At the various game shows where I've shown off MODSORK to new players, one of the most requested features has been a UI element that shows if the two avatars are within range and can form a beam between them. There has actually been a visual indicator for that in the game for a long time: When in range, avatars are rotated 45 degrees. But nobody notices it, it was too subtle, especially in the heat of gameplay:
Originally, my ideas circled around showing the in/out of range state directly on the avatars, by giving them a halo, or a light, or some visual effect like that. But as I updated the game to Unity 5.5, I noticed this version came with improvements of the line renderer component. So I quickly tried it out and added the effect below:
At the moment, the only reason players want to know about in/out of range is so they know if they can create a beam. Drawing a thin line where the beam will be is the most literal visualization of that. I had been sceptical if range information was even something that players could process and utilize to their advantage during fast-paced gameplay, but after some testing it feels like it makes the game easier, not only by giving the player total certainty whether a beam will be created if they press a button, but also by predicting exactly where that beam will be.
At the moment, I quite like this newly-gained certainty. I never envisioned the question of whether you're in range to be a desired aspect of the game's difficulty. But I've only played around with it a little bit, it'll be interesting to see what the players make of it. Hopefully it will make it more accessible for new players.
The rotational range indicator will be removed, but I may keep the elements that show you how far out of range you are when you press a button and it fails to create a link. While it makes the visuals more busy, I feel like the information could be useful, even though it's also an element that many people don't seem to notice. I also would like to make the line fit a little better in a purely aesthetical sense and maybe give the players range info on the acoustic channel as well. What do you guys think?