The Battle System - Some Thoughts on Interface and Usability

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ManweSulimo2004
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The Battle System - Some Thoughts on Interface and Usability

Post by ManweSulimo2004 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:49 am

I just tried out the new dev release and I really like the feel of the new battle system. Things seem more fluid and dynamic now. However, there are definitely some problems.

One thing is that I found myself concentrating only on the bottom part of the screen and entirely ignoring the game's graphics where the real action should be taking place. I suggest rearranging the layout to reduce this effect. Here's a ridiculously cheap and lazy mock-up to demonstrate an alternative, which should guide the eyes more towards the actors on the screen:

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The icon next to each character displays which action has been chosen and the line from the character shows leads to the target of the action. There are things I left out but I think the point I'm trying to make should be clear.

The other issue I'd like to point out is button mapping. Using an arrow key to select a character isn't very intuitive as long they remain positioned the way they are now. Maybe using numbers 1-4 would be better? Or letter keys, such as ASDF or QWER?

That's it for now. I'll save my other squibbles for later. ^^

Great job on your work so far by the way. It's really cool to watch the game evolve. :)
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Roots
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Re: The Battle System - Some Thoughts on Interface and Usabi

Post by Roots » Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:08 am

Thanks for the feedback, its very helpful. I too have noticed that my eyes are continually focused on the bottom of the screen now. I like your suggestions a lot actually. Especially with the lines pointing out the target of each character, I think that's brilliant.

I feel that we're still going to have the player looking at the bottom of the screen sometimes though, as that's the only space we have for the command menu (unless we draw it on top of the actors, which I don't think would look good). So whenever the player is selecting a command, they'll be focusing on the bottom of the screen to navigate through that menu. I've proposed some ideas in another thread for how we can make it easier and faster to navigate through this menu, so hopefully out of that discussion we'll come up with something that expedites going through the menu.

Yeah, I'm not 100% sure about using the arrow keys either. The reason I chose them was that it was easy to create an icon that represents them. But our other primary inputs (which include: "confirm", "cancel", "menu", "swap", "left trigger" and "right trigger"), we don't have a clear visual representation for those. The first four are, by default, mapped to the ASDF keys on the keyboard, but the player can change those keys (or have a non-US keyboard) so we can't just create icons that say "A" "S" "D" and "F". Not to mention that we support joystick support as well. I think what we may need are some sort of visual icon to represent the different keys. Maybe they could be different colors, or shapes, or symbols or something. :shrug:


I wish we had the spare manpower to actually play around with the interface more and implement some of the suggestions you made here, but we're kind of strapped for resources right now so I don't know when we'll be able to get around to this. I do think we need to continue to explore the battle layout and play style more though. Fortunately, this is the kind of thing that we can do down the road and we don't have to wait on it for the next release. But thanks again for your suggestions. Its really nice to know when people continue to check out our progress and makes these development releases worthwhile. :)
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ManweSulimo2004
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Re: The Battle System - Some Thoughts on Interface and Usabi

Post by ManweSulimo2004 » Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:27 pm

Too bad about the man power problem. I'd like to help out myself but I doubt I'd be able to set aside enough time and motivation to provide any useful contributions... Maybe I will play around a bit with the interface code and see if I can do anything interesting.

Just out of curiosity: Is there a small interface related programming job that needs working on currently?
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