We Happy Few, by Compulsion Games, is a rouge-like, survival-horror game set in a retro-futuristic and dystopian world. The creators cite Brazil (1985) and "medication nation" culture, where every conceivable problem can be solved with a pill, as sources of inspiration.

The alpha is well-polished and enjoyable, with room for improvement in how it explains saving.

Saving Options
One of the first things I do in every game is edit the settings (usually the mouse sensitivity is way too high for my tastes).

Here, I decreased my mouse sensitivity, and looked for the 'Accept' button like I had seen in the initial game setup (when it asked me whether I wanted permadeath on). I couldn't find one, so I pressed 'Enter.' When I pressed Enter, the Mouse Smoothing toggle switched. So I knew it wasn't that. Beyond pressing Enter, I couldn't determine how to 'Accept,' so I pressed 'Back.' No luck there, so I pressed 'Resume.'

After a few rounds of settings changes, and trying to figure out how or if the game was indicating settings saves, I determined that the way WHF displays both settings saves and in-game progress saves is by flashing an icon on the screen, like below.

Although I had seen the icon appear earlier, and have been trained that 'blinking/animated icon = progress saving indicator,' I did not, and do not, associate a blinking saving icon with my settings changes. To me, a blinking icon means that the game thinks it's time to save my progress because I've reached some kind of checkpoint, or I just pressed a save keybinding. A blinking icon is a subtle message that says, "Hey, you've made some progress, good job you!" I do not associate saving settings with this icon because saving settings does not indicate progress, it indicates preference.


  • It's pretty clear that the menu hasn't really been designed yet (which makes sense since it's just an alpha), but I very strongly recommend that one of the first changes you make for the menu is adding some kind of button that says 'Accept.' Otherwise changing one's settings is a frustrating experience.
  • Once you do add an Accept, consider allowing 'Enter' to be a way to accept a change.
  • A question - if I go into a menu, make some changes, and then press Esc a few times to exit the menus, did my settings save successfully? I would think that they wouldn't, but I'm not sure (because there's no Accept button).

Comments and Questions

For the most part (the savings thing really being the issue), We Happy Few is fine from a usability standpoint (the benefit of having a User Researcher on staff. Hi, Morgan!). There are a few things that were big enough to catch my attention, but too small to write an entire section about. I'll compile those here.

One of my first thoughts about the keybindings is "why do they have two default bindings for the crouch action?" For non-gamers, the Control key is often used in FPS for the crouch action -- and that worked in WHF. But in the very beginning, the player is encouraged to use 'C' to crouch. It's OK to have two keys do essentially the same thing (I did notice that Control is a temporary crouch, while it's held down, vs. 'C' is until it's pressed again), but it's a little strange to have duplication there.

The other thing about using 'C' to crouch is that 'C' is often used in other games to look at one's Character page (which on the image below would be the first ( ? ) circular tab). Although the game encourages the player to press Tab to see the in-game menu, most typical bindings for this menu work. ('I' for inventory, 'M' for map, 'J' for journal. I was a bit surprised by 'B' for crafting, but I'm not sure what else it would've been.) Since those bread-and-butter bindings work, I'm surprised that 'C' is used for something other than looking at one's character.

I'm also a bit torn about whether y'all should have some kind of hover text (or whatever) over the circular tabs to indicate what the shortcuts are for those pages- the design is currently very clean, but if We Happy Few is a player's first excursion into the gaming world, she or he may not know those common keybindings.

Equipping Items

The first time I opened the inventory, I had absolutely no clue how to equip an item or get it to be in my quick-equip section. This might be due to the location of the explanation text - it's currently hidden in the corner, and unless your mouse is hovering over something, you don't see this explanation text. Honestly, I was confused enough about how to quick-equip that I attempted to click and drag something from my inventory to that box. Because I was confused, the item iconography confused me -- I thought that the gear icon on the 'Metal Bits' hover explanation could have been a settings gear that would let me quick equip or change some kind of setting. But of course, as I tried to move my mouse over, it would disappear, because it's not a settings gear. I'd honestly recommend changing that gear icon to something else - it's commonly used as a settings icon, and even if that's not how it works here, it can be interpreted that way.

Location of Saving Indicator

It's weird that the flashing saving icon appears in the same location as the Date & Time - I didn't see it immediately in part because I think I didn't expect to see it in the same location as Date & Time. I'm also used to seeing it in the bottom-right, but maybe that's just what I'm used to.

Water Pumps

When one is at a water pump, up to two messages can appear: 'Hold [ E ] to drink from Water Pump' or Hold [ V ] to Fill Container from Water Pump.

The first time I encountered a Water Pump, I was a little confused, because I had forgotten that I had picked up a canteen, and because it said 'Hold [V] to Fill Container' and not 'Hold [V] to Fill Canteen' I wasn't sure why I was seeing this message. And at first when I pressed it, and no container appeared in my hands, I thought I had received the message in error (until I heard the sound effect of a container filling).

One comment/critique I have here is that those sentences are quite verbose. The Flame in the Flood handles this well - when the player has a Jar and is at a Water Pump, she or he sees the prompt "[ E ] Fill Jar", and then the player holds down E until the little circular progress icon around the E shows that the Jar has finished filling. If the player does not have a Jar, the prompt is "[ E ] Drink." (I'm pretty sure. I'm not near a water pump right now in the game, so I can't confirm.) I feel like that's a more succinct and elegant solution.

The Flame in the Flood also uses the 'Hold to Interact' method - but only points out that the player needs to hold down [ E ] in the first few minutes. After that, there's just a small progress indicator around the [ E ] button, rather than saying Hold every time. That's also a more elegant solution.

Final Thoughts

Even though it's only in its alpha state right now, We Happy Few is a lot of fun and I highly recommend the game. It's wonderfully creepy and well-crafted.

Thanks for reading!

League of Legends, by Riot games, is a third-person MOBA using three games modes: Summoner's Rift, Twisted Treeline, and Howling Abyss. There are two tutorials. After the first tutorial, players can choose to do another tutorial-like training. If they accept, players select one of three “champions” who each have unique abilities. Teams consist of 5 players with the goal of destroying the opposing team's nexus.

With over 67 million players every month, it is a top game for any MOBA player. With such high playing traffic, it is important to assess the usability of the game’s tutorial. Although I have some previous experience with MOBAs (Heroes of the Storm), the steep learning curve of League of Legends was slightly overwhelming.

After completing the tutorial for the game, I was brought to another tutorial level as an introduction to “Summoner's Rift”. Unlike the first tutorial, which teaches you the basic mechanics of the game, the second tutorial has you play with 4 other bots against the AI.

The primary usability problems with the tutorials involves the character loadout screen and item-buying mechanism. The first loadout screen has many voice/text introductions to what everything on the screen does. Some of the information is easily forgotten as it is not yet applicable, such as the “Runes” and “Masteries” tab.

Character Loadout Screen 

After accepting the battle training tutorial, I was brought to the above screen. By the time I finished selecting my character and waiting to play, there had been 17 information boxes accompanied by voice instructions.

This felt slightly overwhelming, although it did help that I had to select “Continue” on most boxed in order to progress, so I could take in most of the information at my own pace. By the time I was ready to play, I felt only slightly less confused than when I began.

The issue of the vague information about such items as “Runes” and “Masteries” combined with trying to figure out the previous information regarding selecting spells made it overwhelming. This is because selecting a spell prompts the instructions to move forward before you can select two spells.

Although there are only two spells available for the first game, there is no intuitive confirmation that tells the player they have selected the spells. I had been waiting for something to tell me I had selected the spell I clicked on. Because of this, I was stuck trying to ensure that I had selected two spells and ignoring the information that the tutorial had moved on to. The images below demonstrate this chain of action.

Spell Explanation
Select Spell
 Selecting first spell
Immediately after selecting first spell

Rather than a notification indicating the spell you had selected, the number “1” is shown on the first spell icon that is selected. After this selection is made, the number “2” is shown on whatever spell icon you select subsequently. This is slightly confusing since the spells selected do not give confirmation nor are they highlighted.

     Continue to the information boxed to use “Continue” button in order to allow the individual progression throughout the tutorial. (Moderate)
     Highlight the spells that were selected or include some sort of confirmation.(Moderate)
     When instructing the player to select items (such as spells), wait for the player to select both spells before moving on to the next instructional piece. (Severe)

Purchasing items

The biggest issue is the lack of information on improving your champion through purchasing items, especially when players buy items in real-time. After completing the initial tutorial and moving into the battle training phase, I had minimal knowledge of what items to purchase.

After playing the battle training for several minutes, I noticed I had less kills than the other bots I was playing with. Using the tab button to look at my kills/deaths/assassins, I noticed that the other team members had more items than I had.

After going back to the base to purchase more items, I was not sure which items to purchase. My ignorance, combined with pressure of purchasing items in real-time exacerbated the stress of quickly selecting an item.

I thought the most reasonable thing to do would be to start at the top and select items from each line moving downward since each line below the last had one more item, giving it the look of progression. Notice the arrows between items. I found these easy to miss partly because I was eagerly looking for any way to categorize items and partly due to wanting to select an item as quickly as possible so I could get back to the action. It was also easy to gloss over the text located above each row of item icons that explain what purchasing these items will help upgrade.

     Fit somewhere into the first tutorial that items affect each hero differently and certain types of heros may want to focus on certain items over others. (Minor)
     Have items displayed in a way that is categorized so the player can easily tell which category an item belongs to, such as highlighting the text above each item row. Right now it blends in with the dark background. (Moderate)

Final Thoughts:

Overall, the league of Legends tutorial does a decent job at introducing new players to the game. It would be ideal for players to have more of a chance to further their skill level and understanding of the game prior to jumping in with other players.

The current setup between the formal tutorial and the PVP option helps players in this way: by forcing players to work up to level 3 before being allowed to play PVP. Players are allowed to play with other teammates against AI’s until they level up, giving them more of a chance to familiarize themselves with the game. As a MOBA player, I’m excited to keep playing and learn more about the game!