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.
@qubodup - so, are you against text-based by principle or do you just doubt it's practicality ?
The Jack Moffett arguments are valid in many aspects, but in the end we come down to a very big difference - we're dealing with a game interface rather than a website. While the design principles for icons should and do apply here, my goal's still to try and come up with a text-based inventory UI, which is
intuitive and simple to use.
The goal is to have the layout and divisions between 'containers' positioned in such a way that using them would not hinder your 'speed' while scrolling through your inventory - to have everything positioned in it's 'right' place and thus making it's use more intuitive.
Right now in the photochop I made everything is cluttered and not thought through, but when things are in place everything should make sense.
What zenbitz said applies too. When you have a furry coat and a bearskin in your inventory and only the furry coat is wearable, then you wouldn't go trying it on. It would probably be in a 'window' separate from wearables, or there wouldn't be a mark that it is wearable (wearable/wieldable items usually deteriorate and eventually break down). In-game in a container (chest, box, locker, car trunk)
you'd see the following:Container:
- A furry coat (well-worn)
Also - the text could have colour-coding instead of quick status info in brackets
all of the information that tells us that can be shown with an icon, too - the quality or state of an article of clothing can be a numerical value in the corner of an item + an icon can look more flashy at first glance.
Until now I totally forgot about this one (how could I, it was only the game of the year
in all gaming magazines before it's release) other big
example of a textbased inventory - *drumroll* FALLOUT 3. Here you go:
Personally I found it's use convenient rather than inconvenient. Simple, in your face with all the necessary information and the text is a single colour even because of the artistic choice made with the interface. I'm actually considering trying some of the FO3 inventory 'features' in the next photochop (which I hope I should have for showing soon enough)
In the FO3-like approach the tabs could be quickly accessed with the arrow keys, a matter or microseconds, if you've got the reflexes. If there enough items that scrolling becomes necessary, the arrow keys and mouse-wheel + scrolling bar.
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.
Would it be crazy nuts for coders to write a script that transforms the provided text into an image and rotates the image into place ? Also - depending on the layout the description is probably going to have a word limit or letter limit to keep it simple.
Whether there is a tool for it, in item-creation, either in mapper or separately, you'd have a section for the description and separate slots for weight and/or any other parameters, the post it would have it's own layout mapped and would position the text into it's correct place - in the game, the image would be rotated.
I mean - I think it is not necessary and a horizontal text would be fine, I'll try to address this problem in a future photochop for further discussion (again - it is not that important and in no way essential to the design, the rotated text I mean)
@ Technomage - the image you provided is broken : (( I couldn't find another image of the Myst inventory, either.