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Gairnulf

UI Suggestions

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I plan to use this thread to dump all my UI ideas, suggestions, more or less polished.

 

Isn't the best thing about being a designer, especially in games, that everyone is second-guessing you? ;) I spent about an hour playing with the main UI today (no, really, it almost didn't feel like work :p ). I am trying to choose between a few different layouts that I like, and thought to share the first one with you to get more feedback. I'm pretty confident that the current UI can be significantly optimized to for better use of screen space. (BTW I fail to see why I'm limited in file size of attached picture if the forum would then resize them to be even smaller)

Just to let you know if you haven't noticed, in the current version of the beta, there is one full line of space between two lines of text in the combat log. This means you can only fit two lines of text if the combat log's height is reduced to the maximum. In my example I've used a normal line height which leaves a couple of pixels between lines, much like in the text in forum posts here.

Use this link to see the image in full size and avoid the forum's silly gallery plugin: http://imagizer.imageshack.us/a/img673/4474/7Bkz79.jpg

 

7Bkz79.jpg

Edited by Gairnulf

A Custom Editor for Deadfire's Data:
eFoHp9V.png

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Well while I don't disagree that a solid bottom left block would be nice, or that the bottom center buttons are redundant (you can hide them) I am not sure we need this drastic a response.  Just make the combat log scalable both on the horizontal and vertical then things will be fine.

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It's currently scalabe in the game. The main problems I see with the current layout is that I have to look down and right to see the combat log, instead of just down, and also I think the portrats can be closer together and we don't need around 20px space to the bottom of the HUD. IMO the center bottom space is too important and convenient for a quick glance to be taken up by buttons for which we have shortcuts. Buttons are mostly static while the combat log updates its contents often. Maybe I'll try another version where the center buttons are on the right side and the combat log is between them and the portraits, BG style.

Edited by Gairnulf

A Custom Editor for Deadfire's Data:
eFoHp9V.png

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Feels weird to me that the log bar is taking all that space with not so much text. I'm not a designer though, just bringing my 2 worthless cents!

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It's currently scalabe in the game. The main problems I see with the current layout is that I have to look down and right to see the combat log, instead of just down, and also I think the portrats can be closer together and we don't need around 20px space to the bottom of the HUD. IMO the center bottom space is too important and convenient for a quick glance to be taken up by buttons for which we have shortcuts. Buttons are mostly static while the combat log updates its contents often. Maybe I'll try another version where the center buttons are on the right side and the combat log is between them and the portraits, BG style.

Personally I just hide the center buttons.  As far as the log my point isn't that you can't scale it but that it can't be scaled but so far left.  Unless they changed that in the most recent build, which I admit, I haven't really touched the log yet in it.

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What do you mean you can't scale it? The button in the top left scales the log as far to the left or as high as you want.

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What do you mean you can't scale it? The button in the top left scales the log as far to the left or as high as you want.

Well the probably changed it since last time I tried like I said :p  I haven't bothered with the combat log in awhile cause it is too insane due to the speed of actions and just the crazy amount of math that happens every time your character decides to poop.  So I only look at it when something happens that surprises me, which is pretty rare now cause I have seen all the crazy stuff like Deep Wounds plenty of times.

Edited by Karkarov

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It's been like that since v257 lol

 

But yeah I don't use the combat log in PE either, it's completely pointless. Too much stuff happens, too many lines paste at once, it doesn't update properly in the new version and it's on the far left of the screen. It couldn't possibly be worse.

Edited by Sensuki

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Feels weird to me that the log bar is taking all that space with not so much text. I'm not a designer though, just bringing my 2 worthless cents!

 

I agree with you, and the same thing crossed my mind as well. In the next version I make, I'll put the buttons on the right and have the combat log in the middle. But if I could choose, my priority would be to have UI elements form a straight and uninterrupted line, with as few holes as possible. In my opinion, the space we currently have underneath the UI and between its parts is useless. BTW did you know that the 20px high strip of the screen that's visible underneath the UI is actually deliberately shaded in order to look darker, that's not due to the fog of war making it darker? I wonder why would they do that, for me these 20px are just lost screen space with nothing gained at their cost. On the plus side, I like it that they have no bars of UI elements stretching on the sides of the screen. In BGII it sometimes felt like too much screen space was being lost.

 

It's been like that since v257 lol

 

But yeah I don't use the combat log in PE either, it's completely pointless. Too much stuff happens, too many lines paste at once, it doesn't update properly in the new version and it's on the far left of the screen. It couldn't possibly be worse.

 

It can be fixed and made more usable though. I tend to scroll up and down inside it whenever I'm not sure what's occuring in the battle.


A Custom Editor for Deadfire's Data:
eFoHp9V.png

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Yeah it could be - they could move it to the left of the screen and add a filter where you can filter out certain messages. Then it would be better.

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Yeah it could be - they could move it to the left of the screen and add a filter where you can filter out certain messages. Then it would be better.

Isn't there currently a filter that filters between dialogue and combat messages? BTW, the information overload coming from many lines being outputted at once will resolve itself once combat speed gets slowed down.


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Isn't there currently a filter that filters between dialogue and combat messages? BTW, the information overload coming from many lines being outputted at once will resolve itself once combat speed gets slowed down.

No it won't because sometimes one attack can create five different lines. And I mean filter out messages, like I don't care that BB Fighter is healed 2 Endurance by Constant Recovery every few seconds. I don't care about reading if people are engaged - stuff like that.

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Isn't there currently a filter that filters between dialogue and combat messages? BTW, the information overload coming from many lines being outputted at once will resolve itself once combat speed gets slowed down.

No it won't because sometimes one attack can create five different lines. And I mean filter out messages, like I don't care that BB Fighter is healed 2 Endurance by Constant Recovery every few seconds. I don't care about reading if people are engaged - stuff like that.

Big thumbs up on that one.  Much of what goes in the combat log is pointless info.  And god's sake stop posting "weapon is ineffective" when your system for determining a weapon is ineffective is just whether or not it did more than 3-5 damage.  Maybe I had a bad roll, maybe the mob just has a crap ton of DT, if it did damage (regardless of how little) it wasn't "ineffective", it just did crap damage.

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Isn't there currently a filter that filters between dialogue and combat messages? BTW, the information overload coming from many lines being outputted at once will resolve itself once combat speed gets slowed down.

No it won't because sometimes one attack can create five different lines. And I mean filter out messages, like I don't care that BB Fighter is healed 2 Endurance by Constant Recovery every few seconds. I don't care about reading if people are engaged - stuff like that.
  

 

 

Isn't there currently a filter that filters between dialogue and combat messages? BTW, the information overload coming from many lines being outputted at once will resolve itself once combat speed gets slowed down.

 

No it won't because sometimes one attack can create five different lines. And I mean filter out messages, like I don't care that BB Fighter is healed 2 Endurance by Constant Recovery every few seconds. I don't care about reading if people are engaged - stuff like that.

Big thumbs up on that one.  Much of what goes in the combat log is pointless info.  And god's sake stop posting "weapon is ineffective" when your system for determining a weapon is ineffective is just whether or not it did more than 3-5 damage.  Maybe I had a bad roll, maybe the mob just has a crap ton of DT, if it did damage (regardless of how little) it wasn't "ineffective", it just did crap damage.

Haha, you should have seen me, I also had autopause enabled on weapon ineffective :lol:

@Sensuki, then how do you think it should work - nothing but hit rolls by default? And maybe an extra-verbose mode that looks like it does currenty?

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Just need a filter so you can choose what lines you want.

 

I don't use auto-pause so I've never seen that before haha

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Just need a filter so you can choose what lines you want.I don't use auto-pause so I've never seen that before haha

Yeah but this filter's function will most probably be pre-set. From coding point of view the fine filter for messages means different messages will have to be categorized into more broadly or more narrowly defined groups (preferrably more narrowly defined), and then you would need a special space somewhere in the options screen where you get to configure which groups of messages should be displayed. And that's quite a bit of work & time spent on testing it after it's been written. If you have some experience with coding, sorry if I'm explaining things you already know.

 

I think what's realistic to push for is two modes of verbosity, meaning two groups of combat messages, where one group is not displayed unless you mark a checkbox somewhere in the options.


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It wouldn't be THAT hard to implement. I do have experience with coding actually, I made some of the first mods for the game. I am a horrible programmer, but at least I understand what I'm reading when I look at the source code.

 

They would just need to add in some if statements in the code where the combat log messages are determined and create the new options in the options menu. A few days work or something maybe less - worth it to make the damn thing readable.

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It wouldn't be THAT hard to implement. I do have experience with coding actually, I made some of the first mods for the game. I am a horrible programmer, but at least I understand what I'm reading when I look at the source code.They would just need to add in some if statements in the code where the combat log messages are determined and create the new options in the options menu. A few days work or something maybe less - worth it to make the damn thing readable.

Actually, I think it's more complicated than that, even without having seen their source code. It wouldn't be done with conditional operators (if/else statements), because their code is most probably written around an MVC pattern, meaning the parts of the code that deal with reading data from the database (where the data will be stored about what type of message falls into what group) and the parts that display it (the code which defines the size and shape of the options screens, of the combat log, what pictures they use for background, etc.) are connected by 'controller' (hence Model-View-Controller), code which says what data should load into what visual object.

 

I imagine creating the functionality would involve first creating a 'table' (it could be a csv files, or just array variables of key-value pairs, one where different types of messages are defined, then another, where different groups for these messages are defined separately, and finally another one where a type of message is matched to a group. I see it as only two groups: display/don't display. That's just the data. Then it would be needed to provide an interface, to assign a group to each type of message. If we have 5 types of messages, on the 'view' side we would need, let's say, two dropdowns in the options screen. In one you choose the type of message, in the other you choose if it should display in the log or not. When you set preferences, they will be written in the third 'table' (be that a file or a variable). Then the combat log will have to read that variable and display only messages of the 'display' group (it's only here where the if/then/else statement you mention comes into play). That's roughly how it would look like, and it would take quite a few hours.

 

The easier, and cheaper, way to go about this is to let the programmers pre-define the display/don't display groups and let us toggle an option to disregard if the message belongs to the 'don't display' group, and this would be the extra-verbose mode, what we have now, and then most of us will stick to the less-verbose mode. They would stll have to define groups of messages though, in case they don't already have something to differentiate types of messages with.

 

Again, I'm just guessing at what their code organization is, but you can trust me on this, it won't be done with a few conditional operators at the View level. It probably could be done this way too, but it would be very sloppy and Tim Cain would disapprove of it ;)

Edited by Gairnulf

A Custom Editor for Deadfire's Data:
eFoHp9V.png

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I imagine the implementation of filters would be created by exactly the same method they use to create the other options in the options menu. Essentially it would be a bit of a cut and paste job with code alterations where necessary.

 

Feel free to decompile the dll yourself, it's not that difficult.

Edited by Sensuki

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Might be interesting, though I don't feel geeky enough to inspect other people's code for fun, not for now at least :D If they have already defined types of messages, it may be easier, but if the division is only 'dialogue' and 'combat' messages, it would need more work.

Edited by Gairnulf

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Second version. Complete (mostly) list of changes:

- The corner ornaments from the bottom left/right corners are now above the ui elements.

- The UI elements are closer to the bottom of the screen to clean up screen space.

- The portraits have a solid background and are closer together.

- The combat log is in the middle and is wider than default (duh)

- The previously center button bar is now on the right side

- The clock is over the left corner ornament

- Line height for the combat log has been reduced to a normal value. No more shading of the top and bottom of the combat log. I prefer to be able to read the text than have a shading effect. :)

 

Link to full-sized image: http://imageshack.com/a/img661/5145/N2yilu.jpg

 

N2yilu.jpg


A Custom Editor for Deadfire's Data:
eFoHp9V.png

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Second version. Complete (mostly) list of changes:

- The corner ornaments from the bottom left/right corners are now above the ui elements.

- The UI elements are closer to the bottom of the screen to clean up screen space.

- The portraits have a solid background and are closer together.

- The combat log is in the middle and is wider than default (duh)

- The previously center button bar is now on the right side

- The clock is over the left corner ornament

- Line height for the combat log has been reduced to a normal value. No more shading of the top and bottom of the combat log. I prefer to be able to read the text than have a shading effect. :)

 

Link to full-sized image: http://imageshack.com/a/img661/5145/N2yilu.jpg

 

N2yilu.jpg

That's a lot better than the UI we have now.


"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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PoE UI is currently quite underwhelming and you can't fix it with a minor rearrangement of elements. I think that DA:O UI is nearly perfect. Add chat/combat log window and it's perfect.

 

This biggest issue is the action bar. I may be wrong but from what I've seen so far I guess it's not customizable. Do I have to mouseover "1st level wizard spells" icon every time I want to see what I have there? If yes - great, we're back to the 1990s and not in a good sense. I want my action bar to be resizable. I want to be able to add rows. And I don't want any sub-bars (i.e. mouseover a category to see its contents - it's just lazy design). I want to handpick the abilities/consumables for action bar and I want them all to be instantly visible whenever I select the character.

Edited by prodigydancer

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I love DAO, but if you remove its characters' interactions it's more an action RPG. It's possible to play it in 3d person perspective (in many places it's prefferable to), and these things make its UI very difficult to compare with PoE. My base for comparison is more BGII (the IE game I've played the most).

 

BTW,I hope te folks at Obsidian realize they'll probably need to add another button to the UI, the party AI toggle.

 

What parts of the HUD do you find underwhelming? I'm not asking about the inventory, shops etc. UI, because the problems there are obvious. :)

Edited by Gairnulf

A Custom Editor for Deadfire's Data:
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I love DAO, but if you remove its characters' interactions it's more an action RPG.

Yeah, then NWN was an ARPG too. You see, PoE UI is worse than NWN:HotU UI...

 

What parts of the HUD do you find underwhelming?

The composition mostly - it wastes vertical real estate for no reason. But speaking of parts - where is my minimap?

Edited by prodigydancer

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