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Sensuki

Possible Alpha-ish PoE UI screencap

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While I'm rooting for a nice/good UI, it's one of those things that modding can take care of in a very short time. For popular games with modding capability, there are dozens of UI mods, you can even mix and match to your heart's desire. Content and game systems, however, are a lot more work to fix if broken... So I don't worry about UI a lot. BTW, I'm in the minimalist camp too, I want to see as much art as possible, and strongly dislike Sawyer's preference of skeuomorphic* design, but I don't lose any sleep over it.

 

* I had to google this word. It means "has unnecessary elements that mimic real-life/archaic/old-fashioned things". So the stony/woody looks of IE games' UI are skeuomorphic, because those material-imitating back panels and frames have no functionality, but try to look like they're something touchable and from ages past. You're welcome if I saved you a search. ;)

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The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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The Dead Space games do this really well, too. Health "bar" is on your character's suit's spine. Ammo holo-displays in game-space above your weapon, etc. Even your inventory and map holo-display in an arc in front of your character, from your helmet.

 

I know that exact same practice can't be applied to an isometric RPG, but... it's very nice design, in-context.

 

comic252.png

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The Dead Space games do this really well, too. Health "bar" is on your character's suit's spine. Ammo holo-displays in game-space above your weapon, etc. Even your inventory and map holo-display in an arc in front of your character, from your helmet.

I know that exact same practice can't be applied to an isometric RPG, but... it's very nice design, in-context.

 

 

comic252.png

Heh. I always wondered about that.

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There has been a fair amount of research into how the eyes and hands work with regards to computer screens, and from I've read (which isn't that much), the science supports these facts.  I've not read anything that supports images and action bars at the bottom of the screen.  I personally think this is one of those "rule of thumb" conventions that evolved around action or FPS type games and now many think is best design practice.  Designing by rule of thumb is very dangerous and usually leads to half-arsed solutions.

And none of that research has anything to do with video games or video game UI design.  Again, I don't care about mouse clicks or movements.  Action will be on center screen, not the top left corner.  You need to quickly see party status, action bars, maybe even a combat log at a glance.  You can't "glance" to the top left or top right corner of your screen without looking away from the center of it.  You want the important elements placed in such a way that you can still see them without having to "look away".

 

Assuming for a minute god descends and demands the party window has to be in a corner.... it is still better in the bottom left or bottom right corner simply because it unifies the UI and keeps it organized on one "row".

 

Lastly a video game is not a book.  You aren't going to play a video game the same way you read a book.  They just aren't even similar. 

 

 

Ok, I'm going to try to explain this again.... The human eye sees more conveniently horizontally than vertically; the science behind this is indisputable. Mouse movement is more convenient clockwise (for the right handed) to counter counter-clockwise; again indisputable.  It doesn't matter if if this is in gaming context or with regards to using power point. the mechanics remain the same.  

 

The question, with regards to game UI design, should then what are the benefits of orienting certain UI elements (portraits) vertically vs horizontally.  Your assertion is that horizontal, unified  UI orientation is best because it leads to the greatest economy of mouse movement. My assertion (along with Hassat Hunter's and others) is that this argument works best for games where Character information is either unimportant or limited to an individual.  In a party based RPG where the player has a desire to constantly check status  effects, health, etc., the movement of the eye downward, away from the center of the screen and in a much less efficient manner than horizontally, trumps mouse travel, which is minimized due to mouse acceleration, pace of action, pause functions, etc.  Add to that the fact that clockwise mouse travel is more convenient than the down-left, counterclockwise travel in the proposed UI, and you're talking about a much less efficient design.

 

As I stated previously, your argument seems to be, "other successful games have this type of UI so PoE is right to adopt the same."  My argument is that these seem to follow personal preference based on the designer's experience or rule of thumb knowledge based on arbitrary gaming conventions not ties to a game type, which is a terrible way of solving a design problem.

Edited by curryinahurry
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Hmm. I started playing VtM: Bloodlines today for the first time. The game's subtitles are displayed in the upper left corner, and OH MY GOD IT'S HORRIBLE. Basically I either read the subtitles, or watch what's going on in the screen, can't do both at the same time.

 

Now I know why subtitles are displayed at the bottom middle of the screen as a default for several decades now. They're much easier to read there, your eyes can flit back and forth with minimal loss of screen watching.

 

(Fantastic game, though. I'm very impressed with the level of reactivity.)

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The Seven Blunders/Roots of Violence: Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle. (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi)

 

Let's Play the Pools Saga (SSI Gold Box Classics)

Pillows of Enamored Warfare -- The Zen of Nodding

 

 

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Do we know if there is any UI element that will show which units are engaged by the selected unit?

Edited by Mor

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@Kjaamor:

 

LOLCANO! That comic is great! ^_^

 

Yeah, admittedly some of that stuff doesn't make much sense with the lore, but it was a pretty seamless UI choice.

 

I dunno... maybe they had their own display on their wrist, or inside their little helmet or something, while the back display was for others to make sure people didn't go "Nah, I'm okay, guys, let's just keep working!" through some horrible critical condition? The suits were, after all, designed for utility work and not for combat, so "red" health wasn't really expected to be "YOU'RE ABOUT TO DIE!", even though it actually represents that in the game's context... so *shrug*. I guess either way, it's a pretty weird fit for the lore. :)


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

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And none of that research has anything to do with video games or video game UI design.  Again, I don't care about mouse clicks or movements.  Action will be on center screen, not the top left corner.  You need to quickly see party status, action bars, maybe even a combat log at a glance.  You can't "glance" to the top left or top right corner of your screen without looking away from the center of it.  You want the important elements placed in such a way that you can still see them without having to "look away".

 

The question, with regards to game UI design, should then what are the benefits of orienting certain UI elements (portraits) vertically vs horizontally.  Your assertion is that horizontal, unified  UI orientation is best because it leads to the greatest economy of mouse movement.

..... I think the bold part covers it.

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UI looks fine to me. I too wish though that you are able to customize by moving/rotating the different elements.

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And none of that research has anything to do with video games or video game UI design.  Again, I don't care about mouse clicks or movements.  Action will be on center screen, not the top left corner.  You need to quickly see party status, action bars, maybe even a combat log at a glance.  You can't "glance" to the top left or top right corner of your screen without looking away from the center of it.  You want the important elements placed in such a way that you can still see them without having to "look away".

 

The question, with regards to game UI design, should then what are the benefits of orienting certain UI elements (portraits) vertically vs horizontally.  Your assertion is that horizontal, unified  UI orientation is best because it leads to the greatest economy of mouse movement.

..... I think the bold part covers it.

 

 

And, as I stated, the science contradicts your assertion; right left scanning (eyes, mouse, what have you) is much more efficient than up-down.  Based on the the current UI layout, one would have to glance down and left to see characters, and then across to the other side of the screen to view the combat log; very inefficient.  

 

Truth is, that unless your playing on a truly massive screen and sitting very close to it, viewing elements at a glance shouldn't be a problem regardless of where they are located.  Different players will have different preferences in that regard.  Personally, what I would like is for some mod-ability in the UI to accommodate personal preference, but I don't think we'll get it.  The reason I come back to mouse movement is that was part of Sawyer's rationale for organizing the UI along the bottom, and it just isn't true.  The central argument was set up as aesthetics vs functionality; which I (and others) have pointed out is a false dichotomy; there is no demonstrable gain in functionality in this sort of layout that trumps an aesthetic argument for an L or U shaped interface more reminiscent of the IE games.

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On second thoughts, maybe they are actually going full retard and intending to use this UI ?

 

https://www.facebook.com/steve.weatherly

 

10170790_10203379572149214_6578162768695

 

Strange thing is that there is only a "bar" on two of the portraits. One for the Cipher, and another on the far left portrait. Perhaps the bar indicates class resource and blood on the portrait is being used for stamina. 

 

But ummm ... Health display? Action bar? ???

If that IS the intended direction then they'll never hear the end of it from me. WIREFRAME portraits, FLOATING menu bar. LOL, you have to be kidding.

 

Maybe the action bar "pops up" in combat. But then - where does it go? On top of the portraits or in the center? Making the UI look uneven?

Edited by Sensuki
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Sensuki: Even if I think this is an early UI mockup for testing, I must say that it could very well work with something along those lines. As for the action bar and the quick items, it could simply be that you get stretchable bars (perhaps max 4), like you got in NWN2, and that they can be turned off. 

As for those bars - they could indicate that they are not at max health - that their health has begun to decline, if ever so slightly.


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

 

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It's possible (about the bars). Although they could also be class resources such as Monk Wounds etc.

 

I don't think it's for testing anymore. I think that's actually it. Big **** storm incoming on here I think.

 

Action bar must pop up in combat. I recall something JES said during a GameBanshee interview, something about Dark Sun keeping the screen free of UI elements while exploring, so that might be what they've done here.

 

Action bar is only needed in combat. You can't pre-buff and stamina auto-regenerates outside of it. So I'm guessing once combat begins it pops up in the middle, or on the left side above the portraits or something.

 

Health and Stamina NUMBERS are the most intuitive (moreso than bars), so they may be doing that instead of health bars. I can't make any out though (which sucks).

 

In the Youtube screencap I took, Status effects were shown above AND below the portraits. This may be the reasoning for using a wireframe, although also possibly due to the non-static nature required from that part of the UI with class resources and animal companions.

It sucks, it's ****ty to look at, BUT I can understand the functional reasoning for it. It's a shame that they weren't able to solve it encased in some artwork (or did they even try?).

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It's possible (about the bars). Although they could also be class resources such as Monk Wounds etc.

 

I don't think it's for testing anymore. I think that's actually it. Big **** storm incoming on here I think.

 

Action bar must pop up in combat. I recall something JES said during a GameBanshee interview, something about Dark Sun keeping the screen free of UI elements while exploring, so that might be what they've done here.

 

Action bar is only needed in combat. You can't pre-buff and stamina auto-regenerates outside of it. So I'm guessing once combat begins it pops up in the middle, or on the left side above the portraits or something.

 

Health and Stamina NUMBERS are the most intuitive (moreso than bars), so they may be doing that instead of health bars. I can't make any out though (which sucks).

 

In the Youtube screencap I took, Status effects were shown above AND below the portraits. This may be the reasoning for using a wireframe, although also possibly due to the non-static nature required from that part of the UI with class resources and animal companions.

 

It sucks, it's ****ty to look at, BUT I can understand the functional reasoning for it. It's a shame that they weren't able to solve it encased in some artwork (or did they even try?).

Many great reflections, and some premature disappointments there!

First of all, don't give up on a solid UI. I mean, it's fairly easy for them to make a blocky frame, where all of that gets socketed, as it were. Then you'll get your sticks and stones, with flashes of copper caryatids! :)

And perhaps action bars only will pop up when combat ensues, I agree. Nice arguments for that! I loved Ultima VII, where everything was very clean when exploring and all. And I did love the CRPG version of Dark Sun too.

 

And also Monk Wounds and the Cipher needs to suck up power in combat via damages onto enemies as well before he/she unleashes cipher-abilities in the frey.

Edited by IndiraLightfoot

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

 

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I actually do have arguments for that because remember how you're supposed to be able to attack anyone ? (At least so far). So what if you want to initiate combat on someone who is non-hostile?

 

You could use your attack button, sure. But what if you want to use an ability to initiate?

 

Also what if you want to move around your quickslot selections out of combat? You'd need access to the UI to do that (and I mean the positioning of the abilities, not buttons themselves).

 

We haven't seen what happens when a single character is selected though.

 

We have an art update coming up next so there is a chance that we may see some UI stuff - now that the leaked shots are coming out. This will give me a bit of time to construct arguments as advocate for change.

Edited by Sensuki
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@ Sensuki

 

What makes you now think that this might be the real UI?  I thought that it might be because the central brick of action buttons seems to imply pop-up sub-menus...especially when you look at formations (lowest right on left side action buttons) but I'm wondering if you notice something else.

 

Also, I agree with IndiraLightfoot about the health/stamina bars.  The bars also may not be activated for some characters if the person playing is god moding through or just testing animations, etc.

 

Like I stated earlier, this looks very NWN2, which is exactly 180 degrees from where they stated they were going with this.

 

BTW, pop-up menus support vertical orientation of portraits.  it's going to be awfully messy to click on a portrait then move up to click on action vs. clicking on portrait and scrolling left or right in line w the portrait.

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The Steve Weatherly photo and the fact that it has art. Coffeetable pointed out that anything WIP wouldn't have art made for it.

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I actually do have arguments for that because remember how you're supposed to be able to attack anyone ? (At least so far). So what if you want to initiate combat on someone who is non-hostile?

 

You could use your attack button, sure. But what if you want to use an ability to initiate?

 

Also what if you want to move around your quickslot selections out of combat? You'd need access to the UI to do that (and I mean the positioning of the abilities, not buttons themselves).

 

We haven't seen what happens when a single character is selected though.

 

We have an art update coming up next so there is a chance that we may see some UI stuff - now that the leaked shots are coming out. This will give me a bit of time to construct arguments as advocate for change.

Said it before, will again, modern UI design has easy answers for all these questions.  Assuming they want to go minimalist first off there could just be keys mapped to the action bar and if you know the keys you just hit the relevant one then target the skill.  You could have a little + button and you click and pop the bar shows up.  Yes ui elements should be different when multiple people are selected versus single characters and yes this is very doable.  So it could be the action bar is hidden simply because you don't have one character picked.

 

Also you guys are not "advocates for change" you are "advocates for not changing".  You want BG2 UI, I think BG2 UI sucks (cause it does) and we need to move forward.

 

I still see no reason to believe this is a final UI and anything other than a testing only thing.  The MMO Wildstar still plans 1 more UI update before their launch in a couple months and they just now put out their "almost ready for launch" UI 2 weeks ago.  They have all the time in the world to make tons of UI changes.

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This whole thread is funny to me, as someone who's watched Wasteland 2's UI evolve tremendously over the past couple of months. Every team doesn't have the same exact process, of course, but placeholder assets can stay for a long damn time. I seriously doubt this UI will make it into the final game.

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Action bars are now character-specific.  In the IE games, group and individual actions tended to share the same "line" of space, so regardless of who was selected or how many characters were selected, a decent chunk of the UI was always taken up by space reserved for those icons.  In PoE, all actions that can be performed concurrently by any number of characters have been moved to the center cluster (e.g. attack, cancel, scout, etc.).  So when you have multiple characters selected (typically while mass moving/exploring), you don't see an action bar.  As soon as you select an individual character, you will see their specific list of abilities, spells, etc.

 

Revisions to the UI were done with independent clusters of elements because it was way faster and easier to iterate in that way instead of always going back to modify backing panels. The portrait borders are thin but they aren't "wireframes" unless "wireframe" just means narrow. They're all textured and have decorative elements that overlap into the portrait space.  That said, now that we're happy with the general layout of elements, Kaz will be building (optional) solid backing panels to frame all of the components.  The backing panels will form a solid block across the bottom of the screen.  You also have the option of collapsing the central button cluster and the dialogue/combat log window so you're just left with portraits (ToEE-style).  In that mode, you can still activate/access all of the hidden actions with hotkeys.

 

All portraits have health bars.  Monks, ciphers, and chanters have an extra bottom element to their portrait frames to show their class-specific resources (wounds, focus, and phrases).  Stamina loss is displayed as red fill.  We will likely also include numbers for Stamina/Health display (it's pretty straightforward to implement that).  It's not awkward at all to click on the portrait and move up to select an ability (since you're often going to be moving up to target the ability you just selected anyway).

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Ha, I was right about the backing panels and embellishments being added later.

 

Will character-specific action bars pop up above the other UI elements, or fill up the central space that otherwise houses the non-specific actions, or some third option?

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