The Compass

Something I was working on tonight…

Work in progress on a new feature in Lords of Midnight. Hold the screen for a second and the compass pops up, then slide left or right to look around and let go.
This is the initial version, I may later release it with full animation, either revolve to the new direction or maybe even revolve as you move your finger. It basically gives you access to the full 360 without multiple presses and drags.

6 thoughts on “The Compass

  1. It’s a good idea. Everything that makes the interface more intuitive and agile is welcome.
    If you accept the suggestion, while the current UI tries to keep the look and feel of the original as faithfully as possible, it’s a little bit unintuitive.
    After some longer use, and after introducing the game to my relatives and friends, there are some points that maybe would be interesting to look at.

    – There are two different screens where the player can perform actions. The Think screen and the Choose screen. Many times not all actions (or reports) are available and you mostly get an empty-ish screen with few icons here and there, having to move from one to the other if you can’t remember where the icon you wanted to click was. Suggestion: when you click (or hold) the shield in the landscape screen, available (and only available) action or report icons for the current character appear in a circle around your fingertip, not unlike how follower lords icons surround their followed lord in the Select screen. Maybe reports to the left, actions to the right.
    – Reports are too verbose. This is so, I guess, because the original was so. If you don’t want to alter that, maybe add an alternative option that when checked it makes reports use a more condensed form. Amount of troops is expressed with a number and not with words, lord stats are stated plainly, etc. Something like “Lord Dreams: 1200 warriors, 800 riders, utterly bold, utterly invigorated, Wolfslayer.”
    – Reports are too fragmented. To know the total amount of loses and kills in a battle, you need to circle through all lords that participated in such battle with many clicks (or taps): “Select icon -> select a lord -> Think screen -> Battle icon -> Repeat for every lord”. If you don’t want to get a General Battle Report where it is listed all battles that any of your lords have participated on during the night, with loses and kills, at least make a shared Battle report for all Lords in the same location, so that you can see listed the amount of kills and loses for all lords in the same battle in the same screen. It doesn’t make the game easier, it just saves a lot of tedious clicks.
    – This one is going to be controverted, but it’s probably the one with most complains from my circle of “testers”. There is no way or feedback from the game in respect to recruiting other lords, in the sense that some of your characters can approach to recruit a given lord, and some of them can’t, but there is no way to tell who, and so, you maybe send a lord on a long trip to recruit some allies only to discover that he can’t recruit any and you had no chance to guess when deciding your strategy. I know that the game holds a hidden set of personality traits for every character and when two characters share one (or it was two) of those traits, then they can recruit eachother. I believe those traits were “public” in Doomdark’s Revenge, but aren’t mentioned at all in LoM. Would there be any possibility to add somewhere a screen when the traits of the characters in the current location are listed? It’s okay that you send a guy to recruit someone and he fails because he isn’t compatible, but at least you can get a “Personality report” of the other guy and search between your list of characters if you have any that would match to do the job.
    – In the same way that you can see wild creatures in the map, enemy armies that are currently in the field of vision of any of your characters should be shown in the map too.

    • Valid points. The icons the the main screen and indeed all screens needs thinking about, and I will slowly play with this over time.

      The reports is actually more controversial. Moving from words to numbers and reducing the amount of text is a movement away from the original and more in keeping with modern gaming. That said, it doesn’t mean I can’t address it. I’m going to make it a subject of a blog post soon as I would like to get a general feel for it.

      Battle reports are interesting. Original Mike and I was going to have a more visual night screen. Showing the overview map and having an animation for when a battle takes place in a particular area.
      But also, general reporting on it does need addressing.

      The map and armies is already taken care of. The game employs a memory system. So whenever you see an army they are recording. This memory decays over time, however it resets every time someone sees that army. This army can then be shown on the map.
      I took this system out as part of the feature cull. However, it will find its way back in.

      Recruiting is easy – general principal. The wise can recruit everyone. The fey recruit the fey and the wise. The free recruit the free. The main 4 lords can recruit the edge cases. It wasn’t until revenge that it got more complicated.

  2. There are some good ideas there. Chris is right that the ‘wordiness’ of text is part of the game – it is a medieval adventure and the language matches it.

    You are right about the duplication of functionality between choose and think though, I was thinking this last night. In party this is arising because of a partial merger between the ui of LoM and DDR. The DDR interface was quicker, but the LoM interface was more thematic, in my opinion. Perhaps a user survey on this site would be the best way to reconcile this?

    Regarding extra battle info, I think there is a way to get get the most desired info without resorting to a global battle screen (which would be out of character for the game). Two extra screens could be added to the end of the list, one which lists the battle for the troops on guard (info which is currently impossible to get) and then a screen which is the cumulative total of all the previous screens.

  3. For me, one of the standout features of LOM was the way it turned all the mathematics into words, how the numbers were written as words.
    Some people (make that a lot of people I guess) seem to like numbers, but I’ve always thought that while you have to deal with such things in manual RPG’s, surely the computer can take care of all that accountancy and let us get on playing the game. I have no desire to throw +numbers at dragons and trolls.
    The illustrated night map battle reports does sound interesting, and I suspect modern players would probably like the discovery map to display additional stats like number of troops armies, keeps and citadels hold. And just like the automated discovery map, nothing that an old-school player may not have jotted down by hand for reference.

  4. It would probably be good if the check battle screen cycled through all the character’s battles at that location. That would save a fair amount of time.

  5. Hi there,
    Loving the port to iOS. Thanks for bringing this back, one of my all time favorites. Can’t wait for Doomdark’s Revenge as well. Question: found the Lord of Midwinter. Luxor cannot enlist him…anything we can do with him?

    Thanks again for the great port!

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