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Author Topic: Proposal/Concept - Basic Inventory/Barter GUI  (Read 9218 times)
eleazzaar
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« on: March 08, 2009, 08:11:30 PM »

I've previously expressed my dissatisfaction with the clumsy way many RPGs deal with one character's inventory.  Often the GUI for exchanging things between party members and/or the store is really cumbersome too.  Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter, and FallOut all get low marks in this area, in my book.  Either there's not an easy way to exchange items between party members, and/or selling to stores & NPCs is an exchange that can only occur with one party member at a time.  With limited capacity and money, you often want to switch things around between various party members and the store as one big transaction that doesn't rely on you memorizing the exact equipment of all party members.

The following is the solution icelus and i came up with for Silver Tree, but is IMHO equally applicable for PARPG.

* a characters inventory panel only takes up about half the screen, so two panels can be up at once

* the rest is a portrait bar along the side or bottom of the screen that shows all party-members (and maybe a few other things).

* when you are interacting with a store, half the screen is the store's panel, and the other half is a party member's inventory.

Thus you easily swap, examine and rearrange the gear from two party members, or drag it onto the portrait of a third member to give it to them.  You can switch to different party member's inventory by clicking on the portrait in the bar.

When shopping you can easily switch (using the portrait bar) between all party members and make sure that everyone has what you want them to have before finalizing the transaction.


* ui.jpg (100.89 KB, 512x384 - viewed 536 times.)
« Last Edit: November 11, 2009, 08:44:18 PM by Gaspard » Logged
zenbitz
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2009, 08:58:13 PM »

Looks good.  We should not forget to add "external" inventories (such as pack mules, sleds, vehicles etc.) to the portrait bar. 

I wonder if there is some fundamental game design error in these games that makes "having lots of stuff" so important.
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2009, 02:23:12 AM »

I wonder if there is some fundamental game design error in these games that makes "having lots of stuff" so important.

The human desire to acquire is easily exploited in RPGs to motivate players.  I would only call it a "design error" when the interface isn't designed to handle lots of stuff gracefully, or when it interferes with a more important aspect of gameplay.

But several reasons occur to me that would tend to overemphasize grabbing and carrying everything you can.

* special quest items are often non-obvious.  You won't know that you shouldn't have thrown away the "brownish rock", and that it's the key to a important puzzle until hours or days later after you find it.  In non-linear RPGs you may complete a "recover the item" quest before being informed of it.  That happened often in Baldur's Gate.

* items often are complex enough that it's often non-obvious when a new weapon (or other item of equipment) totally obsoletes an older one, or when it merely fulfills a different role, and is just as necessary in a different scenario.  A large number of damage-types and the accompanying resistances is often a big part of that problem.

* selling everything for gold is a similar form of grinding to killing everything for XP.  Better gear and/or better skills is what lets you advance.  When money or equipment are too scarce, the player is pushed to trying to grab + sell everything.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2009, 07:12:46 AM by eleazzaar » Logged
mvBarracuda
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« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2009, 04:56:02 PM »

Could you please reattach your UI proposal eleazzaar?

Looks like it got lost in the website migration process :-/
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2009, 06:14:45 PM »

NP,
fixed.
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zenbitz
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« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2009, 08:06:24 PM »


* special quest items are often non-obvious.  You won't know that you shouldn't have thrown away the "brownish rock", and that it's the key to a important puzzle until hours or days later after you find it.  In non-linear RPGs you may complete a "recover the item" quest before being informed of it.  That happened often in Baldur's Gate.

I think a way around this is to make quest items  non-unique and/or zero encumbrance.

Quote
* items often are complex enough that it's often non-obvious when a new weapon (or other item of equipment) totally obsoletes an older one, or when it merely fulfills a different role, and is just as necessary in a different scenario.  A large number of damage-types and the accompanying resistances is often a big part of that problem.

My solution to this is to simply make it not matter very much.  Deadly weapons are deadly weapons, and you are either skilled with the or not.  The trickiest bit is dealing with long range.

Quote
* selling everything for gold is a similar form of grinding to killing everything for XP.  Better gear and/or better skills is what lets you advance.  When money or equipment are too scarce, the player is pushed to trying to grab + sell everything.

One idea I had was that the PC could "mark" caches (like say he slew a bunch of dudes but can't carry their stuff) , then sell directions to them to NPCs (at some fraction like 1/2 price). Such caches would be subject to scavenging by NPCs and spoilage, etc.
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2009, 09:01:23 PM »

* items often are complex enough that it's often non-obvious when a new weapon (or other item of equipment) totally obsoletes an older one, or when it merely fulfills a different role, and is just as necessary in a different scenario.  A large number of damage-types and the accompanying resistances is often a big part of that problem.

My solution to this is to simply make it not matter very much.  Deadly weapons are deadly weapons, and you are either skilled with the or not.  The trickiest bit is dealing with long range.

Yeah, fortunately is a nearly real world game like this, we won't have to deal with wierd damage types like "acid", "water", "cold" and various types of "magic."


* selling everything for gold is a similar form of grinding to killing everything for XP.  Better gear and/or better skills is what lets you advance.  When money or equipment are too scarce, the player is pushed to trying to grab + sell everything.

One idea I had was that the PC could "mark" caches (like say he slew a bunch of dudes but can't carry their stuff) , then sell directions to them to NPCs (at some fraction like 1/2 price). Such caches would be subject to scavenging by NPCs and spoilage, etc.

We had a similar idea for silverTree: the "buried treasure" part.  I'm not sure if we discussed selling the "treasure maps",  but that could work too.
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Gaspard
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« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2009, 09:34:23 PM »

How many of you consider it important that you'd have to have five different types of weapons and/or armor at all times with you ?
I recently saw a friend of mine play Fallout 3. He dragged along a minigun, a flame thrower, a rocket launcher, a laser weapon, a sniper rifle, a side-arm or two, three types of armor and whatnot.

Then I played the game on my own and I found that it's so much cooler if you try to rely on max two-three logical weapons of choice instead. I carried around a rifle, a sidearm and a melee weapon in case I ran out of ammo for the previous two.

What's my point is that trading buying and selling for your personal equipment and use should have less importance in the game. Useful working items would be valued enough in a post-apoc world that you could change a working toaster for a working pistol. It's all about who needs what. What type of character you're playing. If you're relying on melee weapons then you'd still want to keep a light firearm close by perhaps for a situation when you might need a ranged weapon of that kind, but the rest of the freaky plasma- and beamguns you could trade for healing chems or money or better melee weapons or whatnot.

this would render the point of stashes and three pack-mules or fodder for purchasing something essencial moot

Fallout had too many items for my taste. Of course it is cool if there's a variety you can choose from, I like that, but to buy something in a store I'd really have to make Sulik into a pack-mule and take buffouts to drag myself there to sell all the 150 gecko pelts to get a hunting rifle.
Why couldn't the game instead have a system in which there's a shopkeeper or maybe a tanner (tans pelts..) that has a need for gecko pelts and happens to have an extra hunting rifle from a precious transaction; then I'd trade a logical amount of valuable (to him) pelts for his 'useless' weapon.

A merchant-type character could then make a fortune looking up all the different prices in different places (economy-type games-wise) and the rest of the players would could ask around some to maybe not get a bargain, but still get a rifle for a super-sledge or vice-versa.

I mean this all takes a lot of balancing and this thought itself needs some throwing around (or throwing away, your call guys)
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zenbitz
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« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2009, 09:54:24 PM »

Quote
Yeah, fortunately is a nearly real world game like this, we won't have to deal with wierd damage types like "acid",...

/Crosses out plans for sulphuric acid shooting squirt gun
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2009, 10:20:50 PM »

How many of you consider it important that you'd have to have five different types of weapons and/or armor at all times with you ?
I recently saw a friend of mine play Fallout 3. He dragged along a minigun, a flame thrower, a rocket launcher, a laser weapon, a sniper rifle, a side-arm or two, three types of armor and whatnot.

Then I played the game on my own and I found that it's so much cooler if you try to rely on max two-three logical weapons of choice instead. I carried around a rifle, a sidearm and a melee weapon in case I ran out of ammo for the previous two.

I'm curious why you liked it so much better that way, and if you think your friend would have enjoyed it more playing with a smaller arsenal?


Personally i would prefer to generally prefer to have a smaller arsenal, but i'm usually afraid of ending up stuck because i don't have the right tool for the job.
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Gaspard
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« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2009, 10:36:34 PM »

Personally i would prefer to generally prefer to have a smaller arsenal, but i'm usually afraid of ending up stuck because i don't have the right tool for the job.

exactly why I prefer a smaller arsenal Wink

No i guess it would be fine if the game allows you to do the carry-all thing.
I personally do not find that kind of playing very logical. That somehow kills some of the Roleplaying elements for me. Of course I might be playing a Strong Dude Who Is Dumb And Carries A Lot Of Stuff Around (sorry if I offend anyone, try not to but I'm not a fan of hoarding myself). (there might be a in-game reputation of 'hoarder' you get if you constantly walk around with ten suits of armor of bazookas in your inventory Wink ). I'd advance my character so that he'd be good with a certain type of equipment. I'd rather be a (in Fallout) Wasteland-roaming adventurer that tries to get by in this unfriendly world.

One man'd be unfriendly toward this world if he had more weaponry at his disposal at all times than the whole Enclave and Brotherhood all together !!!
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eleazzaar
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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2009, 11:04:38 PM »

I've noticed this and a lot of other threads are getting way off topic.  I'm not innocent, either.

It's going to be really hard to people to get up to speed if the discussion of "XP or no XP" is scattered  throughout various topics and subforums including "graphics", where no sane person would look to discuss XP.
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Gaspard
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« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2009, 12:30:51 AM »

I can't say I'm truly on the topic of Inventory/GUI, but I was trying to illustrate my point which influences the ways I envision the design of the GUI. I agree I drifted... True that it should be under mechanics but in this case I find it that they're pretty close :/
If there's no need for a certain amount of equipment to be carried around at all times then that would set certain (more limited) visual parametres for the Inventory interface.

Otherwise we could just use a simple Excel sheet in which each item goes into a single shot and you equip them with the right click of your mouse and the background of equipped items turns blue and the background of nonequip-able items flashes red etc. OK hm.
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qubodup
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2009, 01:20:02 AM »

eleazzaar: is the concept art by you? (just to know what license it can be under) Is there a bigger/lossless version available (this one looks very compressed).
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maximinus
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2009, 04:02:45 AM »

eleazzaar: is the concept art by you? (just to know what license it can be under) Is there a bigger/lossless version available (this one looks very compressed).

If you're talking about the first image, then the gfx at the bottom are from Silvertree, but I can't find what license they use.
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