Thoughts after update 10

  • This is still just a little bit less bad as before. Not much has been changed in the last 2 months. You made a lot of comments that this update is going to be big and make a lot of fixes... But it just keeps going down the same road. You need fundamental changes to the UI not just patching it with fixes until people stop complaining as much. Remove Unity. Start over in 2D. Make more room for statistics and other stuff. No need to make the board so big or waste space for unnecessary things like avatars.

    It's good to finally see some improvement to how the game is created but the menu is very strange and non-intuitive. Really horrible menu, I'd say. It is not really clear what kind of game you are creating because all these new settings that are set as default. What is this "First Island"? It's the BASE GAME! Stop making up new names for this stuff.

    All the AIs were really bad at their decisions. No matter what kind of level they are. After initial placement, they are just horrible.

    The way random board is created is not done according to rules. Same numbers are adjacent, for instance.

    The building interface sucks. Please change it. Remove the thing where we have to choose from the existing pieces and then place them on the board.

    The trading UI should not block the view. I do not want to toggle the trade window all the time to see one or another thing. Make it all on one screen. PC screen is damn huge and if the game only takes 1/5 of my screen, you could make the game window twice as large and fill it with all kind of information on the game so I could see EVERYTHING. Stop selling us this mobile user interface!

    Also there are so many confirmation buttons you have to press for EVERY. SINGLE. ACTION! Trade? Pick a person, nothing happens... pick someone else... nothing happens. Doubleclick... OH! There's that fucking annoying checkmark button in the bottom corner again. At least make it in the middle in a confirmation window or something. What you are currently doing is using MOBILE UI PRACTICES! This is not right for PC GAMES!

    The game is still slow as hell and mostly because your stupid UI decisions and the animation times. People have to click so many buttons.
    Also why do you have icons for buttons? And the longest road, used knights etc next to the player avatars. Make it easier by giving the buttons/icons names. You still have a lot of text flowing around the board so why hold back on the buttons? Yes, it looks prettier but it is much harder to play the game, especially if you are playing for the first time.

  • Thoughts after the next update:

    Most of all... You were told that clicking to open a buying window is annoying. Instead of bringing it all visible on the main screen, you make the click action a swipe action. How does this fix things? This is the same problem disguised as another one.

    And again, PLEASE stop forcing a mobile UI on PC gamers. Make separate UIs for different platforms.

  • Thoughts after update 16:

    The new building feature works better, a bit faster than before... But why doesn't road building and initial placement work the same way? Why isn't development card deck seen straight on the board? If you don't include things like these, it almost seems like you leave them in just for the community to notice so you can make these easy simple fixes in the next updates. You probably even have them ready lol.

    The chat screen is finally always visible. Yay! But why is it so small? Why can't users modify it's position and size? The text font is also hard to read. Why is it so Comic-Sans-y? Clean font like the one in the forums would be better. No need for a transparent background.

    Instead of all the annoying confirmation screens, doubleclick should be enough to confirm an action. I you do that fast enough you don't have time to display the notification.

    All kinds of animations still slow down the game too much. Rolling a 7 is not scary because you might lose half of your cards or someone stealing from you... It takes 10 seconds to continue the game. When stealing from someone, the player order is always random. Make them in the same order you see them on the screen. Also, why are all these animations so long? Allow us to click to cancel these distracting animations and continue.

    Trading is still an abomination. Selecting cards is hard because the same area where you would select a card is overlayed by the area where you discard a card. Also, other players trade offers (counteroffers) are not really visible to you when it's your turn. And since AI moves so fast and keeps offering it's own trades, it is hard to cut off and offer your own trades. Maybe AI would be willing to take the trade you offer. When the turns pass, that option might not be available on your turn. Also, why is bank trading on a separate screen? You have to insert the resources again and go through all that trouble all the time. And the trade screen is closed automatically after doing the trades. Also, why is the trade screen so big too? You could make it a lot more compact. The whole UI could be more compact, zooming in and out is not necessary. Why is bank trading screen two clicks away? Everything about trade is bad. It should be a side element of the UI not a main, modal object. You should be able to ignore, do counter offers and give multiple kinds of responses. The counteroffers should be more visible rather than two boxes inside a player avatar box. It should pop up but not cover all of the screen. Seriously, just copy PlayCatan and modify it to your needs. No need to re-invent the wheel.

    Random map number randomization is still bad. People would have a better gaming experience if the numebrs were spirally inserted.

    AI is still stupid, using robber on the wrong person and stealing from the wrong person when it's obvious that one or another player is in the lead (not point-wise but production potential wise). Even when trading they do not understand the importance of what the trade is to the other player. Also it seems to be really lucky when stealing, taking the rarest resource 80% of the time but that is just paranoia.

    Still missing main statistics during game-time. Dice rolls, how many resources each player has received and lost...

    Matchmaker is inefficient, only allows creating default settings games, basically. Impossible to get custom games unless you find the players through other means of communication. Still missing the main game lobby. This would solve so many problems but since the big games use matchmaking now, Catan can't be different. Catan is not as big. Catan has so many customization variables. Players could organize games much faster than letting a matchmaker do it. What if I want to start a 4 player game and then I see that there's a 4 player game with friendly robber... I would not really want to play it but since no-one else is currently willing to play without friendly robber I'd also go join that game. Once you set your game preferences in matchmaker, it will not be changed to suit your other possible limitations which would happen if you saw what games are currently pending creation. Again, Catan user base is too small for an efficient matchmaking system.
    No player substitutions, AI is taking over games. Automatically making moves for the player if he runs out of time. All that peasantry-like solutions. Anyone who would take playing Catan seriously would not be willing to play the game like this.

    Main screen "village/city view" is ugly. The fact that the view constantly moves left and right shows even more how ugly cheap 3D it is. Either make a static 3D image or create a normal old-school menu with pretty pictures on the side. The 3d avatars are just as ugly. Having it all rendered in 3D is such a waste of resources.

    The 3d screen looks ugly. All the 3d models have ugly pixel edges. Also this causes loading times to be that long. It's a simple board game. It should be clean and fast. The UI is analogous to the ones we had in the 90s websites - "oh, look, we can use all these cool functions, let's use them without thinking if it's good for the end user!" This mentality causes so many problems, the AI is slow and unresponsive. I managed to crash the victory screen statistics, can't leave the game. Stop adding slide animations to stuff, instant visibility is much better.
    I always end up moving the screen around to get to the things I need. In PlayCatan all you need is on one screen and reachable. Now we have to act like apes to navigate the game. Back to the stone age with user experience.
    If I had the time (and some knowledge of some specific networking things), I'd make a separate UI/script which would display a 2D screen and you could play with people using CatanUniverse servers. The constant UI problems are just so horrible.

  • This is not about the latest update but Developer letter #01.

    First of all, this just reeks of bad design decisions. The whole mobile development first mentality is ruining the game for PC players. If you look at video gaming statistics, you can see that there are twice as many PC gamers as mobile. The fact that you are trying to mix all players together and remove features from PC because it is hard to do on mobile is a horrible decision.

    Trade board, trade preferences... Still a LONG way to go. Trading is still inefficient and slow. You can't notice if other players want to trade with you when it's your turn. The trade window should not take half of the map. The way you select cards for trading is horrible and probably even worse on mobile. You have to go on a separate screen to trade with bank. Just very bad User Experience overall.

    Created the new UI. Obviously focused on mobile. The fact is that PC must have an entirely different UI. All button locations and statistics should look different. I don't care about mobile at all. If you play on mobile, you are already putting yourself in a disadvantage because chatting is complicated. Simplifying a game for PC because Mobile is on disadvantage is bad idea and it all comes from the initial decision that mobile and PC should play together. You need two separate UIs. Stop developing them together, please.

    Looking at it, mobile UI buttons are also a bit difficult to handle. The roll and end turn button are on the same location. If you accidentally bump on the same place twice, you end your turn too. The fact that any two buttons with different functions are on the same location is a big mistake.

    But overall seems like not much has been done in the last 9 months. The game is still a year from being finished at this rate. I hope that PlayCatan registration would be opened soon. Otherwise Catan will die out both online and offline. People will find out about newer and better board games which have a good online support. Catan doesn't do that (anymore).

  • New update, new thoughts...

    First of all, it seems like there are no developers in the team, only graphics and sound guys. You had 2 months to make an update and all you have is this?

    Using matchmaker is still a horrible idea. Working on that rather than making the game work seamlessly is not a good idea.

    Mute, block etc... Why are you using icons for all actions? If you do, at least make a hover text so I know if I am muting or blocking the person? Again some half-assed feature. Please be thorough when creating something.

    The game lags so much. Trading is just as slow as before and the trade screen popping up, taking half of the screen is horrible. The UI is totally frozen when it is not your turn and some animations are playing. It's really like some novices are making their first Unity game.

    Bots are still stupid, not using the knight on the right players, offering horrible trades and accepting bad ones.

    If the game ends and you want to exit, it still asks whether you want to quit the game or not. Why? And then the game freezes for a few seconds to load the menu. Come on...

    The UI of playing development cards is horrible. You have to click on the development card hand, then you have to pick the card and THEN you have to click on confirmation button. Why does everything have to take so many clicks? Just wow.

    The new audio effects are a bit better than before. Still, rolling a 7 takes a long time to process. There should be no notification on top of everything, just let the players act right then. Overall, everywhere where you have animations, it is blocking any activities. When I want to play the game I do not want to wait unnecessarily.

    Why the hell are development cards hidden on the bottom of the screen? Put it in a visible place and completely delete the scrolling to bottom of the screen logic. Who the hell cam up with the idea of picking up pieces to play them? Make a VR version separately, computer games are not meant to be a chore.

    Still quite impossible to start a 4 player game. Also if you start the matchmaker and accidentally click outside of the window on the game screen, the matchmaker will close. Why is everything so badly developed?

    3/10. Still not worth playing. I don't understand why some people would be willing to play this monstrosity every day at this state.

  • I actually like the latest update. Yesterday played the first game and noticed following:

    1. I was matched with good players and people I have not seen before (even though time I played is quite a regular one).
    2. No one quit - either plus for matchmaker or the ban/report option.
    3. Animations were faster and interface is clear cut, nice. Only thing indeed would be better if Chat window would not be transparent + I would make it default and place log section somewhere else. As Stroom said there is plenty of space on the screen.
    4. Regarding pieces - actually that is a good overview of what you and other players have, alternative for that would be to create extra icons on the side showing how many roads/ships you have etc.
    5. Game actually felt not that heavy on PC, switching from chat to log was for sure faster so was game end stat screen.

    Well done @Administrator ! Definitely and improvement.

    @Stroom single player / bots?! Man have you seen any good game with good AI? :) Hell with single player!

  • @mrolimpia112 I don't want to waste my time playing this game with real people. Too much stress with this interface. Also, creating a 4 player game takes too long time. 3 player base game is boring.

    And the random map generator is horribly unbalanced. It would be a LOT better if the numbers were placed by the spiral rule. Why waste time if the maps this game generates are horribly unbalanced... I'd rather play with bots to see if the game feels good or not.

    Currently the game is not really good at all. The design decisions have been ridiculous. Why make the game force you to end turn? It is better if you allow players to have the choice to either kick you out or let you think longer if you take too long. Why is the trade UI so big, slow and intrusive? Why is it so that if you want to trade multiple cards and you click on the same location then sometimes it will add a card and sometimes it removes? Buttons should never overlap when you expect that the player might click the same area twice in a short delay. Same with rolling the dice and passing turn. The buttons should NOT be on the same location. Why do you have to switch between player trade and bank trade? You could easily have a bank button which tries to make the trade with bank instead of offering it to the players.

    All this game has compared to the old version is slightly better graphics... at the cost of everything else.

  • @mrolimpia112 Thank you for saying positive things to encourage development.

    I like most things about this game. I would like to see a more intuitive card trading. Even just the notation "trading" and "receiving" cards being clearly identified would help. I played seafarers with a friend and one bot two days ago and won the game when I had 12 points and my friend and the bot both had 13 points (playing to 14). What happened to winning by 2 points rule, and even having the right number of points to win... Maybe I missed something, like perhaps I acquired longest road in addition to Largest army in my last play, but it did not show in the final statistics. I built a ship, then built a village, and instantly won!

  • @Stroom 4 player game is an issue of community. Majority of people here don't want to have so much challenge in 4 player game so they choose to play 3 players + as you said that one usually is created faster.
    But given the option that you want to join only 4 player game + your and all other similar thinking people effort will easily shift the balance.

    As for the spiral numbering - totally up for that. Actually I didn't notice this fact before I got a game where I had two ore sectors next to eachother with 6 and 8(or 9) on them and ore port in between - won that game in 23 min I guess.

    @MrMntAlex if I am not mistaken rule of winning in Catan is - first player who gets X (or more) points on HIS turn. Never heard of 2 point rule or something.

    As for trading - I am on with current system, bigger issue is people not paying attention to the game or intentionally stalling the trade response => which uses your turn time => have to act quickly there.

  • So much negativity in these comments! Not really deserved either.

    The game has gotten much better over the length of time I've played it. I, for one, am thankful for the free play. It's appreciated. You seem to have addressed the issue of quitters, which, in my opinion, was the worst part of the game. The interface is great. I like the avatars, the 3D board, and the game play is aesthetically pleasing. Thanks for all your hard work. Looking forward to what's next!

  • 4 player games is not as much an issue with community, rather an issue with matchmaker. No-one would play a game with less popular options if you can not visually see which games players are trying to start. This is why lobby is such a crucial part in PlayCatan - you can find players for less popular game modes much faster. In Catan Universe you either play non-challenging games with 3 players or wait a long time to start a game with 4 players. I already said in other topics why matchmaker is a bad idea - Catan just does not have enough concurrent players to make it work.

    I was the one pushing or a random map (initially there was only one map setup for all games) and then they implemented this kind of random. When I said that this random is not balanced, they did not listen and are working on other things. IMO the developers are letting us down like this constantly. The chat screen didn't have word wrap. Writing in chat could use hotkeys to make you accidentally accept a trade or end your turn. The latest case is that the matchmaker will still put you in the same game with people you have blocked. For the last year, 90% of the features have not worked correctly on the first time they are published. This is why I would give them negative feedback. When the game came out for early testing, the first "MAJOR" problem was that the avatars were sometimes picking their noses. Who cares? The developers were really quick to fix that pseudo-problem. Why would you even take it seriously after all that.

    Just look at how PlayCatan is played:
    The trade is just horrible compared to PlayCatan.
    Look at how small and simple everything in PlayCatan is. Trading UI is small and clear, you can see what anybody is trying to offer for trade without it constantly blocking your view but you can still notice it. Trading with a bank is literally one small button which is smart enough to know how many resources you need to do the trade. In Catan Universe you have an intrusive trade screen taking up the whole screen so you can't see the game situation. And if you want to trade with the bank, you have to enter the resources again in another screen. And when trades are accepted, there is a slow animation to indicate that. There should be no cut-scene-like animations during a game. Same iwth rolling a 7 and robbing. 5 seconds lost every time. When somebody offers you a trade, you have 4-5 options how to respond - accept, decline, say that you have 0 of that resource, that you want more or that you have the resource but need it yourself. Makes trading much faster. There is nothing intuitive about Catan Universe. If you haven't had experience with a good trading system, any small improvement to a bad solution seems good, although it is far from perfect.
    If the problem is that players do not accept the trades fast enough and you have to worry about time running out... It is the problem with the game system not you

    I prefer the 2D version so much more as well. It is visually much clearer. With 3D the developers are messing with the lighting a lot, just look at the map from top-down and you see a reflection of light. I'd hope to see a clear overview of the board this way. The 3D menu is like it's from the 90s web pages. Why would you make something like this? It is ugly. The random rotation to left and right does not make it better. It does not seem thematic to Catan either. Did the graphics guy just practice his 3D modelling skills and you created a menu based on that?

  • @Administrator one comment regarding blocking function: here is a potential risk of "block/report" function => nubs reporting on good players.

    Pretty much case here was that green player just said in the beginning of the game that she does not know the rules, thought this game was a seafarer and pretty much will need help all the way.

    After longer discussion and me expressing my mind (that playing game without knowing rules is disrespectful to players who know the rules and it also slows the game down).

    Red player asked me to "be polite" and help nub green or quit the game.

    Eventually red chatted with green all game long to guide her every step of the way (they lost 15 /6 /3) AND red suggested reporting me which she did for being impolite.

    YES I was not at my best but at the same time no offending words were used I just refused to accept players like green being matched with me.

    Pretty much wasted almost an hour on pointless game vs nubs + got reported twice (probably).

    Hope you will really review those reports (even though that is a Loooooooooooot of work) and will issue bans carefully.

  • @mrolimpia112 you are on the wrong here. How can anyone learn how to play a game when people like you flame them? Even if you are a good player, reporting is not only for that, it is also for toxic players who take the fun out of playing. In this case, it was you. Sorry, but you do seem arrogant and unpleasant to play with based on your comments and you deserved to be reported.

    It is not the problem with the player but rather the matchmaker, therefore the developers fault. You can never make the matchmaker good for Catan. Just not enough concurrent players to match players with the same skill level. Lobby is 100 times better than matchmaker. I would never play on Catan Universe if it only offers matching players randomly. There should be a way where strangers can see each other before accepting to play with them.

  • @mrolimpia112
    It could be also helpful, to know, if oneself has been reported...(Quite complicate.)
    But why do not use a much more simple way to avoid leaving people ? For example every leaver get - 5 Elo points, the game go on, and even if all other players have gone, the winner get the real points, he would obtain, if all players were remaining.
    It could be, you were having an important call, or similar and you have to leave...-5 points are ok.
    But if you are permanent leaving, before the other player is winning, you will permanent get -5 points.
    The problem seems to be, how can i find the player , with whom i can have a funny game, so we need a way to play with more similar players.( Toxic players could have a lot of fun with toxic ones, why not? But i want to be able, after a toxic game, to decide, i never play such a game again)
    An other problem is, our Elo system, on which the matchmaker is based, is not transparent and not to be trusted.
    Stroom, what is a lobby is? Could be similar like a gilde?
    In catan universe to enter in a gilde is not so easy, often you dont know, who is the founder, where you have to ask.

  • @elemaj
    If you know that you have been reported, some people would probably also report you in return... More work for admins. I don't think they have the manpower to analyze all that data. Come on, look how slow the updates are. Admin is not that active in the forums either.

    ELO does not really indicate how reliable the player is. It would be better to have "karma"-ish solution for that. Penalties on karma. If you are a reliable player, you must have a karma higher than normal so you would not be matched with random possibly first time players. BUT since Catan does not have many players playing and the matchmaker is slow, it would be much better if a player can see all games which are being created instead of just the one setting he is using to join the matchmaker. And he should be able to CHOOSE what setting to join rather than letting the matchmaker automatically start the game with the 3-4 players. Currently it is nearly impossible to start a 4 player game with auto match.

    Lobby is basically a list of games and it shows the options and players who have joined them. A player can start a game with some settings (3 or 4 players, friendly robber or not, expansions etc). Other players can join created games as they like. You can filter the games list as much or less as you want so you can decide between multiple starting games which you want to join. Visibly very easy to start games this way. In matchmaker you can not choose who you play with, in lobby you have the option to leave before the game begins if you don't like the game options or other players, possibly saving you 30-60 minutes.
    Matchmaker is mostly used in FPS and MOBA games which have millions of players. Catan would probably have 100 times less players so the quality of the matchmaker is 100 times worse. I'd say that lobby works much better for a small amount of players. Sadly the developers are hellbent on ruining the online Catan experience. Once PlayCatan closes for good, all players from there will come to complain and the developers will finally have the motivation to try fixing this $#!7.
    Comparison of PlayCatan lobby and Catan Universe main menu: I much prefer the clarity of PlayCatan.
    Gilds seem quite useless and unnecessary additions. Why should the player base be distributed into even smaller groups so they would only play among themselves? A friendlist is good enough, gilds are just pointless flavor like player avatars. I guess some people play only for that but it's not for me.

  • @Stroom learning and not reading rules at all it at least in my opinion TOTALLY different matters.
    I don't mind players asking questions and I answer them. But these players who just join the game to click around and as this one said "i dont know this game"... i mean come on. Even bot would be smarter which proves 3 points in the end of the game for that player.

    What is happening with the world nowadays - if you speak your mind you are toxic, if call American using N word, you are toxic, if you call gays gays you are toxic...

    Sorry but I really feel like surrounded by Pus*** . Just wondering what would happen with people like you if you would meet some of the people I have - probably would drive you to tears or something.

    Given logic like that I would go apply for the next season of Formula 1 or something and just say let me drive or you are all toxic...

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