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Nice update Rob, quite interesting.
Dimitri, I feel for you.

On the UI: I really don't like cumbersome interfaces.
Someone suggested to hide the UI. Not a viable option. I need the UI, and it's annoying having to switch it on/off any few seconds. Because that is what I would do, as I could not stand not seeing the basic stats of my party.

 

Please:

-allow to set the background transparency. Or to use a different theme. Like "glass with silver borders".

Edited by Suen

I've come to burn your kingdom down

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egaq5IF.jpg

 

Here's my suggestion. I have removed most of the unused space, shifted the elements (I do like the Fallout Tactics style) around and decreased the size of the options menu as I think it was too big. Good for tablets but that space could be better used by other stuff.

 

If you were going to have a customizable UI (can you do that with pre-rendered 2D?) you could use those wooden beams or whatever they're replaced with in the final UI and swap UI elements around with those or something.

I like the swap, but what I'd like to see is to move the action and hotbar buttons over into the red box "non-customizable buttons...".  Maybe squeeze the character portraits together a bit more and/or make the menu buttons area smaller so that space could be wide enough to do 2 rows of 6 buttons.  Then squash down the menu button area and dialogue area a bit and chop off the UI right above the character portraits all the way across.  That height UI would be perfect in my mind.

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My personal preference is the BG1-2/IWD1 style as that would work really well on a Widescreen setup, although I am afraid the devs probably don't share that view.

 

We are not going to get a minimalistic UI IndiraLightfoot.

 

Quote link

 

 

Let's talk about RPG interfaces.

I have always liked the original NWN interface, specifically the font and the way inventory icons are done. It doesn't try to look like something out of the storyline (like a book or whatever) and is therefore not very distracting.

Our interfaces are going to look like something based in the world, like the IE games. Sorry.

 

 

Me happy!!!! :dancing:

I know this is a divisive matter like the 2D vs 3D dabate in Torment, but personally i consider NWN2 and DA:O UI abominations, and i don't want anything even remotely similar in P:E.

Whichever way the devs had desided to go, some people would be disapointed anyway.

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Sensuki: Josh can be opinionated at times, and I love him for it, but I wouldn't take that too seriously. Josh has also been quoted saying that he doesn't like BG 2 all that much, for instance: http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/63767-josh-sawyer-on-quest-staggering-and-why-bg2-might-have-had-it-right/

 

I've got a feeling that Obsidian will listen to many of us that want to see an up-to-date customizable UI that can be described as minimalist.

Many people hate minimalistic customizable UI. If it was up to me i would have an even bigger UI, like BG2. That UI was the best in the history of gaming.

 

It's kind of like 2D vs 3D in Torment. Whatever Obsidian desides, one side will be dissapointed.

Edited by Malekith
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The problem is that for as many of you that want a minimalistic UI, there are just as many of us who want a UI like the mockup Kaz did or similar. Not only that but the game is going to be an Infinity Engine styled game, and thus an IE-inspired UI is what we will get.

 

It's going to be one of those things where there's a clear divide between the fanbase on the subject and making Kaz and the programmers work on 2 UI's just to please everyone means that they have less time to work on other more important things such as getting more assets and content into the game.

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I have mixed feelings about the UI. I don't want the aesthetics of the UI in the I.E. games to be lost, but those UI's proved to be kind of clunky at times (double that if running on a modern widescreen monitor, using widescreen mods). I would be skeptical about scaling a UI that has a textured background like the I.E. games, it could lose it's fidelity if scaled out of the original resolution and look gross. Even something like Diablo III's UI would look good, but that might be too simplistic for an I.E.-esque game. It works, looks good, and isn't clunky.

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Sensuki: They have the know-how to whip up a NWN2-UI updated for 2014 in no-time, in addition to a IE-sarcophagus UI. If you are right about this divide, and I think you are, it would be well invested time on behalf of Obsidian. I predict that once you get to pick, most people will opt for the up-to-date minimal one, just you wait and see. ;)

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

 

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The problem is that for as many of you that want a minimalistic UI, there are just as many of us who want a UI like the mockup Kaz did or similar. Not only that but the game is going to be an Infinity Engine styled game, and thus an IE-inspired UI is what we will get.

 

It's going to be one of those things where there's a clear divide between the fanbase on the subject and making Kaz and the programmers work on 2 UI's just to please everyone means that they have less time to work on other more important things such as getting more assets and content into the game.

True.  I'm not so hung up on the UI that I would want them to sacrifice time from other areas of the game just to please me.  On the other hand, Rob did specifically ask for opinions, so I'm going to opinion away.  I'm firmly a member of the minimalist UI group.  Less is more in my mind and as much transparency as possible.  Basically I want the environment portion of the screen to be as big as possible.  Anyway, I'll have no problem living with whatever they come up with for a UI, I'm far more concerned with quality of content and gameplay.

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egaq5IF.jpg

 

Here's my suggestion. I have removed most of the unused space, shifted the elements (I do like the Fallout Tactics style) around and decreased the size of the options menu as I think it was too big. Good for tablets but that space could be better used by other stuff.

 

If you were going to have a customizable UI (can you do that with pre-rendered 2D?) you could use those wooden beams or whatever they're replaced with in the final UI and swap UI elements around with those or something.

That's almost exactly how I would like to see it changed. Though the combat log is still taking way more space than it needs to.

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True.  I'm not so hung up on the UI that I would want them to sacrifice time from other areas of the game just to please me.  On the other hand, Rob did specifically ask for opinions, so I'm going to opinion away.  I'm firmly a member of the minimalist UI group.  Less is more in my mind and as much transparency as possible.  Basically I want the environment portion of the screen to be as big as possible.  Anyway, I'll have no problem living with whatever they come up with for a UI, I'm far more concerned with quality of content and gameplay.

The way I see it, minimalist UI ends up feeling more intrusive given that it sticks out from the actual art, while IE games felt much better integrated though they weren't up-to-snuff in terms of usability. Minimal works pretty well with more futuristic games, modern games, as it compliments the art direction more successfully than in a fantasy title.

 

On the other hand, I reiterate that I'm all for some limited forms of customization and updates in layout from Icewind Dale 2 (which seems to be the basic reference here).

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I think the main problem with the suggested IE-like UI is the apparent risk of misclicking.

At least the portraits ought to be separated to the right in a vertical row.

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

 

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That's almost exactly how I would like to see it changed. Though the combat log is still taking way more space than it needs to.

That space is also where you can scroll through dialogue as well, which is why it is so wide.

 

You can avoid most UI misclicks by unticking "Enhanced Pointer Precision" in the Mouse settings if you're using Windows ... I think disabling Mouse accel is a bit more problematic on Mac though.

I stated this about misclicking before - most of the time misclicking is a result of mouse acceleration and/or input lag to the mouse input. If these things are eliminated you will develop muscle memory that significantly minimizes the risk of misclicking anything.

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Sensuki: They have the know-how to whip up a NWN2-UI updated for 2014 in no-time, in addition to a IE-sarcophagus UI. If you are right about this divide, and I think you are, it would be well invested time on behalf of Obsidian. I predict that once you get to pick, most people will opt for the up-to-date minimal one, just you wait and see. ;)

Hmm, sounds like this calls for a poll.

;)

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That UI is to much like IceWind Dale 2 which really is a silly game ...

 

I think you should design the UI closer to Baldur's Gate 2.   I am not digging the bottem screen UI.  It's just to Old School.

 

You guys could do better.

 

The UI should have some sort of Graphic that represents the Theme of the Game some Demon or soul or something there as a statue in the middle of the UI   "something"

....I think it would be better to allow the user to move the pictures around.  The IceWind Dale 2 look just isn't doing it for a game that is 10 years a head of IE rpg's.

 

I know this is supposed to be Old School rpg but I think some innovation could be done too.

 

Thanks for sharing!  Nice to see you guys have a great pipe line to get things done.

 

 

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If the final game looks anywhere near as gorgeous as in the first mockup screen, then a lot of screenshots will be wallpaper material... so if you could implement a "Hide UI"-toggle, it would be greatly appreciated! :)

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I'm not looking for a minimalistic interface, just one that allows for some customization and isn't nearly so cluttered.  Also the stylized menu buttons in the center borders on illegible, and the statuary + columns means there is little room for quick items, equipment & weapon sets, or formation buttons - a key element in the old IE UIs.  Sensuki's edit might help, but to my eye, it still looks way too inefficient. 

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First off, thanks for providing the mock-up.

 

I really like it so far, but I think that things could be improved.  Right now it's very close to Baldur's Gate/Icewind Dale 2, and I think some changes need to be made as far as usability goes.  As of now it feels almost pointlessly faithful to Infinity Engine games, and that it ignores possible modern improvements and optimizations for user experience.

  1. Customizable hotbar.  The current Baldur's Gate-style quick select menu is nice, but I hope it's just a placeholder.  Let users choose exactly what they want to put in the hotbar drag-and-drop style.  Don't restrict the number of slots too much either.  For example, there should be an optional sidebar that adds a whole bunch of quickbar slots (depending on resolution).  Assuming we're dealing with a mechanically deep game and that we'll have lots of spells, abilities, etc., the 8-10 slots provided won't be enough for some players, especially if the function of many of them is fixed in stone.  Even so there should always be a way to customize the hotkeys themselves by moving what's in the slots around.
  2. Options/functions panel.  I like the look of those buttons you have, but from a pure usability standpoint I think the central pane is too big and pointlessly so, for that matter.  Most players are going to use hotkeys to open inventory, journal etc. so I think those buttons should only be as big as necessary.  Use that extra space to provide more functionality if possible, whether that's a bigger hotbar or larger chat window.
  3. Chat window should be something you can completely hide if you want to.  It should also be able to be scaled vertically.  Critical text such as for events can always be done using floaty text above characters' heads.  I like the filter there but I feel like maybe the tabs should be called different things, for example Dialogue and Info, with Info containing both combat text as well as any die rolls and other math used for non-combat skill use.
  4. One thing I have really grown to like in more modern games are pop-ups which explain things like quest status updates and character level-ups.  You could easily use some of that extra horizontal space to provide on-screen overlays which temporarily appear to alert players of critical information - clicking them should provide the player more info, like taking him/her to a character menu or relevant journal entry.  Of course, you can present this information other ways - but sometimes it's nice to have that reassurance that you did actually complete a quest objective by making it clearly visible, instead of hiding it in the dialogue window.
  5. Some players have also suggested that modern gamers have predominantly widescreen displays, and that the UI should be reconfigured to be vertically-oriented instead.  I can go one way or the other, but it's worth noting that a horizontally-aligned UI scales down to 4:3 resolutions better.  You used a widescreen screenshot for your mock-up, but we're so used to seeing that image as-is without a UI that it looks weird seeing the entire bottom part of it cut off.  However, in the context of the in-game view, with a camera that can be freely moved and characters running around, it might not look so "wrong".

On that note I also have to wonder how dialogue will be handled. I'd probably rather see a separate dialogue window that appears during gameplay than having it stuffed into a corner. It's easier to read if it's at the center of the screen as well, but, there are downsides as well.  It reduces the possibility for scripted events playing during dialogue, and would also require the UI to frequently hide and unhide in certain situations.  That might not be ideal depending on how much you want to rely on that sort of thing, but given dialogue is important in this game I do think it should be front-and-center or at least more prominent - and there's nothing wrong with a UI that changes based on the situational needs of gameplay.

Edited by sea
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"The way I see it, minimalist UI ends up feeling more intrusive given that it sticks out from the actual art, while IE games felt much better integrated though they weren't up-to-snuff in terms of usability. Minimal works pretty well with more futuristic games, modern games, as it compliments the art direction more successfully than in a fantasy title."

 

This please. I am all for the ability to move UI elements around or to hide them, but there should be a significant level of emphasis on having a UI that is appropriately stylised. This is an isometric party-control game not a first-person game, and it's a pseudo-medieval game rather than a futurustic or sci-fi one. The fact that NWN went with its horrible generic-blue UI took away from the entire experience, since every time you look at the screen you're reminded of how gamey it is. To boot, it might have been better for moving things around and such, but it looked a lot less professional and polished than the IE UI.

 

I think distribution can be fiddled with for quick items and efficiency but the basic style should remain IE, it should be all about stone and wood, forget 'modern UI'.

 

Edit: sea, given that IWD2 let you choose what you can put in the hotbar drag and drop, I think they will do it?

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Sensuki's edit looks better, but I think the portraits are a problem in both it and the original. I think they should probably be separated and moved to either the left or the right side of the screen.

Edited by Gumbercules
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I really like the Icewind Dale feel for the UI. I don't think that a minimalist UI, like Dragon Age has, is really a good idea. A big part of the Infinity games feeling is the way the UI looked, and I think people are underestemating that. Also as someone said, you could hide your UI in all Infinity engine games.(you can't go more minimalistic then that)

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Sensuki's edit looks better, but I think the portraits are a problem in both it and the original. I think they should probably be separated and moved to either the left or the right side of the screen.

That.  More BG, less IWD2

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Ok I see what you guys are doing your UI that is a work in progress is the most effective way with out taking to much space on the screen.

 

I still say you guys could come up with better design something that is little more less dull.  Maybe have dragons hanging over the edge on each side or something.

I don't know.

 

it seems that having just a bar at the botten is the best way to take less space.

 

As for everyones Moch-ups there horrible.

you have the same silly UI with just moving things around backwards.

 

I also think that the work in progress UI isn't fitting the image right that is the UI looks like it needs to be smaller.

 

Well good luck and till the next update.

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Tigranes: Interesting, I think you're on to something there. Basically, what you are saying is go for IE-inspired UI, but make it as customizable as that in NWN2 - scalable, movable, etc. And while I personally don't care much for stone and wood for UI graphics, I get the point of the interface being too much an overlay on the game. However, I reckon the interface shouldn't look like the environments either. How about an IE-UI-graphics based on bone or cool metals and gems, almost like ancient jewellery?

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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Tigranes: Interesting, I think you're on to something there. Basically, what you are saying is go for IE-inspired UI, but make it as customizable as that in NWN2 - scalable, movable, etc. And while I personally don't care much for stone and wood for UI graphics, I get the point of the interface being too much an overlay on the game.

That's actually what I suggested in my edit post. The IWD2 action bar was fully customizable and I said that the wooden beams could be used to swap the placement of elements within the UI. The thing is the UI will likely be a pre-rendered image or images, not a 3D object.

Edited by Sensuki
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That UI isn't very good.

 

Here's why:

 

The portraits are very important: you click them to switch characters, right-click to open inventory or what have you. In-between the portraits and game-screen you put functions and abilities. Missclicks ahoy.

 

Portraits also need to be bigger. Why not use portrait dimensions (as used in BG2?) If you're gonna have good-looking portraits, show em off. Also, this gives room to show character statuses on the portrait.

 

The dialogue part doesn't look resizable like in the BG games. It really should be. Preferably it should also be on the left, with a scrollbar on right.

 

I'll draw a mock-up of what I think would be a better solution.

Very good point. Portraits should be larger. Your "concept" is very good. God bless You.

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