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 Zombra » April 10th, 2017, 9:38 pm

Well, if we're talking about BT4, it's a turn-based game anyway. Would be ridiculous to have to do inventory management in real-time during exploration.
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Gizmo » April 10th, 2017, 9:46 pm

Drool wrote:
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.
I agree here as well; though I think it can be influenced by the scope of the inventory UI. Eye of the Beholder had well designed inventory access and quick items belt, with a limited number of items per PC, and no multi-square items to be fitted in; it worked well in realtime. Arx Fatalis had to split the inventory into separate bags, and wasn't that well designed; just an open grid of item squares, with multi-square items —with no auto-sort. Fallout's inventory was a multi-screen linear list of scrolled items; very bad for realtime, had the game been as the marketing suits wished it to be... A Diablo-killer.

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

Post by thebruce » April 11th, 2017, 6:53 am

Zombra wrote:
April 10th, 2017, 9:38 pm
Well, if we're talking about BT4, it's a turn-based game anyway. Would be ridiculous to have to do inventory management in real-time during exploration.
As 'real time' as BT1-3. As mentioned, the 'pause' in the classics was really only insofar as the scroll was occupied as long as inventory was up.

You know, I can't actually remember if the day/night cycle was also paused while viewing inventory... wandering enemy popup was (for sake of the UI input, presumably)

I guess the main point - don't have the game 'active' so much that things you need to see and interact with behind the interface occur without your knowledge. If I'm on my inventory, in this turn-based/pseudo-realtime RPG, that is my focus, don't have important things happening without my knowledge.
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Woolfe » April 11th, 2017, 5:34 pm

thebruce wrote:
April 11th, 2017, 6:53 am
Zombra wrote:
April 10th, 2017, 9:38 pm
Well, if we're talking about BT4, it's a turn-based game anyway. Would be ridiculous to have to do inventory management in real-time during exploration.
As 'real time' as BT1-3. As mentioned, the 'pause' in the classics was really only insofar as the scroll was occupied as long as inventory was up.

You know, I can't actually remember if the day/night cycle was also paused while viewing inventory... wandering enemy popup was (for sake of the UI input, presumably)

I guess the main point - don't have the game 'active' so much that things you need to see and interact with behind the interface occur without your knowledge. If I'm on my inventory, in this turn-based/pseudo-realtime RPG, that is my focus, don't have important things happening without my knowledge.
Yes.. my sentiment exactly
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Yokohamalama » April 12th, 2017, 2:34 pm

- I'm also for a simple 2D UI. It works best. While the BT4 combat demo showed an interesting approach of 2d&3d convergence, I'm afraid it will become difficult to achieve a unified look&feel with inventory, character sheets. A simple dark UI, black, grey colored stone art works best on all environments. Wizardry 8, Might & Magic X, Dragon Lore 2, Diablo 3 show it:

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- I'm not recommending to mix 2d and 3d perspectives in the UI like in the original Wizards&Warriors UI (called "Swords & Sorcery" back then): that black "hole" or fountain in the center looks kinda wrong in perspective compared to the left and right character pillars... or compared to the 3d environment (but to be honest I still liked it more than the boring UI of the final game):

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- About inventory management: I'm all for a central party inventory and no custom inventories for each member. How to do the layout? I don't know, but I always like things centered, like this:

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- However what I don't like here is, that the bottom bar covers the whole width of the screen. Maybe it's because it shows useless artwork which just blocks the scenery. Especially in times of widescreens I prefer something smaller and unobtrusive, like the smaller UI width of Diablo 3:

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- About paper dolls: if I don't see my characters, why care? A rough embedded sketch of the character like in Wizardry 8 is enough:

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- What I also really like in Wizardry 8 is, that the item symbols are LARGE. Many RPGs have very tiny item grid slots and you can hardly determine the items. Okay... they don't need to be THAT large, but larger than the icons of the Might Magic X inventory screenshot.

- Inventory Tetris??? LOL, that phrase gave me the chuckles :lol: Is that each item using a custom amount of squares in the inventory? Nope, thanks. Better use a unified item slots. Even the different slot sizes in Wiz8 are unnecessary.

- Besides a cartoon UI does not match well if the environment looks realistic in nature

- About that UI of Lands of Lore 2 with multiple sliding mechanisms: I didn't like it. The UI of Lands of Lore 1 was much better. Awesome in that the colors were eyefriendly, clean, and you got everything you need at 1 glance.

To sum it up, a simple UI like that of Wizardry 8 would probably fit well for Bard Tale 4. Probably with some enhancements, for example, I liked the BT4 positioning grid (which was WYSIWYG) more than the abstract Wizardry 8 tactical positioning "radar". But maybe that positioning grid should also be made strictly 2D, like Lords of Xulima? Maybe I am narrowminded, cause I admit, that "2.5 dimensional" combat UI from the BT4 demo integrated very well into the environment, so there's always something new to learn.

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

Post by Drool » April 12th, 2017, 11:20 pm

I know the Wiz8 inventory screen is popular, but it always felt way too cluttered to me, with too much stuff continually on display. Oddly enough, Dungeon Siege 2 has almost as much information, but the layout feels cleaner:

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

Post by thebruce » April 13th, 2017, 5:57 am

Even that - there's just so much stuff...

BT was streamlined and crisp and all the functions within a keypress or two.
I don't necessarily want to have visual representation of my healing potions and SP potions and whatnot always visible on my screen. the BT UI is very very basic and hierarchic..a..lized... :)

Please leave the clutter out. It's harder to do in higher resolution obviously - BT being low res meant they couldn't put more on the screen; there just weren't enough pixels. But the result was very very usable, meaningful, and user-friendly, imo. Too visual and it becomes a mouse-clicky game. Do not want. Yes there can be shortcut keys. But how many did BT have? Barely any by comparison to the number of 'things' on screen in some of these examples.

One reason I think it worked was that the UI was also visually very snappy and responsive. You could easily get to the potion in the 7th slot of character 5 in a fraction of a second. Today you'd get either move-mouse-click-animate-fadein-move-mouse-click-click-click-tap-confirm-click-animatemagic-done; or maybe keyboard equivalent tap-wait-tap-wait-tap-tap-tap-animatemagic-done. That or click/tap the potion icon. :P (no specific examples here, just imagining various graphic-heavy games I've played).

Some days maybe one might like the visual styling; other days you just want to see the stat number change.

I liked BT's plain old keyboard U-5-7-done. Keep that level of usability in mind please!
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Zombra » April 13th, 2017, 8:49 am

thebruce wrote:
April 13th, 2017, 5:57 am
I liked BT's plain old keyboard U-5-7-done. Keep that level of usability in mind please!


Can't support this enough. Effective keyboard shortcuts and an absolute minimum of "sit there while the graphics for the next screen load".
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Gizmo » April 13th, 2017, 9:51 am

I support this as well; but I suggest testing it carefully for unintended outcomes via keyboard use.

Fallout was full of keyboard shortcuts, despite being a point & click mouse game; and because of this the player could often initiate combat [via hotkey] before NPC's could initiate (sometimes mandatory) dialog. This could result in unexpected situations that were thought to be impossible; or never thought of at all.

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

Post by thebruce » April 13th, 2017, 11:40 am

Gizmo wrote:
April 13th, 2017, 9:51 am
I support this as well; but I suggest testing it carefully for unintended outcomes via keyboard use.

Fallout was full of keyboard shortcuts, despite being a point & click mouse game; and because of this the player could often initiate combat [via hotkey] before NPC's could initiate (sometimes mandatory) dialog. This could result in unexpected situations that were thought to be impossible; or never thought of at all.
For sure, though I'd say that's more a fundamental design ideology - an errant implementation of asynchronous commands that don't verify they should run if anything else could affect its execution. That is, in that case a phase was initiatied followed by an asynchronous delay to dialogue - during that delay something else happened in-game that should cancel the dialogue execution, but when the dialogue begins there's no double check to ensure that it should still appear, it just does, even if out of place. So yep, but it's a programming bug, not so much a conceptual usability thing :)
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Gizmo » April 13th, 2017, 2:25 pm

In Fallout, one could initiate combat before the level faded in from loading... In one instance this allowed the player to access a secret encounter —reserved for those that played with the Bloody-Mess trait. It meant that non-Bloody-Mess characters could fight the Overseer before the game ended.

*I actually discovered this before playing with the Bloody-Mess trait, and didn't know what to make of it. I learned later that this was a Bloody-Mess only cutscene —gone awry.

IRRC you could enter the Hub Drug Dealer's den using hotkeyed combat, and buy from him without the paid introduction.

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

Post by Ranger1 » May 1st, 2017, 4:08 pm

I like stone menus and full screen interfaces. Windows everywhere make me switch off. I support paperdolls like those in Might and Magic for inventory.

Just thinking about the loot problem of endless piles of halberds and rusty armours.

I ask myself why can't we hire ragpickers in game to collect all the non-special equipment and give the party coin in return? After every battle the ragpicker could get 5% of the value of the loot and give the party remaining coin value of the loot. The party could nominate which items to sell automatically by tagging them junk. They could accompany the party as a follower like in the Might and Magic games.

A ragpicker would be essential during long dungeon crawls and reduce the need for shopkeepers to appear unexpectedly in the middle of a dungeon.

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

Post by Gizmo » May 1st, 2017, 4:47 pm

Ranger1 wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 4:08 pm
After every battle the ragpicker could get 5% of the value of the loot and give the party remaining coin value of the loot. The party could nominate which items to sell automatically by tagging them junk. They could accompany the party as a follower like in the Might and Magic games.
Sounds neat, so long as the ragpickers can eventually decide [either randomly, or by weighted IQ check] to start skimming the take, and passing off a lower value than actual. :twisted:

*Extra points if they occasionally ID magic items and keep them.
**Additional points if they can decide [on a serious haul] to just have the party assassinated and pay for it out of what was to be the party's own share.
***Top honors if it's designed such that the party can use persuasion and intimidation to try to keep the ragpickers reasonably honest or too afraid to cheat them.

IIRC... Wasn't it an option in Morrowind to just hire some NPC to go clear out a location for payment?

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

Post by Lucius » May 1st, 2017, 5:15 pm

Clearly I should check these forums more. (Or you should give more Kickstarter updates to get me to check the forums more ;) ) At any rate, I've read through the first couple of pages and skimmed the rest. I agree with a lot of what Zombra said in his original post and another post regarding on screen prompts from the UI. The Witcher 3 (series perhaps, can't remember) has the same thing if you want a modern example. The little wolf head's eyes, by your healthbar, would glow when enemies are near iirc.

Not sure if this has been brought up but, ever play a game where there is information in the world and you need that information while accessing your inventory? Treasure maps are one example of this. You need to see your surroundings and the map at the same time to determine if you are in the correct spot so you end up switching back and forth between the game world and your inventory. Generally this comes up with things like that and puzzles. You have clues in your inventory, but you have to hide the puzzle (by opening inventory) to see the clues! Open, close, open, close map, inventory, or what have you.

That said, I prefer large window inventories, like Zombra's examples. Something that takes most of the screen, but doesn't fully take you out of the world. Hate to use this word, but it's an immersion thing for me. So yes, obviously my preferences and complaints contradict each other. I'd suggest inventory items like notes or books can be opened as a pop up over the game world, that can be moved around the screen, and perhaps stay open while moving characters in game; ie can be opened separately from menus. Or menus can be closed while keeping these notes, as a smaller window (parchment paper duh!), still open.

Another thing I like are slightly opaque menus. I think that fold back into that immersion thing.

A few random things as well, I prefer paperdolls as well. I prefer less pointless art, but the UI should still be setting appropriate. An overly modern, clean UI may not fit well with a high fantasy setting. This I think should be a balancing act. Honestly, many of the UI's I'm seeing posted in this thread make me cringe.

Inventory tetris or list, doesn't matter to me. I'd say it depends on how inventory is handled. If it's strictly weight, give me a list. If it's size, give me tetris. I like both. I wasn't super fond of WL2's however, which gave you unlimited boxes and inventory was done with weight. For some reason, I remember feeling like I had to constantly organize it. Like it didn't stay how I wanted it, or there was just too much space so ended up getting just too cluttered.

Ok that's all for now, a month late. :P

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

Post by Ranger1 » May 1st, 2017, 7:10 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 4:47 pm
Ranger1 wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 4:08 pm
After every battle the ragpicker could get 5% of the value of the loot and give the party remaining coin value of the loot. The party could nominate which items to sell automatically by tagging them junk. They could accompany the party as a follower like in the Might and Magic games.
Sounds neat, so long as the ragpickers can eventually decide [either randomly, or by weighted IQ check] to start skimming the take, and passing off a lower value than actual. :twisted:

*Extra points if they occasionally ID magic items and keep them.
**Additional points if they can decide [on a serious haul] to just have the party assassinated and pay for it out of what was to be the party's own share.
***Top honors if it's designed such that the party can use persuasion and intimidation to try to keep the ragpickers reasonably honest or too afraid to cheat them.

IIRC... Wasn't it an option in Morrowind to just hire some NPC to go clear out a location for payment?
I like it!! As long as the party can take its revenge.

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

Post by thebruce » May 1st, 2017, 7:51 pm

Please no translucent windows over a live game view. I hate screen clutter and trying to see two things at once in the same screen realestate is just asking for clutter headaches. At least in BT. Go down that rabbit hole and you get the interface posted earlier akin to many online RPGs with icons and tiny-text windows all over the place so player has access to everything with one click... maybe more optimal for a live-action/real-time game, but for turn based dungeon crawling explorer that's definitely not a higher priority. Especially if navigation is well designed to not be complex or lengthy to do what you want to do at any one time.
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by Drool » May 1st, 2017, 11:04 pm

Gizmo wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 4:47 pm
Sounds neat, so long as the ragpickers can eventually decide [either randomly, or by weighted IQ check] to start skimming the take, and passing off a lower value than actual.
There comes a point where you're just being a pointless dick to the player.
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Re: What's your favorite art style for RPG Menus?

Post by DukeKingston » May 2nd, 2017, 12:47 am

Whow, this thread has spawned two additional pages since I last checked in. I'm trying to keep up. There are some really grate notes in here.

One thing I wanted to clarify, which was a little off topic, was the fear of having to weight for ability animations to complete in order to proceed in combat. We have an event queuing system in place to fix this exact problem. You can input commands as fast as you please and the results are calculated instantly. The attack animations play out in string of ability "performances" that are disconnected from what inputs you've given the combat system. With each attack tending to resolve in under 2 seconds, with only a few exceptions, I find myself never that much further ahead than the animations, if at all. Since every combat is a little different, I naturally find myself spending a second between each input anyways, thinking out my next few moves and planning combos. We're constantly trying to tighten up un-necessarily long performances when we find them. It's been falling pretty tight so far, and getting tighter.

Even with that system in place, I still think the desire for a combat animation fast-forward or skipping system is well founded.

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

Post by Gizmo » May 2nd, 2017, 1:08 am

I hope the Rangers (and NPCs) have both walk and run animations —and not just the latter.
Drool wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 11:04 pm
Gizmo wrote:
May 1st, 2017, 4:47 pm
Sounds neat, so long as the ragpickers can eventually decide [either randomly, or by weighted IQ check] to start skimming the take, and passing off a lower value than actual.
There comes a point where you're just being a pointless dick to the player.
Everything should come with a cost and effect. IMO it would be more jarring if they only ever played it straight with the PC... dutifully accepting meager payment to deliver a hoard, and never holding anything back; never trying to get away with not telling the PC about all of it.

**And the never suspecting PC should deserve only what [little of it] they get. [Unless they did suspect, and did something about it.]
This is something a bad reputation could be good for in an RPG.

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

Post by Yokohamalama » May 2nd, 2017, 5:16 am

DukeKingston wrote:
May 2nd, 2017, 12:47 am
One thing I wanted to clarify, which was a little off topic, was the fear of having to wait for ability animations to complete in order to proceed in combat. We have an event queuing system in place to fix this exact problem. You can input commands as fast as you please and the results are calculated instantly. The attack animations play out in string of ability "performances" that are disconnected from what inputs you've given the combat system. With each attack tending to resolve in under 2 seconds, with only a few exceptions, I find myself never that much further ahead than the animations, if at all. Since every combat is a little different, I naturally find myself spending a second between each input anyways, thinking out my next few moves and planning combos. We're constantly trying to tighten up un-necessarily long performances when we find them. It's been falling pretty tight so far, and getting tighter.
Hmm that sounds great. The option for quicker combat is in fact very important... remembering how tedious combat in Wiz8 was. I hope we can get a glimpse of this system soon :)

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