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  1. #1

    The big list of refinements for the UI

    I have prepared this list while playing, so to catch the many little things. I post this here for your notice. This is just part I. More parts will be added in the following days.

    The big list of refinements for the UI
    ======================================
    This is a very long post. It is the collection of refinements that would make Xsyon better. Very little things of the UI will be listed, not actual gameplay ideas.

    1 Modifiers
    -----------
    Modifiers influence the current state of the player much like "blinded" or "death penalty". Modifiers have a timeout, an icon, an effect and a description.

    When you sprint a "Sprinting" modifier is shown with a "2x speed" description or similar. After that a "tired" modifier shows that you cannot sprint for a certain amount of time.

    There are positive modifiers you can cancel (by right-clicking them) and negative modifiers inflicted by the environment (falling from high ground breaks leg, green cloud poisons, etc), animals (rend, bleed, blind) and other players (various attacks). Positive modifiers can be applied by environment too (e.g. drink from fresh water gives "refreshed" and similar things). Modifiers should always be visible and last across logoffs and much more considerations may be made... very good example of implementation: WoW.

    On screen text readability
    --------------------------
    shade background to enhance readability, especially when black grass is on snowy ground, black/white contrast interferes with chat text.

    Same for event text like "You can't find anything useful here"...

    All messages of that kind should also go to the chat window, maybe with a different color. This is important because messages that dissappear may be missed. It is a good thing to be able to review older messages by scrolling back.

    Toolbar
    -------
    Diplay a digit (0-9) on the items in the toolbar and bind those keys (0-9) to the boxes so that they may be activated by keyboard.

    Item descriptions
    -----------------
    It seems items are very simple things. They exist or they don't. This is sad. Maybe it is not so and they have qualities (durability, weight, value or whatever). If so, be more descriptive in tooltips and show these values to players with enough skill to examine the items.

    Camera movement
    ---------------
    Currently, you may hold middle button to rotate camera. This is okay. The problem is that as soon as you release the button the camera snaps back. It would be nice to have it stay the way it was panned. To reposition the camera back a "chase camera" behaviour could be used: as you move the camera slowly turns back to the default "behind" position.

    Also, try this: start scavenging. During the process rotate the camera with right mouse button. as soon as the process terminates the camera snaps back. It would be better to snap the player to the camera or rotate it even during the process. not sure which is better.

    Inventory
    ---------
    make background of empty slots darker. it is sometimes difficult to tell if there is an item or if it's the empty background.

    Also, hands are weird in respect to those in the toolbar. make them look identical, on toolbar and inventory.

    Timer bar
    ---------
    The timer bar is okay, but it should tell what you are doing. A text above it like "Scavenging..." would suffice.

    Scavenging animation
    --------------------
    How can you scavenge in mid-air in front of you? The animation should be so that the player kneels or bows or whatever to the ground. Arm movement and sound are ok.

    Atmospheric effects
    -------------------
    Start and stop should not be so abrupt. They also could be more immersive with "deeper" sound and better effects (color fading, haze/fog). Just the raindrops or snowflakes don't cut it.

    Coordinates
    -----------
    Orientation is important. The coordinates are useful, but they actually can be used as a compass (moving in circles can tell you where north is). It would be better to have a button to click. Once clicked, the zone is displayed and approximate time, but precise coordinates are not available.

  2. #2

    Re:The big list of refinements for the UI

    pid73 wrote:
    1 Modifiers
    -----------
    Modifiers influence the current state of the player much like "blinded" or "death penalty". Modifiers have a timeout, an icon, an effect and a description.

    When you sprint a "Sprinting" modifier is shown with a "2x speed" description or similar. After that a "tired" modifier shows that you cannot sprint for a certain amount of time.

    There are positive modifiers you can cancel (by right-clicking them) and negative modifiers inflicted by the environment (falling from high ground breaks leg, green cloud poisons, etc), animals (rend, bleed, blind) and other players (various attacks). Positive modifiers can be applied by environment too (e.g. drink from fresh water gives "refreshed" and similar things). Modifiers should always be visible and last across logoffs and much more considerations may be made... very good example of implementation: WoW.
    I think modifiers are only relevant if the game's design needs them. Don't just add them for the sake of having them. You mention sprinting and tired but you don't need indicators for those since your character's animation clearly lets you know these states.

    As far as the other stuff is concerned, it all depends if the game includes these affects (poison, broken limbs, injury types, etc.) If it does then I agree it will be helpful to have some indicators available that let you know what is happening to your character (obviously in addition to the current indicators on the bottom of the screen).

    On screen text readability
    --------------------------
    shade background to enhance readability, especially when black grass is on snowy ground, black/white contrast interferes with chat text.

    Same for event text like "You can't find anything useful here"...

    All messages of that kind should also go to the chat window, maybe with a different color. This is important because messages that dissappear may be missed. It is a good thing to be able to review older messages by scrolling back.
    Agreed. Hopefully they can improve the chat area quite a bit. I would like event messages to be more persistent. For now putting them in the chat area would an adequate solution but I'd like to see a better message area implemented. I'm not sure what game it was but I recall one where you could enable additional tabs in your chat area and then adjust the filters for each tab. So you could send local message to one, guild messages to another, and events to a third. Or if you like all messages could arrive in the same window. It was up to the player.

    Camera movement
    ---------------
    Currently, you may hold middle button to rotate camera. This is okay. The problem is that as soon as you release the button the camera snaps back. It would be nice to have it stay the way it was panned. To reposition the camera back a "chase camera" behaviour could be used: as you move the camera slowly turns back to the default "behind" position.
    I believe one of the camera modes works this way. Use the Home to to check it out.

    Coordinates
    -----------
    Orientation is important. The coordinates are useful, but they actually can be used as a compass (moving in circles can tell you where north is). It would be better to have a button to click. Once clicked, the zone is displayed and approximate time, but precise coordinates are not available.
    The coordinates were only added to help with debugging and reporting the location of map-related problems to the devs. I'm sure for release these will be removed.

    I would like some way of knowing what area I'm in (not zone, Round Hill vs. Zephyr). If that remained on the screen somewhere it would be nice, even for release.

    edit:
    Oh, I meant to mention that I agree with all the other stuff I didn't comment on.

  3. #3

    Re:The big list of refinements for the UI

    Part 2:

    Camera
    ------
    When scrolled in all the way first person view should be enabled. right now, the head is still visible and covering all the view.
    Also, when trees or terraformed land occludes the view the camera should move in so that the object covering the view is behind the camera in out of sight.

    Confirmation dialog
    -------------------
    two buttons appear. just that. no window, no backmat, nothing. the confirmation question is barely visible/readable.
    there should be an actual window that allows graphically to see the confirmation message and buttons better.

    Character creation
    ------------------
    Rotation should be inverted. When the mouse moves right the model should rotate in that direction. It should be possible to zoom at least slightly onto the face.

    Inventory/Packs
    ---------------
    The icons in packs are the same as in the inventory window. Why repeat the icons? It woud be better to not have the pack window at all.

    When right-clicking clothes they should be put on, replacing those already wearing. When clothes are dragged, the inventory should highlight the slot where they may be dropped.

    Winter is coming
    ----------------
    Add breath clouds and footprints in the snow to enhance the impression of cold weather. When swimming during winter (in cold water) temperature (or comfort level) should drop drastically forcing players out of the water.

    If "modifiers" are implemented (as explained in part 1) a "cold weather" modifier should activate, draining temperature if warm clothes are not worn.

    Also, when getting out of water a "wet" modifier should activate, draining temperature for some seconds even after leaving water.

    All the above should apply in the opposed ways during summer. A bath in hot summer should cool and restore, warm clothes make sweat and loose comfort and so on.

    Without these things, summer/winter means just an estetical difference that does not very much change the game. This would be sad because of the great untapped potential.

    Rest
    ----
    Have a "rest" command (like "/rest" or "/sit") that allows to regain energy faster.
    Obviously, sitting should give a kind of disatvantage to compensate the advantage, for example higher vulnerability to attacks. And sitting/standing up should take some 3/4 seconds times.

  4. #4

    Re:The big list of refinements for the UI

    Thank you Cunk for the many indications. I didn't know about the coordinates being removed on release or the camera mode.

    The chat channels you talk about were implemented in many games. I remember WoW, EQII, TR, AoC. In fact, it's quite common.

  5. #5

    Re:The big list of refinements for the UI

    I agree with everything said above... which is weird for me to say, but whatever. lol
    pid73 wrote:
    It's about smashing with a tank over a minicar and looting it's trunk.

  6. #6
    Xsyon Citizen Relandi's Avatar
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    Re:The big list of refinements for the UI

    Veldern wrote:
    I agree with everything said above... which is weird for me to say, but whatever. lol
    Where's Veldern and what'd you do with him?! Veld doesn't agree with anyone!

    (Joking! :laugh: )

    Above suggestions do sound sensible, though.

  7. #7

    Re:The big list of refinements for the UI

    Just adding something to the topic of the chat window: add the option to show time stamps. Comes in handy to prevent you from responding to a 30 minute old message.

  8. #8

    Re:The big list of refinements for the UI

    Just an idea...isn't it possible to make gathering UI simpler ? If there is a resource ( grass, dirt, a tree) it should be enough to click on it, and if we are wielding the needed tool it should start gathering. So you click on grass, you start picking it, you click on a tree, you start to cut it out.

    If there is a cut tree on the ground, you click on it and you get the options of cutting it to small logs or cutting it to large logs...like the options of picking up or destroying a log on the ground.

  9. #9
    Xsyon Citizen Relandi's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    Location
    Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.
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    Re:The big list of refinements for the UI

    Cunk wrote:
    Just adding something to the topic of the chat window: add the option to show time stamps. Comes in handy to prevent you from responding to a 30 minute old message.
    Oh, sweet baby Jesus, yes!

    This is one thing that seems to be forgotten in a lot of early MMO development and is a pet peeve of mine.

    I need timestamps on my messages, it's like crack .. (k, not that bad) but yeah.

  10. #10

    Re:The big list of refinements for the UI

    Part III:

    Server status
    -------------
    Put on the login screen the polled server status. It is not "beautiful" to have an external site polling the status and forcing players to go out there.

    Keyboard
    --------
    ESC should close windows, from top most to last. Only at that point ESC should open the menu. Even better, use another key altogether for the menu. A button on the toolbar.

    Green mist
    ----------
    When the mist gets thick it would be cool to hear lamenting "ghost voices"... maybe sometimes saying "turn back!"... or things like that.

    Resolve all drag and drop bugs
    ------------------------------
    Example 1: press an icon on right bottom toolbar, hold key, then drag over all other icons. as you move the mouse over them, they all activate as if clicked.

    Example 2: open container on the ground and move it to top-left corner, open inventory and move it to top left corner (should cover the container window and align slots), open a bag of yours. drag a scarf from the bag to the inventory slot to wear it. occasionally the scarf is not weared but put into the unerdlying container (window priority is not respected). if this bug does not occur, try open/close inventory and/or container on ground. it depends on the open/close order of the windows and their priority.

    Shadows
    -------
    On lower settings shadows cause moiré patterns to appear. this is common with nvidia optimized graphics on ATI hardware and vice versa (i can provide screenshots if needed).

    Chat font size
    --------------
    allow for medium/large font size. on HD monitors text is tiny.

    Preemptive sorting
    ------------------
    When sorting do not put the items into inventory, but open a window with the items from which they may be dragged to inventory (much like a "loot" window). this allows sorting with less then 4 (even 0) empty slots. and items are not "discarded" by dragging, but on the contrary, "hand-picked" by dragging.

    Sound diversity
    ---------------
    Many sounds are good if not excellent! But a bit more diversity would do good. Just slightly change pitch or something like that to avoid monotonic sounds.

    Ping-o-meter
    ------------
    Show ping on the toolbar. That allows to distinguish situations where ping is raising, causing the client to get less or non-responsive.

    Loading times
    -------------
    Initial loading times are far too long. Especially "base trees" lasts too long. if there is a way, try to do this in the background while the game already is running. or at least provide a progress bar.

    Wait and think
    --------------
    Do not add more to the game unless those basic issues are addressed. They will only get worse as complexity increases.

    This is last part of the "big list".

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