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Show HN: MNML – 1v1 turn-based strategy game built with Rust and HTML5 (mnml.gg)
127 points by ntr-- on Oct 25, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 29 comments

I recommend making some changes to improve the new user experience:

Take a look at how .io and other multiplayer web games present their homepages:





There are some common patterns that gamers will be familiar with:

- There's no registration form, only a name field.

- The game is sometimes displayed in the background as live action so you can get a feel for the gameplay before you commit to playing.

- After entering your name, you're presented with a “how to play” box that gives a quick overview. Your game is more complex than typical .io/multiplayer web games but has no such walkthrough.

I'd guess people will probably bounce when they see the registration form at present. (The form usability could also be improved — the “confirm agreement” text should be wrapped in a label so I can click that to enable the checkbox; I shouldn't have to click the checkbox itself.)

The game itself seems interesting but I struggled to quickly pick up the concepts without reading through a lot of text. Web and casual games are generally better when they don't require long manuals, so anything you can do to simplify the game or improve onboarding would help. Perhaps you could distill the game to a more simple concept without losing the essence of it?

FWIW - I watched the youtube video, was curious to try a little more, then saw the registration form and closed the tab.

Why? It doesn’t ask for an email address or any information at all so what are you protecting?

It's an effort barrier. Similar to the logic behind 'if your checkout process is x% faster you'll convert y% more customers'.

I didn't think about it at the time, but post analysing: I was mildly interested. Was going to try a game, but registration is a (small) faff so wasn't worth the effort.

thanks for your feedback, we'll fix up the label.

previously we had a kind of MNML tv where the latest games would be replayed in the background of the registration form, however many people complained at PAX this year that they were overwhelmed by seeing the gameplay without any introduction so we started adding more text.

it's a wicked problem we're facing, thanks for your input!

It's definitely a balancing act.

I'm not saying that all web games need to be dumbed down, but having built some myself “this game is too complicated” is pretty common feedback for anything that can't be picked up or shown to be intriguing within ~10 seconds. People are lazy.

There's definitely a market for more in-depth browser games, though. https://bot.land/ might give you some ideas in case you haven't seen it yet. They allow guest players, and the initial walkthrough is excellent.

As other have mentioned, it's a massive blocker asking for people to sign up just to try it and see if they like the game.

You can uniquely identify users using their session/cookie, then if they want to sign up later you can create an account and associate this with them.

The home page is really quite confusing, you could do with splitting apart the login/signup area and the introduction text/images. The way it's combined now makes it looks like I can interact with some of the info images.

Looks interesting, but very difficult without a proper tutorial. Sidenote: forcing > 11 char passwords just seems arbitrary.

thanks! small team & rapid changes lead to our existing tutorials becoming obsolete very quickly, it's definitely a pain point. after PAX AUS this year we implemented some better highlighting in the vbox which got us some of the way but we still have a lot to work on.

12 character minimum password length was burned into my circuits by this blast from the past: https://blog.codinghorror.com/your-password-is-too-damn-shor...

It's a game account not a bank account. Gamers follow the path of least resistance, if signing up to your game takes too much effort they will leave before trying out the game.

I come accross these .io games from time-to-time, and I've always wondered how they make their money. Does anyone have an insight on this?

Slither.io uses ads on the web and mobile versions, with in-app purchases on the mobile versions to play without ads.

The games generally have short play loops where ads are shown every time you die, so the number of impressions per session can be fairly high. The game cycle is pretty addictive and simple to pick up, but has a little depth to it.

Slither.io is incredibly successful for a web game ($100k/day[1] has been frequently quoted in the press, but I don't know the source of that and haven't seen more recent stats).

There is definitely money in web games, but it's often down to luck like any game promotion. Slither.io got huge traffic from vloggers like PewDiePie playing the game multiple times[2][3]. You also need quite high unique visitor counts before you can use certain ad networks. (The last mobile web game ad service I looked at was asking for around a million impressions a month before you could sign up.)

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slither.io#Popularity

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpDnU7xhrYo

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZR6wwF8kNQ

I've recently came across some articles by a guy that built and sold some io games. You can read some of what he wrote on his website:


i have no idea what to do.


Here's a tutorial playthrough video, sorry about that! our mechanics have changed a lot so our tutorials tend to go out of date very quickly

Very helpful, thank you.

I clicked learn, and I agree, there needs to be a more straightforward pre-intro.

Even if it's highly complex, at least give me an idea of how to get from what I know now, to what I need to know to play the game.

dev here, happy to answer any questions about the game!

please join our discord server to help grow the community, find opponents and receive updates.



Look interesting... I signed up. Clicked on the tutorial video. No sound or text or anything to tell me what is going on.

Clicked 'Learn'. Played through part of a game by randomly clicking around. The computer smashed me 1st round, and I still have no clue what to do.

Really wish it was more clear on how to play. Even just a text based walk through, with screenshots, explaining how to use & combine the skill & specs.

Sorry to hear that, there's an updated video with text overlays https://youtu.be/VtZLlkpJuS8

The info section in the top right should give an idea of what's going on. The idea is to make a strong team of 3 units with best skills / specs possible to win each round.

Great thanks for the reply, I'll check out the video!

Hey, I visited your booth at PAX last month. I had no idea it was web-based. Congrats on the release!

we were definitely an outlier at pax by not being unity or unreal based. thank you for coming by!

The tutorial isn't that great, it took me a few minutes to figure stuff out.

Create an account and click the learn/tutorial button. Then in your inventory/loadout screen, you can buy stuff from the 'VBOX' on the upper left, and they will appear in your inventory right next to the VBOX. You start with three Attacks in your inventory; click on them and then click on the slots to equip them onto your three ships. Then click ready in the lower right to begin battle.

In battle, you click 'Attack' and then click the enemy ship to use it on. When you aim all three ships, click ready to do a turn.

UI improvements could be used to make this more clear. When I click Attack in battle, it should prompt me for a target. On my first turn I clicked Attack and nothing happened in the UI, so I just clicked 'Attack' for all three ships, assuming they would target themselves, and thus I ended up wasting a turn.

In the inventory/loadout, there are a few paragraphs but you can use an overlay with hints to show the information. On older versions of Android when you set up the phone and went to the homescreen for the first time, it had a translucent overlay with arrows pointing to UI elements and snippets of text saying what they do. So put an overlay on the inventory with a dismiss button, and then keep the current paragraph of text around in case the user missed anything. An overlay can visually and very quickly tell me to 1) buy stuff from the VBOX 2) combine it in the inventory (if desired) and 3) move it to a ship. Drag-n-drop would be nice too if you could implement that - it's more natural and users are pre-trained to do it on mobile devices like tablets, and that training has crossed over to computers too.

It could also be nice for the VBOX and inventory and ships to be more separated with whitespace or outlines.

Also the 11 character password requirement is stupid. I tried using password as my password because I don't give a shit if this account gets hacked and I don't want to have to remember another password or clutter my password manager with entries that I used one day and never again. Please let me do that.

You could also be more forthcoming with what 'b's are. I start with 18bs, how do I get more? Will I have to pay real money, do I get them via battle, etc.

Almost 10% of males (= almost 10% of the people who will try this game) are red-green colorblind. You should add a setting for colorblind mode and have it swap to a safe palette (or redesign the base palette away from RGB). Make the setting visible when an account is created so colorblind people don't miss it. http://mkweb.bcgsc.ca/colorblind/ https://davidmathlogic.com/colorblind/

Contrast is low IMO, the sidebar on the right could be more clearly separated and buttons could be more clearly separted from the background (the green-outline black-fill ready button on the inventory screen especially, though the dark gray buttons on the inventory were also hard for me to see well until I turned off night mode).

Thanks for your feedback and taking the time to write our your experience.

`b`s (the ingame currency) only last for as long as each game. For more info about almost anything you can mouse over it and a description appears in the info pane.

Colourblindness is going to be a tough one! We would like to have specialised icons for each item but for the minute we just have programmer art.

The entire page fails to render if the Strip third-party dependency is blocked. Does the function of the game itself really rely on Stripe that deeply?

fixed, thank you for the report

looks, good but only had 2 mins and gave up.

Hi! Tell more please about tech. U use websocket? WS-RS? Client side wasm bindgen? And more... please!

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