UX Design and Second-To-Second Gameplay


    Hello! Hope this finds you well.

    So far - really enjoying the game. The systems themselves feel like exactly what I was hoping for from this style of sandbox. I've played for 7 or so hours now and have a ton of low-level feedback on the actual UX though, which you can of course feel free to ignore =D That said, I think this is where the game needs the most attention because the second-to-second gameplay just currently gets in its own way and creates an obstacle from enjoyment of the deeper systems. This isn't a big list of features or requests, just basic QoL to make the core fun and repeatable so I can get invested and enjoyment out of killing all those bandits to get my gold for my first Claim in the next Alpha =D

    With that said:


    • Several UI elements (eg. the New Player Ribbon) swallow clicks, resulting in suddenly stopping movement or attacks
    • Target Spells (eg. Execute) regularly fail to find a valid target, despite there obviously being one. Raycasts currently stop at the first thing encountered (which so far has been my friend or myself)), rather than checking each Hit until it finds a valid target. Realistically, it shouldn't even be checking for raycast hits against invalid targets through some sensible use of tagging or layers.


    • WASD is a necessity, even if it's simply a pathing request to Transform.position + a vector taken from the WASD input, after checking that a ray in that direction isn't blocked.
    • As an arthritis sufferer, holding or repeatedly pressing a mouse button is significantly more painful than holding a keyboard key, and movement is too integral to ignore in this kind of game
    • This obviously comes with the necessity of rebinding action bars. If you're using Unity Action Maps this shouldn't be an issue. I would recommend the boring old default of 12345678. Yeah everyone'll change it - but that's fine.
    • Clicking action bars is a must for accessibility. You already have the Edit Action Bar expand, and can use this to swap behaviours for moving of actionbar elements vs simply clicking to use.

    Core Combat UX

    • Left and Right-Click currently overlap in behaviours, creating unexpected inputs
    • They should overlap in Movement, and Movement only.
    • I would propose that Left-Click deals (exclusively) in Movement and Interaction. I can use it to move, loot, craft, select, radial, interact. If in range, use the thing. Otherwise, move there. No more fighting.
    • I would propose that Right-Click follows the same logic but for combat. As such - it deals in both Movement and Combat. If I'm using a ranged weapon - shoot. If I have a target that's too far - move-to and attack. Otherwise, move.
    • As a player, I can guarantee that by Right-Clicking or holding Right-Click, that I am fighting or moving towards the fight. I no longer accidentally loot things in combat. My input is specifically combat so raycasts can specifically check for combat targets and not result in me dud-clicking my allies
    • Likewise, I can guarantee that by Left-Clicking that I'm interacting. I can loot the thing and get out fast without accidentally lunging with my spear.
    • Finally, specific abilities should take precedence over regular attacks. If I'm right-clicking on a target to autoattack them, and press Execute - then it should Execute before continuing attacking. I shouldn't have to release a general input to do a specific one.

    Other General UX Feedback from a New User PoV

    • Secondary UI Tabs were really unintuitive the first time (eg. Materials, Armors etc. in the Crafting menu) as they literally just blend in with the world behind the interface.
    • Many items should have tooltips in their crafting menus, so I can actually see what a sword is in advance - or maybe decide that the Battle Axe is so useless stat wise that I shouldn't have wasted the ingot =D
    • Grey Buttons look disabled. As a first-time user I regularly think a button isn't available to me yet (Eg. Place or Craft) when in fact that's just the default aesthetic.
    • Map zooming is borked. It should zoom to cursor or to center of screen - it currently zooms in and out from some point in the top rightish? (Maybe this is different on different resolutions)
    • Cooldown radial on Action Bars is faaar too subtle. I can't see it out of the corner of my eye, and I need to be able to know at a glance when something is available.
    • Passive Abilities are not communicated very well (eg. Bleeding Strike). Is it supposed to stay on? It doesn't say, it only specifies 'Next' but it feels like a passive weapon buff. It's annoying that it disables when I mount.
    • As someone that just uses Axe/Shield and a Bow, that third tab-weapon option is the most irritating thing on the planet

    Sorry for the big list. Normally I'd just disregard the game and move on to another after encountering stuff like this - but honestly the foundation is so good and it just needs some basic UX polish to move to the next level. Obviously you don't want something super hack'n'slashy, but I think it's important to look at solutions in LoL, Diablo, Torchlight, Dota etc. to these kinds of interaction problems that your game is suffering for with misaligned expectations vs outcomes.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and best of luck with the rest of your Alpha ❤

  • Content Creator

    Interesting feedback, and there is definitely some value in it.

    Having said that, there are a couple assumptions you don't have incorporated into it, maybe because you haven't been active here for very long and heard the lengthy discussions on the topics.

    1. The Devs want Fractured to stand out, so they are trying as much as possible to not just emulate other game's approaches.
    2. The Devs have stated that the Mouse Movement and Hot-Bar mechanics are they are are essential to the combat feel and aesthetic that they are going for in Fractured. As such, there is absolutely no plans to add in WASD movement or Hot-Bar clicking to activate. There are various reasons behind this. One is the whole way they want combat to be more skill based, with you directing your movement and targeting with the mouse, so it is not free to move over and click the hot bar, and also to cut back dramatically on the ability for Macro/bot users to exploit the system.
    3. The 3 primary weapon slots are used for more than just swapping between a couple of styles. Most melee fighters will of course have their primary melee weapon in one slot, and one uses the bow for pulling mobs to you, but the third slot could be for swapping to an alternate main melee weapon (even of the same type) that might be higher durability currently, so if the durability runs out on the current one, with just a tab you can swap weapons and keep going. Another reason might be what enchantments are on your weapons. You might use a Longsword but one might have more effectiveness against Creatures vulnerable to Poison, and another might add some Fire damage, or penetration. Different enemies might dynamically be handled without swapping in the inventory. Also, some of us put our axe and hammer in the backup slots for when we go out to gather logs and large stones, as you don't have to 'swap' to them but it takes them out of your inventory spaces when gathering.

    Additional note: although they are working on adding some QoL improvements even now, the main focus during the Alpha is to mechanics, not QoL because among other things, these things can change drastically depending on what they finally end up going with, and thus it is easier to solidify their intentions before updating the whole interface for QoL. That's why you generally see QoL mainly added in Beta, not Alpha stages of development.

  • Moderator

    I confirm that targeted spells like my assassinate often return a "Invalid target" or similar errors when used. I have to press 3 or 4 times for it to go off.

    As @GamerSeuss explained, WASD was discussed at lenght and it is not going to be a part of Fractured.

    The left and right click interactions got better with the tests (you can no longer chop tress while in combat for example), but they still need some work. There are still a few elements/plants with which you can interact even while figthing.

    Secondary UI Tabs have indeed made a lot of new players confused. They should be made more obvious, or the tutorial should tell you about them.

    I would love to be able to take the third slot out of the TAB rotation.


    Thanks for your comments ^^ Just replying to each of your items:

    Gamer Seuss

    1. It's not about emulating other games, it's about finding the right ways to stand out
    2. While I don't know the surrounding discussions - I think that decision will be the doom of the game. Let players play how they want to play. It's not a large design challenge to cater to both. If I'm so busy targeting with the mouse in the top-right - what if I want to move down and left?
    3. I think you missed the point here - I understand how weapons work in RPGs. Having to tab between the empty states that I'm not using is my issue.
    • QoL: These aren't just QoL improvements, but basic UX. There's a significant difference. Developing mechanics on something that feels bad means you can't actually measure how the mechanic feels. Beta and Alpha is irrelevant here - making it feel nice to use should have happened much sooner than either.


    • Comments on WASD above. I'd be happy to dig into this more but it seems I missed that train xD
    • Glad to hear the interactions are improving. There's work to do of course but it's always great to hear from other people that there's progress!
    • Glad to hear the Secondary UI Tabs aren't a bespoke problem to me. It's a pretty obvious problem once you realise that we automatically tune out the contents outside the box when searching inside it.
    • Also glad to hear more commentary on the Tab Rotation. As simple as a little [+] to add a new loadout and an [x} in the corner to remove one so I don't have to cycle through empty states, with a fixed cap.

  • Content Creator

    @Nimerra said in UX Design and Second-To-Second Gameplay:

    While I don't know the surrounding discussions - I think that decision will be the doom of the game. Let players play how they want to play. It's not a large design challenge to cater to both. If I'm so busy targeting with the mouse in the top-right - what if I want to move down and left?

    This is one example of the kind of choice the Devs want you to have to make and prioritize in combat. Do you move or do you target. The entire flow of their combat system is based around the mouse move/target method.

    Players can play how they want to play, as long as they don't 'want to play' what is basically "Not this game.' Monopoly wouldn't be the same game if you rolled only 1 die to go around the board, or you rolled 3 dice, or you could refuse to pay rent where you land. Twister would not be the same game if you allowed the players to pick the color and just spin for the body part, or vice versa. Those are 'how you play' those games, and they are a big part of those games. The challenge in combat that the mouse style adds in is part of how you play this game.

  • As someone that just uses Axe/Shield and a Bow, that third tab-weapon option is the most irritating thing on the planet

    Totally true.

    I would love to be able to take the third slot out of the TAB rotation.

    Totally agree.

    Either make it 2 slots, or not swap to empty slot - but then what about unarmed. Would "Unarmed" get it´s own icon in inventory, so that one equips it in weapon slot, or would unarmed user just have weapon equipped and unarmed skills would simply not use weapon (just like Monk in Diablo III). But then what if both equipped weapon and unarmed are quallified to be used with ability (and it also looks like macro)? Or use Diablo IV barbarian approach - bind every skill to weapon of your choice. Totally macro, but removes using TAB and fastens combat (simplifies it, be it better or worse).


    @GamerSeuss said in UX Design and Second-To-Second Gameplay:

    This is one example of the kind of choice the Devs want you to have to make and prioritize in combat. Do you move or do you target. The entire flow of their combat system is based around the mouse move/target method.

    Players can play how they want to play, as long as they don't 'want to play' what is basically "Not this game.'

    I think you're overcomplicating this. The speed difference is inconsequential, that was my point. This doesn't have much to do with other games either. I want to play this game, but I also have painful joints and want when I hold A for the game to respond as if I'm clicking and holding just to the left of my character. No gameplay loop has changed meaningfully as a consequence of this. Any timing difference this makes is practically non-existent in an MMO.


    To comment on the WASD function. There are many games of this genre that operate only using mouse clicks. Albion for example only uses mouse clicks to move although it does have a auto-run feature. I stand by the fact that WASD will ultimately be too restrictive in regards to the fluidity of the game. I have played games from a top-down perspective whose movement function is only WASD and have found them to be extremely clunky. A auto run feature might be the proper move to improve the experience of those who are in the same situation as you.

  • Content Creator

    @LordGorgeous There has been talk about implementing an Auto-run feature, but they have shot down (to the point it is no longer up for discussion) the whole WASD situation.


    The "Raycasts" graphic may be blocked by your friend but the effect continues and does damage. This visual thing was present last alpha. Also watch out for bushes blocking shots as if they were trees or rocks.

    Accessibility- The wads argument is long and continuous. The problem with animation canceling allowing higher attack rate is an example of something they didn't want to deal with and which wads would exasperate. They want to slow down combat and separate actions vs movement instead of allowing both at the same time. There are games that do this by locking down input channels during ability animation so you cannot move and act or interrupt an action... (note that right now you cannot interact with many things while in combat mode, if they were to extend that a bit more it may make wads movement possible but would greatly increase botting) but they have not gotten that figured out. I hope they do. Until then I just got an ergonomic mouse- yes my apm and accuracy was reduced, but only to the point that I represent more of an 'average' player which the game is built towards and not the twitch happy professionals.
    You can already rebind action bars to different keys by the way...
    I fail to see how clicking action bars is a must especially when many of the abilities are skill shots and that is the prefered mode of action backed by the devs saying that there never will be tab targeting or auto targeting.
    Other quality of life changes are in the 'we hope and expect them to be dealt with down the line' category. This is alpha and is going to be messy.


    I'm not convinced you know what a raycast is, this is a functional issue.

    I also am not convinced you know what animation cancelling is, or how botting works. I can currently hold my mouse just right of my character and press E to do an attack. Being able to hold W and press E to do an attack is exactly the same.


    @Nimerra He's told you that raycasts do indeed continue through the first, invalid target - only the associated graphics seem to stop. You now need to illustrate that this is not the case to continue a meaningful discussion, rather than just be condescending and ambiguous.

    You seem to be objecting to the idea that animation canceling allows for a faster attack rate. This has been an MMO gameplay mechanic ever since Ragnarok Online, in which it is called "dancing" and is vital to most Monk builds. In RO it allows you to attack two to three times as quickly as without - such a drastic effect is of paramount importance to Fractured, which is effectively an open world MOBA.

    Have you ever played a MOBA that lets you move with WASD? Because nobody else has. You will not make much headway convincing them to innovate unless you can show them a WASD-based MOBA that meets their lofty demands.

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