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Jajo: I don't know if you were involved in the PE kickstarter. If you were, you would be aware of the fact that you can make your own party in PE too. Also, even if you have companions in your party - they are already your sock-puppets at your beck and call. You control them in melee, for instance, so it wouldn't be a far stretch at all to use the convo system of SoZ. But I must say, that even if that shift-dialogue function weren't included in the SoZ dialogue system, I still love that UI and the size of the portraits and its simplicity.

 

The dialogue system in SoZ worked primarily because of the different conversation skills in D&D: bluff, diplomacy, and intimidate. From what I've read, Josh was leaning against using skills of this type in P:E conversations.

 

 

I'm assuming that skill checks still may be used to determine insight into subject matter; like lore, alchemy, etc.  That was more what I was thinking of with regards to the SoZ type interface; when applicable.  SoZ was an expansion with not a great amount of meat on its bones in terms of depth, but some of the mechanics like conversation and overland exploration were quite well done.

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Seems like some people want an infinity engine game with everything but the infinity engine.

 

I'll take the same dialogue system please. Thanks.

I starting to think that's true. It seems to me some people didn't want an IE game,  just a modern RPG made by Obsidian.

Some people don't want that. We want a game with IE era sensibilities made by Obsidian.

I can't see how Sawyer will please both groups at the same time, since they want different things.

 

Well... if you read the PE presentation on Kickstarter, it doesn't say they will be making an exact clone of the IE engine. Only that it will pay homage to those games. Personally, that's what I signed up for; a game with a similar style and flavor. Most of what has been discussed here has been pretty minor stylistic differences with some graphical variations. It's still the same type of interaction and controls.

 

That's what I signed up for also. But for some people the combat log, solid UI that acts as a frame to the game window, the dialogue system etc. are importand parts of that style and flavor. Call us strange.

Edited by Malekith
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Seems like some people want an infinity engine game with everything but the infinity engine.

 

I'll take the same dialogue system please. Thanks.

I starting to think that's true. It seems to me some people didn't want an IE game,  just a modern RPG made by Obsidian.

Some people don't want that. We want a game with IE era sensibilities made by Obsidian.

I can't see how Sawyer will please both groups at the same time, since they want different things.

 

Well... if you read the PE presentation on Kickstarter, it doesn't say they will be making an exact clone of the IE engine. Only that it will pay homage to those games. Personally, that's what I signed up for; a game with a similar style and flavor. Most of what has been discussed here has been pretty minor stylistic differences with some graphical variations. It's still the same type of interaction and controls.

 

That's what I signed up for also. But for some people the combat log, solid UI that acts as a frame to the game window, the dialogue system etc. are importand parts of that style and flavor. Call us strange.

 

You're strange.

 

Also, don't retreat into some vaguely anonymous group of people. Discussion has been going on quite well without factionalism or over-territorial positions. Each individual will no doubt focus on different aspects that they find central to the spirit of the game that Obsidian is making. For you, engine specific qualities are important, and that's fine. For me, non-engine specific attributes are more important. de gustibus non est disputandum and all that. 

 

 

Also - semper ubi sub ubi.

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So if it were up to me there would be no out of dialogue dialogue window at all, much less a combat log.  There is just no need.  It was there originally to appeal to the min/maxer D&D players, but Eternity is not D&D though and a combat log strikes me as being about as immersion breaking as it gets, nor is there a DM to fight with when you think the math is wrong.  The funny thing is many die hard old school IE game fans will tell you immersion is super important to them, but be mad if you do something like remove the combat log.

 

No need to be condescending because some people don't like you(r designs).

 

I just can not tell you how SUPER impressed I will be.

Until then, I'll use the combat log in these common combat situations, so I really hope they will include it. I've never been a fan of a black box approach.

.....

Nice try.

 

As for how can all this be done?  Actually quite easy, sound effects, visual effects, character reactions.  When a guy hits you and your character makes an "oof" sort of sound effect and sort of bends backwards they clearly took a hit.  When your character yells out "ARghhh!" and falls on the ground they clearly took a lot more than "a hit".  Likewise character animations and sound effects can show parries, blocks with shields, your character can call out "My attack is ineffective?!?!" (heh heh), and any number of other cues to let you know what is going on in combat.

 

This is not 1990 anymore.  Graphics have come a very very long way and can show a great range of depth, and good sound design can cover for what graphics can't do.  As for arrows.... not only could your character make a comment like "Hmmmm... out of arrows!" but you also have weapon swap icons, they could just show your arrow count right there.

 

As for IE games.  No, I do not want BG3.  I want a modern 2013-2014 RPG made by the people who made BG that uses modern technology and a fresh design to make something that is in the same spirit and style but progressive and new at the same time.

 

Edit:  One other thing, while I will turn off the combat log myself if it is optional... I left it visible in every mock up I made for a reason.  People will expect it to be there, it was there in the original mock up, and I expect it to be there in the final game.  Just because I don't want to use, or see it, doesn't mean I don't understand why someone might want to.

Edited by Karkarov
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As for how can all this be done?  Actually quite easy, sound effects, visual effects, character reactions.  When a guy hits you and your character makes an "oof" sort of sound effect and sort of bends backwards they clearly took a hit.  When your character yells out "ARghhh!" and falls on the ground they clearly took a lot more than "a hit".  Likewise character animations and sound effects can show parries, blocks with shields, your character can call out "My attack is ineffective?!?!" (heh heh), and any number of other cues to let you know what is going on in combat.

Multiplied x6 characters, that kind of feedback (the kind you can't easily check when you pause the game, given it's connected to the real-time flow of events) would quickly turn into noise, especially during frantic battles. Basically, even when you add visual and audio feedback for certain things (and you have to be careful that those animations don't eat animation time that your characters could use for something else, like chugging potions or whatever) a combat log would still help a ton for people who want to have a better handle of the situation.

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I love the dialog design that Rahelron made. Its very modern but still feels like a great successor to infinity engine game. 

 

With that said, maybe we can reach a compromise that other design members made. Although one thing in mind to not to copy from IE but to improve upon it. I would like to see more design with less bulky, clutter, less cartonish, and more gothic? 

Edited by ryukenden

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As for how can all this be done?  Actually quite easy, sound effects, visual effects, character reactions.  When a guy hits you and your character makes an "oof" sort of sound effect and sort of bends backwards they clearly took a hit.  When your character yells out "ARghhh!" and falls on the ground they clearly took a lot more than "a hit".  Likewise character animations and sound effects can show parries, blocks with shields, your character can call out "My attack is ineffective?!?!" (heh heh), and any number of other cues to let you know what is going on in combat.

You don't see how that will turn into approximately white noise after just a couple of seconds of combat with more than 10 participants?

 

I also sincerely hope, that knocking someone on the ground and similar effects will have a better tactical meaning, than just melodramatically show that someone has been hit for 20+ HP. If everyone would have been throwing visual clues like that around, artists woule have been hard pressed to not make combat look like a panto-show.

 

The problem with audio clues is: once they are played, they are gone. So what now? Keep the combat rolling for another round and hope, that next time you'll be able to pin point the source of the sound (hopefully before he/she dies), or look at the combat log. Why, oh why, have I thought that having luscious identical triplets in my party was a good idea?!

 

Saying, that visual and audio clues can "easily" convey just half the things a combat log can, is an overestimation and a half. I won't even compare the effectiveness of both approaches.

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.....

Nice try.

 

As for how can all this be done?  Actually quite easy, sound effects, visual effects, character reactions.  When a guy hits you and your character makes an "oof" sort of sound effect and sort of bends backwards they clearly took a hit.  When your character yells out "ARghhh!" and falls on the ground they clearly took a lot more than "a hit".  Likewise character animations and sound effects can show parries, blocks with shields, your character can call out "My attack is ineffective?!?!" (heh heh), and any number of other cues to let you know what is going on in combat.

 

This is not 1990 anymore.  Graphics have come a very very long way and can show a great range of depth, and good sound design can cover for what graphics can't do.  As for arrows.... not only could your character make a comment like "Hmmmm... out of arrows!" but you also have weapon swap icons, they could just show your arrow count right there.

 

As for IE games.  No, I do not want BG3.  I want a modern 2013-2014 RPG made by the people who made BG that uses modern technology and a fresh design to make something that is in the same spirit and style but progressive and new at the same time.

No.

 

Edit: Just.... No.

Edited by Stun
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I want a modern 2013-2014 RPG made by the people who made BG that uses modern technology and a fresh design to make something that is in the same spirit and style but progressive and new at the same time.

In other words DA:I. It's coming anyway.

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Well... if you read the PE presentation on Kickstarter, it doesn't say they will be making an exact clone of the IE engine. Only that it will pay homage to those games. Personally, that's what I signed up for; a game with a similar style and flavor. Most of what has been discussed here has been pretty minor stylistic differences with some graphical variations. It's still the same type of interaction and controls.

That's what I signed up for also. But for some people the combat log, solid UI that acts as a frame to the game window, the dialogue system etc. are importand parts of that style and flavor. Call us strange.

 

Okay, well let me try this from another angle. If you look back at the old BG dialogue window, it was possible to expand it to at least half the page. Now it is being constrained to a small box in the corner. To me, the only reason to keep it minimized like that is because you want to show some animations that take up most of the screen. But that seems unlikely. Wouldn't you rather be able to see a lot more of the text?

 

6-6.jpg

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Well... if you read the PE presentation on Kickstarter, it doesn't say they will be making an exact clone of the IE engine. Only that it will pay homage to those games. Personally, that's what I signed up for; a game with a similar style and flavor. Most of what has been discussed here has been pretty minor stylistic differences with some graphical variations. It's still the same type of interaction and controls.

That's what I signed up for also. But for some people the combat log, solid UI that acts as a frame to the game window, the dialogue system etc. are importand parts of that style and flavor. Call us strange.

 

Okay, well let me try this from another angle. If you look back at the old BG dialogue window, it was possible to expand it to at least half the page. Now it is being constrained to a small box in the corner. To me, the only reason to keep it minimized like that is because you want to show some animations that take up most of the screen. But that seems unlikely. Wouldn't you rather be able to see a lot more of the text?

 

6-6.jpg

 

Yes. But i expect that P:E will allows us to expand the dialoge and combat logs just us BG did. If not, then yes, it would be a negative for me.

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So if it were up to me there would be no out of dialogue dialogue window at all, much less a combat log.  There is just no need.  It was there originally to appeal to the min/maxer D&D players, but Eternity is not D&D though and a combat log strikes me as being about as immersion breaking as it gets, nor is there a DM to fight with when you think the math is wrong.  The funny thing is many die hard old school IE game fans will tell you immersion is super important to them, but be mad if you do something like remove the combat log.

 

No need to be condescending because some people don't like you(r designs).

 

I just can not tell you how SUPER impressed I will be.

Until then, I'll use the combat log in these common combat situations, so I really hope they will include it. I've never been a fan of a black box approach.

 

.....

Nice try.

 

As for how can all this be done?  Actually quite easy, sound effects, visual effects, character reactions.  When a guy hits you and your character makes an "oof" sort of sound effect and sort of bends backwards they clearly took a hit.  When your character yells out "ARghhh!" and falls on the ground they clearly took a lot more than "a hit".  Likewise character animations and sound effects can show parries, blocks with shields, your character can call out "My attack is ineffective?!?!" (heh heh), and any number of other cues to let you know what is going on in combat.

 

This is not 1990 anymore.  Graphics have come a very very long way and can show a great range of depth, and good sound design can cover for what graphics can't do.  As for arrows.... not only could your character make a comment like "Hmmmm... out of arrows!" but you also have weapon swap icons, they could just show your arrow count right there.

 

As for IE games.  No, I do not want BG3.  I want a modern 2013-2014 RPG made by the people who made BG that uses modern technology and a fresh design to make something that is in the same spirit and style but progressive and new at the same time.

 

Edit:  One other thing, while I will turn off the combat log myself if it is optional... I left it visible in every mock up I made for a reason.  People will expect it to be there, it was there in the original mock up, and I expect it to be there in the final game.  Just because I don't want to use, or see it, doesn't mean I don't understand why someone might want to.

 

I dunno about you but if you don't think the combat log is important then I would assume the following things:

 

A. You don't play with "To-Hit rolls" turned on

B. You don't play on a hard difficulty

C. You're not really a powergamer / min-maxer

 

The combat log is important for the purpose of:

 

Dissecting things like attack rolls in order to determine enemy defense scores, why you missed, and in the case of P:E specifically how much damage you are doing and whether or not you need to switch to a different damage type.

 

Eg. If I keep rolling grazes I want to know whether it's because the RNG is being unkind to me or whether the enemy I am attacking has a decent defense score.

 

Keeping track of status effects - of course you will be able to see a status effect on a character but you might want to know where exactly it came from, there were times in BG1/BG2 where I wasn't sure how one of my characters came under a certain status, especially if you're new to the game. Very important for big battles with lots going on.

 

Sure you could say, that you would prefer if you moused over the enemy and a tooltip came up with their defenses and bonus to attack, but that's not how the IE games were and it's definitely not how a lot of us want the game to be, especially on Expert Mode.

 

I don't know about you but I didn't pay for a 2013-14 RPG, I payed for an old-school RPG. Bioware made BG not Obsidian/Black Isle. I want a UI that has lots of functions at the ready because it is important for combat purposes. For this it needs to take up some screen space and that is fine.

 

A UI split into collapsing parts should cater to most people, but the combat log is an important feature in a game that HOPEFULLY is difficult on Hard+ and requires lots of dissecting of combat to be able to determine optimizations.

 

You can't just say "Eternity is not D&D" as a valid reason for a combat log being silly. Project Eternity has Expert Mode - for veteran players who want a more 90's style all hints off experience / dials up to 11 game. Path of the Damned - Heart of Fury mode ie ridiculous combat challenge and Trial of Iron - you die, save deleted, start again (and if this happens, you'd want to be dissecting that combat log).

Josh Sawyer has also gone on the record saying he'd like the game to at least be about as hard as IWD2.

Edited by Sensuki
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A left-aligned vertical bar. There's still distance between the topmost portraits and the action buttons, but the viewport has a bit more space in the north-south direction. (The photoshopping is atrocious.)

 

jagx13.jpg

 

 

ALL CAPS: I'D LOVE TO SEE THE DIALOGUE/COMBAT LOG FREELY EXPANDABLE AS HIGH AS THE PLAYER LIKES.

 

This is by far the best "user" redesign.

 

 

All the other user redesigns suffer from: 

- small, indistinguishable buttons (little circular buttons aren't fun to press, nor are they big enough to contain their own graphics)

- buttons are spread out too far (The one where you have to click a portrait on the right and drag you mouse all the way to the left to select actions is ridiculous! Try doing that for every individual character every 5 seconds and see how you like it.)

- Take up way to much space 

    - the circular ui elements create wasted space, even if you can see the game screen in that space it obscures is and isn't easily clickable

    - padding might make it harder to misclick, but slightly larger buttons serve the same purpose without wasting space

 

For everyone who wants Baldur's Gate's UI, saying it's part of the experience. I implore you to replay it! I'm currently replaying BG2 and am genuinely frustrated by:

- the lack of a back button in the skill selector

- the inability to tell whether Yoshimo is checking for traps or not

- being forced to enlarge the dialogue box to see who's attacks are effective at the expense of covering up the beautiful combat animations

- the really, really small buttons for 'party ai', 'select all party members' and the expand/collapse buttons for portraits, menus and dialogue

- mouse scroll only focusing on the first scrollable element

- tooltips covering buttons

- the difficult to find loot from falling corpses (possibly fixed in the Enhanced Edition but I've got the original)

- the inability to tell whether a buffing spell needs a target without hovering the mouse over a character or portrait (or from memory)

- inventory management between teammates while only knowing what's in one party member's inventory at a time

   - I'm sure everyone has unloaded the main character's inventory on a party member, reentered the game only to find out that they're encumbered when you've already moved your party to a new, potentially hostile location

- moving my cursor from a portrait to a mage spell book to a portrait to a priest spell book (yes, you can use hotkeys but first you have to memorize them, and using hotkeys isn't always convenient)

- having 

 

The PE artist designed ui is actually a step in the right direction! Everything is a short mouse distance away, the game screen is quite visible and it's got everything you need without UI bloat. The only things I would change are:

- increase the size of the small buttons

- remove the padding on either side of the UI

 

Like so:

pe_ui_fix_by_theedarkcorner-d689pdj.jpg

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Let me quote myself.

 

"Edit:  One other thing, while I will turn off the combat log myself if it is optional... I left it visible in every mock up I made for a reason.  People will expect it to be there, it was there in the original mock up, and I expect it to be there in the final game.  Just because I don't want to use, or see it, doesn't mean I don't understand why someone might want to."

 

Where in that statement do you see "Take the combat log out of the game!", "There is no reason to use the combat log!", or "The combat log serves no purpose!"?

 

If you see any of those things in that quote I need you to stop and read it again.  Keep doing that until you actually read what it says, not what you want it to say.  Cause I pretty much said "I expect the combat log to be in game and understand why people use it." 

 

That said, no, it wont be white noise to me, and no, I won't have even a little trouble following a melee with 10 or even 20 mobs.  You can pause after all.

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The more I look at the mockups, the more I like the original design (though I didn't like it at first). No offense, but it looks like a lesser evil now.

Edited by Lysen
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As for IE games. No, I do not want BG3. I want a modern 2013-2014 RPG made by the people who made BG that uses modern technology and a fresh design to make something that is in the same spirit and style but progressive and new at the same time.

Worthlessly Vague statement is worthlessly vague.

 

Please describe, in your own opinion, exactly what the "spirit and style" of the IE games is.

Edited by Stun
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.....

Nice try.

 

As for how can all this be done?  Actually quite easy, sound effects, visual effects, character reactions.  When a guy hits you and your character makes an "oof" sort of sound effect and sort of bends backwards they clearly took a hit.  When your character yells out "ARghhh!" and falls on the ground they clearly took a lot more than "a hit".  Likewise character animations and sound effects can show parries, blocks with shields, your character can call out "My attack is ineffective?!?!" (heh heh), and any number of other cues to let you know what is going on in combat.

 

This is not 1990 anymore.  Graphics have come a very very long way and can show a great range of depth, and good sound design can cover for what graphics can't do.  As for arrows.... not only could your character make a comment like "Hmmmm... out of arrows!" but you also have weapon swap icons, they could just show your arrow count right there.

 

Unless you can make animation and sound display the precise amount of HP/stamina lost, in such a way that past events can also be accessed, and, ideally, also displaying the die rolls/equations that go into the actions, the same things aren't being shown at all. All of this seems Not Bloody Likely. Such design doesn't serve "immersion" either because all one would be doing is to blend the obviously game elements of HP/stamina points into the in-character world of the story itself, as a vague sort of guesswork, rather than keeping the game aspects as clear abstractions.

 

(edit: this is in response to the general idea that information provided by the combat log could be replaced with in-game feedback.)

 

 

As for IE games.  No, I do not want BG3.  I want a modern 2013-2014 RPG made by the people who made BG that uses modern technology and a fresh design to make something that is in the same spirit and style but progressive and new at the same time.

Are you talking about P:E? Are there any BG devs working on Eternity?

Edited by centurionofprix

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Let me quote myself.

 

"Edit:  One other thing, while I will turn off the combat log myself if it is optional... I left it visible in every mock up I made for a reason.  People will expect it to be there, it was there in the original mock up, and I expect it to be there in the final game.  Just because I don't want to use, or see it, doesn't mean I don't understand why someone might want to."

 

Where in that statement do you see "Take the combat log out of the game!", "There is no reason to use the combat log!", or "The combat log serves no purpose!"?

 

If you see any of those things in that quote I need you to stop and read it again.  Keep doing that until you actually read what it says, not what you want it to say.  Cause I pretty much said "I expect the combat log to be in game and understand why people use it." 

 

That said, no, it wont be white noise to me, and no, I won't have even a little trouble following a melee with 10 or even 20 mobs.  You can pause after all.

So if it were up to me there would be no out of dialogue dialogue window at all, much less a combat log.  There is just no need.  It was there originally to appeal to the min/maxer D&D players, but Eternity is not D&D though and a combat log strikes me as being about as immersion breaking as it gets, nor is there a DM to fight with when you think the math is wrong.  The funny thing is many die hard old school IE game fans will tell you immersion is super important to them, but be mad if you do something like remove the combat log.

 

 

Ranging from explicitly said, differently phrased to heavily implied. Although, personally, I attribute the quantity of responses to the belittling and condescending attitude in the continuation of the post.

 

On the other hand, did someone else actually say (or even heavily imply) that they want everyone to have the combat log always visible? Because I'm more than fine with being able to turn it off, even though I never will. This option can only make the game better - letting people play as they wish to play.

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Ok, back to the topic.

 

I took the liberty of putting the UI mock-up on a 16:9 screen of the dungeon vertical slice to see how it would affect the scene.  Here is the result:

 

DungeonUi-1_zps4bbe6869.jpg

 

Compare that to a U-Shaped frame:

 

DungeonUi-2a_zpsdfe18647.jpg

 

I'm not sure what others might feel, but for me, at that aspect ratio; there is quite a difference in the resultant viewable area in the central part of the screen. 

 

This isn't an aesthetic argument, or a minimalism, modern vs. retro issue.  The game designers and majority of backers have made it clear that a UI reminiscent of the IE game would be used.  These are two examples that follow the IE "style" and I'm really preferring U-shaped or a right justified UI.  

Edited by curryinahurry

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Regardless of which interface the developers choose, something I would like to see are elements that provide an indication of the  conditions in the sky of the game world. That is, when the party is outdoors, some components that show whether it is sunny or cloudy; rainy or clear; day, dusk, dawn, or night. One way they might do that is have polished metal elements that show a distorted reflection. For example, the little clock mechanism may have a polished metal rim that looks like it is reflecting the sky behind the player. Another might be a clock background that looks like one of those old weather prediction dials showing clear, cloudy, or rain. Thanks. :)

Edited by rjshae
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DungeonUi-2a_zpsdfe18647.jpg

 

I'm not sure what others might feel, but for me, at that aspect ratio; there is quite a difference in the resultant viewable area in the central part of the screen. 

 

In that particular screen shot you can see more of the south corridor, yes, but what if there were more corridors to the South West and North East? If you stack up those UI elements in the U-shaped interface then you'll find that it covers more of the screen than the original. Plus, there's a lot of empty space needing to be filled with buttons to be useful. If we're talking BG buttons, then a lot of them only need to be on-screen temporarily. The problem with the U-shape is that it maximizes the distance between buttons. When these buttons need to be used frequently, the user will constantly be moving their mouse from the left side of the screen to click a button, then to the right side to click another button. This is a lot of mouse movement and will be tiring in long gaming sessions. Imagine exchanging books between two book shelves on opposite sides of a 20x20' room by taking one book off the shelf at a time. It wasn't very noticeable in BG's low resolutions but it will definitely be annoying on a high resolution widescreen.

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I'm not sure what others might feel, but for me, at that aspect ratio; there is quite a difference in the resultant viewable area in the central part of the screen. 

 

In that particular screen shot you can see more of the south corridor, yes, but what if there were more corridors to the South West and North East? If you stack up those UI elements in the U-shaped interface then you'll find that it covers more of the screen than the original. Plus, there's a lot of empty space needing to be filled with buttons to be useful. If we're talking BG buttons, then a lot of them only need to be on-screen temporarily. The problem with the U-shape is that it maximizes the distance between buttons. When these buttons need to be used frequently, the user will constantly be moving their mouse from the left side of the screen to click a button, then to the right side to click another button. This is a lot of mouse movement and will be tiring in long gaming sessions. Imagine exchanging books between two book shelves on opposite sides of a 20x20' room by taking one book off the shelf at a time. It wasn't very noticeable in BG's low resolutions but it will definitely be annoying on a high resolution widescreen.

 

 

With regards to total space; it depends on whether the screen will stay centered on the party or selected party member, in which case it will scroll, so the right and left sides will always emerge as the player moves.  If they decide to go another route, you're right, but usually space in the middle of the screen is at a premium.

 

With regards to the second point; the U-shaped layout I included has all of the most used buttons along wth the portraits.  the only buttons opposite would be for less used functions likes formations, settings, etc.  That is getting into the finer points of UI design.  There is no reason that all the important buttons couldn't remain close to the portraits in this type of layout.  Also, clicking portraits, in reality, will likely be the least used manner in which players will interface with the characters on screen.  Most of the time they will click on the character model or hotkey the number.  But regardless, a U-shaped frame UI can be nearly as efficient as one running along the bottom.  Maybe moreso when you consider that clicking on some buttons might result in pop-up sub-menus; which in the U-shape (or right justified) would be along the side of the screen and not in the middle where a bottom justified UI would have them, further impeding vision.

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Also, clicking portraits, in reality, will likely be the least used manner in which players will interface with the characters on screen.  Most of the time they will click on the character model or hotkey the number

 

For that reason I think that placing most of the buttons and the quick slots on the bottom of the U will be a better idea (portraits on the left or right vertical bar will mostly be used for monitoring). I believe that in most cases (especially if one like to center its party on screen during combat) mouse travel from character-model to bottom-center will be shorter and additionally I find a horizontal buttons-bar to be more comfortable to use.

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I'm not sure what others might feel, but for me, at that aspect ratio; there is quite a difference in the resultant viewable area in the central part of the screen. 

 

In that particular screen shot you can see more of the south corridor, yes, but what if there were more corridors to the South West and North East? If you stack up those UI elements in the U-shaped interface then you'll find that it covers more of the screen than the original. Plus, there's a lot of empty space needing to be filled with buttons to be useful. If we're talking BG buttons, then a lot of them only need to be on-screen temporarily. The problem with the U-shape is that it maximizes the distance between buttons. When these buttons need to be used frequently, the user will constantly be moving their mouse from the left side of the screen to click a button, then to the right side to click another button. This is a lot of mouse movement and will be tiring in long gaming sessions. Imagine exchanging books between two book shelves on opposite sides of a 20x20' room by taking one book off the shelf at a time. It wasn't very noticeable in BG's low resolutions but it will definitely be annoying on a high resolution widescreen.

 

 

With regards to total space; it depends on whether the screen will stay centered on the party or selected party member, in which case it will scroll, so the right and left sides will always emerge as the player moves.  If they decide to go another route, you're right, but usually space in the middle of the screen is at a premium.

 

With regards to the second point; the U-shaped layout I included has all of the most used buttons along wth the portraits.  the only buttons opposite would be for less used functions likes formations, settings, etc.  That is getting into the finer points of UI design.  There is no reason that all the important buttons couldn't remain close to the portraits in this type of layout.  Also, clicking portraits, in reality, will likely be the least used manner in which players will interface with the characters on screen.  Most of the time they will click on the character model or hotkey the number.  But regardless, a U-shaped frame UI can be nearly as efficient as one running along the bottom.  Maybe moreso when you consider that clicking on some buttons might result in pop-up sub-menus; which in the U-shape (or right justified) would be along the side of the screen and not in the middle where a bottom justified UI would have them, further impeding vision.

 

 

Hotkeys are very useful, and players will make use of them the more familiar with the game they get, but until then nubs will be using their mouse. Otherwise, why would we have buttons at all? If all that matters is screen real estate then they should do away with interfaces, keep a minimalistic HUD and create simplistic, easy to remember controls. 

 

 

Like you said, all the important buttons can fit on one side. Why do we need another side at all? Why not have a single, vertical menu, then? You would have the exact same amount of screen space if you merged the left side of the U-shaped interface with the right, and even more if you removed the empty part of the interface at the bottom of the screen. The dialogue box obviously wouldn't be able to fit in it, but it could be collapsed at the bottom center of the screen, and any popup menus would be along the side, still.

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Also, clicking portraits, in reality, will likely be the least used manner in which players will interface with the characters on screen.  Most of the time they will click on the character model or hotkey the number

 

For that reason I think that placing most of the buttons and the quick slots on the bottom of the U will be a better idea (portraits on the left or right vertical bar will mostly be used for monitoring). I believe that in most cases (especially if one like to center its party on screen during combat) mouse travel from character-model to bottom-center will be shorter and additionally I find a horizontal buttons-bar to be more comfortable to use.

 

 

Certainly bottom center for buttons is most convenient.  Unfortunately, Josh Sawyer stated that they don't want excessive mouse travel from portraits to buttons.  My  main motivation in posting these options is driven by the fact that I really dislike the portraits running horizontally on the bottom and buttons  being situated above.  Also, bottom center can be a problem depending on hoe sub-menus are handled and the depth of the bottom frame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm not sure what others might feel, but for me, at that aspect ratio; there is quite a difference in the resultant viewable area in the central part of the screen. 

 

In that particular screen shot you can see more of the south corridor, yes, but what if there were more corridors to the South West and North East? If you stack up those UI elements in the U-shaped interface then you'll find that it covers more of the screen than the original. Plus, there's a lot of empty space needing to be filled with buttons to be useful. If we're talking BG buttons, then a lot of them only need to be on-screen temporarily. The problem with the U-shape is that it maximizes the distance between buttons. When these buttons need to be used frequently, the user will constantly be moving their mouse from the left side of the screen to click a button, then to the right side to click another button. This is a lot of mouse movement and will be tiring in long gaming sessions. Imagine exchanging books between two book shelves on opposite sides of a 20x20' room by taking one book off the shelf at a time. It wasn't very noticeable in BG's low resolutions but it will definitely be annoying on a high resolution widescreen.

 

 

With regards to total space; it depends on whether the screen will stay centered on the party or selected party member, in which case it will scroll, so the right and left sides will always emerge as the player moves.  If they decide to go another route, you're right, but usually space in the middle of the screen is at a premium.

 

With regards to the second point; the U-shaped layout I included has all of the most used buttons along wth the portraits.  the only buttons opposite would be for less used functions likes formations, settings, etc.  That is getting into the finer points of UI design.  There is no reason that all the important buttons couldn't remain close to the portraits in this type of layout.  Also, clicking portraits, in reality, will likely be the least used manner in which players will interface with the characters on screen.  Most of the time they will click on the character model or hotkey the number.  But regardless, a U-shaped frame UI can be nearly as efficient as one running along the bottom.  Maybe moreso when you consider that clicking on some buttons might result in pop-up sub-menus; which in the U-shape (or right justified) would be along the side of the screen and not in the middle where a bottom justified UI would have them, further impeding vision.

 

 

Hotkeys are very useful, and players will make use of them the more familiar with the game they get, but until then nubs will be using their mouse. Otherwise, why would we have buttons at all? If all that matters is screen real estate then they should do away with interfaces, keep a minimalistic HUD and create simplistic, easy to remember controls. 

 

 

Like you said, all the important buttons can fit on one side. Why do we need another side at all? Why not have a single, vertical menu, then? You would have the exact same amount of screen space if you merged the left side of the U-shaped interface with the right, and even more if you removed the empty part of the interface at the bottom of the screen. The dialogue box obviously wouldn't be able to fit in it, but it could be collapsed at the bottom center of the screen, and any popup menus would be along the side, still.

 

 

I'd be happy with a UI that could be customized to run along either one side or the bottom.  I'm presenting a U-shaped option mainly because it is reminiscent of the IE look (at least 3 of the games).  Also, one of the earlier posts I made in this thread, and an idea that has been mentioned by a few others, is the desire to have a transparency slider for the frame.

 

Something like this, but with larger portraits:

 

PE-Mockup-2_zpscd3f8499.jpg

Edited by curryinahurry
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