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Preferred Spell Icon Style


119 members have voted

  1. 1. Your preferred iconstyle is similar to?

    • Baldurs Gate
    • Icewind Dale
    • Planescape Torment
    • other

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Let's deal with this important question :rolleyes:.


Oh and to recap (but imagesearch is probably better):

Baldurs Gate Icons come in three colors, offensive-red, defensive-blue and miscish-white.

Icewind Dale Icons similar but have a red tones for offensive, green for summoning... (with exceptions)

Planescape Torment with no real symbolic pattern.



Well mine is from Baldurs Gate.. why?

Since I think a icon with a gun firing doesn't tell me as much as an icon with a Bullet and and three halfcircles behind it (to indicate for example triple power).

The spellbook is kind of a toolbox and I like my spells to reflect that I use something technical like "Tyndal's Flurescend Warp Displacer" vs "Roar of Anger" (..or flatheads have a red grip, philips a black one).

I am in the dungeon of Shadowlords, and then half my screen is filled with the spellbook of rainbowcolors.



I'd like to think that I am not alone in that sentiment but the trend seems to be definitely away from "functional/runic/symbolic" icons to stylish.


So what would you like to see in Eternity?

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I quite like icons with individuality to an extent. For example the icons used for spells and skills in Dragon Age Origins. Have an illustration that is nice and simple and to the point with the other associated magic school/spell trees icons using the same colour palette.

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I'm going to say I don't care too much. I do like icon designs that are distinctive enough to be able to recognize at a glance (not all be similar) and not be too brightly colored (distracting) but other than that, not something I think about. BG1's icon style was fine, tho.

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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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I think it's more important to be able to easily identify the specific spell or skill rather than the broader category they fit under. You're typically attaining these spells and skills through manual choice, so you're being introduced to its effects and purpose when you're being offered the chance to acquire it. Since real-time with pause allows you to, you know, pause, there's no need to frantically just click whatever "red/offensive" spell is closest to your cursor in the heat of battle without regard for its specifics.


Background colors would be useful just for the sake of organization rather than specific identification.

Edited by AGX-17
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I'm not aversed to some stylized designs that fit the art style of the game. Something different would be good. However I think it would be cool to use a similar design for spells we are familiar with (such as the magic missile or whatever) as long as it doesn't breach any copyright laws :p

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I rather like the idea of no spell icons. Temple of Elemental Evil had the best approach, IMHO.

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" If you've read Hart's Hope, Neveryona, Infinity Concerto, Tales of the Flat Earth, you've pretty much played Dragon Age."

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I don't know how to choose, but I think Iconography is important, Red and Green colors are good complementary colors that stand out against each other, however they are also the 2 colors most color blind people can't see, so I would opt for a more identifiable shape and icon than a specific color combination. Personally id like an interactive preview animation like a floating fireball, but I guess it depends on how much combat there is. I could see potentially that becoming distracting for busy fights.


TOEE had some improvements to the system compared to games like BG in that your ui stemmed from the character, which saved you from clicking all over your screen like a blindfolded kid whacking a pinata, but you sacrificed screen space covered up by all the fly out windows. That could be immersive breaking. I'd almost prefer a context sensitive ui in that as I click on the target I can choose skills to use on him, and similar on my hero, except I think I'd rather have icons, with tool tips that pop up if you hover over the icon for a few seconds if you need more info. My only real beef with games like BG was i wish the skill bar and the player icon were closer together so i could stay immersed more.

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I really don't care, I just want the icons to be small and distinctive enough that I can use them from a hotbar without having to scratch my head over them.


The Dragon Age 2 icons were terrible about this. Well, they got the small part right, but I challenge you to tell glyph of repulsion and glyph of paralyzation apart without pausing the game and getting a mouse-over tooltip.


The biggest problem will always be telling the difference between spells that do slightly different versions of pretty much the same thing, because if you have any coherent plan to your icons they should logically get similar icons. So, I submit that the successful icon system is one in which you can tell the difference between Electric Loop, Lightning Bolt, and Chain Lightning no matter how they're arranged. I don't think the ones from DDO quite manage it but they're pretty decent.




I'd rather see more than 2 or 3 colors, though. Every damage type and effect type ought to have its own color. They do manage this in DDO and it helps A LOT.

Grand Rhetorist of the Obsidian Order

If you appeal to "realism" about a video game feature, you are wrong. Go back and try again.

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A nice touch would be seeing spell icons that expand and animate when you do a mouse-over, giving a better idea of their purpose. For example, a fireball icon that bursts into flame or a magic missile spell that shows glowing orbs bouncing around.





Then again that might get annoying after a while. Shrug.

Edited by rjshae

"It has just been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."

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The best icons I've ever seen are from Guild Wars 1, they were very visually distinctive from one another while at the same time being quite fitting for the class.


I agree with you, however I voted Icewind Dale

--- Nimrod of the Obsidian Order ---

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  • 1 month later...

I'm really not sure if I remember the Icons but I hope that powerful spells will have a little cutscene like the mechanus cannon from P:T. This spell was so freaking cool!!



heh let's not get off topic, or everyone will demand planescape torment 2 (even now just listening to ingame music still gets me into a good mood).


After some thinking and reading your responses I was kinda suprised that for example Guild Wars was mentioned (there are a lot of bow & arrow, closeup of creature mouth icons but I guess I doesn't come up as problematic in the game).


I think what I (kinda subconciously) liked about the Bg Icons that they look like something someone wrote/drew into a book (..and the interface looks like a book^^) so they are in one color and have no color hues or complicated illustrations. ..seems that was the whole point I tried to make..

Edited by dpara
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Doesn't really matter to me, as long as there's some way to tell spells apart.

I think it's more important that you get some info on what the spell does when you hover the cursor over the icon in the quickbar, so that you don't have to open the spell book.

Edited by Agelastos

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself! Apart from pain... and maybe humiliation. And obviously death and failure. But apart from fear, pain, humiliation, failure, the unknown and death, we have nothing to fear but fear itself!"

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Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale are the ones I prefer stylistically. I don't really care all that much about the colour coding, but I have a slight preference towards Baldur's Gate's colour coding, so I voted for it.


The most important things to me is that they be easy to access and distinctive. I do like more stylised spell icons better than less stylised ones, in general.


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If you want to make a spells list, you want to break them up into logical classes AND add hotkeys to those categories. The colors don't matter at that point. ToEE was mentioned, that was one possibility. Being allowed to cast spells as they are organized into logical categories makes more sense than red,white,green. Arcanum also had something like this. 8 colleges, 5 spells each (even though per the game there would have eventually been more spells with Arcanum2). You could, once you knew the colleges, figure out what spells to expect in each college, with the increase in spells being more "awesome."


So you'd pick the college, then the level of the spell. Easy to HOTKEY, easy to remember.


We also have grimoires, so this should also be taken into account. Not sure how they work exactly, but they should be easily organized and HOTKEYED to quickly cast a spell with a succession of either keystrokes or mouseclicks.


Once more for posterity: HOTKEYED. See my signature for more information.




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