Our experience at Casual Connect Asia 2017 made us rethink about the usability features of Mighty Alpha Droid, our latest mobile release. Some people who tried our game over on Singapore still get confused on what to do with some of MAD’s buttons and a part of the game assets just go totally unnoticed, which is what we do not want. Our studio sat down on these comments and began to act on more usability improvements.

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Mighty Alpha Droid was nominated for the Indie Prize Showcase at Casual Connect Asia 2017. Popsicle Games members from left to right: Abby, James, and Jed

We decided to work on the easiest part, which was minor changes and edits. Starting off with the dialogue boxes, our multimedia artist Abby improved the look of what was once native message boxes. The dialogue boxes came in a light blue overlay with buttons in the complementary color of yellow so players won’t miss the notification.

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Speaking of buttons, color and minor design upgrades were made as part of the whole improvement. The coin bar, prize pool indicator, shop button, and even something as small as the back button were all part of the upgrade.

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Blastin’ buttons! Our UI score just went up, didn’t it?

Upon submitting words in game, you might notice something different. Did you spot it? Over on Sentosa we encountered players who thought that the game requires all seven letter slots to be filled upon submission of a word. To avoid further confusion, we made a choice to remove the box partitions so now you don’t have to think about the letter count too often. Submit and maximize words to the best of your ability!

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United we stand, divided we fall. The partitions are now gone!

There were some people who got confused about the accuracy of the word they submitted. Hence, we made a big graphic to indicate when players entered an invalid word.  A huge “Warning! Wrong word!” overlay in red will appear after the player enters the word, with the accompanying damage to Mighty Alpha Droid following after. This creates a more obvious feel that inputting faulty words would result to the loss of MAD’s HP, making it harder to stay in the game.

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Wuz that? We entered an invalid word?!

The major gameplay change that we made as mentioned in the previous blog was the attack and defend system. However, a lot of players do not notice the alternating red and blue markers we placed at the center of the screen. We immediately thought of a solution to this game dilemma.

During this time of our development, most members of the Popsicle Games studio (including myself) coincidentally were playing the popular tactical role-playing game Fire Emblem Heroes. Almost everyday we catch ourselves talking about FEH characters, the game’s system, and the strategies we make when playing. Because of too much Fire Emblem it got into our heads and we made it as an inspiration to make a more obvious attack and defend markers.

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Attacking and defending has just gotten a lot more obvious!

Still influenced by Fire Emblem, we created special overlays for players who give extra effort in forming longer words. What do you think should we name for some of Mighty Alpha Droid’s remaining special attacks?

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Watch out! Here comes Mighty Alpha Droid’s Blaster Gun!

It’s important to keep in mind that we are all doing this to make our players go to the direction we want them to go. In other words, not only do we want to enhance the look of our game but we also want our players to get a clearer view of how Mighty Alpha Droid’s game controls work. What do you think? Are we going in the right direction? Update your MAD app or if you haven’t gotten it yet, install it now!