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Haven't really seen too much discussion about UI and Controls so far so I thought I'd start a topic about them.
 
I really liked the control scheme that was presented in the original Infinity Engine games, which was a really left mouse button centric control scheme. Future games turned everything backwards by going the right mouse button route.
 
I would love to see the return of the focus of the left click control schematic, where left mouse button is used for all the main actions - such as clicking on UI buttons and targeting and selecting in game entities (selecting player controlled units and targeting a non-player controlled entity both with the LMB); also the good old left click and drag marquee select to select your controlled characters.
 
The use of the right mouse button in the IE games was interesting. It had two functions, one was that it allowed you to issue a move command to your player controlled units while not targeting anything - so if you were simply trying to move to the edge of the map, but not trigger the exit area function or trying to move your characters near a unit or object but not actually selecting it then it was handy for that.
It's second function was rotating your formation on the map.
 
More recent games are weird, in some of them you have to select with the left mouse button, but you have to move and target with the right mouse button, and some games have implemented a radial UI menu for selecting skills and actions when you right click and hold down on a target.
 
Since formations are already in and working in Project Eternity already, I wonder if they have followed a similar control scheme to the original Infinity Engine games. I think that the formation rotate could probably be hooked to left mouse ... but then marquee select would probably have to be forgone (I don't think you can code both things to be click and hold), so while some people might prefer that the right mouse button be freed up to be macro'd to a skill or ability ... In this game I think the original uses are necessary.
 
You could probably link up shift + hold LMB to marquee select, since you could shift click player controlled units to select multiple ones, and alt click to unselect. That would be the only thing I can think of there.
 
4966705.gif
 
Regarding UI: Obsidian have stated they are using Icewind Dale 2 as a starting point for their UI. The IWD2 UI worked in 4:3 by removing all the space used up by the previous UI which encased the screen and compressing all the elements into a UI on the bottom of the screen.
 
130220121119AaQe.jpg
 
I think this works pretty good for 4:3, but it is my opinion that the original style UI might actually be better served to Widescreen

(I'm just gonna post links, otherwise it takes up too much room)

IWD2 UI stretched: http://data0.eklablog.fr/havredest/perso/crea/widscreen_out.jpg
BG2 widescreen UI: http://i28.tinypic.com/eu24iq.jpg

This design also isn't too bad, although it could use some work.

As for the UI related to controls, one thing that I wouldn't like to see is the UI becoming too ARPG/MMO-ish where it displays lines of hotkeys:
 
nwn2.png
 
It's going to be difficult to maintain the original UI concept of the Infinity Engine games while also providing more hotkey-able feedback that more modern games have moved to. Rather than just lines of hotkeys, I would rather the slots for things be preserved (with breaks between them), although players can map them to whatever hotkey they like.

 

What are your thoughts on Controls and UI ?

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The Infinity Engine games were very... RTS-like, in their own way. Why not carry on the tradition?

 

RBDmWNi.jpg

 

Bottom left has the minimap, bottom centre is full of selectable character portraits, and bottom right has room for 15 hotkeys mapped in a grid pattern using the keys on the left hand side of your keyboard (QWERT for the top row, ASDFG for the middle, and ZXCVB for the bottom). Use ctrl# to set up "control groups" of characters shown just above the portraits and # to select those control groups.

jcod0.png

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They should just let you select the key + mouse bindings. 

 

It's kind of a bit difficult to do that for the mouse buttons because in the IE games they had multiple functions.

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The UIs in the old IE games were a mess. No offense, developers of old IE games. But they were. I don't care about left click vs. right click since in this day and age such a thing should be customizable in the options.

 

 

They should just let you select the key + mouse bindings.

 

It's kind of a bit difficult to do that for the mouse buttons because in the IE games they had multiple functions.

 

 

No it isn't. The multiple functions of M1 become the multiple functions of M2 and vice versa if you switch them. Or M3, M4, M5, etc. if you want. Keymapping in the options is not a complex technical hurdle that requires a quarter of the budget and months of dedicated programming, much less the physical impossibility you seem to believe it to be. Have you ever even tried rebinding controls in a game? It's a rare game that doesn't allow you to do so. Edited by AGX-17
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You really are funny. That's 3 posts of mine in the last week that you have quoted trying to make an argument over nothing.

 

Let me rephrase, it doesn't really make sense to let me remap mouse1 to E or something stupid like that, I suppose they could let you swap the left and right mouse functions if you were used to IE style or newschool (Dragon Age, NWN2 etc) style.
 

edit: also In a lot of RTS games the mouse functions are locked, you can't change them. Everything else is macroable however

 

If you would like my "rebinding controls" resume, I can send you my CoD4 config :p

Edited by Sensuki
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They should just let you select the key + mouse bindings. 

Well, yes, they should, but I'd prefer not to have to redo everything because the default setup is ugly.

 

Besides, bindings != layout and UI.

 

I was just addressing op regarding the mouse buttons, but i hear ya about the layout and UI.

 

If you ask me a good UI should be intuitive and the old IE games UI were anything but, so I hope we see some improvements.

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My main gripe with the IWD2 UI is that the character portraits appear so small. In the IE games, the portraits really gave life to some of the characters and the art was fantastic. I didn't like how small they were in IWD2. The UI you referenced on the BG:EE forum is fantastic. Daylight (the poster there) put together some great concepts actually.

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As long as it doesn't take up too much screen real estate. Maybe make them transparent?

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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They should just let you select the key + mouse bindings. 

Well, yes, they should, but I'd prefer not to have to redo everything because the default setup is ugly.

 

Besides, bindings != layout and UI.

 

I was just addressing op regarding the mouse buttons, but i hear ya about the layout and UI.

 

If you ask me a good UI should be intuitive and the old IE games UI were anything but, so I hope we see some improvements.

 

I thought the BG UI was very intuitive and extremely easy to use, everything was accessible with rather easy to remember shortcuts too and there were no fancy UI tricks like that horrible radial menu in NWN. Shortcuts generally did what you expected of them and you were able to jump between different screens without having to first close the previous one (which gets really annoying fast if you have to do it often, which you usually do in RPGs). Once you'd played for a little bit you could do just about anything except moving around and selecting targets without using your mouse (anything in the actual game world, that is, guess a shortcut for "loot all" would've been nice).

 

The fact that screens were full screen also made finding information easy as everything is in exactly the same spot each time (granted, this is most likely harder to pull off given that today's screen resolutions are a *lot* more diverse than they were back then, but hey, one can dream). Being fullscreen also allows to pretty much display everything you want on that screen in one go as tabs and scrollbars are, imho, to be avoided as much as possible (it's pretty much impossible to do without them, but less is definitely more here)

Edited by marelooke
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I always hated the green circles below characters. They break immersions. Why can't we disable it?

 

In the Infinity Engine games, you can disable them - or make them conditional, e.g. only for selected characters.

(It's a slider grouped under "Feedback Settings", which admittedly makes it a little hard to find.)

 

A similar option would be good to have in PE.

"Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them." -- attributed to George Orwell

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BG2's and IWD2's UIs are far from perfect, most what I can say about them that UIs were ok in time when they were released, but there is many ways to make them better. Especially in how UI used to show player textual infromation, like character records and item descriptions. How keyboard short cuts worked was far from optimal.

 

Visually they were good looking, but they had quite lot things that did cause usability problems.

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BG2's and IWD2's UIs are far from perfect, most what I can say about them that UIs were ok in time when they were released, but there is many ways to make them better. Especially in how UI used to show player textual infromation, like character records and item descriptions. How keyboard short cuts worked was far from optimal.

 

Visually they were good looking, but they had quite lot things that did cause usability problems.

 

Usability problems, like? And what would you consider a game with a good UI then, and why?

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I agree that the way shortcuts were handled wasn't fantastic haha. The game definitely supported clicking on the UI interface more than hotkeying it, and because it was one of the first games I ever played on my own computer, I click UI buttons more often than key them ... very hard habit to break, but DotA 2 has made me a bit better haha.

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BG2's and IWD2's UIs are far from perfect, most what I can say about them that UIs were ok in time when they were released, but there is many ways to make them better. Especially in how UI used to show player textual infromation, like character records and item descriptions. How keyboard short cuts worked was far from optimal.

 

Visually they were good looking, but they had quite lot things that did cause usability problems.

 

Usability problems, like? And what would you consider a game with a good UI then, and why?

 

Starcraft and Starcraft 2 both have quite good UIs, but I can found some nit picking even them. But they are good because their UI don't usually cause you make wrong command or hide information from you. And it has very good keyboard shortcuts. Morrowind also has good UI, as you can arrange hud element as you want and decide what hud elements you want to see on the screen. And it also has quite good shortcuts. Angry Birds has excelent gameplay UI as it gives you all information what you need and ability to zoom to see whole level and back to slingshot, although its menus are annoying. There is probly games even better ui, but I don't remember them as they weren't as good games and they don't even have UI problems that would irritate me so much that they would make me remember the game.

 

One biggest problem is how UI uses lot of space in higher resolutions, without using space in something that could be conidered useful, but same time item descriptions, character infromation has little space and player need often scroll these texts back and for to find all infromation what s/he needs.

 

Spell memorization is quite painful when you have lots of spells and slots, player often realize that his or her character have spells that are there because s/he forgot change them.

 

Inventory managment for whole team is very fustraiting some times.

 

Finding enemies in battle especially when some are fled behind fog of war, is quite iritaiting, as they lock you in combat even that your party can't see them. And there is noway to say your party that go and hunt that enemy down.

 

And other similar little irritations. To give you full list would need to me play game and list things when I play and then I should watch when other people play and list problems and irritations that they face.

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BG2's and IWD2's UIs are far from perfect, most what I can say about them that UIs were ok in time when they were released, but there is many ways to make them better. Especially in how UI used to show player textual infromation, like character records and item descriptions. How keyboard short cuts worked was far from optimal.

 

Visually they were good looking, but they had quite lot things that did cause usability problems.

 

Usability problems, like? And what would you consider a game with a good UI then, and why?

 

 

 

Starcraft and Starcraft 2 both have quite good UIs, but I can found some nit picking even them. But they are good because their UI don't usually cause you make wrong command or hide information from you. And it has very good keyboard shortcuts. Morrowind also has good UI, as you can arrange hud element as you want and decide what hud elements you want to see on the screen. And it also has quite good shortcuts. Angry Birds has excelent gameplay UI as it gives you all information what you need and ability to zoom to see whole level and back to slingshot, although its menus are annoying. There is probly games even better ui, but I don't remember them as they weren't as good games and they don't even have UI problems that would irritate me so much that they would make me remember the game.

 

 

I never played any Startcrafts (please don't hit me! :() nor Morrowind so yeah, damn :p

 

You bring up several good points though.

 

One biggest problem is how UI uses lot of space in higher resolutions, without using space in something that could be conidered useful, but same time item descriptions, character infromation has little space and player need often scroll these texts back and for to find all infromation what s/he needs.

Arguably resolutions above 1024x768 were unsupported in BG2 so the UI didn't handle them well, the general idea of the UI I liked though and I'm sure it can be adjusted to work with bigger resultions. Moving the bars to a corner and having them only take up as much space as needed and having the character screen etc scale instead of being a fixed size would already go a long way to solving that problem.

 

Spell memorization is quite painful when you have lots of spells and slots, player often realize that his or her character have spells that are there because s/he forgot change them.

Tbh, this never bothered me (wizard dude here ;)), unless you are talking about the mechanic of spell memorization but that's more a limitation of the game system than the UI imo.

 

Inventory managment for whole team is very fustraiting some times.

The inventory is a difficult problem imo and I really don't have any immediate suggestions in that respect, I could give quite a few examples with an inventory much worse than the IE games though ;) I guess skyUI (UI mod for Skyrim) isn't too bad, but it of course focused on having only one character.
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