Dime UI Story: Acorn

This document accompanies the Acorn UI Diagram for Dime. The diagram gives a generic glimpse at Dime's standard Acorn UI.

Acorn relies on a tabbed interface, with four standard tabs: Server, Game, Out-of-Game Chat[1], and Settings. This story deals primarily with the game tab, making only passing mention of the others. Details can be added for them, as necessary.

GAME TAB

In addition to the standard field of play, the gametab makes extensive use of Heads-Up Displays (HUDs). Also note, players will likely want the ability to zoom the Game Tab in and out, within reasonable bounds. This could be accomplished at least three ways, which are not necessarily mutually exclusive: (1) Zoom In/Zoom Out buttons or sliding bar on the Game Tab, (2) preset zooms, and the player selects the desired zoom by clicking the appropriate icon, (3) display several levels of zoom in several Game Tabs.

HUDs

Money

In the lower-left (but configurable under the settings tab), the player's current wealth in pence[2] is listed. The character for denoting monetary units is configurable under the settings tab, as well.

Sausages

Also in the lower-left by default, the number of pork sausages the player possesses are listed.

Sty

Pigs are sold to the butcher when a player herds the pigs they want to sell into the sty. When the player closes the door, any of their pigs in the sty are sold.[3] The HUD here is merely a number shown floating above the sty door equal to the number of pence the player will receive if they close the sty door immediately. A sound-effect is played by default when pigs are sold.Merchant and Butcher Interfaces: The last two HUDs are also interfaces in their on right, and are identi- cal except for the icon of either a piglet (Merchant Interface) or saus- age (Butcher Interface). This HUD, sans icon, is depicted in the UI diagram (it's the merchant icon if you're not sure). In the upper-left, the total cost of the given order is listed. In the bottom-left, the player's total money[4] is listed. If the cost of a given order is more than current funds, the former appears in red and the Buy button will produce a sound effect if the player tries to scam the merchant. On the right, the player has two options for setting an order -- an increment/ decrement-by-one (top), or enter-the-ammount (bottom). Hitting enter in the bottom option will set the number in the top register. The interfaces are reasonably intelligent and try to be helpful from one visit to the next. On the settings tab, players can choose to have the order default to (A) a standard number set by the user in the settings tab or (B) the number previously purchased by the player, temporarily reduced if the player cannot afford the same number this visit.

Other Game Tab Points of Interest

Most of the following are enhancements the Dime interface adds for the player but they can turn off using the Settings Tab. Some default to on, some to off, but that decision is not made here. Additionally, several of these additional functions may be contrary to Acorn rules, though I don't believe any of them are clearly so:

NOTES

[1] zzorn has suggested that in-game chat is a desireable feature, and I tend to agree, but the Acorn rules make no mention of it at this time, and I didn't check with members of the Acorn team for clarifica- tion. No mention of out-of-game chat is made, either, but I did include it. In any case, addition of an in-game chat pane on the Game tab would not be difficult, though I would advocate a separate tab for full-screen in-game chat, providing a nicer interface for in-depth conversation while wolves devour all of one's pigs.

[2] Um, if this player really has $212, they won the game a long time ago.

[3] I'm not sure this is entirely consistent with Acorn's design, but the rules are ambigious on this point and I did not check with the Acorn team for clarification. There appears to be some question as to whether the pigs are sold when the owner closes the door or merely when the door is closed (i.e. by another player). I assumed the former -- meaning if Player A and Player B are both herding pigs into the sty, Player B can shut the gate and only their pigs will be sold. Player A's pigs will remain unsold until they actually shut the gate themself[6]. Unless players can steal other players' pigs -- another point Acorn documentation is ambigious on -- this actually has a slight benefit to Player A. (If players can steal other players pigs, God help anyone who tries to herd more than one pig into the sty.)

[4] Yes, the Game Tab pence HUD and the widget here do not agree.

[5] I should check with the Acorn team on this, as well: the rules say wolves prefer pigs to crabs, but that the purpose of "herding" a wolf is to have them eat crabs. If a wolf gets hungry and has both crabs and pigs in range, how does it decide what to eat? Furthermore does the wolf blindly go after the smallest pig, or will it choose another pig if it sees -- but cannot capture -- the smallest pig in an appropriate period of time? Unless hearing otherwise, I would assume the smallest pig in its sight radius.

[6] Let's hear it for ungrammatical third-person singular gender-neutral English pronouns.