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Old 05-26-2008, 02:22 AM   #1
trgeoff
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Default wifight help file and wiki project

Brennan

So I've commenced work on the help-file/ wiki project. I started off by listing all the things that happen within wifight in a hierarchical way, just so I could get a proper sense of the extent and nature of the material that needs to be managed. It's amazing how many aspects wifight has developed! The experience has already reinforced the feeling that a help-file will be useful.

Ive got an idea now of how things could be organised:

Help-File

* The help file contents could be accessed in BOTH of the following two ways:

(1) As a single block of information, initially accessed say from an item in the About menu. The block itself would be broken into sub-sections, and people would move from page to page, say, via Next links at the bottom of each page. The internal organisation might also benefit from some sort of hyper-linking, or contents list, but the implementation of that is of course up to you.

This mode would allow users to read through everything in one go.

(2) As context-sensitive chunks of information that make sense of the various screens (log-in, create new game, game-list screen, individual game (chess/checkers/boxes/TTT), chat, browse all games, game details, Alert preferences, manage tones, about wifight). Each chunk would be accessed by some Help icon on each screen, or a single menu-item that provides screen-sensitive information (eg datebk does something like this).

This mode has obvious uses.

So the main organising principle for the majority of the text will be the system of screens themselves. This keeps things modular and allows for easier updating as wifight evolves.

Most of the sub-sections referred to in (1) would therefore be the "context-sensitive chunks of information" referred to in (2). From what you said previously, text could likely be accessed from multiple points within wifight without duplication. The "chunks" would be presented in a sensible sequence, eg starting with: login screen, then game-list screen, then create new game etc etc.

I would also front-end the help file as accessed in (1) with some information whose organising principle is focussed on what people can do in wifight, perhaps along the lines of

* Play games against other wifighters online on your Treo
* Chat with other wifighters online
* Spectate the games of other wifighters

I also liked your idea of some splash screen that greets new users. Perhaps that could also have the "tip of the day", and a check-box for "Don't show again"! This screen itself could have a help icon link to the "front-end" material mentioned above.

Wiki

Most of the help-file information could translate directly onto the wiki, where one would have the advantage of using screen shots for each screen as well. (I haven't thought about using graphics in the help-file?)

Anyway, before I proceed further, your feedback, and that of other wifighters, would be appreciated,

Cheers

geoff

Last edited by trgeoff; 05-26-2008 at 03:22 AM.
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Old 05-26-2008, 07:55 PM   #2
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Wow, you have evidently put some thought into organizing this information. It sounds like you're definitely on the right track so far.

So it seems like what you're describing could be implemented as a single long document, with anchor points for various sections that can be jumped to from various context-sensitive menu items? Kind of like # style anchors in HTML.

I agree that tip-of-the-day/motd popups can get tiresome. I imagine I could make it only pop up when it has changed though, or have that checkbox so you can make it never pop up. You'd still be able to select it from the menu perhaps.
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Old 05-26-2008, 09:02 PM   #3
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So it seems like what you're describing could be implemented as a single long document, with anchor points for various sections that can be jumped to from various context-sensitive menu items? Kind of like # style anchors in HTML.
yes thats the idea exactly. Ill start working on the "chunks" for the various screens now.
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Old 05-27-2008, 06:02 AM   #4
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Brennan:

a style question:

just in case any metaphors come to mind while im writing, do you have any dislikes of particular themes? Some pacifistic people ive written for before might have objected, for example, to calling the game-list screen the "wifight HQ" or "command centre" because they didnt want to introduce a military perspective.

on the other hand are there any metaphorical themes you *do*:

* feel a special kinship towards and/or
* think have a natural applicability to wifight?

geoff
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Old 05-27-2008, 10:02 PM   #5
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I guess overall we'd want to keep things fairly neutral and literal, i.e. saying "players" and "games", not necessarily "enemies" or being "crushed" or other violent imagery. Obviously a "fight" still seems like a useful metaphor, what with the name wifight. I just wouldn't want people to take it too literally I guess. But I think it can work as a metaphor for fun competition.

A game room would also be a decent overarching metaphor. Or a party. Or a party in a game room
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:11 AM   #6
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By the way, I meant the above in the context of the top level game of wifight, i.e. player vs player stats and rankings and profiles and such. In-game, of course, you might crush enemies all day long Or explode them.
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
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By the way, I meant the above in the context of the top level game of wifight, i.e. player vs player stats and rankings and profiles and such. In-game, of course, you might crush enemies all day long Or explode them.
hehe, or one might be on the receiving end of the crushing, slicing-and-dicing etc etc as the case may be - does wifight need an inbuilt counselling service??

I probably won't aim as high as having an all-encompassing, overarching metaphor (nice phrasing there Mr B!), as attractive as that would be, because it would probably add too much inertia to taking on future revisions.
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Old 05-28-2008, 04:57 AM   #8
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That makes sense. By the way, I'm adding another popup after new login creation as a possible antidote to the confusingly empty game list for brand-new players. Whatcha think?

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Old 05-28-2008, 05:18 AM   #9
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Great!

The phrasing might be improved though. "Browse games" mostly suggests to me that the link will tell me what types of games are on offer.

"Spectate a game" and "Start a game" as a pair of options would seem to give a more accurate feeling for what the real game-related choices are.

If "Chat online" was represented there as well, this would cover the 3 main activities that wifight offers.

...and in time a final button, "Help files" or "Learn More" or some help icon might have a place there too.
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Old 05-28-2008, 09:45 AM   #10
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Hey Ive put pen to paper, no blank page staring me down anymore!

Since youve started addressing the most desperate needs of our noobs I thought I do the same. I will put togther some text to be linked from four of the most important screens :

1. Game-list. I'm going with your idea and calling it The Game Room, that's nice, and it evokes useful comparisons with similar main pages on other game servers

2. Chat room

3. Create new game

4. Browse all games

This should get people going. Of course the play screens for each individual game are VIP too, but Ill start "global" first.

So basically Im thinking you might add in this batch of four chunks as context sensitive files in the first go, and then Ill continue on with the next batch. Once we have got all the chunks in place we can then piece them together, add the introductory front-end, and we have the "read it all in one go" file too, to be added in last.
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Old 05-28-2008, 02:41 PM   #11
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Good idea on the phrasing. Here's what I changed it to:



I'd like to fit 'Chat' on there too but you can only fit so much into an alert box. It could definitely have a help icon too.

I like your plan of starting with some context-sensitive help text where needed most and building up to a more mighty all-in-one text as we go. Using the builtin PalmOS tips viewer with plain text files is fairly easy to do and people should already understand the 'i' icon.
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Old 05-28-2008, 10:48 PM   #12
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Maybe you could replace "Where to?" with "Welcome to wifight", if you wanted some extra space for a "Chat" button? The "Where to" doesnt add all that much perhaps.

So here's how the first chunk is going so far. I havent considered the menu stuff yet, but interested to hear what you think about tone, ease of reading etc. If youre planning a release soon, tell me your "deadline", and that will inspire me to try to polish off all the first four chunks!

"The Game Room.

Overview: This is your wifight HQ. All the games you play or spectate are listed here. Finished games too – until you purge them. And you can use the buttons at the bottom, and the Menus, to access all of wifight’s other features and options.

Whenever you start to play or spectate a game, a dynamic summary of that game appears in a slot on the Game Room screen. Each summary shows – in text or graphically - the type of game, the players’ names, the number of moves made, whose move it is (for your own games) and even a snapshot miniature of the exact state-of-play! These vital details are updated as soon as any player plays a turn. The list is unlimited – just scroll down. To bring up one of the games, either tap on its slot, or scroll to it and select with a hard key."



Oh I had another idea about the noob "blank screen" experience: could a single "spectate" game be pre-loaded for new users? If possible, and you think it has usefulness, Ill make some reference to it in my blurb.

Last edited by trgeoff; 05-29-2008 at 11:52 PM.
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Old 05-29-2008, 04:34 AM   #13
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brennan

Ive also started looking at the wiki, and I notice you are using URL links for your images. Have you also enabled page-attached images?

If not, how do I get new images into your current archive area?
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Old 05-29-2008, 04:44 PM   #14
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Hmm, I'm not sure if my wiki software can accept uploaded images. I'm digging thru some config files to figure that out. In the meantime I'd say upload them to stashbox.org. That should work fine. It's actually located in the same server farm as wifight.

Nice blurb so far. I can see how you'd want to add some screenshots.

re giving them a spectate game from the beginning: that could be pretty neat. How to determine which game however? Maybe a couple random ones... or maybe a special "Welcome to wifight" game?

Reminds me of an idea I had a while back to just randomly match people up in games on the server. If they don't respond within some time limit then reassign the game to someone else. That's gonna require a much smarter server of course. Actually that's kind of how tournaments would work I suppose.

I'm hoping to have the game browsering feature ready for at least a test client release by next week or so, with a public release right after if things go well. It's been far too long between releases.
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Old 05-29-2008, 06:31 PM   #15
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Nice work on the help-file, tregeoff. I'm not much of a writer myself, but I can help with taking/uploading screenshots, proof reading, etc. If you need help, that is.

I like the idea of matching up random people, Brennan. Sounds like it would be fun. I'm loving the game browser so far. Just add a way to get to the first turn of a game when you start spectating from the middle, make the fiveway button do spectate and make the updating and beeps work like our own games, and it'll be near perfect.
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Old 05-29-2008, 11:09 PM   #16
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Nithya: thanks for kind comments and help offer. Maybe you can also check for any glitches that might arise from me not being an american - unlike most of the wifight user base!

Images
: I was editing a wikidot page the other day, and it was nicely set up for image uploading, but straight wiki pages seem not as advanced? Anyway np to put stuff up at stashbox.

Pre-Loaded games
: I like the idea of one or more model (and completed) games. Perhaps one for each game type? For example it would be nice to have a short chess game in which all or most of the game features (move /capture /en passant /queen & king-side castling /promotion /check / checkmate) were shown off. Now that I have two usernames I could create at least the chess one. Would it be possible to add in some extra text to the game summary diagram eg "Example chess game"

Random opponents: sounds great fun for the future, really nice that youre thinking ahead to tournaments!!

Deadline: Well, while I havent done the finishing touches for the Game Room chunk, I have finished a draft for "Create New Game" and its below, for your feedback. Are you planning to include any pre-loaded example games for the upcoming release? If so I could put in some work on that now too, and also put in appropriate info in the Game Room chunk.

I think the new version will deserve another post at treocentral and mytreo, and I'll also make a first announcement at 1src, which I tend to visit a lot these days. A lot of 1src users use TX's etc - I was wondering if wifight works on them too (esp given your screen shots!) Is the list of compatible devices on the Main page accurate? As a sidenote, and arising out of my 1src participation, if youre into fine-tuning your Treo, you might want to check out Apt at http://apt-palm.wikidot.com/start

It's a really neat program if you like to tinker!

Extras: As Im working through the help stuff, I also notice little things that might improve the system. Would you like to pass those suggestions along as well? The only really critical one is to be able to disable 'spectate' for games youve previously enabled spectate for. I didnt realise you couldnt, so now my game-list is even more overpopulated than before!

"Create New Game

Overview: Start by picking the type of turn-based game you want to play, then your opponent, and finally choose who will make the first move - you or your opponent.

Tapping on the “Select Game” button will pull up a list of the 7 types of games on offer (Chess, Checkers, Tic-Tac-Toe and 4 variations of Dots & Boxes). If you highlight a game, you can read a brief description. Scroll to the game you want and then tap OK or select with your hard key.

Opponents come in 3 varieties. If you leave the Opponent space blank, you can play against yourself - a good way to learn the basics. Next, for chess (and only chess) wifight provides a computerised opponent, a medium strength chess engine (ELO about ????). Just type in: chessbot

Of course your ideal Opponent is another wifighter! If you don’t know any of us yet, check the full list of players at www.wifight.com/players. Click on any player to find out what sort of games we like. Or, within wifight, see who’s been talking in the Chat Room lately. Don’t be surprised if no-one is actually logged in when you do – wifight’s support base does not match Yahoo Games…yet!

To finish off, choose if you’ll be Player 1 or 2. If you don’t want the default option (i.e. "Me" = Player 1), switch "Me" to Player 2. Playing second is always a disadvantage but more so in checkers, and very much so in Dots & Boxes. In fact if you manage a draw in Dots & Boxes as Player 2, wifight awards you the game! When playing versus chessbot you can only play as Player 1."

Last edited by trgeoff; 05-30-2008 at 01:17 AM.
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Old 05-30-2008, 02:11 AM   #17
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I've also started adding this stuff up on the wiki, lots more pix to come later, and expanded coverage, but just getting the hang of things for the moment.

I dont know how to add a new page yet (how?), so Ive just added it in below the FAQ at:

http://wiki.wifight.com/index.php?n=...AskedQuestions
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Old 05-30-2008, 11:58 AM   #18
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Finished the Game Room section now, and also slight revisions to the Create New Game section too. All the changes are up on the wiki

http://wiki.wifight.com/index.php?n=...AskedQuestions

So one "major" new idea that came out while doing this was the possible badging of the "Browse all Games" area as the "Library".

If we go ahead with this, it would mean that wifight has three main rooms

* Game Room (list of games, and all the menus)

* Chat Room

* Library

So we do end up with a fairly overarching metaphor, but it doesnt extend down to the use of tables and chairs like yahoo!

So if you like this, it might be sensible to do minor changes such as:

* "Browse all games" becomes "Browse the Library"

* Possibly add a Library button next to Chat button on existing game room screen. In fact, for consistency, and to reinforce the conceptual categorisation, each of three room screens could have buttons to the two other screens at their base (the OK button on the Chat screen is not very informative as it is now).

cheers

geoff
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Old 05-30-2008, 04:10 PM   #19
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Nice work, Geoff. I went ahead and made a new page for the user guide. The quickest way to make a new page is to link it from another page (using [[newpagename]]) and then when you click on the link to the non-existant page the wiki will let you create a new page. There is another way to do it too, but I forget.

Anyway, I added a new FAQ about the user guide and linked it from there. Here's the direct link to the page:

http://wiki.wifight.com/index.php?n=...fightUserGuide

I also made two minor edits. Changed "suuport base" to "user base" since that seemed more appropriate, and added a line about how to tell when other users are in chat.

Re: Calling the games browser the Library, I'm not so sure that fits in with the rest of the nomenclature. I'd say pick something game related like stadium or something.

Good work so far though.
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:23 PM   #20
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Wow, go Trgeoff! I have to run out of the house right now so I'll have to post a more detailed reply later on. In the meantime I'm happy to report that I've fixed a bunch of the spectating games tasks. I'll try to post a new test prc soon (server will need updating.)
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:23 PM   #21
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Thanks Nithya! I did see that page-creation technique mentioned somewhere, it seemed a bit weird, but if it works. good edits too.

yeah Im not in love with the Library either. Its slightly more dynamic than my first idea, The Vault!

The Stadium doesnt seem quite right either to me. Because youre not actually watching the games there. A closer physical world analogy would be the sort of scoreboard they have at big tennis tournaments- showing completed and ongoing scores. Not that this captures the fact that the wifight list has games from the distant past as well. Im not sure what plans brennan has for the list, but with more filtering options, there are a lot of possibilties that are focussed on the past games more than the present. That was the aspect I was trying to capture with the Library, but it would be good to make it sound more alive.

So a few other possibilities:

The Scoreboard
Results Room
Score Central

Brennan: great to hear youve been working in the spectating code!
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Old 05-31-2008, 12:09 PM   #22
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Chat Room info now up on the wiki too.

Now just the last the first four main blocks to do- the Browse All games/Library/Stadium /Scoreboard/Tally room/Vault

Is the Browse All Games screen in latest test version close to the one you plan to release next Brennan? Or will there be some new features that need to be covered?

EDIT: btw Nithya has put in a vote for The Vault, which does have a cool ring to it.

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Old 06-01-2008, 04:11 AM   #23
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The fourth section - The Vault (Browse all games) - is now done. Pending advice on revisions to that screen's operation of course. It's up on the wiki.

http://wiki.wifight.com/index.php?n=...fightUserGuide

Ive also gone through and fine-tuned the other 3 sections so that the perspectives and terminology are more internally consistent.

All the text entered to date equals 8.5kb, so it doesnt look like the 64kb limit will be restrictive.
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Old 06-01-2008, 06:13 PM   #24
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Yup, I like calling it the Vault. Also, made a couple more minor edits to the wiki. Good job, overall, Trgeoff.
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Old 06-01-2008, 09:15 PM   #25
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Hi, sorry it took an extra day. I'm just gonna reply to every point in one big response.

First off, wow Trgeoff! The User Guide is really shaping up. Nice. Thanks for your hard work. Also thanks Nithya for lending a hand.

Image uploading: I see some stuff in the config file about it. I'm sure I can get something going there once I sit down and mess with it.

Preloaded example games: An intriguing idea. I like it. The game name could be changed from say "Chess" to "Example game".

Deadline: For the next version I just want to ship the game browsing/spectating feature and possibly the new help text popups. Any brand-new features on top of that can wait for the next one. Hopefully it won't be so long between releases next time.

Posting to other forums: Please! That'd be great There's no better time than the release of a new version with new features.

The list of compatible devices on the front page is the definitive list (so far). I honestly don't know if wifight will run on a TX. I hope it will. If any brave soul has a TX and wants to try it I'd be quite interested in hearing how it works out.

I'm always interested in hearing feedback and ideas. Please do post them. You're right, you shouldn't be able to re-spectate the same game. Soon you won't be able to (latest test build silently refuses atm). In fact maybe they should be filtered out of the list? Or perhaps appear but marked 'spectating' or something.

Apt looks interesting. I'll check it out. Maybe it can toggle my screen brightness according to the time of day. That's a feature I've always wanted.

Buttons to navigate screens: I have a tab control in the works. This might be just what you're looking for.

I kind of like the Vault. Maybe the 'Game Vault.' It does imply that it's an archive of past games reasonably well. I wonder if it will translate well. Maybe 'Games Archive'. More literal, but less cool-sounding.

btw I tweaked the Browse All Games screen a tiny bit, swapping the positions of the # of turns and game status (GAME OVER etc).

Hope I addressed everything. Let me know what you think
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Old 06-01-2008, 10:13 PM   #26
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BTW I plugged in two help sections already in the test build. The New Game screen and Browse Games screens now have the little 'i' icons. I just copied and pasted from the wiki. I think it works pretty well. Check it out!
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Old 06-02-2008, 02:13 AM   #27
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Quote:
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BTW I plugged in two help sections already in the test build. The New Game screen and Browse Games screens now have the little 'i' icons. I just copied and pasted from the wiki. I think it works pretty well. Check it out!
Yeah great Brennan! Im excited at the idea that this might make into the next release.

Length: Brennan and Nithya: before I start trimming, what, if any, of the following features of the text do you think should be cut down:

* Material that can be safely assumed to be known or quickly picked up by the average user: eg "To bring up one of the games, either tap on its slot or select with the 5-way." could be replaced with ""To bring up one of the games, select it". I could delete: "Copying may take a little time if the game is a long one." and "The unfiltered list is very long – just scroll down using the scroll bar or the 5-way."

* "Friendly" sort of stuff eg "where everyone can join in the fun"

* Obscure stuff: eg "The Chat Room uses a version of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) that is very stripped-down. However you can use the "/me" emote command. If I am logged in as Trgeoff and I type

/me likes to chat

this will be posted as

*Trgeoff likes to chat"

Anyway, longwinded is not too bad for a start, better to have something there than nothing for the new version. And I know you're champing at the bit to release! Editing can always improve the next version.

Games Browser name: Personal preferences, in order

The Vault
Game Vault
The Archives
Game Archive

To me, the first 3 all suggest something concrete, a physical location, and thus link in with the room metaphor. Whereas the last one seems more abstract.

You decide - and I can quickly edit the text to reflect the changes. It would also be good to change..

* the heading in the popup from "Browse games" to whatever name you decide on, or "Browse the whatever" and

* the "Browse all games" menu option

....to reflect the "Browse all games" screen's new name.

Tweaking: I like the tweaking of the Browse games items. Some tweaking obviously needs to be done with the Game Room slots too, to reduce the overcrowding of the top line with the longer names.

Also, maybe the upper limit on the user name length could be cut down from 32 to 8-10? This would also lead to less crowding.

Other minor points:

* "Game details" screen for spectated games has Quit button that does nothing.

* It would be good to add a help Icon in the Alert Prefs screen and have something like the following text:

"To set email and SMS alerts for new moves, login at http://wifight.com/players and set up your Notification settings"


TX's: im sure some of the 1src crowd will jump at the chance to test wifight even if they have no interest in games per se!

Apt: yes it works well for time-of-day based screen dimming. And I actually wrote that particular section of the User Guide

see: http://apt-palm.wikidot.com/general-basic#toc2

It's very good for idle-based dimming too. Since I still have that issue with switching off my Treo while in wifight, it's been very handy to have the screen automatically reduce its brightness by 25% every minute of idle. I also have Apt set up to return the screen to my "starting" brightness level as soon as there is any sort of input from me.

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Old 06-02-2008, 08:20 AM   #28
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Quote:
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Length: Brennan and Nithya: before I start trimming, what, if any, of the following features of the text do you think should be cut down:

* Material that can be safely assumed to be known or quickly picked up by the average user: eg "To bring up one of the games, either tap on its slot or select with the 5-way." could be replaced with ""To bring up one of the games, select it". I could delete: "Copying may take a little time if the game is a long one." and "The unfiltered list is very long – just scroll down using the scroll bar or the 5-way."

* "Friendly" sort of stuff eg "where everyone can join in the fun"

* Obscure stuff: eg "The Chat Room uses a version of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) that is very stripped-down. However you can use the "/me" emote command. If I am logged in as Trgeoff and I type

/me likes to chat

this will be posted as

*Trgeoff likes to chat"

Anyway, longwinded is not too bad for a start, better to have something there than nothing for the new version. And I know you're champing at the bit to release! Editing can always improve the next version.
A little of each can be trimmed down, I think. You can definitely take out the tap or select using 5way in most places. But leave in the bit about it taking a while to load up the game, since the first time user would probably not expect this and might get worried that something's broken. Again, you can leave the bit about the unfiltered list being long and say scroll down, but you don't have to tell the user how to scroll.

As for the friendly stuff, I'd say keep it friendly but not overly so. I'll leave that to your discretion tho.

In the chat room part, a mention of the "/me" command working is good, but again no need to walk the user through how to use it imo.

And yeah, long winded and informative is definitely better than being too curt and useless. My only concern was that what doesn't seem very long on a computer screen, does seem like a lot of text when seen on the smaller PDA screen. You've done a great job though, kudos!
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Old 06-02-2008, 09:57 AM   #29
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Thanks Nithya for your helpful and considered comments. Always important to get feedback for projects like this.

...and I always like kudos too!
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Old 06-03-2008, 05:16 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trgeoff View Post
Thanks Nithya for your helpful and considered comments. Always important to get feedback for projects like this.

...and I always like kudos too!
Mega kudos to you then! I really appreciate you spearheading this project.

Length: I would agree that once the text gets on a device it can seem a bit lengthy. I think the difference is that on the device you might be expecting a more instruction manual kind of feel. The friendly stuff is good and helps with readability but once you're looking in the help you're probably looking for a very specific piece of information. Of course, editing is what a wiki is for so I'm sure it will evolve. And having any help text at all is miles better than none.

Hmm on a specific point I'd rather not name-check Yahoo games specifically. Maybe it could just say that we're still starting out but that people do show up regularly and to check back..?
.
Game browser name: As much as I like the feel of 'Games Vault' I suspect that not everyone will get the meaning right away, especially non-native English speakers. Hard to say given I'm a native English speaker. I'm torn between that and Games Archive, which is more literal and instantly understandable. I agree the menus/titles should match. It'll be classier.

Tweaking: I agree on user name length. Since the longest one currently registered is 16 characters I'm making that the new upper limit. 16 characters should be enough for anybody

A bunch of other points have been addressed in the latest test build:
- Separate "Quit Spectating" buttons for spectated games
- help icon in alert prefs
- turn # indicator in turn download progress display

Last couple things to fix before locking down this build for release:
- Chessbot as player 2 weirdness bug
- Make it so spectated games don't show up in browser/vault/archive. Alternately, let em show up but label em.
- Spectators showing up in turn notification emails

Did I miss anything? Feedback welcome (of course.)
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Old 06-03-2008, 09:01 PM   #31
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Thanks brennan

Ill go ahead and "finish off" the editing tonight. Ill use "Game Archive" you can search and replace that with whatever is yr final decision.

Will edit out the Yahoo ref.

All tweaks work well. Name length reduction good - any other tweaks planned to reduce top-line overcrowding?

Hows it going with making the help info accessible from the non-popup screens?
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Old 06-03-2008, 10:33 PM   #32
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OK, I'll adjust the title as needed. I'm still torn on it. The Vault really does sound cool. It can always change of course.

Yep, I have a couple ideas to improve the top line. I might move the # of turns somewhere else. The main thing I'm gonna try is use the "..." text output mode to shorten the line. This is gonna be lower priority for the moment tho.

I'm gonna add some menu items to pop up the other help texts.

-- Edit --
New test build is posted, with menu items for the 2 new help screens. The text is from the current wiki page. I'll update them again from the wiki before the final build, so there's still time to edit.

Last edited by Brennan; 06-03-2008 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 06-03-2008, 11:51 PM   #33
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I just "surveyed" a group of Indian students I have taught at the Institute where I work (all can speak English, obviously) re Vault and Archive/s. Archive was well understood by everybody, but the comprehension of Vault ranged from zero to good, and seemed to correlate with how I would rank those students' proficiency in English.

So I think your concerns about Vault are well-founded.

While were talking screens, I noticed you have used

Help: Game List

not, Help: Game Room

"List" seems pretty uninteresting to me, and more importantly, doesn't suggest anything too much different from Archive. What would be nice to suggest somehow is that the "list" is a personalised version of the Archive List. Not sure how to do that.

Game Room I admit doesnt do that either, but it does make one other major difference between the two areas obvious - the degree of "interactivity"

...and I dont think anyone should have problems understanding "Room".

Anyway- food for thought!

Also:

* Can you add a "Messages are loading" msg to the chat, like you have now for the Games Archive and Spectated games? My chat msg sometimes take a over minute to load so it is a little disconcerting seeing the blank screen. Also occasionally they NEVER load (I need to exit/re-enter wifight), so it would help to know which of the two scenarios was happening.

This "non-load" situation may be linked to another unusual behaviour, which Ill describe in the Bug Reports thread.

Last edited by trgeoff; 06-04-2008 at 03:50 AM.
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Old 06-04-2008, 08:19 AM   #34
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I have noticed the disconcerting blank screen in chat too. I've also encountered the non-loading scenario, wherein I need to exit and restart wifight to get it to load. I don't have any other apps running or launchers tho. I think it may be a connection issue since at least one time this happened it was after I exited a game that was taking too long to update after a move. The game was stuck in the updating screen and chat came up blank. But both were ok once I restarted wifight.
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Old 06-04-2008, 11:09 AM   #35
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Here are the edited versions of the help files for the four main screens. In the Game Room section Ive referred to menu items much more systematically, and marked them with quotation marks- I guess you cant use bold in the help screen text as a more elegant emphasiser? I havent updated the wiki yet, because I havent decided yet whether to keep it's more relaxed style or replace it with the versions here.

oh, and mega-thanks for the mega-kudos, brennan

Create a New Game

Tap on the “Select Game” button to see the 7 types of games on offer (Chess, Checkers, Tic-Tac-Toe and 4 variations of Dots & Boxes). Scroll to the game you want, read its description and select it.

Opponents come in 3 varieties. If you leave the Opponent space blank, you can play against yourself. Next, for chess only, wifight provides a medium strength computer opponent. Just type in: chessbot

To challenge another wifighter: recently active players will be obvious if you visit the Games Archive (accessed from the Game Room). The full list of wifighters, and their online status, is on the Web - http://www.wifight.com/players. The wifight Chat Room may give you clues too.

Finally, do you want to be Player 1 or 2? Playing second is a disadvantage, more so in checkers, and very much so in Dots & Boxes. If you draw in Dots & Boxes as Player 2, wifight awards you the game.

wifight's games don't have time limits. Most games move at a relaxed pace over a few days.

Game Room

This is your wifight HQ. All the games you play or spectate are listed here. The buttons and the Menus give you access to all of wifight’s other features.

The first time you run wifight the Game Room screen will be blank. When you start to play or spectate, a continually updated summary of each game is added to your personalized game list. Selecting a game will bring it up in full screen. The game list is unlimited -just scroll down. It is sorted so that the most-recently active games move to the top. Each summary shows the type of game, the players’ names, the number of moves made, whose move it is (for your own games) and a miniature graphic of the game.

* Menu items

“New Game” takes you to “Create new game” screen.

“Browse games archive” takes you to the master index of all wifight games past and present. Transfer games from the archive to your Game Room list for spectating.

“Game details” Provides more info about games in the list, and several game options: (1) the “Offer Draw”, “Quit” and “Delete” buttons for your own games and (2) the "Quit Spectating” button.

“Purge old games” removes all completed games from the Game Room list.

“Login screen” takes you to login screen.

“Connect” starts up your device’s data connection process.

“Disconnect” starts up your device’s data disconnection process.

“Alerts Preferences” - go here to set sound or vibrate alerts for moves in games you’re playing or spectating.

“About wifight” Version/developer info, plus web links to the Wifight Main Page, Players List, and latest download version.

* Buttons

“New Game” also takes you to “Create new game” screen

“Chat” - chat with other wifighters in real time

Connection Indicators: In the top right of screen are four tiny boxes that are either light (online) or dark (offline) green. You can tap those boxes to refresh or enable your connection.

Games Archive

The Games Archive is a master index of all wifight games past and present. The games are stored on the server, so when you enter the Archive, the updated index must first be fetched. If you only want to see ongoing games, select the Filter button and uncheck the box "Show games that are over". Other filter options allow you to exclude your own games or single player games.

Like the list in the Game Room, the Archive list provides a mini-summary of each game. For ongoing games, the vital details are updated whenever you re-enter the Archive. The unfiltered list is very long – just scroll.

If you want to spectate a game, scroll to it (it will be highlighted in blue) and select it. This will copy that game from the Archive’s list to your personalized Game Room list and open the game in full screen view for spectating. The game's position in the Game Room list depends on how recently there was any activity, compared to other games in the list. Spectated games have bright yellow bars.

Chat Room

wifight has a single, simple chat channel where everyone can join in the fun.

The big window at the top is where messages appear. When you enter the Chat Room after each login, recent messages will be downloaded to this window from the server. Treos will load about 55 lines of chat - these sometime take a few seconds to materialize. Each message has the poster's nick and is time-stamped. If the poster is currently logged in, and has visited the Chat Room at least once since logging in, then all their messages will have a bright green border. Your own messages will too.

The small bottom window is where you write your messages. Use your preferred text input method or the inbuilt virtual keyboard accessed from the Menu. The Menu also provides Select/Copy/Cut/Paste functions for your message text, and you can also Undo a Cut or Paste. The Send button posts the message. The OK button takes you back to the Game Room

You can use the "/me" emote command. If Luv2Play types
/me likes to chat
this will be posted as
* Luv2Play likes to chat

Last edited by trgeoff; 06-06-2008 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 06-04-2008, 03:10 PM   #36
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OK, Games Archive it is, for now anyway.

I just posted a new test build where you should see the menus have been changed. I also updated to the latest help text trgeoff just posted.

Messages loading text: The chat system is gonna get an overhaul when I can. One of the things I want to do is have the client cache the chat messages so they don't have to redownload on every connect. At least the ones in the cache wouldn't have to. But I can probably stick a popup in there for now.

Btw if the chat messages don't load, can you check and make sure you're connected? It could be that. It sounds like the TCP connection might have gotten stuck or slow as well. Might need to implement a timeout... need more data.
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Old 06-04-2008, 10:28 PM   #37
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Brennan

I added one sentence to para 2 of Game Room section, see below.

Chat not loading: Probably i would have noticed if I was not connected (you mean the Connection indicators being dark?). But will double check next time it happens. By "Adding a popup" do you mean one of your nice progress indciators? That was what I was hoping for.

MegaMax kudos to you for all the exciting improvements this new release will bring! I really enjoy the Spectate feature, and it really helps build a sese of community.

my next step will be to write up help popups for each individual game.

"Game Room

This is your wifight HQ. All the games you play or spectate are listed here. The buttons and the Menus give you access to all of wifight’s other features.

The first time you run wifight the Game Room screen will be blank. When you start to play or spectate, a continually updated summary of each game is added to your personalized game list. Selecting a game will bring it up in full screen. The game list is unlimited -just scroll down. It is sorted so that the most-recently active games move to the top. Each summary shows the type of game, the players’ names, the number of moves made, whose move it is (for your own games) and a miniature graphic of the game."
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Old 06-05-2008, 01:14 PM   #38
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Changes look good. Can I get you to put these changes on the wiki so there's one central source for the text? Otherwise there are 3: forums posts, wiki, and help file. I'd rather try to make everything match, and the wiki seems like the ideal place to keep the primary source.

I'm digging Spectating too. I think it adds a new dimension, and definitely gives players something else to do while online.

Per-game help would be ultra classy. I dunno how it'd be implemented off-hand... but if you write it, I will find a way.

--edit--
btw I did incorporate that sentence you added.

Last edited by Brennan; 06-05-2008 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:11 AM   #39
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Hi Trgeoff, I was working on the help files a bit. I noticed that you wrote "To actually spectate the game, go to the Game Room." wifight is supposed to jump you to the game screen right after the turns download. Is that the behavior you're getting? Just wondering.
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Old 06-06-2008, 11:01 AM   #40
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What was I thinking?

Replace the final paragraph with:

"If you want to spectate a game, scroll to it (it will be highlighted in blue) and select it. This will copy that game from the Archive’s list to your personalized Game Room list and open the game in full screen view for spectating. The game's position in the Game Room list depends on how recently there was any activity, compared to other games in the list. Spectated games have bright yellow bars."

Also: put in the following version of this sentence:

"The games are stored on the server, so when you enter the Archive, the updated index must first be fetched."

I think its a bit clearer.


I will update the wiki soon. I've been updating the message in this thread in which I first posted the new versions (06-04-2008 11:39 PM), so that can be the definitive edition for the moment(although if you have been making changes at your end as well, maybe you should post your versions here and Ill double check those before updating the wiki)

"Per-game help would be ultra classy. I dunno how it'd be implemented off-hand"

Ah I thought you would just add it to each menu, like for the Game and Chat rooms, but I guess then that all games call up the same menu block.

I have been thinking that each game would have the same generic intro, covering the common elements. And at one stage in the distant past you mentioned that you might be able to implement links in the help files. If that was indeed possible the generic intro could end with four links out to the game-specific info!

Last edited by trgeoff; 06-06-2008 at 11:11 AM.
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