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[Freeciv-Dev] Re: Documentation, Usability and Development

[Freeciv-Dev] Re: Documentation, Usability and Development

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To: rf13@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Cc: Justin Moore <justin@xxxxxxxxxxx>, Freeciv Developers <freeciv-dev@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: [Freeciv-Dev] Re: Documentation, Usability and Development
From: Daniel L Speyer <dspeyer@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2001 13:33:30 -0500 (EST)

On Fri, 30 Nov 2001, Raimar Falke wrote:

> On Thu, Nov 29, 2001 at 02:26:58PM -0500, Daniel L Speyer wrote:
> > >    Actually I think we should target it just below what we think our
> > > actual audience will be.  At the very least someone who's never seen
> > > Freeciv (or even Civ) before should be able to *start* a game.  We may not
> > > need to follow all of the little "have a screenshot every 3 steps" rules,
> > > but we need to always remember that we're going to take things for granted
> > > that a new user won't.
> > 
> > I recently introduced Freeciv at a computer camp where I worked.  I had
> > the experience of watching near and total newbies learn the game.  Some
> > experiences and thought:
> > 
> > We *need* a better server interface:
> >     I wrote a TCL/TK thing with bits of C that was adequate, but it
> >     still confused people.  Sticking server controls into the client
> >     would IMO be a good idea, but we definately need to do something.
> You know patch from Andreas? Search for "Extended connect dialog
> (PR#977)".

I remember that, somewhat, I never tried it out.  It sounded really good,
though -- why hasn't it been incorporated?

IIRC, it still left issuing commands as a type-in-the-chatline thing, but
gui-ifying that is seperable (I'll take a shot at it if I have time.

> > The units/terrains aren't recognizable:
> >     It takes a while to get to recognize settlers, coal, tundra, etc.
> >     Probably this just needs better artwork.
> Which tileset was used.

Both Hires and Trident

> > The scrollbars were confusing:
> >     Nobody uses them (almost) and they don't work in isometric anyway,
> >     why don't we cut them out (at least in isometric)?
> Ack. The minimap and the right-click are sufficient for me.
> > Battle computations:
> >     I was constantly advising "warriors won't kill a legion", "get
> >     your settlers onto the river and the horsemen won't be able to
> >     kill them" etc.  It might be helpful to have some sort of 
> >     battle-calculator which you could ask this unit attacks this unit
> >     on this square, and it would give the chance of victory.  Even as
> >     an experienced player, I'd find this helpful, but it's really
> >     important for people who haven't memorized the units yet.
> Nice idea.
> > Strategic advice:
> >     It would probably be helpful to write a simple set of advisors
> >     to say what techs/production focuses/government etc. would be
> >     best so that you can start playing decently without learning
> >     strategy the hard way.
> IMHO this be done better if the people read some docu (yes I know
> nobody read anymore).

Learning strategy from documentation is difficult, and the game's supposed
to be *fun*.  If this were primarily a tool for training princes, I'd
agree, but most people don't like reading strategy guides, and don't
absorb them well either.

I'm just picturing some advisors to help you along.  They'd be helpful for
more experienced players too.

--Daniel Speyer
"May the /src be with you, always"

> > Apart from the scrollbars, these are all pretty big projects, but I think
> > they would heavily benefit new players.
>       Raimar
> -- 
>  email: rf13@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>  "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
>     -- Arthur C. Clarke

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