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Pain-inspired suggestions for the Devs


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Hello there!


I have mild RSI. Which has been causing this otherwise enjoyable game to inflict actual physical pain upon me. It's all the scrolling that's doing it. That or my impatience.


See I can either instantly use the mouse's scroll wheel to get to the thing I want to click on in half a second or so then move the mouse over and select it, or I can move the mouse over to a button and use the slow built in scroll to crawl to the location in a couple of seconds then move the mouse over to what I want and select it.

Which wouldn't be so bad if it was an occasional thing, but you have to do all that once for each empty time slot to select an activity and typically once to select the location of the activity and maybe a few times after that to select the targets of the activity. And you have hundreds of empty time slots.


I suppose I could role play a narcoleptic kid.


On an unrelated note, I've been thinking over ways to reduce the amount of clicking and scrolling a player has to do to enjoy themselves (Which by a bizarre coincidence would also relieve my suffering) And here's what I've come up with:


- Scroll Bars -

For the love of small kittens please put in scroll bars. They'd be faster than the built in scroll and dragging them would be less straining than mouse scrolling.


- Items -

The action category Use Item, much like my physical health, is seemingly neglected and largely ignored. Instead many item's abilities get stuffed into the abused Use Ability category. Moving these item's abilities back into the barren Use Item category would be quite helpful.

A few quick examples of items that do this with patch 44 - Dash of Prim, Glitter Base, Powder Base, Kensab the Ilician, Exposé, Investigative Report, Book of Jokes, Book of Popular Sayings and Jacedin (Which is in both).


- Location Category -

Right now the action category Use Ability is a bloated warehouse filled to bursting by an insane obsessive hoarder named Jim. If you look in-game at the list of action categories:

Choose Action

Cast Spell

Use Item

Use Ability

There's enough room between the Use Ability button and the Confirm the Action button to slot in another category, one that deals solely in visiting locations and the activities you can do in them. That'd make more intuitive sense and make life easier, particularly for those new to the game.

You could call the category Endeavour or Venture or grab a pen, paper and a thesaurus and brainstorm up a better category name.


- Redo Action -

People often repeat themselves.

People often repeat themselves.

Why not include a button that makes the selections from the last non-Attend Class, non-Detention action be auto-filled for the next action. You could use that tan square with the grey circle button that's already next to the each of the calender's action inputs. This could save potentially hundreds of clicks which can slowly grind away a person's enjoyment.


- Merit Movement -

The second I get information on any student I never see the Merit scores again. Partly because they have absolutely no impact unless your college is first but mainly because they're below a massive list of:

Lambert Cobo succeeded at using Attend Countless Classes on Lambert Cobo

Emilia Picotti succeeded at using Pick Nose on Emilia Picotti

Joana Lio y Rossollo succeeded at using Grope on Philippe Marchant

And the like. So if the Collegiate Merit report happened to find itself with Matters of Concern to You above it and Rumours from the Academagia below it, why it might just get more attention and stop crying itself to sleep every night.


And those are the ideas for facilitating ease of use. But wait! Call Now and we'll throw in these extra ideas at no further charge!


- Merit Display -

Doggedly following on from the memorable merit movement mention is displaying your College's merit and rank (Durrand - 3rd with 168) predominately next to your college's seal which is itself next to your character's portrait. So that it stares unblinkingly at the player thus increasing the chance that they might actually do something about it. Otherwise out of sight out of mind.


- Familiar Cam -

Which leads nicely to something else that's tucked away and forgotten about. Past week two or so I can't recall what type of Familiar I have if I think about them at all, which I don't. So here's a little tip that comes from my old education (My field of study actually proved to be bloody useful when I started my own business. That's actually something I've noticed - If you take someone with education and experience in some field, give them some management training and put them in charge of people from their old field, they are more dedicated, more loyal, much better able to communicate the needs abilities and limitations of their department, have less of a sense of entitlement and are less prone to corruption than someone who studied management or business in general in school. Not doing that from the beginning was a costly mistake. Hundreds of thousands costly. God that still pisses me off. Anyway. End tangent.)

What was I talking about? Ah yes, a good way to keep people at least aware of their whimpering Familiar's starving existence is to place small portrait of the Familiar and possibly their Bond level near the character's portrait. This'll be a strong visual reminder as the brain doesn't gloss over familiar images the same way as it glosses over familiar text, and also invokes to some extent the Mirror Neuron reflex, which bypasses the thinking brain and goes directly to the emotional brain. This'll greatly enhance the likelihood of feeling a connection with their Familiar. Indeed, throwing in a portrait of someone who's involved in whatever adventure you're currently experiencing wouldn't go amiss. This game's currently quite analytical, throw in more pictures of people involved in the everyday events (Say Joana's if she's showing your face how the toilet flushes) And you've got more emotional involvement.


- Relevant Merit -

Even with the Collegiate Merit report relocated and the Merit Display installed, Merit still has a fundamental structural weakness - That it is nowhere near as interesting or relevant to the player as the host of other wonderful activities you can covertly take part in.

If you think about it from a thematic stand point it needs to have more impact on the students lives. The student according to my cursory understanding of the Imperial Academy of Magic's rules, is expected to attend class, study in the Academy and never leave the grounds. The goal as with most real education institutions is to soak up much of the student's time so as to futilely prevent them from getting into mischief. Idle hands and all that. Thus they came up with the Collegiate Merit system. This clever idea encourages both competitive and cooperative mindsets which are vital to society's progress, makes them interact with their own college more and thus more likely to instil some of the traits associated with that college, gives the teachers a way to reward and punish without resorting to violence and above all, it keeps the little buggers busy.

In this the game's lore it works.

But the players don't care about it.

I believe this is essentially due to three problems - Attrition, Delayed Gratification and Balance.

If you've ever played that game Battlefield 1942 you'll know what I mean about attrition. If a score is changed only by small increments over a long period of time, the impact of any one action is diminished and that causes people to care less, because what they do matters less.

People are generally impatient beasts. Something nice now is a lot better than some thing really nice in a year's time. This is a major factor in why most people are terrible at saving. They want pay off now, and if it'd take months to get the really nice prizes, why put in the effort when I could go on an adventure now or yell at Amada Kiffer for clogging the shower with hair yet again?

Balance is a matter of testing, feedback and fine tuning.

Here's a remedy; make it so that at the end of the month the students in the College with the highest score get a good prize (Say, random item, some pims and an improvement in favour with the teacher of that college) The rest get a minor prize (Small amount of pims and a cookie) Except for the lowest scoring college which gets nothing other than the ire of their teacher (Penalty with teacher standing, maybe even detention) This adds in a bit of social involvement with the teachers, gives a much more upfront reward than some hidden level of merit for a hidden prize and makes the player care more, if only so they won't be dead last!

Then to have the whole 'best college of the year' level reward include another score pool called Stature (Or not) And at the end of each month put in say 3 points for the highest college that month, 1 point for the flock in the middle and a sigh of disappointment for the laggards. Then reset all the college's merit. There we go, a reason for players to get involved with their college year round.


- Recipes Tab -

Under the character portrait there's a tab called Items listing the recipes we have as well as (Surprise!) the items. At the same time we have an entire window devoted to our items and the equipping of such. Quietly eliminating the items and surreptitiously renaming the tab to Recipes might appease the peasants m'lord.


And that, is quite enough out of me.

If you like any of these proposals, say so in this thread (Societal pressure works!)

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I'd have to agree, with everything in fact. I am guessing some of it might be difficult to do, like moving the familiar's portrait, but if it doesn't come for year 1 then maybe year 2.


And scrolling would be top dinkedy doo! It is missed at current.


Would love the merit change, despite usually sticking to one of the low-populated collages.



I do believe there are some degree of action saves though. They are the little half-circles and the small arrows by them when you accept the actions for the day.

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That is a great post- thanks for the very well thought out set of suggestions! Some of these are already planned for the Year 2 UI, and I will pass along the others.


A few specific notes:


1) We'd love to do more with graphics, in general, but it is costly to implement. Still, it's one of the areas we'd really like to improve, if we can.


2) I am not sure now how, or if, Merit will change, but several Academagians have requested it. I can say that some College-wide tools for organization are being considered to address the problem of individual contributions, though.


3) As Adrian notes, there is a way to 'save' your actions for use later on- hotkeys.txt contains information on the feature.


Once again: thanks! It was a great read. :)

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