Menu Mode Layout

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Menu Mode Layout

Postby Roots » Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:57 am

We've had this discussion a couple times before (here and here) but we've never really buckled down and said "Ok, lets do it this way". I think its time where we need to come to a solid decision on what menu mode is going to look like and how the player is going to use it. This should be done now instead of later so that we don't end up wasting time/effort on the menu code.


I tried to start up a draft myself, but it really takes a lot of time to make those and then continually refine them (I know because I've been doing the battle mode drafts lately) and I just have so many other things I need to be working on right now. :eyespin:. So I am curious if anyone is up for working on a draft, proposing ideas, etc. to make the game menus be the best that they can be. Anyone up for the task? :shrug:


Here's what the main view of Menu Mode looks like (somewhat outdated):

[img:1024:768]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/roots/screenshots/menumode_screenshot.jpg[/img]

And here's a view of the equip/status screen:

[img:1024:768]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/mindflayer/screen4.png[/img]

And here are some thoughs that I have to get things started.

Main View
- I think the full-size portrait in the main screenshot above is too small. Instead I think we should use the larger one which is used

- The bottom menu needs to be re-organized so that it looks cleaner. I think that the location text should be above the location graphic, and the time and amount of money should be on the right hand side and made more distinct from one another

Inventory View
- There should be several inventory views (not just one). One should have all of the standard items, another weapons, 4 others for each type of armor (head, torso, arm, leg), and maybe a category for special/event items in the game

Skills View
- There should be three skills view, one for attack, defense, and support skills.
- Maybe clicking on a skill brings up advanced information about the skill, along with a short description? :shrug:
- Sort the skills by their SP usage cost (which approximately reflects their strength/usefulness)

Equip View
- Notice I said equip, not status/equip. I( think that status/equipment is too long of a name for an option menu personally :|)
- The menu contains both the character's status information as well as allowing them to equip weapons, armors, etc.
- The status info should cover all of the basic stats (HP, SP, strength, etc.), and all elemental and status bonuses

General thoughts
- Use a 20 pt size font. The current draft uses 16 pt, which is too small IMO.
- Do we really need the bottom menu to be there perpetually (the one with the location graphic, time, and other info)? I don't think it needs to be there for inventory, etc. and that space could then be better used
- Maybe the actual menus should take up some more space on the screen? :shrug:
- I don't like the current location of the option boxes (where you select menu commands to do). It's in an awkward position because it is in the middle of the menu. Instead, I think we'd do better with a vertical stack of menu options on the left side of the screen. :approve:
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Postby visage » Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:31 am

I say leave the general menu. The rest of the stuff sounds good, except the background you gave the menu is molesting my eyes...
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Postby Steu » Sat Sep 02, 2006 5:45 pm

I don't think we should separate the armour out into 4 different inventory lists, I think that's dividing it up, too much, just leave all the armour together in one listing.
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Postby Roots » Sat Sep 02, 2006 8:02 pm

visage wrote:I say leave the general menu. The rest of the stuff sounds good, except the background you gave the menu is molesting my eyes...


I agree. Using a transparent black color for the menu windows looks much better (as was shown in the screenshot release). If we could somehow build the menu using the parchment paper, that would look freaking awesome I think. :D (I can think of a couple tricks where we might be able to do this fairly easily).


Steu wrote:I don't think we should separate the armour out into 4 different inventory lists, I think that's dividing it up, too much, just leave all the armour together in one listing.


I'm undecided right now on this part, so we'll just have to try things out and see. :)
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Postby Roots » Sun Sep 03, 2006 1:00 am

I moved this thread to the design forum to see if we could get some more opinions. ;)
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Postby ChopperDave » Fri Sep 22, 2006 3:59 am

OK. Here is the mockup of what the stats screen would look like. And yes, I realize that the numbers don't match. I'm thinking we should do away with the red background and go with something darker (probably black, but a dark gray or blue would do).

Let me know what you think of the layout.

[img:856:659]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/chopperdave/stats_screenshot.JPG[/img]
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Postby eleazar » Fri Sep 22, 2006 4:50 am

i think this background will look better:

[img:64:64]http://www.jwbjerk.com/dl/allacrost/black_sleet_texture.png[/img]

Trust me, it looks plain and blank by itself, but looks good actually in the menu.
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Postby Roots » Fri Sep 22, 2006 5:27 am

I really like that Andy, nice work! :approve:
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Postby ChopperDave » Fri Sep 22, 2006 2:34 pm

Thanks Roots. The bottom window is also going to change its appearance. For the status and party screen, it will look like the current model. For inventory, skills, and equipment, I'm going to have it display an icon representing the type of item (sword for weapon, potion for an item, etc.), the item's name, its description, and the current characters stats with +/- modifiers to show how the item will alter their current stats.

BTW, the new menu is slightly larger than the old one. Is that going to screw anything up?
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Postby visage » Fri Sep 22, 2006 2:41 pm

Looks good, except the background of course. I also thing that the cave picture (I forget what we are calling it...location status bar?) should be further right, so that there is some sort of balance in the menu -- like a dividing line. It looks a bit wierd to me breaching the already defined dividing line with so much space to the left and right of it...
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Postby ChopperDave » Fri Sep 22, 2006 3:00 pm

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing about the image. And I'll try using the black background that eleazar suggested.
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Postby gorzuate » Fri Sep 22, 2006 3:20 pm

ChopperDave wrote:BTW, the new menu is slightly larger than the old one. Is that going to screw anything up?


No, it shouldn't.
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Postby Steu » Fri Sep 22, 2006 4:26 pm

Yeah the menu size being larger is fine. Also looking good.
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Postby Roots » Fri Sep 22, 2006 4:29 pm

Yes we'll use a transparent black background in the real deal. Unfortunately, right now our video engine only supports one menu window definition at a time :disapprove:, but once that is fixed everything should be fine.

What is the party option for btw? I figured that we could just use the main menu to organize characters and such. :shrug: We need to have an options menu so that the user can go in and change their screen resolution, audio volume, etc.....or maybe we should just add a Ctrl+O handle to do that so the user can edit their game options at any time? :shrug:
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Postby prophile » Fri Sep 22, 2006 4:45 pm

I'll vote for the Ctrl-O option.
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Postby ChopperDave » Fri Sep 22, 2006 5:54 pm

The party option is for switching who in your party will participate in battle.

What may end up happening is we would put all party members in the left windows (have a scroll option to find the rest after the first four), this way you can access anyone's equipment, skills, or stats, even if they aren't in the current battle party.

Then for party switching we show the current four on the left, the reserved four on the right, and you can switch them around to change the battle party.

The scroll feature will require an expansion on the OptionBox to support text, image, and even windows as cell content.

At least that's my thinking.
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Postby visage » Fri Sep 22, 2006 7:03 pm

Chopper -- all members participate in battle -- we use this thing called "swap cards" to swap characters in and out of battle.
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Postby ChopperDave » Fri Sep 22, 2006 7:32 pm

Oh.....now I feel stupid. I'll drop the 'Party' option. Maybe replace it with a 'Journal' or 'Battle Records' option?
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Postby eleazar » Fri Sep 22, 2006 8:03 pm

visage wrote:Chopper -- all members participate in battle -- we use this thing called "swap cards" to swap characters in and out of battle.

Maybe i don't understand, but wouldn't you want a way to choose which 4 characters will initially participate in the battle?
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Postby visage » Fri Sep 22, 2006 8:38 pm

Absolutely. I was just explaining to Andy the way the system worked. "Party" probably isn't the right name, though I cant think of a better word at the moment...

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