Countdown timer usability improvements

Countdown timer usability improvements

Postby Wuzzy » 12 Nov 2018, 05:52

In the game, sometimes there's a timer that counts downwards. Something happens when the time reaches 0.
The timer is replacing the race timer. It's easy to confuse those two.
Especially in Story Mode challenges in which you must beat the challenge before the time runs out. I have seen quite a few Let's Plays in which newbies got confused by this Story Mode timer because they did not understand why they lost the challenge although they came 1st. Yes, even if the game tells you the time limit before hand, it's easy to overlook and forget.

A countdown timer appears in:
  • Story Mode challenge in which you have to win before the time runs out
  • Follow the Leader
  • Soccer with time limit

I think the usability of said countdown timer could use some small improvements. So I have the following suggestions:

General suggestions:
  • Make the countdown timer BIG and move it to the top center of the screen
  • Restore the normal race timer (which the countdown timer replaced)
  • (maybe) Simplify the countdown timer to only show full seconds when there's lot of time left so it's not too distracting.

These suggestions help to visually distinguish a countdown timer from the simple race timer. Now as a player, you instantly know when you see the big timer in the top, that there's a countdown.
The reason for making the countdown more prominent is because it's critical to gameplay and your eyes don't have to wander that much.

Suggestions specific to Story Mode time challenges and Soccer:
  • When the timer is 1 minute or less, make it yellow
  • When the timer is 10 seconds or less, make it red
  • Play a countdown/warning sound for each second in the final 10 seconds

Suggestions specific to Follow the Leader:
  • When the timer is 10 seconds or less, make it yellow
  • When the timer is 3 seconds or less, make it red
  • Play a countdown/warning sound for each second in the final 3 seconds

These suggestions help when the time is running out
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Re: Countdown timer usability improvements

Postby QwertyChouskie » 12 Nov 2018, 19:08

I agree that the timer should turn yellow/red when running out. Also, AFAIK, many story mode challenges have been changed to not have a countdown and only rely on beating the AI (which IMO is more intuitive).
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Re: Countdown timer usability improvements

Postby Alayan » 12 Nov 2018, 21:07

QwertyChouskie {l Wrote}:Also, AFAIK, many story mode challenges have been changed to not have a countdown and only rely on beating the AI (which IMO is more intuitive).

They have, but some expert challenges, the nitro challenges, and all the supertux challenges still have a countdown.
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Re: Countdown timer usability improvements

Postby cddepppp256 » 13 Nov 2018, 02:21

Or how about the last 10 seconds or so you show it in the middle of the screen?
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Re: Countdown timer usability improvements

Postby Wuzzy » 13 Nov 2018, 03:29

They have, but some expert challenges, the nitro challenges, and all the supertux challenges still have a countdown.

Not entirely true, the challenges “Green Valley” and “Zen Garden” oddly do not have a time limit on SuperTux. Intentional?

Or how about the last 10 seconds or so you show it in the middle of the screen?

I like to avoid having HUD elements jumping around from one place to another, that's just bad usability.
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Re: Countdown timer usability improvements

Postby Alayan » 13 Nov 2018, 14:58

Wuzzy {l Wrote}:
They have, but some expert challenges, the nitro challenges, and all the supertux challenges still have a countdown.

Not entirely true, the challenges “Green Valley” and “Zen Garden” oddly do not have a time limit on SuperTux. Intentional?

I didn't bother to put time requirements to challenges which will change significantly before release. Green Valley will most probably be replaced by Black Forest ; Black Hill Mansion by Ravenbridge Mansion...
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Re: Countdown timer usability improvements

Postby Wuzzy » 13 Nov 2018, 21:26

Green Valley will most probably be replaced by Black Forest ; Black Hill Mansion by Ravenbridge Mansion...

Note to all that have read the above post: In STK, “replace” is an euphemism for “delete without replacement”. :P
Black Forest is a completely different track, not at all comparable to Green Valley.
I don't know about Ravenbridge Mansion yet. I thought we already have this track, am I right?
I wonder if there will be ever a release in which no track is deleted. :(

Besides, that only explains why there is no time requirement for Green Valley, but not for Fort Magma and Zen Garden. ;)
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Re: Countdown timer usability improvements

Postby Wuzzy » 13 Nov 2018, 21:34

Back to topic: I have a related suggestion:

In FFA, CTF and Soccer, also show “1 minute remaining” in the middle of the screen when 1 minute is left and make the music play faster, unless the clock started with 1 minute or less.
To give a sense of urgency. :)
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Re: Countdown timer usability improvements

Postby Mr.XX99 » 14 Nov 2018, 22:56

The tracks that will get replaced, will most likely be available as addons. So no real deletion.
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