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User Interface Design

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Anonymous
April 17, 2005 9:06:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

I've been toying with designing my UI for my game, and want to toss a
few ideas out there, and get some feedback, as well as some suggestions.

My original design was something like this (I hope the formatting
doesn't get messed up):

+----------------------------------+--------+
| | |
| | |
| | |
| | |
| | |
| | Stat |
| Map Display | Display|
| | |
| | |
| | |
| | |
| | |
| | |
| | |
+----------------------------------+--------+
| |
| |
| Message Buffer |
| |
+-------------------------------------------+

A few things to point out first. The UI scales to the user's screen
dimensions. Minimum acceptable screen size is 80x25 characters. The
message buffer is always exactly four lines long. The Stat Display
box is always 18 characters wide. The map box is always variable,
depending on the user's screen size. Between the actual map drawing
and the map display borders, there's a one character wide gap. This
makes it look a lot less cluttered, and more professional.


Another UI I was toying with:

+-------------------------------------------+
| |
| Message Buffer |
| |
+-------------------------------------------+
| |
| |
| |
| |
| Map Display |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
+-------------------------------------------+
| |
| Stat Display |
+-------------------------------------------+

I don't like this one as much as the one above, but I can see a few
benefits to it. Firstly, horizontal boxes tend to look better than
vertical ones in ASCII. However, I don't like putting the message
buffer on the top, even though a lot of other RLs do it that way. I
do like the fact that the map gets a bit more space in this one, at
least horizontally, which gives it a fuller appearance. Like I said,
I'm still rather unsure about this one.

+-------------------------------------------+
| Minimal Stat Display |
+-------------------------------------------+
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| Map Display |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
| |
+-------------------------------------------+
| |
| Message Buffer |
| |
+-------------------------------------------+

This one is somewhat similar to the one above, but with a few
differences. Firstly, the message buffer is moved to the bottom. I
feel this is more intuitive and visually nicer. Also, the stat box is
shortened to a mere one line height, and used for essential stats
only. Obviously, it's less informative, but it looks a bit nicer,
almost like a title bar, and can still be used to store vital info,
that's needed at a glance, Name/HP/MP/etc.

Well, those are the only UI designs I've really put any consideration
into. I'd really like some feedback, and some opinions on which ones
are preferable. Any new UI designs would be a welcome addition, as well.


--
"There are of course many problems connected with life, of
which some of the most popular are `Why are people born?'
`Why do they die?' `Why do they spend so much of the
intervening time wearing digital watches?'"

-- The Book.

More about : user interface design

Anonymous
April 17, 2005 9:06:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

On Sun, 17 Apr 2005 17:06:52 -0400, Timothy Pruett
<drakalor.tourist@gmail.com> wrote:

>I've been toying with designing my UI for my game, and want to toss a
>few ideas out there, and get some feedback, as well as some suggestions.
>
>My original design was something like this (I hope the formatting
>doesn't get messed up):
>
>+----------------------------------+--------+
>| | |
>| | |
>| | |
>| | |
>| | |
>| | Stat |
>| Map Display | Display|
>| | |
>| | |
>| | |
>| | |
>| | |
>| | |
>| | |
>+----------------------------------+--------+
>| |
>| |
>| Message Buffer |
>| |
>+-------------------------------------------+

This is the kind of UI I prefer, for various reasons, but mainly:
There's almost always more screen space available horizontally than
vertically. Putting the stats to the side inside of above or below gives
you a little more elbow room, so to speak, in the map area.

Also, if you so desire, you can keep the map area at the same ratio as
the screen itself without resorting to dead space around the map.

Now that I look at it, this is pretty much how the GUI for the QNX OS
looks: a small bar along the bottom, and a much larger bar on the right
side.
--
auric underscore underscore at hotmail dot com
*****
This doesn't bode well.
Related resources
Anonymous
April 18, 2005 11:41:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Dnia Sun, 17 Apr 2005 17:06:52 -0400,
Timothy Pruett napisal(a):

> I've been toying with designing my UI for my game, and want to toss a
> few ideas out there, and get some feedback, as well as some suggestions.

First of all, don't hardcode it in your game -- you can use windows or
panels in curses, or you own implementation of 'window' to make it pretty
easy to change later. Then you can test how it really plays and try
different approaches.

There are several guidelines for developing UIs, but I don't thing I'll
preach about them here -- it's easy to google. The main guideline stays
the same -- just test it and see if it's good.

--
Radomir @**@_ Bee! .**._ .**._ .**._ .**._ zZ
`The Sheep' ('') 3 (..) 3 (..) 3 (..) 3 (--) 3
Dopieralski .vvVvVVVVVvVVVvVVVvVvVVvVvvVvVVVVVVvvVVvvVvvvvVVvVVvv.v.
Anonymous
April 18, 2005 3:11:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Auric__ wrote:
> On Sun, 17 Apr 2005 17:06:52 -0400, Timothy Pruett
> <drakalor.tourist@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>>I've been toying with designing my UI for my game, and want to toss a
>>few ideas out there, and get some feedback, as well as some suggestions.
>>
*SNIP*

I prefer the messages at the top myself.


--
ABCGi ---- (abcgi@yahoo.com) ---- http://codemonkey.sunsite.dk

"Good ideas make good things better.
Great ideas make better things simple." - Ray 'Bear' Dillinger
Anonymous
April 18, 2005 3:11:56 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

ABCGi <abcgi@yahoo.com> wrote:
> Auric__ wrote:
>> Timothy Pruett wrote:
>>>I've been toying with designing my UI for my game, and want to
>>>toss a few ideas out there, and get some feedback, as well as
>>>some suggestions.
>>>
> *SNIP*
>
> I prefer the messages at the top myself.

I concur. First, since the messages are what you'll spend the most time
looking at, they should be aligned at close to eye level. With the way
most people place their monitors, this is at the top of the screen.
Second, the natural reflex is to scan the screen from top to bottom,
which means that whatever goes on top is what grabs attention. And
finally, putting messages on the bottom means you're putting them above
a hard edge, so you have much less flexibility in how you do line
wrapping.

--
CalcRogue: TI-89, TI-92+, PalmOS, Windows and Linux.
http://calcrogue.jimrandomh.org/
Anonymous
April 22, 2005 2:09:29 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

On Sun, 17 Apr 2005 17:06:52 -0400, Timothy Pruett
<drakalor.tourist@gmail.com> wrote:

>almost like a title bar, and can still be used to store vital info,
>that's needed at a glance, Name/HP/MP/etc.

Why is it vital to see the character name at a glance?

R. Dan Henry
danhenry@inreach.com
Idiot boy, when are you going to post something useful?
Or better yet, get a job and stop being a welfare bum?
Anonymous
April 22, 2005 1:08:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

R. Dan Henry wrote:
> On Sun, 17 Apr 2005 17:06:52 -0400, Timothy Pruett
> <drakalor.tourist@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>>almost like a title bar, and can still be used to store vital info,
>>that's needed at a glance, Name/HP/MP/etc.
>
>
> Why is it vital to see the character name at a glance?

Oh. Well, it's not, but I just don't like the idea of a roguelike
that doesn't display the character name. To _me_, I consider it
vital. Plus, given the rather small number of _vital_ info, adding
the character's name would help take up some of the extra whitespace,
to help it feel fuller.


--
"There are of course many problems connected with life, of
which some of the most popular are `Why are people born?'
`Why do they die?' `Why do they spend so much of the
intervening time wearing digital watches?'"

-- The Book.
Anonymous
April 22, 2005 4:42:22 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Timothy Pruett wrote:
> However, I don't like putting the message
> buffer on the top, even though a lot of other RLs do it that way.

And lot of people are used to it. I guess you could make it possible
to switch the UI while playing or with an option. It should be easy
at least if there are two versions that are mirror images.
Anonymous
April 24, 2005 6:21:36 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Timothy Pruett (drakalor.tourist@gmail.com) wrote:
> R. Dan Henry wrote:
> > On Sun, 17 Apr 2005 17:06:52 -0400, Timothy Pruett
> > <drakalor.tourist@gmail.com> wrote:

> >>almost like a title bar, and can still be used to store vital info,
> >>that's needed at a glance, Name/HP/MP/etc.
> >
> > Why is it vital to see the character name at a glance?
>
> Oh. Well, it's not, but I just don't like the idea of a roguelike
> that doesn't display the character name. To _me_, I consider it
> vital. Plus, given the rather small number of _vital_ info, adding
> the character's name would help take up some of the extra whitespace,
> to help it feel fuller.

Filling the extra whitespace with clutter to help the interface "feel
fuller" is something they never taught us on the UI design course. More
commonly we were trying to fit the important stuff in and to make it
stand out.

--
JTJ | http://www.kolumbus.fi/j.julkunen/
"Taste my wand of ball lightning!"
--Last Words, ADoM Collection
Anonymous
April 24, 2005 6:21:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Juho Julkunen wrote:
> Timothy Pruett (drakalor.tourist@gmail.com) wrote:
>
>>R. Dan Henry wrote:
>>
>>>On Sun, 17 Apr 2005 17:06:52 -0400, Timothy Pruett
>>><drakalor.tourist@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>
>>>>almost like a title bar, and can still be used to store vital info,
>>>>that's needed at a glance, Name/HP/MP/etc.
>>>
>>>Why is it vital to see the character name at a glance?
>>
>>Oh. Well, it's not, but I just don't like the idea of a roguelike
>>that doesn't display the character name. To _me_, I consider it
>>vital. Plus, given the rather small number of _vital_ info, adding
>>the character's name would help take up some of the extra whitespace,
>>to help it feel fuller.
>
>
> Filling the extra whitespace with clutter to help the interface "feel
> fuller" is something they never taught us on the UI design course. More
> commonly we were trying to fit the important stuff in and to make it
> stand out.

I don't consider the character's name to be clutter, and without it,
it does seem quite empty. The only vital stats I can think of putting
in would be, HP, MP, Attack, and Defense. Given the width of the
screen, that leaves a lot of white space, and it feels awkward. Plus,
the character's name seems to add a nice little touch.

+--------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Blow Joe HP: 51/75 MP: 13/25 ATT: 6 DEF: 8 |
+--------------------------------------------------------------------+

I find this more visually appealing than the other alternative, as
follows:

+--------------------------------------------------------------------+
| HP: 51/75 MP: 13/25 ATT: 6 DEF: 8 |
+--------------------------------------------------------------------+

Now, it doesn't look too bad here, but the width is _a lot_ narrower
than it would be in game. I believe my newsreader does a line wrap at
about 70 or so, whereas the in-game _minimum_ width is 80. On the
average screen, however, with a higher screen resolution, I figure the
average width will end up being at least 120. That's a lot of empty
space, and it feels barren. Plus, it still comes down to the fact
that the character's name _feels_ necessary, even though it's not. A
roguelike that doesn't tell the player their character's name at all
times seems so, well, wrong. No character name to display would just
make the UI feel naked. ;-)


--
"There are of course many problems connected with life, of
which some of the most popular are `Why are people born?'
`Why do they die?' `Why do they spend so much of the
intervening time wearing digital watches?'"

-- The Book.
Anonymous
April 24, 2005 8:49:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Timothy Pruett wrote:
> Plus, it still comes down to the fact
> that the character's name _feels_ necessary, even though it's not.

When I play Nethack I usually watch only HP status. The character
information could be viewed separately with long more descriptive
names than AC for example.
Btw: In graphical games you can fill "empty space" with decorations.
Anonymous
April 24, 2005 8:26:10 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Timothy Pruett wrote:

> I don't consider the character's name to be clutter, and without it, it
> does seem quite empty. The only vital stats I can think of putting in
> would be, HP, MP, Attack, and Defense. Given the width of the screen,
> that leaves a lot of white space, and it feels awkward. Plus, the
> character's name seems to add a nice little touch.

Do you have an idea for handling someone who gives their character
a particularly long name, like for example someone roleplaying an
arabic character whose name will include their ancestry to four
generations, ruler, religious and possibly caste status, and title?

Vikings had similar things going when they got formal - they'd give
their clan, father's and grandfather's given names, possibly a battle
honorific or an honorific based on their poetry or writing, and the
names of particularly significant or nasty things they'd had to kill.
But at least with Vikings there'd be a simple name that wasn't treated
as grammatically *wrong* when appearing without all the trimmings.

Bear
Anonymous
April 24, 2005 8:26:11 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Ray Dillinger wrote:
> Timothy Pruett wrote:
>
>> I don't consider the character's name to be clutter, and without it,
>> it does seem quite empty. The only vital stats I can think of putting
>> in would be, HP, MP, Attack, and Defense. Given the width of the
>> screen, that leaves a lot of white space, and it feels awkward. Plus,
>> the character's name seems to add a nice little touch.
>
>
> Do you have an idea for handling someone who gives their character
> a particularly long name, like for example someone roleplaying an
> arabic character whose name will include their ancestry to four
> generations, ruler, religious and possibly caste status, and title?

I don't think I've ever played a game that didn't put a cap on the
length of the player's name, and my game will be no exception.
Although, I do kind of like the idea of adding honorifics and the like
on to character's names. I wouldn't display it on the main screen,
but probably allow it to be shown in full on the Character screen, and
allow it to be used in certain conversations in-game.

> Vikings had similar things going when they got formal - they'd give
> their clan, father's and grandfather's given names, possibly a battle
> honorific or an honorific based on their poetry or writing, and the
> names of particularly significant or nasty things they'd had to kill.
> But at least with Vikings there'd be a simple name that wasn't treated
> as grammatically *wrong* when appearing without all the trimmings.

I totally dig Viking names in general, and have full plans on adding
honorifics to player's names in one of my games.


--
"There are of course many problems connected with life, of
which some of the most popular are `Why are people born?'
`Why do they die?' `Why do they spend so much of the
intervening time wearing digital watches?'"

-- The Book.
Anonymous
April 25, 2005 3:36:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Krice wrote:
> Timothy Pruett wrote:
>
>>Plus, it still comes down to the fact
>>that the character's name _feels_ necessary, even though it's not.
>
> When I play Nethack I usually watch only HP status. The character
> information could be viewed separately with long more descriptive
> names than AC for example.
> Btw: In graphical games you can fill "empty space" with decorations.

DwellerMobile has no space for character name
and uses "@" instead. Perfectly fine.

--
ABCGi ---- (abcgi@yahoo.com) ---- http://codemonkey.sunsite.dk
Fun RLs in rgrd that I have tested recently!
DoomRL - DwellerMobile - HWorld - AburaTan - DiabloBand
Heroic Adventure - Tower of Doom - Tendrils - TheTombs
Anonymous
April 25, 2005 4:57:06 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.roguelike.development (More info?)

Timothy Pruett <drakalor.tourist@gmail.com> wrote:
> I totally dig Viking names in general, and have full plans on adding
> honorifics to player's names in one of my games.

Please do it better than Fable did!

--
Jim Strathmeyer
!