Game Development: Help screen experience

I learned yesterday that I should not expect obviousness.

In ‘Piece o’Eight II’ there is a button that says ‘RESET SPEED’. To go a little more into detail, the game is a simple target clicker, where the target gets faster (and scores higher) with every click. Now, there is a natural border to human reaction velocity. There is an unbelieveable high percentage of players scoring 0 (zero) points, because the target was too fast.

There is a help screen in the game that is displayed once before the game starts. It is a click-away screen with instruction for everything EXCEPT the ‘RESET SPEED’ button. Because this button just resets the target’s speed. Per MochiAds version control I uploaded a new version with the explicit description of the button. I am a bit frightened in the progress of a more complex game than the clicker.

Does one have to explain such things? What would you do?

EDIT (in reply to Michael’s comment): Have a look, that’s what I see after hitting the coin:

Screenshot directly after a succesful hit

Screenshot directly after a succesful hit

Now what can that be? I’m sure that I embedded all numbers in all dynamic textfields (except the highscore screen but I discovered that later).

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3 Responses to Game Development: Help screen experience

  1. MichaelJW says:

    I would probably be nervous about clicking it in case it reset my score too. Or I would click it all the time, not realising that it was getting me less points. Kind of like playing The Weakest Link and saying Bank every single turn 😉

    After playing it, I reckon you just need to make it more obvious that the number on the coin represents the speed AND the point value AND the number of pieces you’ll lose if you miss. Right now, it’s obvious that you’ll lose the number of points on the coin if you miss (because that number pops up). It’s also obvious that the number represents the speed — but only if the player dares to click Reset Speed. The link between the number on the coin and the number of pieces earned is actually fairly subtle, I feel. Maybe if you made a (green?) positive number appear when you successfully click the coin, just as a red number appears when you miss?

    Anyway, cool game 🙂

  2. kegogrog says:

    You don’t get a green number? Hmm, I have one.

    Even if this wasn’t an embedded font, shouldn’t it show up?

    Wait, I’ll post a screenshot…

  3. MichaelJW says:

    You’re right, it is there. And yet, I checked it before posting that comment! How strange… Maybe I had the screen tilted at a weird angle so it was hard to see.

    Well, OK, awesome!