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User Interface Tedium Reductions

Discussion in 'Ideas and Suggestions' started by darkos2, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. darkos2

    darkos2 New Member

    Jul 9, 2018
    I like Elvenar. But, I have to say, that it's quite tiresome and time consuming at times, when it need not be.

    I believe the game would be improved by providing ways to reduce the number of clicks/presses needed to do certain things.

    While I understand that, as makers of this game, that it may seem attractive for us to individually have to interact each and every time with every item, but I can tell you that as a player, it quickly gets to the point of inducing repetitive strain injury, and it would make this game much more playable, especially for those that are limited in time available to play per day.

    For most of the time, I use the web client with a non-touch screen, so there is a lot of point and click activity happening. Sometimes, I use a touch enabled tablet (android), so I'm familiar with how both of these clients work.

    but, both types of interface are hugely repetitive when making neighborly visits or dealing with multiple items in my city.

    so, here are a couple of ideas on how it could be improved. certainly there are other ways too.

    1. improve making of neighborly visits.

    I'm sure that you have noticed that quite a few players are using the city name text as a way to let other players know what kind of neighborly help they would like.

    why not support this in the game, and let city owners define a pecking order they'd like help in. the messages typically show the main hall, builders and culture (sometimes just one or two of these), by abbreviation, in a sequence indicating the order of preference. why not allow that sequence to be defined and stored by the city owner, and show it to the visitors?

    then, when visiting, we should be able to define whether we want to comply with the city owner's requested preferences or ignore their preference, and define instead, our own giving preference sequence.

    now, we have enough information to automate the visiting process until our storage of coin or supplies is about to be maxed out.

    if that happens, then the visiting could stop, we can make whatever preparations are needed, and start the process off again (only for those that we have not yet visited, of course).

    a nice plus would be having a display that shows whether we need to clear supplies or coin in order to complete the process before starting, and if we do need to make preparations, by how much. eg: 5 KP worth, for example.

    2. multi-select or repeat apply a command.

    today, we can collect produced goods/coins/supplies with a swipe of the finger or slew of the mouse across multiple items. it's very convenient.

    that convenience does not happen when it comes to applying instructions to the items. eg: telling 20 workshops to all do the 3 hour option, or that steel manufacturing should take the 3 hour option. they all have to be set up one at a time.

    if there was a way to repeat the last command to the subsequently pointed at items, as many as you point at, it would be one way of achieving the improvement.

    another option would be to create some kind of easy multi-item-select capability, and then pop up the dialog that allows user to set what all of the items selected should be doing next.

    3. if nothing else, allow numeric keys to select the available option buttons in *all dialogs*. especially those in adventures.

    4. items in adventures - the icons along the left hand edge - please do *not* automatically move on to the next type of item to be created. a nice to have would be a drop-down to allow the item to be jumped to directly rather than having to get RSI while cycling through the list to get to the one that's wanted?
    Jegenchant likes this.
  2. SoggyShorts

    SoggyShorts Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    1. We asked to be able to define our buff preferences, but the mobile version of visits was what we got.:(
    I was with you on that until you delved a little too deep into automation
    2.Multi select has been requested, the developers response was that they want us to interact with our pretty buildings.
    3. Hot keys are pretty good so far, I'm not sure how they would work in the FA.
    4. See my posts in this thread on why a drop down is a terrible solution compared to other possible improvements:
    samidodamage and Laufey like this.
  3. samidodamage

    samidodamage Well-Known Member

    Mar 27, 2017
    The developers seem fine with us interacting with our buildings with the multi-collect feature. I can collect coins, supplies, goods, guest races, troops, whatever and the collections just float up into their proper places. I know nothing about coding/game development, but it looks to me like they could adapt that interface for the FA even if they aren't ready for a quest overhaul.
  4. hunterc311

    hunterc311 New Member

    Aug 9, 2016
    FWIW, the Elvenar app is highly streamlined and takes a lot of the tedium out of several parts of the game, though actually adds steps to other parts. I use it exclusively for visits and adventures and definitely tournaments, but every day city management is still better on the PC. Either way, using a mix of both might really improve your experience, it surely has for me.
  5. SoggyShorts

    SoggyShorts Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    This is what is crazy about inno's lack of integration.

    Cycle FA quests: Mobile>PC
    Reset productions: PC>mobile
    Do visits: Mobile>PC
    Send a message to FS or donate KP to FS member: PC only

    To make the game bearable you have to sit in front of your PC playing on your phone half of the time.:rolleyes: (Or install 3rd party software)
  6. darkos2

    darkos2 New Member

    Jul 9, 2018
    so, as I read through the comments (which I'm appreciative of), I would point out:

    1. I bet that if inno really asked us, the players, they would be very surprised to find that we have other things to do than sit around playing this game, and that all things that facilitate not having the one at a time, highly repetitive activities, would be hugely popular, and make playing the game more enjoyable, rather than being bogged down with keystrokes.

    2. I'm using the bluestacks solution to allow me to use both pc and tablet versions already. my cities are not that big right now, but, i can see that as they get bigger, that the attractiveness of having to do daily visits etc will quickly make this game too tiresome to play. there is way more to real world life than sitting and playing this game all day. even with the tablet app approach, it's cumbersome, error prone, and just silly. clearly, the user community is showing the way as to what should be done re visits and preferences on giving/receiving neighborly help.

    3. if inno provided an api through which external apps could interact in behalf of users, then this might be a very cool way for them to do what they want, while allowing others to do what they want.

    4. previous delivered improvements may have been a 'what can we do quickly' kind of response rather than what we actually need. I would love to hear from inno as to what their thinking is.
  7. SoggyShorts

    SoggyShorts Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    If you watch the live FB Q&A sessions you will see that they are fully aware, and a company making $200 million a year is not likely to be surprised by much;)
    It takes me under 5 minutes total to do 24 visits on 3 different cities, most of that being the time it takes to log in, enter my password and load my city.
    The actual visit part is under 1 second per player.
    The slowness of switching cities is something they are working on, and the mobile version of visits is supposed to be ported tot he browser someday.
    Bots? I can't see how this would lead to anything other than players using software to run the game for them. A certain amount of tedium is required to keep players honest. For example If you could set and collect all buildings with just 2 clicks, then anyone could use a simple clicker program to run 5 minute beverages all day long and reduce their workshops to 1 instead of the normal 8-10.
    In 2 years I have never seen a developer post on these forums. This is a player driven forum with volunteer moderators. The only direct contact you can get is with the facebook live Q&A.
    Crochet and samidodamage like this.
  8. darkos2

    darkos2 New Member

    Jul 9, 2018
    your example of 24 cities. sorry, but, that's such a small number. i have a single city that has 88 discovered neighbors. other players have *many more* than I do. manually doing visits is very cumbersome, even using the tablet app.

    you'd be surprised what companies *do not realize*, regardless of their size.

    there are *already* people using apps/bots to take care of some of the tedium, from what I can see, to varying degrees of success. i briefly gave one such tool a try, but the results were not great, so I'm not currently doing that.

    while I understand the concerns about turning the game into a bot-driven thing, the way to keep it fun is to allow people to focus on what makes the game interesting, not on mindless, highly repetitive tedium. the main thrust of my suggestions is for the tedium to be alleviated for everyone, via improvements to the game user interface.

    eg: residences - they earn coin without having to be started. ok. they only create coin, and, at a fixed rate.

    here's another idea: how about allowing factories and goods production to be configured to 'auto start' and indicate which item they should make? you'd still have to collect the produced items before they could make more. this alone would reduce a huge amount of tedium.
  9. SoggyShorts

    SoggyShorts Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    24 is the max members in a FS (plus you makes 25) I didn't realize you were talking about doing the world map (where I have closer to 300 neighbors)
    Admittedly I'm too lazy to take the 15(?) minutes to visit all of them, mostly because coins are so plentiful in the late game.
    The position that "some people are already cheating, so making cheating easier doesn't matter" won't go very far IMO.
    Not a bad idea, but I don't see it being all that useful for factories:
    If I'm understanding correctly, a factory would auto-start the same production after you collect from it. Useful if you are always doing the same production, but for an "average" sleep+work+evening schedule you would only benefit in the morning. In the evening you would collect the second 9h, then have to open the factory and cancel the 9h to set a 3h evening run instead. Then before bed, you have to open and cancel again to switch to a 9h.

    The idea has a little more functionality during the FA if it applied to workshops, but that's a pretty niche situation, and doesn't come near the top of the list for things I'd like the devs to spend time improving. YMMV
    samidodamage likes this.
  10. darkos2

    darkos2 New Member

    Jul 9, 2018
    exactly my point. and, if you're a 'good neighbor' you should be visiting them to give *them* a benefit as much as to give yourself a benefit, right?

    It would be great if inno could do everything, but, it seems that they're not, so, why not provide a supported way for others to provide tooling to help reduce the drudgery? perhaps the api would not allow certain things to be done (eg: collecting produced items) but would support starting production and automating neighbor visits?

    when combined with the 'paste setup' or 'repeat last' kind of functionality, you'd only have to change 1 of each type of structure, and then paste/repeat to other like buildings with a passing of the mouse over those items, thus reducing the effort when switching production cycles.

    specific to FA's: there are other bug-bears to do with adventures. eg: don't advance the type of item after attaining it. it's a pain to have to cycle back when multiple of the same item needs to be collected. allow all the dialog buttons to have numbered shortcuts, so that when you do have to cycle through, at least it can be done quickly with the keyboard (at least, in the browser version). eg: 1st button = 1, 2nd button = 2, etc.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
  11. SoggyShorts

    SoggyShorts Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    Only the 11 cities that are actively played out of my 300 neighbors would actually get that tiny benefit.
    You also need to consider the balance aspect of making visits even faster and easier than they already are. If players are suddenly getting 50-200 more visits per day, those supplies and coins could affect the level of challenge in the game- especially at low levels when those resources really count.
    It is entirely possible that you would go from a "Hard work for decent payoff" situation to one where "Costs have gone up so much with the rebalancing that I now need to do all of my visits and am actually worse off than before"
    What "level playing field"? Surely you don't mean cheating should be easier so that everyone can cheat equally?
    This is a pretty vague suggestion. No one is advocating drudgery, but what parts are you finding to be the "fun part" that needs to be "focused on" ?
    Some players hate/love rearranging their cities, the tournament, the FA, setting productions, calculating guest race needs, events, visiting other players cities etc.
    Sometimes the grind is what makes the achievement all the more satisfying.
    I get it, and honestly, I'm not totally against the idea of automating a few things, but how I feel is irrelevant. When this was brought up to the Developers in a live Q&A session they flat out said they would not implement such things because they "Want us to interact with all of the beautiful buildings, and we think you do too".
  12. darkos2

    darkos2 New Member

    Jul 9, 2018
    people keep repeating that it was brought up and dismissed. we need to keep bringing it up, so that the dev / program managers understand that this is what the players want, so that they get the message, and respond in a meaningful code change kind of way.
  13. SoggyShorts

    SoggyShorts Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    "Dismissed" makes it sound like they ignored it. They did not. They addressed the suggestion on a few occasions, stating that it was simply not in line with their vision of the game.
    I'm not saying that they'll never implement any QOL changes, just that they probably won't make ones that remove the need for a human.
    The cycling of quests, for example, is mentioned frequently and is "being worked on".

    Also, keep in mind that it is only possible to buy&spend diamonds when you are online making the reduction of time spent online less than desirable for the developers.
    shimmerfly likes this.
  14. Crochet

    Crochet Member

    Nov 5, 2016
    Love these ideas. Even just having the quest item not advance after attaining it would take the frustration out of collecting badges for me. It makes sense for a player to set up multiple versions of one badge since most are based on time. So to have a way to collect multiple badges of a similar type would be lovely.
  15. Andrew420

    Andrew420 Well-Known Member

    Apr 19, 2015
    From the game rules

    5. Bots, scripts or macros

    Players are not entitled to use mechanisms, software, programs or other routines that could disrupt our systems.

    The use of bots, scripts and macros for the reproduction or evaluation of the game is not permitted.

    It is strictly forbidden to use browser add-ons or scripts that automatically collect your resources, to use programs that mimic premium features or provide an unfair advantage, and/or to use click-bots or scripts that click for you automatically or decrease your manual clicks.
  16. darkos2

    darkos2 New Member

    Jul 9, 2018
    yes, those are the rules currently. as with anything else in this game, the rules can evolve and change over time.

    one observation is that there are some efforts inno has made to make use of numbered keys on keyboards (in the browser client) able to be used for choosing what item to produce. if that could be added to all dialogs, then this would make it simple to reduce the tedium of using the mouse to make selections in other dialog boxes like those that are shown during adventures and tournaments. eg: 1st button = '1', 2nd button = '2' and so on.

    when doing visits of neighbors, on the tablet version, it very nicely shows the item that gives the user the most culture boost. this would be good to have on the web version in some way too. i want to give max benefit via culture boosts, but, it's hard to know which item really does that (with the web client).

    and, when doing adventures, having to cycle through the items is very tedious. how about a scrollable list like what the tablet shows for visits to fellowship members? that would allow a more 'direct' way to select the item. of course, not changing the item being collected would also be very helpful.
  17. SoggyShorts

    SoggyShorts Well-Known Member

    Jun 9, 2016
    For 2 years we've been asking for this feature, and we'll keep on asking. I believe @jps54 had a 3-month streak of asking for it at least once a week.;)
    You'd think that after it was implemented in mobile that the next step would take under a yearo_O
    WolfSinger likes this.
  18. darkos2

    darkos2 New Member

    Jul 9, 2018
    I am curious - did @jps54 make this request via this or another forum, or was there some kind of live interaction opportunity that was used?

    in other words: what's the best/most effective way to interact with the inno folks on things like this (ie: regarding reduction of tedium)?
  19. MikeTampa

    MikeTampa New Member

    Aug 22, 2018
    For doing the neighborly help instead of using C for culture many players used willows, or grape, or other such terms to terms to designate where they want the help placed. Also some players when giving help may ignore what people really want and just click on the MH since that is where you zone into when visiting. The only non FS neighbors that I visits are those that reciprocate my previous handshake unless there is an FA that require sacks of coins since I can get 4-5 bags. It is time consuming but worth it for the FA.

    AS far as clicking on each building to start a production it is not that many - with the average of 10 workshops and 2-3 factories of each tier it is not that much. It is more in the guest race chapters but usually you have more specific items to be made.

    As far as tedium - every game I have played had a periods of tedium - imaging sitting for hours doing crafting in Everquest II, or constant fighting and running in the first person shooters. It is called game play.
  20. darkos2

    darkos2 New Member

    Jul 9, 2018
    everyone has, and is entitled to, their own opinion.

    mine is that: in the web browser:

    during FA, I don't consider it 'good game play' to have to do 22 mouse move and click operations in order to cycle the collected item back to the same item again.

    during normal play, I don't consider it 'good' to have to individually set the type of production for each and every building when I have already set it once, and there are more of the same type of building being set immediately afterwards.

    the neighbor visits: currently, i prefer to visit all of my neighbors, whether they're active or not, responsive or not. I need the coin, and I like to think that I'm helping my fellow players. I totally understand that for some of you, this is not how you handle neighbor visits. Even restricting the web client to what's needed to collect the 3 treasure chests, and then switching to the tablet version via bluestacks, there are still loads of mouse move and click actions (I'm not using a touch screen, so the emulator still has loads of mouse activity).

    I don't know where you get your averages from, but, i have more than your averages on building counts, and there are plenty of other players that have way more than me!

    the 'game play' in this game, for me, is not the 'keeping me busy with repetitive action' aspect. it's the progressing through the research, deciding which buildings to put where, upgrading buildings, managing the creation of resources and how they are spent, participating in fellowship activities and interacting with those of my fellowship, which make the game 'sticky' for me.

    a bit more of setting up keyboard letters/numbers as shortcuts for dialog boxes would go a long way. eg: on the production menus, the numbered keys are shortcuts for the available options.

    not advancing the collected item after collecting it's required goods would go a long way. providing a scrolling list to choose the item being collected from would be even better (like the list of fellowship members on the tablet app).

    allowing some kind of copy production / multi-paste kind of thing would go a long way.

    allowing players to set up their neighborly help preferences, and allowing players to configure how they do their visit would go a long way.

    I understand that it's been said that it's thought that the more time people spend in the game, the more inno have an opportunity to sell items to players. but, my feeling is that by reducing the user interface tedium, it will allow players even more time to consider things they want to do in their city, and this is where there will be a greater opportunity to sell to players, versus having them spend time needlessly working through the time consuming idiosyncrasies of the user interface.