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Finally, make sure that spell-icon space is aplenty and customizable.

 

+++

This cannot be overstated!

 

My first character of choice is always, to use the olden days' terminology, a chaotic evil mage, so having an easy to use and at least somewhat customizable spell interface is something that can potentially greatly influence the enjoyment I get from playing any RPG.

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You can do Baldur's Gate Sized Portraits without having to have a Sidebar UI

 

Here is a really dodgy mspaint job of it:

 

QDlKZzd.jpg

 

Status effects could now be on the portrait like in BG/IWD

 

Only thing is with this design I've lost the space for the Animal companion. You could remove a line of hotkeys I suppose - two lines of that is more than the original mockup.

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Thanks for the update.

Scripted event images are super cool. About the UI, I'd like to have bigger portraits, as many have already stated. Can't wait to play this game!



"Maybe your grandiose vocabulary is a pathetic compensation for an insufficiency in the nether regions of your anatomy."

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You can do Baldur's Gate Sized Portraits without having to have a Sidebar UI

 

Here is a really dodgy mspaint job of it:

 

QDlKZzd.jpg

 

Status effects could now be on the portrait like in BG/IWD

 

Only thing is with this design I've lost the space for the Animal companion. You could remove a line of hotkeys I suppose - two lines of that is more than the original mockup.

 

 

Even though I'd still like the chat/log window to be on the left, this, to me, is the by far best suggestion so far. :thumbsup:

Edited by Homer Morisson

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That UI concept is looking a little too old school for my taste. Spiritual succession or not... over a decade later, I'd love to see a less intrusive, more elegant and more modern, advanced style with more transparency, pop-in/pull-down, rolling elements etc. - Generally speaking look at a modern MMO like SWTOR and their very customizable UI options.

 

Just my $.02

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While I certainly think the idea of a bone and obsidian UI could be really cool looking, it would also be very stark and high-contrast.  I think it would wind up dominating the screen, regardless of the environment.  Our outdoor environments, especially, will fall more in the BG and BG2 spectrum of colors, which is why we went with more subdued natural tones and copper accents.  We can certainly look at alternatives, but I wanted to give feedback on that particular idea.

 

It might be worth giving a go for a mockup, it shouldn't take long to quickly put together form photo textures. The contrast depends a lot on the artist, obsidian comes in a variety of colours, not all of them super shiny and bone could be old yellowy bones with cracks, carvings and dirt setting in the crevices, not as contrasty as it might sound on paper.

(I can imagine it being not much different to the classic parchment/wood/stone style.)

 

Anyway, I really didn't expect the screens with black and white drawings and multiple choice options, almost like gamebooks, but now I'm definitely looking forward to that feature. 


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bLxN5EQ.jpg

 

Or that I suppose.

 

Even though I'd still like the chat/log window to be on the left, this, to me, is the by far best suggestion so far. :thumbsup:

Edited by Sensuki
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Why are you insisting to put the dialogs to the left? Mouse-wise, it's much harder to click on stuff to the right bottom than left bottom.

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I have a version with the dialogue box on the right and left, check the previous thread page.

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I have to say I think it's strange that people are requesting UI layouts with character portraits far away from action icons, floating wireframe UIs, and similar features.  While it's true that BG1 and IWD1 used wrap-around UIs, that was because 640x480 base resolutions didn't allow us to fit all of the elements along one edge of the screen.  As soon as we went to 800x600 in IWD2, we immediately went to a consolidated UI layout that made mouse movement much more efficient.  I understand that a lot of people use hotkeys and we certainly plan to support that, but GUIs need to be functional for people who use them.  Putting abilities 75%+ of the screen width away from the character portraits is really inefficient.

 

This point makes a ton of sense to me. Just sayin'...

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[removed pic from quote]

Or that I suppose.

 

 

Even better, I think... I especially like the portraits right in the middle, as they are, at least aesthetically, the most important part of the UI.

 

Why are you insisting to put the dialogs to the left? Mouse-wise, it's much harder to click on stuff to the right bottom than left bottom.

 

While I don't really see any relevant differences in the level of effort it requires to click anything on either side of the screen, the reason for my "text to the left"-preference is purely a question of personal preference - I find it more comfortable, if you will, or maybe more intuitive to have vital information on the left side, rather than the right.

 

But, like I said, this is probably really just a matter of taste and preference, not right or wrong.

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Don't people spend more time looking at the left side of things though, which is why I moved the Dialogue box to the left in one example. I can't prove that with peer-reviewed academic journals or anything but I've heard it a few times in Web Design and Film.

Edited by Sensuki
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Why are you insisting to put the dialogs to the left? Mouse-wise, it's much harder to click on stuff to the right bottom than left bottom.

 

Yeah, Sensuki's last mockup but with the dialog box at the far right instead of the far left, would be my choice.


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

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The right hand generally has a greater and more comfortable range of motion to the left than to the right.

 

I never really thought about those things from a usability point of view, though it certainly does sound somewhat self-explanatory.

Nevertheless, if given the choice in a customizable UI, I'd put the chat/log-box to the left side of the screen everytime... from an explicitely subjective point of view, the left side of the screen feels simply more important to me than the right side - which is why I prefer to have all relevant information focused on the left.

 

Don't people spend more time looking at the left side of things though, which is why I moved the Dialogue box to the left in one example. I can't prove that with peer-reviewed academic journals or anything but I've heard it a few times in Web Design and Film.

 

As stated above, I at least feel that I indeed do that... but, who knows, that might simply be related to me being left-handed.

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Don't people spend more time looking at the left side of things though, which is why I moved the Dialogue box to the left in one example. I can't prove that with peer-reviewed academic journals or anything but I've heard it a few times in Web Design and Film.

 

Even if that is the case, players are going to be looking at/interacting with the portraits and action icons more than the combat log.

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The right hand generally has a greater and more comfortable range of motion to the left than to the right.

 

I never really thought about those things from a usability point of view, though it certainly does sound somewhat self-explanatory.

Nevertheless, if given the choice in a customizable UI, I'd put the chat/log-box to the left side of the screen everytime... from an explicitely subjective point of view, the left side of the screen feels simply more important to me than the right side - which is why I prefer to have all relevant information focused on the left. 

 

I believe that the character portraits contain more vital information that the player looks at with higher frequency than the combat log.

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Thanks for the feedback, everyone, divergent though it may be.  Here are some things we are going to continue to look into:

 

* Better use of space overall.  Not all of the decorative elements need to be there.  We would like to have more room for the ability icons in particular.

* Re-working and re-positioning of the player menu (inventory, etc.).

* Possibly vertically orienting the character portraits and ability icons on one side of the screen.  The combat log pretty much has to be horizontally-oriented, but other than scrolling through it, that's a non-interactive element of the UI.

 

I have to say I think it's strange that people are requesting UI layouts with character portraits far away from action icons, floating wireframe UIs, and similar features.  While it's true that BG1 and IWD1 used wrap-around UIs, that was because 640x480 base resolutions didn't allow us to fit all of the elements along one edge of the screen.  As soon as we went to 800x600 in IWD2, we immediately went to a consolidated UI layout that made mouse movement much more efficient.  I understand that a lot of people use hotkeys and we certainly plan to support that, but GUIs need to be functional for people who use them.  Putting abilities 75%+ of the screen width away from the character portraits is really inefficient.

 

While I certainly think the idea of a bone and obsidian UI could be really cool looking, it would also be very stark and high-contrast.  I think it would wind up dominating the screen, regardless of the environment.  Our outdoor environments, especially, will fall more in the BG and BG2 spectrum of colors, which is why we went with more subdued natural tones and copper accents.  We can certainly look at alternatives, but I wanted to give feedback on that particular idea.

 

 

The reason people are requesting character portraits away from the icons/interface UI are several, but the biggest and most important reason is that the largeness of the character portraits is somehow a key piece of making a 2-D portrait feel like a relateable companion. When portraits are tiny and buried underneath stuff they don't feel like people, they feel like UI. While the sidebar portrait location in the BG games might have been 'bad UI,' it was brilliant in that it felt like those icons "WERE" your characters. Having their own space to live in was key for that, and having the portrait itself respond to things as the character was also part of it. Character portraits definitely belong on the side (my preference is left, but left vs right hardly matters).

 

I think an 'L' - shaped physical UI might work well - the vertical leg for character portraits, the horizontal foot for actions and interactions. The 'foot' part could grow or shrink with whatever palette of commands/menus should be available (depending on character selection). Then the right side of the screen could display the top of a parchment page or scroll for the journal without keeping it bound. The L would also work well in terms of touch UI - it would draw interactive elements to the bottom and sides, rather than the center. If the right-hand parchment page were used, on small screen you could display one half of an open book and modally switch between combat log/journal-chat and on a large screen display both halves as separate halves of an open book at the same time. Screen aspect ratios do currently vary from ~1.3 to ~3.6 W/H even on single screen PC-class devices.

 

Edited by khango
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Shouldn't the combat log be removed to keep a better in game immersion ? It might be just me, but I think looking at a text window when a full scale battle is going on before your eyes is kind of lame. If we get enough visual feedback on screen, for example when big damage happen, when you got blocked easily from an opponent or when something fail miserably. We don't need as much a combat window. Of course it should remain an option to review details of the battle while on pause but in the action I think the game would benefit from not having a dialog window. The action menu should remain something for interaction only. 

 

True dialog between characters and NPC's can be handled well by having a sliding window, anyway I don't think you will be able to cast a spell in the middle of a conversation (that would be cool however, I see many possibilities for enchantment stuff happening). 

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The right hand generally has a greater and more comfortable range of motion to the left than to the right.

 

I never really thought about those things from a usability point of view, though it certainly does sound somewhat self-explanatory.

Nevertheless, if given the choice in a customizable UI, I'd put the chat/log-box to the left side of the screen everytime... from an explicitely subjective point of view, the left side of the screen feels simply more important to me than the right side - which is why I prefer to have all relevant information focused on the left. 

 

I believe that the character portraits contain more vital information that the player looks at with higher frequency than the combat log.

 

 

I think that depends on how much information the portraits will actually offer the player at any given time, but I do see your point... I often select characters just by clicking on their sprites/models instead of using the portraits. But thinking back to the Baldur's Gate times, I did often use the portraits to quickly access the individual inventories or to drag & drop equipment from one character to another - so yes, I have to agree with you that those interactions will probably be more important and frequent than actually interacting with the log.

 

I guess from a developer's point of view, the UI has to be as intuitive and efficient as possible first, while the eye candy has to come second - especially considering the number of people you want to be as happy as possible with the look & feel of the interface.

 

But be that as it may, I'm just glad that you guys give us the opportunity to discuss such matters not just amongst ourselves but also with the guys actually creating the game we all want to play - so thank you for taking the time!

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To be sure, portraits are much more important than any combat log or message box.

 

Atm, I'm playing Temple of Elemental Evil, and I really like how clean the UI is there. The portraits are a separate row to the left and the UI-frame is some thin and solid dark-grey stone with light-grey streaks as contrasts - almost like that great obsidian and bone suggestion.

 

To the right, there's the hub with quests, map, options, etc. It's small and on top there are two small buttons for combat log/history roll-ups.

 

Say that you'd add the option of spell-icon bars with the same thin and neat graphics and I think we have ourselves a homerun! :D


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

 

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The right hand generally has a greater and more comfortable range of motion to the left than to the right.

True but ineffective; cause everytime you choose a spell or special ability in a IE game, you pause the game anyhow. I mean, you have to pause it. So it doesn't matter where you place the menu button. Thieving abilities? Nah, you use it rarely.

 

UI is very important as all of us know. But what i see here is not encouraging. Actually, it's awful. Looks like a copy-paste solution. Pause the game, push spell button than choose a spell in the opening list, close it, repeat this session everytime you wanna cast a spell. This sucks. It cripples playability. Quick slots are important. I'm not expecting mana/health bars of course but just use modern RPGs for muse, it's not a sin to develop a modern UI, using modern styles...

 

More, those portraits are for real yes? If they are than i think you should change your portrait artist. Those are "not nice" portraits. Yes sir, they are "not nice". Compare them with any of your old games, especially with IWD and you will see that this is disappointing. This is not good work.

 

Lastly, dialog window (that fullscreen text thing)... I don't even want to complain about it. It just doesn't fit anything i was expecting. At least don't make it fullscreen...

 

Don't get me wrong, even now i am playing BG2, i'm now in the Watcher's Keep, trying to survive solo with my Fighter/Wizard experiment. I am a big fan of IE games. It's just... i was expecting gorgeous artworks, a really really stunningly designed UI (marble style buttons like in BG, fancy looks, modern design, a very realistic texture etc.) and some improvements about the UI system. But this seems like a copy paste to me and imho, fans here came up with better UI ideas than you. Im sorry but that's the way i see it. 

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Shouldn't the combat log be removed to keep a better in game immersion ? It might be just me, but I think looking at a text window when a full scale battle is going on before your eyes is kind of lame.

NO. Give the option to disable it if you're so inclined? Sure. But I'm fairly sure that a lot of people like to play these games to mess with the rules as much as they do to experience a story, and it'd be really nice for them to actually play a game that doesn't obfuscate what's going on for once. I'm looking at you, Dragon Age: Origins.

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I dunno that I care too terribly to be honest, functionality being greater than form in this case, I suppose.

 

I do like the "feel" (for lack of a better word) of a paper/scroll//wood/stained glass/stone solid UI in RPGs, but honestly as long as I can orient myself to the UI, I'm not going to care too much.  I thought Lionheart's really large UI was okay and TOEE little boxes and small windows was okay although both took some time to get used to (Lionhearts because I kept hitting the UI when I didn't intend to, TOEE's because I had trouble figuring out what the fairly abstract button options meant, as I recall).

Edited by Amentep

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