Menu Mode Layout

A discussion area for general design issues that staff would like detailed feedback on.

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ChopperDave
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Postby ChopperDave » Fri Sep 22, 2006 10:10 pm

Formation? Tactics?
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Roots
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Postby Roots » Fri Sep 22, 2006 10:19 pm

Formation sounds good to me. :approve:
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Postby visage » Sat Sep 23, 2006 3:53 pm

I second formation! :approve:
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ChopperDave
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Postby ChopperDave » Sat Sep 23, 2006 5:02 pm

OK. Here is the item menu. The bottom window has changed its contents. When scrolling through the item list, the central text and image will change to reflect the item the cursor is currently on. We don't need an image for every item -- we can use one for every item type (i.e. one for weapons, one for healing items, etc.).

The text on the left is displayed once the item is chosen and you're scrolling through the characters. That info shows how the item will affect your base stats. This is mostly for equipment, seeing as how most items won't affect stats. The number shows your current stat, not its value after the modifier is applied. So 106 (-2) means you currently have 106, and using the item will drop it by 2 to 104.

This type of design for the bottom menu will apply to the inventory, equipment, and skills menu. The original design applies to formation and status.

Enjoy. And feedback.



[img:851:656]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/chopperdave/item_screenshot.JPG[/img]
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Postby Roots » Sat Sep 23, 2006 6:17 pm

I like the layout. :approve: But I want to nit-pick and suggest a few things.


#1: Sub-menu options

I think that when the inventory option has been selected, the other options at top should disappear and be replaced with a new set of options specific to the menu. For example: "Use", "Sort", "Auto-Sort" etc. Maybe there could even be an "Auto Heal" option that heals all characters to max using the lowest grade potions available? :angel:


#2: Base stats affected

I don't think we'll have any items that can be used from the menu that directly affect base stats. That would essentially allow the player to "buff" their characters WoW-style before entering a boss battle, which is tedious and kind of dumb IMHO.

Of course we may still have those types of items that increase base stats, but I think those should only be able to be used in battle. So basically, I think that the base stats affected section should be replaced with information specific to exactly what the item does (for example, the health potion would only say HP: (+30)). :shrug:


#3 Item categorizations

Instead of having one huge list, I would like it if we could look at the items in differente categories. For example: "Healing Items", "Battle Items", "Weapons", "Armor", "Accessories", "Special", and an "All" category that lists everything in all categories. It just makes it easier to find what you're looking for that way. Maybe at the top of the window where the items are listed, you could have little button tabs so the user can press left/right to switch between categories, and the current category icon could be highlighted? :)




On a general note related to #1: Whenever we enter a menu option (e.g. "Equip") I think it would be nice if the following happened:

- all other menu options disappear
- the selected option quickly shifts to the left side of the window and can no longer be selected
- a list of sub-options appears for the selected option, if any

What do you guys think? :huh:



Also I like that you replace the lower window with information relevant to the current menu, instead of permanently leaving it with the location graphic and misc. information. You should do that for all options if you can :approve:
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Postby ChopperDave » Sat Sep 23, 2006 6:33 pm

#1. Yes. In fact, it already does that somewhat. Currently if you select inventory from the top menu, all of those options disappear and the Use, Sort, and Cancel options appear.

#2. The stat boosting items could be a rare occurrence. Like an item that increases your max HP by 10 or something. If you've ever played a Wild Arms game, you would find STR, VIT, etc. apples that boost those stats. But you only find so many in the game, and they cannot be bought. Items that boost stats temporarily can only be used in battle.

As for the 'Restores 30 Health' text, I'm just going to be grabbing the item's description and spitting that out. So whatever you guys set it to, that's what will show.

#3. I thought about doing that, but wasn't sure if we were going to have enough items in the game to warrant that. But a filtering ability is definitely useful. Especially when changing equipment -- if you want to change weapons, only weapons should be shown, and only those equippable by the current char.

If I do remove the stats on the left form the item display (since the description will probably cover stat effects), what should I put on the left instead? The sprite for the current char? The buy and sell values?

Thank for the feedback. Keep it coming.

EDIT: I'll redo the mockup to include the item filter menu and post that.
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Postby Jetryl » Sat Sep 23, 2006 10:26 pm

Random Peeve - IF, in any in-game situation, you have space, I would spell out the full name of the stat. Eg. Vitality, instead of VIT. Only if you have space; feel free to abbreviate it whenever necessary, but only do that if it is necessary.

And on a second note, it is better to have an overall mix of abbreviated and non-abbreviated terms - if you had just abbreviated ones, it's less easy to tell what they are (you either have to guess, or check a manual).


There are a few exceptions to this - these being HP, SP, and XP. These are universal enough that people can be expected to know what they are. (though by that logic, everyone is gonna think SP=spell point, but they'll figure out the different use of them pretty fast, even if they never get the name right).
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Postby ChopperDave » Sat Sep 23, 2006 11:50 pm

That's a valid point. However, the stats are fully spelled out on the stats screen, and given the fact that I used 3 letters from the stats name to represent it, figuring out which stat I'm talking about isn't that big of a leap.

You have strength, so the abbreviation is STR. Maybe it's because I've played a lot of RPGs, but an abbreviation like that is second nature to me. I know what stat it's talking about, even if I haven't looked at the stats screen.

But like you said, if we have the room, we probably should spell it out. We could use more opinions on this.
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Postby ChopperDave » Sat Sep 23, 2006 11:53 pm

Updated item menu screenshot. Need......more......feedback.

EDIT: Now that I think about it, I prefer the original layout. For one thing, knowing the buy/sell price doesn't help at all in the field. You can always check it at a shop.

Secondly, the stat modifiers are a good way to identify equipment that is better than your current set. I will admit though that the stat modifier idea doesn't help much with regular items, but then again the rest of the menu gives the name, category (via the image) and the items effect. That is plenty of information about the item. Not to mention it provides a consistent layout between both menus (players will know where to expect what information on the item).

Anyways, enough rambling. Awaiting feedback.

[img:846:652]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/chopperdave/item_screenshot2.JPG[/img]
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Postby Winter Knight » Fri Nov 30, 2007 2:19 am

I'm digging up this menu thread because I have a proposal for a minor design change in the menu.

Currently, when you first open up the inventory, and move the cursor across the top panel, between skills, items, status, etc, and you move the cursor onto Status, Claudius's status is displayed. If you move it onto Equip, Claudius's equipment is shown, but if you move it onto Skills, there is nothing displayed.

Clearly, this inconsistent behavior needs to be fixed. The simplest way would be to match the Skills to the rest, and have Claudius's info shown by default. I have a proposal for a better solution. Right now, each sub-menu (Skills, Equip, etc) displays the stats for the most recent character was activated in that menu. This means that Skills could show Laila's skills, and Status could show Claudius's status. I believe that this can be confusing.

I propose that the entire menu system keep track of one character. This character has the cursor pointing at them throughout the whole menu (perhaps a different color when it is not the cursor controlled by the keyboard). The character gets chosen much like now, first you choose Skills (or other), and then you choose the character. After you back out of the Skills menu, that character is still shown for the other stuff as you move the pointer across.

The main point is to not keep track of which character is being displayed in so many different places, once in Skills, once in Status, etc. I think it will be simpler, and both easier for us to program (in the long run), and easier for the gamer to understand.
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Postby ChopperDave » Fri Nov 30, 2007 3:53 am

What you proposed was something that was functional back in the day (i.e. almost a year ago when I was working on it). It would be nice to have that functionality back.

Also, when we open menu mode, it would be nice if when it defaulted to inventory it didn't default to having the first item selected, but instead remained at the top level so I can immediately press right and go to Skills without having to cancel back out of inventory. Right now, canceling like that is really tedious.
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Postby Roots » Fri Nov 30, 2007 4:11 am

Agree with CD. Agree with WK too, although I personally am hoping for some more major improvements in the menu system sometime down the road.
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Postby Winter Knight » Fri Nov 30, 2007 4:47 am

ChopperDave, that has been fixed in the latest svn. I forget who fixed it, but it was within the last few days.
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Postby rujasu » Fri Nov 30, 2007 4:51 am

Winter Knight wrote:Currently, when you first open up the inventory, and move the cursor across the top panel, between skills, items, status, etc, and you move the cursor onto Status, Claudius's status is displayed. If you move it onto Equip, Claudius's equipment is shown, but if you move it onto Skills, there is nothing displayed.

Clearly, this inconsistent behavior needs to be fixed. The simplest way would be to match the Skills to the rest, and have Claudius's info shown by default. I have a proposal for a better solution. Right now, each sub-menu (Skills, Equip, etc) displays the stats for the most recent character was activated in that menu. This means that Skills could show Laila's skills, and Status could show Claudius's status. I believe that this can be confusing.

I propose that the entire menu system keep track of one character. This character has the cursor pointing at them throughout the whole menu (perhaps a different color when it is not the cursor controlled by the keyboard). The character gets chosen much like now, first you choose Skills (or other), and then you choose the character. After you back out of the Skills menu, that character is still shown for the other stuff as you move the pointer across.

The main point is to not keep track of which character is being displayed in so many different places, once in Skills, once in Status, etc. I think it will be simpler, and both easier for us to program (in the long run), and easier for the gamer to understand.


What you proposed was something that was functional back in the day (i.e. almost a year ago when I was working on it). It would be nice to have that functionality back.


I'm a little confused as to how this was functional back in the day; we've only started allowing two characters in the past year. But anyway, I'll get to work on implementing this as I work on MenuMode this weekend.

Also, when we open menu mode, it would be nice if when it defaulted to inventory it didn't default to having the first item selected, but instead remained at the top level so I can immediately press right and go to Skills without having to cancel back out of inventory. Right now, canceling like that is really tedious.


That should already be fixed; could you double-check the most recent SVN?

EDIT: See Winter Knight's comment.

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