The big Freeciv-web feedback and suggestions thread

Web version of freeciv at play.freeciv.org
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AndreasR
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The big Freeciv-web feedback and suggestions thread

Postby AndreasR » Tue Feb 10, 2015 8:45 pm

Please post your suggestions about how to improve Freeciv-web here.
The feedback from players is very important in deciding how to continually improving the game.

Do you have any ideas about which features to improve in the game? Are there any platform specific bugs in your mobile device or tablet?

You can also participate in Freeciv-web development here: https://github.com/freeciv/freeciv-web. New developers are always welcome!

Andreas

Well_Jackson
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Re: The big Freeciv-web feedback and suggestions thread

Postby Well_Jackson » Thu Feb 12, 2015 9:44 am

Hi, Thanks for doing this. Just to let you know I cannot load a saved game in firefox 35.0.1 or Safari 7.1.3 (mac OSX 10.9.5) Also cannot unload settlers from trieme. Thanks!

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Re: The big Freeciv-web feedback and suggestions thread

Postby AndreasR » Fri Feb 13, 2015 8:28 pm

Thanks for the feedback!
Well_Jackson wrote:Hi, Thanks for doing this. Just to let you know I cannot load a saved game in firefox 35.0.1 or Safari 7.1.3 (mac OSX 10.9.5)

Do you get any error messages on the screen or in the Javascript console when loading a savegame?
Can you please post a screenshot of the error message, as well as the Javascript console when saving and also when loading the game?
Well_Jackson wrote:Also cannot unload settlers from trieme. Thanks!

Unloading settlers from triemes is done by clicking on the trieme, then selecting the settlers at the bottom right of the screen, then giving the settlers a goto order.
Please let me know if this works for you, and if you have any suggestions about how to improve the unloading of units from transporters.

Andreas

uruiamme
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Re: The big Freeciv-web feedback and suggestions thread

Postby uruiamme » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:44 am

I am new to Freeciv and Freeciv-web. But saying that, I have used it extensively for the past week or so and I want to report numerous issues. Secondly, it is very well programmed and the game has been pretty challenging. I have had only a few crashes, and I think that is likely a drop in server communications that is likely unfixable. I have played Freeciv on Android, and it is horribly buggy, crashing every 10 to 40 minutes, so savegames are a must for it.
  1. I am unsure how the Savegame feature works exactly. I am concerned that my storage is getting full, but there is no documentation on how to expand it or keep some games back for safe keeping or archiving. I had about 5000 KB of space to start with, and 4000 KB have been used. Where are they? Can I put them on a new computer?
  2. The focus on the active unit doesn't follow a reasonable order. Can we make the unit selected move around in some predictable, geographic way, like north-to-south, west-to-east, or maybe have a configuration setting? Perhaps there could be an order like Settlers, Workers, Caravans, Military Land units, followed by Boats and Airplanes last. Another possibility is to use the geographic distance from the home city. Any of these will hopefully alleviate the problem in which a battling military unit will be followed by a Worker unit on a different land mass.
  3. The (W)ait command seems to be broken. When I type W, the unit focus will never return to the unit that is waiting. It is essentially the same as the No Orders command that I used on the Android version of Freeciv. This means that I will often forget to move a boat that is full of units, for example, since I will normally wait the unit until land units have loaded or unloaded. (This problem and the previous one combine to make the game difficult to keep track of where the action is.)
  4. I see no command for No Orders like on Android.
  5. There seems to be times in which I can build a Railroad with an Engineer, but the menu at bottom center doesn't show this choice to click. Typing (R) or using the right-click menu works. The same is true when a unit visits a different home city... there is no "Change (H)ome city" offered except deep within the settings.
  6. I do not enjoy the default way this version will center the map on the hone city at the end of each "turn" of focusing on active moving units. I am frequently more interested in other regions of the world, so I persistently click away to a different center before I click "turn end."
  7. Bug report: The treaty negotiation screen is broken. When I try to make changes to the screen, the system gets confused as to what I am adding or removing as conditions. It got so bad on one session, that I had removed Communism to be received and changed it to get something like Steam Power. Even though the list changed to Steam Power, I got Communism. That means the gold amount was way different and I lost a few hundred pieces of gold because I had reduced the amount of gold I was supposed to get in the trade. :( A lot of clicking on that screen gets the system confused. I don't know if I am properly able to add conditions, and deleting them may not work, either. I am also unsure how intuitive the screen is to some players... it needs a bit more explaining maybe. There is no feedback when you "Accept" a treaty and the other party "Rejects" it when his Thumb is already "Down" and red.
  8. The Messages box can be moved and repositioned. On my PC screen and probably a lot of others, it will make sense to move it. Since my homeland was centered on the screen with a lot of water on the right, I liked to move and reshape this box to a tall window on the right side of my wide screen. Problem? Well, it doesn't stay there the next time I load a game.
  9. Is there any undo button when you fat-finger something? I attacked a city with a Caravel, for example. And I constantly land units in the wrong square near a city.
  10. City title. Can we make the City title more or less transparent? I can't see the tiles behind the city name box.
  11. City naming. I am constantly being offered the exact same city names, even after I used the ones offered. Can I edit this list, either in the game or tell them not to offer it again? I am not sure if I exhausted it or not for my nation, but this was happening pretty early in the game because some of the names were ridiculous and I didn't use them. I just got tired of being asked and ended up using the goofy names.
  12. City renaming broken. I broke city renaming once and ended up with an odd HTML code for the space character. I renamed a city with two words, and the "%20" code shows up in the city screen.
  13. Ship "Goto" is erratic. I noticed that the Goto code for a Frigate looked like the code for a Trireme. It was trying to skirt around the deep water instead of using a direct path. There are other cases where not all of the roads are used.
  14. Automatic workers seem to be a bit unruly. There needs to be some kind of tweaking ability to help concentrate their efforts, whether I want lots of irrigating or roads/railroads. They need to understand how close to a city to work, also. Can there be a master setting for all Automatic workers as to what percentage cleans/waters/roads things? I'd ask that they be given a target geographic area also, but I think that would involve a lot of coding.
  15. When a transport ship is focused, or whenever multiple units are on the same square, can all units be listed in the Units window? I constantly have to check this out. And when I do, the focus is lost either by going to the next active unit or to centered on the Home City like I mentioned above.
  16. Can the Change Production screen be changed? I would like to see this menu accessible on the City tab directly rather than a sub menu. Also, the list of possible units/buildings to be built is very unwieldy, especially after a lot of things are available you have to scroll a lot. How about using a smaller font size, too, and instead of items to click a "add to list" can we have a Checkbox or numerical field? See below for this idea.

Like this. Imagine this is the Change Production Screen or section:
___ Barracks II
_X_ Granary (Use the strikethrough font because this one is already built)
_X_ Cathedral (Use the strikethrough font because this one is already built)
___ Coliseum
etc.

___ Settler
___ Engineer
___ Caravan

___ Alpine troops
___ Riflemen

___ Destroyer
___ Cruiser
___ Transport

etc.

We can split up the types of unit/buildings according to type. But we can also allow the user to immediately and numerically type in the order he wants each one built. Here is an example: (Note the changes)
_1_ Barracks II
_X_ Granary (Use the strikethrough font because this one is already built)
_X_ Cathedral (Use the strikethrough font because this one is already built)
_4_ Coliseum
etc.

___ Settler
___ Engineer
_3_ Caravan

_2_ Alpine troops
_6_ Alpine troops
___ Alpine troops
___ Riflemen

___ Destroyer
___ Cruiser
_5_ Transport
___ Transport


Here, we have listed the build order up to 6 units ahead of time. Notice that Transport appears twice, because once we typed in "5" into the Transport field, another one appeared below. The same thing happened to Alpine Troops, except it appears now three times. This type of menu will

  • Speed up making production changes to multiple cities ... a LOT!
  • Enable users to see what is being built on the same screen that you can see the buildings that are already built.
  • Simplify the sequencing of multiple buildings in new cities. The sorted list will help a person quickly choose buildings over military units, for example.
  • By changing the "X" to a "B" character, the screen can inform the user what is being built ... in addition to the place where it is normally shown.
  • You can gray-out the buildings already built in the list. Again, the list is in such a small font that a lot of information can be presented.

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Re: The big Freeciv-web feedback and suggestions thread

Postby AndreasR » Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:33 pm

Thanks for the excellent feedback, uruiamme! Can you please sort the list of feedback you have created with
the most important things first, then I can start improving the game based on the order you suggest?

Andreas

uruiamme
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Re: The big Freeciv-web feedback and suggestions thread

Postby uruiamme » Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:20 pm

Thank you so much for replying. It sounds like you are a great developer!! I was surprised you were so positive... but looking at the well-done game, I should not be too surprised. My expectations for an HTML5 game were that FreeCiv on the web was going to be lame. It is about 4 orders of magnitude beyond those Google doodles (like https://www.google.com/doodles/30th-anniversary-of-pac-man ) that I have seen.

If I were the game developer, I would do the easiest tasks first!!! (Possibly #12, #4?) Saying that, please answer #1 first because my Savegames are almost full and I don't know what will happen when they are full or how to work with them at all. Can I delete only some old save games to make more room? Is that done manually or inside the game? Please work on #1 first if possible so the games can go on!

#3, #4, #6, #15 affect the major game play (mostly in that order). And #2 and #9 are easily the most aggravating, but this is possibly the same in all Freeciv games, web or not. Obviously if someone is playing against a real opponent, you can't allow the "undo" I don't think. But if you could get an undo feature, you are going to have a lot of happy users who have already asked for the ability to be able to perform a set of actions numerous times... probably battle scenarios. Some kind of "state" could possibly be saved every 1 to 10 actions during a turn. ORRRR... how about this for an "undo"??

Undo idea: Suppose you save the player's state immediately after the year advances. It could be saved to disk or to memory. Now all of the actions done until the next year could be done in a buffer that could be wiped clean at any time. I think this is similar to the functionality of automatic save games, which the HTML5 version doesn't seem to have. Speaking of that, why cannot we have an option to do an automatic savegame for every turn? Even if an automatic save that gets wiped out after a few turns would be better than none at all. You could have two or three "autosaves" that could function like an "undo" of some kind. And maybe the oldest autosaves can be replaced without notice every new game year.

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Re: The big Freeciv-web feedback and suggestions thread

Postby GriffonSpade » Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:58 am

uruiamme wrote:9. Is there any undo button when you fat-finger something? I attacked a city with a Caravel, for example. And I constantly land units in the wrong square near a city.


I recall SM Civ on the SNES would pop up a set of 8 directions d-pad on the screen, and then require you to confirm each movement with the A button.

What about an option to make a set of relatively large directional buttons pop up, that requires optionally one or two taps/clicks to confirm(Once to select, and tapping a second time would confirm)? If made directly around the unit, the dpad buttons would have to be fairly see-through, probably the outline of an arrow pointing in each direction, with another outline showing the edge of the button.

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Re: The big Freeciv-web feedback and suggestions thread

Postby uruiamme » Mon Mar 02, 2015 6:51 am

GriffonSpade wrote:I recall SM Civ on the SNES would pop up a set of 8 directions d-pad on the screen, and then require you to confirm each movement with the A button.

What about an option to make a set of relatively large directional buttons pop up, that requires optionally one or two taps/clicks to confirm(Once to select, and tapping a second time would confirm)? If made directly around the unit, the dpad buttons would have to be fairly see-through, probably the outline of an arrow pointing in each direction, with another outline showing the edge of the button.


Good idea, here is another simple one.

  1. User hits a left arrow to move left
  2. The map immediately centers on the unit being moved
  3. A rotating red circle appears in the commanded box, in this case to the left of the active unit.
  4. If an enemy is there, the enemy flashes by going from normal view to red and back to normal
  5. If a named city or hut or fortress or whatever is there, it will blink and the city name will become transparent to see what's in the area.
  6. The user confirms by hitting the left arrow or [4] key again
  7. The user changes his mind by hitting the [5] key to cancel.

This can be configured with a "Confirmation" setting at any time during the game. My only qualm is that units with a lot of moves will be cumbersome, especially to experienced users. I would turn off confirmation for a land unit on a railroad or sea units in the open ocean, but then the user may get confused when only certain units have this feature.

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Re: The big Freeciv-web feedback and suggestions thread

Postby AndreasR » Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:16 pm

I am unsure how the Savegame feature works exactly. I am concerned that my storage is getting full, but there is no documentation on how to expand it or keep some games back for safe keeping or archiving. I had about 5000 KB of space to start with, and 4000 KB have been used. Where are they? Can I put them on a new computer?


I agree that the savegame system for Freeciv-web needs to be improved. Savegames in Freeciv-web are stored using HTML5 Local Storage in your web browser. Some more docs here. The savegames are stored in your web browser, so a savegame can only be loaded on the same computer and browser where you saved it. There is no way to move it to a different computer. Chrome, Firefox and Opera gives you 5 Megabytes of local storage capacity in the browser. There is unfortunately no way to increase the localstorage size. A typical user will be able to fit perhaps approximately 50 savegames in the localstorage.

Saying that, please answer #1 first because my Savegames are almost full and I don't know what will happen when they are full or how to work with them at all. Can I delete only some old save games to make more room? Is that done manually or inside the game? Please work on #1 first if possible so the games can go on!


At the moment, the only way to free up space for savegames is to delete all the savegames. This can be done either when loading or saving a game. Unfortunately, there is no way to delete just some savegames at the moment.

So how can we improve the savegame system for Freeciv-web? I assume that continuing to use HTML5 Localstorage for the savegames still is a good idea, compared to the alternatives:
1. storing the savegames completely on the server, which our current server doesn't have disk-space for. This would be quite user-friendly and convenient, but is not possible since we would have to store ALL savegames for ALL users for a LONG time.
2. storing the savegames on the user's harddrive directly, which would not work on all devices (for example iPhones don't have a file-system where you can store savegames).

The first improvement I can make is to make it possible to delete specific savegames. I could also try to improve the compression method and storage of savegames in the HTML5 localstorage to make it fit more.
Let me know if you have any further suggestions!

So please give me some time to make these improvements to the Freeciv-web savegame system, and then I hope you will have the possibility to test it once I have it released live.

Andreas

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Re: The big Freeciv-web feedback and suggestions thread

Postby cazfi » Mon Mar 02, 2015 9:11 pm

AndreasR wrote:improve the compression method

I haven't looked your savegame handling yet, but now I've meant to check switching it to use xz-compression instead of the freeciv's default bzip2-compression (unless you have already done that).