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Author Topic: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)  (Read 13463 times)

wierd

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Re: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2019, 03:00:19 am »

When bee-keeping was first introduced, there was a crippling bug where hives were not locked for task, and having more than a single bee keeper would cause them to stand around all day long, looking for a hive that no longer existed, without cancelling the task.  The only way to reset it was to cancel the hive installation job COMPLETELY (as in, turn "Ready for installation" off on the hive, unpause, then turn it back on again) so that the game re-evaluated available hives, EVERY TIME the bee-keepers got stuck like that.

I reported it like, on day 3 of the release. Took FOREVER to get fixed.
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frightlever

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Re: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2019, 03:12:57 am »

You get ONE shot with Steam to make a big impression. Most of your sales will happen in the first week.

Let's no forget that the move to a commercial release on Steam is to offset legitimate concerns the Adams have about their financial security in light of certain existing and potential health scares. Shit gets real when you hit your forties, people.
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PatrikLundell

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Re: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2019, 04:10:59 am »

I find this Steam introduction to be very worrying, but I hope to be proven wrong.
- Unlike Unreal World (which has preceded DF in appearing on Steam while still retaining a freely downloadable version [with optional donations]), DF is a constant bug fest. I'm not saying a contents over quality approach is wrong, but it's sure to result in a rather serious backlash when unsuspecting customers encounter it. On the other hand, Steam has devolved into selling alpha development as "early access" and early beta as "final release", so it might not stand out too much, apart from the time it takes before bugs are addressed.
- Steam achievements and other embellishments will take time away from actual development. However, it's good tile set development has been offloaded to capable hands. Perhaps Kitfox might serve as a vehicle to offload other things as well, to let Toady spend more time on development of essential parts?
- It's a rather curious time for the announcement: Several months before the next release (which is bound to be very buggy, as it's a major one), with the current version suffering from at least one serious crash bug (raiding causing military equipment corruption). Not a good position from a marketing point of view, as some of those seeing the announcement will probably try the current version and be put off by it.

Edit:
- As pointed out, auto update with DF is not a good idea at all, unless the development strategy changes significantly. Major releases tend to be unplayable (essentially alpha testing releases), with several bug fix releases required before things get back on track, and that can happen mid course as well, so manual control of which release you play is basically required to allow you to continue to play as broken releases are fixed. Even somewhat stable releases have issues that may cause players to want to stay with an older release.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 04:22:34 am by PatrikLundell »
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Starver

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Re: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2019, 04:49:13 am »

To be fair DF's menus have been need of a clean-up for a while. Requiring mouse usage to navigate them really wouldn't help though.
Aye. The problem isn't the lack of mouse. The solution isn't to allow the mouse.

(Noting that mouse is useful and already usable in 'painting' designations on a map, though I personally find keyboard more accurate in this, excel and sometimes even in things like GIMP where there's key-control for precise dragging of overlay regions. I might suggest that 'rectangle stretching, such as for bridge-footprint sizing, might be a candidate for corner/edge/centre dragging for resizes/reposition, but given the expanse limitations already in bridge/road/etc designations and the arguably greater need to reconcile something like a copy/paste of such things with the possible adjustments to the material picker selections at each additional stage, perhaps we should be asking for something more like 1-click flood-fill (well, 2plus-click, right click to menu, select flood style/boundary conditions and then try to fulfill materials?) floor-building. Some people may prefer room-from-furniture size to be mouse-controlled, but as that's essentially a 1d 'radius' thing then it'd be best tasked to mouse-wheel than drag, if by usurping mouse-wheel-zoom you don't cause further UI headacjes and inconsistencies.)

We could argue over the menu 'clean-up', and what needs to be redone where. Given we can't remove the Construction sub-items, or Workshop Autolabour on/offs, from the whole tree of submenudom. Free of necessity to tie to a (sometimes counterintuitive but necessary-for-local-uniqueness) key-combo then perhaps there could be some shuffling together of things that are more alike than suggested at the moment, and do more "boxes and bags" note of all things functionally the same (coffin/sarcophagus/casket, etc).

The point about the "three types of cursor key"  (or is it four, technically?) is the other argument for needing rationalising, though there is more rationality between them than some people appreciate, and times when multiple cursor-controls are needed/useful in an operation, simultaneously, and though cursors+mouse might be one solution I'd be annoyed to find I had to reach for the mouse because I can't do it all on keyboard like I always did.

Way beyond my pay-grade to answer the question of "what specifically needs changing", as well as probably beyond my ability to distance myself from the years of ingrained acceptance and envelopment of all the little quirks that are now second-nature to me, but if you'll excuse the above ramble, I know it's not going to be easy without an overhaul that is problematic in itself. As has been discussed at length (and width, and height, and extent) elsewhere already, though doubtless it will again, and now on the Steam Communities!

(Or Itch ones? Couldn't find any similarly anarchic Itch fora, but I must admit that I first realised that Itch was not the same as Twitch only last night. Not having frequented either of them until I went looking for what the new audiences would find.)
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voliol

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Re: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2019, 06:09:49 am »

You get ONE shot with Steam to make a big impression. Most of your sales will happen in the first week.

Will this really apply to an already semi-established game such as Dwarf Fortress? Sure, even Dwarf Fortress will probably see a bump i sales upon becoming a Steam "novelty", but at the same time it is such a legendary game that it will be able to draw in curious gamers who wish to see the origin of its legacy with their own eyes, even past this initial release. The updates also help building the legend further, so there's no risk of stagnation.

In all sincerity, I suspect it will still continue to be a niche game, but it will be a niche game that will be easier to approach for those not used to ASCII.

therahedwig

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Re: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2019, 07:33:15 am »

Yeah, from my own experience, if you have a community outside of steam/itch you tend to do have a much stabler experience than if you had none and released the game. (That is, for established games the sales tend to be higher int he first week, but then even out to the normal rate of people discovering the game each week due its community)

It is in that way actually not that different from Amazon/Youtube/Deviantart/any other such platforms. You tend to see a lot of indie games nowadays try to develop a community outside of the game beforehand to make sure they're not stuck advertising the game as it releases or being subject to Steam's weirdo algorithm.

The only thing that is annoying is that the steam forum is yet another venue for people to complain, and then complain they're not heard. If it were possible I'd recommend anyone to shut down that thing for them because the attention division is just too great.
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Bumber

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Re: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2019, 07:36:44 am »

There's a risk of permanently turning away would-be DF players if their first experience is confusing and unpleasant. Bay12'ers know what they're getting themselves into, but your average video game enthusiast is going to be put-off by the horrible state of the UI, especially if they're buying the ~$20 Steam version. DF sometimes goes years without an update, which basically means "the devs abandoned it", as far as the Steam community is concerned.

Unless we're getting a major UI redesign* before the Steam version releases, I expect the game will end up with a "mostly negative" score and people will decide to avoid the game by that reputation. If the game can instead make a good first impression, then people will at least remain interested enough to keep talking about it and want come back later to check on development. Even if their forts die of FPS death, they've still gotten a taste of what the game could be like, rather than an infuriating puzzle they'd rather not think about ever again.

*And I don't mean fancy graphics. Toady could benefit from the advice of a professional UI designer to help him figure out how to make things more intuitive.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 07:56:00 am by Bumber »
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wierd

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Re: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2019, 08:56:20 am »

The refrain I am seeing on the steam forum, is that they want context sensitive right-click menus.

The issue is that the game has far too many options for "easy" gameplay.  NetHack has the exact same problem.  Even the root menu of such a right click popup would have over 16 entries in it.

I really dont think that what casual players want, can effectively be delivered, no matter how savvy you are with UI design.
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Starver

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Re: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2019, 09:46:10 am »

Movable/Redockable subwindows? (I'm thinking Transport Tycoon, if I remember TT as well as I think I do, without trying to dig it up to see.) Tracking 'viewport' windows upon entities (friend/foe/wildlife and items) would be interesting. These days you'd probably want gesture 'throwing' to create/move such windows stuck to a chosen screen edge, or draggable/semi-smartly spawned in a suitable central spot.

Isometric/other axonometric projection variation? (Ditto to TT, but by far not the only example.) Noting that this plays havoc with asdw/hjkl/cursor layout usefulness, so you'd need to wasz/ijkm or similar instead (numpad can do either 'squared' or 'diamonded' 8-direction control faithfully, if differently). Ultimately it could be rendered any-which-way if graphics was ever voxel-defined or even full 3D-vectorised, but would be a whole different level of art to supply. Not sure if Meph/et al could transition their creations easier than other upstarts.

For tabbed (sub)screens and list-menus, obviously even the most basic Tk/Inter restyling would win over the ASCIIphobic, and fits into the first point but worth a separate mention.

Imagery of moving units/projectiles needs to 'slide' between tiles, rather than blink-shift, whatever the tiling configuration. You could even (with forward planning) send non-orthogonal and even non-diagonal movements transitioning in un-stepped paths even across the underlying manhattanised path. Perhaps a 'ground shadow' or tile-border outlining hint could indicate the actual discrete tile at a given tick, and upon unavoidable interruption (projectile encounters suddenly raised bridge-barrier?) it clicks back to the true centre of the tile it stopped on, perhaps with slight in-tile scatter based upon the interrupted non-discrete midpoint of the path.

Enhance all relevant sprites to be animated (whether pixelated, voxelated, proc-gen vector, etc) with suitable (8-direction?) frames to echo the movement, plus stationary but active animations (generalised 'workbench' activity to meld with suitable moving tool, planting/picking animations, weapon waving/drawing) and idle ones (sporadic toe-tapping/waving for the fully Idle). Yeah, more work to pick up (or pass on) for Meph and crew, sorry.

Percentage/drift-bars for some values that need common attention. Mood, an approximation of health (or uninjuredness, given how DF works), perhaps something linkable to select (and limited) stock-numbers/stockpile-gappedness. Add that to the custom subwindows idea, and of course TK.

....

But, really, there is much not wrong with the ASCIITile-like windowed system. It is quite functionally suited. And most requests for changes are little more than window-dressing unless you go really deep into the redesign. (This point somewhat ninjaed by weird's above point.)
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Starver

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Re: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2019, 11:45:46 am »

What's with the "♥♥♥♥♥♥" being used as describing a negative thing on the Steam fora? It sends confusing messages, as far as I'm concerned, loads of love being given in the same virtual breath as stating problems. I can only imagine it's an extreme in-joke.

Anyway, enough browsing them. Without a login I have no reasonable way to keep up with new messages only.
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wierd

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Re: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)
« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2019, 11:47:54 am »

It's just the autocensor trying to convince people that they should be more positive in a passive aggressive fashion.  I suspect it happens when variations of the word "fuck" are used.
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Robsoie

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Re: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)
« Reply #26 on: March 14, 2019, 11:54:16 am »

While i don't use Steam, i can see how it can be beneficial to Toady and his brother in term of making more money out of their work, so it's a good move for them.
But in the same time going commercial is going to be a problem for a game like DF the way it is.

Because obviously if the goal is to get new and more people interested in -buying- DF , the presentation is going to become important.

The interface is going to be a big source of potential new (as in not already playing DF as it is now) customer repellant (i think mouse behaviour like the excellent mousequery for dfhack by falconne should really be default to at least alleviate the obvious UI problem)  , and i sincerely hope the DF render system will be upgraded because as nice as tileset can be if there's still that "only see 2 layers at once in z levels" is still there it will just end ugly , something like the excellent twtb for dfhack from mifki is really required natively.
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Teneb

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Re: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)
« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2019, 12:52:14 pm »

It's just the autocensor trying to convince people that they should be more positive in a passive aggressive fashion.  I suspect it happens when variations of the word "fuck" are used.
Any sort of swearing or bad word is converted, character-by-character, into hearts. So yes it's the auto-censor, but it also applies to other stuff like, say, "shit".
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therahedwig

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Re: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2019, 01:39:06 pm »

The refrain I am seeing on the steam forum, is that they want context sensitive right-click menus.

The issue is that the game has far too many options for "easy" gameplay.  NetHack has the exact same problem.  Even the root menu of such a right click popup would have over 16 entries in it.

I really dont think that what casual players want, can effectively be delivered, no matter how savvy you are with UI design.
Typically, when doing UX design you try to identify workflows, like, a 'make a room workflow' or a 'attack monsters workflow'. The military ui for example, it's really good for super advanced workflows, like, you can make a fully automated military with it, and even setting up a simple militia isn't too hard, but there's little to no guidance on going from 'simple melee militia' to 'semi-automated military' to 'fully automated guard'. Similarly, there's no feedback on whether a squad is using barracks, etc. Let alone all the bugs associated with equipment. The same can be said about the manager and minecarts.

But for example, taverns, temples and hospitals are easy-peasy: Create a zone, assign to location, put in appropriate furniture, and designate a dwarf to using them. There's some bugs, yes, but it's much less micromanagy. And here you can also clearly see there's experiments with UX and evolution of UX going from furniture/room based, to zone based, to a location which can be a hybrid. And here it's much easier to visualize how a context menu could work.

What I am trying to say is that maybe we should hope for a UX experiments arc where the military ui is overhauled several times according to workflows and then maybe it's easier to visualize context menus for it (Though first the equipment bugs need to be sorted)

That said, UX tends to also be where people bikeshed the most, so... -_-
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Bumber

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Re: The Steam forum is already toxic (I love Bay12)
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2019, 04:51:05 pm »

In particular, I was thinking of things like:
  • Getting rid of the 't' mode (items in buildings) and merging it into the 'k' function
  • Cleaning up the Stockpile settings menu (both the item category grouping and the control scheme)
  • Better connectivity between the units list, dwarf's profile, and toggled labors
  • Indicating on the military screen if claimed equipment is actually equipped
  • Possibly move constructions out of the buildings list (which is mostly furniture) and into their own menu (or merge with designations)
  • Tooltips to tell you what stuff does (e.g., a "down stair" is a hole in the floor, not a one-way staircase*,) which labor/skill a task requires, etc.
  • Better filters on Adventure Mode rumors
+Other stuff I've forgotten because I'm too used to the game. Edit: Also search filters everywhere like DFHack adds.

*Come to think of it, why are "down stairs" even a thing? Why aren't they just an implicit floor above an "up stair"?
« Last Edit: March 14, 2019, 07:08:53 pm by Bumber »
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Reading his name would trigger it. Thinking of him would trigger it. No other circumstances would trigger it- it was strictly related to the concept of Bill Clinton entering the conscious mind.

THE xTROLL FUR SOCKx RUSE WAS A........... DISTACTION        the carp HAVE the wagon

A wizard has turned you into a wagon. Was this inevitable (Y/y)?
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