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?
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
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
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.