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Colony Ship update #31 - The interface

Discussion in 'Iron Tower Studio' started by Vault Dweller, Oct 12, 2018 at 5:58 PM.

  1. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    We’re implementing the interface right now so let me show what we have and get some feedback. Let’s start with the standard features:

    • Two weapon slots showing equipped weapons and selected attack’s stats (damage, AP, ammo)
    • An optional textbox giving you detailed blow-by-blow info during combat
    • A combat queue we used in Dungeon Rats to show who gets to act when
    • 4 belt bags so you can throw grenades or use items in combat without moving them to the weapon slots

    [​IMG]


    The combat interface is familiar, but instead of selecting attacks via a drop-down list, which was a bit messy and not very intuitive, you’ll use icons that appear when you click on a weapon slot:

    [​IMG]

    The icons are grouped in 3 different categories:

    • Basic attacks (fast, regular, power for melee; snap shot and regular shot for ranged; there are no power attacks with guns)
    • Aimed attacks (self-explanatory; you get an extra bullseye shot with ranged)
    • Special attacks (double shot, short burst, long burst, double strike, flurry (3 strikes), and swing (hits 3 tiles).
    Your feedback here would be much appreciated.

    Next is the dialogue window:

    [​IMG]
    ^ we don't have Mercy's portrait yet so we're using a placeholder portrait. As for the design:

    • The dialogue window won’t take the entire screen, as in AoD since it added nothing but extra work (the camera had to be manually positioned)
    • The checks will now display the skill or stat level required to avoid playing a guessing game; if there is no value listed (see the first response), the stat acts as a modifier (strengthening or weakening the reaction) not a check. Strength can be used as a modifier too if you’re trying to intimidate, for example, so it’s not Charisma only.
    • Since we’ve decided to show the check values, might as well show your skill levels so that you don’t have to rely on memory alone. Green means your skill level is equal to or higher than the check value. Yellow means it’s lower but you can still make an attempt. Red means no go (what used to be hidden options in AoD). Before you start freaking out, remember that the check system was changed and it’s no longer a binary ‘succeed or fail’ setup, so green lines won’t always be the best and yellow lines won’t always lead to failure and death, so we aren’t highlighting the best and worst options for you here.
    • The tags can be turned on and off in the options, so if you don’t like them, turn them off.
    Thoughts?
     
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  2. ERYFKRAD Barbarian Patron

    ERYFKRAD
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    Right now the lack of borders sticks out.
     
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  3. agris Arcane Patron

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    Vault Dweller

    Going in order:

    1. Where is the combat info window relative to the first and second images? Full screen-grabs of the entire UI encompassing the parts contained first and second image aren't necessary, but would help us visualize how this all looks together.

    That being said, what you've laid out looks good. What kind of feedback will we get about changes to AP cost and THC while hovering over the combat options shown in image two? Tooltips showing AP/THC/DMG malus/bonus could work, as could updating the values displayed on the weapon itself. The bottom left- and right-hand information on the weapon panel could update as you hover over different attack options with only the THC modification shown in a tooltip, for example.

    2. I like what you've laid out regarding tags and the dialogue system (especially hiding of the tags). One small consideration is how large swathes of text are presented. I use the IE games as a touch-point here, because I think they did a good job of ensuring that 99% of the time, all of your replies were visible after the NPCs dialogue lines. For longwinded NPCs, this meant including a "continue" button after one dialogue screen's worth of text was presented, so that the last snippet was delivered with all replies available. The Enhanced Editions changed this so that all NPC text was dumped to the dialogue window, and if it was too long, the PC's replies were only partially visible or visible only by scrolling down. This is a small detail, but made the text much less friendly to read IMO. If this is unclear and you care about it, let me know and I'll try to elaborate.

    And I'll go ahead and throw a codex-wrench into this entire thing: why did you go with this abstract minimalist UI rarther than skeuomorphic? Do you have any concept or early shots of a skeuomorphic version? Lastly, can you share a shot of the inventory and skills pages?
     
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  4. HeatEXTEND Arbiter

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    Concerning the dialogue,
    Looks fine though.

    On weapons, why not keep the attack choices up at all times (during combat obv), would it interfere with the view too much? Not a huge fan of pop-up options, for example the belt in PF:KM.
     
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  5. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

    Vault Dweller
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    Bottom left, same as in AoD/DR. I'll post a full screen when we finish tweaking the grenade slots.

    Full info so you won't have to guess. Not sure about updating the stats before you actually select an attack.

    Very clear, I know what you mean and I agree. We'll split longwinded speeches with a 'continue' but not as a button but as a reply, same as it works in AoD.

    That's up to Mazin as he's our artist. The character and inventory screens look a bit rough right now as we started working on them a few days ago, but I can post the mockups in case you missed them:

    Show Spoiler

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    Why did you decide to show the check values?
     
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  7. agris Arcane Patron

    agris
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    Ah, thank you. It's been too long since I finished AoD.

    For the combat abilities, how did you handle it in AoD/DR? Full info in tooltips?
     
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  8. Goral Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

    Goral
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    Go to http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/
    for more pictures and info.

    What? If anything these icons are not very intuitive, the groin shot looks very strange and awkward for example. And I don't see the point of having eye attack and head attack, both of these should be equally fatal (being blinded would result in game over, same for being KO-ed). Anyway, personally I would prefer the drop list or something like in Fallout (so icons should be labelled so that there would be no room for misinterpretation, or labels should be shown once you move the cursor on the icons / hover mouse cursor over them).

    [​IMG]

    You haven't read the whole thing have you? Vault Dweller has explained it very clear, i.e. to avoid guessing game / savescumming. Also, you will have the option to turn them off so I don't see the problem here.
     
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  9. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    Jesus. I am :retarded:.
     
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  10. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    Hiding them doesn't really add anything except uncertainty. We don't want the player to wonder if he can beat the check as that's hardly an example of good design. Instead we want you to wonder what the right strategy is, short- and long-term.

    Well, you know how these things work. In the end, it's all about balance, not realism. If headshots are fatal, then your chance to hit should be very, very low. If it's very, very low, neither the player nor the enemies would ever use it (or the player uses it, reloads, then complains that it takes 50 reloads to beat a fight). So instead we'll make the head harder to hit (than torso or legs), use the helmet's DR to balance it out, and increase both the chance to score a critical hit and the critical damage. The bullseye shot offers further trade off - you spend a lot more AP aiming but get much better bonuses on hit, bring us closer to that 'fatal' shot state.

    That's how it works. Additionally, you can use the number keys to switch between the attacks.
     
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  11. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    I like the idea of showing that there are unavailable options and then hiding what they are. It does run the risk of players feeling sad/cheated at unavailable options, but I think it's a great way of enticing replaying and revealing how to players who don't replay that the game has offered lots of paths through. Especially for reviewers.
     
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  12. Jedi Master Radek Arcane

    Jedi Master Radek
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    I guess. The problem is that this solution feels mechanical and forced. When you see such grayed out dialogue options you know what you have missed and how to get it. The game losses some of its mystery. Dialogues seems less organic. And there is a constant danger of click to win looming around, although a trust Vault Dweller to minimize this.

    Another problem is that showing unavailable option works only as a way to educate people on what replaybility the game offers rather than being a fun game. It's like game marketing inside the game.
     
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  13. Black Angel Savant

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    Yeah, thinking about it I think the unavailable options might as well be hidden completely, as in the options aren't even there in the dialogue box if the character didn't meet the requirements.

    Doing it this way (options unavailable, shown but hidden of what they really are) is like telling players that there are, for example, [Perception] check nearby but didn't tell them where it really is and what they really are. In any normal situation, the character wouldn't notice, and the game wouldn't even tell the players. Should make it the same with the dialogue.
     
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  14. MRY Prestigious Gentleman Wormwood Studios Developer

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    Legit concerns but I think they’re a bit overstated.

    First, you’re seeing only the first step on a path, not it’s destination. You’re not aware what that step even is, only that one exists, let some why follow-on options and cascading effects there will be.

    Second, while I agree the green text might have a psychological sway, the principle that lower upside options are more likely to succeed doesn’t seem to be a hard one to grasp. I have a little worry that the problem might actually reverse and people will think the tougher the option the better, which shouldn’t necessarily be true either.

    I do think it’s an interesting proposal to tie the risk assessment to a social skip or perception stat but that might, as noted, encourage metagaming.
     
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  15. Vault Dweller Commissar, Red Star Studio Developer

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    Well, the way our games are designed, people would feel cheated all the time anyway (gated content was probably third most popular complaint), so showing hidden checks is hardly a deal breaker.

    In a sense, it is. Today players quickly assume the worst (if they don't see an option, it doesn't exist) and I've spent a lot of time pointing out that an option they've missed or didn't see was actually there.
     
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  16. Parabalus Arcane

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    Any chance of hotkeys for the full set of attacks?

    In AoD/DR you only have
    out of 5+ options. Extremely annoying having to click them when #4-0 remain unused, will be even worse since there are even more attack options now.
    Something like alt-#, ctrl-#, shift-# for basic, aimed, special could work, likely smarter options available.
     
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  17. Elhoim Iron Tower Studio Developer

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    1-2-3, one for each group. Pressing the same key cycles trough them.
     
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  18. Goral Arcane Patron The Real Fanboy

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    So to aim for the leg I'll have to press 1-2-3-1? Or 1-1? Or what? Either way, why not go with what Parabalus suggested?
     
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  19. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Why not get rid of the colours, and instead have a little slot on the side of the dialogue window showing your relevant statistics (kind of like what TTON did for its whatever those magic points were called)?

    There is no way the colours are not going to be confusing - it really signals to players that the green ones are the right ones to go. If you simply show the required perception, and the player's own perception, then they can make their own decisions.

    The less glowing shiny things there are, the more the player is encouraged to actually read the dialogue choice and think about the conversation, instead of instantly pressing the green thing.

    Vault Dweller
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2018 at 3:28 AM
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  20. Parabalus Arcane

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    Guessing just 2, going by the screenshot. Aim: eyes would be 2-2-2-2-2, assuming it resets to the first one every time you use an attack from another group (probably shouldn't).

    Doesn't sound that bad honestly.
     
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  21. Black Angel Savant

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    Honestly, this. Especially the bold, because it goes in line with ITS's proposed system described in Update #31: Dialogue Checks
     
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  22. Commissar Draco KKKodex WCDS Commissar Patron

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    Weapons look good for tiers 2-3 decent condition but still handmade stuff I like style of portraits but UI looks too clean and minimalist; any chance to style it Fallouts like? (original ones not Beth abominations) so far it all looks too excel graphs like. Colored dialogues is good but should be put only in your main char is fag or wombyn took empathy perk Comrade VD.
     
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  23. Haba Harbinger of Decline Patron

    Haba
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    Codex 2012 MCA Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2
    A minor thing, but I'd prefer if the actual choices were aligned with each other rather than with the tags.

    Like dis:

    [​IMG]

    Makes it much more readable for me.

    Give stats/skills an icon and represent it with it rather than the text, if space is an issue.
     
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  24. Jimmious Arcane

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    Not sure about the aiming system. I think I prefer to select "Aimed Shot" and then choose the specific location on the enemy (or in a paperdoll a la Fallout).
    The main reason for this (that I can think of right now), is that with the current system I can't see the different percentages on each body part on one screen. I would have to choose each one separately and check them out.
    Sounds like a minor thing but I believe it is important.

    I like the dialog screen btw
     
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