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In-Depth Feedback on Update 2.0 With Suggestions


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#1 Jason

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 04:50 AM

Ari, here's an in-depth (and quite long) message containing my criticism and suggestions for Eden as they relate to update 2.0. 

 

I have posted some of my criticism of the update on Facebook. As I understand you aren't a big fan of reading Facebook comments (for understandable reasons), so here it is on the forum.

 

World Distortion

 

The thing that bugs me the most in the new update is the distortion of the blocks in the world. Blocks may become rectangular and stretched, and this is especially noticeable with treasure cubes that rotate in place. 

 

This should not be the case. As I have stated elsewhere, to handle a larger screen size, simply extend the field of view. Allow more of the world to be seen on each side. Don't stretch the world out to fit the screen, as this is inelegant and rather painful for the human brain to process.

 

The human brain has evolved to see the world as constant. That's how it wants to see the world. When it's stretching, it's not constant anymore. This creates dissonance, and dissonance is not great for your experience playing the game.

 

Yes, you may certainly get used to it, but that doesn't take from the fact that it could be done in a more proper manner (how it was prior to the update).

 

Treasure Cubes

 

As you may know, I have been working on a massive obstacle course world. Treasure cubes sound perfect for this type of world, as it gives more incentive to add secret areas (rewarded with treasure cubes), and for completing hard mode challenges instead of only the normal mode challenges. 

 

I was deeply disappointed to find that I could place at most 10 cubes. There's no way this will work with the size of my course. 

 

And this brings up a larger issue that isn't specific to my case alone. The problem of scaling with various world types. Some people make huge worlds, some make small worlds. Doesn't it make sense that a huge world would require more treasure cubes than a small world? 

 

And what about worlds that want to make treasure cubes the main element? 

 

When making a sandbox game, try to add features that give the player as much control over the world as possible rather than making them very restrictive.

 

My suggestions, then, are as follows:

 

1. Allow unlimited treasure cubes to be placed. 

2. Each time a treasure cube is placed, add one to the total treasure cubes in the world. This number should be displayed to the user in some way.

3. Each time a treasure cube is collected, add one to the total treasure cubes in possession. This should also be shown to the player. Example: if I place five cubes and collect one, it should display to me that I have collected 1/5 cubes. 

4. Each time a treasure cube is deleted, subtract one from the total available cubes in the world. 

 

The one problem we will run into with these suggestions is: how do we remove cubes that have already been collected? They now cannot be deleted from the world. This is a problem because there's no distinction between editing mode and playing mode. 

 

To deal with the problem without any large scale programming projects, I propose a new button be added. This button will let you empty out all collected treasure cubes, which will place the collected treasure cubes back where they were originally placed and no longer count them as being collected.

Then from there, they can be deleted as normal. 

 

This requires some programming work, but I can't see it being a significant issue. The computer will have to remember the positions for the collected treasure cubes, which is a very simple task. All you have to do is fill up an array, or some other data structure, with the position of each treasure cube that is collected. When you go to collect, add to the list. Then pressing the button simply means iterating through the list and placing a treasure cube at each position, replacing whatever other block is there in the case that one was placed there. 

 

What we have done now is allowed unlimited treasure cubes to be placed, allowed for a counter to exist that will show how many treasure cubes are in the world and how many have been collected, and the ability to empty out all collected cubes back to their original locations.

 

This latter feature is particularly handy for those players who played through a world such as the obstacle course world I'm working on, and want to start over again. Since all the cubes are collected, how is the world to be reset so they can get collected again? This button. 

 

Portals

 

Most of what I have to say about portals in terms of criticism is the exact same thing I said about treasure cubes. 

 

It's fine if you use less portals than there are colors. And there are a lot of colors, but for larger worlds you might certainly want more portals than that. 

 

This is, like with the treasure cubes, a problem of scale. Some worlds may want a very portal-focused world, and some may simply be so large that a massive amount of portals will be required. 

 

You can certainly place more portals than there are colors at the moment. But the behavior becomes strange once you have more than two portals of the same color. Each portal becomes linked in a circular way. The problem here is that it might change the link that had existed before, that you created for a specific reason. 

 

My suggestion here is a very simple one.

 

Link only two portals of the same color. That is, if I place two red portals, they should be linked. If I place a third red portal, it should not be linked with any other portal because the previous two are already linked together. If I place a fourth, though, then it can link with the third one. 

 

This will theoretically allow infinite portals to be placed in the world. It isn't without a few issues, though.

 

What if you delete a portal? If you do, treat it as unlinked and link it with the next portal placed of the same color. 

 

This does not allow for more complex behavior. Examples being linking all portals of the same color together and randomly teleporting out of one. It also doesn't allow any other way to link multiple portals together, you're stuck with two.

 

Trying to fix this problem with the color-based linking means limiting how many portals can be placed. I think limiting how many portals can be placed is worse for the game than the other options, given that you can try to find workaround ways to create complex portal behavior while using two being linked as the basis.

 

I would, if I were developing this game, have preferred a different approach entirely. I don't like the idea of linking portals via color, for two reasons.

 

The first I already spoke about. No matter how you go about doing it, you're limiting the players. You're either limiting how portals can be used or limiting how many can be placed. Really, it's most likely that you're limiting both of these.

 

The second is that some worlds have strong visual components that could be disrupted. I may want a certain color pattern along a wall. If I have to use a different portal color because the other color was used elsewhere and I don't want interference, I have to use a color that doesn't fit in with my wall anymore. 

 

The solution I propose is as follows.

 

The Function Button

 

Add a new button to the game. This button I will call the 'function' button. This is going to be a general purpose button which will have a behavior based on the block it is used on. It works like the fire or deletion buttons that currently exist. When you tap on fire, the game's state is set to 'burning' mode. Now each time you tap, fire is applied to where you tap. 

 

This is how the function button will work. When you tap it, you're in 'function' mode. When you tap a block now, the block type will be read and behavior will be based on it. So if I am in function mode and I tap on a portal block, the function that will be used is portal linking. It will mark the portal that was tapped as ready to be linked. Now if you tap a non-portal block, nothing will happen. You can't link a portal with a non-portal block. What you will do now is go to another portal and tap that portal. You had a queued up link action thanks to tapping the other portal, and it will be applied to the new portal you tapped.

 

These portals are now linked. 

 

This has interesting implications as far as complex behavior is concerned. While it still may be limited to two portals being linked, the player now has more control over how portals can be linked. This allows you to much more easily provide support for complex portal behavior (linking more than two portals together in this way). 

 

And I don't think it is very inconvenient to the player. It solves both of the issues I mentioned previously. 

 

Beyond this, this function button allows for a whole new world of features to be added to the game since this function button would be general purpose and work for many types of blocks. You can really get some complex and interesting mechanics going in your world with features this button could allow for.

 

This, of course, is a large-scale programming project and is simply a suggestion for the future. My recommendation for the short-term is to apply the suggestion I offered using the color linking system which only links two at a time together. This will allow unlimited portals to be placed. 

 

I will go ahead and admit at this point that I haven't studied the behavior of 3+ portals of the same color deeply enough to be able to adequately understand which types of behavior are supported by it. What I have gathered is that it's rather likely that your attempts in creating more complex behavior will end up ruining functionality you had created previously, in ways you wouldn't prefer. So I will make the claim, perhaps with limited knowledge, that implementing my suggestion would either entirely improve the current portal system, or the positives should outweigh the negatives in general.

 

Conclusion

 

I have now listed my three main concerns with the update, and possible solutions to those concerns. 

 

Apart from these issues, I find the update to be quite fantastic and a job well done. I am pleased that you have decided to release it and that you didn't give up.

 

I am hopeful that you will continue to develop Eden. Don't be demotivated by the insults found on Facebook, or by competition such as Minecraft. Most of the anger by the players comes from the fact that they love the game and really want to see it improve. And I personally would love to see Eden and Minecraft diverge more and more. They should be separate games going in separate directions. Let Minecraft be focused more on survival and simulating (in a blocky way) reality. Let Eden be about building, and what makes an enjoyable and fun building experience. 

 

I am also hopeful that you will consider the words I've written above. I have taken the time to write this post because of how much I want to play Eden again and enjoy it. When I heard the update came out today, I had to download it and play it again. And I want to keep playing it, and work on the obstacle course again with Ashley (who was equally as excited about the update as I was). 

 

But if you, Ari, don't have much faith in your game, then how can we? As long as you do and plan to support it (including by fixing some of these issues I mentioned in the above post), we will continue to play it. 

 

And the last thing I will say on this is: thank you for finally updating! 


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#2 ansin11

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 12:01 PM

Ohohohhooooo! The render distance increased! I didn't even notice before right now <3

#3 Jason

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 12:15 PM

I didn't notice either, though I did notice loading screens still. That's not a huge concern for me.

#4 NathanielBrusch

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 07:19 PM

Whew! man Jason way to go with this in-depth thinking stuff up there^



#5 Vuenc

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 10:50 PM

OK, here are my comments on what Jason said and some more feedback from me:

 

Treasure Cubes

I think what Jason proposed sounds like a really good idea! The empty-cubes-feature would require a change to the save file of course, and it wouldn't work for the worlds which are already using treasure cubes. In my opinion, Ari could also implement the unlimited block feature without the "Empty"-button. I think It'd also be better if cubes that you already collected could be placed again (so if you place a treasure cube and still have cubes in your inventory, the ones you already have would be placed without having the total number of treasure cubes increased). Then you could also remove the collected blocks by first placing and then destroying them (with the pickaxe).

 

Portals

I think that the pairwisely-linked portals you mentioned are a good idea, but I'm also fine with circular links. My problem at the moment is that the circular links don't work properly and reproducable, I just placed 5 portals and tried to circle through them (by going through the first one, then the one I was teleported to and so on) but it turned out that they were not connected circular in the order I placed them, at least not after saving and reloading the world.

 

Another problem I have with portals is that they can't teleport you into an not-loaded area (they actually can do this, but only until you exit the world and load it again, then they lost the information that there are other portals of this color in not-loaded areas).

 

Ari, I think you could resolve both issues by just putting portals into an extra section within the save file. In the separated section, you could save the portals (ordered by color) with their positions in the world; when the player steps through a portal, the next portal would just be the next on the list with the same color (which you can find easy when the list is already ordered by color, you just take the next on the list, if it has the same color the player is teleported there, else he is teleported to the first portal with this specific color - so the last portal of each color is linked the first one, and you have perfect circular linking). Pairwise linking could be implemented quite similar with the same data structure.

 

The Function Button

I don't actually like this idea, it would probably work but it didn't feel intuitive, especially for new players. Such a button would make thinks more complicated then it is necessary. I'm also fine with colors indicating which portals are linked, I don't need another solution for this.

 

 

Slides

Especially for me it's really sad to see that the slide physics have completely changed with this update - what means that

1. My world Vuenccoaster on which I've been working for 3 years or so is now completely worthless because all the slides don't work the same way no more

2. Slides generally don't work too well no more.

 

I don't know what you changed about the physics and if it has to do with faster walking etc., but please consider bringing back the old slide physics if possible.

 

Ari, could you comment what you think of these suggestions?



#6 Jason

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Posted 17 February 2015 - 11:52 PM

"I think what Jason proposed sounds like a really good idea! The empty-cubes-feature would require a change to the save file of course, and it wouldn't work for the worlds which are already using treasure cubes. In my opinion, Ari could also implement the unlimited block feature without the "Empty"-button. I think It'd also be better if cubes that you already collected could be placed again (so if you place a treasure cube and still have cubes in your inventory, the ones you already have would be placed without having the total number of treasure cubes increased). Then you could also remove the collected blocks by first placing and then destroying them (with the pickaxe)."

 

I was trying to think of a way in which all the following features would work:

 

1. There is an amount collected and a total amount in the world.

2. Both of these values can be displayed to the user.

3. Deleting cubes takes from the total amount in the world.

4. There's also a way to remove ones you've collected. 

 

My interpretation of your suggestion is that if you place a cube and have none in your inventory, then it gets placed and adds to the total amount of cubes in the world. If you place a cube and do have one in your inventory, then it simply empties it from your inventory without adding to the total in the world. If you delete a cube that is placed, then it removes it from the world.

 

Why, yes, that sounds better than what I came up with, and it seems to work for all four of the criteria I listed above. I support this.

 

As for your notes on portals, I would agree except that I still have the problem of not being able to add theoretically infinite of them.

 

That's a big thing for me, as my obstacle course is massive in size and will only keep growing. I don't like the idea that at some point I won't be able to add any more portals to my world. It doesn't scale.

 

"I don't actually like this idea, it would probably work but it didn't feel intuitive, especially for new players. Such a button would make thinks more complicated then it is necessary. I'm also fine with colors indicating which portals are linked, I don't need another solution for this."

 

This is about more than just portals. This is about many types of features that could be added in the future.

 

Imagine a button that you could press to create some sort of behavior. In Minecraft, the way to link buttons is through the obnoxious process of placing wiring from the button to what the button will trigger. These wires get in the way, they're annoying, and they disrupt visual elements of the world.

 

With the function button, you could tap the switch, then simply tap the thing to link the switch to. It's very general purpose, can handle just about any kind of behavior, and can really make the game far more rich.

 

As for intuitiveness, I don't really see the issue... although if there is any, a little message could be displayed to the user the first time he or she clicks this button explaining how it works.

 

Other than the limited number of portals that can be placed, my other issue is that in my obstacle course, Ashley and I have color coded each section to match the level you're at. I, obviously, would like the portals that may exist in those sections to fit that color coding. Because of this color linking system, I can't do this. 

 

Now, that may not be an issue for you but the point I'm trying to make is people make diverse types of worlds. And I think the features added should be able to apply to just about any kind of world. Color linking makes it restricted, as does limiting the number of portals.

 

The function button takes off ALL those restrictions, and it works for every kind of world you can imagine. 



#7 Babblecat

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 03:31 AM

I'm using an iPod 4G, and notched that 2.0 is extremely blurry. It seems the resolution has been cut down by at least 2x. Was this intentional, or is this a bug?
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#8 Edgest

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 04:21 AM

I'm using an iPod 4G, and notched that 2.0 is extremely blurry. It seems the resolution has been cut down by at least 2x. Was this intentional, or is this a bug?


I don't find this on my iPod 4G.
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#9 Jason

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 07:34 AM

I really hope Ari changes the treasure cube mechanics to allow unlimited to be placed (especially using Vuenc's modification of my suggestion). Ashley and I went back to building our obstacle course again today and remembered all the places we had built previously to be where treasure cubes would go upon their release. But they can't be used with this system because we can't place enough of them!

 

I can live without the portal change, although it would mean being unable to do some things with portals that I wanted to do. 



#10 Vuenc

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 09:29 AM

Why would a theoretically infinite amount of portals be impossible with the system I proposed?
You could have as many portals of the same color as you want. The only thing you would have to pay attention to with a circular linking is that in your parcour you'd have to place the portals where the player is supposed to come out in an unreachable position (2 blocks above ground) in order to prevent the players from stepping into it again and thereby reaching another section which uses a portal of the same color which comes next in the "circle"

#11 Vuenc

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 09:33 AM

Oh, and you could hide portals with the wrong color behind doors, this may work

#12 Jason

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 10:15 AM

I believe I had misunderstood your suggestion about portals. 

 

Your suggestion, based on my interpretation, is that each portal placed links with the last portal placed in terms of forward direction. So if I place portal 1 and then portal 2, portal 1 will take me to portal 2. And portal 2 will loop back around to the first portal of that color that I placed, which happens to be portal 1 in this case.

 

But if I place portal 3 (assuming these are all the same color), then portal 1 leads to portal 2, and going in portal 2 leads to portal 3, and going in portal 3 leads back to portal 1. And this continues in a circular way, as you said. So each time you walk out of the portal, if you walk back in you get carried on to the next portal in line rather than the portal you just came from (exception being if there are only two of the same color). 

 

The main problem I have with this suggestion is deletion: If I have 1 --> 2 -- > 3 linked in this way, what happens if I delete portal #2? It could simply pretend it doesn't exist. Now we have 1 --> 3 linked together. But if I place portal 2 again, it will end up like: 1 --> 3 -- > 2. So now the third portal I had will take me to this portal, and this portal will take me back to the first portal... which is kind of strange, and probably not what I'd want to happen because now my whole portal set up is messed up. I'd probably have to go delete all my portals and start over. 

 

Which is a problem because let's say I have a complex set-up of portals, 1 --> 2 --> 3 --> ... --> 50. And now let's say I decide to go through my world again making little visual tweaks. And I come upon a section in my world that I think should be redesigned. I know how I want to redesign it, but the problem is that portal #24 needs to be moved to a different spot to work properly. Well, I can't delete it now because if I do it will get linked past portal #50 and the sequence will be completely messed up. I'll have to go through and re-do all 50 portals, or I'll be forced to work around it being where it is.

 

Restrictive. 

 

My idea of linking two in the way I mentioned would prevent this problem. But you would be right to say that it would not allow for circular connection like you wish to have, unless Ari added even more functionality that could complicate it more than it needs to be.

 

So in the end, it's a rather tricky problem.

 

I'll be satisfied with any solution that allows me theoretically infinite portals (and would be willing to prevent players from going back into portals they came out of to avoid problems if necessary). Even if it means having to start over on all the portals if I want to change one in the middle, it's better than not having infinite portals. 


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#13 Jason

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 11:09 AM

I'll add quickly that Vuenc's problem: 

 

"Another problem I have with portals is that they can't teleport you into an not-loaded area (they actually can do this, but only until you exit the world and load it again, then they lost the information that there are other portals of this color in not-loaded areas)." 

 

is a problem I am now having as well, and it's irritating. 



#14 Vuenc

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 11:15 AM

Yes, portals are by far less powerful if they cant teleport over further distances. That's why I proposed to save them seperately.

#15 Jason

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 05:44 AM

After playing around with portals some more, it seems to me that when you exit the world the circular link becomes reversed. It remains in-tact, but goes the other direction.

 

I suppose this might just be a bug, and in this way it would be possible to have infinite portals if this were to be fixed. 



#16 Vuenc

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 07:05 AM

I think the portals are just linked in the order they appear in the world file, because no information is saved about how they are linked

#17 Jason

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 07:12 AM

In my example, I had portal 1 with 2 white blocks, portal 2 with 2 trampolines, portal 3 with 2 fences, portal 4 with 2 grass blocks.

 

White went to Trampoline, which went to Fence, which went to Grass, which went back to White. It worked circularly. 

 

I exited the world and returned. It was the exact opposite: White went to Grass, which went to Fence, which went to Trampoline, which went back to White. 

 

If they retain the order that they appear in the world file, then how they were initially makes sense. But how does it change when exiting the world and returning? 



#18 Vuenc

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Posted 20 February 2015 - 04:22 PM

I'd say that they are linked in the order you placed them until you exit; when the world is loaded again, the game loads all blocks and just links the portals in the order they appear in in the world file (where they are just represented as normal blocks, without information about where they are linked to)

So that they appear in reverse just happened in your case, not always

#19 Kewlguy777

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 11:51 PM

this iz 3 long plz mayk it mor short an i cant reed it it mayx no sents



#20 Jason

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Posted 21 February 2015 - 11:51 PM

Please, troll, go away. 


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