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Subject: Snellman: User interface? rss

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Bryan Thunkd
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So I'm trying a game on Snellman and I hate the user interface. The abbreviations and lack of graphics really make it hard for me to concentrate on what's going on.

I'm wondering if someone has (or could) develop some sort of front end interface. I recognize that including game images might infringe on copyright... but some sort of image showing a different iconography, or the ability to use my own images, would greatly help me comprehend what's going on in the game better.

My ideal would be a front end inter face where I could enter the move and it would connect to the website. But even if all it did was download the move and display the current gamestate, that would great.

Has someone done this? Could someone do this?
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Luke J
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For a free project, I think the interface is not just good, but damn good. I like the fact that its stripped down nature means it loads quickly and works well even with an ancient computer.Though I agree the abbreviations and such might be a little confusing at first.

But if you knew someone with the skills and interest, feel free to have them go to town!
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James Wolfpacker
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ljwoodw wrote:
For a free project, I think the interface is not just good, but damn good. I like the fact that its stripped down nature means it loads quickly and works well even with an ancient computer.Though I agree the abbreviations and such might be a little confusing at first.

But if you knew someone with the skills and interest, feel free to have them go to town!


This is true.

OP, if you look around these forums you can find several reference help topics that are pinned to the top of the message boards.

FWIW, Tabletopia is really beautiful, but very clunky due to non-automation.

CatanUniverse also had this graphics is better approach that was so shot down by the PlayCatan crowd that had to re-open PlayCatan for free to old users until CU has all bugs worked out.
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Joel Schuster
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This is a steep but short learning curve. No junk interface needed. I enjoy the site loading quickly and not taking much bandwidth on my mobile.

Better keep things simple
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Grant
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Thunkd wrote:
Has someone done this? Could someone do this?

To my knowledge you are the first person to express this sentiment. A lot of people comment on the simplified graphics, but I think you're the first to describe it as an impediment to play.

So to answer the question, no, nobody has done that, or even asked for it to be done before, and I doubt there is the demand out there that would make it worth anybody's time.
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Matthias Reitberger
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I've been here from the beginning when you had to type every command. No drop down menu, no clicking on the map.
The development is great, what would you need pictures for? This interface is an abstraction of the game, not a fancy app.
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Joe Rakstad
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Question, are you playing this on a phone, or on a computer screen (laptop or desktop). That can make a difference.

I have a harder time playing games on a phone screen but do much better on a bigger screen.

My suggestion is to take some time and try to get used to it. I remember when I first got on, it was very confusing, and difficult to tell what's going on sometimes. However, over two years (wow, really?! It's been that long?!) now and it's second nature. And really, it became second nature after just a few plays.
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Bryan Thunkd
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1869 wrote:
The development is great, what would you need pictures for?
I'm very visual and it's hard for me to look at a list of the abbreviations of the bonus tiles, for example, and immediately understand what I'm looking at. Certainly it's nowhere near as easy as looking at the game pieces for the bonus tiles, which I can take in at a quick glance. Maybe I'll get used to it over time, but it's a pain in the butt right now.

1869 wrote:
This interface is an abstraction of the game, not a fancy app.
Yeah... that's my problem.

On an unrelated note that might help you understand the challenge for me, I can't play games looking at a map upside down. Or I can, but it makes it like 10 times harder for me. For whatever reason my brain parses things visually and it just doesn't do well when I have to struggle visually.

joepunman wrote:
Question, are you playing this on a phone, or on a computer screen (laptop or desktop). That can make a difference.
On a computer with a large screen. It's not a size issue.

joepunman wrote:
My suggestion is to take some time and try to get used to it.
As that appears to be the only option, I'll try for now.

joepunman wrote:
I remember when I first got on, it was very confusing, and difficult to tell what's going on sometimes.
Yeah. That's definitely my problem as well. But I'm probably not going to get used to it quickly and I may end up having to give up in frustration.

grant5 wrote:
To my knowledge you are the first person to express this sentiment.
I refer you to the previously quoted bit just above this.

joepunman wrote:
However, over two years (wow, really?! It's been that long?!) now and it's second nature. And really, it became second nature after just a few plays.
I suspect that it will take me much longer.
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Luke J
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1869 wrote:
I've been here from the beginning when you had to type every command. No drop down menu, no clicking on the map.
The development is great, what would you need pictures for? This interface is an abstraction of the game, not a fancy app.


I actually have thought it could be really interesting to develop a mobile app. Get push notifications for your move, a big, clear display (as some people have expressed that they tend to make more mistakes when playing on mobile), easy planning function (planning on mobile is pretty rough, especially for fat-fingered folks like me), maybe some other features.

But I have absolutely no idea how to develop any sort of app, so...
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Kazumasa KYOYAMA
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Thunkd wrote:
My ideal would be a front end inter face where I could enter the move and it would connect to the website. But even if all it did was download the move and display the current gamestate, that would great.

I cannot imagine it specifically.
Can you build it?

Although I do not particularly dissatisfied, but I want to translate to Japanese.
Because some Japanese player have "English phobia", so Japanese UI may increase players.
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I agree - the Snellman interface put me off playing online for at least a year. It's not the simplicity that's the problem, it's the use of arcane abbreviations like TE for temple that makes it really hard to follow until you've learnt them.

It would be much more user-friendly if it had simple graphics for workers, power, coins and all the buildings on the round tiles, bonuses, favours, actions, etc. The board itself is fine.
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Per Olander
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the board and building symbols are fine - actually to a point, where I prefer the simple hex colors over the real-life board, I have more than once mistaken a blue hex on the real board for a green one, since I play more online than f2f

agreed, the abbreviations for favors, bonus scrolls, and buildings might be a bit steep for beginners to get used to, but it is very quickly learned - and since both bons and favs have images as well, that seems like a very reasonable solution.

my only concern about the interface, is that it might be a bit hard to get an overview on the phone, but only to a minor degree
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Bryan Thunkd
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It took me a really long time to figure out how to take my first action. The fact that I couldn't select any of the grayed out buttons until I had modified the drop down box on them was not intuitive.

And I wanted to figure out how to use the dwarves tunneling power and was thinking there'd be some special button. I finally got it to work and was happy that I figured it out. Then I went to undo so I could figure out how to do something else and hit save instead. So I've just made the worst opening move ever. shake
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Robert
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ljwoodw wrote:
I actually have thought it could be really interesting to develop a mobile app. Get push notifications for your move
It would make things a bit easier compared to how my mobile does it: use an email program which makes a different sound depending on the receiver email address (assuming you have a special one for TM playing) or sender.
ljwoodw wrote:
a big, clear display (as some people have expressed that they tend to make more mistakes when playing on mobile)
An app can't make a small mobile screen bigger. And the bigger one piece of information is (e.g. the map), the less space is available for other information (round scoring, available power actions/bonus/favor/town tiles, resources per player, last moves). What an app could do better than a web page is to switch between various views without requiring scrolling and resizing, e.g. the map fills the screen, and some button changes the view to "cult steps and recent moves" (again filling the screen), then to "player boards", then to "available tiles of all sorts", then to "everything on one page (but really tiny)", then back to the map again.
ljwoodw wrote:
easy planning function (planning on mobile is pretty rough, especially for fat-fingered folks like me)
So true. I've never managed to do decent planning on my mobile - that's only happening on the PC (and my rating shows that I do it way less often than I should soblue). Without a real keyboard planning is the horror for me.

An app could use the same (hopefully fancy and intuitive) interface for actual moves and for planning, with some extra buttons/options available in planning mode (e.g. "switch to planning for player X now").

I guess the OP has a point that there may be more intuitive way to the current dropdown boxes, e.g. you could enter a conversion order by:
1) click on the "Convert" button
2) click on a selection of conversion options (e.g. "power to coin")
3) click on a number
4) click on a "Do it" button.
It does need one more click though, and once you understand the way it works now, it's just as intuitive.

I presume that the snellman site code could be enhanced to use the same dropdown boxes and map clicks for planning moves too, but that addition won't be easy to program. Worse yet: would it make planning easier if done by clicking instead of typing? I doubt it if you have a keyboard, since planning a bunch of moves by typing (once you know the syntax) will in many cases remain much faster than by clicking, especially if you're comparing various scenarios.
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Matthias Reitberger
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I usually play on a 10" pad. Planning works well, I type one character and get 3 suggestions that nearly always fit.
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Robert
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1869 wrote:
I usually play on a 10" pad. Planning works well, I type one character and get 3 suggestions that nearly always fit.
... until you type "Darlings".
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Matthias Reitberger
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DocCool wrote:
1869 wrote:
I usually play on a 10" pad. Planning works well, I type one character and get 3 suggestions that nearly always fit.
... until you type "Darlings".


That only happens in BGG, that input window likes no Darklings and replaces them with Darlings. Snellman planning offers me darklings as sonn as I type "d".
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Luke J
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Sounds like somebody doesn't choose dwarves often enough...
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James Wolfpacker
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Thunkd wrote:
It took me a really long time to figure out how to take my first action. The fact that I couldn't select any of the grayed out buttons until I had modified the drop down box on them was not intuitive.

And I wanted to figure out how to use the dwarves tunneling power and was thinking there'd be some special button. I finally got it to work and was happy that I figured it out. Then I went to undo so I could figure out how to do something else and hit save instead. So I've just made the worst opening move ever. shake


I sympathize with you regarding your visual processing. If it is not too late you can ask for an undo by the admin. Others might be more sympathetic to you as well since you are new and are having issues with the input method. You might ask the players for an abort and a fresh board, if they are willing to do that after you fully explain the situation. Make sure that they understand if they say no, you'll just have to be ok with it.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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JamesWolfpacker wrote:
I sympathize with you regarding your visual processing. If it is not too late you can ask for an undo by the admin. Others might be more sympathetic to you as well since you are new and are having issues with the input method. You might ask the players for an abort and a fresh board, if they are willing to do that after you fully explain the situation. Make sure that they understand if they say no, you'll just have to be ok with it.
Nah. I'll just treat it as a learning game (since I'm learning the interface). I'll probably lose but learning games are more about figuring how things work than doing well.

It's definitely a process of learning what things are and getting used to how snellman does it. And while I get that it doesn't bother a lot of people who have gotten used to it... it really isn't a great interface. I mean it works, but no one would ever call it slick, intuitive or user-friendly. No app designer would ever consider using this on a finished product.
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Silly Words
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Thunkd wrote:
So I'm trying a game on Snellman and I hate the user interface. The abbreviations and lack of graphics really make it hard for me to concentrate on what's going on.

I'm wondering if someone has (or could) develop some sort of front end interface. I recognize that including game images might infringe on copyright... but some sort of image showing a different iconography, or the ability to use my own images, would greatly help me comprehend what's going on in the game better.

My ideal would be a front end inter face where I could enter the move and it would connect to the website. But even if all it did was download the move and display the current gamestate, that would great.

Has someone done this? Could someone do this?


Or in other words. Does any technical person have a 500+ spare hours to invest in fixing something that isn't broken? Of course, for no financial reward, just the knowledge, that you're helping an unknown person on the internet.

At this point, again, yet another thousand thank yous to Juho, who has selflessly put 10K+ hours into the site for the benefit of us all. Even to the extent, that there is support for colour blind people. Respect.

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Bryan Thunkd
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SillyWords wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
So I'm trying a game on Snellman and I hate the user interface. The abbreviations and lack of graphics really make it hard for me to concentrate on what's going on.

I'm wondering if someone has (or could) develop some sort of front end interface. I recognize that including game images might infringe on copyright... but some sort of image showing a different iconography, or the ability to use my own images, would greatly help me comprehend what's going on in the game better.

My ideal would be a front end inter face where I could enter the move and it would connect to the website. But even if all it did was download the move and display the current gamestate, that would great.

Has someone done this? Could someone do this?


Or in other words. Does any technical person have a 500+ spare hours to invest in fixing something that isn't broken? Of course, for no financial reward, just the knowledge, that you're helping an unknown person on the internet.
Jesus. I can't even ask the question? The interface bugs me, I thought maybe it had bugged someone else too. I'm not a programmer, so I don't know how difficult a request it is. But thanks for jumping up my butt about it.
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Rolster IEM
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it doesnt bug me, but i have talked with a couple newbies I tried to get into joining snellman, and they found it too difficult. I was thinking of doing a youtube on how to use the interface, but... ugh... sounds like a lot of work
 
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Silly Words
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Thunkd wrote:
SillyWords wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
So I'm trying a game on Snellman and I hate the user interface. The abbreviations and lack of graphics really make it hard for me to concentrate on what's going on.

I'm wondering if someone has (or could) develop some sort of front end interface. I recognize that including game images might infringe on copyright... but some sort of image showing a different iconography, or the ability to use my own images, would greatly help me comprehend what's going on in the game better.

My ideal would be a front end inter face where I could enter the move and it would connect to the website. But even if all it did was download the move and display the current gamestate, that would great.

Has someone done this? Could someone do this?


Or in other words. Does any technical person have a 500+ spare hours to invest in fixing something that isn't broken? Of course, for no financial reward, just the knowledge, that you're helping an unknown person on the internet.
Jesus. I can't even ask the question? The interface bugs me, I thought maybe it had bugged someone else too. I'm not a programmer, so I don't know how difficult a request it is. But thanks for jumping up my butt about it.


Sure Bryan, you can ask the question. And I think, if you stick around, and ask further questions, then you'll find that this particular gaming community is quite enthusiastic, patient and friendly in answering questions. You'll get explanations of rules, strategy tips and comments on the ethics of playing. You'll even get invites to play in tournaments.

However, that is not exactly what you did. As far as I know, your very first post on this topic started with "i hate the user interface". That is about as humble and tactful as Donald Trump. And you might not know much about programming, but I'm sure you realised, that making alternative graphics and embedding them in a user interface for tablet (and perhaps) other end device support is not something that is done in a single night whilst consuming a six pack of Bud and watching UFC 105.

In fact, I would say, your request embodies the unrealistic sense of entitlement that so many young people have today. The internet seems like a magic mountain, where candy-sticks grow from the ground and cheese burgers grow from trees. Everything is there and best of all, you don't have to pay for it. And if you don't like something, then you can just anonymously say "I hate it" or "it sux" and never-ever have to feel embarrassed about dissing the hard work of talented people who have invested enormous amounts of time, sometimes for profit, but in this case, just for the common good.

So, although I have "jumped up your butt" again, at least this time, you know why.

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Bryan Thunkd
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SillyWords wrote:
Sure Bryan, you can ask the question. And I think, if you stick around, and ask further questions, then you'll find that this particular gaming community is quite enthusiastic, patient and friendly in answering questions.
You've done a great job as the ambassador for the group. I'm getting a feel for exactly how friendly and patient in answering questions you are.

SillyWords wrote:
However, that is not exactly what you did. As far as I know, your very first post on this topic started with "i hate the user interface".
But I do hate the interface. I'm sorry if that offends you or if I didn't properly dance around your sensibilities, but it's the problem about the site that makes it hard for me to use. I love TM and would love to play it online and I'm really struggling to do so with this interface. I came here hoping to find help, but instead people are just telling me that there's no problem and I should just suck it up. I get it, it's not a problem for you and you don't care that it's a problem for me. No, worse than that... You're going to take it as an opportunity to mock me.

SillyWords wrote:
That is about as humble and tactful as Donald Trump.
And you wanted to show me how to behave better and decided to be derisive and mocking? Way to lay on the tact, buddy. Either lead by example or don't judge me, but returning in kind is just hypocritical.

SillyWords wrote:
And you might not know much about programming, but I'm sure you realised, that making alternative graphics and embedding them in a user interface for tablet (and perhaps) other end device support is not something that is done in a single night whilst consuming a six pack of Bud and watching UFC 105.
I've seen a lot of programmers devote themselves to passion projects, even though it took a lot of time and effort, just because they wanted to make it better. And no, I didn't think it would take a single night... But I also didn't think it would be the impossible task you make it out to be either.

SillyWords wrote:
And if you don't like something, then you can just anonymously say "I hate it" or "it sux" and never-ever have to feel embarrassed about dissing the hard work of talented people who have invested enormous amounts of time, sometimes for profit, but in this case, just for the common good.
How am I dissing anyone's hard work? I don't like the interface because it's cryptic and hard to parse visually. I don't think that's untrue. I also don't think making a pretty interface was a goal of the designer. If he had gone to a lot of effort to make it pretty and I said I didn't like it, maybe that'd be dissing his work, but it's clear that making a pretty app-like interface wasn't something he went after.

SillyWords wrote:
So, although I have "jumped up your butt" again, at least this time, you know why.
I suspect that I do, but that it's a different reason than you're thinking of.
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