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Which phone key is typically used to pause a game? I am talking about a user needing to momentarily pause a game they are playing and continue.

AVK_CLR is pretty obvious

AVK_CLR is pretty obvious

Well, i would suggest to use AVK_CLR to go back to the main menu, so you won't pass the TBT with notes.. But that's all right, since if you are on the main menu, your game is paused ;)
/kUfa

Well, i would suggest to use AVK_CLR to go back to the main menu, so you won't pass the TBT with notes.. But that's all right, since if you are on the main menu, your game is paused ;)
/kUfa

Accrding to the interface guidelines I have read, the AVK_CLR key should always take you back one menu. Pressing the AVK_CLR key while playing the game should take you back into the main menu. I have never read anywhere stating the AVK_CLR to be used a PAUSE key. What made it so obvious to you Marcel?
On most phones the AVK_CLR key is close enough to the arrow keys where the player could mistakenly pressing it during gameplay. This of course would be very anoying for the player. From a logical standpoint, CLEAR never equates to PAUSE. It is important to adhere to consistency when developing a user interface. Meaning similar keys perform the same fucntion across different applications. I realize phone keypads have limited choices and the AVK_CLR might be recommended as the PAUSE key, although better choices come to mind.
Can everyone please post what key they use for PAUSE/RESUME?

Accrding to the interface guidelines I have read, the AVK_CLR key should always take you back one menu. Pressing the AVK_CLR key while playing the game should take you back into the main menu. I have never read anywhere stating the AVK_CLR to be used a PAUSE key. What made it so obvious to you Marcel?
On most phones the AVK_CLR key is close enough to the arrow keys where the player could mistakenly pressing it during gameplay. This of course would be very anoying for the player. From a logical standpoint, CLEAR never equates to PAUSE. It is important to adhere to consistency when developing a user interface. Meaning similar keys perform the same fucntion across different applications. I realize phone keypads have limited choices and the AVK_CLR might be recommended as the PAUSE key, although better choices come to mind.
Can everyone please post what key they use for PAUSE/RESUME?

I use AVK_CLR for pause : it leads to the main menu, in which i have a "resume game" option

I use AVK_CLR for pause : it leads to the main menu, in which i have a "resume game" option

Kufa,
I agree with you on the clr key being used for going back one menu level, but going back into the main menu is not the typical way of pausing a game.
Here are some quick thoughts on your design, please take it only as constructive advice. I assume your RESUME option only appears on the main menu when the player uses the clr key to go into the main menu from a current game. Now your main interface has changed from the first time the player visited it. This is an inconsistent interface, because suddenly the main menu is different then before. This way of pausing a game is nonintuitive, in the 25 years of gaming experience I have, I have never seen a game being paused in this manner. Lets say the player is playing your game and someone asks him a question. Ideally, the player should be able to press a single key, pause the game state, talk to that person and then resume the gameplay with the press of a single key. Before resuming the game, the paused screen should give him some idea of where the player left off before actually continuing. If the player had a ten minute conversation with a person its most likely that they don't remember where they left off and coming back to a main menu only makes that more difficult. I could list more issues involved, but I think I'll leave that for an interface design topic.
-cheers

Kufa,
I agree with you on the clr key being used for going back one menu level, but going back into the main menu is not the typical way of pausing a game.
Here are some quick thoughts on your design, please take it only as constructive advice. I assume your RESUME option only appears on the main menu when the player uses the clr key to go into the main menu from a current game. Now your main interface has changed from the first time the player visited it. This is an inconsistent interface, because suddenly the main menu is different then before. This way of pausing a game is nonintuitive, in the 25 years of gaming experience I have, I have never seen a game being paused in this manner. Lets say the player is playing your game and someone asks him a question. Ideally, the player should be able to press a single key, pause the game state, talk to that person and then resume the gameplay with the press of a single key. Before resuming the game, the paused screen should give him some idea of where the player left off before actually continuing. If the player had a ten minute conversation with a person its most likely that they don't remember where they left off and coming back to a main menu only makes that more difficult. I could list more issues involved, but I think I'll leave that for an interface design topic.
-cheers

Mickey,
your comments are really interesting! Even if i must agree with most of what you said, i still have some notes:
Quote:This way of pausing a game is nonintuitive, in the 25 years of gaming experience I have, I have never seen a game being paused in this manner
Hmm, well, what about PC games: you press esc to pause the game, and you go back to the main menu (which can probably drawn on the game display with some transparency), and then esc to go back to the game.
The thing is we want the player to be able to change settings (music, etc..) at anytime, so you still need a way to go to the menu or to access the settings screen.. And having two ways of pausing the game or going to the settings menu is, imo, much more nonintuitive than having a new "Resume Game" line in your menu..
Quote:If the player had a ten minute conversation with a person its most likely that they don't remember where they left off and coming back to a main menu only makes that more difficult
Yeah that's true! btw you can have a "ready" or "press any key to continue" when you go back to the game..
What do you think?
/kUfa

Mickey,
your comments are really interesting! Even if i must agree with most of what you said, i still have some notes:
Quote:This way of pausing a game is nonintuitive, in the 25 years of gaming experience I have, I have never seen a game being paused in this manner
Hmm, well, what about PC games: you press esc to pause the game, and you go back to the main menu (which can probably drawn on the game display with some transparency), and then esc to go back to the game.
The thing is we want the player to be able to change settings (music, etc..) at anytime, so you still need a way to go to the menu or to access the settings screen.. And having two ways of pausing the game or going to the settings menu is, imo, much more nonintuitive than having a new "Resume Game" line in your menu..
Quote:If the player had a ten minute conversation with a person its most likely that they don't remember where they left off and coming back to a main menu only makes that more difficult
Yeah that's true! btw you can have a "ready" or "press any key to continue" when you go back to the game..
What do you think?
/kUfa

Mickey,
your comments are really interesting! Even if i must agree with most of what you said, i still have some notes:
Quote:This way of pausing a game is nonintuitive, in the 25 years of gaming experience I have, I have never seen a game being paused in this manner
Hmm, well, what about PC games: you press esc to pause the game, and you go back to the main menu (which can probably drawn on the game display with some transparency), and then esc to go back to the game.
The thing is we want the player to be able to change settings (music, etc..) at anytime, so you still need a way to go to the menu or to access the settings screen.. And having two ways of pausing the game or going to the settings menu is, imo, much more nonintuitive than having a new "Resume Game" line in your menu..
Quote:If the player had a ten minute conversation with a person its most likely that they don't remember where they left off and coming back to a main menu only makes that more difficult
Yeah that's true! btw you can have a "ready" or "press any key to continue" when you go back to the game..
What do you think?
/kUfa

Mickey,
your comments are really interesting! Even if i must agree with most of what you said, i still have some notes:
Quote:This way of pausing a game is nonintuitive, in the 25 years of gaming experience I have, I have never seen a game being paused in this manner
Hmm, well, what about PC games: you press esc to pause the game, and you go back to the main menu (which can probably drawn on the game display with some transparency), and then esc to go back to the game.
The thing is we want the player to be able to change settings (music, etc..) at anytime, so you still need a way to go to the menu or to access the settings screen.. And having two ways of pausing the game or going to the settings menu is, imo, much more nonintuitive than having a new "Resume Game" line in your menu..
Quote:If the player had a ten minute conversation with a person its most likely that they don't remember where they left off and coming back to a main menu only makes that more difficult
Yeah that's true! btw you can have a "ready" or "press any key to continue" when you go back to the game..
What do you think?
/kUfa

Kufa,
What am currently doing is allowing the player to press a single key which pauses the game at any time. In this state, The word PAUSED appears in the center of the screen drawn over the paused game screen. It always displays a softkey control menu at the bottom of the screen which presents two choices, EXIT and CONTINUE. The continue option has focus by default, this way with the touch of one key, the game can resume. In your case the exit could substituted by a SETTINGS or OPTIONS choice, which would allow the user to visit that menu. I would not recommend it though, the settings/options menu should only be accessed through the main menu. Which should always be available to the player from the game screen. Draw your menu hierachy and examine the relationships between each menu, do they make sense? Is it a clear and consistent path between each of the menus throughout the entire application?
In the case of PC games, most pause and resume with the press of a single key and sometimes they do present a small menu drawn over the game screen. Dsiplaying the gamescreen while paused is vital to a game pause state, the player can see whats happening in the current game before they resume. In my opinion its not good interface design to display a menu with other options when paused. Pausing means the player needs to do something momentarily, like a visit to the restroom, and then resume quickly. Having a menu filled with nonrelated options while paused can be difficult to digest and annoying to resume. Game settings should be modified through their own proper menu, which can be accessed through the main menu or the game screen itself. Keep in mind there are a lot of poorly designed game interfaces, not to mention the quality of the games being released, but thats another matter altogether.
Regards,
-Mickey Portilla

Kufa,
What am currently doing is allowing the player to press a single key which pauses the game at any time. In this state, The word PAUSED appears in the center of the screen drawn over the paused game screen. It always displays a softkey control menu at the bottom of the screen which presents two choices, EXIT and CONTINUE. The continue option has focus by default, this way with the touch of one key, the game can resume. In your case the exit could substituted by a SETTINGS or OPTIONS choice, which would allow the user to visit that menu. I would not recommend it though, the settings/options menu should only be accessed through the main menu. Which should always be available to the player from the game screen. Draw your menu hierachy and examine the relationships between each menu, do they make sense? Is it a clear and consistent path between each of the menus throughout the entire application?
In the case of PC games, most pause and resume with the press of a single key and sometimes they do present a small menu drawn over the game screen. Dsiplaying the gamescreen while paused is vital to a game pause state, the player can see whats happening in the current game before they resume. In my opinion its not good interface design to display a menu with other options when paused. Pausing means the player needs to do something momentarily, like a visit to the restroom, and then resume quickly. Having a menu filled with nonrelated options while paused can be difficult to digest and annoying to resume. Game settings should be modified through their own proper menu, which can be accessed through the main menu or the game screen itself. Keep in mind there are a lot of poorly designed game interfaces, not to mention the quality of the games being released, but thats another matter altogether.
Regards,
-Mickey Portilla

Mickey,
Hmm sorry for the double post, too bad we cannot remove then manually :(
Do not get me wrong, i really think having a key that can just pause the game is a good idea, but not for brew apps.
Quote:
In your case the exit could substituted by a SETTINGS or OPTIONS choice, which would allow the user to visit that menu. I would not recommend it though, the settings/options menu should only be accessed through the main menu. Which should always be available to the player from the game screen.
Yeah, the main menu must be available from the game, especially to change the settings. Having a separate menu/option assigned to a key when in paused mode is really a bad idea imo, and i think this is also your point of view.
Quote:Draw your menu hierachy and examine the relationships between each menu, do they make sense? Is it a clear and consistent path between each of the menus throughout the entire application?
Well in your case, you can be in pause mode by pressing the "pause" key and the "menu" key if you want to access settings, which is a bit unconsistent i think.. We have few keys available if we want to make games work on several platform, and limiting the amount of menu / states is a good idea..
But my relation ships between my menu make sense:
Menu -> start game / resume game if availble (and switch in "ready" mode)
game -> pause key -> main menu (with resume game available)
So when the user decide to resume the game, he will have time, during the ready mode, to see what was happening.. And options are accessible only from the main menu, and only one pause key is used..
Quote:
In the case of PC games, most pause and resume with the press of a single key and sometimes they do present a small menu drawn over the game screen. Dsiplaying the gamescreen while paused is vital to a game pause state, the player can see whats happening in the current game before they resume.
Yeah i agree, but that s still possible if you go back to the main menu..
Quote:
In my opinion its not good interface design to display a menu with other options when paused. Pausing means the player needs to do something momentarily, like a visit to the restroom, and then resume quickly. Having a menu filled with nonrelated options while paused can be difficult to digest and annoying to resume. Game settings should be modified through their own proper menu, which can be accessed through the main menu or the game screen itself. Keep in mind there are a lot of poorly designed game interfaces, not to mention the quality of the games being released, but thats another matter altogether.
Well, i definitely think that there should be only one menu giving you access to the settings one..
Regards,
/kUfa

Mickey,
Hmm sorry for the double post, too bad we cannot remove then manually :(
Do not get me wrong, i really think having a key that can just pause the game is a good idea, but not for brew apps.
Quote:
In your case the exit could substituted by a SETTINGS or OPTIONS choice, which would allow the user to visit that menu. I would not recommend it though, the settings/options menu should only be accessed through the main menu. Which should always be available to the player from the game screen.
Yeah, the main menu must be available from the game, especially to change the settings. Having a separate menu/option assigned to a key when in paused mode is really a bad idea imo, and i think this is also your point of view.
Quote:Draw your menu hierachy and examine the relationships between each menu, do they make sense? Is it a clear and consistent path between each of the menus throughout the entire application?
Well in your case, you can be in pause mode by pressing the "pause" key and the "menu" key if you want to access settings, which is a bit unconsistent i think.. We have few keys available if we want to make games work on several platform, and limiting the amount of menu / states is a good idea..
But my relation ships between my menu make sense:
Menu -> start game / resume game if availble (and switch in "ready" mode)
game -> pause key -> main menu (with resume game available)
So when the user decide to resume the game, he will have time, during the ready mode, to see what was happening.. And options are accessible only from the main menu, and only one pause key is used..
Quote:
In the case of PC games, most pause and resume with the press of a single key and sometimes they do present a small menu drawn over the game screen. Dsiplaying the gamescreen while paused is vital to a game pause state, the player can see whats happening in the current game before they resume.
Yeah i agree, but that s still possible if you go back to the main menu..
Quote:
In my opinion its not good interface design to display a menu with other options when paused. Pausing means the player needs to do something momentarily, like a visit to the restroom, and then resume quickly. Having a menu filled with nonrelated options while paused can be difficult to digest and annoying to resume. Game settings should be modified through their own proper menu, which can be accessed through the main menu or the game screen itself. Keep in mind there are a lot of poorly designed game interfaces, not to mention the quality of the games being released, but thats another matter altogether.
Well, i definitely think that there should be only one menu giving you access to the settings one..
Regards,
/kUfa

Quote:Originally posted by kUfa
Do not get me wrong, i really think having a key that can just pause the game is a good idea, but not for brew apps.
Having a consistent and intuitive interface is always a good idea whether its wrist watch or a CAD application on a workstation. I don't think BREW apps should be an exception to this. I believe having a key to pause a BREW game is an essential and necessary feature. Look at the BREW games developed by mature games companys like NAMCO, they implement pause exactly as I described. But of course its up to you to implement it how you see fit.
Quote:Originally posted by kUfa
Having a separate menu/option assigned to a key when in paused mode is really a bad idea imo, and i think this is also your point of view.
Agreed. thats why I said I would not recommend it, its poor interface design.
Quote:Originally posted by kUfa
Well in your case, you can be in pause mode by pressing the "pause" key and the "menu" key if you want to access settings, which is a bit unconsistent i think..
No. My Pause screen only offers to resume or exit the application. To access the Main menu you need to press the AVK_CLR key from the game screen.
Quote:Originally posted by kUfa
But my relation ships between my menu make sense:
Menu -> start game / resume game if availble (and switch in "ready" mode)
So I should assume your Start option will delete a Resume game state option if available? This behavior is unclear to a user, it could cost the user a saved game and frustration. What does the resume game state look like? Is it really clear to a user under exactly which conditions this Resume option magically appears on the main menu? Your main menu can now offer TWO branches to get to the the actual game. Ready mode? this seems confusing, I thought my decision to Start the game meant I was ready to play. Drawing your menu tree will show you that the Resume option is a second branch to a common state and it will also show you that its conditional, which leads to complexity. Draw it and you shall see. Not to mention graphic layout problems with a dynamically drawn menu in a confined screen space. Translation meanings in foreign languages...
Quote:Originally posted by kUfa
game -> pause key -> main menu (with resume game available)
You dont have a pause menu nor a pause key. You are following the suggestion which states that the clr key should take the user back one menu. A good suggestion to follow. But like I had mentioned before, its not obvious to a user who comes back to your main menu that they are in a PAUSED state. Users may think the game ended and they got thrown back into the main menu. Its easy to oversee the new Resume option which has now magically appeared in the main menu and which was not there before.
The suggestions and opinons I have given are not really mine. I have learned them from books, mentors and many years of GUI design. Not exactly the most pleasant subject, but something I've had to deal with. In any case, with my solution I still need to choose a key other than the clr key to enter the pause state.
Regards,
-
Mickey Portilla

Quote:Originally posted by kUfa
Do not get me wrong, i really think having a key that can just pause the game is a good idea, but not for brew apps.
Having a consistent and intuitive interface is always a good idea whether its wrist watch or a CAD application on a workstation. I don't think BREW apps should be an exception to this. I believe having a key to pause a BREW game is an essential and necessary feature. Look at the BREW games developed by mature games companys like NAMCO, they implement pause exactly as I described. But of course its up to you to implement it how you see fit.
Quote:Originally posted by kUfa
Having a separate menu/option assigned to a key when in paused mode is really a bad idea imo, and i think this is also your point of view.
Agreed. thats why I said I would not recommend it, its poor interface design.
Quote:Originally posted by kUfa
Well in your case, you can be in pause mode by pressing the "pause" key and the "menu" key if you want to access settings, which is a bit unconsistent i think..
No. My Pause screen only offers to resume or exit the application. To access the Main menu you need to press the AVK_CLR key from the game screen.
Quote:Originally posted by kUfa
But my relation ships between my menu make sense:
Menu -> start game / resume game if availble (and switch in "ready" mode)
So I should assume your Start option will delete a Resume game state option if available? This behavior is unclear to a user, it could cost the user a saved game and frustration. What does the resume game state look like? Is it really clear to a user under exactly which conditions this Resume option magically appears on the main menu? Your main menu can now offer TWO branches to get to the the actual game. Ready mode? this seems confusing, I thought my decision to Start the game meant I was ready to play. Drawing your menu tree will show you that the Resume option is a second branch to a common state and it will also show you that its conditional, which leads to complexity. Draw it and you shall see. Not to mention graphic layout problems with a dynamically drawn menu in a confined screen space. Translation meanings in foreign languages...
Quote:Originally posted by kUfa
game -> pause key -> main menu (with resume game available)
You dont have a pause menu nor a pause key. You are following the suggestion which states that the clr key should take the user back one menu. A good suggestion to follow. But like I had mentioned before, its not obvious to a user who comes back to your main menu that they are in a PAUSED state. Users may think the game ended and they got thrown back into the main menu. Its easy to oversee the new Resume option which has now magically appeared in the main menu and which was not there before.
The suggestions and opinons I have given are not really mine. I have learned them from books, mentors and many years of GUI design. Not exactly the most pleasant subject, but something I've had to deal with. In any case, with my solution I still need to choose a key other than the clr key to enter the pause state.
Regards,
-
Mickey Portilla

Consistency is important, but its not the MOST important thing. Its more important to make it easy for the user to use/learn the product. Sometimes you've just got to be flexible and do what feels right to the user, even if it doesn't logically create consistency. Consistency often helps learning, but its not essential or required.
Consistency on a platform is more important than consistency across all platforms. That means that if all games a user's phone have a pause/main menu that you get to by pressing AVK_CLR, you aren't doing the user a service by changing that because it works a certain way on PC/MAC/XBox/PS2/GBA, etc. The user may have been confused the first time, but after playing different games, they are going to be accustomed to it. Then your game is going to seem inconsitent.
Additionally, if you invent a pause key like "*" or "#", then you have to train the user to use that key to pause. Is it really worth the effort and screen real estate to train the user how your novel pause method works?
Possibly in contradiction to what I've said above, I think the softkey control that BREW supplies is confusing and I wouldn't use it in a product or base anything on it. I have to think pretty hard everytime I use a UI that has one, and a dropdown type menu is so much more intuitive.
-Aaron

Consistency is important, but its not the MOST important thing. Its more important to make it easy for the user to use/learn the product. Sometimes you've just got to be flexible and do what feels right to the user, even if it doesn't logically create consistency. Consistency often helps learning, but its not essential or required.
Consistency on a platform is more important than consistency across all platforms. That means that if all games a user's phone have a pause/main menu that you get to by pressing AVK_CLR, you aren't doing the user a service by changing that because it works a certain way on PC/MAC/XBox/PS2/GBA, etc. The user may have been confused the first time, but after playing different games, they are going to be accustomed to it. Then your game is going to seem inconsitent.
Additionally, if you invent a pause key like "*" or "#", then you have to train the user to use that key to pause. Is it really worth the effort and screen real estate to train the user how your novel pause method works?
Possibly in contradiction to what I've said above, I think the softkey control that BREW supplies is confusing and I wouldn't use it in a product or base anything on it. I have to think pretty hard everytime I use a UI that has one, and a dropdown type menu is so much more intuitive.
-Aaron

My intentions were not to discuss interface design and am afraid we have gone off in a tangent completely irrelevant to my original question.
Kufa,
Thank you for your reply, I appreciate your input. I didn't mean to go into a lengthy discussion about other things, thanks again.
Is anyone else using a key other than the AVK_CLR key to PAUSE / RESUME their game?

My intentions were not to discuss interface design and am afraid we have gone off in a tangent completely irrelevant to my original question.
Kufa,
Thank you for your reply, I appreciate your input. I didn't mean to go into a lengthy discussion about other things, thanks again.
Is anyone else using a key other than the AVK_CLR key to PAUSE / RESUME their game?

Left "Soft" button - main menu
Right "Soft" button - Pause/Unpause
-Tyndal

Left "Soft" button - main menu
Right "Soft" button - Pause/Unpause
-Tyndal

Tyndal: yep that's probably the best way to achieve it
Mickey: well, thanks to you, it's still interesting to have some external comments point of view ;)
Btw we all just should make very good games / app and rock on the phone :cool:

Tyndal: yep that's probably the best way to achieve it
Mickey: well, thanks to you, it's still interesting to have some external comments point of view ;)
Btw we all just should make very good games / app and rock on the phone :cool:

Thanks, Tyndal.

Thanks, Tyndal.