Interface breakthrough - feedback desired

FlayraFlayra Game Director, Unknown Worlds EntertainmentSan FranciscoSuper Administrators, NS2 Developer, Subnautica Developer Join Date: 2002-01-22 Member: 3Posts: 6,943 admin
edited November 2006 in Zen of Sudoku
Hey everyone!

This week has been great. After addressing a small potential interface improvement (link), I stumbled upon what I believe to be a major simplification and major improvement to the interface in Zen of Sudoku.

This new method gets rid of the pop-up number chooser entirely. This approach also lets me get rid of Advanced Mode, "number mode" and a slew of other interface complexities. It replaces all of them with a totally different way of choosing numbers. The potential downsides are:

1. Alienate you guys - you probably bought the game assuming basics like this wouldn't change.
2. Require right mouse button for pencil marks. This is one of those cardinal assumptions I had when designing the game, but I think it is trumped by the fact that the entire interface becomes so much simpler as a result.

Take a look at this demo movie to see how the new interface works. It's so obvious I can't believe I hadn't tried it before.

Please let me know what you think about this! After playing with it for a couple days, I believe it's much better, but I'm not the average user either...

Charlie Cleveland
Game Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment


  • puzlpuzl The Old Firm Retired Developer, NS1 Playtester, Forum Moderators, Constellation Join Date: 2003-02-26 Member: 14029Posts: 4,112 mod
    I agree, it's a much better interface and the complexity of a 2-mouse button interface is much less than what was in the old system. I guess you could implement it such that single-click marks and double-click selects if you absolutely have to support single-button mouse input ( should you choose to deploy on the mac platform ).
    Retired NS1 Developer, currently making myself useful as a forum moderator - message me for any mod related requests.
  • surprisesurprise Members, Constellation Join Date: 2003-01-16 Member: 12382Posts: 674
    great idea

    i cant judge how casual gamers see that change, but i think its a great improvement in usability

    one thing i noticed in the movie: how can you see the difference between preset numbers and numbers you added to the gamefield?
    playing since 1.04 - IPB Image since 3.0 beta
    If you mess up, you die. Such is Natural Selection.
    I'm excited to get back to my first love. Aliens and high-powered weaponry - Flayra
  • FlayraFlayra Game Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment San FranciscoSuper Administrators, NS2 Developer, Subnautica Developer Join Date: 2002-01-22 Member: 3Posts: 6,943 admin
    Great. To answer your question: when you have "show errors" on, you can't see the difference between revealed squares and correct squares you've solved. If you turn off "show errors", only revealed squares have the granite background.
    Charlie Cleveland
    Game Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment
  • ComproxComprox *chortle* CanadaMembers, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, NS1 Playtester, NS2 Developer, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Silver, Subnautica Developer, Subnautica Playtester, Pistachionauts Join Date: 2002-01-23 Member: 7Posts: 6,616 admin
    It is a good idea I say. After reading your post, I immediately knew what you had planned and liked it, even better watching it.
  • SolitarioSolitario Members Join Date: 2006-10-29 Member: 58097Posts: 245
    The game video of the game, and the game itself looks realy good.

    I'm not sure about the content of the game, but I suggest some things I would see in the game:
    - different backgrounds
    - different text fonts
    - a clock with a highscore, so you can see whether you become better or not
  • MerkabaMerkaba Digital Harmony Members, Retired Developer, NS1 Playtester Join Date: 2002-01-24 Member: 22Posts: 2,571
    Great! Not only does it seem to be more convenient, but it also looks much better by collapsing one of the interface's layers (That is, the pop-ups) making it feel like a more solid direct experience; judging by that video anyway. Nice one! I can't imagine what downsides there could be to this, although with such tiny horizontal lines on the screen I would consider testing it on a TV screen if you plan on porting it to the XBox 360. I can test this myself if you have a need for it, as I have a rather lame TV sat by my PC and a cord that lets me set it up as a 2nd monitor.
    "I am the woodsie lord, the Trickster of legend. If you be thirsty, flesh thing, drink of me. If you be hungry, then feed, for I am the honey-maker and the jacksberry." ~ The Trickster, Thief: The Dark Project (1998)
  • moultanomoultano Creator of ns_shiva. Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Gold, NS2 Community Developer, Pistachionauts Join Date: 2002-12-14 Member: 10806Posts: 4,219 Advanced user
    The one downside I see is that it requires more fine motor control to select a number. This might be an issue for older players that aren't as good with a mouse.

    I'd say to include an option for a popup number selecter, but those same older players probably won't know how to change it or why they should. I'll run it by my mom and see what she thinks.
  • Iced_EagleIced_Eagle Borg Engineer Members Join Date: 2003-03-02 Member: 14218Posts: 1,285
    That looks really cool and looks like a nice interface biggrin-fix.gif Great solution!
    I code games. That is all.
  • KaineKaine Members, Constellation Join Date: 2002-08-07 Member: 1096Posts: 1,017
    maybe zoom the current square when you roll over it, so the little number squares are easier to click, only a 5-10% zoom would make it much easier to pick out the number you want. also put in a transparent overlay of the numbers into the squares, just makes it that little bit quicker and easier to pick out the number you want. (and with hint or show errors on you could color the incorrect numbers red or something)
    IPB Image g0t constie?
  • _Andy_Andy Members Join Date: 2010-08-12 Member: 73588Posts: 2
    I'd just like to add that the right-click-to-mark, left-click-to-enter functionality is why I bought the game. It's massively more comfortable and intuitive than every other sudoku game I looked at.
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