Pre-Early Access Alpha Feedback


#1

posted by onealexleft on Discord:
@Harti The UI overhaul has been completed. so if you’ve got feedback, we’re all ears.

In that case, here goes!

Usability

Before a match

  • In Game Mode select, alongside the example imagery, there should be a description as to what this game mode means/does (upon hover on PC / cursor on the Switch).

  • The “Edit Loadout” and “Save Loadout” buttons are on opposite sides. With this particular kind of menu transition effect I would expect the button to stay in the same position.

  • There is no way to get out of the “Edit Loadout” screen without hitting the “Save Loadout” option. It being so small it was hard to find, I remember trying to hit that non-functional (did you transition the hitbox down with the rest of the UI?) back arrow on the left side of the screen.

  • I think it is not currently possible to hit the “Info” option below the captain select in the “Edit Loadout” screen.

  • Clicking the minion (or an “X” button below it) in the “Edit Loadout” screen should unselect it so that the user doesn’t have to look for the corresponding portrait of the minion they want to unselect.

  • There should be a “Random” option for captains as it isn’t completely intuitive that clicking one twice unselects them.

  • There should be a “Random” option for minions as well to keep it consistent (and to make it easier on the Switch where you will probably have to select the slot you want to edit, then select the minion you want there).

  • The color preference options are suffering from the “I finally just found my option but accidentally clicked once more and skipped it, now I can’t go back” problem. It’d be better if you could select the colors from a grid.

During a match

  • When finding a match, after confirming that it is your turn, you’re being presented this without any instructions whatsoever. There should be a prompt, and not just in the tutorial.

  • There is currently no way to hide the minion select menu (e.g. after opening it with C) except by selecting a minion (which you don’t always want to).

  • The minion info screen is inaccessible from the minion select. I think the info should be displayed on portrait hover (PC) or using a key binding (Switch). I want to see the info before I make a selection, because eventually figuring out I chose the wrong option forces me to go back to the minion select by pressing C.

  • You should be able to close the Info screen (or any screen for that matter, especially the menu) using the Esc key, probably just in addition to the existing option (right-mouse). That’s what people tend to hit when things go wrong and they want to go back.

  • The Forfeit, Menu and End Turn buttons should have more space in between so there is less of a chance of hitting the wrong option accidentally (despite having to confirm critical actions, you want to avoid that anyway).

  • There is no way to find out who you’re up against unless you open the Chat or end your turn.

  • There should be a way to find out when your opponent’s Ultimate will be available.
    (In addition to that, there could be an exclamation sign coming from the opponent’s captain’s portrait, indicating that their power will be active if you perform the action you’re currently about to perform, i.e. standing next to a pillar, hovering over an enemy with your Melee selected, etc.)

  • I personally think that accessing the game list directly from within a match is awesome, but I don’t think it belongs in the “Menu” (not the match’s menu anyway).
    (It could be a toggleable panel sliding in on one of the screen’s sides at a reduced size so you could keep it open at all times to see when it becomes your turn in other games and hop straight into these if you so desire, without always having to interrupt your game flow by calling the menu and blurring out the whole screen.)

  • On the same note, I think that starting a game should be exclusive to the main menu. It is probably the thing I expected the least when opening the overhauled game menu for the first time, that you can actually set up and start a match from a match’s menu <insert late 2000s Xzibit meme>.
    It’s nice to have a shortcut, but in this case it is one more awkward choice to filter through cognitively when browsing the game’s menu. We’re all used to “Resume, Concede, Options, Return to Title” and I think it should stay at that (this way it could also become less intrusive, I’m thinking Hearthstone).
    As a UI designer I tend to find my way through visual clutter by intuition, but in this instance I do not feel secure at navigating this menu.

  • There should be a way to return to the game’s title screen. It’s the user’s safe place (cf. Apple’s Home Screen philosophy, “and if you wish to quit the app - you simply ‘go home’”). It subconsciously bothers me that you can’t. Possibly a SNES generation thing, having a Reset button on the very console.

  • You should not be able to pan outside the arena’s bounds.

  • I’ve missed being able to pan the screen by e.g. dragging empty map space, or putting the cursor in a corner numerous times. At the same time I loathe those auto-pan-when-cursor-in-the-corner things because you would sometimes trigger it when you don’t want it.

  • The clickable area of the confirmation dialogue windows’ options should be larger, e.g. by making them buttons instead of labels.

  • You cannot view units’ info when it is not your turn. Could be useful to e.g. plan or even learn about your minions’ skills during your opponent’s turn.

  • The spawn tile texture seems confusing because it is being re-used beneath the pillars. I think the pillars shouldn’t have them and be hovering over a solid stone base (just “fill” the existing border up with stone?) or something. Unless you’ve gotten an instruction from the tutorial, it’s not clear that you can deploy units there.

  • Since the captains’ powers are such an important piece to consider in a game, the state of them should be conveyed a little more prominently. Right now, you’ll have to find the captain’s tile in the arena and view its state. Is it colored but flat? Is it burning and turning? Is it desaturated and flat? What does it mean? When will it trigger? Is it currently active?
    These things should probably find their way into the 2D UI where the captain portraits are displayed. Maybe it’s because I’m coming from an Advance Wars background, but I would look for a captain’s power first… right, near the captain. Not somewhere on the board. I think the captain’s tile looks awesome, but it is awkward from a usability perspective and doesn’t quite fit in there.

  • The primary objective (10 VP) should be clearer. Games like Chess or Outwitters have seemingly unique tiles (Hex Gambit: Pillars) that make you win the game when you hit them. In Hex Gambit, things are a little different, and I feel that the VP display is too small and seems too irrelevant. Both being at 0 at the beginning of a match doesn’t make them very intuitive either. Other games solve this by displaying “0 / N” or “N to go”, or using special UI elements such as bars that fill up (which wouldn’t work here for the same reason) or N “empty” dots. Here’s a mockup of something I think could work. You could also use hearts (making them pop when your opponent hurts you - that’d also make it easier to understand when your opponent can trigger their ultimate)!

  • The action point display should have higher contrast as I continuously fail to realize they’re displayed there. It seems quite common to screw up your turn because you thought you had more AP left. Maybe display an actual number of AP right below the turn player’s captain portrait (you should also be able to see how many AP your opponent has left while you’re watching their turn in real time).

User Experience

Before the match

  • The Game Mode select screen could borrow its design from Overwatch a bit, using tall columns (or boxes as in Arcade) as instead of a “bullet list” menu. That way, you can convey a lot more information to the user by displaying both example imagery and a description without making him hover/select the item.
    You could, for instance, have the three important game modes as three taller columns in the top row, and make the Local Play and Tutorial options take two columns in the bottom row.
    (Speaking of columns, those exist in Hex Gambit, so you could use actual column imagery to display the columns. Or maybe use different kinds of pillars conveying the prestige they bring - wooden for exhibition, lightning around the Blitz pillar, golden shine around the Apex Cup pillar -, and when you click them the menu transition zooms in on the pillar, turning it around and revealing the next submenu “on the back side of the pillar”)

  • Skip selecting the Loadout for new players. Customization options seem disruptive when you just wanna play and go from there.

  • I think you should be able to have different Loadout presets (think deck slots that you can give names), and the different game modes should either remember your respective decision, or you can make the presets so that they get auto-selected when you go 2v2, a preset for Apex Cup and a preset for exhibition/goof matches.
    Here’s a sophisticated mockup for how this and my next point could come together.

  • I’d prefer the minions to be animated in the loadout select. When you click on the 3D models, they do their being attacked motion (and after clicking them 20 times, they die, explode and respawn?).
    (I realize this would require mixing UI with 3D scenes in front and I’m not completely sure if this is feasible from a programming perspective, but it’d definitely be a nice little touch!)

  • It would be cool if the loadout select had drag&drop functionality, but in any case it should be able for you to rearrange your loadout however you want. Either by minion size (if you have OCD), or for actual functional reasons like you have a “staple” roster for most matches but switch around the last 1-2 minions depending on the meta. It would make it easier to spot the difference between two loadouts if you’re putting your “flex” characters on the end.

During the match

  • I don’t think you should put the Forfeit option this prominently, it has a negative connotation and is rarely ever needed. Seems more of a menu thing to me. FIGHT UNTIL DEATH!!!1111!!

  • On this note, you may want to let the turn player proceed with their decisive opponent-crushing, match-finishing, BM-ing moves even if the other player chooses to concede while they’re playing their turn. It is kind of infuriating when you’re proud of your smart moves but the opponent just concedes to take away this little moment of happiness from you.

  • The minimum zoom level should be lowered. I want to zoom out to see more of the arena, but I can’t!

  • I think the maximum zoom level is fine as it is, however I could see people wanting to zoom in on a certain minion to better watch it goof around.

  • The keybindings feel “forced” to cater to games with free character roaming where you use WASD to move, and the keys in their proximity to perform actions or interact with the environment. The primary method of controlling this game, however, is (on PC) using your mouse, pointing and clicking stuff. While I personally like to use WASD to pan the arena around (a LOT) while doing my turn, other players may be less keyboard focused.
    To these, the key bindings will not make any sense (why would Melee be E?). Much like I first opened the new key-based UI, they would likely expect something like 1, 2, 3 and 4 as bindings for (Super) Melee (1, if applicable, and grayed out if not) and the up to three unit skills.
    For keyboard “veterans” it is still quite hard to remember the exact key binding, maybe it’s because we haven’t played as much yet, but regardless it is very awkward to see a tooltip/keybinding on an action that you intended to perform with your mouse (e.g. hovering over your captain’s tile). You’ll get distracted and read the key binding, then search for the key on the keyboard and proceed to use the key instead of the mere click of your mouse (that is already ON the very element you want to trigger).
    I am somewhat on the fence about this, because it is very useful for experienced gamers to have shortcuts. It just… doesn’t feel right, almost like it does not belong there and was just shoehorned in for whatever reason.
    Concerning the “remembering key bindings” issue, I believe that both Melee and Pillar Tapping, being the primary actions in the game, should be pre-selected (if you’re adjacent to a target) and finally confirmed/triggered by clicking the eligible target. Tapping a pillar always felt out of place to me because I only got to tap Y but not the pillar :thinking:

  • Make eligible targets light up.

  • It should feel more awesome to trigger an Ultimate (visual FX should explode, the John Cena theme should play, etc.; but I blame the early Alpha state for this not being the case yet).

  • If it is feasible programming wise, it would be preferable for a player to always fight on the same side of the arena, essentially mirroring the grid. You can see this being implemented in a variety of games; it makes it easier to switch between matches - as well as to follow certain strategic openings. Having to manually mirror what you would do on the left-hand side of the board if you ended up being P2 on the right-hand side puts a major cognitive load on your brain, eventually leading to fatigue.

Design

  • The Forfeit and Menu options have their key binding on the label’s right-hand side while most others seem to have it on its left-hand side.

  • Putting multiple of these options above of each other and center-aligning them seems a little off. This might be a cleaner way.

  • The Captain border shapes seem out of place. There is no other non-circle ellipsoid shape in the game. They furthermore leave awkward unused screen space in the screen’s top-left and top-right corners.

  • I think the Captain borders should be more cohesive with the (very pretty btw) “whose turn is it banner” in terms of their design.

  • I am not a fan of the concrete-textured-maybe-metal-bordered look of the confirmation windows and the loadout preview background. I do like the velvet “banner” like design with the gold in it. Pursue that a bit more, I would say. It’s got a majestic touch, makes the game feel more “valuable” than a sack of concrete powder.

  • Also not a fan of the Tron-inspired patterns you intend to put on the arena floors. I’ve been digging the mixture between mythical ancient greek environment style and illuminated modern robot tins fighting there, so I’m curious why would you put more of such modern effects in the environment from a design standpoint? Could have went with a Mario Kart Rainbow Road inspired arena from the start if you wanted it to be like that.

  • Yes, I chose Comic Sans deliberately, and no, I do not want it in the game :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


#2

#3

#4

Now that’s some feedback! Thanks for taking the time to put all this together. We’ll definitely make note of anything we don’t have in our own polish list.