New Player Experience (NPE) improvements

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Re: New Player Experience (NPE) improvements

Postby seikatsukira » Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:57 pm

rmartz wrote:
seikatsukira wrote:Gates will be a very nice addition to the game, and I really look forward to seeing them. However they in my opinion are not nearly as important as new player experience.

For bigger players, gates will be super expensive and relatively short. Anything over 20 LY will likely be out of the question expensive. This will make such a small dent on deep space exploration it’s not worth bothering with. A repair station at colonies would go much much farther in increasing exploration range.

For new players it would just be like using gates from Ceres to Apollo. Gate out, buy mats, gate back and sell. Not super exciting, nothing like the excitement of finally getting a Hyperdrive and jumping out to a place you never could get to before.


Here is what I am thinking jump gates can do for newer players.

  • They do not need the tonnage of a hyperdrive to get to the outer systems. (Big isue on smaller ships)

    IMO players are in small ships for a short enough amount of time, that its irrelevant. The bigger issue is obtaining a higher class HD. Perhaps change the quest, so it dose not tell you to go to deep 6 until you have a class 5 ship, at which point the Story quest will sell you one.
  • A cl 4-5 ship can be effective for them. Outer colonies usually sell at lower prices. Yes, they can make a little more trading, but that is not the issue for me.

    Agreed
  • They get to systems they can land on.

    They can land on Janus A, and anything to do on a planet that you cannot do in Janus A is later game and doesn't need to be done so early, this will just add more questions for people who do not know the game very well.

  • They can visit more than just the colony in that system.

    True..
  • They can see the Gas Giants.

    We have Gas Giants in the inner systems that they can see

  • Visit and land on a moon.

    Ok, but who really likes to land on moons?
  • Maybe even mine in the asteroid field there.

    They can, but they can also mine the inner systems, Its good for new players to see all of the types of asteroids, and IMO important for them to realize that its not always easy to get the good stuff. ... however this would increase the amount of nio/tin available for me to buy...

  • They can see the outer colonies and understand they are not the overhead view static colonies of the inner9.

    Agreed
  • They will see what else they can create when they get an outer colony.

    Agreed, but half of the fun is the excitement and suspense of hearing people talk about something that you cant see. And then the joy of finally reaching the goal of going there and taking a look.

  • They can gate there and fuel up to jump out a bit. All stars close to the inner9 are already named. They can more easily find one unnamed.

    True, for a while anyway, until those ones are marked as well.
  • Get out and walk around inside the domes in the near future.


I can't wait for this, such an exciting idea!


These are just a few off the top of my head. I think they will have effect on newer players larger then just increased trading. I think they will do that too, but there is so much more in the outer systems and gates will bring this much quicker and easier to newer players.




Over all the Idea of gates is great, and I'm excited to see them! on a separate note tho.. they are Not part of NPE and should likely be further discussed in a separate thread.
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Re: New Player Experience (NPE) improvements

Postby jam » Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:41 pm

Achibot wrote:That actually is the light version of what I was thinking of. That flow chart is about 1/3 the length of the one in my notes, which I then pared down in such a way as to allow for the pathing and basic functionalities to be introduced now while allowing for any or all of these ideas to be expanded on individually or collectively in the future.

I'm not saying this is exactly the way to go but I do think this is the amount of organisation and coverage the new player tutorial needs if you are to have any chance of retaining a large amount of players should this game experience a sudden large influx. Right now your saving grace is that older community members help *a lot* in chat with many of the aspects that fail to be covered by the current tutorial. This is completely unsustainable if the game become even twice as busy as it is now, much less 10, 20 or even 100 times.

If you are avoiding this level of work and detail because you genuinely think it's unneeded (at this time) then I disagree, but c'est la vie. If you are avoiding it because it's annoying, fussy work that isn't any fun at all to code (my personal suspicion) then that is a mistake. Either way I believe you'll end up trying to cobble something similar in the week after the game explodes in popularity but it will likely already be too late to retain many thousands of subs.

Long story short, even if this (or similarly comprehensive alternative) takes a month to code and put together then I think that it is time very well spent because not only should it increase retention right now but it sets a stable foundation for the future expansion of the game. Right now you do not have that, which should be a matter of serious concern and one that should not be brushed under the carpet for the sake of some spit and polish!


I'll be more specific.

I don't understand the value of the food delivery quests, after you've ended starvation on vulcan. What are they teaching? 150 tons of food means 15 trips. If someone isn't into trading (and some people just aren't) that's a grind. I don't see a need to set the vulcan food figure to 50 tons. For most players it's now 2-3 trips. If you get a giant ship before starting that mission then I could see capping it to 50, but see that is a minority need. If you've got yourself into a bigger ship before following any quest lines, you're probably more the kind of player that doesn't really want or need hand-holding quests in the first place.

I think showing people how to mine asteroids is necessary. I think explaining what each rock yields is not. If they want that information (and they will if they're interested in mining it) there are ways to get it, now including the ingame wiki. If they don't want that information, dragging them through multiple mining missions won't be helpful. I think one mission that shows you how and then leaving it is best, for now at least.

I don't get why you're re-arranging the quest lines and I wouldn't do it unless I could see and agree the reasoning behind it. I see a single mining quest in between the starvation and robot delivery ones making sense. I think newbies should now learn about mining before they learn about settlements on Ceres and Vulcan, as economically it makes a lot more sense to start there. The separate one is finding Deep Six which leads into exploration and colonisation, and it doesn't make sense to complete that until after you've learned about mining and settlements. I think I should actually move it so it only becomes available after you've landed on Ceres.

I have very, very mixed feelings about giving people a hyperdrive. It's the turning point in the game and I'd rather people got there without anyone holding their hand. Doing anything meaningful in the outer colonies means you need some financial or industrial backing. Maybe I could be convinced on this one now there are stock markets etc. I suppose it might be worth trading at J19 for example with even a CL1 ship.

I do agree that a gas scooping mission makes sense, probably ending by opening the wiki on the gas skimming page. In the mean time, opening that page for you when you get a hyperdrive or some other circumstance might get us 50% of the value for .001% of the time invested on my part.

I think the starbase availability should be moved until after you've landed on Ceres (it was never intended as something you do before that) and possibly until you've got some kind of establishment on Ceres and Vulcan. Player built starbases aren't a newbie feature really, and should come after you already understand constructing and supplying a building. I also think when you get there for the first time, the wiki should pop open at the relevant page.

Regarding my reasoning, let me start by saying that stopping all development for a month or two and completing detailed newbie quest lines is out of the question. Maybe you'll stick around, but generally when older players get bored they just leave. I think a balanced approach is required, and as I've stated before, every release from here on in requires work done on the NPE, work done on new features and work done fixing/tweaking/optimising/balancing old features. Every release will need all of those elements or it will hurt the business in one area or another.

Regarding me, the only thing that can kill his game now is me getting sick of working on it. So if I decide not to do something because it's boring and not rewarding for me personally to work on it, that's a valid reason to do so. I'm on my own here, and I've kept myself motivated to work on this thing almost every day for 15 months straight. You don't do that without knowing yourself and knowing how you personally can avoid burning out. And this stuff burns me out. It isn't interesting at all, I don't find it rewarding and I'm not very good at it. It doesn't even fit the vision of the game I wanted to make, or games I like to play. Quests like this drive me nuts in other games - I'd rather jump in and figure it out myself. But I write them for this game because as you say, it's required for the business to gain any measure of meaningful success. But dragging yourself through doing those things which are necessary but not rewarding, and only those things, is a good way to burn out.

Regarding the goal itself, yes one day I want this to be a game that everyone plays. I just don't think that's a realistic goal with one developer. Especially when your one developer is terrible and UI, usability and NPE. Right now my goal is to get the game to the point where we can hire our artist full time, and a second developer who can focus on the things I suck at.

To get to the end goal though, I think we need to be moderate in our hand holding quests. I _don't_ think we need a massive hard coded quest line that holds your hand every step of the way. Ultimately this is a sandbox game and the goal should be steadily weaning new players OFF such quest lines and onto doing their own thing, including finding some things out for yourself - a great life skill.
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Re: New Player Experience (NPE) improvements

Postby jam » Sun Jul 06, 2014 11:48 pm

Another thought... the main reason I do this is for the people who never ask in chat.

Believe me no matter what quests you make or how accessible you make your game manual, people will still ask. Some people will still ask everything. Some people are just more social than others and insist on learning from other people rather than on their own.

While I don't see it as justification to NOT work on this stuff, I think we're worrying a little too much about the scalability of players teaching players. It scales a lot better than you might think. The fact is that these days whenever you answer a question, more than one newbie is likely learning from your answer. And as soon as they know the thing, they can answer that question next time.

And surely now saying "click on the help button" is more successful on average than "check the wiki"?
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Re: New Player Experience (NPE) improvements

Postby Darmand » Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:20 am

I think we will need a new chat setup rather than a new tutorial re-make first.

One thing i always liked about EVE was the chat setup. New players start out in a new player channel and you can have 3-4 tabs for the game that flash when in use.

Keep it so the older folks that do not wish to be troubled with all the new player questions and answers and jerks that will show up can un check a tab and have the peace they want, without turning everything off.

New players are where they need to be right off the bat and can ask all the questions they feel they need. Complain or whatever, and if they stick around for a while be directed to the other chat functions.

One channel will be way over crowded with normal game talk, add in new players, their questions and people answering, and trade talk..well you can see if we just double the population..it will start to be a issue to even see questions or answers very soon. It is almost impossible to scroll chat now..can you imagine even more talk, questions and whatnot going on in the near future?

Ya i think chat should be looked at very soon and something done there.
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Re: New Player Experience (NPE) improvements

Postby Achibot » Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:47 pm

jam wrote:I don't understand the value of the food delivery quests, after you've ended starvation on vulcan. What are they teaching? 150 tons of food means 15 trips. If someone isn't into trading (and some people just aren't) that's a grind. I don't see a need to set the vulcan food figure to 50 tons. For most players it's now 2-3 trips. If you get a giant ship before starting that mission then I could see capping it to 50, but see that is a minority need. If you've got yourself into a bigger ship before following any quest lines, you're probably more the kind of player that doesn't really want or need hand-holding quests in the first place.


50T is just a detail, it could be 50 or 30 or 10, whichever makes the most sense to you. What it teaches people is where the planets are, how to get to them and what each one produces. It may surprise you to learn that this concept is lost on a lot of people for quite some time. But that is the reality and we are discussing one of the least complicated parts of the game. If you don't already log chat you should, and you should skim over it every it so often and look at the type of questions asked and how often. I think you may have a blind spot here and I am trying to alert you to it, that's all.

I think showing people how to mine asteroids is necessary. I think explaining what each rock yields is not. If they want that information (and they will if they're interested in mining it) there are ways to get it, now including the ingame wiki. If they don't want that information, dragging them through multiple mining missions won't be helpful. I think one mission that shows you how and then leaving it is best, for now at least.


Fair enough. I do think additional NPC's (alongside profile pics and nicer quest windows) would add character to the Universe though. It's just a detail but since it's not an especially costly one to implement then it's surely worthwhile?

I don't get why you're re-arranging the quest lines and I wouldn't do it unless I could see and agree the reasoning behind it. I see a single mining quest in between the starvation and robot delivery ones making sense. I think newbies should now learn about mining before they learn about settlements on Ceres and Vulcan, as economically it makes a lot more sense to start there. The separate one is finding Deep Six which leads into exploration and colonisation, and it doesn't make sense to complete that until after you've learned about mining and settlements. I think I should actually move it so it only becomes available after you've landed on Ceres.


When I started I had completed the storyline, gotten a Mammoth and started my Space Station by the third or fourth day. Some people who came up behind me were even quicker than that. The game has changed rapidly since the days where (I am told) one simply traded around the core 9 until you had enough credits to buy the next ship up. Which is great, obviously, but with those changes comes a need to have an open and flexible introduction to the game that can adapt to future changes aswell without becoming cluttered or unidirectional. Or requiring further rewriting.

When I drew up that diagram I was trying to portray a system wherby each new player is given choices in what *they* want to pursue and a clear path to getting there. I tried to make each quest actually resemble the activities that are most popular with the current crop of young players. In other words most players untilise the concepts I was to portray on a daily basis. To me it represents an honest portrayal of what the opening game has become (yes, it *is* that big now) versus what it was only 6 or 9 short months ago.

I have very, very mixed feelings about giving people a hyperdrive. It's the turning point in the game and I'd rather people got there without anyone holding their hand. Doing anything meaningful in the outer colonies means you need some financial or industrial backing. Maybe I could be convinced on this one now there are stock markets etc. I suppose it might be worth trading at J19 for example with even a CL1 ship.


It used to be a turning point in the game. I had mine on Day 1 and spent a nice hour fighting with Darmand over who got to salvage the wreck at Jam-1. He was older and has salvaged before and I just got lost but all of that's beside the point. Which is that what used to be mid game content isn't any more. These days the midgame consists of getting Class 8,9,10 HD capable ships and beginning down the road to player build ships and colonies. The end game content, which I will discuss a little more below consists of ramping up colony production, setting up a viable commodity trading system and preparing for the resource sink that you have promised Jumpgates will be.

I do agree that a gas scooping mission makes sense, probably ending by opening the wiki on the gas skimming page. In the mean time, opening that page for you when you get a hyperdrive or some other circumstance might get us 50% of the value for .001% of the time invested on my part.
50% is probably a bit high but it would surely help somewhat.

I think the starbase availability should be moved until after you've landed on Ceres (it was never intended as something you do before that) and possibly until you've got some kind of establishment on Ceres and Vulcan. Player built starbases aren't a newbie feature really, and should come after you already understand constructing and supplying a building. I also think when you get there for the first time, the wiki should pop open at the relevant page.


It'd certainly help, but honestly this isn't a massively high priority from my perspective either. Perhaps a wiki page would indeed do for now. Very few newbie related issues arise around the SS compared to other areas.

Regarding my reasoning, let me start by saying that stopping all development for a month or two and completing detailed newbie quest lines is out of the question. Maybe you'll stick around, but generally when older players get bored they just leave. I think a balanced approach is required, and as I've stated before, every release from here on in requires work done on the NPE, work done on new features and work done fixing/tweaking/optimising/balancing old features. Every release will need all of those elements or it will hurt the business in one area or another.

Regarding me, the only thing that can kill his game now is me getting sick of working on it. So if I decide not to do something because it's boring and not rewarding for me personally to work on it, that's a valid reason to do so. I'm on my own here, and I've kept myself motivated to work on this thing almost every day for 15 months straight. You don't do that without knowing yourself and knowing how you personally can avoid burning out. And this stuff burns me out. It isn't interesting at all, I don't find it rewarding and I'm not very good at it. It doesn't even fit the vision of the game I wanted to make, or games I like to play. Quests like this drive me nuts in other games - I'd rather jump in and figure it out myself. But I write them for this game because as you say, it's required for the business to gain any measure of meaningful success. But dragging yourself through doing those things which are necessary but not rewarding, and only those things, is a good way to burn out.

Regarding the goal itself, yes one day I want this to be a game that everyone plays. I just don't think that's a realistic goal with one developer. Especially when your one developer is terrible and UI, usability and NPE. Right now my goal is to get the game to the point where we can hire our artist full time, and a second developer who can focus on the things I suck at.


Have you considered hiring an intern? For example, we have schemes here whereby the Employment Services people basicly sponsor you to take on employees in a trial capacity. Plus there are grants for small enterprises to employ people and so on. Now obviously a wet behind the ears young buck fresh out of programming camp is going to have a modest proficiency. But of you got lucky you might find a candidate with some knowledge of C#/Unity and enough skill to build a nice quest system with some light supervision. The fact that it's entry level stuff (read: boring and uninteresting) has gone from an annoyance to a convenience and if the guy proves himself during his 3-6 months and the game takes off enough to keep him on, then great. If not then he has a credit on his CV (unless he was truly awful) and a foot up the ladder in what is a fairly competitive industry for beginners.

To get to the end goal though, I think we need to be moderate in our hand holding quests. I _don't_ think we need a massive hard coded quest line that holds your hand every step of the way. Ultimately this is a sandbox game and the goal should be steadily weaning new players OFF such quest lines and onto doing their own thing, including finding some things out for yourself - a great life skill.


I don't disagree. But then if I just keep telling you the things I think you already know then it's not much use. At the end of the day my only aim here is to provide you with considered and honest feedback/opinions. You have to weigh that with all the rest and find the right balance. I totally get that.
Last edited by Achibot on Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: New Player Experience (NPE) improvements

Postby Xaalu » Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:50 pm

I just bought the desktop version of the game literally an hour or so ago so here is some fresh out of the gate experience so far:
Let me start out by saying i love it so far. The idea behind this and the execution is awesome. I can't wait to see how it works out! Right out of the bat though I will tell you I was confused as to what came with the 5 dollar purchase of the desktop version. I thought it would come with a 1 month subscription to the premium accounts but it did not, and nowhere did it say definitively yes or no. I'm not upset (it's 5 dollars lol) but other players might be and you should make it clear that it does not. After a couple of missions in the Industrialist storyline I found that I had acquired land and some mining robots and what have you and joyfully headed to Ceres to start my farming operation. While reading the wiki it suggested I wait while I said bollocks to the wiki and started planning my future highly successful settlement perhaps you should reward these at later quests. I know the devs probably want to show off all they've done so far, and rightly so this game probably took quite a bit of manhours and lost sleep to complete, I don't think it should be done at the expense of proper pacing. For example, within 10 minutes I was ready to start a colony with absolutely no knowhow nor the resources to do it. New players will undoubtedly take this as a go ahead to start funneling their resources into colony management BEFORE they have a hyperdrive. Now I haven't played much but seeing as a hyperdrive is necessary to get to Deep 6 i imagine it is a quite useful item. In line with this pacing I would say instead of forcing players to trade and complete contracts for this hyperdrive use it as a reward for learning how to mine asteroids or gas skimming( i haven't completed the deep 6 part of the quest yet so maybe there is a tutorial on that) I will report back after completing the tutorial with my final thoughts .
Cheers,
Xaalu

P.S. This is all constructive criticism, I love the game so far please do not take me for a troll or a hater, I just want to help make this game better!
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Re: New Player Experience (NPE) improvements

Postby jam » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:19 pm

Ok... combat revamp is done, newbie industrialist quest lines are re-done, and there's helpful dialogue windows and wiki popups as far as the eye can see.

That's enough NPE for now. In fact, this release is done, I need to plan out a new one.
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Re: New Player Experience (NPE) improvements

Postby jam » Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:48 am

Have moved this to new feature discussions. On its own it makes more sense in gameplay, but with the major updates, minor updates and today's update threads, all of our information about what I'm working on right now and next is in the one place, and more importantly, all of the dialogue about what I _should_ be working on next is in one place.

Going to drop links to Uservoice, it's confusing having multiple areas to vote or discuss these things. The forum is now authoritative until we do some ingame voting.
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Re: New Player Experience (NPE) improvements

Postby jam » Thu Jul 17, 2014 1:23 pm

Ok... after the last round of improvements, we've had a few days of newbies coming through etc.

What's next? What are they getting stuck on now? Are there any noobs on the forum reading this for the first time? What did you think? :D

I noticed a few registration problems, maybe it's time I worked on that? It's a bit crappy.
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Re: New Player Experience (NPE) improvements

Postby seikatsukira » Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:48 pm

I noticed a few registration problems, maybe it's time I worked on that? It's a bit crappy.



I suspect that when new players come along and register on the main page, before logging into the game. It dosent actually work. We have had people asking about changing call signs, and when we told them to register they said they already did on the main page.

Perhaps remove the button from the main page, and Have a popup in game to register.


Other than that all of the issues that i have seen so far, have been the result of people not reading what the tutorial says. Or just not paying attention in game. Things like "I bought a ship from the GM but its not here"
At which Point I will point them to the FAQ, and tell them to read where the game says it is before they buy it.

Another big one is, "why are all of they hyperdrives sold at a place where you need to get a hyperdrive to get to them?" at which point we say they are not, just go to Apollo and the star base will be in your autopilot.

Mostly just stuff like that.
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