Designing the UI for Dominion.NET is an interesting challenge [and I’m a really, really horrible UI designer –SM]. The VB Dominion game has some great ideas and playing it over and over suggests some rubrics and patterns.

Setup

  • Nice to have: Interface to design card sets
  • Show the cards before the game starts and let the player approve
  • Let the player choose where to start in turn order (if desired)
  • Have standard number setups for 2, 3-4, and 5 players as presets

Supply

  • Sort the Supply by cost
  • Group same-cost items somehow (we use rows when playing with cards; we could use that or boxes or something)
  • Cards that cost a Potion need a very clear indicator
    The “+” mark in the VB game is good but can get lost in the card art
  • Interesting nice-to-have: Chart view of the Supply
  • Interesting nice-to-have: some basics stats: Cost layout: (1 @2c, 3 @3c, 2 @4, 3 @5, 1 @7), Effect layout (2 +cards, 3 +1 action, 1 +2 action, 0 +buy)

The player should always be able to see

  • The Supply
  • Other players’ Duration cards
  • Other players’ top Discard
  • Counts of cards and token on all players matts
  • Text of any card in the game
    The VB game has some instances where a choice is modal and you can’t mouse over the supply

Player choices

  • Select all of an action together
    ”Discard 1” followed by “Discard 1” followed by “Discard 1” is different than “Discard 3”
    Allow the player to choose N and accept instead of committing one at a time
  • Show all choices when choosing
    For the Minion and Pawn, show all of the options, not one at a time
  • Allow the player to retract if nothing has changed
    After a Discard or Trash or Return, if nothing else has changed (no Gain, no Draw, etc.), allow the player to retract.
    Seeing the hand after the choice may be necessary for some players. In a physical card game they can do this.
    It may be desirable to allow a retraction after a Gain from supply or from Revealed cards, since it reveals nothing new

During the player’s turn

  • Sort the hand
    Group similar cards in the hand display. Maybe allow reordering, hiding, …
    Options as to how to group might be nice
  • Summarize the hand
    Show the player how many coins of treasure are in the hand
  • Always show what the player can still do
    When actions and coins are added and removed needs to be very consistent. The player should always see how many actions they still have not chosen. In the VB game it is possible to see a number of actions that includes the card currently being resolved. This makes ordering +action and +draw cards difficult

During other people’s turns

  • Show actions as they happen
    The player needs to see what is happening in some way other than a log
    • Some animation would be ideal, seeing cards move from one stacks to the play area or other stacks
  • Show a reasonable, readable history
    The player needs some history (one full turn, including the player’s last turn?)
    • Some tree to the history would be nice, a long list of reveals during, say, Venture or Golem can get in the way of reading what happened
    • Some color coding would help
  • Clearly indicate why the player is making a choice
    and what the choice is
    If the player is choosing card(s) during another player’s turn (discard, trash, replace on their deck, etc.), it needs to be very, very clear what they are doing. In the VB game it is common to trash a card thinking you are discarding or even playing an action.
  • Show other player’s responses
    Other player’s choices in response to actions not on their turn should be fairly visible (this is less important, I’d think)
  • Show full discard
    The whole discard is visible in the Clean Up phase, including unused cards from the hand (I believe)

End of game

  • Allow the game to be saved or reviewed
    I sometimes end the VB game and really want to know how an AI player accomplished something

Last edited Oct 3, 2010 at 2:59 AM by sethmorris, version 1

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