Pausing For Every Task


Bill Tarling

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While there are some things where you would need to stop in place to complete a task [e.g. starting a fire], it's really frustrating having to pause during traveling periods to open up the Survival Panel just to check the time, or general health condition -- the entire screen stops [i.e. no longer walking/running/moving]... in the meantime the surroundings are still moving (time continues) as I've had wolves sneak up on me while checking the time or stats.

If outdoors traveling, I would still like to be able to look around or travel while the panel overlays. If I select a task which needs pausing then yes, I would have to stop... but I should be able to still keep moving or observing while selecting tasks since in-game time doesn't stop as well.

Likewise with eating or drinking -- for some ready to use objects [like candy or drinks] I shouldn't have to stop and eat/drink until it's done -- I could do that while still traveling.

Right now, when I'm heading between locations, I have to stop walking to open the Survival Panel to check my stats and the time... then I have to stop again to open my inventory [to get food or whatever I need] and consume it (again, I'm assuming time continues during some of these tasks). It also breaks the flow or feeling of momentum.

Is there any way to simply pop the panels as overlays unless a task requiring us to stop is activated? I'm constantly trying to watch for wolves approaching, but that's hard to do if we're in accelerated time and can't move or look around while a task is being done. I don't need to stop and stare at my food while it's being eaten, and it feels really awkward [breaks immersion] to stop every few seconds to see if I'm getting colder, hungrier, or tired.

I know there's no hand holding, but it would help if there was some way to gauge how quickly we [our character] are burning up our health resources. Or perhaps at least including the same miniature version of our health stats in the inventory overlay as well so we don't need to keep stopping to open 2 separate panels.

I'm just looking for some sort of time passing sensation [surroundings rather than water is boiling for X time which has passed -- I'm not sure if there's a guideline notice showing approx how much time will be needed for the task to complete].

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You're not asking for much. Just for us to change our *entire interface paradigm*.

;)

The "status bars" for each of the sub-conditions is a relatively new addition to the game. Prior to that all the sub-conditions were communicated using words to indicate status. We also used VO cues at each "stage" -- for example, as you went from slightly hungry, to very hungry, to starving, etc. As you crossed each of these thresholds, Mackenzie would say something that would give you an idea of status and, in some cases, prompt you to look at the Panel for more details.

We removed that and decided to only have Mackenzie say something when he is at the second last (pretty serious) and most serious states. In some cases this is a non-verbal cue. A shivering sound indicates you are getting quite cold -- as does the density of the breath vapour on screen. Stomach rumbling means you are getting pretty hungry (low calories), and then when it gets really serious you'll hear from Mackenzie, ex. "I could eat anything right about now...".

So...the interface paradigm is:

- Primary status info is in the world itself

- Secondary/supporting status info is in the survival panel

The primary feedback tells you something is going on. The secondary feedback gives you all the details you need to know what you do about it.

Regarding this:

Likewise with eating or drinking -- for some ready to use objects [like candy or drinks] I shouldn't have to stop and eat/drink until it's done -- I could do that while still traveling.

Every action in the game "costs" something, whether it be time or energy or both. The 3 seconds it takes to eat something or drink something provides us with the opportunity to give the player feedback and show you were you stand with calories, etc. before fading the HUD elements back out. It's a nice reminder of where you stand.

Personally, I think it's a fair trade off that doing things that require a passage of time when you are out in the open, exposes you to risk of wildlife, etc. This is realistic.

I'm just looking for some sort of time passing sensation

- sun moves + shadows crawl

- sun position moves across the sky, lighting changes

- clouds move across the sky

- clock on the survival panel (Tab in and out takes 1 second)

...

What more would you like? You want the clock on screen all the time?

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Clock on the screen is unnecessary, but I side with bill a here. If I'm desperately trying to reach a location and I am about to die it sucks that my stats interface not only stops my progression but counts against my survival time. Conversely if rummaging through my inventory I should probably have to stop, open the bag, and find what I need.

That being said I like the fact that there are no status bars on the main screen and that should be kept at all costs, I love our man Mackenzie chiming in with our status but for at least the stats page let me keep running for my life.

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Clock on the screen is unnecessary...

That being said I like the fact that there are no status bars on the main screen and that should be kept at all costs, I love our man Mackenzie chiming in with our status but for at least the stats page let me keep running for my life.

Agree

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There is an interface problem with allowing the Survival Stats page to be active while moving -- the interface has buttons that can be clicked, so the mouse is active... but the mouse needs to be either moving the camera or moving a pointer, not both.

There are lots of potential solutions to consider... one is having a "quick peek" key, which only allows you to see the page without any interactivity. Similar to that, the interactive portion (buttons) could be broken off into a separate screen from the (read-only) information.

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There are lots of potential solutions to consider... one is having a "quick peek" key, which only allows you to see the page without any interactivity.

I know Raph would hate it [or consider it hand holding], but the Quick Peek key is exactly what I like... I make most of my path choices on the move or run, based quite often on my health risk - so I'm constantly opening up the panel just to grab a quick glance at my status [climb hill or too close to exhaustion, take faster shortcut down hill even though will likely sprain ankle or too close to freezing and slow pace from ankle sprain wouldn't give me enough time to to reach building or outrun approaching storm, etc.]

I would hate to have the stats up all the time but it would really keep the momentum and faster decision pace going if I could press a key for brief status glimpses as I reach each point [often the choice between easier route or shortcut risk.

I wouldn't want it as an on/off, but strictly status bar or graph while the button is pressed. That would probably also help me learn to gauge likely risk/costs for my playing style so it becomes more second nature.

Mostly it just helps for speeding up my path decisions [whether right or wrong] so the sense of urgency and cautious monitoring of my surroundings [wolves] isn't broken by frequent pauses. Sort of like real life when you know you can take short running spurts, or when you need to break the dashes up with intermittent walking paces to catch some breath [or in the game case, not burn energy so fast].

*btw* I absolutely love the grumbling tummy audio clue for hunger -- that's one I constantly listen for.

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You guys have a "quick peak" key that gives you status. It's Tab. You can press it on, check, and off again in about 2 seconds or less.

So I don't think this is really what you're asking for. :) I think you are feeling that you want the info a little more on the tip of your fingers, and you're feeling the pressure of time passing and calories burning as you try to find information to make good decisions.

I think we can still improve how we communicate in-world information, I think the longer day (introduced in v.03) mitigates some of the urgency you'll feel, and I think UI/HUD improvements over time will mitigate a lot of this.

I *might* consider pausing the game when the Survival Panel is up.

In an early iteration of UI, the current Survival Panel was actually two separate components:

- Panel: Toggle on/off. Has Calorie info, Condition, wind speed/direction, time, etc. Just info.

- Survival Diary: Interactive buttons for actions, Log, etc.

We ended up folding them into one screen, but it's possible that wasn't the right decision...

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