page contents Deep Dive: Evolving the UX/UI of A Total War Story: Troy using user testing & feedback – The News Headline

Deep Dive: Evolving the UX/UI of A Total War Story: Troy using user testing & feedback

The Gamasutra Deep Dives are an ongoing sequence with the function of dropping mild on particular design, artwork, or technical options inside of a online game, as a way to display how reputedly easy, elementary design choices are not truly that easy in any respect.

Previous installments duvet subjects similar to construction an adaptive tech tree in First light of Guy, attaining seamless branching in Watch Canine 2’s Invasion of Privateness missions, growing the intricate degree design of Dishonored 2‘s Clockwork Mansion, and the tech at the back of Gears Techniques.

On this version, Alex Tomakchiev, Lead UI/UX Sport Clothier at Inventive Meeting Sofia, stocks how consumer checking out and participant comments helped tell the UI/UX pushed design of A Overall Struggle Saga: Troy‘s ‘Finish Flip’ button.

The Starting (Iteration #1)

Let’s get started by way of taking a look at one of the essential UI components in turn-based video games – the Finish Flip button. For a very long time right through building, our Finish Flip button regarded and behaved very a lot adore it does in Overall Struggle: Warhammer II. It used an hourglass icon and in the event you had pending movements it could display you a distinct icon for each and every motion. 


The top flip button represented by way of the hourglass.

While you clicked at the button, it could make a choice a recreation object or open a panel to steered you to behave at the corresponding motion sooner than finishing your flip. 

An instance of the Royal Decrees notification proven on best of the Finish Flip button.

This used to be a excellent quality-of-life characteristic that helped remind gamers of the entire movements they hadn’t but finished, however it additionally had a drawback. We might most effective show the Finish Flip button after you had resolved or skipped all your pending notifications, which in mid-to-late recreation supposed that you will have to head via 20+ clicks sooner than even seeing the Finish Flip button. 

Alternatively, we did not give this a lot idea since we had gotten used to this conduct ever since WH2. Our core gamers had additionally reputedly gotten used to it, however then we began doing consumer checks and temporarily bumped into surprising issues. 

The Take a look at

One in all our checks used to be with a bunch of avid gamers who had by no means performed a Overall Struggle recreation sooner than and had little to no enjoy with turn-based technique video games. Now, I do know what you’ll be able to say. “Why would you check individuals who’ve by no means performed Overall Struggle if you have individuals who’ve been enjoying it for 20 years?” Don’t fear, we requested them, too. However Troy used to be first of all launched at no cost at the Epic platform which supposed that we would have an enormous inflow of gamers who have been utterly new to the franchise. We would have liked knowledge on what the participant enjoy can be for the ones folks. 

Spoiler alert – it wasn’t nice. 

So, we ready a construct, arranged the check, invited folks and began staring at them as they performed. At this level we have been feeling beautiful assured with the sport, however then folks began enjoying and fact hit us within the face.

  • One individual has spent 40(!) mins on their first flip as a result of they couldn’t work out how one can finish their flip. 
  • Some other requested “What do I do now?” after they have carried out maximum of what might be carried out on flip one. 
  • A 3rd identified the significance of the Finish Flip button, however as a result of they’d pending movements, they have been seeing an icon to factor a Royal Decree. When they did that, they utterly overlooked the button for the remainder of the playthrough as a result of they idea it used to be a button for decrees, no longer for finishing a flip.

Clearly, this used to be no longer the primary time consumer enjoy we have been hoping for. New gamers had a troublesome time finishing their flip. In a turn-based recreation. 

So, we began scratching our heads and it grew to become out we have been dealing with a couple of key problems that each one contributed to folks no longer finishing their first flip.

The Highway to Unencumber (Iteration #2)

Factor 1: It grew to become out that appearing a number of notifications and having gamers undergo them sooner than they are able to finish their flip used to be somewhat complicated. Common Overall Struggle gamers have been used to it, however new ones? Nope.

Answer 1: We explored two answers aimed toward detaching notifications from the Finish Flip button so we can have it visual all the time. 

The primary used to be merely to make a separate button for notifications and transfer it subsequent to the Finish Flip button. It regarded somewhat like this:

An preliminary mockup of notifications along the tip flip button

Answer 2: The second one answer used to be to transport all notifications to a brand new menu and deal with it as a “to-do” record. In the long run, we went with this as a result of we felt it could be extra treasured for gamers to look them all of sudden as a substitute of clicking via them one-by-one. It additionally allowed us to enlarge the textual content strings and be extra particular. If in the past we had “Hero no longer moved” as a notification, now we might additionally display the hero’s title, so gamers may just temporarily scan and come to a decision which of them they sought after to transport and which of them they didn’t.

An preliminary mockup of the ‘to-do record’ taste of notification menu

Alternatively, this alteration additionally supposed we not had the rest to forestall gamers from finishing their flip IF they’d pending notifications. Positive, there used to be an inventory of them, however there used to be no ensure they would open the record within the first position, we simply assumed they’d. 

We applied the exchange, even including some animations and states to the brand new Notification button, pondering that will be sufficient to catch gamers’ consideration.

Factor 2: Consider how I mentioned that first of all our Finish Flip icon used to be an hourglass?

Now ask your self: in the event you see this ⌛ on a button, what would you think that button’s serve as is? One in all our QAs raised that query in a while sooner than free up and my jaw dropped. 

I arranged a snappy survey to invite folks precisely that. 100% of the solutions have been “loading”, “ready”, “buffering”, “in development”, “accelerate time”, “gradual time”… You get the purpose. It used to be correct in entrance of our eyes, however we could not see it as a result of we have been so used to it. 

One in all my explanations used to be that as avid gamers, we by hook or by crook jointly agreed that the hourglass would constitute the tip of a flip when Heroes three used it again in 1999 and we simply roughly rolled with it. However for any individual who hasn’t performed Heroes or some other turn-based recreation it might be very complicated.

A screenshot of Heroes of May and Magic, appearing the hourglass icon used to finish your flip

Answer: We modified the icon to a right-pointing arrow like the only utilized in each and every media participant ever to turn the motion of “Subsequent”. We have been so used to how issues have been that any individual needed to in fact ask “Why?” to make us even consider it. That is what we ended up the usage of:

The notification record along the brand new arrow icon used for finishing a participant’s flip

Unencumber And Past (Iteration #three)

Then got here the discharge. TROY used to be claimed by way of over 7.5m folks and we have been ecstatic for them to after all play it! They did and so they began sharing comments. Gamers not had an issue finishing their turns, however now it used to be really easy to do it that we began seeing them finishing a flip simply to then say “Oh, wait! I forgot to transport my military!“.

Naturally, common TW gamers spotted this and mentioned “Why did you take away my finish flip notifications? It helped me when I used to be enjoying and now I disregard to do issues repeatedly!“. They usually have been correct! We made a mistake by way of taking out an invaluable characteristic simply to mend some other factor.

The issue used to be that the notifications have been nonetheless within the recreation, BUT, gamers simply were not opening the record to look them. And why would they? We did not make any effort to attract their consideration to the record. 

As soon as once more, we went again to the drafting board and it grew to become out the answer used to be rather easy.

All we needed to do used to be to appear again on the authentic implementation and take what used to be excellent about it (on this case, the contextual button sooner than the Finish Flip button). Most effective this time, we might display it simply as soon as, with an exclamation mark icon and upon clicking it could open the notifications record. Achieved.

This allowed us to get to the bottom of each problems on the identical time – no longer obfuscating the Finish Flip button at the back of 20 different ones, whilst nonetheless protecting the “hiya, do not disregard these items you’ll nonetheless do” capability. We additionally applied a bit development to the format of the Notifications record – we presented notifications teams.

The present implementation of the Finish Flip and Notifications record within the recreation

On account of the time it took to send those ultimate iterations, (3 months had handed since free up) we knew that some gamers would’ve gotten used to how issues now labored and it should not have been correct for us to pressure this new iteration on them. So we added it as an possibility as a substitute.

The brand new notification menu possibility present in Sport Settings

And that is the place we at the moment are. It’s a excellent position. Or so we expect for now.

Expectantly this tale presentations you ways one UI part can take such a lot of iterations to get correct, in addition to proportion one of the most courses we discovered alongside the best way (or a minimum of strengthened our wisdom of) similar to:

  • Consumer checking out will display you belongings you haven’t even thought to be
  • By no means think
  • Search for answers that paintings for all sorts of gamers
  • Whilst getting your design correct first time must at all times be the target; iteration is a need to make enhancements and to actually reach a excellent design answer! 
  • If you’ll, give gamers a call, don’t lock them into your judgement of what’s correct

And we’re carried out! I’ll see you subsequent time.

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