First impressions and interface and UX suggestions


#1

Hi everyone, first post here. Sorry, it will be a mess.

So far I really like the game and my sister (who is 10 years old) seems to enjoy it as well.
I have been coding in Lua as a hobby for about 3 years now and I tried to get my sis into trying it as well, but we didn’t really get anywhere with Minecraft and OpenComputers, which is a bit user-unfriendly and arcane for a complete beginner.

This game is quite the contrary. It is engaging, fun and easy to grasp.

But instead of listing everything that works, I want to focus on a few things that don’t work that well.

The Yellow Arrow of Annoyance

  • way too big (at least on 1024x768 screen)
  • glowing/pulsing UI elements could do the work just fine
  • the most annoying was when it pointed at the editor from below and blocked out the reference
    White fadeout in main window
  • blocks view unnecessarily
  • alternative: switch the shape/color of the timeline knob-thingy
    Escape
  • exits full screen
  • not sure if there is a workaround besides clicking outside of the active area
    Tips coming up waaay too often
  • my sis was well aware that she mis-spelled the enemy’s name and was in the middle of correcting it, but no matter how often she closed the help notification, it kept coming up after every keystroke
  • soluton: use a timer to see if the user has stopped writing and only activate these pop-ups then
  • compile errors are fine, but
    Plleeease add translated compile error support
  • obviously, L18N reasons too, but
  • also make them more understandable for beginners (although the tips kind of do the same thing, but they seem to be level specific and general for any error)
  • I have already joined the Hungarian diplomat team and I’d be happy to help with the Lua part
    Editor font(s)
  • not very readable on our screen, I know it’s a terrible CRT from the 90’s, but still
  • sizable fonts would be a good solution
    Scrollbar
  • not really a big issue, but it’s still there in full-screen mode, even though I can’t scroll anywhere
  • no, there is no tiny gap, as both arrows are gray, indicating that there really is nowhere to scroll
    Code linting?
  • not sure if it comes up later as a source for bonuses, so I’m just putting it here
  • obviously, it is different for each language, but that would also make it more interesting as different rewards for different solutions in different languages increases replayability and encourages learning

That’s all just based on first impressions gathered on the first 5 or so levels, but most of them affect the whole game in some minor way.

Anyways, thank you all the devs, artists, translators and everyone who contributes to this!
I’ll try and do my part as well.

Things that I liked, just to even things out:

  • items unlocking methods
  • direct and non-direct combat
  • there seems to be stealth involved
  • freemium is not ruining it
  • OPEN SOURCE! (this reminds me, there could be a Git tutorial for high level players, idk if this is a thing)

#2

I found this irritating as well until I found that you can turn it off on the “Options” tab of the game menu.


#3

But tips are good. She was lucky to have someone who knows the language help her, but not everyone is and they need tips.
I remember learning Python on CodeAcademy and tips were a huge help.
But they should definitely not be so obtrusive.


#4

Hey raingloom, glad you and your sister are digging the game, and thanks for the great feedback!

The Yellow Arrow of Annoyance

We actually found that it does need to be somewhere around this big and annoying at first for most kids to reliably notice it, although maybe it could scale down a bit more with smaller screens. It does get smaller as you level up. Was your sister also annoyed by it or just you? We had a bit more discussion on this on GitHub.

White fadeout in main window

I don’t really like it personally because I want to see everything that is happening in the game at once, but the intent is actually indeed to kind of block the view, because we’ve found that otherwise kids often get distracted by all the stuff going on over there when they are trying to code.

Escape

Can you explain a bit more about this? You want to stay in full screen but also be able to press escape for something?

Tips coming up waaay too often

Yeah, it would be nice to add a timer so that the same time can’t pop up a second after you closed it. I’ve added an issue here.

Plleeease add translated compile error support

We need some help setting up our transpiler, Aether, to do this, or it probably won’t get done for a while. We have a GitHub issue for this here.

Editor font(s)

Can you include a screenshot of what is looking bad? Making the font resizable (as opposed to having browser zoom for the whole screen, which doesn’t help you at 1024 x 768) is not so easy for our code editor with all its crazy layout stuff.

Scrollbar

This one is screen-size-, operating-system-, browser-, and whether-you-have-a-mouse-dependent. Can you send a screenshot for this, too? We try to mess with the scrollbars a lot; it’s possible that this is something we can further improve.

Code linting?

Can you explain more? Right now we just have most of the dungeons levels give a bonus for no code problems, and a few levels for some of the languages can count lines of code used, but we stop doing that in the forest.