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The Almighty Doer of Stuff

Feedback on MINOR GUI tweak please: Inventory (EDIT: No longer minor :/ )

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Posted (edited)

OK, so any general interface enlargement and map integration etc. to be decided later, I tweaked the inventory area. In legacy, there were separate small, 18x18 versions of large, 28x36 item graphics to be crammed into the inventory area. I rearranged it to use the full-size. No content is lost and only the inventory area is resized. (A single row of weird white pixels is removed from the party stats and the rest of the added inventory size is just taken by shrinking the gaps a bit.) There was always a scrollbar there anyway, so unless there's some particular, important need in some scenario to see a longer set of item names at the same time, I personally think this looks neater, more pleasing, and more clear what you're seeing. This is especially so for custom item graphics, because while default items have premade tiny graphics, custom graphics were always just shrunk blurrily with an algorithm (which CM has wanted to change going forward but regardless). What do you think? For comparison:

Old:
GUI00.png

New:
GUI05.png

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
reorganizing website and local BoE folders, fixed URLs

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Hmmm...personally, I'm against it, I like being able to see 8 items instead of just 3.  Yeah, I can scroll up and down, but it'd be handy to see more at one time.  I personally prefer functionality to aesthetics, but that might just be me. 

 

I would suggest, though, if going for the bigger pictures, to make better use of the expanded room to the right of the pic.  I don't like the "Charges: N/A" stuff, but having the weight, for example, might be worthwhile.  Possibly base GP price?  Damage for weapon or protection for armour and so on might be nice, but rather more fiddly, don't know if it'd be worth the effort.

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Yeah, I strongly dislike this change.  This makes inventory management even more cumbersome than it was in the Nethergate/Avernum engine games.  I'm afraid it's a step backwards.

 

I also agree that the giant "Charges" text is a waste of space -- what was wrong with the "Wand of Fire (8)" notation?

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Posted (edited)

OK, going back to Slarty's suggestion from the other thread (subconsciously, I forgot he suggested it and did it anyway then I reread the old thread, don't go there, it's not pleasant) I mostly just reorganized things WITHOUT enlarging elements or changing the dimensions of things. Exceptions are the inventory, where I made the inventory area taller and rearranged the elements to allow longer item names and full-size icons, the map which I only enlarged to fit the existing space of the text area column (probably still pan-and-scan), and the action buttons, where I replaced Get, Use, and Map buttons with different ones since the map is now integrated. Is this at all an improvement on anything? I think I like this.

GUI07.png

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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While I'm still not in favour of redesigning the interface, I'm not opposed to allowing others to do so if they so choose. It might not be too difficult to make the interface somewhat customizable. Here's an example mockup of how that might be defined:

 


<!-- Original (or at least current) theme -->

<theme width="" height="">
    <party-stats x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y="" height="">
        <number x-anchor="left" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <name x-anchor="left" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <status x-anchor="left" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <button action="switch" icon="" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <button action="info" icon="" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <!-- Other possible actions are create, delete, rename, picture -->
        <text ref="sp" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <text ref="hp" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
    </party-stats>
    <inventory x-anchor="right" y-anchor="middle" x="" y="" height="">
        <!-- The contents here describe a single row -->
        <number x-anchor="left" y-anchor="right" x="" y=""/>
        <small-icon x-anchor="left" y-anchor="right" x="" y=""/>
        <name x-anchor="left" y-anchor="right" x="" y="" show-charges="yes"/>
        <!-- Buttons would automatically show only when relevant -->
        <!-- Icon is a numeric index into some list -->
        <button action="info" icon="" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <button action="drop" icon="" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <button action="give" icon="" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <button action="use" icon="" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <button action="service" icon="" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <text ref="service-price" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
    </inventory>
    <transcript x-anchor="right" y-anchor="bottom" x="" y="" height=""/>
    <terrain x-anchor="left" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
    <info-bar x-anchor="left" y-anchor="bottom" x="" y=""/>
    <button-strip x-anchor="left" y-anchor="right" x="" y="">
        <!-- A button strip is a flow layout, so no need for anchors and x,y -->
        <!-- Icon here indexes a different list than above -->
        <button action="mage" icon="" show="always"/>
        <button action="priest" icon="" show="always"/>
        <button action="look" icon="" show="always"/>
        <button action="talk" icon="" show="town"/>
        <button action="get" icon="" show="town"/>
        <!-- Also size="quarter" may be allowed, given appropriate button backgrounds -->
        <button action="use" size="half" icon="" show="town"/>
        <button action="map" size="half" icon="" show="town"/>
        <button action="rest" icon="" show="outdoors"/>
        <button action="map" icon="" show="outdoors"/>
        <button action="save" icon="" show="outdoors"/>
        <button action="load" icon="" show="outdoors"/>
        <button action="parry" icon="" show="combat"/>
        <button action="get" icon="" show="combat"/>
        <button action="wait" size="half" icon="" show="combat"/>
        <button action="shoot" size="half" icon="" show="combat"/>
        <button action="peace" size="half" icon="" show="combat"/>
        <button action="solo" size="half" icon="" show="combat"/>
        <!-- Other possible actions might include:
            alchemy
            talk-notes
            enc-notes
            journal
            stats
            save-as
            
            Also, "rest" would work in town and mean "wait 100 moves"
        -->
    </button>
    <!-- This specifies where dialogue is shown in talk mode -->
    <dialogue x-anchor="left" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
</theme>

<!-- Latest ADoS theme -->

<theme width="" height="">
    <party-stats x-anchor="left" y-anchor="top" x="" y="">
        <number x-anchor="left" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <name x-anchor="left" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <status x-anchor="left" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <button action="switch" icon="" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <button action="info" icon="" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <text ref="sp" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <text ref="hp" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
    </party-stats>
    <inventory x-anchor="right" y-anchor="middle" x="" y="" height="">
        <number x-anchor="left" y-anchor="right" x="" y=""/>
        <small-icon x-anchor="left" y-anchor="right" x="" y=""/>
        <name x-anchor="left" y-anchor="right" x="" y="" show-charges="yes"/>
        <button action="info" icon="" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <button action="drop" icon="" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <button action="give" icon="" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <button action="use" icon="" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <button action="service" icon="" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
        <text ref="service-price" x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
    </inventory>
    <terrain x-anchor="middle" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
    <info-bar x-anchor="middle" y-anchor="bottom" x="" y=""/>
    <button-strip x-anchor="middle" y-anchor="right" x="" y="">
        <button action="mage" icon="" show="always"/>
        <button action="priest" icon="" show="always"/>
        <button action="look" icon="" show="always"/>
        <button action="talk" icon="" show="town"/>
        <button action="get" icon="" show="town"/>
        <button action="use" icon="" show="town"/>
        <button action="rest" icon="" show="outdoors"/>
        <button action="save" icon="" show="outdoors"/>
        <button action="load" icon="" show="outdoors"/>
        <button action="parry" icon="" show="combat"/>
        <button action="get" icon="" show="combat"/>
        <button action="wait" size="half" icon="" show="combat"/>
        <button action="shoot" size="half" icon="" show="combat"/>
        <button action="peace" size="half" icon="" show="combat"/>
        <button action="solo" size="half" icon="" show="combat"/>
    </button>
    <dialogue x-anchor="middle" y-anchor="top" x="" y=""/>
    <map x-anchor="right" y-anchor="top" height="" width=""/>
    <transcript x-anchor="right" y-anchor="bottom" x="" y="" height="" width=""/>
</theme>

 

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Custom interface might be neat.

 

The 6 large icons version is definitely not as bad as the 3 large icons version, but it still results in fewer items being displayed at one time.  8 was already just 1/3 of your inventory; now it's down to 1/4.  That's still a real downgrade.  I can imagine something that might justify it, but "bigger icons of items" is not one of them.  These are not exactly interesting icons, and you're probably going to be staring at the same ones for most of your playtime.

 

Basically, in some ways this interface redesign is "a solution in search of a problem."

 

However, I can imagine really liking ADoS's last design if it simply used the old, smaller icons, with perhaps slightly bigger text and 12 items displayable at once.

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Posted (edited)

Well, now here's some more dramatic changes. I think if Celtic Minstrel implements an XML framework I might be able to set this up myself.

GUI09.png

Eight items visible, map integrated, balanced appearance, fancier action buttons (a bit more art needed of course and they need to be arranged better; some will change depending on circumstance), better use of modern higher resolution screen space, information added and not lost. I'm pretty proud of this one. Everything needs cleaning up but it's a rough mockup.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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The only thing I could suggest about the left column is that, to me, it makes more sense to put special items at the bottom and quest/journal at the top.

 

The buttons are still a little questionable. I would suggest figuring out exactly what set of buttons will appear in each context - town, outdoors, and combat. The setup you have here may work for town and combat, with a few substitutions in both cases*, but it's utterly ridiculous for outdoors.

 

 

*The potion, camp, use, and talk buttons make no sense in combat. The PC/All, parry, and arrow buttons make no sense in town. Oh right, and the save/load buttons are also currently useless in combat.

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Just to be sure, I opened up A:EftP. Similarly, as I thought the interface is exactly the same regardless of whether you're in town, combat, or outdoor mode. I think that is a deliberate choice on Jeff's part. It's easier for players to have things not change if there's no real reason for them to change, and if there's no competition for screen real estate then there's no real reason. Every time things rearrange themselves, the player needs to get their bearings again and this increases the learning curve. It's easier for them to click a button and just have message say "Sorry, not right now."

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What are the alternatives? Remove them altogether or have buttons that are arbitrarily chosen from the set of commands like they are now? For some reason BoE's Get Item button even changed icon depending on what mode you were in, even though it did the same thing...

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I'm actually inclined to add "convenience" features instead like quickslots, and a designer-toggled junkbag like new Avernums and later Geneforges would be good too, but CM or someone'd have to implement it first. I've always loved Andrew Hunter's icons but they do tend to confuse and intimidate people I show the game to. Pretty versus function I guess.

EDIT: Yeah, I'm inspired again. There's not going to be any pleasing anybody of course which is why CM's new framework he's planning will be great. I have some great ideas for a totally overhauled interface that doesn't change the function of the game at all (except adding space for a junk bag for new scenarios that would hypothetically enable it, and inventory management is an often-cited gripe against BoE so it may be a good idea) but adds lots of convenience features, clarity, better use of screen real estate, and general nice-lookingness. Not trying to stick to the classic look, because if you want that it will still be there. This framework offers freedom. I like freedom to be creative. In the morning I'll give it a go. Maybe even two versions, one with a larger terrain view, also to be optionally enabled by a designer.

EDIT: Also new shirts. Not starting new threads for that anymore but these are nicer than I've done before. No more giant dragons with four inch pixels. They're nice, I actually sold one. One has all eight included 2x2 dragons on it, by Andrew Hunter, Luz Piazuelo, and Tim Farland. That's the one I sold, available on the front, or on the back with the logo on the breast pocket area. No royalties as usual, link in signature, promote the project, etc.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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I just want to point out that, as I envisioned it, the only thing this framework would allow is literally rearranging the things that are already present - not adding new things such as disabled buttons, a junk bag, or a larger terrain view. Of course none of these things are impossible, but they take more effort and I'm not sure I want to do them.

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I'm going to keep tinkering with this on and off and continue working on Bandit Busywork and whatever else needs doing. The important thing is getting it working smoothly and getting a stable, finished release, I think. Then any further changes won't look so daunting. I do notice that the interface and inventory management tend to scare nearly all potential new players away immediately, but it's better to get only the oldbies involved again and have something to start with than to have nothing to show at all.

I worked on these yesterday and in this wee hour of the morning, for those curious. One thing I'm doing is increasing the size of the interface. The terrain view might swim in the interface this way but my interface will allow for increasing its size if the player prefers, with a per-scenario toggle to enable or disable it. Ideally new scenarios would leave it enabled.

GUIExampleFrameInventory-20170902-01.png
(The last button would only appear while selling, enchanting, and identifying. There will be a | followed by number of uses, or an infinity symbol, after the item name as necessary.)

GUIExampleFramePartyStats-20170902-01.pn

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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That's intentional. I have frequently tried to get people to play over the years, and it's really, really hard to convince people. It's largely because of the interface and inventory management, like i said. I'm considering it a "Kill Your Darlings" situation at this point. We're attached to it because we're nostalgic and we're used to it, not because it works really well. I want people to get back into playing, enjoying, sharing, and designing again. Otherwise, CM will finish updating it, nobody new will play, even most oldbies don't seem to want to touch it, and then the next time it gets old and stops working, it will disappear forever for lack of interest. This game and the stories it tells are too wonderful to let that happen, I think.

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In what sense do you think the old interface doesn't work well.  I always thought it was basic, but functional, and I liked that.

 

Also, why move stats and inventory over to the left?  Not seeing the advantage in that.

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Moving it to the left was to accommodate the integration of the automap which is currently a separate window. Ideally the entire game would take place in one single window.

The sense in which I think it's hard to use is I've tried to introduce literally dozens of people of all levels of gaming and RPG experience to BoE, and they all hated it because they don't like the interface because they say:

  1. it's hard to use
  2. it's clunky and ugly
  3. nothing is labeled clearly
  4. things look like they're duplicated
  5. there's two dozen keyboard shortcuts to learn without any easy-to-find, simple, handy reference chart or means of customization
  6. there's a forty page manual to read instead of making it intuitive, and the instant help popups are annoying
  7. the window is tiny on modern monitors
  8. the font is small and hard to read
  9. there are no hover-over tooltips
  10. you have to click at least four times just to cast a spell every time unless you're casting the same one as last time (you'd be surprised by just how much most people despise clicking, I know I was when I found out).

Every single person I try has at least a few of those complaints. We are a rare breed here. We have self-selected for people who like the old interface. People who didn't like it to begin with never stuck around, and those who got used to more modern interfaces moved along elsewhere.

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Ah, so you're trying to make BoE into something that it never was.

 

The interface might be what people see and comment on immediately but it's not the only way in which BoE is an old-school product.  Yes, in theory somebody could make all of the above changes and a lot more and end up with something that is more mainstream for today's gamers.  But that's a truly huge effort.  They'd be better off making a new game.

 

Also -- it would no longer be Blades of Exile.

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Oh, come on. The GUI and lack of convenience features was never what hooked players in. If they stay at all, it's because of the exciting stories, the unusual but pretty graphics, the tactical combat, the thrill of customizing your adventurers just the way you want with a huge variety of spells, items, statistics, and more, the treasure hunting, the prospect of easily making an adventure of your own and having people play it... Do you really think people have ever read about any game and said, "Oh, this game has a 600x430 pixel interface and no shortcuts to do anything? COUNT ME IN!" I bet if BoE had quickspell and quickitem slots and bigger font to begin with, and you had a big enough screen, you'd have enjoyed it.

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I have no idea what those weird up/down arrow buttons are for.

 

I don't really have any strong objections to any of ADoS's designs, but I don't plan to implement them myself, either; nor is the themability idea I mentioned earlier particularly high priority (though I do like the fact that it would allow a cutscene mode similar to Exile 3's opening cutscene, so I think there's a good chance I'll get to it at some point). If someone else implements designs like this, I'd probably be willing to offer them as an option for players.

 

Currently I'm working towards a straight 2x scaling of the UI, which should hopefully address the concern of things being too small. It'll probably look a little pixelated especially on non-retina screens, mind you; but then, it's mainly intended for the retina screens anyway.

 

EDIT: Oh, right. I'm not gonna implement a junk bag or quick-item slots, either. Quickspells are already available from the menus, as far as I'm concerned. (Or would be if they actually worked; I received a report that those were broken.)

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Celtic Minstrel, I sent you a PM. Please respond to it. Thanks.

 

EDIT: More classic coloration. I like this better. The arrow buttons are to hide or extend the various panels, to make room for an increased or shrunk terrain view. This is as opposed to just making the terrain view fill the window, because this way the PCs will remain in the center of the visible terrain view.

GUI11.png

The PM I sent is very important, CM.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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Kelandon   

I'm not sure about this view (or any of the last several) because it seems rather busy. The part that I'd be looking at, almost all the time, is the tiny little bit in the upper-middle (the main view). But that's, what, 10% of the screen area? So there's all this other stuff around, drawing focus, while I'm concentrating on this tiny little part.

 

In the original, the main view was close to half the screen area, but it looks to me like you've blown up the size of everything else and added the automap to the screen while leaving the main view at its original size. I don't think that works.

 

I like what you're trying to do here, but I don't think you have it yet.

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Thanks. Did you notice the buttons to collapse the panels that will grow the terrain view? Are those not enough? Maybe they could be collapsed into summary versions that are smaller but with less info prior to being collapsed altogether. Hm...

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23 hours ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

The sense in which I think it's hard to use is I've tried to introduce literally dozens of people of all levels of gaming and RPG experience to BoE, and they all hated it because they don't like the interface because they say:

  1. it's hard to use
  2. it's clunky and ugly
  3. nothing is labeled clearly
  4. things look like they're duplicated
  5. there's two dozen keyboard shortcuts to learn without any easy-to-find, simple, handy reference chart or means of customization
  6. there's a forty page manual to read instead of making it intuitive, and the instant help popups are annoying
  7. the window is tiny on modern monitors
  8. the font is small and hard to read
  9. there are no hover-over tooltips
  10. you have to click at least four times just to cast a spell every time unless you're casting the same one as last time (you'd be surprised by just how much most people despise clicking, I know I was when I found out).

Huh...that seems very odd to me, but if it's happened to you multiple times, fair enough.

 

Excepting for 10, which seems wrong.  Don't people just click on the "cast mage" or "cast priest" drop down bars?  You could do it the other way if you wanted, but I never bothered.

 

In regards to the later layout, at first I was very strongly opposed, but I think that it might just be the font.  A less arty, more normal font and things would work better, though I think I'd prefer the map to not separate the stats and inventory, to me those should be next to each other.

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The font I used is MaidenWord, the font that has always shipped with BoE. The text feed area, though empty in the mockup, would use DejaVu Sans.

I actually found a reasonable way to shrink the party stats pane so it wouldn't even need to be collapsed to make room for a bigger terrain view. It might be possible, if I work it right, to 2x scale the terrain view for legacy scenarios (or if a new format designer chooses) or just have a bigger area visible going forward. Pending what anyone who can program wants. :/

 

One issue I have with some of the discussion of "it's not BoE anymore!" is, who is our target audience? Why are we bothering to do this? Are we putting in this effort to please the four or five oldbies who already have played every scenario, are perfectly capable of running it in VirtualBox or DOSBox, and just want nostalgia? Or are we trying to bring in fresh players and fresh talent, who are perfectly willing to enjoy retro graphics and combat style with text-heavy presentation, but are used to more streamlined, higher-resolution, more convenient gameplay experiences? Again, it's "Kill Your Darlings". We love the old interface, fine. We like some of the old features the way they are, fine. Is it worth ten years of work resulting in no new content and no new players? At some point we have to decide what we want more. We don't have to change everything. We really all know saying "If you change that one feature, then before you know it we'll be making it into a totally modern game and it may as well not even be BoE anymore!" is a slippery slope argument.

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1 hour ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

Thanks. Did you notice the buttons to collapse the panels that will grow the terrain view? Are those not enough? Maybe they could be collapsed into summary versions that are smaller but with less info prior to being collapsed altogether. Hm...

What if you showed a mockup of how they look when collapsed? That might help people decide if it's good.

 

1 hour ago, Thaluikhain said:

Excepting for 10, which seems wrong.  Don't people just click on the "cast mage" or "cast priest" drop down bars?  You could do it the other way if you wanted, but I never bothered.

I've never used those myself. I generally cast with the keyboard alone, which means 'm' + 'maybe space' + 'letter related to spell' + 'maybe shift + target party member' + 'enter'. Basically the same as what ADoS said, but with keys instead of clicks.

 

1 hour ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

The font I used is MaidenWord, the font that has always shipped with BoE.

 

Is this really the font that always shipped with BoE? My original Mac version uses a different font.

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MaidenWord I think was always used mostly just for talking, I think. It can always be adjusted in the final thing. I like what I'm doing now, except for no room for the text feed... hm... I'm trying to make it fit on my own laptop monitor. Hm...

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GUI12.png

I'm liking the direction this is headed, but things obviously don't line up neatly. The text area is the size it is to fit the phrase "Now entering: Now entering: Now entering:" while still being large enough to read in DejaVu Sans (11 point font which is still pushing it) which is about what will fit in legacy BoE, and that will also fit about 12 lines. There's room there for quickslots and whatever else too. I don't really want to make it much bigger than this. A retro-style RPG like this probably ought to fit on smaller monitors, even if it can be made bigger. The concept behind it is scalable of course should someone want to make it bigger for a giant monitor, but it looks alright on my fairly large TV "monitor" I think. Any bigger vertically and it won't fit on my laptop, for what that's worth...

The open-and-close thing would have had the pane on the left and the pane on the right collapse upward to the same depth as the gray block talking about "The Killing Cave", allowing the play area to expand. If the automap were collapsed downward, then the terrain view would fill the whole play area but be blocked out in the corner by the text area, which has to remain visible. I like the newer version better but it does need work.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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GUI13.png

Well, there's this. Some might say it's cramped. I dunno. Everything fits anyway. There's room in the middle for a few quick items and quick spells, and access to major commands like spell and alchemy menus and documentation. It's rough but it's a workable concept, I guess. Plus if you prefer a more spread-out view you could use the framework CM's talking about to loosen it up a bit, should your monitor resolution allow.

EDIT: Small updates, actually added quickspell slots, no need for quick items because I added item arrangement buttons, and I increased the size of the area description bar. Buttons for spells, alchemy, help, etc. can still go in that remaining gray spot. This interface won't fit on my standard 768-pixel-high laptop monitor unless I shrink my giant set of MATE panels or run the program full-screen, but I think designing software around my own personal preference for a 67 pixel high taskbar setup would be a bit silly even for the purposes I've stated...

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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I did some thinking about the long-term and talked to some people who know more about gaming and upgrading classic games than I do, and I was also thinking about the famous "RPG Maker". It's a similar software to this, but much more flexible, and for-profit. People still, to this day, pay good money to make cookie-cutter pixel-art-style JRPGs using, if I'm not mistaken, a full-on scripting engine, as opposed to BoE's unique, accessible node-based system.

BoE is GNU GPL 3.0+ which means there's little limit to what could be done with it, and it could all be for free, instead of for pay like RPG Maker. A "Classic Exile Mode" should be included for people to play classic BoE scenarios, design and play scenarios people who like the engine make using it, and play the original Exile Trilogy once the ability to read the plugged-in data files is eventually, hypothetically added, all with no changes to the way they play short of a few bug fixes and convenience features (i.e. quickspells are fine but no junk bag). And then the whole concept could be extended modularly, using the ease-of-use, node-based paradigm or even improving on it, making both game system and editors much more powerful and flexible for those who want to play outside Classic Exile Mode. This could bring a new audience to the classic scenarios and maybe even draw new Exile-style scenario designers into the community, by giving an audience and outlet to people who want to make classic-style pixel-art western RPGs with an easy-to-use interface. It'd be a win-win.

But all of that is for later. Step One is get the game to run on modern operating systems at all and show Jeff Vogel, and see what interest we have from the community. Nothing else is really even on the table at all until that happens. I'm only thinking about this stuff because I don't know how to program and I'm out of work and have literally nothing else useful to do with my time.

Step Two would probably be to do simple upgrades to the interface with better readability, intuitiveness, and quickslots, as I've said. After that, maybe other programmers would be more likely to be drawn to the project and be inclined to help than they are now.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff

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3 hours ago, The Almighty Doer of Stuff said:

MaidenWord I think was always used mostly just for talking, I think. It can always be adjusted in the final thing. I like what I'm doing now, except for no room for the text feed... hm... I'm trying to make it fit on my own laptop monitor. Hm...

No, I mean it wasn't used at all in the original Mac version of Blades of Exile. Instead, talking used a font called Dungeon Bold. The Windows version of BoE has always used MadenWord, I think. Maybe he just couldn't find a version of Dungeon Bold that worked on Windows.

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Is it possible for a scenario to come bundled with an interface skin? This would give the designer some additional tools in governing play, assuming that keystrokes could be disabled.

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None of this is possible currently, but bundling one or more "skins" with a scenario could indeed be a possibility in the future. (My reasoning for this is to create the possibility of an opening cutscene similar to Exile 3, where you have the terrain view and nothing else visible, though this could also be made possible without actually supporting custom skins.) However, disabling keystrokes? Why on earth would you want that?

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Hypothetically if the system were broadened beyond the Exile paradigm as I suggested, it would be very useful to change keystrokes and stuff, but that's not something that's really being considered yet. Right now the focus is just on getting the Exile paradigm itself to work, to start with. Anything else would come later, if at all, provided we find a programmer who is interested in developing the project in that direction. I suggested to my friend, who has a two-person game studio with a business philosophy strongly influenced by Jeff's, that maybe taking on OBoE as a side project might possibly maybe be some sort of useful part of a marketing thing maybe. I don't know, but I'll be showing her BoE today and she'll decide if she wants to show her programmer. My friend is unfamiliar with Spidweb and her programmer is only familiar with Jeff, not his games, but we'll see.

I vaguely recall having a pleasant BoE dream last night but I don't remember the details. It probably made no sense.

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21 hours ago, Celtic Minstrel said:

Why on earth would you want that?

If you wanted to limit the use of magic or items or whatever. Constricted gameplay, basically.

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Do you need to disable keystrokes to do that? Limiting magic can be done by changing the character's mage/priest spell levels, I would think (though it wouldn't be easy). Limiting the use of items should be possible by simply not giving any items, I think?

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