Order input

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Order input

Post by korexus » Sun Nov 02, 2008 4:39 pm

Howdy folks,

One of the things which has tripped up some of Han's new players is the order inputting process. Specifically, they want to miss off leading 0s when, for example, attacking to a single digit province number.

The current way that orders are parsed is to strip out the '[' and ']' symbols and read off the first 2 digits, then the next 2 and so on. Obviously this causes issues if a different number of digits has been entered.

Another option would be to keep the square brackets in and read off individual sections. This would allow for 5 and 05 as entry options, but would mean the square brackets would be obligatory. (Currently they can be missed out if a player prefers, allowing for speedy order entry.)

Any thoughts?


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Post by trewqh » Sun Nov 02, 2008 6:22 pm

I use the speedy method you mentioned ie.

Code: Select all

1 4 = 283210
1 5 = 151210
2 1 = 2839100
but I don't mind making the brackets obligatory if it helps new players.

Is this a good moment to remind everyone about the other one of Han's ideas:
Shoot ___ missiles from province ___ at province ___

Attack province ___ from province ___ using ____ armies
where ____ means a separate box for each number that you need to input.
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Post by korexus » Sun Nov 02, 2008 6:48 pm

Isn't that what the 'help' buttons do? :wink:


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Post by trewqh » Sun Nov 02, 2008 7:11 pm

Wow! Those help buttons are so cool!

I never needed any help, so I didn't remember. :roll:

I wonder how many newbies use them at all...
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Post by Hryllantre » Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:43 pm

The help buttons are incredibly useful as they eliminate the problem of accidently deleting a bracket eg 'WOK V' doesn't have the help option...

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Post by korexus » Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:28 pm

*Drags thread back on topic*

Han has already made other suggestions about player help which, once I am in a position to implement them will be the subject of another post.

However the vets have to be kept in mind when putting in new-user friendly options and so I need to lay some groundwork first. trewqh has suggested that having to enter the square brackets is a worthwhile sacrifice to make the process easier for new players. If no one disagrees then that is the route I will take.

:)
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Post by Hannibal » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:42 am

I have to ask whether it's worth changing the parsing. Couldn't we just switch entirely to the version-under-help? It pretty much does what I was asking for when I asked for text between the boxes, thanks.

A few of the newbs fell foul of the "exact number of digits" thing. When I asked, some of them had not looked to see what lay under the HELP button ... Unfortunate naming; by analogy with other sites, they were expecting it just to have long explanatory text, or a FAQ or so; they didn't realise that it's basically the easy way to enter orders.

Maybe we leave the left-side as is, for folk like trewqh, but just re-name the button as "EASY WAY TO ENTER ORDERS", or "EASY ORDERS" or so.

I'd favour that we just DROP the old "string" version, let it be just what the machine does to process what people enter using the help/text version. Make the help/text version fully visible (not hidden under a button), in fact, the ONLY visible version.

After all, it surely has some advantages even for trewqh: hey, t., it automatically shifts to the next order, leaving the last order as the default. Which is great if you are repeating orders, eg moving 100 armies, or spying on the same place 3 times. And, even if you're spying 5 different provs, it means you only have to change the destination prov each time, no need to retype the origin-prov, nor the [1][01] each time ...

I can't see us vets struggling with the easier/help version?

Or, swap them over. The easy/text/repeat way being the normal one, on the left, and the number-string version being available on the right under a button called "OLD ORDER FORMAT" or so?
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Post by trewqh » Tue Nov 04, 2008 8:18 am

Hannibal wrote:Or, swap them over. The easy/text/repeat way being the normal one, on the left, and the number-string version being available on the right under a button called "OLD ORDER FORMAT" or so?
That's what I wanted to suggest when I started reading your post.

I'd be in favour of that solutions.
Hannibal wrote:After all, it surely has some advantages even for trewqh: hey, t., it automatically shifts to the next order, leaving the last order as the default. Which is great if you are repeating orders, eg moving 100 armies, or spying on the same place 3 times. And, even if you're spying 5 different provs, it means you only have to change the destination prov each time, no need to retype the origin-prov, nor the [1][01] each time ...
I think I'll stick with the old way anyway, because I don't need to use the mouse for it.

After inputting one order I just press shift+home, ctrl+c, tab, ctrl+v, tab, ctrl+v, tab, ctrl+v, tab, ctrl+v and I have 5 identical orders in less than 3 seconds. :)
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Post by Hannibal » Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:45 am

trewqh wrote:
After inputting one order I just press shift+home, ctrl+c, tab, ctrl+v, tab, ctrl+v, tab, ctrl+v, tab, ctrl+v and I have 5 identical orders in less than 3 seconds. :)
There really was the word "just" in that sentence, was there? ;)

So, I just tried a race between the two ways: On the help/text/repeat version, after inputting one order, I just pressed "Enter Order" 4 times. It gave me 5 identical orders in less than ONE second! And 4 clicks rather than your 10, and the same click each time. Try it and see!

But the main point is that most people will be less adept at pure strings than you?

Mind you, I admit that I hadn't catered at all for muriphobia ... :)

Just joking.

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Post by korexus » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:43 pm

[off topic]
Fact of life with computers is that the hard core crowd will always opt for keyboard input over mouse. I know it's hard to believe, but it really does work out faster.

My prefered method is
order
tab
shift-tab
ctrl-c

then
tab
ctrl-v
as nesessary.

You never touch the mouse and your fingers barely have to move over the keyboard, especially if you use the num-pad for entering numbers. Small changes (for instance in spying when only the target province changes) can then be entered with shift-tab and the arrow keys.
[/off topic]

It should be possible to have both the current and the help options visible at the same time, however it may interfere with tabing from one box to the next. I shall have to investigate.


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Post by Hannibal » Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:08 pm

Before you take time to investigate arcane tabing knock-on effects ....

I have a horrible feeling that having BOTH equally visible would do more harm than good, confusing the neophyte and annoying the hardcore vet (they still play Standard?).

It might look like an off-putting confusion?

Not every newbie will realise that they are alternatives? i see lots of confused questions ...

So, your "do both" sounds like a generous accommodation, but might backfire?

I still favour ONLY the easy version. YOUR easy version. Newbies can't go wrong (! ;)). Vets (any outside of you, me, trewqh and Hryll playing WOK4?) can't struggle and get it wrong. Muriphobes can spare the odd few seconds, for the greater good of the greatest number, especially for newbs.

Failing that, then only the easy version on show, and a button for you and trewqh ;)

I take what you say about hardcore keyboard-hitters. But I believe that our core target-market are gamers, not necessarily technos, so it's a case of going for highest-common-factor (which some erroneously term lowest-common-denominator).

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Post by trewqh » Tue Nov 04, 2008 3:47 pm

Having both with confusing tabbing would be a disaster.

I'm with Han on this one even though I still believe that having to move your forearm between the keyboard and the mouse is inefficient. :P

:)
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Post by korexus » Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:43 pm

Having only the help options wouldn't make any sense as there has to be somewhere for the orders to be displayed. Otherwise players can't revue what they've said very easily. The 'both' option would simply mean having the help dialogues displaying at all times, but with the tab index shifted around a bit. (By default tabbing would take you through all the missile orders, then all the missile help options, then all the attacking orders and so on...)

An alternative is to use select boxes in the order form itself. Select boxes have the advantage of the value being specified in the code, not by the user, so a player would have to be really trying to get the format wrong. An example of this layout is now available for your viewing pleasure. Simply go to the current order submission page (for Standard WoK) and change "action=saof" in the url to "action=asaof" to see it. Note that this form doesn't submit anything, it just showcases the pros and cons of select boxes of text input.


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Re:

Post by Hannibal » Sun Nov 16, 2008 12:41 pm

korexus wrote:Having only the help options wouldn't make any sense as there has to be somewhere for the orders to be displayed. Otherwise players can't revue what they've said very easily.
Chris.
Good point; I hadn't thought of that. I agree - in theory they could refer back to the new autogm mail to them confirming their orders, (many thanks for that), but no, you're right, they need to be able to see their draft/current orders ON the SAOF page, in order to change them. I agree with your objection.

So having BOTH visible would be good, as you suggested as a compromise/ideal - so long as they are labelled for ease/clarity from a user's POV ...

In my book, if it makes your life easier, you could certainly defer this into that big redesign. After all, my 20 newbies have got the hang of orders by NOW, and, as I said, I decided not to launch a third boatload of LBGC'ers, and there don't seem to be many/any other newbies about to start. So no hurry on this.

By contrast: what ever happened on the issue of making missiles less lucky/unlucky/variable? See post on General Forum? No action? THAT would still affect the 2 lobo games that are still playing out, so is either not-worth-it or else urgent. Both games are coming up to end-shoot-out, and of course, there are players firing 30 missiles, and the luck-factor might again leave them with a sour taste ... sender OR receiver!

How can I say this without annoying you? The missile-thing affects the current games, and the last impressions my players have of WOK being skill or luck. Whilst the SAOF is for future possible newbs one day. Any chance of implementing the missile-damage change asap, before their last games end?? It's been a week or two. You're busy, I'm sure. Or are you waiting for me to get others to add their comments? Or for me to put it on to a Dev Forum? Or you've decided against. Ideally, it would be nice for it to happen in the last 2 lobo games ... both full of missile-firing ....one next runs 1 day and 6 days from now (then probably ends), while the other runs 4 days and 9 days from now (then probably ends). This might be their last impressions of the game.

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Re: Re:

Post by korexus » Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:35 pm

Hannibal wrote:
So having BOTH visible would be good, as you suggested as a compromise/ideal - so long as they are labelled for ease/clarity from a user's POV ...
Both are now visible. I've also added an explanatory note at the top. Mind you, given that this problem came up because people didn't read the first explanatory note, that may not be enough :wink:
In my book, if it makes your life easier, you could certainly defer this into that big redesign. After all, my 20 newbies have got the hang of orders by NOW, and, as I said, I decided not to launch a third boatload of LBGC'ers, and there don't seem to be many/any other newbies about to start. So no hurry on this.
The layout could probably be improved. However you're right that that may be a redesign thing. As a side note, the redesign has moved up my list of priorities since I had to move the forums. I really don't like having them orphaned from the rest of the site like this...
By contrast: what ever happened on the issue of making missiles less lucky/unlucky/variable? See post on General Forum? No action? THAT would still affect the 2 lobo games that are still playing out, so is either not-worth-it or else urgent. Both games are coming up to end-shoot-out, and of course, there are players firing 30 missiles, and the luck-factor might again leave them with a sour taste ... sender OR receiver!

How can I say this without annoying you? The missile-thing affects the current games, and the last impressions my players have of WOK being skill or luck. Whilst the SAOF is for future possible newbs one day. Any chance of implementing the missile-damage change asap, before their last games end?? It's been a week or two. You're busy, I'm sure. Or are you waiting for me to get others to add their comments? Or for me to put it on to a Dev Forum? Or you've decided against. Ideally, it would be nice for it to happen in the last 2 lobo games ... both full of missile-firing ....one next runs 1 day and 6 days from now (then probably ends), while the other runs 4 days and 9 days from now (then probably ends). This might be their last impressions of the game.
[/quote]

It would be nice to have some more comments. I put the simulator together so people could try out the options and see what worked, You produced a helpful rundown of the results so others didn't even need to do that and yet there have been no comments on your findings. Even from Xarfei and Frytner who were the other players who said they wanted some change to happen.

As I've said before, I'm happy with missiles as they are now. I use them as much as possible when I'm behind (for example in GM Lardy's current game) but don't rely on them when I'm doing well. - Even if you could predict exactly what the missiles would kill, you've still got to know where to fire them and get them into place, neither of which can be certain when fighting a skilled opponent...

Regardless of that, I will happily change the method if that's what people want. (I don't want to be the only person playing!) But people do have to say what they want. :wink:


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Re: Order input

Post by Hannibal » Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:19 pm

Thanks, kor.

Net net: pls implement the missile-damage change asap, in time for my players' last impressions, if it isn't too much work on the coding front?

You point out that Xarfei and Frytner didn't post again. Assume Frytner is lost to us - that was more of a farewell wail than a suggestion of a change he would play under. Rightly or wrongly, he thinks he lost due to luck-factors on missiling, and has taken against the game. Too late.

As for others contributing a view: hmm. real-psychology: on Forums, people tend to post if they DISagree; or post in agreement if incensed by someone who disagreed. This is why, from forums, you tend to get visible disagreement more than visible agreement; and agreement only if someone else has disagreed first ... Otherwise, people who agree, if they see it, tend to let it lie, mute agreement. It's hard to tell; but you should probably interpret silence as , generally, agreement.

OK, I COULD go the extra mile and cajole my players into responding on that forum to say yes (or no!). But I hesitate to apply force to get them to respond and write on forums when they'd rather just play ... And, how shall I put this? From experience at the club, they trust my view, so feel no need to voice agreement, just leave me to it unless they spot a problem or better idea....

I don't really want to waste their time. I already KNOW that they all think missiling is TOO luck-based, so I'd only be pushing them to say so. I'd rather wait till there was another more debateable issue (if in the next 2 weeks while they are still with us), rather than use up a "cajole" on this obvious one ...

So, I'll get them to post if you feel you need it. But, hey, I know what they've said to me: it would only be going through the motions in this case. So just, er, do it? asap? In time for their last turns at WOK? You could always change it back?

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