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An interesting read on usability (from Gamasutra.com)

2

Comments

  • Clubmaster22Clubmaster22 BerlinPosts: 279Member

    Originally posted by Gdemami

    Good game = high sales

    Exactly.

    We're dealing with an industry here not art. There is no "independent" vs. "mainstream" fight going on. There's nothing but mainstream and EVERYONE aspires to cater to the massmarket, especially Square. They just forgot how to do it. Thinking Square makes games for a little "elite"-customer crowd is completely dilusional. They just don't know how to make good games anymore and this trend did not start with FF XIV.

  • MMO.MaverickMMO.Maverick WonderlandPosts: 7,619Member

    Originally posted by Clubmaster22

     They just don't know how to make good games anymore and this trend did not start with FF XIV.

     Sorry, but that's a very subjective opinion, and one I disagree with.

    FFXII was a very good game, and FFXIII had great gameplay in it, but they made the wrong design choice with it by limiting your freedom more than you had in FFXII.

    The ACTUAL size of MMORPG worlds: a comparison list between MMO's

    The ease with which predictions are made on these forums:
    Fratman: "I'm saying Spring 2012 at the earliest [for TOR release]. Anyone still clinging to 2011 is deluding themself at this point."

  • Itchy01Itchy01 Edmonton, ABPosts: 103Member

    Btw thanks for posting this Ikkei it was good to get a peak at the social end of game design. It helps to understand the process a little bit better.

    For the UI I guess we'll see what happens, for myself its playable but I can understand the frustration that others would have with it though and it probably will effect people who are logging in for the first time.... guess I can take it upon myself to try to be helpful to them when possible.

     

    good game = high sales...... not always theres alot more to sales than the quality of product offered, it also depends on what's considered high sales as its going to vary depending on the company involved.

     

     

     

     

  • CernanCernan Charlotte, NCPosts: 359Member

    Nice link OP.  I definitely believe in more simplistic user interfaces.

    @geldonyetich - Not sure how you misread Seffren's post.  This thread is about UIs and making them easy to pick up by all audiences.  In your post you talk about going to class and how the class discusses dumbing down the UI, so that the first thing someone sees on the screen is what they should click.  Then you talk about how dumbing it down is assuming everyone is idiots and games no longer provide a challange or make you think.

    No where did you emphasize actual gameplay elements, only the UI which this thread is about.  Seffren simply made an analogy with a website.  It's not the UI that should be difficult.  That part should be dumbed down.  It should be as simple as possible.  Don't make me think about the UI.  I shouldn't have to click through 10 menus to get something done.  The meat and potatoes should be the gameplay, the puzzles, the quests, etc.  Make all of those things difficult, require brain power to solve. 

     

    I thought Seffren's post made complete sense and I understood what he got from reading your post.

     

  • crazynannycrazynanny PopowoPosts: 173Member

    @geldonyetich

    So, You do claim that pressing buttons on intreface is intelectually demanding task(monkeys must be geniuses then)? Woah, the next thing we'll hear from You will be that smashing wall with Your head is more hardcore and well thought then going with dumb easy mode around it. Please stop and just think what You wrote. FF XIV UI is bad, clunky and unfriendly. As simple as that. Making such poor excuses is simply fanboyism.

  • VikingGamerVikingGamer Nowhere, TXPosts: 1,348Member Uncommon

    So far I am enjoying the game and think that it is pretty impressive and will do well.

    With that said, there is much that can and should be done to improve the interface. The game should be hard not the game controls.

    The controls are learnable but not intuitive to someone who is not used to console games. Their core market is fine but they do need a very detailed, run you though it, tutorial for people who have never played with controls like this. Perhaps a completely separate, one time tutorial pre-game. To go along with this they need to have a default setting for the controller. Someone new to the game should not have to set up a controller from nothing with no direction given at all. A person who has never played a game like this let alone this particular game will not know what the purpose of the mappings are. How do you know where to place "change view" if you have absolutely no context for what "change view" does? Also, possibly consider offering a package that has a controller in it that is known to work right out of the box.

    As for keyboard controls, it is fine that they have used a controller equivalent setup. Though again, they need a very detailed tutorial for those who have never played a similar game. However, there are a number of things they could add to take advantage of the keyboard and mouse without breaking the rest of the control interface. First, context menus for npcs, objects and UI elements. Second, some kind of mouse movement such as "click to move to." Third, keyboard shortcuts to certain menu items. Understand that these changes would be added to the existing interface not so much a change to what is already there. Those using a controller can still get to all these things though extra button clicks and scrolling around with the menu stick/dpad. The interface would still not be ideal for those coming from most other mmos but it would help considerably.

    The last big problem I see is the slow reaction time to button clicks. Switching active/passive mode and casting spells are two big examples. It seems to take an awfully long time for your character to react to the request. This is not a mouse issue, the controller takes just as long. This may however by a design issue. They may want it to take longer so as to slow combat down. Still I would like to see longer cooldown times take care of that rather than what strikes you as sluggish response time. When I hit active mode I want my pugilist to grab those knuckles NOW! Not spending two extraordinarily slow seconds trying to remember where he put them, as if he has more than one set of hips.

    Again. Overall I am having fun with the game and would, despite the difficult interface, recommend people take the time to learn it for the sake of playing a great game and experiencing a beautiful world.

    All die, so die well.

  • Kaijin2k3Kaijin2k3 Santa Monica, CAPosts: 558Member

    I enjoy the game but I fully agree with the article. For the record, I found the UI easy to use once I got used to it. But in there is the problem. I should never have had to "get used to it," it should have been a seamless process.

    I've played almost all the FF games (but not FF11 because I couldn't get used to the controls back when I tried it) so I'm accustomed to the idea of a menu driven UI. But IMO, FF14 takes the menu idea too far and has too many redundancies. For example, there's no need for your Inventory menu and the one where you're actually able to equip something to be seperate. They should be together or at least have a more seamless connection to each other (tor example, allowing an "Equip" option on gear in the Inventory screen that just takes you straight to the equipping menu and equipping that item, and so forth).

    There's more, but the only other one I'd like to mention are the excessive amounts of comfirmation boxes. There are simply too much. To cast a spell, I shouldn't have to reselect a target after I all ready targetted what I want to cast it on. After selecting my materials and recipe, i shouldn't have to then reconfirm the recipe. When i successfully finish a craft, I shouldn't have to confirm the finish (on a side note, there should be a method to queue [x] quantity of a specific craft instead of having to reselect the materials over again). And so forth. One should never force the player to mash the "OK" button just to be able to do what he wants to.

    The UI is just a mediator between the player and the game. It should just be there to easily allow the player to do what he choose to do: whether move, equip something, equip a skill or just emote. Forcing to players to "think" about how to go about doing that means that the UI has failed; it should do that specific thinking for them, which then frees to them to focus on the actual gameplay, the actual lore and quests, or whatever is happening.

  • geldonyetichgeldonyetich Vancouver, WAPosts: 1,340Member

    Originally posted by Gdemami




    Originally posted by geldonyetich



    True, I'd rather make good games than sell out, and this is something that would confuse a buisinessman like (from what I've heard of him) Bobby Kotick.




    Good game = high sales

    Just my 2 cents...

    By your logic, then, Maple Story (100 million players) > World of  Warcraft (13 million players).

    Also, you'd be saying Final Fantasy XI console-like interface > EverQuest point-and-click (the game WoW is based off of) interface.  Because, after all, it did retain more subscribers.

    The thing is, I can find lots of examples of games which are quite good and had poor sales (Psychonauts, Beyond  Good & Evil), and other examples of games that had great sales and weren't all that good (Deer Hunter, You Don't Know Jack).  I mean, if quality had that much to do with popularity, why do we have boy bands?

    This whole "good game = high sales" thing is just a first assumption that don't pan out under closer observation.   Sorry, the world isn't that fair, when it comes ot sales, the general public is apparently more susceptable to hype, and true connoisseurs of gamers are a comparatively rare creature. 

    The idea that a GUI must be easy in order to be fun is another example of a first assumption that doesn't pan out under closer observation.  I got that a lot on this thread.  Im just going to say this: if a really easy GUI is all it took for a game to be fun, lemme tell ya, you'd be having a blast with the wizards in your spreadsheet programs right now.

    Let me put down an easier-to-follow idea: In all things in life, there's a certain matter of moderation.  Too much usability can actually be a bad thing.   Believe it or not, Square-Enix seems to know what they're doing with Final Fantasy XIV.  The lack of an auction house or NPCs with floaty exclaimation points over their heads were deliberate design choices.  They're doing things differently from WoW because, if you want WoW, you've already got it.  They're also doing thigns differently because this game isn't being designed as a  succession WoW, it's being designed as a supplement of FFXIV. 

    Conversely, you could argue that too little of a thing is a problem too, but the trouble is that I could see how adding even slightly more usuability to FFXIV could come at a cost of a greater gameplay concept.  For example, they want you to have to wander to find your NPCs, they want you to do without zone chat, they want you to do a lot of walking, because this makes for a more immersive virtual world.  If you want me to sacrifice some of that immersiveness so it's easier for you to play, as someone who'd rather appreciate a more immersive game, I'm going to urge you apply yourself more.

  • Kaijin2k3Kaijin2k3 Santa Monica, CAPosts: 558Member

    Originally posted by geldonyetich

    Originally posted by Gdemami




    Originally posted by geldonyetich



    True, I'd rather make good games than sell out, and this is something that would confuse a buisinessman like (from what I've heard of him) Bobby Kotick.




    Good game = high sales

    Just my 2 cents...

    By your logic, then, Maple Story (100 million players) > World of  Warcraft (13 million players).

    Also, you'd be saying Final Fantasy XI console-like interface > EverQuest point-and-click (the game WoW is based off of) interface.  Because, after all, it did retain more subscribers.

    The thing is, I can find lots of examples of games which are quite good and had poor sales (Psychonauts, Beyond  Good & Evil), and other examples of games that had great sales and weren't all that good (Deer Hunter, You Don't Know Jack).  I mean, if quality had that much to do with popularity, why do we have boy bands?

    This whole "good game = high sales" thing is just a first assumption that don't pan out under closer observation.   Sorry, the world isn't that fair, when it comes ot sales, the general public is apparently more susceptable to hype, and true connoisseurs of gamers are a comparatively rare creature. 

    The idea that a GUI must be easy in order to be fun is another example of a first assumption that doesn't pan out under closer observation.  I got that a lot on this thread.  Im just going to say this: if a really easy GUI is all it took for a game to be fun, lemme tell ya, you'd be having a blast with the wizards in your spreadsheet programs right now.

    Let me put down an easier-to-follow idea: In all things in life, there's a certain matter of moderation.  Too much usability can actually be a bad thing.   Believe it or not, Square-Enix seems to know what they're doing with Final Fantasy XIV.  The lack of an auction house or NPCs with floaty exclaimation points over their heads were deliberate design choices.  They're doing things differently from WoW because, if you want WoW, you've already got it.  They're also doing thigns differently because this game isn't being designed as a  succession WoW, it's being designed as a supplement of FFXIV. 

    Conversely, you could argue that too little of a thing is a problem too, but the trouble is that I could see how adding even slightly more usuability to FFXIV could come at a cost of a greater gameplay concept.  For example, they want you to have to wander to find your NPCs, they want you to do without zone chat, they want you to do a lot of walking, because this makes for a more immersive virtual world.  If you want me to sacrifice some of that immersiveness so it's easier for you to play, as someone who'd rather appreciate a more immersive game, I'm going to urge you apply yourself more.

     ... A good UI will not make a game fun. It will not be a game's life saver. It's nothing but the translator and mediator; a mechanism to allow a player to interact with the game. Make it difficulty and tedious, and it is now tedious to interact with the game.

    While a good UI may even go unnoticed (in some casees, this is a good thing), a bad, overbloated and reduntant UI can and will destroy a gameplay experience. Is the UI in FF14 so bad that it will crush it? For me? No. For a good chunk of users, no. For another good chunk of users, yes.

    This stuff is explained in tons of articles at your fingertips by googling, in addition to the dev centric gamasutra. There are textbooks and classes, lectures and presentations given. Again, I'm sure you can find them all by simply googling.

    But you said you all ready had a textbook and had a class, and yet still stick to the mentality that an overly complicated and redudant UI is a good, and rewarding experience?

    Then at this point, I bid you a good day and pull back from this subject, as there is no point in adding anything more.

  • geldonyetichgeldonyetich Vancouver, WAPosts: 1,340Member

    Originally posted by Kaijin2k3

    This stuff is explained in tons of articles at your fingertips by googling, in addition to the dev centric gamasutra. There are textbooks and classes, lectures and presentations given. Again, I'm sure you can find them all by simply googling.

    But you said you all ready had a textbook and had a class, and yet still stick to the mentality that an overly complicated and redudant UI is a good, and rewarding experience?

    That is correct, because I prefer a deeper answer than the easy one I was given.   Making something easy to use is good advice for most software, but I believe games operate under a different set of rules in many respects.  Now, maybe the idea of rejecting the simple, easy answer would cause your brow to furrow in disapproval, but I'd say you just haven't looked far enough ahead.

    There's a lot of lousy, easy-to-use games out there.  You could say, "A good UI will not make a game fun. It will not be a game's life saver. It's nothing but the translator and mediator; a mechanism to allow a player to interact with the game"  Well, of course, that's the easy answer.  I would counter with, "what if the GUI made the game too easy to play, and this sabotaged the flow by not giving the user enough satisfaction with things to do?" 

    Although analogies often get me in trouble, I can think of many little examples that would support the idea that games require some level of difficulty to be entertaining.  Ridiculously, why don't puzzles arrive in a box with the pieces already assembled and glued together, since that'd make things a lot easier for the user?  Not ridiculously, Deus Ex 2 removed the idea of having multiple kinds of ammos in exchange for single unified ammo type, but this turned out to be a step in the wrong direction because it so happened players liked the idea of having multiple kinds of ammos.  As pertains to the context of FFXIV, I included several perfectly viable examples as to why Square-Enix did some the things that people complain about throughout this thread, including at the bottom of that giant quote block you skimmed before typing.

  • dankiddankid San Jose, CAPosts: 50Member

    Originally posted by VikingGamer

     The game should be hard not the game controls.

    That pretty much sums up what sucks about this game.  Its a GREAT game, in concept, but with poor execution.  Games SHOULD be challenging, but is should require skill, not mental fortitude.  There should be some strategy or timing in battle, maybe challenge the games intellect and ingenuity a bit.  But most games, including this one, fail here.  They either add the "grind" to make the game harder, or they withold information and make things overly complicated and unfunctional.  All it does is frustrates the majority of buyers, while MAYBE pleasing a few "hardcore" gamers. 

     

    What these games need to realize is that they NEED to appeal to their majority audience, while still targeting most of the population.  This is one thing WOW has actually done pretty well, but not perfectly obviously. 

     

    And isn't that how they were hyping this game up initially.  Weren't they saying that it would be catered to both hardcore gamers and casual gamers.  Im a casual gamer, and so far the only thing this game has that im interested in is the FF name and graphics. 

     

     

  • GdemamiGdemami Beau VallonPosts: 7,866Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by geldonyetich

    By your logic, then, Maple Story (100 million players) > World of  Warcraft (13 million players).Also, you'd be saying Final Fantasy XI console-like interface > EverQuest point-and-click (the game WoW is based off of) interface. Because, after all, it did retain more subscribers.
    The thing is, I can find lots of examples of games which are quite good and had poor sales (Psychonauts, Beyond Good & Evil), and other examples of games that had great sales and weren't all that good (Deer Hunter, You Don't Know Jack). I mean, if quality had that much to do with popularity, why do we have boy bands?

    I am not going to tell people what is 'good', I let that up to each one consideration and wallet.

    You might think Maple Story is a bad game, fair enough but your opinion seems a bit insignificant compared to 100M crowd thinking otherwise. And if I am a game developer, those 100M are by far more interesting audience.

  • geldonyetichgeldonyetich Vancouver, WAPosts: 1,340Member

    Originally posted by Gdemami

    I am not going to tell people what is 'good', I let that up to each one consideration and wallet.

    You might think Maple Story is a bad game, fair enough but your opinion seems a bit insignificant compared to 100M crowd thinking otherwise. And if I am a [sellout], those 100M are by far more interesting audience.

    Fixed that for you.

    Perhaps being a core gamer introduces a certain element of bias for some reason.

  • Clubmaster22Clubmaster22 BerlinPosts: 279Member

    Originally posted by geldonyetich

    Conversely, you could argue that too little of a thing is a problem too, but the trouble is that I could see how adding even slightly more usuability to FFXIV could come at a cost of a greater gameplay concept.  For example, they want you to have to wander to find your NPCs, they want you to do without zone chat, they want you to do a lot of walking, because this makes for a more immersive virtual world.  If you want me to sacrifice some of that immersiveness so it's easier for you to play, as someone who'd rather appreciate a more immersive game, I'm going to urge you apply yourself more.

    I really don't know how feeling alone (no chat) while wandering aimlessly (you don't know where the hell you're going because everything of interest is either hidden - important NPCs - or not reachable, due to being only a shape on the horizon which turns out to be just decoration when you try to approach it) through bland enviroments (copy&paste, very little variety in terms of landscape, no landmarks to speak of) is immersive. The game feels empty, soulless, autistic and devoid of life: that's the opposite of immersive.

  • IkkeiIkkei ToursPosts: 169Member

    Geldonyetich, I really think you're wildly confusing two very different aspects of game design: game mechanics (or "systems") on one side, and user interface on the other.

    The former, game mechanics, can be deep and complicated (as opposed to "dumbed down", and at the condition that they're logic and coherent as a whole) in games that take advantage of the player's brains—though not always the best choice, arcade games for instance are known to be straightforward, to the point of obviousness. On the contrary in most FFs, you'll find, indeed, some of the smartest systems ever designed in RPG (ATB system, spells/effects rules, materias, summons, etc). It's because of those core concepts that Square have imposed themselves as leaders of the RPG market on consoles for so long. 

    The people responsible for making good systems and mechanics in a game are "game-makers", from the lead designer and its hordes of programmers. A good idea, generally, to appeal to many people is to follow the logic "easy to understand, hard to master". This is chess, Tetris, poker, Mario games. The opposite (hard to understand, easy to master) may be the most frustrating, elitist way of designing a game ("for initiates only"). I guess most successful games fall just in the right middle.

    User interface, however, is a totally different beast. It's the realm of ergonomics, cognitive approaches and methods. Square never shined there. They've always been "ok", sometimes great (Secret of Mana in 1995 does bring good memories of UI), and lately they've gone from bad to worse (FF XIII, FF XIV). The king of ergonomics may be Apple or Google depending on which world you're coming from; in video games we're more acquainted with names like Nintendo or Blizzard, since the 80's/90's.

    The only truth about user interface is that, as any interface (such as your eyes and other senses are interfaces between the outside world and your brain), it should be "seamless", "unnoticeable". You speak of flow... well flow you can't even begin to reach if you're constantly struggling with immersion, if you can't focus on the task. A runner can't get to flow if he's pained by his shoes. A gamer can't reach flow if he's pained by the controls.

    Suddenly, in the middle of an action, you find yourself thinking that you're in a video game that requires you to press "again" (and again, and again), well... this is NOT immersion, it's the opposite. Such things happen in movies when you suddenly remember you're watching a movie because something didn't add up. Immersion, too, is based on a seamless experience. The time and process "from the thought in the player's mind to the action in-game" should be short, obvious, natural, a second nature. You don't think "how can I take this glass and drink the water in it?", you just do it. Well, in FF XIV, you have to think A LOT, way too much, about "how to", which eats up on the "what do I want to do?", the real story. Clicking buttons is not building your character story. It's "off game", it's not in the movie you should remember after playing a session. It's not a feature of RPG. Pressing buttons is just bad—a necessary pain in games and computing in general, since we don't have neural interfaces yet. (!)

    I could go on explaining, but I think my point is fairly obvious. Just as you wouldn't expect Apple to make a great RPG, you can't expect Square to be the best at creating interfaces... it's no big deal, really. However, while most game companies have accepted that fact and use test centers (externalized or not) to deal with that major aspect of usability, Square either doesn't, or does it poorly.

    I've read in this thread several very good examples of issues that were clearly not tested, because if such things were by choice, then they're nothing but the most tedious and alienating time-sinks ever designed in MMORPG. Nothing but contempt for gamers' knowledge of MMO and RPG altogether and, most of all, a bad way of spoiling our time. Let's remember a few of those "UI limitations": no "equip" from the inventory, multiple confirmation of targets or recipes, the need to re-bind spells when weapons change, or to re-select components when crafting the same item, and all those "downtimes" between any and every press of a button. Does all of this increase game time by 5, or 10, 30, maybe 50%? Well then, if it is by choice, it's a blatant attempt at cashing on hour-based subs (welcome to Asia). Or to mess with people's free time perhaps?—j/k, I don't believe that.

    So yes, I prefer to believe that they just failed they UI (the most simple explanation, and one likely at that, considering Square's history of clumsy and badly nested UI compared to other console titles). Because if they didn't fail, if it's a choice, it just means the situation has turned a whole lot worse.

  • maskedtearsmaskedtears Sunnyville, CAPosts: 345Member

    I've gotten to the point where I keep messing up and trying to use the keyboard commands from FFXIV when I'm doing normal stuff... 

     

    So I guess I get how that could work backwards...

    And I'm pretty sure you guys could of gotten into active mode without click F. Double enter or double click ftw... 

    You wanted my time, so I played you. You wanted my money, I forked it over. You wanted my soul, I gave it willingly. Not to complain... but when do I get my end of the deal? And no, I don't want your flippin' carrot. If you can't do that give me back my youth and keep the change. Why don't you try chasing your own damn carrot for a change? I'll gladly hold the stick.

  • dreamscaperdreamscaper Somewhere, NCPosts: 1,582Member Uncommon

    I found the UI lagginess pre-mouse patch to be the main hurdle. After that, it's been pretty easy to get used to.

     

    Thta being said, I've been playing today with a controller  (an Xbox 360 controller, to be exact) and it works really well. The only thing lacking is a way to assign controls for camera zoom, which isn't terribly important since I can switch between 1st and 3rd viewpoints with the press of a button.

    <3

  • geldonyetichgeldonyetich Vancouver, WAPosts: 1,340Member

    Originally posted by Clubmaster22

    I really don't know how feeling alone (no chat) while wandering aimlessly (you don't know where the hell you're going because everything of interest is either hidden - important NPCs - or not reachable [... (ed: blantant lies about how terrible the world is omitted)]) is immersive.

    Simple: because this is the way it is in real life.  What do you think greater immersion is, if not paring away the differences between the virtual and reality? 



    • We don't have giant exclaimation points hovering over the head of people we should be talking to, we have to discover this on our own.


    • We don't have the ability to telepathically communicate with others across the continent unless we use some kind of technology - FFXIV has linkshels. 


    • The things that are most precious in life are often the hardest things to find, because otherwise they're commonplace availability dimishes their worth. 

    And so on.  A great deal of coming up with an immersive envrionment involves these compellingly realistic inconvient truths.  A game that does otherwise weaves a hidden fantasy where everything is going your way, where a person needs no guidance because life hands it do them, where the greater bulk of awkward life realities are waived as inconvenient, but each little step sacrifices immersion in the process. 

    Of course, if a game was utterly lifelike, we'd not need even log in - we can be good and miserable in here and now.   A good medium must be found.  I find FFXIV and FFXI to have a more satisfying medium than casual-friendly drivel.


    Originally posted by Clubmaster22

    The game feels empty, soulless, autistic and devoid of life: that's the opposite of immersive.

    Such an observation does more to hurt your credibility than FFXIV's.   Exactly what MMORPG are you playing which is more full, soulful, emotionally rich, and full of life?  Can you prove it?


    Originally posted by Ikkei

    Geldonyetich, I really think you're wildly confusing two very different aspects of game design: game mechanics (or "systems") on one side, and user interface on the other.

    [... lots of elaboration based off of things I knew about game design over a decade ago...]

    I could go on explaining, but I think my point is fairly obvious. Just as you wouldn't expect Apple to make a great RPG, you can't expect Square to be the best at creating interfaces... it's no big deal, really. However, while most game companies have accepted that fact and use test centers (externalized or not) to deal with that major aspect of usability, Square either doesn't, or does it poorly.

    You're apparently misunderstanding what I've been saying: I find game mechanics and GUI to be very closely related.  Just because something can be described with seperate terms doesn't mean they do not have a massive influence upon eachother.  A GUI that cops another game will bring about an inheritance of a considerable amount of the gameplay. 

    I know this because I've accidentally converted by game's genre by copying known GUIs I knew about into my own game designs, and you probably would not have realized just how closely GUI is tied to mechanic unless you've done the same.

    Heaven forbid we acknowledge Square-Enix is one of the topmost game designers in the business and that if their interfaces weren't up to the task this would be impossible.  For a fellow with a moogle for an avatar, you certainly don't give them much credit.  Those interfaces weren't necessarily "poor" at all, but rather minimalist by design, because more or less would be something else entirely than what they wanted.

  • ZyonneZyonne OsloPosts: 259Member

    SquareEnix have probably run usability tests already, but I think they have either underestimated the differences between Japanese users and EU/NA users, or they simply don't care. I'm guessing they assumed that:



    • Users are most familiar with nested menus, so this will be most intuitive. Probably true for japanese gamers, and internal testing may have confirmed this. EU/NA gamers are most used to context menus, and expect all menu driven games to have the windows look and feel.


    • Users read the manual to get familiar with controls and basic concepts. Probably true for japanese gamers, but EU/NA gamers expect this to be covered by an in-game tutorial.


    Also, it is reasonable to assume that usability tests were done in an environment where GUI lag was a non-issue. This may not mirror the beta experience, but it should be true for the final product. Lag is obviously a technical issue, and not part of the GUI design, but if it's still a problem on the live servers it certainly has a negative impact on usability.


     


    If they really care about sales outside Japan, they should have performed usability tests outside Japan. Feedback from these might have let them to develop an alternate GUI and control scheme for PC users, and in-game tutorials to ease players into the experience. As it is, the game is for players willing to adapt during early stages, and use macros when they become expert users. This probably covers most of the target audience, but they'll have a hard time getting the "fringe" users to stick with the game.

  • Proximo521Proximo521 Bellevue, WAPosts: 281Member

    Originally posted by Zyonne

    SquareEnix have probably run usability tests already, but I think they have either underestimated the differences between Japanese users and EU/NA users, or they simply don't care. I'm guessing they assumed that:



    • Users are most familiar with nested menus, so this will be most intuitive. Probably true for japanese gamers, and internal testing may have confirmed this. EU/NA gamers are most used to context menus, and expect all menu driven games to have the windows look and feel.


    • Users read the manual to get familiar with controls and basic concepts. Probably true for japanese gamers, but EU/NA gamers expect this to be covered by an in-game tutorial.


    Also, it is reasonable to assume that usability tests were done in an environment where GUI lag was a non-issue. This may not mirror the beta experience, but it should be true for the final product. Lag is obviously a technical issue, and not part of the GUI design, but if it's still a problem on the live servers it certainly has a negative impact on usability.


     


    If they really care about sales outside Japan, they should have performed usability tests outside Japan. Feedback from these might have let them to develop an alternate GUI and control scheme for PC users, and in-game tutorials to ease players into the experience. As it is, the game is for players willing to adapt during early stages, and use macros when they become expert users. This probably covers most of the target audience, but they'll have a hard time getting the "fringe" users to stick with the game.

     I am sorry but I am in complete disagreement with you on your statement. You are suggesting because it is a a Japanese game company that they catered this UI specifically to a Japanese audience. Not only is that an assumption but very wrong. Sorry I am not trying to pick a fight with you. Just trying to notify some of why this UI is a little wonky and where the origins came from. 

    Some are calling this an "Issue with the UI", when it really it was originally designed for the PS2 console. WIth FFXI, the UI was very similar to this one (FFXIV), as that all the key commands that they are currently using are very familiar. The only thing that I find different in this particular game is that the camera control keys are i, j, k, l.. Instead of the arrow keys.  

    Did I mention that I played FFXI for 4 years. Sorry, that may proove to have some kind of significance. It is true that the previous UI & controls, that had been used for FFXI, was geared for a console. The reason for it being true is, because they released FFXI in Japan first on the console then later on the PC. When this game came to North America and Europe, most of the kinks in the coding had been fixed.

    Since coming out with the Beta, I find all the controls very similar and right where they should be in regards to the old game. It is a fact that when Square announced this game they were playing to the FFXI crowd. While hoping that some, that had not played FFXI would come experience there remake of FFXIV. So there it is folks, some may see this as an issue with the UI and controls. Others that have played FFXI previously are thinking why is everyone complaining. In short, its ok that people dont want to play this game. It is somewhat obvious that they were not trying to reach you as a customer, if you have come to the conclusion that the UI and controls are just too different. But most who have played this game will find it very similar to FFXI.

    image

  • GdemamiGdemami Beau VallonPosts: 7,866Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by geldonyetich

    Fixed that for you.
    Perhaps being a core gamer introduces a certain element of bias for some reason.

    That is why I said that you should not venture into a business sphere because that is what game development is about - making money. It is a business as any other.

    There is no game without people paying for your game and ignoring your customers isn't going to get you many of them, regardless whether you consider it 'sellout' practice.


    Keep 'fixing' the points someone is pointing you out, keep going against the real state of the matters ignoring everything and everyone but that will make your game development not more than hobby since you are designing the game just for your own amusement only.

  • Itchy01Itchy01 Edmonton, ABPosts: 103Member

    I personally don't want the gaming company to listen to their customers in all things.

    Things like bug fixing, technical issues hardware problems by all means these things need to be fixed.

    However content and game features are things I don't feel the player base should have a say in as soon as that starts to happen when the companies start changing the game itself to cater to the masses thats usually the start of my decision to quit playing that particular game.

    When I purchase a game i'm paying to play that game. When I go to an action movie I go for an action movie, if the person beside me decided they wanted a drama and the movie switched over to a drama I would be pissed.

  • PittyHPittyH MelbournePosts: 116Member

    There's an old saying "Easy to learn, hard to master" that springs to mind when thinking about MMO design.

     

    I had a few attempts at playing FFXIV, did a few leves, but i didn't like it one bit.

    The control system and UI is one of the worst i've ever seen.

    Why make such a retarded UI? i don't understand how anyone at square could say "hey this UI is good, the public will love it"

    It really just boils down to bad design philosophy, and an out of touch dev team.

    my web design: www.advancedws.com.au

  • KxianiKxiani Los Angeles, CAPosts: 70Member

    Wow ... this thread is like a bad Jerry Springer episode.  A whole thirty minutes about the obviousness of nothingness, minus the looping background laugh soundtrack.  

     

    What is so hard to understand about the UI being nothing more than a utility that is suppose to facilitate how we interact with the game, and that if it doesn't succeed in that regard, then it just simply fails?

     

    There is a reason why the term "User-friendly" has become such a popular term in product reviews of all types in the 21st century.

     

    Anyways, I now return you to your regularly scheduled sitcom episode.

  • dreamscaperdreamscaper Somewhere, NCPosts: 1,582Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Kxiani

    What is so hard to understand about the UI being nothing more than a utility that is suppose to facilitate how we interact with the game, and that if it doesn't succeed in that regard, then it just simply fails?

    There is a reason why the term "User-friendly" has become such a popular term in product reviews of all types in the 21st century.

    Why is it so hard for people to understand that 50% of this game's playerbase isn't going to be using a mouse and keyboard to play?

    <3

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