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iPhone: Only game I've seen where a UI-update has made the game WORSE! (Lumen)

08-31-2008, 06:27 PM
#1
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Formerly Zimbabwe - now England.
Posts: 1,394
Only game I've seen where a UI-update has made the game WORSE! (Lumen)

I am referring to the game Lumen.

For those of you not familiar with the game, it's a simple puzzle game where you drag various coloured laser-emitters and various coloured laser-filters onto the screen to light up a series of various coloured checkpoints.
You get the idea that it's dependant on colours, right? For each emitter and for each filter, you have a choice of three colours to use: red, green or blue. You only get to use one emitter, but you can have as many filters as you like, in an assortment of all the colours available.
You also have various angled mirrors -- four mirrors, at 45-degree angles -- that you can place on the screen to deflect the laser beams, and like the filters, you can have as many of these as you want using all the angles available.

So you can end up with LOTS of filters on the stage, all different colours, and LOTS of mirrors on the stage too, all different angles.

However, it's recently been "upgraded" to version 2.0, and sports a new UI-overhaul, which in my opinion has taken the usability of the game BACKWARDS by several notches.

Let me give you an example of what I mean.



This is a sample puzzle from the old layout:





And this is the exact same puzzle from the new layout:




OK, so the newer version may LOOK prettier (the old Lumen was available as a game for the Mac OS looong before the iPhone ever came along, and still had the same interface from the desktop version - and it shows), but notice that the new version combines ALL the coloured transmitters into ONE "chooser", and also combines ALL the coloured filters into ONE chooser too, rather than having each one selectable at any one time, like before.

So what that means is that these emitters and filters now take anywhere up to THREE clicks to get the colour you want, whereas before it was always only ever ONE click.
So in the above example, if a blue emitter/filter is pre-selected and lit up and you decide that you want to place a green emitter/filter on the stage, you have to go through one of the following routes:
- Click-and-drag blue onto stage.
- Click to change blue to red.
- Click to change red to green.
Or alternatively:
- Click to change blue to red.
- Click to change red to green.
- Click-and-drag green onto stage.
Either way, that's three clicks, whereas before it was always and only ever just one click-and-drag.

Interestingly though -- and nonsensically, other than "because there was space" as far as I can tell -- the new UI has TWO mirror choosers for the FOUR mirror-angles available.
So now when adding a mirror to the stage, it could take TWO clicks to get the angle you want, whereas before it was always only ever ONE click. ie: If the one you want isn't already in position in the chooser, step 1 is click-to-flip and step 2 is place on stage.

Somewhat to a lesser extent, but still worth mentioning, is the new mirrors -- my problem with these is that they are not nearly as clear as they were before in regards to which way they are pointing - ie: the colour of the mirror "hinges" is too similar to the main background colour, and there is a tendency for these hinges to blend in to the background somewhat, making it difficult to tell which is the front of the mirror and which is the back. (Yes, I CAN see them, but a quick at-a-glance now needs to be a proper look.)
The basic triangle shape worked perfectly before. Why change it? The mirror doesn't have to be a literal 3-dimensional mirror, especially considering it's a 2-dimensional game. It only needs to be iconically-representative of its function, not photographically-representative.

Hmmm... Having pretty graphics in your game is all very well and good, but not if it sacrifices usability in order to do so.
I think the only genuine benefit in the new UI (so excluding "prettiness" then) is that more of a visual distinction has been made between the angled mirrors and the square non-movable blocks.

What do you guys think? Anyone else had this game from before the update? Have you tried the new version? Your impressions?
Would you agree or disagree with what I've said here?
09-01-2008, 02:08 AM
#2
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Cali-forn-i-a
Posts: 2,302
Yes i had it from the beginning and i think you need to quit your whining. "OMG TWO clicks to put a mirror down instead of just one??? Thats OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!"

09-01-2008, 02:08 AM
#3
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Cali-forn-i-a
Posts: 2,302
Sorry if i sounded a little rude.
09-01-2008, 03:37 AM
#4
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Formerly Zimbabwe - now England.
Posts: 1,394
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocketman919 View Post
Sorry if i sounded a little rude.
You did, to be honest... You say "whining" I say "passionate".

Personally speaking, I don't see the benefits of the UI-change, only losses - I was merely after other people's constructive opinions on what they thought about the new UI.

Anyway, considering the SIMPLE example I gave above has 12 mirrors, those clicks soon add up.
Other puzzles can have many more mirrors and many more filters too.

Last edited by BrettArchibald; 09-01-2008 at 03:44 AM.
09-01-2008, 09:28 AM
#5
I like it.

Actually, I like Lumen a LOT more than I did. It's much easier to select things, which was my main problem before. I would try to move something, but Lumen would not select it, so I'd have to try again. I'm easily frustrated, so that prevented me from really enjoying the game.

I do see what you mean about the unneeded taps, but it's fast and easy, so I don't really mind that change. Also, the board looks much friendlier and is easier for me to understand. I just reinstalled it back to my iPhone, and I'm enjoying the game.
09-01-2008, 10:09 AM
#6
I'm sure all of you know this, but when you click anywhere on the game board screen a mirror appears and you just need to click it again to change the angle. I found this much easier and faster and more convenient than the previous version of Lumen.
09-01-2008, 10:32 AM
#7
Joined: Jul 2008
Location: Formerly Zimbabwe - now England.
Posts: 1,394
Quote:
Originally Posted by tizzyler03 View Post
I'm sure all of you know this, but when you click anywhere on the game board screen a mirror appears and you just need to click it again to change the angle. I found this much easier and faster and more convenient than the previous version of Lumen.
Yep, I did see that new feature advertised. "Problem" with that however is that although it might help the user in deciding where to place their mirror before they determine the angle that they need it to be, the placed mirror is always bottom-right facing and only rotates one-direction on subsequent clicks - meaning it could take up to four clicks to get the mirror facing the direction you want it to.
As this was a new feature that didn't take away from the original feature-set though, I chose not to mention it in my original post.

I have spoken to the developer about this anyway, and he says that in a future update he'll probably make sure that any mirror placed on the stage via a click-on-stage action will be "intelligent", in that its position will be such as to intersect a laser-beam if one is passing through that square.
09-01-2008, 02:49 PM
#8
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Canada, ON
Posts: 76
you no there mite be a way to get old states of apllications back eh(how it was befor an update)

i havent done it yet but its worth a try it mite nnot even work so dont blame me if something goes rong its just a theory.

if you have the paid version of lumen back it up and back up your ipod befor you do this

first go to your applications section in itunes then right click lumen and click show in windows exploreor and it should say lumen lumen1 lumen2 lumen3 or something like that ( i havent updated it yet tho i dont no if theres a lumen3) but if there is delete it.

then go to ur ipod/phone and delete lumen then hook your ipod to your computer and dont let it back up cause its anoying then go to your ipod and click on the applications section in your ipod menu then click sync or apply and lumen should transfer to ur ipod and mite be the old version
09-01-2008, 03:31 PM
#9
Joined: Aug 2008
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Posts: 353
I greatly prefer the UI now, in fact I never actually played the old version (maybe 5-10 minutes, tops) because I found it ugly and unintuitive.

But that's just me.
09-01-2008, 05:07 PM
#10
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 536
The UI changes are tradeoffs.

The controls trade speed for a smaller footprint on the screen, and grouping similar functions together (let's face it, speed is not essential in Lumen, as it is not timed as far as I can tell). Consequently there is more room for the puzzle area, and it appears easier to use (even though there are more taps).