Suggested modifications to Zen mode
The idea behind Zen mode is a pretty good one. No cluster, no hassle, an interface with only the basics for playing.
It's been pointed out, however, that it may be far too naked.
It's inconvenient for live games, let alone blitz, since it does not indicate how much time is left. Furthermore, there are no indications of prisoners or komi, so it's harder to know the game state on a glimpse. I could even argue that you may want to know who your opponent is (by username).
I'd propose adding that information, which is the bare minimum you need to know during a game. To do it as discreetly as possible, maybe text only, no fancy boxes or innecessary clustering.
If you are too partial for minimalism, then perhaps these could be optional.
An indication of the time for each player is essential, even for Zen mode. I have to keep switching between zen & normal OGS to check the time remaining, which is really frustrating. It means I no longer use Zen mode.
Camilla Löwy commented
Please add any elements to the side to avoid shrinking the board.
Evan Fabrikant commented
I like the idea of additional features to zen mode as settings options. As it is, I feel zen mode is perfectly minimal and true to the name. For me, and maybe others, any more would be clutter.
How about you chose in your profile settings what data do you want displayed in the zen mode?
The suggested options could be hidden and only fade in when the mouse pointer is over a sensitive area on the screen :-)
Tom Newman's suggestion would be probably the ideal of what I'm thinking. However, too many custom options may defeat the purpose of even having a Zen mode in the first place.
Sure every element everywhere could be made optional by the programmer, but that would make it unnecessarily complicated, and maybe a bit clunky. I mean, how do you even control where to put all the elements if some may or may not be present in any combination.
I don't want to put developers off considering these changes, so, from me, the simplest will do.
Oh yeah, that would be AWESOME (though I think that should be checkboxes).
But for Zen mode I’d still prefer the prisoners to be stacks of stones rather than numbers. (Or maybe a radio button here for choosing between both :-D )
Tom Newman commented
How about a zenmode+ option (z+) where you could select via a list of all UI elements with a radio button what you want to see. If you select nothing then z+ is simply zenmode. If you selected all options, then z+ is the full OGS experience.
"Z+, the ultimate design your own go server interface"
I’d like to see the number of prisoners as small stacks of stones, in tens, since in a Real Life game we also don't have ciphers but instead must count them.
I would additionally suggest adding a separate setting for "auto advance to next game after making a move" for zen and not for zen mode. Without it zen mode is useless in correspondance games but I do not like the new feature so much to have it always on.