Monday, November 26, 2012

Gridiron Solitaire #31: Changes

In spite of Shreveport last week (more later), I managed to get a bit done during the holiday.

Most notably, the league creation screen has been redesigned to be more intuitive (and hopefully less annoying). Here's what the new layout looks like:

Note the new pencil icon, which takes you to the edit screen. Plus the team ratings have returned (for this screen only), but they're letter grades instead of specific numerical rankings.

It's been very difficult for me to have the discipline to redo this screen. It's only rarely going to be seen, and it did work, even though it was a bit clunky. But I keep reminding myself that every screen of a game makes an impression--it's part of the brand, so to speak--and if I want the game to be well-received, I have to be willing to work on everything, even the smallest detail, so that it fits with everything else.

Even now, I'm questioning whether it would look better to have the pencils for the Eastern division teams on the on the right edge of the ratings because of the improvement in symmetry. But I also think it would be a little bit less intuitive, which makes it an unacceptable trade-off.

When you click on a team name now, you get a confirmation screen warning you that you can't edit teams after a league is started. If you confirm, then your league begins.

There's also been one addition to the Team Hub, which is a newspaper icon besides the user's games that take you to a game summary for that game. Here's what that looks like:

This isn't actually hooked up yet, in terms of code, which is why you see a newspaper icon beside the last game of the season (which hasn't even been played yet). Right now, only the layout is done, but I will be putting in the code today and tomorrow.

After thinking the first beta was going to kill me, my work list has finally become manageable again, to the point that I can start doing things like adding small features. In another 2-3 weeks, I think I'll have worked through almost all of the current list, so the next beta round will probably begin in late December/early January.

My biggest concern right now is adding vitality to the league itself. I originally thought that just having a team history screen was cool as hell, and there are neat looking banners for your team each year, but there's not much else, really. So now I have a concept of a "storybook" for each season, where you could flip through a page in the book for each game of the season. All the data for individual games is saved--or most of it, anyway, and it would be straightforward to add everything else--but again, is it worth taking the development time to add a feature that most people would never even use? So those are the kinds of time/reward questions I'm trying to answer now.

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