mickey_brown wrote:I dont mean to be argumentative for the sake of argument
Don't worry, I don't think either of us is.
We're discussing a feature suggestion in order to clearly work out its strengths and weaknesses, that's a good thing imho.
mickey_brown wrote:I think a scroll bar function would be much easier to implement than a zoom out function, especially considering that the graveyard and library already have scrolling functionality (but no bar).
Well, there's a functionality for resizing cards already implemented as well (in the deck editor's card display). But both our examples (the graveyard / library list for scrolling, and the deck editor list for resizing) are just one-dimensional lists. I don't think either of us can tell which functionality is easier to implement for the two-dimensional battlefield display, not without actually checking how the UI is programmed and which functions the JGE library provides.
mickey_brown wrote:Plus new problems would emerge with a zoom feature (though it would not be nearly as often), eventually you would zoom out so much and everything would be so small youll have a problem of telling whats what, but with a scroll bar you can scroll until the psp runs out of memory, in which case the game has already frozen.
With both solutions new problems would emerge. Scrolling makes it harder to observe the whole situation, and easier to overlook cards. Zooming makes it harder to recognize a specific card, and can't be done indefinitely. There is no ideal solution since an unchangeable limitation (limited screen real estate) is forcing us to make trade-offs, so the question is which kind of functionality is so important that it should be kept, and which one is less important so it may be traded off.
Personally, I think that the ability to view the whole battlefield is more helpful to the player. While playing, the player is constantly having questions like "How many untapped swamps do I have?", "Do I have another creature that I could use for attacking / blocking?", etc. In a Scrolling environment, the player would constantly have to scroll back and forth to get his answers. That's not very efficient or enjoyable imho. In a Zooming environment, the player can observe the answers to these questions at a glance - even with smaller card pictures, it's easily discernible whether a card is tapped or not.
I agree with you that in a zoomed-out display, it becomes harder to determine the details of a given card (or, as you said above, to determine what's what). However, I don't think that's much of a difference to how the game plays already. I'll explain that a bit more:
People either play the game with text-based cards (the new ones look great btw
), or they use images for the cards. If they are using the text-based cards, then the thumbnails don't give any indication about "what's what" apart from the card's color and P/T values. Players have to navigate to the card, and check out the "big" card display, to see more. Thus, as long as text display is concerned, a zoomed-out battlefield is no less usable than the current one.
If the player uses images, then he gets a visual cue for every card's identity. In the current thumbnails, this visual cue is already too small to discern any details of the depicted scene. Hence, the image's "cue" function is performed by giving the player a pixel pattern which reminds him to the picture that he sees in the "big" card display. And if the thumbnail image mainly functions as a reminder for the "big card" image, then this function can be performed with smaller thumbnails as well (imho). I don't see much of a loss of usability here.
You said that a Scrolling display can be used for extreme amounts of cards, while a Zooming display would become impractical at this point. I agree with you on that general assessment, however I think that a Zooming display will remain practical as long as the positions and states of the cards (tapped, untapped, morphed (should that be implemented) etc.) are discernible. And if you have so many cards that this isn't the case any more (even on a zoomed-out display that's able to show dozens of cards), then you're going to have problems either way - even a Scrolling display wouldn't be very practical to play with, say, 200 cards on the table, on a PSP screen.
So, in short, in my opinion, the Zooming display preserves more important features than a Scrolling display, hence my preference would be with a Zooming display.
mickey_brown wrote:The scroll bar also addresses the problem of creatures appearing beneath lands and things like that. Each type of card has its own area on the battlefield (like usuall) and each area has its own scroll bar. I think this would be very organized.
The problem of creatures appearing beneath lands would be solved in a Zooming display as well. There are three distinct screen areas (creatures, lands, enchantments/artifacts). Each of these areas has its upper left corner at a fixed screen coordinate. If the creatures start to be overlapped by the lands, then you can zoom out. Creatures and lands areas still start at the same screen coordinates, but now each thumbnail is smaller, so they don't overlap any more.
mickey_brown wrote:I too have played where they use a scroll bar and did not find it difficult to remember to check off screen at all. Anybody who is this forgetful would probably forget to zoom out. Especially if its set up so that only half of the card on the farthest right is being displayed (and you have to scroll to display it) once there are enough cards to start going off the screen.
Yes - as I said, this problem might be one of the specific implementation in Shandalar, which didn't give you good visual cues that there actually were cards off the screen. I agree that the solution you propose would solve the particular problem of making the player realize that there are cards off the screen. It still doesn't help him much with questions like "How many untapped swamps do I have", or "Do I have another creature to attack / block" though - he'd still have to scroll across the whole length of the window to check that.
Lastly, one point you didn't address in your last post is the problem of using multiple scrolling windows efficiently with the PSP controls (which if I understood correctly have no mouse, no click-and-drag functionality, etc.). This seems to be an as of yet unanswered question in your proposal, but since the PSP is the main target platform of Wagic, it's probably important to answer it.
So, to come to an end - I hope I was able bring my points across. I don't think your suggestion is a bad one - you described a problem that definitely exists, and proposed a solution that would solve this problem. I just think that there's another solution that would be even better, probably because I weigh the importance of several aspects of UI functionality differently than you do. Ultimately it will be up to the devs to decide which solution - if any - might be implemented.