View Full Version : User Interface - Priority and Optical Phases

09-14-2013, 03:07 PM
I am aware that this topic has been discussed previously, but the last topic I found was three months old and I decided not to resurrect it.

Yes it looks great and generally great, BUT

I am very concerned, since it felt "not fluid" in some aspects.

The biggest "annoyance" are the priority pass situations and they will always be a problem. A stop on every possible stack opening priority is disrupting I know that a) we need to fake our possibility to react (autoskip would ruin that, since the opponent can assume, we have no way to react(no counterspell p.e.).) b) We want to react on a specific moment or at any possible time to optimize possible plays.
But if we are in a game we might want to chat on the other screen to some people about the evening or tab out, since we have nothing to do anyway, get some tee and other 30 second stuff - come back, do our turn and off in the world again.


The Phases need to be more visible.
I am not a hundred percent sure and most of you are more in the topic right now, but - We have main phases, where the playing field is open for all our creatures and basic actions, the battle phase, where our creatures are important - attack and defense, and then every other phase, where we can use abilities and quick actions.
We have a circle of symbols in the mid of the game - slightly hidden by fliers, btw. - but no "global sign" in what kind of phase we are.
Even the pass priority is not really indicating which phase we are in as far as I saw it.


The Click action for blocks and playing from cards might be not responsive enough.

I do not think that I glow brighter than the other bulbs in the Hex-Community-Bucket, but let me share some possible solutions:

Priority pass - I would divide in two kinds of priorities, the big ones and the little ones.
Big ones being: Your Main Phase 1 and 2, Attack, Your Block, his End of Turn, maybe your upkeep, whenever he casts a spell & *open to diskussion*)
For the small ones:
I would like to switch it a little, instead of saying "go on" we could let the player say "one moment".
Wherever the mouse is we spawn a button, that grows for 2 seconds and changes in appearance and plops like a ... soap bubble once the two seconds are over - if you want to react, you should be there. If you are in a hurry, move the cursor away and pop it early.
If you click it you get some time to decide your action. Being an *notNiceWordHere* would be far more on purpose.
The big priorities would be around 6 and would be just as they are now, do your stuff, pass priority.


Visible Phases - I would work with the playing field in this case. We could have one circle of runes or something alike, that glows in fitting colors:
Green for the main phases, basic and creatures are good to go.
Red/orange for the battle phases, Danger. (Maybe blue for blockers, up for discussion)
Yellow for phases where you have priority but only quick actions and abilities slip through.
This should help and that on a very subtile basis. Maybe mirror the colors for the opponent on his side.


I really like the dynamic of dragging a card on the board to play it. You can hold it and think while you reconsider, put it back, pick another one, maybe even see it from the opponent - as seen in some random other game - that gives the game some really interesting aspects, I know, the "opponentdrag" stuff is a little but childish and not really important, but the point with the drag to cast on my side stands.
The same for the block. If I want to block(or attack), I would like to drag my Card on the target - to attack on his side of the board - to block on the attacker and maybe already have the blue line attached to my cursor and react on a possible legal target with some aura effect.

Actually I hope to drag as many possible friends to this game as possible and some would love that but are not that "affine" to computer games in general (but an old Mtg player) and I want him to experience a fluid gameplay.

I hope I could contribute. I am so waiting for this game, even in a prealpha state, I would play the Hex out of this Tcg!

09-14-2013, 05:44 PM
Let me see if I can clear things up a little:
I. Even at GenCon we were able to bring up a window that allowed you to tell the client when you wanted to maintain priority or skip a phase.

II. At GenCon and a few of the streams you could notice that there was a window in one of two places (seemed like they were still figuring out the most comfortable place) either the upper center or the upper right of the screen; where it visibly said what phase you were in "first main" "declare attack" etc...

Changing the colors of the wheel would not really make it any more or less intuitive to someone that is literally brand new, but I do like that idea on some levels. Be aware that the wheel already has some pretty visible effects between phases etc to signify that you're moving forward etc.

III. It would be nice to have a toggle for this type of option so that you could use click / drag / both. Dragging is a nice novelty but sometimes just going quick and clicking is nice.

For what it's worth, having played at GenCon, this is already the most fluid client for a TCG that I've ever gotten to play with. There are still a few improvements to be made, there were even some that had already been made but just didn't make it on to the build we were playing at GenCon.

09-15-2013, 12:53 AM
Hi function,

thanks for some more clarification.
Skipping priority phases is nice, but it tells something about your hand/ your possibility and will to react or do things. I read many times that most competitive player would set a hold on every phase so the opponent is never sure if they can react.
I just like the idea to give them 2-3 seconds stopping time, since if they want to delay, they have to click it every time it comes up, which would be an action that is obviously a "do" not a "don't" which is usually less often done.
But Skipping is nice in casual play and "I do not need cheap psychotricks"-competitive.
It is easy for me to take in small differences in the "feel" of a picture - a window/text that changes needs an effort (small one, but still) to realize, read and comprehend and if I am tired and on autopilot pass quickly overlooked (I would autoskip anyway, but hey I am not really the topic ;-) ). A text is great to "look up" but not really to "show" - I hope that this makes sense(english is not my native language so I struggle sometimes a little with the "perfect" way to express things).
Toggles are great - nothing to add.

I just watched a lot of Heartstone streams and I know I would play it for a month, having a lot of fun, but could never take it seriously. But they did some things very flashy and right - the hex client seemed not as appealing compared to that - even more with the "Do my stuff - do something else"- regard.(I REALLY want to write emails, chat or something like that between most games)
Wii vs a serious console is a fitting picture, I suppose.(Wii is great for parties, but not really "serious" gaming material)
I love user interfaces and I think they are a great deal, for people that are new to TCGs I can only imagine how annoying it must be and that the feeling of "why do I have to pass when I cant do anything anyway for around 10-15 times between my main phases where I can play my creatures" - will be for them.

09-15-2013, 01:02 AM
I still don't understand point 1. You want an automatic feature, but you don't want your lack of actions to be obvious.

So your solution is to automate the "bluff hesitate" option? Set it to automatically delay the game, essentially play your mindgames for you, while you go off and get a beer from the fridge?

09-15-2013, 01:08 AM
MTGO's interface works fine for gameplay, even if it's ugly. Given that it's been out for years and years, I'm almost certain that it won't be possible for the Hex UI to not be as functional, if not more functional.

09-15-2013, 02:26 AM
I dont want some people to be forced to "fake" decisionmaking by disable / not enable autoskip. I heared a lot of people arguing, that you cant autoskip if you are competitive. Another important point is that autoskip needs to be enabled/toggled. For semi-obvious reason you should not start with it active. (I would not defend that point too much)
I am not sure, the way you write, you mock the idea, but a 2 second always delay is better than 1 second minimum(click) or 5 seconds for "oh look, it is my priority again" or "Damn, I spilled my coke (I dont drink beer) since I had to rush ~30 second delay.
And you can sweep your pad or move the mouse around in funny circles all the time to skip as fast as you can with funny buttonexplosionpops if you just want it to skip earlier than 2 seconds.
I hate people that take forever to make decisions when they have not even a way to react. I want to speed it up, not "autodelay" it, even with some kind of an autodelay, but that is what you have anyway if you dont autoskip that is for some people not an option (and I cant force my opponents to do it).

I hope I am not repeating myself too much.

Since I dont know their user interface, I cant really talk here.
Is it catering only veteran Mtg Players? If that is the case then I am not sure, if we can just hope that it will work as well in hex for a broad casual playerbase - lets face it we veterans(Uh, I cant count me at all if I am honest QQ) are happy with a magic workstation, where nothing is done for us and we have to execute all rules by ourselves.
How is the priority skipping solved in MTGO?

I do see it as a major "slowdown" and boring part.
(therefore better a fix short delay than a "random" until he decides to delay).
And if others are "successful" then we should still try to improve - even more so, if we aim also on people that are not in the Tcg scene already and will need every help. They need to concentrate on the important things.
As I said, I am open for discussion, if autoskip is an option, then I was just stupid, if I can force it on my opponents if they cant even do anything, even better. If the turnorder and the "uh, this priority is important" feeling is strong enough, then ok. While watching the stream, I had to think about which phase it is - even more since the middle was hidden since there were flier in front of it. I could easily have skipped the blocker/attacker, main phase once or twice. If you think clicking is better and feels more accurate than dragging, ok - actually this point is the most fragile one, but I really like dragging cards :-)

09-15-2013, 02:37 AM
Since I dont know their user interface, I cant really talk here.
Is it catering only veteran Mtg Players? If that is the case then I am not sure, if we can just hope that it will work as well in hex for a broad casual playerbase - lets face it we veterans(Uh, I cant count me at all if I am honest QQ) are happy with a magic workstation, where nothing is done for us and we have to execute all rules by ourselves.
How is the priority skipping solved in MTGO?
It shouldn't cater just to vets. It's pretty easy to pick up. I know as soon as I learnt how to put in stops and what the priority pass buttons were, it was easy as.

In MTGO, you press F2 to pass current priority and F4 to pass until your opponent does something (or until the next turn if they don't do anything). For me, these two alone do fine (in fact, you could easily work with just F2; it's not exactly hard to just hit F2 a few times if you don't plan on doing anything in a turn). However, there's also apparently F6 - pass all priority this turn, even if my opponent does something - and F8, which the hotkeys guide says "passes all priority until the end of the game if you are unable to do anything, also known as no bluffing".

That and stops covers everything. If you want to bluff, you use F4, wait for your opponent to do something, then wait as long as you like to perform your bluff. If you don't want to bluff, you can just keep hitting F2 or F4.

Edit: forgot to mention, they already have at least "pass current priority" via space bar, so even if they don't make it as versatile as MTGO - which I'm sure they will - we'll be covered.

09-15-2013, 04:50 AM
That is not bad I suppose.
The only problem I can see is that you might need to have your game client in focus - no chatting in between, or the other dude has to wait.
I suppose in the "higher regions" where the people understand the game the delays wont be long that way.
The tablets do not have an option like that, but well, maybe they get some nice buttons somewhere.

Well I still like the "scream stop" way more than the "what another input required? Yeah, go on".
But if your consent is that it does not need improvements, then maybe I just overreact on the "fear of boredom" and slow players.

09-15-2013, 04:58 AM
I tend to be very easy going, so I won't usually demand change if I think things are working ok. :-P I mean, I'm all for things becoming smoother and more efficient, but if things are working fine it won't be a big concern for me. ;-)

From someone with my sort of mentality, when it comes to a competitive game (ie. tournament or anything for prizes), then the game timer is going to balance out the issue - each player is going to have up to 30 minutes in the match, and they'll be technically allowed to use it - even if that means going afk for a few minutes and hoping to put the other player on tilt from boredom or something. The more time they use, the more at risk they put themselves of running out and straight up losing the match. When it comes to casual games, if your opponent is playing too slowly for your liking (or you're playing too slowly for their's because you've tabbed out to chat), then you or they are able to just leave the match, and find someone more to your liking to play. ^_-

09-15-2013, 05:15 AM
Actually ... Totally ...
But - stalling even in tournaments suxx - but I think it is impossible to stop.

Leaving games, because the other takes to long in his decisions is ok too - I can find someone to chat anyway I suppose :-D

I just dont want anyone to be bored and yes, if something is working ok, then we dont have to change this, but we are just moving in to this new house and the furniture is modeled, most already is in its place - it will be ok, even great, but since we are in the redecoration phase - we might think about some stuff...

In our group I usually explain games to new people (boardgames) and a lot say very early that they hate the game because it takes so long (most of the time because we all playing this game the first time and need longer for decisions).

It is not a big issue, I know that and I just want to play it now - even if I have to wait for my oppontens every time to hit that damn pass prio button or space.