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swah's picture
User offline. Last seen 11 years 20 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 12/04/2007
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I tried your game recently, and would definitively like to help improving this game, since it does add some purpose to games, which is a very strong idea for me.

What I’m mostly looking at is a way to make the game more attractive in the first 2 minutes of play. I work in the gaming industry, and here are some tricks that we traditionally see in games to achieve this.

  • I think I had to go in the help menu to find out that I was supposed to fold the protein as tightly as I could, without making segments intersect with each other. Was there a pop up that told me what to do at first that I just dismissed? If not, could we think of a way to communicate the game’s goal to the players?
  • Upping your score and getting on top of the scoreboard seems like the only goal in the game right now, and it seems like some short term goals could go a long way in keeping new players trying the game. Giving players rewards and cookies constantly keep them playing!
    • When the player does a move that boosts his score by a significant amount, you have a large text that goes away quickly, displaying your latest achievement (“+536!”)
    • Could we add some “achievements”, that would remind the player that he’s making some progress?
      • I think I read somewhere that aligning rotamers with each other was giving points. Could you have a text message popping in at some point in that flavor: “3 rotamers aligned!”?
      • The way I understand it, blue = good. What about another messages: “First blue segment obtained!”, and then “2 blue segments!” and so on
    • The attached picture is an example of this (10 kills streak!)
  • The color code wasn’t obvious for me at first. Could you have a legend being always displayed in a corner of the interface, that you could close if you wanted to? Even if it just says something like “red = bad”, “blue = perfect”. I think that would help new players.
  • Same thing for controls – although I think the actual controls are good when you’re in the drag tool, they are not explained anywhere. Another small closeable legend would be useful, explaining that left click does both rotating and dragging, while right click moves the camera around.
  • I might be wrong on this one, but it seemed like having red spheres was turning the score down to 0 pretty fast. For me that has two negative effects. First, it destroys my sense of accomplishment. Second, it prevents me from knowing how the current protein configuration would score, if it wasn’t for these little red spheres. Basically I don’t know if this solution is worth pursuing, in resolving all the red spheres, or if I should just continue moving the big parts to get a better score. 
    • What if the big score shown was always depending on the global protein structure, but it would turn red when there is something that prevents that protein from being valid, like there are some red parts present. That way you don’t get 0 points, but you still know that you don’t have a valid solution.
  • I thought the yellow hints were interesting. Any guides like this that gives the player more insight of ways to reach his goals are needed in this game.

I actually have a question as well: how accurate is the score, as far as success in the labs? Is it always the case that the higher score solution is going to be better than the next to highest one?

Hope this helps,

swah's picture
User offline. Last seen 11 years 20 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 12/04/2007
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seems like the photo didn't

seems like the photo didn't upload - it was basically just a screenshot from Call of Duty 4, with the big yellow text appearing in the middle of the screen to reward the players.

zoran's picture
User offline. Last seen 9 years 21 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 11/10/2007
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Usability tips

Thanks for your comments Swah.  Rest assured those first 2 minutes (actually more like first 30 seconds) of the game is exactly what we're working on right now.  hopefully you'll see the results soon, as well as significant improvement in tools and visualizations.

Joined: 05/15/2008
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Help page listing all controls

I'll second the comment regarding controls. I may have missed it, but I couldn't find a help page or pop-up anywhere to simply list all of the controls and hot-keys available. What specifically frustrated me was not being able to figure out how to zoom out to get the protein out of my face! I've since read that my mouse wheel should handle this.


Developed by: UW Center for Game Science, UW Institute for Protein Design, Northeastern University, Vanderbilt University Meiler Lab, UC Davis
Supported by: DARPA, NSF, NIH, HHMI, Amazon, Microsoft, Adobe, Boehringer Ingelheim, RosettaCommons