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The Almighty Doer of Stuff

Another GUI enlargement attempt

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I just threw this together. I've done similar arrangements in the past but this is a new one. I wonder what the BoE community has to say about it. I zoomed the playing field and action buttons 2x, integrated the automap, and arranged the other stuff how I thought I thought it would fit. Oddly, Get Item has a different icon depending on whether you are in town mode or combat mode in legacy BoE, so I just improved the combat one a bit and turned the town mode one into a Use Terrain button. Also, even the Large Dialog node messages will fit more than comfortably within the terrain view this way, eliminating the need to ever have more than one window.

Legacy screenshot:
http://www.OpenBoE.com/linkfile/GUI00.png

New mockup:
http://www.OpenBoE.com/linkfile/GUI01.png

This does have the issue that there are not as many buttons to use in combat or outdoor modes, compared to town mode, so there may be blank buttons. But the current button arrangement is ridiculous anyway, I think.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
Replaced images with links. (Now fixed URLs.)

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The automap looks good.

 

The clickable elements in text, like in the inventory and party stats panes, are now literally 1/20th the size of those enormous buttons.  This is to be contrasted with the fact that those clickable elements perform actions that you can't do any other way, whereas the giant buttons all (I think?) have keyboard equivalents.

 

Similarly, the terrain icons now look really pixelated.  (Note that the forums, by default, shrink and smooth this image; if you click on it you can see the original and what I mean here.)  I know they always were, but these are big chunky pixels compared with tiny fonts where font smoothing is active.

 

I would suggest making the text elements bigger (and perhaps the main viewing window slightly smaller).  Yes, you might need to extend horizontally, and the main viewing window will take up less of the full window that way -- I don't think that's a problem.

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It ls literally 2x. The only way to make it smaller is to bring it back down to 1x, half the size in each dimension. So what else can be done? People say it's too small but if I make it bigger it looks funky. Personally I've always liked zoomed-in pixel graphics. (If you've seen my shirt store, that's pretty obvious.)

I'm not seeing what the forum is doing to the images. I click on it and I DON'T see the original. Here's direct URLs instead:
http://www.OpenBoE.com/linkfile/GUI00.png
http://www.OpenBoE.com/linkfile/GUI01.png

The mockup is supposed to be 1100px by 700px. When I click on the image here, it shrinks it rather than growing it, resulting in blurring and uneven pixels.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
fixed urls

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I have no problem with the pixellated graphics, but the smallness of the text is not great.

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I didn't actually change the size of the text at all. I'm not sure how to improve that. Maybe adding 100px horizontally might allow more room to change things? I know I compacted the physical space of the inventory, horizontally, to make it fit. But I don't know how to enlarge the text. I did notice that OBoE compacts text vertically compared to legacy, for some reason. There's more than enough room for 2x text for 6-string dialogs, within the 2x terrain view. Hm...

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I guess just zooming the whole shebang 2x works as well as anything else. I think I was just trying to keep the height of the window under 768, although other than the fact that that's the height of my particular laptop monitor, I'm not sure why. I hear even laptops have hi-res screens these days, but for such a relatively simple game, I think it'd be nice to have it playable on non-gaming laptops. Also having separate windows for the automap and dialogs has irked me from the very beginning. Eh.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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Yikes.  There really needs to be some border space between those panes.

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4 hours ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

I didn't actually change the size of the text at all.

I dunno, could that be the problem right there? I mean, the point of scaling stuff up 2x was supposed to be that everything gets scaled up, right?

 

4 hours ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

I know I compacted the physical space of the inventory, horizontally, to make it fit.

Well that doesn't sound good. If the inventory is narrower, item names may not fit.

 

Also, in your second (and third) layout, I feel that there's not enough space for the transcript text.

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My suggestion would be to do something vaguely based on the console style used in some later games:

 

[left pane] [central pane] [right pane]

 

left pane = party stats, inventory below it

central pane = main view

right pane = automap, transcript text below it

 

The transcript text does not need to be as large as everything else, so it is OK if the right pane is narrower (to maintain the automap size you are using).

The whole left pane can be enlarged, with locked proportions, to say 1.5x the original size of its components.  This means it will be wider than the right pane, but based on GUI01 there should still be room for a full inventory + the party stats pane in that column.

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maybe this is just me but blown-up pixel graphics typically look terrible. like, if it's too large i have trouble even figuring out wtf the art is supposed to be

 

also, i dunno if you're going for "make this bigger" for the sake of making it bigger, or for the sake of improving the interface? from an aesthetic view, everything is the color SQUARE and that's really jarring compared to anything remotely modern. like, i get nostalgia, but too much square is too much square IMO

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I've seen many complaints that the game was too small to see, and that it swims in larger monitors. That's why I've been trying to double it: People have been asking for it. I love zoomed-in pixel graphics, and I am not the only one; they are becoming popular in games lately, from what I've heard. Of course, if I'm mistaken, it'd probably explain why my for-profit shop isn't making me any money. :( Maybe it's just because I've been editing BoE graphics since the late 90's and only I am able to see what a zoomed-in picture is without any trouble...

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Well, the pixel graphics that have become popular in games recently are awesome, but that's because a lot more care is put into them than "take anything that looks OK at 1x and make it 2x."  Big-pixel graphics work when you have a consistent style, a palette that allows gradual color changes, and often things like black outlines to help with contrast.

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http://www.OpenBoE.com/linkfile/GUI04.png From Slarty's suggestion. Important question though: Has any scenario ever relied on the player being able to see the map, terrain view, area description, text area, or action buttons, at the same time as reading a dialog box? If not, it could fit comfortably in that area and there'd be no need to have extra windows popping up.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
EDIT: Whoops. I don't know where I put things, apparently.

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Definitely better, but now *nothing* is bigger, and I thought making things bigger was the whole reason you were doing this in the first place?

 

Make the left pane bigger.  Make the central pane bigger if you like.  Also, are those 6 white icons PCs to select for the inventory pane?  It doesn't make a lot of sense to have the PC selectable in 2 places right next to each other (that and the party stats pane).  I think you can skip that row entirely.

 

And again, I don't understand why the action icons are being made so prominent when they are easily the least important part of the interface.

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My recommendation would be the layout of the most recent picture, but change the main view to 1.5x, increase item fonts 1.5x, and shrink the action icons to one row (like in the third iteration) and move them under the item list.

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ADOS, there are other enlargement algorithms, there are all kinds of smoothing algorithms, etc.  It might not be the best fit here, I dunno, but "you can't" and "impossible" are not true, and your 1.5x example is an example of the worst possible 1.5x quality.

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Smoothing algorithms will dramatically alter the appearance of the game and how scenarios look compared to how their designers envisioned them. It would appear blurry. There are no algorithms in existence that will stretch two pixels into three without looking awful in one way or another.

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Maybe, I dunno.  If I open one of the 2x magnification samples and just set Chrome to go to 75% display size, it looks pretty OK to me.

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It's blurry when you do that. What it's doing is taking two pixels, separating them, and putting half of each in the middle pixel; that is, if it's not blurring it even more than that. EDIT: By which I mean, if you have a red pixel and a blue pixel next to each other, a smoothing algorithm will put a purple one in between them, for example.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
clarity

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terrain.png

 

hey those are the three default interpolation options in GIMP, along with no interpolation (all blown up 150%). now i'm no pixel art connoisseur, but except for linear (which is a little blurry) they look pretty fine to me.

Edited by sylae
but what do i know about graphics quality, i write in php

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I'm telling you, it's blurred. The pixels are not crisp which could play heck with designer's custom graphics, even if they look okayish with the default graphics. Also, at least at the moment, CM can't figure out how to 2x zoom the graphics, much less apply an interpolation. Not that current programming limitations are the long-term issue, mind you, but we talk about maintaining the designer's vision with one corner of our mouths and then try to find some way to contort small-res, carefully-planned pixel graphics in ways they're not supposed to go with the other.

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then make it a toggleable option then (which you should be doing anyway for a huge UI change like this?) so if it looks like ass than the user can switch to the original view.

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I agree, seeing as 2x does make things look more pixelated to at least some people (especially since pixels are a lot bigger on some monitors than on others).  If you're changing it at all, you might as well give people options rather than forcing them to do it one new way.

 

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Well yeah, definitely. I neglected to mention that, sorry. The idea from the beginning was to have a toggle in Preferences to use either the classic multi-window interface, or a zoomed-in and/or rearranged alternative. Classic interface is going nowhere as long as CM is in charge, and I agree there's no reason to ditch it, especially if for some reason someone is using a really tiny monitor, like a tablet attached to a keyboard, or maybe just wants other things visible on screen simultaneously.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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2 minutes ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

Classic interface is going nowhere as long as CM is in charge

is this the sentence where an ominous clap of thunder sounds throughout the webforum.

Edited by sylae
honestly if you're Definitely going to have a toggle, go all-out with the new UI. like, make the "main view" with the map cover the entire viewport, or something. seriously.

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I've thought idly about that, but it might be good, actually. Lock the player in the classic interface, or possibly one more moderately modified than what I did here, for legacy scenarios, and offer a full-screen terrain view option like in newer games, for new-format scenarios. If that's what you mean.

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On 2017-07-14 at 2:29 AM, sylae said:

maybe this is just me but blown-up pixel graphics typically look terrible. like, if it's too large i have trouble even figuring out wtf the art is supposed to be

 

also, i dunno if you're going for "make this bigger" for the sake of making it bigger, or for the sake of improving the interface? from an aesthetic view, everything is the color SQUARE and that's really jarring compared to anything remotely modern. like, i get nostalgia, but too much square is too much square IMO

 

The point of scaling up is so that it appears around the same size on a modern screen as it would have appeared on an older screen, because modern screens have far higher resolution which makes the game interface appear far smaller.

 

20 hours ago, Beyond the cry lies the meaning said:

Also, are those 6 white icons PCs to select for the inventory pane?  It doesn't make a lot of sense to have the PC selectable in 2 places right next to each other (that and the party stats pane).  I think you can skip that row entirely.

 

The active PC and the PC whose inventory you're viewing are separate, so you do need the two separate toggles. It especially matters in combat, where you can change the latter but not the former.

 

16 hours ago, sylae said:

hey those are the three default interpolation options in GIMP, along with no interpolation (all blown up 150%). now i'm no pixel art connoisseur, but except for linear (which is a little blurry) they look pretty fine to me.

 

For the record, without using a shader, I only have a choice between cubic and linear interpolation. Using no interpolation (as ADoS appears to have been assuming) is actually more work.

 

16 hours ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

CM can't figure out how to 2x zoom the graphics, much less apply an interpolation.

 

I have a vague idea of how to 2x zoom the graphics, and when I do, linear or cubic interpolation is essentially free. I don't need to do any extra work for that.

 

15 hours ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

I've thought idly about that, but it might be good, actually. Lock the player in the classic interface, or possibly one more moderately modified than what I did here, for legacy scenarios, and offer a full-screen terrain view option like in newer games, for new-format scenarios. If that's what you mean.

 

I dislike this idea. If there's going to be an option, I'm not planning to allow the scenario to force you into any particular interface. (The scenario can customize the look of the interface elements, but that's it.)

 

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Wait, didn't this get discussed before?  Old scenarios were designed with the limited 9x9 tile viewing window in mind.  It is ridiculous to expand that for old scenarios.

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It's very easy for someone who isn't doing the work and has no knowledge of what's involved to talk about what should be done, so I'll do that then.  While I do like the idea of enlarging the graphics, I don't like the idea of moving all the button and stuff around.  Same layout, but with everything enlarged seems best to me.

 

Mind you, as it is, it's easy to move the map under where the action is, and have the program take up half the screen and have something else on the other.  I don't know if that sort of thing would appeal to many others, though.

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My issue with having multiple windows is that I have frequently had issues, in legacy and OBoE, where the windows are in the wrong order or not selected properly and I have to untangle it to proceed. Also, I don't have this issue now that I have a solution with Wine's emulated desktops figured out, but dialogs often appear on the wrong monitor in my dual monitor setups instead of following around the main window. There are probably solutions for this, but I still would prefer a unified window to keep things neat.

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I cannot see the images in the OP in Chrome and Explorer.

 

Anyway, I think 2X magnification with no smoothing would be fine. I don't care if the game looks pixelated.

Edited by posfan12

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13 hours ago, posfan12 said:

I cannot see the images in the OP in Chrome and Explorer.

 

Anyway, I think 2X magnification with no smoothing would be fine. I don't care if the game looks pixelated.

Copy the URL of the image and paste it in your address bar.

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