I continue to expand on the stability and feature set of the Lobby Service of Game Fabric by hitting edge cases within functional testing of Euchre. As testing progresses, additional user stories make their way into my product backlog and are prioritized. This week the following items made it there:
- Go to Game Quick Tile
- Ready Room
- Player Ready / Not Ready Confirmation Prior to Game Start
1. Go to Game quick tile
After speeding up the spawning of a new game session and resuming an already starting game. I realized that there was something missing.
I joined a game but haven’t started the game yet. I need to get back to my session without weeding through the thousands (a guy can dream can’t he? ) of ongoing games.
I didn’t initially have this, because where exactly would this button take me? Select the list box item on the session list page? Hokey. But then I made the call: we need a ready room page.
2. Ready Room
Join, Leave, Start Game actions used to happen from the Session List Page. Which worked okay, I guess. However, it left something to be desired. Namely the ability to display more than just the session name and player count.
Enter the ‘Ready Room’. The ready room allows players to see who is in the session with them…
…as well as what options (future feature) are enabled for the game…
In addition, I plan to allow the session captain to update session details from the settings (might get renamed to ‘setup’) pivot item.
Since most of these complex operations have made their way into the Ready Room Page. The Session List Page’s Application Bar got a lot simpler:
Open. Just. Open. Doesn’t change whether you are in the session or not, whether the session has started, is interrupted, or in progress. TEASE: A longer term future feature is driving this decision.
3. Player Ready/Not Ready Confirmation
In my testing of Euchre, I found that with other human players it was nice if you could specify you were ready after you joined a session. Since the session captain could previously initiate a game at anytime the session met the required player count it caused a little bit of stress on players that were pulled into the game without allowing them to get their bearings.
This feature allows newly joined players to hang in the ‘ready room’ until they are mentally / physically ready to start the game.
I decided on toggling IsEnabled on the buttons rather than a clean swap because I felt that the end user would lose context of their current ready or not ready state. Getting into that all too common state of ‘if the play button is showing does that mean the music is playing now or that I need to click it to pause’. This confusion obviously happens when the music is not audible. ^_^
In the case of Ready / NotReady, there is no other visual cue as to the user’s current selection so I felt it important to keep both buttons.
What do you think? Are these valuable features? What would you add next? Are there some multi-player game formats that wouldn’t need a ready room? If so, what are they? I’d like to hear from you!