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Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 5th, 2016, 10:10 am
by sear
Today we've got a brand new update for Torment covering many of the changes and improvements to the user experience we've been making in the last few months, and signed by none other than... gulp, me. :shock:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/in ... ts/1699659
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Our revamp for conversation text scrolling now has text appear at the top of the interface rather than appearing near the bottom, so you don't find yourself scrolling nearly as much. When we need to show lots of text all at once, we also added a "Show More" button and a little down arrow indicating that there is more below. Instead of manually scrolling when there's lots of words on screen, now you can just keep hitting the Enter key, Spacebar, or clicking the button, which means that you can focus more on the contents of the conversation rather than getting pulled out of the narrative.

That said, a text box isn't in and of itself the most interesting thing, and for Torment we wanted to do something a bit more special. So, we decided to include additional notifications, audio cues and special effects while you're in conversations in order to highlight key moments.

A great example of this is the new "Item Gained" prompt. All of our items in the game are hand-designed and often written with lots of detailed lore and story elements, and so we wanted it to make it feel like a great moment when you found something interesting. Since so many of these items are given out during conversations or scripted interactions, it made sense to devote a portion of the conversation interface to them.

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Whenever you find or receive an item while the conversation screen is open, the game will now highlight the occasion by showing you a special panel on the right side of the window. This has a purpose, too – you can also mouse over the item to view its info in a tooltip, and right-click to bring up its full detailed description just like you would see in the inventory screen. This means when an NPC gives you a cool new piece of numenera, you don't have to wait another five minutes to look at it. It was one of those little things we never realized we wanted in an RPG until we went to implement it.

We've also made improvements to the fanfare when you get other rewards or status changes. Now, we have animated visual effects that play in key instances – most notably, when your Tidal Affinity changes (it is Tides of Numenera after all), but also for other things like XP gains.

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Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 5th, 2016, 10:59 am
by Infinitron
If you're the type that doesn't want any assistance at all, you can simply hide this popup at any time by clicking the arrow button on it.
Please add an option to have these closed by default to prevent Codex rage

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 5th, 2016, 11:24 am
by dorkboy
The tide change VFX sounds awfully meta-gamey. Is it optional?
(Plzplzplzplzplzplzplzplz! + puppy eyes)

I quite like the item display in conversations, but what if someone gives you a pointed stick?

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 5th, 2016, 11:55 am
by Zombra
Infinitron wrote:
If you're the type that doesn't want any assistance at all, you can simply hide this popup at any time by clicking the arrow button on it.
Please add an option to have these closed by default to prevent Codex rage
Yeah. A popup you have to close every time is not unobtrusive.

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 5th, 2016, 12:19 pm
by Fry
Zombra wrote:
Infinitron wrote: A popup you have to close every time is not unobtrusive.
This. Or, just, y'know... update the journal.

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 5th, 2016, 12:42 pm
by cadriese
So... any chance of this:

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this:

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this, including the "Choose a position" prompt (through a PoE-"Expert Mode"-like option for instance):

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this:

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and in particular this:

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being toggleable/optional?

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 5th, 2016, 2:48 pm
by FeelTheRads
Interface looks like garbage. Could mistake it for a bad Winamp or Sonique skin.

All those little hints and tips during crises also show why you shouldn't develop for consoles at the same time you do for PC and how more and more of inXile's claims during the Kickstarter were just lies.

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 5th, 2016, 4:10 pm
by ar_xiv
I hate to break it to you dude, but the game being made is fundamentally larger and more complex than the game the kickstarter was promoting, and that's a good thing. I've never understood this entitled, paranoid attitude gamers always assume. It's a privilege to have any say at all in a process like this, and people still feel the need to be such dicks.

It has to be quite difficult to make a user interface that reflects the numenera setting while being useful and intuitive, and I sincerely appreciate all the work and head-scratching that has undoubtedly gone into its multiple revisions. Interface is progressing nicely, great work guys.

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 5th, 2016, 5:53 pm
by pts
Very nice, i like the interface changes, so much better than a year ago!

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 5th, 2016, 6:51 pm
by hasunA
Uhm... some of those "improvements", like the level-up VFX and the tidal affinity change VFX seem rather excessive and over the top? Don't think that I'd have to see it in motion to tell that you have gone overboard with the flashiness. Not keen of this, at all.
+1 for an option for this.

And for the other HUD-related additions too, if possible.
There surely must be an audience for the minimalist HUD as well which would appreciate being able to strip off as much as possible leaving only the bare necessities?

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 5th, 2016, 10:36 pm
by Trajano
Ok, I hope that most of this "things" are by default and can be disabled in a UI menu, no?
I dont need this type of handholding and the idea of having to close a spoilers filled popup everytime it appears trying to not read anything in it while doing it is not very appealing

Maybe create a modern UI Mode with all this "help" active by default so all the people triggered by the idea of thinking by themselves feel good playing a simpler game and a classic UI Mode without it that you have to activate and the rest of us can enjoy the game without feeling being called retarded

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 6th, 2016, 2:12 am
by thesisko
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I haven't tried the beta more than a few minutes to avoid spoilers but this....worries me greatly. I was under the impression that this game would cater to an audience that likes to figure out stuff on their own, and that Crisis in particular were supposed to be "puzzle-like". I think the game already makes it clear that talking to people and interacting with objects is possible during a Crisis, so this looks like the game basically telling you what to do. Is this level of guidance typical of the rest of the game?

I was expecting this game to respect my intelligence and maybe even challenge it sometimes, but this makes me expect quests that tell me where to go, who to talk to, what item to use etc.

Now, since this was seemingly added recently I guess the events themselves were designed without taking these prompts into account and therefore being able to disable them would "fix" the problem, but it still speaks to a shift in design patters at inXile that they were added and turned on by default. Next time someone designs a quest/Crisis, be it for the next game or an expansion they will no longer be designing a puzzle or something to be figured out but instead just cool stuff happening when you follow the prompted steps. Sure, there might be other possible actions but they would be reduced to being "easter eggs" for players who ignore the instructions.

There's nothing wrong with that, and maybe there's a bigger audience that appreciates that type of design, I guess I'm just sad that the one I'm part is no longer sufficient to support the dev team going forward.

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 6th, 2016, 5:56 am
by dorkboy
@thesisko
Could be the combat(++) tutorial. Haven't played the beta, but I have this vague impression that you encounter Qorro fairly early in the game...?

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 6th, 2016, 6:16 am
by cadriese
Considering how often and quickly the tidal affinity shifts over the course of just one conversation in the Beta (as indicated by the audio cues) I'd go as far that it's mandatory to have the option to turn the "light show" off. It's laudable that inXile thinks of the hearing- and the visually-impaired too, but at the cost of those fortunate, or in this case unfortunate to be in full possession of their visual perception? That's not cool.
An option for this, pretty please.
The audio cues do the job just as well, if not better because they happen unobtrusively and subtle in the background. And if I'm not mistaken, they even have each their own melody, so that with time you can tell by the audio cue alone, which one of the tidal affinites just increased.

For the level-up effect, which, from the screenshot alone, really does seem way over-the-top may I suggest something that's not as flashy and "Hey you, just in case you can't tell from the audio cue and the blinking Plus sign on the character portrait, but I leveled up, now get to it and spent some points":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JlhkQbzwRk&t=8m37s

Just dial the effect back quite a bit so that it doesn't completely engulf you in a 3 meter/120 inches pillar of flame (and that it matches with the level-up effect used in Pillars), and also make sure that the animation is as brief as possible, if that isn't the case already.

Are inxile's UI/HUD designers aware of Pillars' "Expert Mode" (http://pillarsofeternity.gamepedia.com/Mode#Modes)?
Expert Mode - Enable more punitive and demanding game-play elements, in and out of combat, including disabling all the individual extra options in the section below. The mode is similar to Fallout: New Vegas' Hardcore Mode, Expert Mode. Because it disables all of the common ease-of-use "helper" information, it is regarded by some players as the most realistic way to play.

Combat options

*Area of Effect Highlighting: Provide a graphical display of the range of area-of-effect spells.
*Combat Tooltips: If this option is enabled, lightweight combat tooltips will be shown above all characters during combat.
Consolidate things like the "move" and "attack" icons (if they aren't already tied to the "Show selection circles" option), the visuals for range and AoE of abilities, the ("Choose a position") mouse button prompt, the "Current Objective" panel, etc into a mode similar to Pillars' "Expert Mode" or make them individual options like Pillars' "Extra Options" and everyone's a winner.

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 6th, 2016, 6:17 am
by thesisko
dorkboy wrote:@thesisko
Could be the combat(++) tutorial. Haven't played the beta, but I have this vague impression that you encounter Qorro fairly early in the game...?
Might be, I assume the devs would showcase something that's representative of the game but it's possible it was a particularly poorly chosen example. If that is the case, Sea can just clarify and provide a better one...and maybe also explain the reasoning behind adding such overt guidance by default.

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 6th, 2016, 6:53 am
by dorkboy
@thesisko
Not only have I not played the beta, but I have also not read the full Kickstarter update. *punches self in face*
Sections such as this one, in particular:
"Help & Tutorials
We have also been working on some less exciting but no less important elements to give players a helping hand, if they want it. [...]"

But, it was a good worry, and I'm glad I had it! :lol:

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 6th, 2016, 7:27 am
by Uzzah
hasunA wrote:Uhm... some of those "improvements", like the level-up VFX and the tidal affinity change VFX seem rather excessive and over the top? Don't think that I'd have to see it in motion to tell that you have gone overboard with the flashiness. Not keen of this, at all.
+1 for an option for this.

And for the other HUD-related additions too, if possible.
There surely must be an audience for the minimalist HUD as well which would appreciate being able to strip off as much as possible leaving only the bare necessities?
+1
You're definitely not the only one.
cadriese wrote:Considering how often and quickly the tidal affinity shifts over the course of just one conversation in the Beta (as indicated by the audio cues) I'd go as far that it's mandatory to have the option to turn the "light show" off. It's laudable that inXile thinks of the hearing- and the visually-impaired too, but at the cost of those fortunate, or in this case unfortunate to be in full possession of their visual perception? That's not cool.
An option for this, pretty please.
The audio cues do the job just as well, if not better because they happen unobtrusively and subtle in the background. And if I'm not mistaken, they even have each their own melody, so that with time you can tell by the audio cue alone, which one of the tidal affinites just increased.

For the level-up effect, which, from the screenshot alone, really does seem way over-the-top may I suggest something that's not as flashy and "Hey you, just in case you can't tell from the audio cue and the blinking Plus sign on the character portrait, but I leveled up, now get to it and spent some points":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JlhkQbzwRk&t=8m37s

Just dial the effect back quite a bit so that it doesn't completely engulf you in a 3 meter/120 inches pillar of flame (and that it matches with the level-up effect used in Pillars), and also make sure that the animation is as brief as possible, if that isn't the case already.

Are inxile's UI/HUD designers aware of Pillars' "Expert Mode" (http://pillarsofeternity.gamepedia.com/Mode#Modes)?
Expert Mode - Enable more punitive and demanding game-play elements, in and out of combat, including disabling all the individual extra options in the section below. The mode is similar to Fallout: New Vegas' Hardcore Mode, Expert Mode. Because it disables all of the common ease-of-use "helper" information, it is regarded by some players as the most realistic way to play.

Combat options

*Area of Effect Highlighting: Provide a graphical display of the range of area-of-effect spells.
*Combat Tooltips: If this option is enabled, lightweight combat tooltips will be shown above all characters during combat.
Consolidate things like the "move" and "attack" icons (if they aren't already tied to the "Show selection circles" option), the visuals for range and AoE of abilities, the ("Choose a position") mouse button prompt, the "Current Objective" panel, etc into a mode similar to Pillars' "Expert Mode" or make them individual options like Pillars' "Extra Options" and everyone's a winner.
^This.
All of it.

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 6th, 2016, 9:54 am
by Zombra
I've always hated level-up light shows. This isn't an MMO, you don't need to stroke my ego with eye candy to keep me subscribed.

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 6th, 2016, 11:38 am
by Lord of Riva
ah the UI, my biggest gripe in the beta.

Most changes look pretty good on paper, now we just need to see how it will work out when playing.

thanks for polishing this up

Re: Updated Our Journal (59): Polish & Interface Improvements, Looking Forward

Posted: October 7th, 2016, 12:18 pm
by Grotesque
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It would be nice if the game supports selecting that attack damage bonus via keyboard shortcuts also (1 2 3 etc. keys or any other keys). Selecting it with mouse only becomes tedious after some time.
Keyboard shortcuts support for everything in fact.
It doesn't matter if we'll be able to rebind those keys or not but keyboard shortcuts is a must in my opinion.