Planned changes to improve the tutorial and UI, based on playtest with Hugo

Last week, @hugosalsamix was so generous to help me with testing some of my games. He also played through the DRTS tutorial.
In this test, it became apparent that in the stages for unit splitting and for production, the guidance of the tutorial and general UI is insufficient.
Based on what I learned from Hugo, I made a list of planned changes to address this problem:

  • UI: Improve the unit split ratio selection control to make it more obvious that user can interact with this thing and how it works. Make it react to hovering the mouse over it by previewing the effect a click would have.:ballot_box_with_check:

  • UI: Simplify usage of the unit split ratio selection control: Remove the asymmetry regarding the type of mouse button used on this control. I do not see a reason why it should only work with one specific button.:ballot_box_with_check:

  • Avoid the distracting visual glitch discovered by Hugo in playtest: Avoid splitting a unit when the resulting units are going to be merged in the next progress step anyway.:ballot_box_with_check:

  • Client, Tutorial: Add missing visuals to draw attention, for example in stage split attention to input to select split ratio.:ballot_box_with_check:

  • Tutorial: Reduce ambiguity when asking the player to interact with objects in the game world or UI. When the player should use a specific mouse button, add visual indication which button to use.:ballot_box_with_check:

  • Game World Visualisation: Do not leave the player wondering why his unit suddenly disappeared or where it went: Expand the game world visuals to show a trace of a defeated unit. I remember some video games using tombstones for this.:ballot_box_with_check:

  • Tutorial: Avoid requiring the player to start the tutorial from scratch in case he manages to lose all his units (This is possible today at least in stage production). When the player has lost all his units, offer him to go back in time, for example, from stage production to the last step before entering stage production.

  • Tutorial: If success rate in stage production is too low, divide this in smaller steps with more explicit instructions. Draw attention to occupation progress indication. This can be done for example by showing an enlarged view of the node and additional instruction text. Since there are several nodes for the player to occupy anyway, we can repeat a more fine grained series of steps several times which should help with retention. Overall, we could reduce amount of choices offered to interact and make it more sequential: For example, when the player has moved to the first node to occupy, block all interactions with the game world until the occupation of the node is completed and the player has clicked the ‘continue’ button below the instruction text.

I will implement some of those improvements before the next release.
First batch of these has been implemented with release 2017-12-28

Is a pleasure to help you!

I updated the list to reflect what has already been implemented with release 2017-12-28

Now using a fade-out transition to show a trace of the defeated unit for a limited timespan.

To avoid visual interference with other units which are placed where the defeated unit was located, the visual of the defeated unit is also scaled outwards.

This video shows the current implementation:

I guess the existing circly visualization and balloon-pop sound led to this idea for how to visualize defeated units.