Seeking Feedback on Timecrest: The Door
I'm a developer for the game Timecrest for iOS, a choose-your-own-adventure style interactive fiction RPG. We received an email from a voiceover user named Brad who told us that our game was 95% accessible and gave us information on this forum on how to make our game better accessible for voiceover users.
When we came over to check the forum, we were humbled that Timecrest was recommended by users here, and embarrassed that the game was not 100% accessible to voiceover users, and have to admit that we're very new to developing accessible software.
We're investigating what we can do to improve the game and I've personally been trying to play our game fully in voiceover to better understand the experience.
I wanted to post here to gather your feedback as well. Please tell us what we can do to improve your experience playing the game, so we can integrate it into our improvements for you.
Here's a link to the game: https://itunes.apple.com/za/app/timecrest-the-door/id1027546326?mt=8&uo…
Since I'm use to the oddities of Voiceover, it matters not to me personally, because if I want to know how a word is spelled, especially when VO seems to pronounce it incorrectly, I just use the rotor and spell it character by character. Also, it's my understanding that iOS 10 is going to give VO users the ability to correct words. However, I would guess that most people would prefer the words pronounced correctly without having to do something about an unclear word.
Hi! I'm only on Chapter 4 of TimeCrest as I write this, but I must say this is an excellent game, I'm really enjoying it, in spite of the scary bits. I haven't worked out Ash's gender yet, but to me Ash is a male name, and I can imagine him as a rather impulsive teenager, wanting to do things straight away without always thinking of the dangers involved. To get to more practical things, I just read earlier in this thread that the developers are considering changing the spelling of characters' names for VoiceOver users who use speech, and I can kind of see the logic in that, but I personally wouldn't be happy with such a change: I use speech myself, not knowing whether the voice i use pronounces names correctly or not, but every so often, when I read an unfamiliar name, I go through it character by character to find out how it's spelled, and I would want to get the correct spelling using speech when i do that, as I am unlikely ever to have a braille display which is compatible with my iPhone. If you really want to include braille and speech modes for VoiceOver users, please add a default mode so that spellings of character names won't change for speech users if they don't want them to.
I use a Braille display, so if we could get some audio clips of how they are pronounced?
Sometimes the music drowns out the sound for when Ash sends you a message, could you make it a little louder or duck out the music when the message comes in and then duck it back in when the sound is finished or change to sound to a louder noise?
How about a beep or a hoosh sound when the message is completely sent? This would give VoiceOver users a good way to know if Ash is still talking, and I would imagine for sighted users it may be a good key if they aren't necessarily looking at their phone for a few seconds either. I'm not sure if any sighted folks would be interested in a text-only game? Either way, the beeps that play when Ash is sending a message are cool but it'd be even nicer if we could get a sound that indicates when all of Ash's messages are sent so we can go read them and act accordingly.
Well, 70% of people play games like Candy Crush and Game War and stuff like that, maybe about 30% play text games.
There's a lot of great feedback here, and you'll be happy to know we're already working on some of these suggestions.
In particular, I've been testing out some new sounds over the last couple of weeks to improve the main story experience. Here are the ones that I've added so far, which has made the game a lot more playable for me in VO, so hopefully it will improve it for you.
1. A "beep" sound for when a message is received. This is sound is different and a bit clearer than the one in live.
2. A "bloop" sound for when the VoiceOver cursor hovers the last available message, but more will be sent shortly.
3. A "rising woosh" sound for when all messages have loaded, and we are waiting on a timer.
4. A "triumphant ding" sound for when all messages have loaded, and we are waiting for the player to respond with one of the option buttons.
I think there is some confusion with me naming the modes VoiceOver mode and Braille mode. I'm thinking of instead naming them "Pronunciation mode" and "Normal mode". If you select pronunciation mode, the spelling of text will be modified to be better pronounced by VoiceOver, and if you select normal mode, spelling will remain correct.
You can choose to use either mode whether you are using a Braille display or not, though I don't recommend pronunciation mode for Braille display users since that would just be confusing. You will be able to switch between the modes in a new VoiceOver settings menu I'm planning on adding to the UI.
Tell me if these names are a little less confusing.
I think all of these suggestions will work quite nicely. Can't wait to see them implemented.
Thanks very much, Cowbunny, for your clarification concerning the different modes which VoiceOver users will be able to access in future versions of TimeCrest: it now sounds like both modes will be useful for me as a speech user, as I will be able to play in Pronunciation mode if I want then be able to switch to Normal mode to check the spelling of character names if I still wish to do that. The future improvement in sounds indicating messages coming in will be good too: I'm particularly pleased that we'll get an indication of when the last message comes through before we have to use an option button, that'll definitely make things easier when reading through the messages. Thanks very much to the developers for making TimeCrest so VoiceOver-friendly and taking notice of VO users' feedback so well!
I've started playing the gamg and so far, am liking it pretty much. I have noticed something though with regards to the push notifications. When I'm done playing for the evening, I'll shut off the app, usually in a part of the game where I have to wait for Ash, when he is doing something for a long period of time. While the app is completely turned off, I get notifications from the app, things that Ash is saying, but when I re-open the app, there is no new messages from Ash, but after a few seconds, they start popping up. What is even weirder, while the app is completely turned off, I'll get like 10 to 25 messages from Ash, but when opening the app and I start getting messages from Ash, I might get like 2 or 5 messages before I have to make a selection.
I am not sure if this is a glitch or if it is designed this way, but just thought I would mention it.
Thanks for the accessibility improvements, as I did try and play with the app a month ago and compared to that version, there has been many improvements.
Keep up the great work!
Good morning, I finally installed and played this wonderfully fun game. My ideas are about the same as most others, but I figured the more feedback you had on the same issues, the better you to know there are common problems. First, I don't always like music in the backfround. I find it distracting and hard to hear the prompts. I'd like to see a volume slider option for those who like the music, but I'd also like to see an option for turning it off for those of us who don't like it. Also, please label all your buttons. This way, we don't have to keep clicking on the button to see what it does. We wouldn't havew to just try memorizing all of them. I'm 57 and my memory is not what it once was. (lol) And, yes, as many others have said, text comments on what is going on with Ash would be helpful. I'd like to personally thank you and every other developer who cares enough to make their apps accessible to us. I love all of you. Blessings to you.
A while ago an enquiry was made as to weather our friend Ash was male or female. I'd submit the following, as it seems to me an easy oversight with a story this massive:
"And is the… really XXXX brother?"
This was seen at the beginning of chapter 6.
Thanks for writing in. There's no oversight here, and this phrasing does not reveal any gender of Ash. But before I explain, first I want to warn everyone that Paul's post has a very big spoiler, if you haven't completed Chapter 5 yet.
My explanation will discuss the same major spoiler, so stop reading here if you haven't completed Chapter 5.
So the hero of Alyncia, the Master of Time, the leader of the Timecrest guild is indeed Chronos. Chronos is male, there is no gender neutrality intended there. And Ash, whether male or female, can have a brother.
For example, in real life, my sister is female, and she calls me brother since I am male.
Does this make sense?
Thanks for playing Timecrest, and I appreciate your response!
First of all, thanks for this great game!
I want to ask if you are interested on making this game in other languages, Spanish for example. If you are interested I can ofcourse help to make it, or make it. So any answer is welcome. Thanks again! :)
@Ulises Gamer, we're delighted that you are enjoying Timecrest. Translation is, of course, difficult to get done at a very high quality since it essentially involves hiring someone who is a proficient translator who is also a strong writer. We're a company of only two people, so we don't have a lot of time or resources to take on many projects at once. We've decided at the moment to focus our energy on writing. We're going to get the English storyline completed, then decide what our priorities are from there.
That said, we hope we can be in other languages in the future, but just know that we don't have the time to consider this at the moment, so we can't make any promises about what we will do in the future.
We greatly appreciate your feedback though and will add another vote for Spanish on our list.
How much are important to have time crystals? I mean, I know that they are in app purchases, but what can I do with them? I know to skip time, and buying music, but its all? Or something else. That gives me another question. That its the only way to get gold? Thanks!
Time crystals are used to skip timers, buy music tracks, purchase gold, and buy the teleport generator. They are not essential to playing the game. I bought about $6 or $7 worth of them to support the developers and give me some more gold.
@Ulises Gamer Time Crystals are not required to play the game, and we have balanced the entire game around not needing to spend money to play the game. You can get gold from your daily guild pay once that feature unlocks in Chapter 2, and a new tab will be added to the bottom of the screen where you can collect more gold each day. That said, we do appreciate if you choose to support us by buying Time Crystals. We've been writing 24/7 so that we can add more content into the game.
@Chris Wright, thank you so much! We hope you are enjoying the game.
How much costs the teleport and how it works? Where I can buy it? Thanks! And I'll see if I can buy time crystals, ofcourse to support this project
@Ulises Gamer Teleport Orbs can be purchased at the merchant for 150 gold. The merchant unlocks in Chapter 2. There are times throughout the story when Ash can either walk somewhere or teleport, teleportation is very fast and only takes 10 seconds. As the game progresses, there will be more and more opportunities to use Teleport Orbs.
Thank you for your consideration! Your support is greatly appreciated.
Teleport Orbs and the Teleport Generator means the same?
@Ulises Gamer The Merchant sells teleport orbs starting from Chapter 2 for 150 gold. In the later chapters (maybe 8 or 9) he will start selling a very advanced item called a Teleport Orb Generator. The generator will give you one free teleport orb every day, but it costs many Time Crystals. It is a useful item for those who play the game over many times. (Some people have played over 100 times just to experience all of the different paths available in the game.)
How much it cost?
@Ulises Gamer The Teleport Orb Generator costs 5000 Time Crystals. Due to its expense, I'd only recommend it if you play through the game many times. But if you do, it will pay off very well.
I like Roger Mendenhall, he's hilarious at times. A.C. AKA Alistar Crane, is kind of a little rude and grumpy at times (I hate how he grabs Ash's collar). And he calls some people fools, LOL.
Eh lees is not really that much of my style, but she can be funny.
Chro nose is one of my favorites.
Riley is just the best of all.
And Ash, is also my favorite character. I think of Ash as a girl at the age of 20 or 18 or somewhere around there.
Elise can be dark and strange but she is very powerful. Do you trust Chronos?
We like Ash a lot as well.
I notice you are using the altered spellings for pronunciation mode. Do you use a braille display? You can turn off pronunciation mode in the settings menu to get the correct spellings for names and worlds.
Yes I do use a braille display.
However, I like using my braille display 70 percent of the time with the Speech on. That's why I prefer using Pronunciation Mode.
Hint for those players who are almost to at least chapter 6: Choose your path wisely, however do know someone will die in both. Or if your path is different you could have both of them survive... find out as you journey through the story, for I can't give away a spoiler.
@AudioGamerTunmi We're glad to hear it's working for you with your Braille display.
Ash gave me the drink made from dragon berries. How do I use it?
@treky fan If you have hints enabled, it will tell you that using items requires a Magic Tap. To do this gesture, double tap with two fingers. Tell us if you have trouble using it!
Jamie Pauls wrote a glowing review of Timecrest in AccessWorld here: http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw171204
In the interview, we mentioned that an AppleVis user contacted us and was the reason we worked so hard to make Timecrest accessible. Thank you, brad, for emailing us. We have greatly enjoyed being a part of this community, thank you for starting this all.
@SplendidFault Thanks for your comments. We are delighted that you're enjoying the game.
We'll add those spells to pronunciation mode in a future release. Thank you for the suggestion.
To gain Time Crystals, there are two things you can do. In the Relationships tab, you will find rows for characters: Riley, A.C., Elise and Roger. If you open those dialogs, there will be a "Follow" button at the bottom. Tap on Follow and it will bring you to their Twitter page. Follow that character and you will gain a one-time Time Crystal bonus you can receive for each of the characters.
Every week, you can earn additional Time Crystals by sending a Tweet to any one of those characters. Go to the Relationships tab, tap on a character, and tap on "Tweet" at the bottom of the dialog.
Tweeting to them adds to the interactive fiction. If you talk to them and ask them questions, they will talk to you. You can check out their Twitter pages and see what they have said to other people in the game as well. You can earn Time Crystals Tweeting at someone once per week.
to open the map tab the screen with two fingers
How do you prevent riley from dieing?
SPOILER! Do not read past this point unless you want major spoilers.
You need to go with Roger instead of Riley.
I was wondering if there were any issues with the page where you buy time crystals? Last year, when iOS 10 was released, I decided to format my phone and start over with a fresh install, but was unaware that I had to save my game in Timecrest. Thankfully, the developpers at Sneaky Crab were nice enough to restore all the previous crystals I had bought, and now I would like to buy more but am unable to proceed. When swiping with VoiceOver, I hear that there are four "Buy" buttons, and three options. The first option is for about 1,000 crystals, the second one says "in progress" and the third option is for 18,000 crystals. I am not sure if the order that items are focused on when swiping with one finger from the top left corner to the right, if they follow a logical order. When I swipe to the right, I get the first button, then the 1,000 crystals option, then another button, then the "in progress" text, then another button, then the option for 18,000 and then another final button. Perhaps more work might need to be done on this page. Either then that, I am loving the game, well, now that I have to start over, it gives me a chance to do things differently. Thanks again for the work.
@Blinken223 We're sorry you're having issues buying Time Crystals.
First, please make sure you're updated to the latest version of Timecrest. If you update through the app store, you should be able to get version 22.214.171.124. The version number is listed in our Settings dialog.
Next, ensure you have a solid internet connection. Making purchaes requires a working internet connection, and if the dialog is having trouble reaching Apple's servers to verify the purchaes available, you may see a progress spinner indicating that it is trying to make the connection.
If everything is working, you should have a few clear options. Here's what you should hear in VoiceOver, from the top of the dialog:
Time Crystals, Heading
Time Crystals can be used to speed up time in Ash's world.
Buy 300 Time Crystals for 99 cents, Button
Buy 1296 Time Crystals for 3 dollars and 99 cents, Button
Buy 3330 Time Crystals for 9 dollars and 99 cents, Button
Buy 6900 Time Crystals for 19 dollars and 99 cents, Button
Buy 18000 Time Crystals for 49 dollars and 99 cents, Button
Buy 29250 Time Crystals for 74 dollars and 99 cents, Button
When everything is working, you should not get any "in progress" text.
Please tell me if you're still having issues with this page, and we'll be happy to help you out.
Is there a way to get time crystals/gold with free video adds in a earn time crystals page. I mean, above the buy time crystals thing there should be a earn free crystals/gold by watching video adds.
Just my thoughts!
I truly love the game by the way.
I'm on chap 5 and can't wait!
Sneaky Crab doesn't do the advertising rewards bit, and I don't think they ever will. Remember that i don't in any way work with the developers of this game, just going on what I see so far. Advertising tricks like what you see in Dice World among others can be a messy business, and in fact not worth it depending on the crowd among other things. i'm sure this was mentioned above this post, but noting that you can tweet the characters in the game is a way to get you a few time crystals should you so desire. there's also some nice ways within the story itself to get those as well, and one can be found in chapter 5.
Ah, true. That makes sense
Paul Martin is right–we generally favor in-game ways to provide free Time Crystals.
We also would like to avoid invasive advertising. We would only consider it if we felt it did not detract from the player experience. Also, I don't think we would get a good rate on Video Ads considering that a large portion of our player base is blind.
Ah, got ya. that makes perfect sense! Still love the game tremendously
I had a small question with regards to memory remnants. Now I played through the game from chapters 1 to 10 and when I had to restart, I decided to start from chapter 6 as I wanted to max out my relationships with AC and Elyse and didn't wish to start from the very beginning. Now when I restarted at chapter 6, the section at the bottom that refers to the memory oracle indicated that in order to get a new memory remnant, I had to get to chapter 1. Thinking nothing of it, I continued my game and figured that once I got to chapter 7, that I would get my memory remnant, but to my surprise, I didn't and the memory oracle section at the bottom was still indicating that I had to get to chapter 1 in order to get a memory remnant.
Now I am not certain if this is by design but I do not think it is fair to have to restart the game from the very beginning in order to resume getting memory remnant. Since all I wished to do was to build my relationships, I figured it wasn't necessary to start from the very beginning as you only meet the gang starting from chapter 6.
Now maybe this is by design and maybe I won't have any choice but to start from the very beginning, but you would think that since you get one everytime you move to a new chapter, that even if you restarted from the middle of the game, that you would still get memory remnants everytime you went from chapter to chapter. Just a thought. I am loving the game though and am looking forward to maxing out my relationships with all characters so that when we get to that point, I will be able to explore those segment of stories.
Hi @Blinken223, thank you for your feedback, and I'd love to talk a bit about our design of memory remnants.
So there were several factors we considered when designing this feature. First of all, if we changed the memory remnant chapter to 6 if you start a new Timecrest 2 game (or 1 if you start a new Timecrest 1 game) there's simple exploit in that design where you can just continually restart the game to gain infinite memory remnants.
Of course, we could work around this a few different ways, but there are a few other things that affected our design. First of all, memory remnants must be combined with void crystals. Void crystals are generated by teleporting. And there are far more opportunities to teleport in Timecrest 2. The game would be imbalanced if you only play Timecrest 2 and could collect memory remnants and void crystals at the same rate because of how many more teleport opportunities there are in Timecrest 2.
Secondly, this would incentivize people to only play Timecrest 2. We think of chapters 1-10 as a whole. And decisions you make in Chapters 1-5 will impact and change things that happen in chapters 6-10. So it would be worrisome if we gave people no reason to play chapters 1-5 because they might be locked into certain decisions from Timecrest 1 and never see a lot of the paths. And chronologically, they probably have a lot to explore in TC1 since we do have a lot of different paths there. I've noticed a lot of people still haven't see the path, for example where Ash's hometown of Lyall is destroyed in Timecrest 1.
Finally, we think it's okay that you have to make decisions on what you want to do. Is it optimal for you to play from TC1 and gain more memory remnants, and explore more paths? or is it optimal to focus on TC2 and earn more relationship points at the cost of memory remnants but see a more limited view of the storyline? Good game design forces you to make hard, interesting choices.
I do see all of your feedback and understand how you feel. But we did put a lot of thought into this design, so I hope you can at least see some of why we made this decision. Tell me what you think!
I think I only went to lial once, during my first play through and once in chapter 3 during my second play through. I don't think I went through now during my third play through, actually in chapter 5 I don't think I was given that option I don't remember now.
Hi, that is fine, I was just curious as to why I couldn't collect any more remnants starting at chapter 6 and do understand why you guys chose to design it that way. I have been to Lyle on several occasions and never figured out how to branch out to the story where the town is destroyed.
Anyways, keep up the great work. Any hints as to when TC3 will be hitting the app store? I am just itching to continue the story and to learn even more. I will restart back at chapter 1, thankfully I saved my game prior to starting back at chapter 6, so I can just reload the game and choose to start back at chapter 1. Thanks!
Thanks for understanding! We try to put a lot of thought into things, but your thoughts and feedback are very helpful and we always think about what you and others thing as we modify or design new features.
We haven't announced TC3 yet. All I can say is that we're hard at work on it. Each story is much harder to write than the last one, because we have to account for so many decisions you have made in the past. We'll be sure to announce here and in other places once we have news on when TC3 will be released. In the meantime, unlocking Memory Oracles will let you explore many new paths and stories within the game, and the Memory Oracle stories are really good once you've unlocked them!