As I now have all the 12 current skills available I'm finding myself wanting to use more than the four that are readily and quickly accessible. It's not hard to use the book icon to bring them all up, but it's not as quick as I'd like it too be. The icons are a bit smaller, so I generally have to focus to make sure I tap the right one. It might not be so severe that I always end up dying when I have to bring it up while in combat, but I think many of you would agree that it could be done differently.
A lot of people have suggested adding a few more buttons, but I think that'd be a mistake. The controls already take up quite a bit of the screen, and when you're playing on an iPhone or iPod touch there isn't all that much to begin with. So I quickly dismissed adding more buttons.
Yesterday I saw another comment about wanting more skill buttons, so I started giving it some thought. My first idea was that you could use simple gestures to execute a skill, like draw a circle, or draw a line up the down. But since left and right is reserved for moving the camera view, this seemed like it would be very limited if you can only do up/down motion. After that I thought of a toggle variation that would replace the book option with a button that cycles through 3 pages of 4 skills each, but it seemed cumbersome since you'd have to tap the toggle button twice to get back to the page 1 if you are on page 2 (as in toggling goes like page 1 > 2 > 3 > 1 > etc.). It seemed like a good way to move through the skills though, so I took that idea but replaced the toggle button idea with swiping left and right to move through skill pages.
Let me illustrate.
So here are our four primary skills, let's call these four page 1. As you can see I also took the liberty to rearrange some buttons, mainly to give the skill buttons a bit more room, but I think it'd be a good idea to move the emoticons icon next to the chat too, since they kind of belong together. I kept the book button, although it wouldn't really be necessary with this method. But don't focus too much on that, this idea could just as well work with the current layout too.
So now we want to go to the next four skills on page 2. Within this white frame would be the swipe area for the skills. If you swipe left or right outside of this area you'll move the camera view as you do now, but inside this area left/right swipes flips through the skill pages.
So we swipe left with our thumb, page 1 slides out and we have..
..page 2, skills 5-8. Imagine it working exactly like how you swipe through the pages of apps on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. This would be the same thing, only with 3 pages of single columns.
Swipe left again..
..and we are on page 3, skills 9-12.
Swipe left from there and you end up at page 1 again, or swipe right to go back to page 2. Being able to swipe both left and right would also mean that with the current maximum of 12 skills, with this setup of 3 pages all 12 skills would be accessible with one swipe left or right and tap.
Note that I don't mean for it to actually look blurry when you swipe, it's just to illustrate the swiping motion, and I'm not suggesting that you should be able to place a skill on several pages, I only did this because I don't have points on all 12 skills but still wanted to illustrate what a full set of 12 skills would look like.
Some additional thoughts:
• The skills page would function in the same way as it does in-game, you'd simply swipe left and right over the righthand-side column to access the pages. There'd also be an indicator to tell you that there's more than one column. This way you could assign each page exactly how you want it to be, which could be useful for Enchantresses for example who might want all their healing skills on one page, and AoE skills on another. It could look something like this:
• If you have four or less skills, all you have is one column. Swiping left and right wouldn't move to another empty column, but maybe trying to swipe could show that column budging a little and going back just like it does in the iPhone menus if you are on the last/only page. Eight or less skills and you have two columns that you can swipe back and forth between, and then finally three columns if you have nine or more skills. And if there are more skills added in the future, a fourth column and so on could be added.
• However, even if you have all 12 skills, there's no obligation to assign them to all three pages. If you only add eight skills to two pages, it would only swipe between those two. If you have 8 skills but only really want to use 4, you could just assign four skills to one page.
• This could also work as a up/down swipe instead of left/right. It's hard to tell without being able to actually test it to say which would feel more natural, but either way would use the same principle of swiping within the white frame I showed above. It could perhaps even be a menu option, a choice to either swipe up/down or left/right since I'm sure everyone has their own preference.
• Swiping is a technique we are all very familiar with using these devices too, so it shouldn't be a problem for anyone to use this control method as long as in-game help and such makes it clear this is how it works. It's also something that is unique to these devices, and I've always been a fan of games and apps that take greater advantage of the unique control methods these devices offer rather than just having plain, old buttons. In short: swiping is cool.
• This idea would work just as well on the iPad version of the game.
• The names have been blurred to protect the innocent.