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Suggestion: revision to the post-lobby screen (hosts)


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Some other folks and I were chatting about how to improve the user experience for new-to-DST players.

We've seen lots of questions about the three game modes, which, to be fair, are not spelled out anywhere in-game. While experienced players jumped right in during beta, tried them all and have talked amongst ourselves, it's caused confusion and frustration amongst new players who have no idea that they have choices in how to play the game and/or what the choices mean.

We've seen complaints of people joining PvP servers, then being kicked/banned for PvPing. This points towards new players not even realizing they started a PvP world and/or perhaps not even understanding what PvP means if they're new to gaming.

How many players max? It seems intuitive to us to use those arrows to figure it out... but perhaps it's not as intuitive as it seems since we get this question frequently.

So, we came up with an idea of presenting one more screen when people start hosting a world. Please excuse my MS Paint representations, I didn't want to redesign from scratch =)

First, screen 1, after you click "Host Server":

 

Current:

GQrnL4k.jpg

 

Revised:

KNhthou.jpg

 

The revision/changes made:

 

 

All the game options that are normally written in the white space on the right (PvP, game mode, etc) have been taken away, and given their own button and screen. The button is called "Game Options", to clearly differentiate that you can make adjustments to how the game can be played (although it could also be called "Edit Game" or something). The new screen is in the spoiler below.

But the words were right there, clear as day, so why do this? Again, we get so many repeated questions about these options... so I suspect many new players are missing this area entirely. They're not understanding that they can change these, or even what they mean. Your eyes tend to be naturally drawn to colors and buttons on the screen, which makes it really easy to gloss over and miss the simple black words.

"Edit World" became "World Options", to keep wording more streamlined with the new "Game Options" (although if that new button is called Edit Game, then Edit World should stay as-is). It has been moved into the white space previously occupied with words

The "Manage Server" button on the upper left has been renamed. Players interpret the word "server" to mean "the world I just created". "Manage Server" is then misleading, as it implies the settings are specific to one world. I renamed it "Host Admin" to be more generic, and suggest more clearly what its purpose is (blacklists, rollback snapshots, etc). Maybe "Admin Settings" is better wording on that though. Anyway...

"Create Server" and "Delete Slot" have swapped places. Delete Slot should be with the game save slots, and Create Server should be with the server options.

 

 

 

Second, new screen 2, "Game Options":

 

YBOiBjD.jpg

 

What is does:

 

 

The words/selections in the white space from screen 1 have been moved here, into a panel on the left. Additionally, a large square exists on the right for a text explanation as players toggle through the options.

 

Oh, something that drives me nuts has been changed here too. The PvP arrow toggle has been moved to the right like all the others, instead of between "PvP" ad "On/Off".

I understand Klei made DS and DST with the "no hand-holding" behavior intentionally. But consider this... some guidance here (not outright spoilers, just a bit of explanation) would benefit the new player and help them pick a manner of gameplay that's right for them. The image shows Endless Mode with a brief explanation, but for example, the PvP toggles could state:

PvP On: "Player versus Player". Enabling this mode means that players may fight amongst one another, and yes, even kill each other. Expect battle arenas and constant deaths!

PvP Off: The typical cooperative experience. Players are not able to forcibly attack or kill one another.

Additionally, once dedicated servers are a possibility, that can be here as a toggle option as well.

 

 

I've also considered an alternate approach to this. On screen 1, keep the "Edit World" button next to the "Create Server" button, in its current location. Continue to show the game options in words and toggleable as they are now. However, for any new servers being created, "Game Options" is the next screen they receive, before character-selection. The options default to whatever was toggled on screen 1, in case the host already set them up there. If that's the case, this new screen acts as what my company calls a "dummy button". Basically, it's an "are you really really sure this is what you wanna do?" screen. And I'll bet modders could find a way to disable it entirely if they don't like it, just like they did with the mod warning screen =)

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Those mockups are really nice for MS Paint!

 

I definitely think this is a step in the right direction. However, I think there's also some room for a little hand-holding-- maybe a popup the first time you go to host a server that says "Hey, take a look at the game options! You can make it so your game is cooperative or player versus player, make everyone spawn together or spawn separately, and much more!". I know Klei is averse to meta-level stuff like this, but it would really help the community. Since it only shows up the first time, it wouldn't be a hassle to veteran players, either.

 

Another thing that would be nice is a warning if you set a server to Survival PvP. Sure, I'm all for having the option to do things, but that combination of settings just doesn't make sense (unless you want some kinda-not-really-but-just-a-little-PvP). So a warning saying "Survival is intended to be a cooperative mode, are you sure you want to set it to PvP?".

 

As for the Manage Server / Host Admin button, it might be better to call it "Server Administration".

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Haha, thanks! I MS Paint like a pro. :victorious:

 

I like the idea of the pop-up for first-time hosts - maybe instead of a second "Game Options" screen, it could just be a one-time pop-up instead. A little bit of direction/understanding of what hosts are doing would be helpful, since DST really is a totally different experience than singleplayer. Host decisions have impact that are farther reaching than just the individual, and new players aren't necessarily understanding that they *do* have choices.

 

100% understand what you're saying about Survival and PvP. I've been really confused about the dedicated servers being that way. The last Endless server was massacred for sport, and ever since then, they've mostly been PvP/Survival. I don't get it, it's the least appealing way to play as a group, and I thought Klei was going for group and/or co-op gameplay. Anyway, off-topic. I suspect that suggestion wouldn't fly for Klei since it directly calls out gameplay styles and combined mechanics, guiding players into making specific decisions. That may be a combo best left for people to figure out on their own.

 

Hmm... still shying away from the word "Server" in the admin button since it sounds like it's specific to each save slot. Host Administration? Game Administration? Actually, now that I reconsider... maybe "Server Administration" would be just fine, once all settings stick globally. What I mean is, I notice that blacklisting players works across all saves, while rollback/snapshot settings have to be reset for each new server/save. Speaking of... have you found any updates about the "Whitelist" function that was speculated about previously? I've been keeping an eye out but haven't seen anything.

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Hmm... still shying away from the word "Server" in the admin button since it sounds like it's specific to each save slot.
 Well, the snapshots are also stored there and are slot-specific.

 

Maybe separating those two functions out would help-- the snapshot screen ("Manage Snapshots") could let you switch between servers you wanted to consider the snapshots for, and then the other button ("Manage Blacklist") would let you manage just the bans (maybe with a note on the screen that bans apply to all servers you host).

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