One of the things I worked on this week was implementing some visual feedback on where you can play a specific card. As I said last week, my intention is not to make it easy for somebody to play, but rather provide some help in understanding how the cards can be used. In a final implementation I am thinking that after x number of games played, we would prompt the user if they want to turn off the valid move indicator.
Currently the way it works is that when you tap a hand card to select it, in preparation to play it, the feedback information begins. The information will do nothing for about 1.5 seconds and the flash (more of a pulse) twice for 1/4 second each. This means it is a total of 2 seconds. It then loops forever until you either play the card or deselect it.
Initial response has not been that good. I think the initial delay might be too long to help the user see the connection between tapping a card and knowing what those flashes mean. I think I will try flipping the flash and delay so it flashes twice first and then does nothing for 1.5 seconds before looping.
I originally planned to do something a little more subtle, and cool looking, like a slowly pulsating/glowing ring around the cards (or empty card slots) that can be played on. I very quickly ran into the problem that the “placeholder” cards, that is the really tiny ones that show in the character information (name, points, etc.) are much too small to see something like that. I will have to wait for some more feedback from Matt and Evan and see how things go.
Matt did a prototype layout design for the character builder and I implemented it last week. Overall I really like the layout, though once implemented we both realized that the color scheme is too dark. We have a few elements, such as eyewear, that are pretty dark and almost completely disappear in the dark background. Now that Matt can see the actual layout on his phone he’s going to try to work up some other background color options and lighten things up a bit.
Matt and I talked today at lunch and after work and decided to see if we can start doing a weekly in-person meeting to talk through Mealtime Sabotage needs as well as other possible apps. We are hoping a scheduled meeting time will help us push through some of this feeling of being close but not yet done. Another thing we talked about is the need to just make some decisions about how, or if, to implement certain features.
One of those features is multiplayer gameplay. While we do want to have multiplayer, we are wondering if it is better to release version 1.0 with just single player support and try to get a decent install base. Then once we have a good number of users playing the game release 2.0 with multiplayer support. The up side to that is we would already have multiplayer pretty much written, just turned off. As well it solves the problem of potentially only having a couple dozen people playing the game, and thus not having enough install base to really make multiplayer fun.
We also have one or two app ideas that should be pretty simple to implement, but we are hoping will be able to provide a small amount of revenue. We don’t need a lot of money to launch Mealtime, but we are thinking it would be better to already have a bit of money coming in to pay for advertising to try and get the initial install base going. These meetings would give us a chance to talk through some of these things and work on them in our downtime with Mealtime (I’m waiting on Matt to do graphics or he is waiting on me to do code; during that time we can be working on other things).