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PC UI needs a makeover badly


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I really hope the PC demo UI isn't the one we will see in release. This UI worked great in the 360 demo, I knew what I was doing, and figured everything out easily. However, in the PC demo it's not near as clear. It's a lot harder to figure everything out, and the UI makes it confusing with the keyboard and mouse. I'm just talking about the main display UI. Honestly, if I had not played the 360 version first, I wouldn't have even known to look for HALF of the stuff my character can do in the PC version.

 

The game needs a proper hot bar and such rather than what it has. Having to hold shift to see the other half of the abilities and then pushing the numbers for them while holding shift is very awkward as well. I understand that the different stances utilize different abilities, but I know that the UI can be set up for PC players to better see how that works. Tons of other RPG's do it.

 

Right now with the current UI and the current controls, everything feels like a jumbled mess when trying to play. Once you figure it all out, sure, it's playable. But it's like trying to play a game with the controller upside down.

Edited by Masasume
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The game needs a proper hot bar and such rather than what it has. Having to hold shift to see the other half of the abilities and then pushing the numbers for them while holding shift is very awkward as well.

I don't think a hotbar would work. What the game needs, apparently, is for the abilities to be bound to accessible keys. We have three easily attainable keys (E, R and F) close to the WASD keys, why didn't they use those for abilities? Heck, the set-up looks like the UI! Q to change stance, Space for triggering the defense stance, probably Left Shift or C for the enhanced abilities. Hotkeys for menu can be bound to random keys if they like, they're not as important.

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I disagree that the UI is okay the way it is. It works for consoles, but not PC. Currently the demo is just a copy/paste of the 360 version. For this game to survive as a PC game, they need to work harder on it's PC version rather than just giving us the same thing.

 

I went ahead and made a quick visual idea of what a better PC version UI could look like.

UI.jpg

 

And as far as controls go, it's up to the devs to find controls that are comfortable for gamers on both their console and PC versions as well. If everyone is having to go in and edit the controls when they play the game, then something is wrong. The default controls should feel comfortable to most players. Especially in a game where some functions won't work unless another key is being held down.

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In Divinity 2, your character has a human form and a dragon form.

 

When your character morphes into the dragon, your skillbar/quickbar morphes as well. The same could be used for Anjali... I also see no reason to have the mana bar & health bar so huge. I'd place it on top of the skill/quickbar, or maybe let them circle around the avatar portrait.

 

This is how Divinity 2 did it:

divinity220101111021627.png

 

divinity220101113024833.png

 

Simple and effective.

The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.

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I don't see the difference TBH.

 

Really? The current UI only shows 3 abilities at one time, despite their being 6 abilities in all... It's a bit silly.

The UI I set up shows all abilities at once and would actively highlight the abilities you can use based on your form/stance. From what I could see from the demo, all the characters are going to have two "forms" along with the guard stance. The warrior for example has his tanking form and his DPS form.

 

If you noticed, I put 1, 2, and 3 up on the abilities. That's a nice visual reminders for PC players on what to push. If they were to change those keys to E,R, and F, as was suggested earlier, then it would change on the abilities to those keys.

The 360 and PS3 don't need to visually show that. They standard UI simply mimics the controllers form. That doesn't work for a PC conversion because keyboards have FAR more keys than a controller does. The same UI doesn't really work for it.

 

As far as the health bar and mana bar go, really, I think anything can work in that department. I'm sure it's large because most people have larger screens than they used to back in the day.

 

I think as long as it's placed close to the abilities, it's not that big of a deal where or what it looks like.

 

As for the special ability, I left it over in on the characters picture frame, but thinking of it now, it would likely go best between the two forms. It's nice to be able to see it easily. They used the special ability in Dungeon Siege two, and in that it was also placed more in the center of the screen. Much more noticeable.

Edited by Masasume
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I meant the Divinity 2 shots virumor posted. All I see is different ability(?) icons, which DS3 has too.

 

Ah, yeah. Haha. Looks like Divinity 2 did exactly what the current DS3 UI does. It switches without letting you see the other forms abilities at all. I've never played that game though, I don't know how often you would need or want to switch between forms or anything like that, so the UI working like that may be just fine for it.

 

DS3 on the other hand, there really is no need to minimize what you can see. Most PC RPG's have at least 9 abilities on screen as it is, so making the UI work the way it does with only showing three doesn't seem all that logical for the PC version.

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To be honest, Masasume, your suggested UI would be better (esp. if everything was a bit smaller and leaner), but not really that different.

 

I think you only see the 3 abilities becuase you can't use the others in your current stance anyway, which I'm fine with. Would be a very different story if we could. And I'm not sure what you want changed about Stance change / Block - they are keypressed & nearly instant at the moment anyway.

 

To me the main thing is the font size, and that horizontal clamping animation every time you switch menus.

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To be honest, Masasume, your suggested UI would be better (esp. if everything was a bit smaller and leaner), but not really that different.

Thanks

 

I simply want to see everything on the screen. I know that you can't use the other abilities unless in the right forms/stances. I just don't see the point in hiding the other abilities completely when there is plenty of room to have them available.

 

When you can see all the abilities, you're more likely to think to use them. Especially for a new player. They'll see them there and want to access them.

I believe that a player should be able to pick up a game and figure out the controls without having to be told exactly what they are. Part of figuring out controls means knowing what your character can do. With the current UI, if you were to do that, you'd think "I only have three abilities?" And then you'd spend time pushing combinations of buttons and figuring out their are more. Easily done on a controller with few buttons, but on a keyboard/mouse you have far more combinations. Or you'd have to find a manual or something like that. It's not as convenient.

 

But with my UI, you see all your abilities there, so you know what to look for. It may just be a personal thing though.

 

Having said that, there is a strong connection between UI and controls with Western RPG's. PC RPG players are used to being able to look at the UI and tell from that what their controls are. Most are commonplace such as WASD for movement. But by having hot bars, or abilities that show what buttons to push to use them, you allow players to understand the game play quicker, and it feels much more comfortable. A lot of people that are currently complaining (or having issues) with the controls would likely not feel that way with a more PC friendly UI.

 

The example I made was done quickly. I could improve it and make it a bit more appealing, especially that font. I turned out looking rather crude.

The whole animation for switching forms/stances wouldn't have to be there. The border could simply appear around the current form/stance you're in, rather than being an animation.

Edited by Masasume
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I went ahead and made a quick visual idea of what a better PC version UI could look like.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v254/RedLink4534/UI.jpg

I think you're forgetting something here : local coop. The screen already feels crowded with two of those UIs on screen, I'm not sure we can put two of yours on one screen.

 

Also, I must say I'm skeptical of the need to see all the abilities on the screen. If we had more than three abilities by stance and the stance system was a console-specific hotbar system, I could see the use though.

 

Whoever said that putting the life and mana bar around the character's portrait would be a good idea : I agree with you.

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I went ahead and made a quick visual idea of what a better PC version UI could look like.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v254/RedLink4534/UI.jpg

I think you're forgetting something here : local coop. The screen already feels crowded with two of those UIs on screen, I'm not sure we can put two of yours on one screen.

 

Also, I must say I'm skeptical of the need to see all the abilities on the screen. If we had more than three abilities by stance and the stance system was a console-specific hotbar system, I could see the use though.

 

Whoever said that putting the life and mana bar around the character's portrait would be a good idea : I agree with you.

 

The local co-op I wasn't thinking of at all because it's the PC version. I don't think I've seen people do co-op on one computer since the late 90's. I assumed the game will have online/networking co-op/multiplayer. Was I wrong? I know the demo doesn't, but that's the demo.

Edited by Masasume
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I think that on PC, in general everything in the GUI could be smaller without negatively affecting user-friendliness.

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I think that on PC, in general everything in the GUI could be smaller without negatively affecting user-friendliness.

 

Agreed. They made the entire UI large (even the inventory and talent tree) because console gamers usually sit further from their screens. On top of that, consoles don't have hover functions like PC, so all the text is displayed all the time.

 

They could easily make the entire GUI into what we see in traditional PC RPG's with everything having separate windows that can be opened rather than huge things that take up the whole screen. Especially the talent tree. Mouse hover text goes a long way in minimizing UI space.

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To me the main thing is the font size, and that horizontal clamping animation every time you switch menus.

 

I agree. For a loot centric game a clunky, layer heavy, UI was a very poor design choice.

 

I imagine it was a matter of time. I remember hearing that the delay from a May release to a June release was due to pc controls. It would have been smart to maybe delay it another month to fix the UI also.

 

(I would also want the console ui for when I play using my TV but it seems asking for the ability to toggle between two different UI is a pipe dream I have had for too long...)

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