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by Jim Babcock

The current version is Beta 6c (Downloads page, Changelog)


First PalmOS prototype
If you have a Palm, I ask that you download CalcRogue for PalmOS, try it, and answer the questions below. Please do not use a keyboard or emulator, as the idea is to test the user interface without them. Be sure to read through this post before you start, since this is the only real documentation available (the in-game tutorial and documentation were written for keyboard play, and are useless in the PalmOS port. They will be updated, but not just yet.)

Hardware requirements: PalmOS 3.5 on an 8 meg or larger device, about 200KB free, and a 4-color or better screen. (These will be reduced in future versions so users with monochrome screens and PalmOS 3.0 can play. How much memory you actually need is unknown, but 8 megs was the smallest I had available to test with OS 3.5).

There are three main areas I'm interested in:

The main screen, walking around and doing stuff:
To walk in a direction, tap the pen on that side of the screen. To run, make a straight stroke starting in the center of the screen and moving out to the edge. To scroll the viewport, make a squiggly stroke starting in the center of the screen and ending at an edge. To fire readied ammunition, make a stroke from the center to the edge and coming back. Common non-directional actions correspond to buttons at the bottom. (These buttons will have tooltips in a future version. For now, you just have to experiment.)
(1) Do you like the drag-to-run system?
(2) What action slows you down the most when playing?
(3) If a graphical tileset were adapted, would you use it? If so, which tileset would you most like to see adapted?

To make a selection, double-tap on it. To cancel, double-tap outside the menu area. Clicking and dragging off the top or bottom will scroll, as will the page up/page down hardware buttons, if you have them.
(4) Do you find the small font size to be a problem?
(5) how well does the scrolling work? (I'm considering adding a traditional scrollbar or scroll buttons)

Yes/No prompts:
When passing over an item or stairs, the default is to prompt to pick it up. kMoria does the same thing, and hitting a tiny 'yes' button 20 times per level isn't very nice. So I have it like this, instead: tap the top of the screen for 'thumbs up' (yes), or the bottom of the screen for 'thumbs down' (no).
The main problem with this is getting an unexpected prompt and then trying to walk north. In fact, I've been killed by shopkeepers I didn't mean to attack twice already. So I'm considering other solutions. (a) How about making a stroke starting anywhere and going up for yes? (b) How about using the current system for autopickup outside of shops, buttons for everything else?
(6) How well does the yes/no prompt method work for you?
(7) What yes/no method would you prefer?

Oh, and miscellaneous:
(8) Have you played any other PalmOS roguelikes? If so, how does CalcRogue compare?
(9) If the font size were configurable, what size would you use?
(10) What screen resolution is your device?

31 May 2004 by jimrandomh

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