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Author Topic: WIP - HUD and the GUIs, feedback needed !  (Read 50826 times)
zenbitz
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« Reply #30 on: October 30, 2009, 12:30:13 AM »

I know i've been away for a while, and probably don't have time to really get involved again.  But it's hard to resist a GUI discussion, and maybe i can help move this along.

We missed you!

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* Has the idea of having a party been abandoned?  None of these GUIs support multiple characters.  A good GUI for a party is very different from a single player game GUI.  Even if you don't directly control them, you'll want to know some of your companion(s) stats and status

No, but I guess we are just trying to get something out there.  I think the game as to work equally well with parties of 1, 2,3,  etc. (up to... what did we say, 6?)

It would be wise to keep this in mind, however.  FOs' "party interface" was hacked around the dialogue interface... which was kind of meh.  But I do like the concept that the party-NPCs are not your little puppets... they are people!  With feelings!    It would be kind of cool if they just communicated with you by talking.  You know.  Like your actual friends.  They might even lie!

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* Why do we need a compass?  Can you actually rotate the viewpoint?

Strange, but for some reason "lost in wilderness" to me means "compass good" but I haven't actually pondered the game mechanics of it...  We can just table it for now.


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* I wouldn't make a "skill" button for using skills, but instead bring up a contextual menu when you click on an object.  For skills that have no object (if any), click on the player's character.

Agreed.

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* I found the little text box crammed into the side of fallout's hud inadequate and annoying.  And if Zenbits has his way our calculations won't be nearly that simple.  We need more room for it.  I'd put that text readout in it's own box that can be resized, and it can be turned off when not wanted.

Agreed.

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* I believe you need some sort of "humanoid" icon (at least for the selected character) to show what is damaged if that is indeed significant to gameplay.  However, having 35 hit locations that don't really matter seems excessive.  IMHO hit locations should be reduced to a number that really matter to the player, and can practically be displayed to the player.
You also probably need a more linear way to see how close to dead a character is.

What does the player care how the internals of the game work??  The point of having 5x hit locations was to allow Players to customize armor and clothing bits.  Which is cool and post-apocalyptic.   

Practically speaking, I guess you could model this with armor that has fractional coverage (like an elbow pad covers 15% of the arm), but mechanistically or conceptially this is not actually simpler.

If all it takes is "one good shot" to kill you... it's not really going to matter "how close you are" to death.

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* Temperature bar should probably look like an actual thermometer, i.e. not a red-blue gradient, but a red line (or silver) that stops at the level temperature.

I actually think it would be cool to look like one of those cheesy wintercoat zipper thermometers.

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* Character and Inventory screens should be separate, unless there is some compelling reason they need to be visible at once.  I think there will be too much info to fit at once anyway.

Agreed, with caveat that if Gaspard can make it work, I'm coold iwth it.

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* I don't see a need for a window navigation between "trade, loot, sell, steal, gamble".  These actions will be rarely available from the same object, i.e. if you click on a box or a corpse, you can only loot.   "Trade" and "Sell" should probably be the same interface, i don't see a reason to distinguish them.  This and especially gamble could be accessed via dialog.  "Steal" is should probably be an action you initiate against a person.  

I think he was just brainstorming... I agree pretty much with the above.  Under no circumstances should you be able to "steal" from someone while you are talking to them.... I will have to think about a "gamble" interface.  Dialog doesn't really seem right...  it's more like trade.  "I'll give you 2 bullets for the jerky".  "How about 3??"  "How about we dice for them?"
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superfluid
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« Reply #31 on: October 30, 2009, 02:19:14 AM »

I agree more or less with everything that's been said so far regarding the HUD.

One suggestion I have is that for the sake of time to implement and keeping it simple, as a long-time Rougelike player, I'd like to nominate a Nethack-like inventory/equip screen. It's a very simple list of your equipment with their stats, and an indication of whether it's equipped or not. IMO these guys got it right (with a lot of stuff, actually) a long time ago. I think we could learn a lot by seeing how they handled things.

« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 02:23:53 AM by superfluid » Logged

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« Reply #32 on: October 30, 2009, 10:29:52 PM »

Why not enable multiple ways to "play" the game? Such an inventory system is super simple.

So hardcore players could have and keep it... the default however should more be Fallout-style (i mean graphical)
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superfluid
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« Reply #33 on: October 31, 2009, 12:49:27 AM »

Why not enable multiple ways to "play" the game? Such an inventory system is super simple.

So hardcore players could have and keep it... the default however should more be Fallout-style (i mean graphical)

Implementing two interfaces would be... twice as much work Smiley

I'm not saying it can't be graphical, but just putting the idea out there that the flashier the design the more work it will be to develop, debug and maintain. Specially for a techdemo, and we're almost into November already
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #34 on: October 31, 2009, 06:14:22 PM »

We missed you!

thanks

* Has the idea of having a party been abandoned?....

No, but I guess we are just trying to get something out there.  I think the game as to work equally well with parties of 1, 2,3,  etc. (up to... what did we say, 6?)

It would be wise to keep this in mind, however.  FOs' "party interface" was hacked around the dialogue interface... which was kind of meh.  But I do like the concept that the party-NPCs are not your little puppets... they are people!  With feelings!    It would be kind of cool if they just communicated with you by talking.  You know.  Like your actual friends.  They might even lie!

I also really like the idea of non-puppet party-members.  But practically speaking, that's not something that can be quickly implemented.  I expect the most practical path would be to first implement the GUI and controls for the party just the same as for the player character.  Then we can later start building the AI and defining the exceptions to player control.

As for an dialog-only control system, in my experience those are annoying.  I found FO's system limiting.  Un-patched NWN1 also mostly used the dialog to control your henchman, and it was a big pain.  Checking stats, trading items and equipping gear are simply much more easily done with the same GUI that the player uses than a convoluted dialog tree.  Even if we disallow some of these actions (or a subset of them, or disallow under certain circumstances), it's still probably simpler to disable or grey out part of the GUI.  Even if you can't change a minion's inventory, you may want to examine it and see how he's equipped.


* I believe you need some sort of "humanoid" icon (at least for the selected character) to show what is damaged if that is indeed significant to gameplay.  However, having 35 hit locations that don't really matter seems excessive.  IMHO hit locations should be reduced to a number that really matter to the player, and can practically be displayed to the player.
You also probably need a more linear way to see how close to dead a character is.

What does the player care how the internals of the game work??  The point of having 5x hit locations was to allow Players to customize armor and clothing bits.  Which is cool and post-apocalyptic.   

Practically speaking, I guess you could model this with armor that has fractional coverage (like an elbow pad covers 15% of the arm), but mechanistically or conceptially this is not actually simpler.

If all it takes is "one good shot" to kill you... it's not really going to matter "how close you are" to death.

I don't understand what point you are trying to make here.

Obviously we don't need a complex GUI to tell the player he is dead.  But for everything else... all the "one not-good-enough" shots, shots deflected by armor, and non-fatal melee damage, the player is going to want to know how much a character is damaged, and what effect (if any) it has on the character's abilities.  He needs to know (for instance) when it's time to run away.

He cares about the internals workings of the game to the degree that it determines weather he wins or looses combat.


I will have to think about a "gamble" interface.  Dialog doesn't really seem right...  it's more like trade.  "I'll give you 2 bullets for the jerky".  "How about 3??"  "How about we dice for them?"
Well, you could integrate gambling into trading, but that seems a little odd.

Lots of people would be willing to trade that won't want to gamble.  Gambling is generally more a form of entertainment, not a part of normal commerce.


Implementing two interfaces would be... twice as much work Smiley

I'm not saying it can't be graphical, but just putting the idea out there that the flashier the design the more work it will be to develop, debug and maintain. Specially for a techdemo, and we're almost into November already

Exactly.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #35 on: November 01, 2009, 11:05:28 PM »

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I also really like the idea of non-puppet party-members.  But practically speaking, that's not something that can be quickly implemented.  I expect the most practical path would be to first implement the GUI and controls for the party just the same as for the player character.  Then we can later start building the AI and defining the exceptions to player control.

That doesn't make sense.  Having NPCs (in your party) play exactly like NPCs not in your party, that decide not to shoot you (i.e, NO special interface whatsoever) is actually the easiest case, isn't it.
You still have to write the NPC (enemy) AI.  If the NPC (friend) AI sucks just as bad, at least it will be balanced.

But your actually suggestion here is also good - I think I would just have "tabs" for each character in your party (assuming we give the PC _any_ special knowledge or control), and grey out certain parts.

I don't see how that's a "special" GUI for party interactions, it's just a "stack" of the single player GUI.

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Even if you can't change a minion's inventory, you may want to examine it and see how he's equipped.

See, you used the word "minion" there.  What if they aren't minions?  It's an interesting problem to be sure - how much should the Player be allowed to "know" about his NPCs?  I am kind of into him knowing as little as absolutly necessary.  A party member should not be a minion... he should be someone who agreeds to hang out with PC for mutual benefit.   

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I don't understand what point you are trying to make here.

Obviously we don't need a complex GUI to tell the player he is dead.  But for everything else... all the "one not-good-enough" shots, shots deflected by armor, and non-fatal melee damage, the player is going to want to know how much a character is damaged, and what effect (if any) it has on the character's abilities.  He needs to know (for instance) when it's time to run away.

Well, we are kind of talking past each other here, but not really disagreeing.

1) Player has a general "damage" rating that when it goes to 100%, he's out cold.  There are similar ratings for exhastion and stress.  You can call it "hit points" if you want me to hate you.

2) Player has a simple graphical gui to see if he has any "serious" wounds (i.e, beyond the subdual damage above).  Using green-yellow-orange-red-black, that's "no wound", "minor wound", "serious wound", "critical wound", "Dead (or limb destroyed/severed)".    We could probably also

Now - I did detail some sub-classes of major and serious wounds that have different penalties.  I think this is fine.   If you are IN COMBAT and you get a "hurt leg" (say "orange" level which implies some moderate skil/stat penalty) - you don't know if it's mildly sprained, severely sprained, ligament or muscle tear, or what)... all you know is that you can't run or jump on it.   You would have to actually take a moment OUT OF COMBAT and diagnose the injury (or have someone else do it).

But practicaly speaking... the results in combat (i.e, how much your skills are impaired are *roughly* the same).  Why should the player use information like -20% to skill vs. -25% to skill to make a decision whether or not he should flee... 

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He cares about the internals workings of the game to the degree that it determines weather he wins or looses combat.

To summarize: An "orange" leg wound is an "orange" leg wound, the rest it just details and healing time.

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quote author=zenbitz link=topic=413.msg6120#msg6120 date=1256859013]I will have to think about a "gamble" interface.  Dialog doesn't really seem right...  it's more like trade.  "I'll give you 2 bullets for the jerky".  "How about 3??"  "How about we dice for them?"
Well, you could integrate gambling into trading, but that seems a little odd.

Lots of people would be willing to trade that won't want to gamble.  Gambling is generally more a form of entertainment, not a part of normal commerce.

I actually think gambling tends to have a little too much emphasis in RPGs.  I was just getting creative with the idea that it's related to barter...   I guess in PARPG it could be used as entertainment that lowers your stress meter...  (unless you lose!).  I dunno... gambling interface is sort of 142,000th on my list of things to do.

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I'm not saying it can't be graphical, but just putting the idea out there that the flashier the design the more work it will be to develop, debug and maintain. Specially for a techdemo, and we're almost into November already

Exactly.

Here we agree... but I think either way for party based stuff we are OK from a design perspective.  We can either extend the PC interface to other people with "tabs" (like uh... you know... Amazon.com interface) or not really alllow much interaction at all.

I don't really think we should worry about some kind of "party matrix" interface where you tell Bob to use his axe and Jim to use his cross bow, and Merlin to case lightning bolt.

As always... programmers need to write GUI (like all code) such that it's not hard to extend it for other ideas.
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Gaspard
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« Reply #36 on: December 10, 2010, 06:52:13 PM »

So to continue on the topic I kind of started over at the IRC - text-based inventory as a notebook screen I'm quoting one of superfluid's posts

I agree more or less with everything that's been said so far regarding the HUD.

One suggestion I have is that for the sake of time to implement and keeping it simple, as a long-time Rougelike player, I'd like to nominate a Nethack-like inventory/equip screen. It's a very simple list of your equipment with their stats, and an indication of whether it's equipped or not. IMO these guys got it right (with a lot of stuff, actually) a long time ago. I think we could learn a lot by seeing how they handled things.



Nethack screen: http://retrobits.net/palmos/images/nethack07.png:


I used to play a lot of text-based games, many MUD's mainly, and I see this as being very attractive indeed ))
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« Reply #37 on: December 11, 2010, 07:11:43 PM »

I don't mind text-only inventory, but... OMG NOES for nethack-like interface to that. I just hate it. I have been playing a lot of roguelikes, even play now some (I play more IF at this time, but I have NetHack and POWDER running on my PDA), and what they came up with in NetHack keeps me away from whole game. Even when it is mouse-driven variant its just feels sooo clumsy to use it.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #38 on: December 14, 2010, 02:58:21 AM »

I don't mind text-only inventory, but... OMG NOES for nethack-like interface to that. I just hate it. I have been playing a lot of roguelikes, even play now some (I play more IF at this time, but I have NetHack and POWDER running on my PDA), and what they came up with in NetHack keeps me away from whole game. Even when it is mouse-driven variant its just feels sooo clumsy to use it.

Agree.. however some kind of file-tree like clickable list might be OK.  Maybe even click-and-drag.  These are implemented in just about every programming language.
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Gaspard
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« Reply #39 on: December 14, 2010, 01:01:15 PM »

Also, this could be implemented fast.

I haven't been able to sit down and show you guys what I have in mind, but this way we could have a working inventory (textbased) and thumbnails etc could and would come later.

EDIT:
OK, I photochopped a fast thing together from your (Q_x) notebook from the blog and things I googled for õ_õ
It is very rough and not thought through, but it should show what I have in mind - instead of a puppet we'd have a list of places where things can be worn - the more you load things onto your body, the more you get protection from cold, but would lose in mobility (though that's already the mechanics section...)
In the right there are two "post-its" on the left you get the image or drawing/sketch of the item ("glued" into the notebook) and on the right the text part - description (the one paperclipped)

you'd use and equip/unqeuip items by double-click or equip/unequip by dragging

more thoughts: I guess the backpack should get a separate window on the page to the right like the quickslots have on the left (also: right now I have accidentally the quick slots in the carrying window, too)
on the right tehre could be tabs (bookmarks) for: wearable, consumable, weapons, all (default)


« Last Edit: December 14, 2010, 02:43:05 PM by Gaspard » Logged
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« Reply #40 on: December 14, 2010, 04:19:34 PM »

OK, step by step:

I love the idea.
If you have a scanner - it is trivial to make superior quality artwork for mockups like this just by using it to scan elements and chop/glue it later digitally.

We will be having hard times rotating the text.
We may use bigger squared paper area for the list. Dunno how to solve the problem of having slider on the right side of the inventory list, but maybe someone will have a better idea. Maybe it will be better when moving description to the left and browsing in pages instead of sliding the list up and down?

I also find easy to interchange contents of left and right sides of the notebook, so that you can have:

wearing items | inventory
barter | inventory
item description | inventory

but we may also change it easily to:

wearing items | type X or Y items
or
container A | container B


Edit:
parts of that file may be useful:
http://opengameart.org/content/various-old-paper-stains-drops-and-other
« Last Edit: December 14, 2010, 04:38:24 PM by Q_x » Logged

mvBarracuda
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« Reply #41 on: December 14, 2010, 04:51:48 PM »

Looks great to me Gaspard :-)

One major advantage of a mostly text-based inventory interface is that it can at least hide some of the complexities of the inventory mechanics.

E.g. that's the current encumbrance mechanics are pretty complex, see:
http://wiki.parpg.net/Proposals:Encumbrance_Armor_Clothes

It would be quite complicated to visualize the different inventory slot types without risking to "bloat" the GUI. If you use a text-based inventory interface, the different inventory slot types are just another line of text per type.

Added the mockup to the wiki:
http://wiki.parpg.net/Gallery#GUI

EDIT: Concerning support for slightly rotated text: pychan doesn't seem to support something like that out of the box. Nevertheless it sounds like a great concept to me to underline the "handmade" look of the GUI. So perfectly aligned text would actually look pretty odd in this case. So if pychan doesn't support rotated text out of the box, we'll definately find a way to implement support for it ourselves.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2010, 11:34:17 AM by mvBarracuda » Logged
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« Reply #42 on: December 14, 2010, 09:34:53 PM »

Beautiful Gaspard! I'm loving it Smiley It really works well with Q_x's notebook concept.

In terms of the page scrolling, we could use a "doggy-eared" page effect. This is how the original Myst games did it if I remember correctly - you just click on the folded edge and it flips to the next page. Kind of annoying at first because it isn't particularly intuitive, but you get used to it pretty quickly.

This is what I mean:


Paper/post-it tabs would also work, just like the rest of the notebook (maybe one tab per container?).

Of course, this would make the inventory non-continuous which could pose some problems - we probably don't want to split containers across inventory pages. However as long as we set a maximum size on the containers a simple algorithm could sort the inventory screen such that containers aren't split.
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« Reply #43 on: December 15, 2010, 01:05:59 AM »

I think icons have strengths which text can not have:
  • Icons are more easily distinguished, making them easier to find. When all of the [items] are presented as words, each word must be read in turn to find the desired one. Icons, on the other hand, are easily remembered and can be found at a glance.
  • Icons usually take up less space. This allows more functions to fit within the same space, or allows for the UI [inventory] to take up less screen real estate.
  • Icons can incorporate [item] status information.
Based on this text vs icons in web design post by Jack Moffett.

Regarding space: look at the inventory screen of these BG2 screens and imagine it in text form.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #44 on: December 15, 2010, 01:43:22 AM »

I don't think the advantage of Icons is very clear cut when you are dealing with many 10's of items that can be highly similar.

And actually - there are 28 Icons in the above "Post Reply" think and ~1/2 of the I don't know what they are.  The ones I DO know are "universal" Icons.

So in the case where objects/tasks are easily distinguishable icons are great - assuming you use interface so much that they are memorized.

BUT in BG2 for example - how many things are represented by 'green potion'?  what's the difference between green and blue?  How do you tell between the +1 Sword of Adequacy and the +8 Sword of Awesome Smite?   How deep the blue flaming border around the sword is?

With icons - it's easy to tell a Leather Jacket from a Machete or a .357 magnum - but not so easy to tell a .357 magnum from a .38 special or a Machete from a Sax or a Leather Jacket from a Pea Coat.

So - it cuts both ways.  In any case, you need to have mouseover/tooltip with text over the icons.

The other advantage of a text view is that we don't have to create 250 icons RIGHT NOW.
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