Strength there). Also would it in general nice if there would be more chances trough skill improvment to get "new" skills aviable.

 

A other Suggestion is about the Support Area of this Forum. Maybe you can make a Pined Topic mit already known bugs/problems and what Patch they are intended to fiexed or if you need future help.

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Since people are talking about studying and whatnot . . .

 

I was wondering if this is working as designed. In class, you automatically train up your skills in a semi-random fashion. This is fine and makes sense. However, in Geometry, Astronomy is never trained, and in Dialectic, Sleuthing is never trained. If there is a reason for this, (investigation can't be taught in the classroom, maybe . . . but astronomy?), okay, but if it's a bug . . . Have other people noticed skills like that?

 

On the previously mentioned issue regarding Mix/Maxing Study habits, I'd agree that some sort of gentle discouragement might be in order. Stress gain is already possible, maybe emotional problems? Specifically, something to gently discourage one from doing Study/Study/Study days, or Train/Train/Train days, would be atmospheric and in line with what you are already trying to do. Maybe it gives you complexes, or gives you different sorts of social penalties, or you lose friends, or whatever.

 

Oh, and I like the aforementioned idea of Bullying Skills, perhaps cross-referencing Schoolyard Education with Malice, Ambush, Gossip, Sleight-of-Hand, and Practical Jokes. However, having these run as contested rolls versus different reasonable counter-skills, like Danger-Sense, Perfect Timing, etc., would make it more interesting.

 

Other things I've thought of after several more hours of play . . .

 

You should be able to exchange locations with your friends, or at least learn a few locations from your friends. Maybe give each character a list of 5 "Favorite Places" that they know, and which you will have the option of exploring together once befriended - as a mini-adventure, maybe, or just a simple ability.

 

Speaking of locations, when an adventure takes place at a particular location, wouldn't it make sense to add that location to your list? For example, in the Adventure associated with that annoying girl who wants the "Pauper's Bane," we go to Uptown . . . but my character has no Uptown locations. Maybe something similar for the random encounters as well. Given that I've never played a character with significant explore ability, and that explore thus fails more often than not, thus making it a waste of time to try, I find myself rather lacking on locations other than the ones I get from class.

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Classwork is random in a fixed structure. There's certain subskill inside that big subject get taught more than the others. Example is the History subject. My suspicion? They want to reserve some for next year.

 

As to the Study/Study/Study and the rest, to each his own. Study maybe good but Do the study in ABC libraries maybe better. I dont think this aspect of game need revising. After all, even in school we have our own way of studying/playing.

 

Now, for some recommendation:

 

I'd like a floating window for when we hover mouse over the portrait. Content will be: attributes content window, emotion, current spells affected. Since my play always show the Skill area but I also want to know the attribute and the hard-to-scroll Emotion, such an window like that is very welcome.

 

Relationship with friends top off at 10 and there's no meaning to do relation-raising activities and results anymore. So why cant you make that whenever relationship get higher than ten a little something will pop up, like exchange an unknown area, or gossip info about another student, or lore. Something so that the 10+ is not wasted.

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I think that the interface of this game is its worst enemy. For basically a management game where you stay on the same couple of screens most of the time and click the same buttons a LOT, the ergonomics of these buttons and screens kind of sucks. They do look pretty, this I admit. But the font sizes, resolution, slow reaction time, proportions of parts of the screen to each other... Hawkey wrote a lot of good suggestions on the first page of this thread, and I can only support him and ask the developers to improve these things right after they finish with the game mechanic bugs. Additional content is good. Second year would be awesome. But interface is king. I am a programmer myself, so I know how hard and costly it is to change things at this point. Still in my honest opinion these things must be changed.

If all else fails, maybe when you develop the second game and improve the game engine/interface you can re-release the first part under a new engine. Then again if you promise something like this now, I think it will have a negative effect on the sales of the first game.

 

I disagree with Reibear about the ammount of text though. Yes it is jarring that the part of the screeen where most of the text appears is maybe one sixth of the size of my monitor. But the text is good. Having lots of different skills is good. Complexity is good. The last thing we need is rewriting everything so that a 9 year-old can understand the game with ease.

 

And despite what I said above about the interface, you guys totally rock. I hope the game sells good, it is unique, interesting and has a soul. I will try recommending it to friends, maybe after some patching.

 

Oh, and about the sales. Have you tried giving the game to Rocket Paper Shotgun for review? A lot of people read that blog. A lot of people playing a lot of indie games. I think it would be very good publicity.

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And dont forget to add the feature of QuickSave/QuickLoad.

 

a combination keys (ctrl S) to create a save named QuickSave, and a combination (ctrl L) to load that.

 

Also, link each column with F1-12 button

 

F1 attribute

F2 abilities...

...

You know the drill.

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EN I;

 

Laclongguan is correct- there are certain Skills that the Academagia teaches, because it is a part of its curriculum. The others you may pick up at your own pace, if you wish. Like Forgery. ;)

 

We have something like the top 5 Favorite Places in Year 2, although it's not quite the same thing. I'll have to consider if such a list could work in the game- it certainly would be fun to know.

 

It's definitely possible to expand the benefits of a Random Event or Adventure to include a Location in Year 1, but I suspect that we won't be able to implement this quickly.

 

Laclongguan;

 

I like the idea of making more use of the Portrait- and having the temporary Effects appear there would be a good idea, too.

 

We have toyed with the idea of giving small bonuses when you have an effect that would normally increase Relationship or a Skill beyond its Maximum, but we are still considering what, if anything, to do there.

 

We'll look at Quick Save/Load and the keymaps you suggested- it's a good idea.

 

Fhoenix;

 

Thanks for the support- we are trying to make as many alterations to the interface in accordance with the suggestions as possible. We have sent over a game to RPS, yes. :blink:

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As a suggestion, I think that maybe you should make the cat/dog/owl choices a free pick, Pamela a +1 pick and some strong exotic Familiars a -1 pick. The description clearly states that most wizards have an animal as a familiar, so it somewhat strange that a ghost is a default one. Shouldn't most students have a ghost following them then? Besides it's kind of cruel, taking a whole point for having a cat.

Oh and as it is the choice is muddy at the moment. When you do not take a familiar at character creation, you kind of expect that you can bind one later, not that some ghost will attach to you on day one.

 

As another thought, I wish most backgrounds were free and you could choose one place of birth, one family background, one aptitude and so on, with some exceptional backgrounds costing points. Given the amount of backgrounds it seems awfully limiting to have only 5 points for them. It's like the game saying: "You either know your place of birth or had a chance to explore the city before your arrival".

Maybe someone will be able to mod it :o

 

Oh, and after reading descriptions for most backgrounds I think that, whoever thought that placing all that text in a small box where very little text can fit while leaving half of the screen for a logo, this person must have had some grudge against my eyes. ;)

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Fhoenix;

 

It is definitely easy enough to mod, when the Tools are released. ;)

 

I am not sure if we will be able to alter Character Creation (it is a small amount of space), but we'll see what we can do.

 

Thanks!

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I am not sure if we will be able to alter Character Creation (it is a small amount of space), but we'll see what we can do.

Think for the Character Creation even something simple like "stage 1 of X" that gives overall idea how many screens is there total would be helpful. It's not big issue once you go through the process, but initially the concept there's many more perks than points so you should choose sparingly can catch people unguarded.

 

On another note, an actual suggestion. At the moment it appears the random 'events' you can experience come after all scheduled activities for the day. However, since the day is broken into morning/afternoon/evening this can result sometimes in rather jarring experience when you get class-based event *after* going through say, adventure or whatever that took place in the evening. It can create feeling you experience your days backward, if that makes sense.

 

So just wondering if it couldn't make for more smooth experience if these events were instead triggered between the scheduled blocks rather than afterwards. More ideally you could have them then roughly classified as 'class event' or 'outdoor event', 'city event' etc and pick them more matched to character's actual schedule (so someone attending classes would be more likely to have class-based event while someone using city-based ability or visiting place there would be more likely to have city-based experience etc) but that's another story.

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JC;

 

It's a good suggestion- one of the possible ways we will use to handle this in Year 2 is institute an actual timeline that has the events of the day occur in order, with additional filtering on the Events to make sure they follow along with what you are doing.

 

I don't believe we will able to institute this for Year 1, but we'll see. ;)

 

Thanks!

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Suggestion A: modification of Character Creation. When you choose your class, you should have the class info show Dominant trait, just so people will know roughly whether their recent creation can do well in these classes. I have to do a create game, check which class is under which, then restart. Just a little line beneath that para describe that subject.

 

Suggestion B: Definitely reorganize the Lore section. It's a mess. We need a separate Shop lore section just so we know who sell what. And hotkeys for them are a must: hunting the revelant lore is too much like pixel hunting game for me.

 

Suggestion C: change the interface. Move the clock to the middle and add something to its place. The clock is a major feature to be used regularly. In its placement, perhaps some more icon or columns? It's not like the lore section and the context dont need reorganizing. Anyway, it's a major redesign so I toss this out for you guys to think about... second year, perhaps. Just a thought.

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Something regarding the Familiars -- if i understand it right, at the moment the owner gets benefit from the Familiar's skills, by getting bonus equal to the skill of familiar, halved.

 

Could be interesting if this link worked both ways -- that is say, giving the Familiar bonus to skills based on skills of the owner (halved and capped to the level of established bond) Mostly useful during the Familiar's own adventures but it'd make the familiars appear to take after their owners to a degree, as the bond between them develops.

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