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Your soulstone - like a New Vegas Pipboy for PE?


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I've played a ridiculous amount of CRPGs, and the character sheet/skill tree/inventory of my RP-character(s) has always been a source of some frustration in one form or the other.

 

Well, I know that PE is supposed to be like the great IE-games in spirit and partly in form, so perhaps this suggestion is sacrilege, but I reckon that the Pipboy in Fallout New Vegas is one of the absolutely best character hubs in the history of CRPGs on a PC. I mean Skyrim's interface as far as inventory goes is horrible (it must have been good on consoles or something), and several other inventory systems are just so clunky and time-consuming.

 

I'd love to see The Soulstone in Project Eternity, preferrably set in some UI-graphics of a dark and lusterous Obsidian stone-feel (as a neat wink to the Obsids). And this Soulstone would work similarly as the Pipboy in New Vegas. For those who haven't played that great game, the Pipboy is a hub brought forth with the press of a key (or in my case mapped onto a button on me gaming mouse). It's got three tabs down below (big buttons) that shift you through the categories "status", "items" and "data". Status is then subdivided into Health, Radiation and Effects. Items are subdivided into the tabs "weapons", "apparel", "aid", "misc" and "ammo". Then, finally, Data is subdivided into "local map", "world map", "quests" and "radio" IIRC. Obviously, the names of these tabs need to be changed in accordance with the game of Project Eternity.

 

The great thing is that everything get placed in easily accessed lists (not graphical representations or tokens of the items as in the IE-games. That leaves plenty of room on the screen for more info and graphics concerning the object. I mean, a picture of the object would do, no need for Skyrim's spin-around-fest of items. And say that you enter the health tab you see where on your body you've been crippled and other health/stamina issues, as well as access to healing solutions (if any). And the Effects-tab is great, you immediately see all the effects your under, whether intoxications or drugs or whatever. And the Radiation-tab could be replaced with some Soul-tab, tracking the intensity and power of your soul. Under "Weapons" and "Apparel" it is easy to repair items of you've got the skills for it. Obviously, there would be "spells" tabs and such, and a gear system to shift Soulstone from character to character.

 

And I'm not a sucker for them mini maps, I think it suits me better to have to bring the maps up, instead of having it up all the time up in some corner. Our Soulstone would solve that too. Obviously, those with tracking and survuval skills would still be able to see certain things and threats on the screen better than others. And "Radio" could be replaced by "Mood", where you get to change music and lighting etc a bit.

 

All in all, such a Soulstone would be much easier and more comfy to use than most IE-hubs, but perhaps I'm in the minority here. You guys maybe loathe the Pipboy and would prefer IWD2's interface any day?

Edited by IndiraLightfoot
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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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I liked the pip-boy but I don't know how it would be implemented with a stone. Visually, I mean. How would you go about it?

Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
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Good question: Like a cool, dark and glossy surface of the interfaces, and then an ovalish shape to the entire Soulstone, with subtle swirls of soul substance inside the Obsidian-material, I guess?

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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What I'm getting is this is basically a request for a cool looking UI and I don't see why anyone would have a problem with that. However, I'd prefer it didn't play a part in the narrative the way the pipboys do in Fallout games. At most do it like PS:T where the journal was only referenced a few times throughout the whole game (and the only journals in the game were all yours).

 

Also anyone else cringe a little at the term "New Vegas Pipboy."

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Well, the look of the UI is an important aspect of it, but I think the Pipboy was a rather clean and easy interface, especially with those lists to the left and room for other mechanics/graphics to the right. The tab system was certainly easier (buttons, and text tabs) than a standard IE-user interface. Then again, the Pipboy had the advantage of using the computer reference.

 

And in a language I know, "pipboy" certainly would mean like a fornicating youngster! :)

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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And in a language I know, "pipboy" certainly would mean like a fornicating youngster! :)

No, it's that you said New vegas, rather than fallout.
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Remember: Argue the point, not the person. Remain polite and constructive. Friendly forums have friendly debate. There's no shame in being wrong. If you don't have something to add, don't post for the sake of it. And don't be afraid to post thoughts you are uncertain about, that's what discussion is for.
---
Pet threads, everyone has them. I love imagining Gods, Monsters, Factions and Weapons.

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The great thing is that everything get placed in easily accessed lists (not graphical representations or tokens of the items as in the IE-games. That leaves plenty of room on the screen for more info and graphics concerning the object.

 

I've not played FNV yet (guys, stop throwing fruit at me!) but this ^^^^ caught my attention. And maybe the image that came into my mind is not entirely the point you were making, but if we were able to toggle between inventory settings so that the normal display showed the object icons like traditional IE games, but you could toggle to a LIST option that displayed your inventory as a list of text descriptions, that could be VERY useful in seeing key item stats, particularly for weapons, like magical bonuses, special abilities, and weight, assuming they had individual columns for these values that you could sort in ascending/descending order.

 

Wouldn't take much to get the look and feel of it right so it didn't look like an Excel spreadsheet either.

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I have nothing particular against this sort of idea. We could commune with our soul stone as an abstract way of organizing the concrete meta-data of our character, which is interesting.

 

But please, for the love of all that is fluffy and holy, leave hotkeys to access specific functions. I played hundreds and hundreds of hours of FO3 and FO: NV, but damned if I didn't keep hitting m for map and i inventory even through rationally I knew damn well I had to hit that tab key.

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All in all, such a Soulstone would be much easier and more comfy to use than most IE-hubs, but perhaps I'm in the minority here. You guys maybe loathe the Pipboy and would prefer IWD2's interface any day?

 

Contextually in a squad based fantasy game, I have to say I would much prefer IWD2s interface or something like it. Pipboy is a great little interface, but that's in large part because it ties in so well to the setting it is in, a soulstone as you pitch it is a bit more abstract - are you suggestign everyone has a soul stone in PE? Where do they come from? Will they run out etc?

 

The major concern though basically boils down to a Pip-boy style thing not being Infinity Engine enough for an Infinity Engine styled game. For me if you are doing an IE homage, the inventory grid is a must and the row of portraits with the HP next to them is a must at the very least. The rest is a bit more optional, but the idea of a magic stone thing seems rather shoehorned in. A book perhaps I could get behind as that'd be the technological equivelant of a Pipboy and has a more logical system of moving through it, but honestly I'd just like a solid little interface that did the jobs it needed to.

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A good looking journal/book would suffice methinks. They really don't need to invent the wheel again.

That soulstone of your a bit sounded like a medieval tablet :) ( Dont get me wrong Pipboy is already something like an old school tablet)

And while i'm sure we can solo Eternity's content, this game is commonly party based so everyone in our merry band going to need one of those.

Nothing is true, everything is permited.
 

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JFSOCC: I see, so it could technically be like bearded ZZ-top boys? ;)

 

TRX850: That's one thing that is good about it, yes. And your suggestion of being able to toggle between a classic IE-invo grid and this invo-listing version is great!

 

DCParry: I know what you mean with the hotkeys. I kept hitting "I" ever so often, and nope, I didn't get to the invo list of the Pipboy. Grrrr! That is a valid point, Soulstone or not, it should support the standard hotkey functions too.

 

Alexjh: I do suggest all chars of one's squad has access to the Soulstone interface, that would be essential. As for where the soulstone comes from, hmm... It could be tied to the pc and the so far opaque reasons as to why our pc is leading a story in which souls play such big a part. I mean, it's weird as it is for this plc to control the rest of party as puppets as far as actions, invo, etc go. The Soulstone could be part and parcel of what makes our pc unique in some sense, a Chosen One the light version. Some unfortunate relative leaves it for us to stash away till the time comes... Honestly, it so easily gets cliche, but something of that sort. As DCParry called it, "an abstract way of organizing the concrete meta-data of our character", which basically what it is. A nice interface set in obsidian glassy gloss with swirling soul essence inside, and when you pick tabs, the interface swirl a bit, and you get where you need to be in the UI. Or perhaps Cyberarmy got it, when he termed it "a Medieval Tablet". Regardless of name, it'd like to have an interface that is slick and easy to use, especially with a squad of NPCs to take care of. I'm not sure nostalgia is a reason enough to keep IE-interfaces, so yes please invent a new wheel! :)

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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JFSOCC: I see, so it could technically be like bearded ZZ-top boys? ;)

 

TRX850: That's one thing that is good about it, yes. And your suggestion of being able to toggle between a classic IE-invo grid and this invo-listing version is great!

 

DCParry: I know what you mean with the hotkeys. I kept hitting "I" ever so often, and nope, I didn't get to the invo list of the Pipboy. Grrrr! That is a valid point, Soulstone or not, it should support the standard hotkey functions too.

 

Alexjh: I do suggest all chars of one's squad has access to the Soulstone interface, that would be essential. As for where the soulstone comes from, hmm... It could be tied to the pc and the so far opaque reasons as to why our pc is leading a story in which souls play such big a part. I mean, it's weird as it is for this plc to control the rest of party as puppets as far as actions, invo, etc go. The Soulstone could be part and parcel of what makes our pc unique in some sense, a Chosen One the light version. Some unfortunate relative leaves it for us to stash away till the time comes... Honestly, it so easily gets cliche, but something of that sort. As DCParry called it, "an abstract way of organizing the concrete meta-data of our character", which basically what it is. A nice interface set in obsidian glassy gloss with swirling soul essence inside, and when you pick tabs, the interface swirl a bit, and you get where you need to be in the UI. Or perhaps Cyberarmy got it, when he termed it "a Medieval Tablet". Regardless of name, it'd like to have an interface that is slick and easy to use, especially with a squad of NPCs to take care of. I'm not sure nostalgia is a reason enough to keep IE-interfaces, so yes please invent a new wheel! :)

 

If you'd been arguing against the interface for the BG and IWD1 I'd be all for you, those things were very unwieldy, but for me the IWD2 interface is just about the best interface of any RPG I've played. Not perfect mind, but looks good and is easy to use, far easier to use than the Fallout ones, and not forgetting, having to show a lot more data than the Fallout one did as 3E is a lot more of a complex ruleset than the fallout one. The particular problem I have with the "mystic stone" concept is that, I really don't think that mystic stones that can reccount your ability scores and are covered in written English really "work" as a concept - you are basically trying to combine detailled statistics and a mysterious mystical stone into one thing and that honestly just comes off as weird. If you wanted a mystical stone aesthetic to a regular interface sure, but pretending the interface is an "in world" medieval tablet just doesn't fit the setting - if only you have one your own interface becomes a plot point as surely this is a vastly valuable object, which is weird and probably leads to other characters trying to steal your own interface, and if multiple people have them then why isn't the world at a more advanced point than it is?

 

Better in a medieval setting to use an ostensiably self updated book if you insist on having an "inworld" interface as that then fits the tone of things more without weird baggage.

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IWD2's interface is definetely the best of the IE-games, I agree wholeheartedly!

 

And I also see where you're coming from: The soulstone seems to gadgety or mysterious. Then again, there will be magic and spiritual powers and entities and undead and ethereal realms, so I wouldn't die of shock seeing a soulstone as a UI in a RPG heavily based on souls. ;)

 

Heck, I could scrap the Soulstone for anything else that fits better for the setting. Brainstorm peeps, brainstorm!!

 

But the bottom line is that I would like those tabs and lists interface solutions (with neat info and graphics on the side), I just like it better than invo grids and cluttered symbols along the frame of the interface, but that's me.

*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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When I first started reading this I thought "oh ye gods please no". However now that I've read all the posts I could go for a less clunky interface; but I do like the visual heft/substance to interfaces in the old IE games. Something book-like maybe even with short opening/closing animations and pages flipping when you choose which section to go to from a table of contents. Just throw something out there, but whatever interface they develop it should be a clear successor to the old IE interfaces. Map-able hotkeys are a must as well.

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Personally I loathed the pipboy in New Vegas, didn't see why I had to use that to perform any number of tasks that should have had their own menu. I'd be more up for something like Ultima 7's inventory, where if you want to look at the map you double click on it, or press the shortcut key. Made sense to me, of course the obscured items hiding under other items was a pain, but no worse than scrawling through the endless lists of the pipboy. Perhaps merge the Backpacks and bags of U7 with the inventory tetris of NWN.

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I've seen things you people can't even imagine. Pearly Kings glittering on the Elephant and Castle, Morris Men dancing 'til the last light of midsummer. I watched Druid fires burning in the ruins of Stonehenge, and Yorkshiremen gurning for prizes. All these things will be lost in time, like alopecia on a skinhead. Time for tiffin.

 

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Hey... What if... your soul has been taken away from your body, and its sealed inside that stone, in a way your body and soul still comunicate, and your soul can tell you "stuff" about yourself in a more "numerical" way, rather than feelings and things, i would love a relation like when you (SPOILER) had to talk to your own brain in a DLC of FNV... i just loved that part... Just Saying :)

Edited by Risen
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I've played a ridiculous amount of CRPGs, and the character sheet/skill tree/inventory of my RP-character(s) has always been a source of some frustration in one form or the other.

 

Well, I know that PE is supposed to be like the great IE-games in spirit and partly in form, so perhaps this suggestion is sacrilege, but I reckon that the Pipboy in Fallout New Vegas is one of the absolutely best character hubs in the history of CRPGs on a PC. I mean Skyrim's interface as far as inventory goes is horrible (it must have been good on consoles or something), and several other inventory systems are just so clunky and time-consuming.

 

I'd love to see The Soulstone in Project Eternity, preferrably set in some UI-graphics of a dark and lusterous Obsidian stone-feel (as a neat wink to the Obsids). And this Soulstone would work similarly as the Pipboy in New Vegas. For those who haven't played that great game, the Pipboy is a hub brought forth with the press of a key (or in my case mapped onto a button on me gaming mouse). It's got three tabs down below (big buttons) that shift you through the categories "status", "items" and "data". Status is then subdivided into Health, Radiation and Effects. Items are subdivided into the tabs "weapons", "apparel", "aid", "misc" and "ammo". Then, finally, Data is subdivided into "local map", "world map", "quests" and "radio" IIRC. Obviously, the names of these tabs need to be changed in accordance with the game of Project Eternity.

 

The great thing is that everything get placed in easily accessed lists (not graphical representations or tokens of the items as in the IE-games. That leaves plenty of room on the screen for more info and graphics concerning the object. I mean, a picture of the object would do, no need for Skyrim's spin-around-fest of items. And say that you enter the health tab you see where on your body you've been crippled and other health/stamina issues, as well as access to healing solutions (if any). And the Effects-tab is great, you immediately see all the effects your under, whether intoxications or drugs or whatever. And the Radiation-tab could be replaced with some Soul-tab, tracking the intensity and power of your soul. Under "Weapons" and "Apparel" it is easy to repair items of you've got the skills for it. Obviously, there would be "spells" tabs and such, and a gear system to shift Soulstone from character to character.

 

And I'm not a sucker for them mini maps, I think it suits me better to have to bring the maps up, instead of having it up all the time up in some corner. Our Soulstone would solve that too. Obviously, those with tracking and survuval skills would still be able to see certain things and threats on the screen better than others. And "Radio" could be replaced by "Mood", where you get to change music and lighting etc a bit.

 

All in all, such a Soulstone would be much easier and more comfy to use than most IE-hubs, but perhaps I'm in the minority here. You guys maybe loathe the Pipboy and would prefer IWD2's interface any day?

 

It should be noted that the Pip-Boy in NV came directly from F3. It was entirely Bethesda's design. The only change to the PB UI in NV was the addition of challenges and reputation.

 

Now if you'll excuse me, I need a shower. I feel dirty defending Bethesda game design.

Edited by AGX-17
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'Good looking' or 'stylish' UIs run a major risk - that of looking good at the expense of usability. E.g. those terrible UIs which have some kind of opening/closing animation doubling the time it takes for you to open your inventory... which you do about ten million times.

 

FO3 & FNV had this problem where the whole 'character's arm raises to look at pipboy' introduces effectively a form of UI lag. Do you really want to see your arm and feel the immersion at such a cost? There was, thankfully, a mod that speeded that animation up about five times.

 

Anyway, great idea, of course, if it's not obtrusive like that.

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I mean Skyrim's interface as far as inventory goes is horrible (it must have been good on consoles or something), and several other inventory systems are just so clunky and time-consuming.

 

Nope... it was equally horrible. 8P. It's like the interface logistics were the last thing on the development list, and they got TO that step, then just said "Sorry, we're out of time. Just release it like it is." Haha

 

Annnywho... To solve the "Wait, we're carrying a mystical stone around that we look at like a pipboy?" discrepancy, what if your accessing your "character sheet/menu" just involved a sort of meditative communion with your soul? Not that the inventory/character-development UI needs a super precise explanation, but it would at least fit into the lore better than a physical object like the pipboy. It would be somewhat similar to how Skyrim basically inferred the effects of destiny by the view panning up to the constellations when you went into your level-up menu. Somewhat...

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Personally, I don't like when every interface tries to be explained in-world, too much annoyance and implausibilities without explanations. In the case of the pip-boy: while in the older fallouts it had some basic features(notes, recordings, clock and date along with an alarm-clock etc), it didn't know what limp was crippled or what SPECIAL stats and skills you had, or what you equipped and what not. Those were purely interface for the player to know. What the new one did was quite.... crap.

 

Aside from being a huge chunk of metal compared to its younger brother(though that's not a real problem), it was very difficult to navigate. Let's take the stats screen for example. In the originals the stats were all neatly placed in one screen, while on the new ones you have to navigate through a bunch of different screens to get the info you need(more than one time as well). Navigation is the first and most important IMO.

 

Another reason I don't like it, how the heck does it know what I'm wearing, and why do I have to open it every time I want to fix my equipment or change it?! Obviously I'm over-thinking it, but that's what happens when you have to open(and wait due to lag) the same stupid device for basic things like inventory. Don't even get me started on the quest/target markers....

 

Anyway, that's all pretty much. I personally think interfaces should keep to being interfaces for the player to be able to play the game. Things like how magic works should be referenced in the world, but no need to explain the dices mechanics.

Edited by kenup
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Another reason I don't like it, how the heck does it know what I'm wearing, and why do I have to open it every time I want to fix my equipment or change it?! Obviously I'm over-thinking it, but that's what happens when you have to open(and wait due to lag) the same stupid device for basic things like inventory. Don't even get me started on the quest/target markers....

 

Anyway, that's all pretty much. I personally think interfaces should keep to being interfaces for the player to be able to play the game. Things like how magic works should be referenced in the world, but no need to explain the dices mechanics.

 

No one's saying "make it exactly like the pipboy, without considering functional improvements to the logistics of the interface."

 

And I totally get you on the discrepancies like "Why am I accessing this thing on my arm to change my clothes?". But, that's something that's just never going to be explained, anyway (because the need for the interface exists only outside the game world, and not inside).

 

BUT, if you have to choose between some amount of affinity for the game world lore and absolutely none at all, I'd go with the "some amount" option. It's just a nice touch, but not a necessary one.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Another reason I don't like it, how the heck does it know what I'm wearing, and why do I have to open it every time I want to fix my equipment or change it?! Obviously I'm over-thinking it, but that's what happens when you have to open(and wait due to lag) the same stupid device for basic things like inventory. Don't even get me started on the quest/target markers....

 

Anyway, that's all pretty much. I personally think interfaces should keep to being interfaces for the player to be able to play the game. Things like how magic works should be referenced in the world, but no need to explain the dices mechanics.

 

No one's saying "make it exactly like the pipboy, without considering functional improvements to the logistics of the interface."

 

And I totally get you on the discrepancies like "Why am I accessing this thing on my arm to change my clothes?". But, that's something that's just never going to be explained, anyway (because the need for the interface exists only outside the game world, and not inside).

 

BUT, if you have to choose between some amount of affinity for the game world lore and absolutely none at all, I'd go with the "some amount" option. It's just a nice touch, but not a necessary one.

 

Oh, certainly. I just took off from the OP's praise of the pipboy in the newer games.

 

Some things can have good integration with the lore(crafting, maps etc), but other things, like inventory screens, don't need a lore explanation is all I'm saying.

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