solara - feedback on castle, battle, and shop details

App Developer

Before going into battle details, castle ideas, and shop descriptions, I was wondering, how effective is it to have hidden VO buttons and labels? These are not accessible by dragging your finger around the screen, and can only be found by flicking from a nearby label or button. For instance, the "Open all shops" and "Harvest all shops" buttons on the main UI are like this? I ask because I wonder if everyone that uses VO will find these buttons, or if there are players that only play games by dragging their finger around and never using flick gestures to locate buttons?

For battle details, it'd be great to convey more information about what's going on. Since we can't really add new sound effects at the moment due to app size considerations and the effort required for correctly syncing new sounds, I'm wondering what might be possible with VO. Battles with parties of four heroes each generally take around 20 to 30 turns, where a turn can be an action like an attack, a heal, or a magical spell between two heroes. So it's a question of how to convey those 30 turns that occur (or if that's too verbose, then just conveying certain key actions). There are two options I'm currently considering, but if anyone has other options please add your input. Both of these options would take advantage of the fact that there would be battle-specific categories that can be enabled or disabled through the options menu, categories like "Hero killed", "Magical spell", "All regular attacks". This would only affect what would be conveyed through VO. You could enable some, all, or none of the categories.

Now, the first option, which Peter had suggested, was VoiceOver announcements that occur with during the battle. So if you want to hear everything, then you enable all the categories in the options menu, and during battles you will hear announcements like "Rusty attacks Goo for 10 damage. Goo attack Rusty for 5 damage. Maru performs Warcry on all allies....et cetera" VO would probably dim out the actual sound effects that you hear during battle. Also, this may behave a bit wonky because sometimes two heroes will take separate actions at the same time, and one voice over announcement will override the other, and also I'm not sure how well VO will keep up with the announcements if they occur frequently but overall it would probably work out, especially if you only have one or two of the categories enabled, and it could be pretty exciting to hear the announcement along with the action.

The second option is to have a hidden label that you can flick to which is a complete description of the turn action categories you enabled that occurred in the battle. It would be a single label you can go to at any time during the battle or after the battle, and it just has one long paragraph that describes each of the turns (for the enabled categories) of the battle from start to end, the same way that the first option would describe, but in this case it would not be synced to the battle, and you would always have to flick to that label.

Also, as a separate question, how should regular attacks be conveyed? It could be "Rusty attack Slime for 15 damage. Fides heals Rusty for 12 health." Or more abbreviated as "Rusty attacks Slime. Fides heals Rusty."?

Thoughts? Other ideas? Or should we not mess around with any of this?

For castle details/exploration, Yokose had suggested a system where you would have a castle details section for general info, a castle layout section with buttons to jump to different floors and you can scan through the shops on the floor, and on any of those shops, you can select them for shop details like name, build time, gold collection status or the ability to move or destroy the shop. I can envision something like this working, but I know it would take more effort than we can allocate to build up this design. I will spend some more time thinking about this and if there's an easier way to implement it. I'm wondering if there are any simpler ideas that can be useful. Like maybe two buttons in the main ui, next shop button, previous shop button, and when you press either it will announce a structure it has selected, and you can scan around for details about that shop, or keep pressing next structure button?

Thoughts?

Separately, for shop descriptions, we do have a 30 page document that is all the shop descriptions we gave to our artists to draw every single shop. I'm thinking it would be pretty cool if in the game VO had the descriptions for how every shop was drawn, maybe in the build menu, but is it too verbose, and would it be annoying to have to flick past this description for every shop? Here are examples for Sisi's Sabers and Scimitars, and Twinkle's Tiny Tavern:

Sisi's Sabers and Scimitars
tier 1 warrior shop, width 3, height 1
art direction:
walls: wood with cloth drapes. ceiling & floor: sand & pebbles. shipwreck-themed store with the remains of a pirate ship with ripped/rotting sails taking up 1/2 of the shop. name is painted onto the side of the ship. layer of sand/pebbles on the ground. some small sand dunes, with many of the sabers/scimitars sticking out of them. some barrels/turned over barrels with additional swords stuck in them. some of the scimitars look way too curved to be of any practical use. some pirate-themed practice dummies. bird cages hung around the shop with lots of brightly colored birds inside the cages as well as outside flying around.

Twinkle's Tiny Tavern
tier 1 food & drink, width 2, height 2
art direction:
walls: wood. ceiling & floor: wood. painted wooden signplate nailed to wall of 1st floor. small, homely looking tavern with straw + wooden walls, uneven lighting, and an open fire in the background. there are some rabbits/small animals roasting over the fire. a few old, gnarly looking tables and chairs in the foreground. an assortment of pots and bowls filled with various stews on the tables. stairs lead up to balcony on second floor with several doors along back wall that lead to small bedrooms. bedrooms are darkened and have glow-in-the-dark star stickers on the walls. small, square windows dot the establishment. some have broken shutters.

Forum: 

Thoughts

Hi Paul,
I think you'll find that most VoiceOver users will prefer to flick to things rather than drag their finger around, especially users who are new to iOS and VoiceOver. Ironically in the current version of Solara I can't drag my finger around. VoiceOver just makes the sound indicating there's nothing on the screen.
As for battles and convaying information, while this may take more work, I think you should go for total customization in options, maybe having seprate settings under options for this. If there's anything about screen reader users it's that we love lots of options, so as far as regular attacks go I'd prefer the more abbreviated example you gave above, while others may prefer the other example. As for skills I like having the various categories to choose from, because that's the more customizable route.
As for castle descriptions, I'd personally like them, though others maybe not. I'd say once again to make a toggle in options to please everyone.
I personally hope this stuff is implemented because it'd help with understanding battles more. For instance, I'm trying to complete Mark of the Wild and I'd be interested in how that Tode Stool one-hit killed my healer right down to zero percent at the beginning of the battle, not making him a very effective healer lol. He was the max level too, 14.
These are my personal thoughts and I hope I don't cause any unnecessary flame wars due to various oppinions on this.

descriptions

Hello Paul,
In answer to your question about the 2 buttons which were added.
I for one use those buttons a lot,and in a few cases when I have only a minute or 2 to pass,I can quickly wip out the phone,build if I need to,or just collect the gold which is waiting for its loveing master,which reminds me,I better do that,now. ahem yes. so its quite useful to have those buttons.besides since those 2 buttons are located at the bottom of the screan,I can do a four finger tap on the bottom, and use them. much quicker than,if I were to look for those buttons on my own.
as for the battle messages, I don't really think Vo would be able to keep up at least with the attack messages if other categories any other I should say were enabled. but if it works,it'd be nice to have categories which one could enable or disable for getting certain messages. here's what I thought of,though.
a mix up of both the options,where when you flick to the hidden button Vo anounces what the last action was or what just happened.so it would keep up with the battle without announcing it automaticley,and hence not have the problem of lagging behind. and for those who liked the second option, one could tap on the hidden button and get the result of the entire battle after it was over.
that is what I thought of and yes, I would be happy with either option,while some may not really like the option which I suggested. Moveing on, These announcements could get a bit confusing specially or should I be saying only in arena battles where both the parties may have a rusty footman. =d.
one way to fix this would be to add a VO specific prefix for the units in such battles. p/rusty and o/rusty as an example.
as for the messeges displayed for each action,I like to know the numbers myself and the stuff like for aren't really needed. so the message I would like to see would be something along these lines. "Rusty attack Slime 15. Fides heals Rusty 12."
castle details
the second option,or your idea would work for me here,as long as it said the floor the shop was built on,gave a option to destroy the shop,as I don't see the use for moveing shops or such,I asume that option is only there to give the tower a better look or how the player wishes his or her tower to appear visually?
the details for shops can already be found in the build screan,where it tells you how much gold slash food it produces etc,not the time taken to build one though,I don't think.
shop discriptions. I would absolutely like it if these were added!
If people would find these anoying,you could perhaps make it so that these descriptions only appeared when you had selected a building to build. I.E where it has the options move,cancel,autoplace and build etc. But I wouldn't mind flicking through these,at all since the descriptions are awesome,and I can actually imagine those structures with the help of the description and how the art must look.
I would like to end this with thanks and apologies for any spelling mistakes which I may have made. =)
Falcon wings.

Orinks

I can although I haven't play around with exploreing much,do it just fine. I.E if you are holding your phone the way you are supposed to, the gold info along with the quest button and such can be gotten to just fine on the top of the screan,if you just move it left to right. but yes,I usually flick around unless I know where a certain button is located.
Falcon wings.

I agree with this

I think the more options for the reading, the better. It's probably easier doing things in this way in any case, because you won't be as concerned with what's spoken, just have on/off toggles for damage, stats, events, that kind of thing. It's good to see this level of configuration. Well done in general, got myself to level 19

really cool ideas!

Hi. These are really cool ideas. For my part, I'd really like the VO announcements during battles, as currently I usually just skip them since there's not really any VO feedback. Shop descriptions would be really interesting! I'd love to get a better idea what things look like visually. :) Although it might be easier if these were only accessed by double tapping a specific shop on the build screen or castle view rather than listed for all of them together in the main build screen.
For a representation of the castle view, would it be possible to implement something like the map view of king of dragon pass where you have a list of squares and you're told what is in them, shops or territory or blank squares or whatever the case may be. If this is not possible, either of the options you listed here would work very well.

My thoughts on structure description.

I would truly love to have these available in game. Maybe you can make a hidden VoiceOver button next to those for movement and demolition of the selected shop. The Button could have a behavior like when the level progress element is clicked, with the description appearing in a pop up. This way, the info can be accessible without clogging the screen without cause for those not interested.
Also, does similar description text exist for the characters? It would be awesome to get that too. At least, can you give info about the character's gender? That info can appear like:
Name
Gender
Class
Level X
etc.
I ask for this because some of the fantasy names do not have obvious gender association.
Thanks for your hard work and time.

My thoughts?

Hello Paul,

Thank you very much for considering the ideas, I really appreciate it! I think the idea of hidden buttons for VoiceOver users is great! I use the "Harvest All Shops" and "Open All Shops" buttons all the time and find them easy to get to. I know the general layout of the main UI fairly well... all I have to do is find the "Heros" or "Build" buttons at the bottom right corner and flick right to get to the hidden buttons.

Both options you and Peter mentioned are great! I think I like the first option better though... I like to hear what's happening as it's happening. The ability to choose what you want to hear during battles like physical attacks, magical attacks, buffs, heals, and also deaths in the Options section of the game is a great idea as well! The second option is also great... the ability to see a detailed list of what is or has happened during and after battle via a hidden button sounds great! Maybe there could be a toggle setting to enable or disable this hidden button for those who do or do not want to see it during battle in the Options section of the game. Verbosity for events in battle could also be done both ways and could be a global setting... this means that it could apply to both the VoiceOver announcements during battles and to the list viewed via the hidden button during and after battles. You could have a detailed and abbreviated version... you could have a verbosity setting in the Options section of the game. I think I would rather hear the details of what's happening though if given only one choice.

Hmmmmmm... if the Castle Layout idea is not doable... maybe you could make a Shops section that is similar to the Build section of the game. The shops section could have two tabs, "Food" and "Shops"... the only difference is that it could show the shops you have already built in your castle rather then what is available to build. From here you could do it two ways. The first is, have a basic list of shops... tapping on the name of a shop could select that shop in your castle for you without having to turn off VoiceOver. You could get the shops information and description, along with the choice to collect its gold, and move or destroy it from the main UI as usual. The second is, have a more detailed list of shops, an example will be below. I do see a problem though, it has to do with moving shops... it would be difficult for some visually impaired or blind people to do in these cases. The original idea for the Castle Layout section took into consideration the ability for visually impaired and blind people to learn the layout of their castle and move shops around more easily. Also the ability to see if they have empty floor space in their castle or if another floor needs to be added to build shops. As I have said though, if that idea is not doable, then what I mentioned above might be easier to do. Here is an example of a detailed entry in the Shops section of the game.

Twinkle's Tiny Tavern, Tier 1 Food & Drink
Location: Level 1, Demensions: Height 2, Width 2, Depth 1
"Collect Gold" button, "Shop Description" button, "Move Shop" button, "Demolish Shop" button

I think that is about it for my thoughts... I appreciate all of the hard work put into the game. Thank you for taking time to read this and please have a great weekend! May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, my love be with you all in Christ Jesus, amen.

Yours, Harvey

Character Descriptions.

I was wondering about character descriptions as well... actually the Gender is what I was mainly curious about. I am glad that this was mentioned though and hope to see character descriptions along with gender and their ages in the future. I think it is a great idea!

I would love castle descriptions!

The castle descriptions would be wonderful. The more descriptive, the better, at least in my opinion.
Also, is there a way we could actually go in to these shops and look around? Or explore other parts of the castle?
Thank you for listening to all our suggestions, and for being so dedicated to making a game that can be played by all. You are a developer who truly cares about feedback, and I really sincerely appreciate it. Thank you very much for all your effort and hard work!

Thanks for the feedback. We

App Developer

Thanks for the feedback.

We do have short descriptions of what the heroes look like, including gender, so we'll look into where it makes sense to add that. It will probably be in the selected hero details area in the pre-battle menu, where there's the train hero button and all the details about life, armor, resist, skills; and also available in the popup that appears when you unlock a new hero.

solara feedback

hi paul, I am writing to ask if when we have voiceover turned on in solara, can we have it to where the game is in portrait mode instead of landscape? I am asking this because I want to buy espr, and it makes it hard for me to type with the keyboard in landscape mode.

Hi Brandon, because of

App Developer

Hi Brandon, because of assumptions we made when designing the game, converting the game to portrait mode (even if limited to voiceover users), would be a very complicated task. We do know that the in-app store is buggy when using voiceover, so we'll be trying to address that problem soon. Hopefully if we fix the in-app store menu, that will solve your problem. For the keyboard in landscape mode, you should only encounter that in one place of the game, which is when you get a quest at level 10 to name your tower. No where else should you be required to use the keyboard in the game.

keyboard in landscape mode and unbalanced gameplay.

A couple of things.
firstly, keyboard in landscape mode, please consider putting it back in portrit mode, it makes entering the passwords easier in the in app store.
Secondly, the unbalanced gameplay I've noticed is unruly, especially in the app store.
Some of us are seeing 200 esper, etc. this is acceptable for $1.99 ETC. but ***not*** 20 esper for $1.99 that's just downright rude and makes players not want to use the inapp store to purchase add ons.
Please fix this.
Thanks.

feedback on castle

hi paul, I have noticed when i am expanding a castle, now I am going up to level 10 and I'm having to wait two days until i can build anything. is their a way we can shorten that time, It's not across the board for everyone. I have noticed some of my friends who play will only have to wait two hours or thirty minutes for a castle expantion of the same level, and quite frankly it annoys me that I have to wait two hours or in this case two days almost to start building. I love the game, but hate the long wait times. is their a way we can make this a bit shorter so i can build more shops/ Keep up the great work. Brandon

Different configurations for different players

App Developer

Brandon, Shane - (The following is mostly the same reply I made to the main Solara thread on this topic) We are running different configurations to try to figure out the best balance for the game. Everyone that starts playing Solara, gets placed into one of those configurations that they remain with for the rest of their game. The configurations are balanced so that every configuration should give a fair and fun experience of the game. For instance, we launched the game with a configuration that has 20 esper for $1.99 in the app store, and the esper shops that you can buy range from 20 esper to 400 esper, and the name your castle quest reward gives 5 esper. But with esper quantities so low it's hard to fine tune some of the values, since we can't have fractional esper, so we are trying another configuration with the same things but with 10x all esper values, which means that you can get 200 esper for $1.99, but the esper shops cost between 200 esper and 4000 esper, and the quest reward might give you 50 esper. The relative experience is the same, but it gives us a bit more control, like having 75 esper prices instead of strictly 7 or 8. Another configuration we have is that training heroes alternates between food and gold for each level, versus being strictly a gold cost above level 10.

Some configurations do have faster build times, because we need to find out what is the best balance for the game. Brandon, I know it can be frustrating for you to see that your friends can build some expansions a lot faster than you. It's impossible for us to just know the correct answer on the ideal build times, and the best way to find out is by having players in different configurations. And we pay attention to how well players progress within each of those configurations. It could be that their build times are too short. Ultimately, we need to find the right balance for the game, but we don't want to just randomly change the experience for players that have already invested time into the game, which is why we set these configurations up so that they are balanced within themselves, and that you stay in the same configuration once you are assigned. That way, you can have the expectation that prices or values of things won't suddenly shift around. However, if it turns out that players are having too much trouble, or are finding the game too easy, we will rebalance as necessary.

Sorry for the confusion this has caused.

Shane - thanks for clarifying my assumption that the keyboard is only used to name your tower, when it is also used to enter your password for in app purchases

Solara ideas for castle descriptions or rather shops

Perhaps you could add the document to the about screen? This way, one could tap the button and it could send the player to a webpage to view the shop descriptions. It might take a few moments, but, I find that I would like to have more to do or read while I'm waiting for my next game play. *smiles* I absolutely love this game and have gotten several of my friends to play it.

Castle expansions and esper.

Greetings, I am Amin Abdullah AKA bashue on solara.

I'm the kind of player who buys every upgrade, trains every hero no matter how long it takes and attempts to buy all shops and doesn't like skipping quests. I'm now level 28 and I've run out of space yet again. I'm using to play the game. I also like to buy lots of esper to. I did have 20200 esper on the whole but now I only have around 3000 esper. Not content with the regular castle expansions, I wonder whether I could invest in expansions beyond the regular ones? I don't mind buying more esper. To me, if you're willing to invest then such options should be available.

A second idea I have is regarding visiting other people's castles. Why not allow us to visit and allow us to give gold and esper? I've got enough to go arround and a helping to those who have less cannot hurt.

Kind regards, Amin Abdullah.

Can't get back to viewing shops that are building with VoiceOver

Another comment along the same lines. I hope that this can be fixed or there is a work around. I build a castle upgrade, and once I leave the screen the first time where it says how long it will be, the only way I've seen to get back to that screen is if a quest offers a view button. Can there please be a way for us to get back to the view screen so we can see how long is left for something to build and or to rush construction if we want, etc? Also, I noticed there isn't a way to tell how much rushing construction would cost. Other than these few issues, I love the game loads! Thanks.

Amin - We designed the game

App Developer

Amin - We designed the game so that players that do not buy esper can still access all aspects of the game. This is why there is a limit to castle expansions. If you could keep building castle expansions so that all the gold cost shops and all the esper cost shops would fit, that means that players that do not buy esper will end up with a castle that is partially empty because they can not buy the esper shops, which would be a bit unfair to those players. I know this can be a bit disappointing to you since you like to buy everything in the game, but this is the tradeoff and balance we wanted to achieve for all players. In the future we may add a few more castle expansion floors, but it will likely not allow you to build every single shop. You would need to demolish some of the cheaper early game shops to make room for the fancier late game shops.

Also training every hero is really ambitious. Again the game was designed such that as you progress, you end up picking out a subset of heroes you really enjoy to train.

Your idea about visiting other people's castles and giving gifts of gold or esper is a good idea, and we may implement some type of gifting system in the future. Though right now we have a long list of ideas that we are working on, so there's a juggle of only so many things that we can accomplish for each game update.

StarNoble - We definitely have some work to do to fix the integration of existing shops or under construction shops with VO. Somewhat of a workaround though in VO is, after you start the castle upgrade, if you flick to the Open all shops button, and wait for the VO hint, it will tell you how much time is left until the next soonest unfinished construction is done. Of course if you are building multiple shops, then it might not tell you the time remaining on the expansion, since it only announces the soonest construction.

As for the rush construction cost, we'll look into fixing it on the button. However, if you tap on the rush construction button, it will pop up a confirmation dialog, and that confirmation dialog will have the esper cost in it.

Excellent job on descriptions!

I just want to thank the developers for the wonderful job they did in describing the shops. I found it extremely interesting, and it was fun listening to all the different qualities of the shops. Thank you so much!

Shopslist

Hi can anyone post a god list of shops? Because i destroyed all my shops and dont know which cönfiguration of buildings is the best. I am now level 43 and have all castleexpansions
Thanks.
Nils

Thank u

Wonderful ideas! Perhaps a description of how each hero looks like would be great , and can be accessed from the heros section.
Thank you for your efforts!

managing shops

Hi! I'm late in reading this article, but there are some fantastic ideas presented here. I'd love all of them to be implemented as much as possible. I definitely use the flick method to navigate, and love all the hidden buttons, although they make my sighted friend, who is also playing, very jealous. Anyway, I submitted an email because I'm having a very, very hard time managing shops with Voiceover. I don't have any concrete ideas, but there has to be a way to make it easier. Basicly, what keeps happening is that I'm flicking along, trying to find things I can rearrange to make more room, and it just jumps back to the first floor for no discernible reason. I think I saw what sounded like some really great ideas in this article that might help to work around it, but as things stand, I have to get sighted assistance when it comes to rearranging. Maybe autoplace can be made a bit smarter and rearrange other structures as needed to keep things as efficient as possible?

I'd also love customiseable battle feedback, but my main priority, at least for now, would definitely be easier castle management.
Thank you very much for making such a fun, accessible game. I'm hopelessly addicted and look forward to many happy hours of playing.
Missy

We have found the issue with

App Developer

We have found the issue with ios7 in the manage shops menu that was causing the voiceover focus to lose track while flicking around the manage shops. Unfortunately, it won't be until the next release version 1.8 when the fix will go out. The reset in navigation is triggered every 60 seconds due to some extra calculations the game performs at that time interval. We're sorry that we weren't able to correct this bug sooner, as being able to perform castle management is important.
An optimize shop rearrangement is an interesting idea that we'll keep in mind, though hopefully just fixing the random first floor navigation will go a long way.

How about them hero details?

This one's been around for a while. Try viewing with Voiceover any hero detail page, which involves the level percent, attack, and other statistics. Notice you can't flick the focus around. It works fine in IOS6 though for some reason.
As a sidenote: Why does the opponent party for quests have the selection sound when activating it? I guess maybe enemy details are shown when tapping it? Either way, the sound plays when you attempt activating the enemy party list, but nothing shows.

Paul - We're working to fix

App Developer

Paul - We're working to fix the hero details page with iOS7, in the way it gets stuck on flicking to only a subset of statistic. This should be fixed for the next update. Also, the selection sound in attempting to activate/press the enemy party list is a bug, as nothing triggers from this.

I know this is a late reply,

I know this is a late reply, but for the password issue, can always type it in some other app and copy/paste. :)

My config is the alternating food/gold. I dislike it because I want to use food strictly for questing/arena. Having to train heroes with it cuts into that time. But it's not like it's putting me off the game. Admittedly, upgrading my tower to Obsidian has really helped. I have enough food now to play for decent stretches of time, and an obscene amount of gold for my level. It's kind of good I'm forced to eventually take breaks, because if food wasn't an issue, I'd be playing all day. I usually don't like turn-based games, but I guess this is an exception.

Also love the integration for Game Center. Maybe add Twitter? I don't have FB, but Twitter friends could still add to max food, right?

Looks like castle and art

Looks like castle and art descriptions have already been addressed, so I'll just give my opinion on the combat. I like the sounds and would not want to sacrifice them for VO info. I'm not sure how well VO would keep up with the action. I prefer the idea to have it on demand - a sort of battle log that can be reviewed at the end of each battle. Choosing what info gets included in the log is a nice idea. Arena fights are definitely a problem if the heroes have the same name. Maybe listing the castle name in the log in front of their turns would help.

I like the idea of a battle

I like the idea of a battle log as well. It would certenly help to be able to review battle actions to see which charicters died first on both sides.
KUDO'S to the Esperr team for such a great great game.

solara

I love the idea of a battle log as well.

I think it should be an

I think it should be an option that can be turned of or on so that those of us that don't care can just continue game play as normal, but yeah I'm curious as well sometimes.

Advanced combat is very hard now!

I would like to know if the log has been put in yet? I am starting to get creamed because I don't know who is doing the damage. Also, it would be nice to have some arena where we can battle different types of creatures to see how to fight them, because we have not had all the chance at lower levels...

battle log and practice arena

I would also like a battle log to be implemented as it would be very useful to find out what happened in a fight. I think a practice arena would be a good idea so players can learn about different enemies and try out strategies without losing rating or failing quests. I think this should cost no or very little food so as not to cut into actual playing time.
Also, thank you to the developers for such a great game!