Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Underworld Sequel

Discussion in 'Codex Workshop' started by Charles-cgr, Sep 16, 2012.

  1. Charles-cgrgender: ⚧ OlderBytes Developer

    Charles-cgr
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    I've said numerous times that the sequel was pretty well under way, which is true. Now that UW is finally ready and about to be placed on some sorts of shelves I thought I'd start putting the sequel work to the test of Codexian flames.

    I cast Leather Skin, so fire away ;)

    This is the GUI. Note that my current stance is to make the sequel quite similar. The main improvements I'm planning are new classes, many new spells and items, crafting, an open world (light and dense forests, cold and warm mountains, desert, sea, swamp glacier, dungeons, towns and capitals...), factions and more elaborate traps. That's off the top of my head, I may be forgetting one or two.

    [​IMG]

    This is really just a quick sample. I tossed light forests in the middle of the Highnest Arena and just noticed I haden't replaced the directional pad at the bottom right.

    I haven't announced the title yet. Wanna try to guess? :)
     
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  2. Make America Great Again Humanity has risen!gender: ⚧ Arcane Patron Repressed Homosexual

    Humanity has risen!
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    So it is going to be your take on MM1 from what I can see?

    I'm not sure I will replay Underworld, however I cannot wait for this.
     
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  3. Charles-cgrgender: ⚧ OlderBytes Developer

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    I guess you can see it that way: MM1 or 2. The previous was lacking a full overworld in that sense. I hope to be able to build a bit more than that though, with the crafting and factions.

    It's going to take a while though :)
     
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  4. Zedgender: ⚧ wahoo

    Zed
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    The buttons on the right side would look a lot better with another color and a bitmap font.
    Something like this: http://dribbble.com/shots/538223-Stone-Button
    White on orange is not so hot.
    So yeah, buttons would be my priority, GUI-wise. Rest looks good to me.
     
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  5. Excommunicatorgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    You need to rebalance the colours of that GUI Charles


    [​IMG]



    Wouldn't want it to be accused of looking like Wasteland 2 would you?
     
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  6. eric__sgender: ⚧ ass lover Developer

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    This is very cool. It's good that you're jumping immediately into your next project and building on code and assets you've already got. The graphics you're using are very nice and it made me roll my eyes when I saw all those people on Greenlight talking about how they weren't good. It's not the graphics that are your problem, it's the interface. The interface, although very efficient, isn't presented so well and can definitely be improved on. I hope you don't mind but I've got a few presentation suggestions that I think could significantly increase your sales.

    First, orange and white aren't very complementary colors. Bright orange is always jarring and together with white can be difficult to read, especially for visually impaired players. The orange wooden background (is it your dining room floor?) is also pretty tacky, but it's part of a bigger problem that I'll get to later. Basically, though, bright orange is not a good color to build an interface around.

    The biggest problem with the interface is use of space. Good interfaces maximize the gameplay window, minimize the amount of unused and background space and present a lot of information. You have a lot of unused space that could be used for either making the gameplay window much bigger or putting more relevant info on the screen - preferably both. The wooden background definitely needs to go - it's not doing anything and it's tacky. By reducing the amount of unused space between each button and name, you can move everything from that side bar on the right to the bar on the bottom and widen the gameplay screen.

    [​IMG]

    Sorry, this mockup is extremely ugly but it's the layout you should look at more than the aesthetic. And pretend it's a different color. There are a million better and more attractive ways to do this, but I wanted to do it with elements that were already on the screen to show that you can do it without actually creating anything new.

    Like I said before, the graphics are actually very good and you want to get as much of them on the screen as possible. They're ugly in the shot because I made this in Paint, but you could probably scale them to fit the entire width of the screen with minimal quality loss. Replace the arrows on the bottom right with the mini-map. I can't tell if it's supposed to be a compass or those directional arrow pads that dungeon crawlers used to have, but it's made redundant by the party's directional facing on the mini-map.

    There's enough space for you to stack all six of the character names on top of each other. I made two bars - they could represent whatever values you want. There's enough space for you to put other info in as well. I put class, level and a little symbol to show a character is ready to level up as an example, but whatever info you think is most important would probably fit too. There are also two poorly-made symbols on the left to indicate status effects.

    If you move the character info to the left, there's enough space for you to fit all the menu buttons on the bottom bar too. You could reduce their size even further by making them icons instead of text, allowing you to put more buttons, information, features or interesting visual effects on the HUD.

    So like I said, that picture is really ugly and there are much better ways to do it, but just by rearranging things that are already there you can greatly improve the presentation. I seriously think you should consider this - the people on Greenlight are wrong about the graphics but not the interface.

    There's also something I wanted to ask you. One of the pictures on your Twitter account shows glossy, professional PR stuff. What was the process you went through to get this? Was this a Kinko's job or did you hire professionals to make these? If so, who? They're really good.
     
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  7. Charles-cgrgender: ⚧ OlderBytes Developer

    Charles-cgr
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    @cboyarde Those are really interesting ideas. I have to consider them in light of other constraints though. For one I'd really like to keep the characters "in formation", meaning three rows of two. Then again the combat screen being different maybe it isn't entirely necessary. Also I find it hard to tear away from the reduced window and outdated panel. To me it is an integral part of what made the MMs and BTs and Wizardrys what they were. I did think of trying the full screen window with minimal gui elements on top but never got around to it. I'll get on that to really have a comparison.

    As for the PR stuff, it's the same artist that did the layout using existing game assets, and background. I had it printed locally and am sending them out now. I'm having a tough time finding postal addresses though.

    Edit - Thanks a lot for putting all that time in that mockup btw :)

    Excommunicator Part of the reason I submitted for feedback is the current brightness made me feel a bit uncomfortable. reactions to the wood panel and buttons kind of confirm it might be worth a reroll. You're not serious about the purple though right? :)

    Zed Yes, the buttons at least need to be reconsidered.

    Thanks everyone - I'll post a different take at this soon. Or perhaps even a few options...
     
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  8. Excommunicatorgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    I have nothing against the wooden background other than the colour as long as it gets more detail so that it doesn't just look like a texture applied to the border. Buttons need to be fixed, space should be optimised, but most importantly the colours

    I took the red out of the image and the purple was left. I wasn't suggesting you use it, but there's nothing wrong with purple. You've heard of Tyrian Purple haven't you?
     
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  9. SuicideBunnygender: ⚧ (ノ ゜Д゜)ノ ︵ ┻━┻

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    Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Torment: Tides of Numenera
    it would be enough if you reduced the amount of filler wood/brown texture by making the viewport frame thinner and aligning the buttons and party members better or making them even a bit bigger.
    at the moment it looks like you are wasting a lot of screen space on filler brown/wood for no reason while only presenting the barest minimum of information and having panels that are strewn around chaotically without any of them aligning properly (even the party list is a few pixels off to the right of the viewport center)... do you have out of combat spells? if yes, why not have a cast button? spells with a field effect and duration? if yes, why not have some sort of spell effect indicator in the vein of mm's animated gargoyles. how about some more and more accurate information about the party members, like numeric hp and whatever resource your magic uses, maybe even indicators for different statuses like poisoned, cursed if you have those at all, maybe party or individual gold counters right on the viewport. possibly make the character buttons two lines high instead of one and get rid of the bottom shield with swords as a) it looks like a tramp stamp with those stylized flames and b) you already have a heraldic shield with swords on the top and repetition like that just looks weird.

    also, the party window is a few pixels too far to the right and off viewport center, giving it that annoying slightly off picture feeling.
     
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  10. Charles-cgrgender: ⚧ OlderBytes Developer

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    I whipped up a more modern take for the sake of comparison, debate, and painful decision making to come.

    [​IMG]

    Floatting buttons would be in the bottom left and right boxes. The top right is the automap if activated. And in the middle, the same as before although I could add more info and status icons as well (those were only indicated by text in the character panels in UW.

    Another option is all buttons in one of the boxes and the automap cramed in the other one. It would have to be quite small though, perhaps too difficult to read.

    It does have it's charm, or perhaps it's just her smile.

    SuicideBunny currently spells are accessible from the character panel only. There could also be a cast button here, which would then require choosing the caster. Hey that DOES look like a tramp stamp... All the more reason to keep it :)

    Excommunicator No I hadn't heard of Tyrian Purple. Looks like I'll go to sleep a tad less dumb tonight. Isn't that a Game of Thrones house? Oh the cultural references...
     
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  11. Excommunicatorgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    I can see you are pretty attached to some of your art like that emblem but if it isn't functional then you can't justify it being that big in the interface. Consider making it either much smaller or putting the buttons on top of it so that it becomes a kind of border to the buttons.

    Don't let anything go without heavy scrutiny Charles. You'll never be in a better position to rethink each element for improvements than at the beginning of the sequel. Be brutal with your child :salute:
     
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  12. Charles-cgrgender: ⚧ OlderBytes Developer

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    I like my tramp stamp damit! But... I do need that space. 3x2 rows with portraits could work there. And I am not reconsidering the 3x2 rows. The tactical implications of that formation are quite important.

    Maybe have the stamp float at the top of the world view now that there isn't anything there...
     
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  13. Zedgender: ⚧ wahoo

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    Something I love about the old-school interfaces is the characters and detail in the frames. statues and gargoyles and shit. I mean you don't need a huge viewpoint, just enough to see where the hell you're going. It's not skyrim.

    This is how I would do it.

    hitlerdidnothingwrong.jpg

    To me, that interface configuration makes the most sense, too

    * party actions separated somewhat from system buttons. non-gameplay buttons tucked away in a corner
    * mouse arrows directly under map
    * party view and game view taking up a left-side "analysis" portion of the gui.
    * actions and combat text on game view (since it's so big anyway)
     
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  14. Charles-cgrgender: ⚧ OlderBytes Developer

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    Decisions decisions. I just decided that I'm not going to decide today :)
     
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  15. felipepepegender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    I like cboyardee sugestion a lot, if the formation is a issue you can justa some sort of line setting the front/back row apart, or just alingn the name bars more to the left...

    That would even allow more freedom in gameplay, since you could have any formation you like, not just 3/3. ;)

    Also, I didn't play Underworld yet, do you have any reason for the map to show while in combat?
     
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  16. Zedgender: ⚧ wahoo

    Zed
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    You could just let arrows or something on the character buttons indicate combat positioning. Or icons, if you wanna be fancy about it.

    ^ front-line fighter
    - in between
    v back row.
     
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  17. Charles-cgrgender: ⚧ OlderBytes Developer

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    felipepepe Zed in Underworld combat takes place in an entirely different screen, which of course doesn't have the automap. Here it could be different. The list of monsters could appear on the left and the automap just disappear and combat wouldn't need a different GUI.
    I do like it that they are layed out in formation. It would be a lot less accessible if they were portrayed in line with icons representing order, especially if there are status icons on top of that. Separators would work but would still be a lot less intuitive.

    Thanks for the suggestions! I'll get there. It needs to gestate a bit.
     
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  18. eric__sgender: ⚧ ass lover Developer

    eric__s
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    I don't think you need to reconsider the way 3x2 rows work mechanically, only how they're visually represented. If you stack them one on top of each other, you can color code them to indicate row.

    I like Zed's suggestion, definitely think about it if you want to modernize your layout while maintaining an old-school feel. Look at games that have done it well as examples - Realms of Arkania (minus the game's title on the top - that's stupid), Might and Magic 7, Ultima Underworld 2.

    The new mockup looks very good. If you're adamant about keeping the shield and wing emblem, you could probably make it a button (maybe it toggles the automap?) The current position of the automap is pretty obtrusive. I'd try to fit it down in the bottom bar and if that's impossible, make it toggleable and transparent.
     
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  19. Charles-cgrgender: ⚧ OlderBytes Developer

    Charles-cgr
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    Something else I'm considering:

    [​IMG]

    The box at the bottom would be for game texts only and stay empty otherwise. This kind of bothers me a bit - actually it could tell something like a level of danger, a description of the area, party status or morale, etc). The bottom right box would carry the icons for all game options. That 32 next to Gael would be for spell components when applicable. I could actually fit several different values from top to bottom.

    cboyardee Actuall this screen is probably closest to your examples while maintaining the party configuration...
     
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  20. felipepepegender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    Random idea, how about a Wizardry-like approach?

    [​IMG]

    But I think you should first settle down the gameplay, then design the UI around it.
     
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  21. Charles-cgrgender: ⚧ OlderBytes Developer

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    felipepepe The main flaw with that design is all the mouse panning to select characters, especially with a large window.

    Gameplay-wise I was set on pretty much reproducing the previous game's gameplay and pondering the UI is what is bringing ideas for modifications to consider :)
     
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  22. Excommunicatorgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Keeping all the characters together for ease of mouse use is a good idea but you should certainly go for some kind of portrait or image rather than just the name. It's a lot more satisfying to look at.

    I quite like the last one you've created Charles, only you could probably do a lot better minimising the gaps in the interface and making room for other useful information. No doubt there's plenty more that the player would want to have displayed

    If you love the emblem so much then why not go for something like this to make it functional?

    [​IMG]
     
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  23. Charles-cgrgender: ⚧ OlderBytes Developer

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    Woah! Some new combat options I hadn't thought of :)

    Actually combat happens in a different screen. At least that's how it is now. There could be a way to make it functional but I'd say the options are better off close to the character icons. It could have some kind of party effect.

    I do believe the interface needs some breathing space though. Cramming stuff everywhere could end up having an overkill effect.
     
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  24. felipepepegender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    I'll have to wait until thursday to play S&S:U, then I'll have a better idea of what you did and what you're trying now...
     
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  25. Charles-cgrgender: ⚧ OlderBytes Developer

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