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Yann
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  SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Thu, 20 February 2014 17:27
Dear Small World 2 players,

Next in our series of Design Notes for Small World 2.5 is the new Online Arena again, but seen from the angle of joining open games created by other players this time (see our previous update for more info on the Creation of Online Games).

As with all prior updates, these designs are Photoshop concepts, not actual screenshots. So the end result once coded, will differ in minor ways.

The Join Games Interface

If there already are some Open games when you enter the Online Arena, the screen will automatically open with the Join tab forward, rather than the Create one; this way, players will naturally be encouraged to fill in open games rather than create new ones.

http://s3-assets.daysofwonder.com/www/SW25_3-onlineArena-join.jpg


The left part remains identical to the Create Game version, so refer to the previous memo for details about it.

On the right side, the Join panel shows the list of open games. Each game shows a number of icons, let's review them in details:

http://s3-assets.daysofwonder.com/www/SW25_3-game_details.jpg


- At the top, the name of the game
- The game mode (single-session vs. turn-based), with the Turn Game Clock Time indicated above it. In this example, each player will have 5 minutes to play the entire game.
- The number of players
- The list of expansions selected for the game
- If the game is ranked or not
- The minimum amount of Karma required
- If Automatic Redeployment is activated or not
- If the game is private or public

Clicking on a game displays at bottom of the panel the list of players already waiting. Each player show his/her language, Ranking Score, Karma and number of ranked games played.

(continued on next message)
      
Yann
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  Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Thu, 20 February 2014 17:27
(continuing)

Joining a game

One important aspect of the new system is that joining an online game is synchronous - very much like in Ticket to Ride. In other words, you go to a "waiting area" when you join a game, in which you see the other players, chat with them, etc. until the required number of players is reached - at which point the game starts right away.

http://s3-assets.daysofwonder.com/www/SW25_3-wait.jpg


Here is an example for a 5-player game. Three players are already in the game, including you, and there are two open slots. The game starts automatically as soon as all the slots are filled. Until this occurs, you can still chat in the Lobby. Note that standard information about each waiting player is displayed: Karma & Ranking Score on the left, Avatar and name, and Rank on the right side. The game settings are also listed at the top of the panel.

Next episode: Other coming features or improvements of Online gaming

We look forward to your comments!

The Days of Wonder dev team
      
AngryMarine
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Thu, 20 February 2014 17:44
I like everything! Beautiful and functional! Will be missing Marcel the waiter though Smile
      
rasmussen81
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Thu, 20 February 2014 19:04
Very nice! One question, though:

Will the chat from the waiting area continue into the game? For example, if I'm chatting with other players and answering questions about a race or power, can we see our chat history once the last player joins and the game starts? Or will the chat start over?
      
DAC cazaron
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Thu, 20 February 2014 20:52
AngryMarine wrote on Fri, 21 February 2014 03:44

I like everything! Beautiful and functional! Will be missing Marcel the waiter though Smile

Very Happy This!
      
jepmn
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Thu, 20 February 2014 21:05
Excellent design! And I just want to say I'm loving the communication level from DoW.

I second the question about the chat. This is one area I'd really like to see beefed up in some future update so it doesn't just feel like I'm playing with "smarter bots". I especially would want the chat to persist postgame until the players are all gone. Chat windows where all players' text goes line by line are MUCH better than chat bubbles (what we have now). In addition, chat should be persistent. Right now you can be talking to thin air and the person never sees it.
      
Yann
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Fri, 21 February 2014 10:48
About chat persistence:

Chat will be persistent during the entire course of a game, which means that you will have a way to see the history of in-game messages - not just ephemeral bubbles.

There is an important consequence for asynchronous games: if you completely quit the app and go back to it later to play your turn, you will be able to review the exchange of messages that happened between the other players while you were away. We feel this is an important feature.

Persistent chat includes the end-of-game screen. In other words, you will be able to keep chatting with the other players while reviewing the scores, and be able to congratulate, comment or brag about the game.

After that, if you go back to the Lobby, you will see the recent messages (like the 10 last ones for example). This will give you some context.

Yann
      
DAC cazaron
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Fri, 21 February 2014 21:50
Yann wrote on Fri, 21 February 2014 20:48

About chat persistence:

Chat will be persistent during the entire course of a game, which means that you will have a way to see the history of in-game messages - not just ephemeral bubbles.

There is an important consequence for asynchronous games: if you completely quit the app and go back to it later to play your turn, you will be able to review the exchange of messages that happened between the other players while you were away. We feel this is an important feature.

Persistent chat includes the end-of-game screen. In other words, you will be able to keep chatting with the other players while reviewing the scores, and be able to congratulate, comment or brag about the game.

After that, if you go back to the Lobby, you will see the recent messages (like the 10 last ones for example). This will give you some context.

Yann

Wow, excellent, Yann! Thanks for that. Your team's clearly been working hard.
      
jepmn
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Tue, 25 February 2014 21:16
Yeah, that sounds ideal, Yann. Good to hear.
      
jepmn
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Mon, 17 March 2014 23:30
This is an older note, but I was going to post it to another thread and thought here might actually catch the devs eye:

I wish the expansions were available depending on who is PLAYING the game versus who is INVITING people to the game. In the real world, if someone says "hey, let's play smallword", I can say "sounds good, lets use my copy so we can use BNA". But in the app, that's just not possible. You're stuck with whatever the inviter has.

I'd like it if the expansion box allowed you to toggle an expansion you don't own to "play with it if anyone in the game has it". It'd be something like changing it from a dark icon of the expansion to an icon with a big ? mark on it.

I don't think this would decrease sales of the expansions. Quite the opposite; I think it would increase them as players had more of a chance to play with new stuff. It would also increase them buying the physical copies. It would also allow people with the Royal Bonus a higher likelihood of actually getting to use it.
      
Siltaria
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Tue, 18 March 2014 03:25
Very good idea, jepmn! I have the Royal Bonus, but the only way I can play with it is if I invite. It would be much better if my friends could also set up games and invite me.
      
GregFox
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  Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Thu, 15 May 2014 15:44
Hi

In the current version, if we want the game to be ranked, we must wait for a friend to connect. Must already have friends.

I spent hours researching players my level, note their names and then add them to play with friends. This is a tedious task.
And having lots of friends does not guarantee that they are connected at the same time as you.

So if we do not want to wait or go through it, we must use the quick game mode, but the parties will never be ranked.

So here are my two suggestions.

1 - In the new version, it would be interesting to add a friend directly from the table of the main ranking.

2 - It would also be interesting to easily access the list of players online and you can add them as a friend or invite them directly from this list.

What do you think?
      
Yann
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Fri, 16 May 2014 08:21
If you try the Beta, you will see that we added several places where you can add friends.

- In the Online Arena, click on anyone in the list of players and push the Add Friend button on his/her name, and voilà!

- In the end of game screen (where you have the scores), you can add your opponents to your buddy list directly (very convenient).

Yann
      
GregFox
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Tue, 20 May 2014 16:10
Thanks, it seems to be great !
      
bjhomer
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Fri, 23 May 2014 20:18
I really wish the online arena would let you start a game with bots. Some people don't like to play 2-3 player games, but there aren't always enough people around to immediately fill up larger games. It would be nice, I think, if there were an option to "start with bots", which would fill the remaining pending slots with bots and launch the game.

Of course, hopefully the arena will be more full when the game goes out of beta, so it many be less of an issue. But still, at certain off-peak hours, it may be difficult to fill a 5-player game. If you've got 4 people in and are just waiting for one more, it's annoying to have to wait indefinitely or else kick everyone out and create a new 4-player game. Starting with a bot in that situation would let people start playing sooner, which is why they're there in the first place.

It might make sense to require a minimum waiting period before allowing bots. For example, you might not be able to start with bots unless the game has already been been open for three minutes. That way, you wouldn't have a bunch of games living in and out of existence before people have a chance to join them.
      
rasmussen81
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Fri, 23 May 2014 20:23
bjhomer wrote on Fri, 23 May 2014 11:18

I really wish the online arena would let you start a game with bots. Some people don't like to play 2-3 player games, but there aren't always enough people around to immediately fill up larger games. It would be nice, I think, if there were an option to "start with bots", which would fill the remaining pending slots with bots and launch the game.

Of course, hopefully the arena will be more full when the game goes out of beta, so it many be less of an issue. But still, at certain off-peak hours, it may be difficult to fill a 5-player game. If you've got 4 people in and are just waiting for one more, it's annoying to have to wait indefinitely or else kick everyone out and create a new 4-player game. Starting with a bot in that situation would let people start playing sooner, which is why they're there in the first place.

It might make sense to require a minimum waiting period before allowing bots. For example, you might not be able to start with bots unless the game has already been been open for three minutes. That way, you wouldn't have a bunch of games living in and out of existence before people have a chance to join them.


Once the full population of players get access to the game I don't think this will be a problem. For now, if you want to add bots into your game you can jump over to the "Invite Buddies" option and start games with as many bots as you want.
      
bjhomer
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Re:SW 2.5 (the software) - Design Notes #3: Joining an Online Game Fri, 23 May 2014 20:53
Right... but that only works with buddies you're already friends with. Those people may not be ready to play a game *right now*, unlike the people in the arena.

[Mis à jour le: Fri, 23 May 2014 20:53]

      
    
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