What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Drool » April 1st, 2017, 9:22 pm

Gizmo wrote:
April 1st, 2017, 12:31 am
People shouldn't be able to haul that much gold around ~on top of all the other stuff they are hauling.
Restricting money is one thing. Doing it in a stupid manner like Diablo is another story all together.
Fallout had Bottle Caps, and while it did have them in a sack in inventory, with weight. I was disappointed that the game did not account for them when making sneak skill-checks ~while carrying a potato sack full of bottle caps. :evil:
:roll:

You also didn't have to trim your toe nails or brush your teeth.
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Gizmo » April 1st, 2017, 9:53 pm

Drool wrote:
April 1st, 2017, 9:22 pm
You also didn't have to trim your toe nails or brush your teeth.
There was no skill check for that. Sneaking was an invested skill, and often checked... Sneaking around in people's houses with a beach-ball sized sack of bottle-caps. :?
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
April 1st, 2017, 6:55 pm
Zombra wrote:
April 1st, 2017, 2:19 pm
It doesn't add fun.
Exactly. Some of the old Infocom games, like Zork and Hitchhiker's Guide, successfully utilized this trade-off mechanic as an integral part of the gaming experience, but most of the time it is just a sheer annoyance.
It doesn't have to be fun. If the PC travels in public with lots of money, they would be targeted by thieves; this is a hardship, and not something they should ever have control over; because the PC wouldn't. Not everything in a game should be fun, nor something to look forward to... excluding these makes a game servile and sickly sweet, and something to tire quickly of; and lose respect for.

Some things are rightly hoped to be avoided. For instance combat on the overland map in Fallout was expensive, because not all enemies would have loot sufficient to recover the ammunition and/or medical supplies used in defeating them; and you'd get nothing from wildlife (except maybe skins, if the PC knew how). The overland in Fallout 1 & 2 was a hardship to be crossed when one needed to get to a new settlement or location. There was nothing particularly fun about it; it could even cause you to lose the game with no recourse.
That gets old. If you can fight the robbers, it might be fun a few times and then loses its luster and becomes an annoyance, especially once your party greatly outclasses the would-be robbers. And, if you have no chance to prevent the theft, then it is just really irritating, because you are leaving something entirely to chance without being able to use skill to mitigate the circumstances.
As it should be, the PC is getting robbed. They should have a say in that(?), tell their attackers that they are not in the mood to be robbed?
They should not be entitled to see what comes next in the game if their PC cannot defend themselves to be able give the player the option.
Gizmo wrote:*Generally it's always seemed odd (and incredulous) to me when when the party saunters through strange towns and outposts carrying thousands upon thousands in noisy currency.
Just as odd and incredulous as fighting 396 Berserkers in a single tile?
Relevance?
What's wrong with skipping the busy work of converting currency into gems? :P
Because they would be getting that convenience for free. Nothing is really valued if it's free, or if there is no threat of losing it.

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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Zombra » April 2nd, 2017, 2:39 am

Gizmo wrote:
April 1st, 2017, 5:24 pm
**There is a slippery evolution to this that I really didn't like: In Throne of Darkness, the PCs had access to the merchant and the blacksmith ~in their inventory screen! This meant that they could convert found money into forged items while deep in a cave somewhere, surrounded by enemies.

See, now this is fucked up and I agree it's weak. What I want is the happy medium between pure realism and pure convenience.

Gizmo wrote:What's wrong with offering valuable gems & jewelry to consolidate funds in a game like Baldur's Gate? (And of course the trade off is that hopefully they can get lost or stolen; possibly leaving the party destitute.)

I remember a moneychanger in one game (don't remember the game). For a small fee you could convert all your copper, silver, and gold into platinum and change, making it much more convenient to carry. This was great. Sadly this feature did not extend to converting 22 suits of rusty chain mail and 45 broken short swords into currency as well. It was a good idea but didn't do enough to eliminate the tedium.
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Gizmo » April 2nd, 2017, 5:59 am

Zombra wrote:
April 2nd, 2017, 2:39 am
Sadly this feature did not extend to converting 22 suits of rusty chain mail and 45 broken short swords into currency as well. It was a good idea but didn't do enough to eliminate the tedium.
This is a especially a peeve IMO, though I can see both sides of it. What I liked (no ~loved!) about Fallout, was that the barter system had no fixed prices, and you could trade good without possessing bottle-caps. But the merchants (and everyone else) only had so much money. So they could not afford to buy everything under the Sun from random adventurers. The PC looking to sell a minigun in a small community was looking at an extreme loss if they went through with it... Like someone trying to sell a helicopter in a small town swap-meet with the other vendors and customers being mostly basket weavers and macrame artists. Some items are too expensive to sell to a random buyer. In Fallout you could sell three miniguns to anyone, but few if any could actually pay anywhere near the price of even one of them.

IMO a blacksmith might actually buy 45 broken short swords, but would only do so at a great loss for the seller. The smith is uniquely positioned to repair the items, but most people would have zero use for them; and it will take a lot of effort on the smith's part to turn a profit from them.

The peeve then is when merchants exist only to serve the player by making unlimited purchases of anything and everything ~just to put money in the PC's pocket; irrespective of their own self interests. Merchants who do that are nuts, and cannot stay in business for long. I greatly prefer designs where the merchants restrict their purchases to what can reasonably sell for them in their location; and who refuse to buy random crap they don't want or need.
_____
IMO if the PC stops into a small town and spends several thousand in gold, that town's economy should shift.
Last edited by Gizmo on April 2nd, 2017, 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Zombra » April 2nd, 2017, 6:22 am

Yeah. All else equal, there's nothing wrong with realism, but ... Fallout's inventory was a royal pain in the ass. It just was.
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Gizmo » April 2nd, 2017, 8:44 am

Zombra wrote:
April 2nd, 2017, 6:22 am
Yeah. All else equal, there's nothing wrong with realism, but ... Fallout's inventory was a royal pain in the ass. It just was.
It was unusual, but I didn't have any issues with it. I did like the general UI of it, but this causes the linear stack, with new items popped into the bottom of the list. I did like that you could unload your enemy's weapon in combat, if they were unconscious. :twisted:
(They'd wake up later and try to shoot, and be out of ammo.)

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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » April 2nd, 2017, 12:08 pm

Gizmo wrote:
April 1st, 2017, 9:53 pm
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
April 1st, 2017, 6:55 pm
Zombra wrote:
April 1st, 2017, 2:19 pm
It doesn't add fun.
Exactly. Some of the old Infocom games, like Zork and Hitchhiker's Guide, successfully utilized this trade-off mechanic as an integral part of the gaming experience, but most of the time it is just a sheer annoyance.
It doesn't have to be fun. If the PC travels in public with lots of money, they would be targeted by thieves; this is a hardship, and not something they should ever have control over; because the PC wouldn't. Not everything in a game should be fun, nor something to look forward to... excluding these makes a game servile and sickly sweet, and something to tire quickly of; and lose respect for.
Games are meant to be fun. Not everything in a game needs to be rewarding, but the idea is that it should be fun. Games of chance can be fun because of the duality between loss and gain - with the chance of losing comes the chance of winning. However, for games of skill, probability may be a factor which affects the game, but the idea is that the player can mitigate circumstances through skill of play. If you allow a player's characters to be robbed without giving any recourse to defend against said robbery, then there is no skill in play and it is not a good game of chance either, because the player only has the chance to lose and not to gain from the event.

Gizmo wrote:
April 1st, 2017, 9:53 pm
Gizmo wrote:*Generally it's always seemed odd (and incredulous) to me when when the party saunters through strange towns and outposts carrying thousands upon thousands in noisy currency.
Just as odd and incredulous as fighting 396 Berserkers in a single tile?
Relevance?
Abstraction of space. Not everything has to be modeled with perfect realism. Sometimes it is funner to go with a mechanism that is less realistic but more enjoyable.
Gizmo wrote:
April 1st, 2017, 9:53 pm
What's wrong with skipping the busy work of converting currency into gems? :P
Because they would be getting that convenience for free. Nothing is really valued if it's free, or if there is no threat of losing it.
What's wrong with getting a convenience for free? That sounds really convenient. Games which force people to do things repetitively and by rote are games which annoy and frustrate their players. From a software usability perspective, it is not good UX. Streamline mundane tasks so that people can focus on the fun stuff.
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Gizmo » April 2nd, 2017, 5:06 pm

_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
April 2nd, 2017, 12:08 pm
Games are meant to be fun. Not everything in a game needs to be rewarding, but the idea is that it should be fun.
Even tickling, and ice-cream gets old. You get sick of it if you experience it without end. Games are meant to be fun, but not everything in a game is (or should be) meant to be fun. Just think of Monopoly... and the Go To Jail square. That's what I meant by 'things hopefully avoided' and 'not always under player control'.
Games of chance can be fun because of the duality between loss and gain - with the chance of losing comes the chance of winning. However, for games of skill, probability may be a factor which affects the game, but the idea is that the player can mitigate circumstances through skill of play. If you allow a player's characters to be robbed without giving any recourse to defend against said robbery, then there is no skill in play and it is not a good game of chance either, because the player only has the chance to lose and not to gain from the event.
?

Do you mean that your take on the conversation was that I somewhere implied that the PC could randomly lose their wealth & inventory ~as with a pop-up menu saying "Surprise! ~You've Been Robbed!"... Like a chance card in Monopoly? I certainly did not.

Consider that RPGs are games of chance, and that the skill involved ~is that of the PC in play. The PC is the player's window to the world, but it is the PC living in it, and influencing it to the limits of their ability; making the world available. So long as the PC cannot force their way in, sneak their way in, or talk their way in ~then the player shouldn't ever get in; and these actions are decided by the PCs ability to control the situation.
Gizmo wrote:
April 1st, 2017, 9:53 pm
Just as odd and incredulous as fighting 396 Berserkers in a single tile?
Relevance?
Abstraction of space. Not everything has to be modeled with perfect realism. Sometimes it is funner to go with a mechanism that is less realistic but more enjoyable.
True, but unrelated to sentiment. The Berserkers quote was a jab; akin to the ever common "Realism, in a world with faeries & dragons? What talk is this!?"... Where the reply mistakes consistency for plausibility. In a world with dragons as an implausible fact of life ~they deal with it because that's their reality... Realism ~in context. Smaug turning into papa-smurf to follow Bilbo through the backdoor, or Golem disguising himself as Galadriel to steal the ring... That's incredulous.
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Gizmo wrote:
April 1st, 2017, 9:53 pm
What's wrong with getting a convenience for free? That sounds really convenient.
I would say for the same reason bullet's aren't free. Most conveniences aren't free. Nothing that's free is valued ~because it's free; things only become valued when they become scarce and no longer free. Air becomes valuable when you don't have any. IMO no game system or privilege should be worthless; including money mechanics. Being able to spend money is its own privilege ~separate from having the money itself. (Consider the bank robber... sitting on a the million that she can't spend yet.)

If the player wants the PC to to have that much money on their person at all times, they should have to do what it takes to facilitate that (including defending it from theft). If the PC isn't strong enough to carry it, they should have to get stronger, have to discard something, have to trade it for lighter valuables, or have to get help carrying it.
Having a weightless, invisible, un-steal-able bag of money is itself a source of incredulity. It takes away story potential, and certain limitations from the character. It's also a kind of special ability that lets them show up anywhere without notice, carrying their entire net worth, and even if the designer wanted them to get robbed...and took money from them, plausibly it should be an all or nothing ordeal ~because they have all of it with them, or else the thief showed restraint when they mugged them...
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... stealing only so much of the PC's money, and leaving the rest. :lol:
Games which force people to do things repetitively and by rote are games which annoy and frustrate their players.
You have that right... I have seen at least one RPG where picking up found money wasn't optional, and was done automatically every time. The designers just assumed that the player would take everything not nailed down, whether it was in character or not.
Streamline mundane tasks so that people can focus on the fun stuff.
That is a very subjective action. I would say that Bethesda did this in spades with FO3, and ruined it as an RPG. Their idea of fun involves supporting the world sim (ie. maintaining the PA theme park ride); ensuring that nothing offends or annoys the playing customer while they are in their branded sandbox... So the player can do no wrong, and always has an out ~no matter what they do; and everything is available to them to do ~regardless of whether their character could/would/shouldn't, or should. For Bethesda, the character is a vestigial RPG relic that gets in the way of the player's fun.

When they streamlined the skills ~of which none now really matter. They got rid of the PC's ability ~(or inability!) to search for traps and aim fire-arms; their gun skills effects are negligible except in VATS. They hamfistedly combined First-Aid with Doctor, to form the "Medical' skill; a mere multiplier for stimpack efficiency; with the side effects that they can now heal concussions with an injection to the skull. In Fallout stimpacks did not heal crippling injuries like broken bones or obstructed vision. The PCs needed to seek a doctor (,or be one) to cure that.

First-Aid was sport's medicine and minor would dressing skill... Doctor was for serious injury correction; essentially they were a Nurse and Surgeon skill respectively. First-Aid could be improved by skill books, Doctor could not. Doctor was a development path that affected conversations... And above all, the system allowed for six healing attempts per day ~without stimpacks; none guaranteed, and only three could remove crippling conditions. The player had to prioritize who got what treatment, and who's condition was worth the risk of failure ~at the expense of treating others, or themselves.

Streamlining removes [welcome] complexity.
Streamlining made injury in FO3 a joke; where in Fallout it was life threatening.
When one streamlines throwing, melee, and hand-to-hand into a single skill, it means that every champion fencer is also a champion pitcher, boxer; and vice versa for each. (And all of them are Kung-Fu masters) :? It reduces the potential character variations in any game. And anyone whose good at one thing, is then equally good at several things ~whether it makes sense or not.

I've seen one free convenience that actually helped gameplay... In Grimrock, the player is playing four PCs, and it was added that those PCs equipped with bows would automatically pick up their spent arrows, if the party passed directly over them on the ground. The same was done for knife throwers, and PCs using slings.. They wouldn't pick up just any rocks, they picked up their own.
Last edited by Gizmo on April 2nd, 2017, 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Zombra » April 2nd, 2017, 5:15 pm

Let's make some attempt to get back on topic, eh, gentlemen?
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Gizmo » April 2nd, 2017, 5:21 pm

My favorite menu style: The unstreamlined kind. :mrgreen:

Of course, menu behavioral need is different between turn based and realtime games. The advantage with turn based is that the player can be presented with extensive options in a menu ~during combat or exploration... where realtime games don't usually afford the time to read a long list; or they pause the game.

One style that I like is in-game object menus. Interplay, and Bethesda both did it with the Fallout IP titles. In FO3, they had the terminals, and the PipBoy,. In FO4 they came around, and implemented the Power Armor HUD; that had been often suggested in their forums.

In Stone Keep, they had a magical dungeon map (in addition to the journal). IRRC it was an inventory item; a statue looked like the Interplay logo.
Placing it on the ground, projected above itself a holographic style map of the surrounding area. Objects like that might fit well in BT4; and not just as a map.

In Lands of Lore, the auto-map, compass, and lamp were items found, that would then permanently become part of the UI; though you can actually play the game without them, if you chose... Afterwards the party needed to refill the lamp with lamp oil after it burned out.

Need I mention that a UI that is highly associative with BT1/2/3 could be most welcome? Not 16 color 2D overlays; just a noticeably familiar theme & style that reminds one of the original games. The Bard song, and spell indicators do come to mind; as well as the stone brick motif.

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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » April 2nd, 2017, 7:02 pm

Zombra wrote:
April 2nd, 2017, 5:15 pm
Let's make some attempt to get back on topic, eh, gentlemen?
Sorry. Split-off thread here: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=17709
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by sear » April 2nd, 2017, 7:54 pm

Love this discussion. I'm doing some of the UI design for Bard's Tale IV, and although art is not really my field, I obviously have an interest in this topic.

As David mentioned, getting more visual examples from other games would be fantastic. Are there any games which you feel capture artistic or thematic elements you think are appropriate to the Bard's Tale series? Or any game series which you like has had its UI updated throughout the years, while still retaining some of the trademark elements? These don't have to be older games too, they could be more modern as well. Heck, they don't even need to be RPGs.

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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Drool » April 3rd, 2017, 10:33 pm

Been playing Kingdoms of Amalur. And while I like the game, I gotta say, do not copy the inventory system. It's pretty balls. While having your character standing there on the armor screen (and the little animations are cute: switch boots and they look down and lift a foot like they're seeing it for the first time) is nice, the system in general is very clunky. Normally I like lists, but this is just bad.
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Gizmo » April 3rd, 2017, 11:55 pm

sear wrote:
April 2nd, 2017, 7:54 pm
As David mentioned, getting more visual examples from other games would be fantastic. Are there any games which you feel capture artistic or thematic elements you think are appropriate to the Bard's Tale series? Or any game series which you like has had its UI updated throughout the years, while still retaining some of the trademark elements? These don't have to be older games too, they could be more modern as well. Heck, they don't even need to be RPGs.
Westwood Studios was capable of really interesting and unique UI. I mentioned UI with a physical appearance, and character of the game world. You mentioned 'appropriate to the Bard's Tale series'; so here are the ~installers for Westwood's Lands of Lore 2, and Westwood's Nox. You never see this stuff in the games. Nox's installer UI looks more than fitting for a Planescape title, while LoL2's setup —at least conceptually has good ideas applicable to BT4.

Lands >> https://player.vimeo.com/video/211440841

Nox >> https://player.vimeo.com/video/211440625

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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by sear » April 4th, 2017, 6:07 am

Those are cool! I have played both games, but never saw the Nox installer as I only ever got it on GOG years later.

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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Woolfe » April 4th, 2017, 6:34 pm

I must say, the UI elements that Gizmo was talking about, things like Maps that are "found" and then become a permanent addition, are very cool things.

I had forgotten a lot of these little touches. But I too am enamoured of that sort of thing.
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by demeisen » April 8th, 2017, 3:09 pm

Here are a few thoughts:
  • I'm neutral on floating vs full screen. I've seen workable examples of both. I do hope inventory/etc screens pause the game if there's anything real time involved.
  • My absolute primary desire is to avoid consolification of the UI on PCs. I suspect there are a number of aspects to what ends up feeling wrong on PCs (huge fonts, up/down selection in big lists, and I'm sure others too). Oblivion was one of the canonical examples of what not to do.
  • I'd agree with some prior posters in the thread around a desire for keyboard controls where that is reasonable. I can deal with mouse use where the keyboard may not work well e.g, for inventory management or other things that aren't easily mapped onto keyboard controls, but there's a whole bunch of stuff where the keyboard is a much nicer way to interact. Movement, dialog options, opening quest/inventory/etc screens, hopefully spells and abilities... after I learn the keyboard commands for those things in games, the mouse feels cumbersome. I've seen many games provide user configurable bindings for things you prefer to drive with a keyboard.
  • I'm not a huge fan of having the UI embedded into the game world in this genre. (In certain other genres it can work - e.g, r/t space combat).
  • For how it looks, it should fit the artistic style of the game itself, but beyond that, I'd be inclined to trust whatever your artists come up with.
Thanks for soliciting input - and for working on the game! BT4 is one of only a very few upcoming games I'm really looking forward to.

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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by thebruce » April 10th, 2017, 8:28 am

demeisen wrote:
April 8th, 2017, 3:09 pm
I do hope inventory/etc screens pause the game if there's anything real time involved.
Technically I hope that the game is turned-based enough that a solid "pause" isn't needed when viewing inventory :)
IIRC in the classics pause really only stopped the progression of day/night cycle, and maybe a random encounter (can't remember which game(s) had that when remaining still on a square). Inventory view would pause anyway since it took over the scroll. So in that case, yes I would hope that when viewing inventory nothing would occur in the background!
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Gizmo » April 10th, 2017, 10:35 am

I'm inclined to agree, but it would depend on the inventory UI. I must say that it was neat in Eye of the Beholder, that a zombie could sneak up behind you while rummaging one's inventory. This was not possible in Stone Prophet, because unlike EoB, it displayed the entire party's inventory on one screen; where EoB displayed an individual PC's inventory on half the screen.

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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Drool » April 10th, 2017, 8:38 pm

While pause in game probably breaks immersion or something, it's a convenience that I have no desire to go without. Leave the no-pause inventory to Dark Souls.
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