Evennia (Arx) webclient feedback



  • So I saw on a different thread that someone was unable to satisfactorily use the Evennia/Arx webclient on their iPad. I am the current primary developer for the Evennia webclient bits and am always looking for feedback on good stuff and bad stuff. iPad/phone usage is one of the things that I tried hard to enable, so it sounds like there is further work to be done. That said, details on what is going wrong are always helpful.

    So, please feel free to chime in here with your experiences.


  • Pitcrew

    @friarzen I'll log in to it tonight and get you real feedback. My recollection is that it didn't "scale" nicely (which may just be a "by comparison" thing; I like the layout of the Ares scenes-on-portal, so I will validate that). Also, if I minimized my browser app, the connection dropped. I wound up downloading the iPad MUSH app to finish the scene.


  • Pitcrew

    The dropping connection thing is a big issue. Even if my phone screen went black/rest, I'd lose my connection to the game.



  • @krmbm said in Evennia (Arx) webclient feedback:

    Also, if I minimized my browser app, the connection dropped. I wound up downloading the iPad MUSH app to finish the scene.

    FWIW this is pretty standard mobile browser behavior, on phones and tablets. Ares does the same thing, it's just a bit less disruptive when the connection drops because you just need to reload the page and you can keep playing seamlessly; you don't have to reconnect to your character, catch up on poses, etc.

    As far as I'm aware, you need an actual app to get around the task-switch/power-save features to prevent that from happening.


  • Pitcrew

    @faraday said in Evennia (Arx) webclient feedback:

    FWIW this is pretty standard mobile browser behavior, on phones and tablets. Ares does the same thing, it's just a bit less disruptive when the connection drops because you just need to reload the page and you can keep playing seamlessly; you don't have to reconnect to your character, catch up on poses, etc.

    Yeah, I figured. But it's the primary reason the client isn't a workable solution for tablet users. :(



  • @faraday said in Evennia (Arx) webclient feedback:

    @krmbm said in Evennia (Arx) webclient feedback:

    Also, if I minimized my browser app, the connection dropped. I wound up downloading the iPad MUSH app to finish the scene.

    FWIW this is pretty standard mobile browser behavior, on phones and tablets. Ares does the same thing, it's just a bit less disruptive when the connection drops because you just need to reload the page and you can keep playing seamlessly; you don't have to reconnect to your character, catch up on poses, etc.

    In principle, there's no reason Evennia couldn't do the same thing. Keep a buffer of the last X lines that were sent to any given webclient session and whenever they reconnect you send it to them again. I can't see it taking up a meaningful amount of memory or processing to maintain that.



  • @Groth said in Evennia (Arx) webclient feedback:

    Keep a buffer of the last X lines that were sent to any given webclient session

    It's not the last X lines you saw that is the issue, it's all the stuff you didn't see in-between the time your phone alt-tabbed (and the connection dropped) and the time you got back to it.

    Not saying you couldn't solve it, but it would be considerably more challenging. You'd have to keep a buffer of the room, but then you run into the expectation on regular MU games that if someone's not in the room, they won't be able to see your chat. (Ares gets around this with the scene system.)



  • @faraday said in Evennia (Arx) webclient feedback:

    It's not the last X lines you saw that is the issue, it's all the stuff you didn't see in-between the time your phone alt-tabbed (and the connection dropped) and the time you got back to it.

    Not saying you couldn't solve it, but it would be considerably more challenging. You'd have to keep a buffer of the room, but then you run into the expectation on regular MU games that if someone's not in the room, they won't be able to see your chat. (Ares gets around this with the scene system.)

    It's not like the Evennia portal knows what you've seen or hasn't seen, it only knows what it has sent. Characters remain visible in the room for as long as their session is connected and sessions already remain connected for quite a while after the connection died, you could add a special case for web-sessions where you keep them alive for even longer (maybe 5 minutes?) unless quit is used.


  • Pitcrew

    I am the dumbest when it comes to anything code, but is there some way to recall last commands entered using the web-client on the phone? I realise there IS a way if on the computer, but I haven't figured out how to on phone, or tablet.



  • @Groth said in Evennia (Arx) webclient feedback:

    you could add a special case for web-sessions where you keep them alive for even longer (maybe 5 minutes?) unless quit is used.

    Unless my phone is in rest mode or alt-tabbed for more than 5 minutes, then I start missing things.

    I get why it works the way it does. My point (and krmbm/bear's as well, I believe) is that from a player's perspective it's disruptive to miss information.

    The only ways to solve that are either:

    a) Don't let the connection drop. This requires an app AFAIK.
    b) Make a way for the game to let you retrieve information (poses, pages, etc.) that transpired while you were offline. This requires a paradigm shift in how people expect to interact with the game.



  • @faraday said in Evennia (Arx) webclient feedback:

    Unless my phone is in rest mode or alt-tabbed for more than 5 minutes, then I start missing things.

    I get why it works the way it does. My point (and krmbm/bear's as well) is that from a player's perspective it's disruptive to miss information.

    The only ways to solve that are either:

    a) Don't let the connection drop. This requires an app AFAIK.
    b) Make a way for the game to let you retrieve information (poses, pages, etc.) that transpired while you were offline. This requires a paradigm shift in how people expect to interact with the game.

    You can't prevent the connection from dropping from the tablet/phone side of the connection but you can keep the session alive for however long you want on the server side. There is a trade-off involved in picking how long that should be because you don't want to give the impression that people are online when they are not which could be partially addressed by giving semi-disconnected characters a special tag.

    For Arx in particular keeping connections alive in this zombiefied manner would be helpful because whenever a character is fully disconnected it also despawns their retainers and respawns them when they log back in which can get rather spammy.



  • As long as the client retains the same session token, the Evennia webclient will log you back in where you were without need for a login process, even if you drop. But yeah, you will potentially miss stuff happening in the interim.

    We don't store the client input history with the session today, but that's certainly something that we could do, it would make for a good usability boost. It'd not be impossible to store a buffer of the last X time's input/output either (since Evennia's input/output format is generalized you could even store OOB messages intended to update your client or, say, button-presses until you reconnect).
    There is a quite extensive updates to the Evennia Session system coming and that would make something like this easier to implement. It not something I had planned but I could see the appeal of it.
    .
    Griatch



  • @Griatch said in Evennia (Arx) webclient feedback:

    We don't store the client input history with the session today, but that's certainly something that we could do, it would make for a good usability boost.

    Yeah, I think this would be a huge usability boost for the webclient combined with phone/tablet. The whole power saving behavior means you basically have to treat the phone/tablet as a stateless client and the Portal will have to maintain the line history between the constant inevitable connection timeouts if you want players to not miss whatever happened while their phone saved power.

    It could probably be a useability boost even for non-mobile clients.A command like 'replay' that resends the last X outputs would be pretty awesome for people changing computer for instance.


  • Pitcrew

    @friarzen The issue I remember with the UI is snapped below.

    D2729BA0-ECA7-4A73-8576-073E2A068E4F.png

    I don't know what the stupid little thingie at the bottom with the paste, undo, etc., is called, but it is constantly halfway blocking the input window.



  • @krmbm Hmm...yuck. I don't own an iPad so I've just kinda had to guess, but it looks like that is another version of:
    https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/334827/this-gray-bar-blocking-my-text-box-is-driving-me-insane-it-still-comes-up-even/334909

    If you turn off those settings does that bar go away (not the best solution, since it seems that is a pretty universal setting).

    I guess the other option I can think to try is to tap the + symbol on the input tab and then drag the new input tab out and above the other one to have two inputs where hopefully, just the lower one gets affected by that.

    Anyway, let me know how those tests go when you can.
    Thanks!


  • Pitcrew

    @Groth said in Evennia (Arx) webclient feedback:

    It could probably be a useability boost even for non-mobile clients.A command like 'replay' that resends the last X outputs would be pretty awesome for people changing computer for instance.

    This is, IMO, the really life-changing thing about Ares. It unchains you from your telnet connection - you can change computers (or devices, really - phones and tablets just as easy), stop and come back, lose your internet and hop back in when it returns, etc. It's so incredibly freeing that I couldn't imagine its impact on how I play before it happened. There is no longer a need to be actively THERE - not just watching your screen, but being connected at all - in order to not miss things. That's a lot of what makes Ares so flexible for changing and busy lives, I think.


  • Pitcrew

    @friarzen I was able to drag the input window up so I had more typable space. It eats into the lines on the screen, though. The side-by-side view was probably the most workable.

    Taking away the bar at the bottom might be a solution, but that bar is pretty functional. It has paste and undo and stuff on it. I would miss it.



  • @krmbm Hmm...it looks like the browser cuts off the tops of tabs as well, can you send a new screenshot of what the side-by-side view looks like on the device? Without the cog control on the Main tab, getting into the settings tab becomes impossible. Much of the client's extra features like font-size control and such just fail at that point.
    Much to ponder. Thanks!



  • @friarzen

    I think one thing that should be seriously considered is making an https://www.electronjs.org/ version of the webclient.

    This would be beneficial on both computers and mobile devices.

    1. On computers you would now have the benefit of having the webclient as its own window rather then 'just' a browser tab
    2. On mobile devices you would no longer get aggressively disconnected whenever you're not in focus.

  • Pitcrew

    @friarzen Side by side view

    FA7C7F48-F73E-4D12-A4F3-55A37420D202.png


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