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eRe4s3r
06-17-2012, 10:04 PM
First of all this is rather a collection of things from a discussion over here and some other stuff
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,10939.0.html

If you know me from there, you know you can expect some deeper points on GUI in this topic ;p

Now not going to write too much, just some points. This is not going to be about what I like, because it's a lot. It is about what I think needs some do-over for this to become a great game, as such, it is my personal opinion. It is going to be linked from that topic above as well.

- The game needs quest direction indicators as a RING direction indicator on the minimap (at the very least) because space can be huge, and objectives move. The game is already way too fast paced to "search" randomly for kill missions. Of 12 kill missions I did not reach a single one before it ran into a planet or got killed by something else. (Probably it's me sucking)

- The game also needs a "set quest goal as waypoint" and "set waypoint here" function in the system map, display the way point there, and display quest coals there.

- The minimap needs to be.. better, show more, and be slightly larger.
# Directional outer-ring indicators for quest objectives (Golden) and Waypoints (blue)
# Different zoom levels

- The GUI (and oh boy, this is gonna be a huge point) has peculiar design choices everywhere
# The font is peculiar
# the color choices are particularly peculiar
# The GUI is extremely uninformative on first glance, I also don't like when GUI elements hide information that is vital from you (with my lazy mockup next to it attached the worst offending piece of GUI) I am not a huge fan of splitting armor and hull apart in GUI display of health, . Because it's health. So 50% health would mean all armor is destroyed. These bars are also not random, there are 20 bars for the ability to display 5% increases or decreases, for health 10 bars double as armor display when armor is installed.. Notice that in my mockup you can instantly see you are at full health and bars no longer clip over when they are above a value in relation to other bars. And further note, less strong colors, because the last thing you want in a GUI is R Y B at literally 100% saturation.
http://imgur.com/qplSn.jpg

And also.. one never ever uses the FULL saturation values of colors in a GUI, NEVER, EVER. Open up the mockup in photoshop if you want to see what color values look pleasing, and for all I care, reuse the bars although they are the laziest possible bar design (I am not exactly going to put any large effort in mockups). All my mockups are free to abuse, discuss rip apart and modify. In fact, my mock-up is not to be used as-is but rather as an "this is how it could look"...

- Maybe turn rate should also be a stat on engines?

- More interactions between items? these are not armor pieces that exist without connections, what is connected to what, and what is in a slot next to what or below or above what could matter... maybe?

- When I select very slow game pace, I do not want that the game has major events every 5 seconds. Maybe the pacing still needs some adapting

- Because this is an indy game I am not gonna bash the Intro movie. Though it might be advisable that when Drox gets on Steam not to play it at the start then.

- I actually like the explosion and weapon effects, kudos for those

- the fog of war and the border of the system need to be displayed properly in the actual game window. Having to explore by looking all the time on the minimap to see where to go is suboptimal.

- Zoom should probably not be locked on that distance.

Well that's all. Flame, enjoy and comment

Castruccio
06-19-2012, 02:17 PM
Hey eRe4s3r, it doesn't look like the picture in your post is working. Can you post a link to the picture?

Tiarilir
06-19-2012, 03:01 PM
Hey eRe4s3r, it doesn't look like the picture in your post is working. Can you post a link to the picture?

http://www.imgur.com/qplSn

fixt it!
I like this layout alot, tbh

( Tchey )
06-19-2012, 03:23 PM
I like it too.

I am not a huge fan of splitting armor and hull apart in GUI display of health, . Because it's health.

It's quite different. You can stay forever with the first ship, at 0 Command. You will have a very low Structure. With Plating, you will be able to have a very strong Armor, and you can add Shield too, or even only Shield.

So maybe only one bar is enough, but at least, i feel i need two colors like in your layout green/grey.

Or maybe, change how the armor works, and make it like in many other games, negate the damage taken by a % or something similar.

pnakotus
06-19-2012, 05:45 PM
GUI improvements are critical. I might make a similar 'mock up' for the inventory later, but the colours won't be as improved as in this example.

A little change in a UI goes a long way to reducing barriers to entry and improving usability.

DeathKnight1728
06-19-2012, 07:27 PM
Ive had little success with long range missiles now that missiles were totally nerfed. It sucks cause they were my favorite weapons. Has anyone else had any success with missiles or are lasers the only thing to use now. Im finding it hard to play altogether.

eRe4s3r
06-19-2012, 08:23 PM
I fixed the image ;) But as Steven likely read what followed this topic in that original topic I have little more to add (for now) ;)

Well, except of course that at the first linked topic we kinda arrived on the conclusion that exploration currently feels like mowing a lawn with a blindfold. When you explore you do it nearly entirely based on the minimap which is not a bad thing per sť (heck, Diablo 3 certainly does that as well..). But the minimap is very small and its view-range is equally so.

Secondly, to combat that feeling there could be first, the system implemented that planets we ought to fly to in a quest get a marker (not explored, but a directional marker) and so do jump portals and warp points. The reason that is vital is that in Drox the sectors are large (even the smallest) and we have no comparable system like the dungeon level. (Dungeons were sort of linear so exploring them was easy) but space is not linear ;)

- As for missiles and ram drivers, they are too expensive to use at the beginning indeed, think that nerf was a bit too much particularly at the earlier levels (where you have essentially just the choice between ECM and Laser).

keith.lamothe
06-19-2012, 08:26 PM
Ive had little success with long range missiles now that missiles were totally nerfed. It sucks cause they were my favorite weapons. Has anyone else had any success with missiles or are lasers the only thing to use now. Im finding it hard to play altogether.

I was running all-missiles too, but I'd already readjusted to a beam-missile mix because I'd run into the monsters that can reflect missiles back at you (that really hurts). Now I tend to use my beam more than my missile but it's still valuable for targets I want to kill in one shot or nearly so (to avoid the healer monsters undoing my work between shots), and for longer-range kiting when I'm not comfortable getting into beam range.

Shadow
06-20-2012, 12:36 PM
The next build will lessen energy use for all weapons.

keith.lamothe
06-20-2012, 12:58 PM
The next build will lessen energy use for all weapons.

I knew putting all my crew points into Whining would help! ;)

eRe4s3r
06-20-2012, 01:31 PM
So to finally get my 3rd post ;p It's time for some more GUI Mockups.. first of all, if you want Info on how this design was reached, please read this here. I also rethought the entire Idea of a GUI in Drox from the ground up.

http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,10939.msg108110.html#msg108110

So in line with that Bluddy did in Din the obvious first thing to do was get that top left rainbow bar of doom away. For that, Information has to be reformated, so to speak. And remember, this is not a mod, this is a mockup (a drawn concept) so as to inspire some changes in the current GUI or maybe modders, I will post the psd link to v3 and the most up to date one once I finish that ,p And modders and whoever can use it as you want. No restrictions apply.

First step was this
http://i.imgur.com/2QA3S.jpg
Font sizes are
10pt for the Shield/HP/AP/Power on bold Tahoma
8pt Tajan Pro for the 100%

This mockups PSD with intact layers you can download here http://filesmelt.com/dl/Drox_Mockup_2.psd

And because I felt like it, I expanded to show how the GUI could look with skill bars, proper formating and credits/XP (but I admit, I haven't really decided what to do with the Icons to the various screens that are left, likely not fitting anywhere in the bottom ,p)

You can also Download the PSD: http://filesmelt.com/dl/Drox_Mockup_3.psd which is 1 version before the one below. (Internally i am at v4 which is what the image below is at, but there are some issues still left to fix notable my layering is all messed up now)

Anyhow the current most up-to-date mockup is this

http://i.imgur.com/3Mdfg.jpg
The idea is that the % are toggle able (so toggling % display removes that box with % entirely)
Mouse over shows actual stats.
No bars without descriptor and value display
segmented XP bar (10 chevrons) = 10% increases, with fade in = 2.5% increases)
segmented bars for everything else (20 slots for Energy and Shields, 10 for AP and HP (Armor points, Health Points)

Also changed the names of things because Structure does not fit into the GUI, eh.. the word simply does not fit in a GUI with that much Information at all.

So what ye think? Good or bad idea? Any chance of the GUI being made.. nicer?

Moonshine Fox
06-27-2012, 03:54 PM
I love those GUI mockups. It would be great to have a general UI overhaul, but speaking from experience, coding GUIs suck pretty badly.

eRe4s3r
06-28-2012, 07:56 AM
Yeah most developers learn quickly to code their own GUI framework because the good ones are expensive ,p

Anyhows... here is the final mockup
http://i.imgur.com/wzpvx.jpg

It is missing the 9 icons though and the minimap, The icons would need more skillful replacement, probably to the top somewhere and made smaller. And the minimap is imo better done as a full screen overlay like in Diablo 2

and here is the free PSD to download
http://filesmelt.com/dl/Drox_Mockup_4.psd

You can reuse rip apart and change, sell or whatever it. Just remember the fonts are not part of the mockup, but an artistic choice ;) And the GUI in the PSD needs some changes as to how it blends out at the edges. Anyhow, latest changes already go in the right direction :)

nr1fan
06-28-2012, 08:01 AM
Those are some pretty GUI mockups. I don't like how the energy degenerates from left to right though, caught my eye immediately. I would prefer right to left.

Also a bigger minimap that shows the whole star system would be nice, so I wouldn't have to tap the 'M' key every 5 sec when traveling to a specific planet.

nr1fan
06-28-2012, 08:05 AM
Or maybe you could put something between the shields and energy bars, so when you are low on shields and energy there wouldn't be that dark misinforming gap.;)

Von Paulus
06-28-2012, 10:40 AM
I like your mockups. The font is also much more appropriate to the genre.
Thanks.

Bluddy
06-28-2012, 01:42 PM
Rather than having the HP and armor in separate corners, I'd have them grow in the same direction. So you'd have part of the bar in HP color and part in armor color, and they would both add up to the full bar.

eRe4s3r
06-28-2012, 02:33 PM
Rather than having the HP and armor in separate corners, I'd have them grow in the same direction. So you'd have part of the bar in HP color and part in armor color, and they would both add up to the full bar.

I tried that ;) Short of having much much higher and wider bars it would be impossible to "read" in a hurry and there'd be no easy and nice symmetric looking placement of % values. You can try yourself too, the psd with intact layers is there after all. I guess if you would make the entire lower HUD larger as a whole it might work, but part of my mockup is really to make it as small as possible in height, because screen height is more limited than width ,p

Then again, this is mainly guided by aesthetics so there are other ways to display HP and AP, but I found it looks prettier when all bars are full in the middle. These bars are also ranked by priority, power and shields are vital stats where granularity counts, HP and AP.. well if those bars move at all you should be running ^^

Those are some pretty GUI mockups. I don't like how the energy degenerates from left to right though, caught my eye immediately. I would prefer right to left.

Perfect symmetry is above preferences to me ;p But you have a point, that is something that would need to be decided when it is implemented, but for the mockup, bars meeting in the middle is vital for the quick overview, if the bars all would fill in 1 direction it'd look pretty weird, and not work as a center-hud element (would have to align it to the relevant edge then). But You have a point that the center meeting point should maybe become solid (like the XP bar element) so that you can tell where the gap is. That is actually a very good point.

Actually, maybe It would even be worth a thought to move the "upper" bars more to the left and right, and create a larger center gap. It's true the center is a bit too confusing.

Waffles
06-28-2012, 02:54 PM
Very cool mockup! I was thinking that Drox needed a font change already, but that HUD is pretty spiffy!

I'm not crazy about the abbreviations of "Structure" to HP and "Armor" to AP: Coming from a fantasy genre this is ambiguous (AP being equivalent to MP). Could "Struct" and "Armor" fit?

The armor bar/ap wording blends in too much with the hud; perhaps a lighter grey would be in order?

Normally I hate fullscreen overlays for minimaps (i thought it was abysmal in diablo 2) but in a space game I could definitely see it working ... the minimap doesn't show nearly enough as is.

eRe4s3r
06-28-2012, 03:25 PM
Struct
Structure
Armor
Health
Power

(you can see how long each word is)
Could work, I guess greys could become lighter for Armor then too, but the whole idea would push the bars kinda more outside and fill more screen with the hud element.. not really a bad thing, just would look different. And Struct would not be very informative either, compared to Health... but it may be worth to test how it looks

Currently its HP and AP so that everything (left and right) of the bars actually fits into the 600px max width limit I set myself. This is also why the bars are only "half" of the ones above them.

This kind of feedback is why I posted this by the way ,) If someone feels like it and has photoshop, feel free to mock up the idea ,p I am kinda busy currently but eventually I will try something with the feedback

Here is my Interpretation... of the feedback so far..

http://i.imgur.com/acxHV.jpg

Here is the PSD
http://filesmelt.com/dl/Drox_Mockup_5_-_Blacked.psd

Cheet4h
06-28-2012, 07:21 PM
Would the icons for map, quests etc. fit under the struct and armor bars, if they were smaller?

eRe4s3r
06-28-2012, 08:26 PM
Cargospace and Credits could move to the right to make place for these icons in between. In a separate (fitting) HUD element Although it'd create non-symmetry, it would allow all icons to placed there. And to the left would still be enough space for a chat window too. Generally, hud should not go in height if it can go in width ,)

But as I didn't do those icons, I am speculating, I didn't do them by the way, because there was no easy way to adapt them to this style. :) Just like the chat-bar for which I am not sure how to handle it. I think it could fit easily in a 1024 wide resolution between XP and Shield or left of the whole XP bar, but it would be a very tight fit.

Well, I never said GUI's are easy ;p This mockup taught me many things about what doesn't work too. Making the XP bar part of the main element was probably a bad idea after all.

Moonshine Fox
09-06-2012, 01:24 PM
I'm gonna be a bad boy and bump this. It's that awesome.

eRe4s3r
09-06-2012, 02:13 PM
Some things at least have been incorporated into the game already ,) But hey, you just caused me to get an email alert for a post I had already forgotten about ;P

Moonshine Fox
09-06-2012, 02:30 PM
Some things at least have been incorporated into the game already ,)Not enough, imo ;)

But hey, you just caused me to get an email alert for a post I had already forgotten about ;P*dramatic sigh* Internet generation.

Crisses
09-06-2012, 03:06 PM
2-cents, for what it matters, from a designer:

Grey armor bar: Nothing for the eye to catch on. Armor is actually pretty vital -- and when it's gone you're in for a world of crew dying and components crapping out on you....and probably death (once your ship is crawling, defenseless & has no weapons left...because you rely on your crew to stay on top of the latest tech items). I'm surprised no one with a Hardcore ship raised a fuss.... Try a lilac color, or some non-conflicting color that your eye can find on the panel quickly.

As a matter of fact, the order of damage is Shield - then armor - then structure.... so there's no hierarchy of importance on your heads-up...once your shields are done in you next need to see how your armor is doing -- which is a zigzag on your set-up... Once shields are gone then damage goes to armor -- shouldn't armor then be on the left under Shield? that still doesn't make much sense though... I'm trying to picture this during play--- the defenses are a trifecta, not a 2x2.... it's 3 types of defense, 1 type of energy (actually there are 2 types of energy, but Max Load is hidden away). No matter what, it's best if they all run out in the same direction and there's only 1 place to focus your eyes for that split second.

So speaking of focus -- or lack thereof -- the heads-up design & coloration doesn't look like it would lend itself to peripheral vision. I'm not sure how it would work for those with color issues, too (which is a problem with the current GUI, as I understand it). So, does all that color fade to grey? To help with peripheral vision, I'd grey out the titles of each type on the heads-up when they're depleted. i.e. if you have no shields, the word "shields" should be grayed out. Or the names shouldn't be colored in the first place. Then I can tell from the corner of my eyes whether there's color up there or not. Also: Do the bars need to be based on BOTH placement and color? They could be bright/white & 100 & at -10% steps on the alpha channel as they deplete or something?

If the 1-0 slots are in the overhead, they're a peripheral vision distraction from being able to tell when vital stats are low. I think what should happen is that the keyslots/cargo/icons for info screens etc. should be on a retractable tab on the bottom of the screen. There can be a keypress to expand/contract them and a tab to click to expand/contract them. Get them out of the top of the GUI altogether -- leave that area for vitals. But it would be nice if they come up automatically when I'm in my inventory & remember to go away if I had them retracted.

XP - should be a bar across the top. I don't like the eyeballs -- sorry. :) I like the current bar and how it gets glow-y when you're close to making a level.... That type of treatment (in reverse) might work for health bars too -- glowy when they get below 25% or something....turn the titles red when they're out. (Sorry to the colorblind folk!)

Don't say Cargospace -- just say "Cargo".

As for words, space might be a problem in other languages. The gui shouldn't rely on English concepts/words.

DarkTraveler
09-06-2012, 03:27 PM
Personally, I don't mind the current GUI because info displays are small and out of the way. I like being able to see as much as I can. I think the current GUI does good enough in that department.

Having said that, though, I'm not it's biggest fan, either. It's really just the Din's Curse GUI with a sci-fi paint job. Sure wouldn't hurt to do things differently. Just so long as we follow the first rule.. keeping info displays (shield, armor, etc) well out of the way. I prefer efficiency to eye candy.

eRe4s3r
09-06-2012, 03:28 PM
Good points are there... ;)

Though, Shield / Energy is grouped because it's power related and because Energy and Shield are the most important stats, if your armor takes damage it's time to run.

If you have no energy, or no shields, it is usually your certain death unless you run, hence why these 2 things are the top info priority. Can you shoot, and can you fight without having repair cost penalty.

As for your other points relating to colors, well, mock it up yourself and see how it flows? I found that same color bars or same color text next to them looks horrible. And as I am partially red/green blind (50%) I can assure you that I have no color issues with it. How it would flow in the game however.. is one for the trial and error phase. If you can predict that about GUI's before implementing them for real you have a better sense than I have. ;) That said, I would love some more mock-ups because if you describe it I still just can see what I want to see I DID post the PSD file after all....

If cargospace is truncated the cargo tab would look very jumbled and not link up nicely with the money tab and Frachtraum would not fit (German translation)

As for translation well.. good luck ;) There is no real translation for "Structure" to German that would make any sense to what it is supposedly meaning here. So if a translation is planned, the GUI would have to be redesigned for that specifically. :D

And as there never was a translation planned as far as I know.. I did not take it into account ^^

Moonshine Fox
09-06-2012, 07:16 PM
if your armor takes damage it's time to run. Unless you're playing shieldless with only armor (yes, I've done that to save on powergrid)

Moonshine Fox
09-06-2012, 07:17 PM
Also, "Structure" could simply be "Hull". It's pretty much the same thing.

eRe4s3r
09-06-2012, 07:20 PM
yeah i have a strong aversion to taking "costly" damage of any kind which I guess flows into my ideas.. I go for strong shields usually