Battle layout: share your thoughts

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

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Which design do you think is the best?

Poll ended at Sun Jun 26, 2005 10:43 pm

Draft 1
2
29%
Draft 2
0
No votes
Draft 3
3
43%
Draft 4
0
No votes
Draft 5
1
14%
A combination of the drafts (explain)
1
14%
None of them. Make something totally different (explain)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 7
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Battle layout: share your thoughts

Postby Roots » Fri Jun 17, 2005 7:58 pm

We'd like everyone's feedback on how they feel the battle screen should be layed out. We've been going on for weeks and weeks about it and we still haven't made a decision on what format would be the best. So I'll layout in chronological order how we've come along with this piece.


First though, let me go over some general rules of thumb we came up with to make layout decisions easier. Basically, we split the screen up into a "virtual" map of tiles that are 64x64 pixels and all these drafts are at 1024x768 pixels. (The screen can scale to any resolution, but it's easier to think in terms of our native resolution). So that gives us 16 tiles across and 12 tiles top-to-bottom. All the character sprites are 1 tile across and 2 tiles high (which is 4 times the area of our map sprites) and enemy sprites can be any size, from 1x1 tile to whatever will fit, and they don't have to be square


Now then, on with the drafts.

First draft
[img:1024:768]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/roots/battle_draft1.jpg[/img]

This is the first draft I made for the battle layout. A1 and B1 are where character avatars would go, and surrounding those are circles that represent the amount of SP each character has. A2 and B2 would be for status icons to indicate poison, etc. Above that you have the character's HP, which gradually chages from green to red as health gets to lower levels. A3 and B3 would be where the actual character sprites go, and to the right of that is the field where all the enemies would be placed. The translucent menu on the bottom pops up whenever a character can take an action, where you can select from previous skills used, attack skills, defense skills, support skills, etc. Oh, and the number in the upper right is the number of characters that can be swapped out (like in Final Fantasy X, but we impose a limiation on how often and what characters you can swap).

Limiations
- Thebottom menu that pops up and can cover up a good portion of the battle area (including sprites) and would look kinda :|
- I'm not sure if we need to store the status for each character in a box at the top menu.
- Most of all, we severly limit the screen height (only 12 tiles, as opposed to 16 tiles screen width) since both menus are located there.

Second draft
[img:1024:768]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/balthazar/battle-mockup.jpg[/img]

Tim created the second draft. It's pretty much the same, but the bottom menu is expanded because it was too small in the first draft to allow for easy scrolling through skill/item lists.

Limitations
- Now the bottom menu is even more space consuming, although menus would be more readable
- The sprites look really squished together on the sides


Third draft
[img:961:768]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/roots/battlelayout_draftx.png[/img]

This is one I did in response to Tim's second draft. I thought "Hey, why not make a left menu area instead of a bottom one and stop that issue with menus covering up the screen?". In this draft, the left menu represents what was the top menu in draft 1. That is, all the character stats/info are immediately to the left of that character instead of somewhere above, which makes it REAL easy for the user to clearly check a character's stats and know where they are. The top menu area would contain the actual action menu, where you select what skills to use, etc. The top menu can probably be a pop-down menu when it's not in use too. I really liked this idea at the time, but it's not perfect.


Limitations
- Does the screen look kinda funky since the main action is not centered in the screen, but rather to the bottom right a little :?:
-


Forth draft
[img:961:768]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/balthazar/battle2.png[/img]

Tim countered draft number 3 with a design that did away with the left menu all together and instead opted to put tiny HP/SP/wait time bars above the character sprites instead. When it was a character's turn to act, a menu would pop up in the usually empty area to the left of the characters.

Limitations
- Where would status icons for the characters go? We are already short on verticle space with the characters...
- The area to the left is only being partially used. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing depending on how you look at it (you can see less of the background, or you can see less of the menu)


Fifth draft
[img:1024:768]http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/roots/battle3.png[/img]

Touche. Following Tim's idea I drafted our latest idea. It's basically the same, but puts the character sprites closer together horizontally (because I thought they were too spaced out before, and that limited the amount of space we had for enemy sprites as well. The left pop-up menu was made much larger and I tried to do a little "expand" effect between the menu and character sprite to easily show which sprite the menu belonged to.

Limitations
- Pretty much the same as in draft 4
- It looks like we would have almost too much space for the left menu and it would look bad.





*phew* So that's the overview of where we are at. Let's keep in mind our goals here as we discuss how to make this part of the game look "the best":



- Don't waste space, or try to use space for more than one purpose (menus + sprites, etc).
- Maximize the area with which we can place monster sprites
- Make character stats eas to read and at the same time not distracting from the focal point of the battle
- Keep enough space between sprites and menus so that things don't look cramped
- Provide enough space for the user to easily navigate options in menus
- Must look :cool:


So first off, what is everyone's favorite draft so far and most importantly, why? Personally, I like draft 3 the best, although I don't know if sectioning off a significant portion of the left and top sides of the screen would be too much of a distraction. Opinions, ideas, and suggestions are highly encouraged here. :D
Last edited by Roots on Tue Aug 15, 2006 5:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Balthazar » Fri Jun 17, 2005 9:32 pm

I'd like to see a mockup of both 4 and 5 before I could decide between the two.  Those are the ones I like.
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Postby ian » Fri Jun 17, 2005 10:20 pm

I like the first one and not because it has the graphics :P

I think it leaves enough space for the actual game and its easy to read :)
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Postby Roots » Sat Jun 18, 2005 2:00 am

Well I liked your idea about the HP/SP/wait time bars too Tim, but I just don't think there's enough room to do it well. I mean look, in draft 4 you had to actualy strattle the player sprites so far apart so that the bars could fit. And if there's no permanent menu at all, that means that status indicators would have to somehow go on the sprite, but where would they go? Bottom? Left? Right? Even if there was space, it might look a little "noisy" with each character having 3 bars and a handful of status iconds floating around them, don't you think? And what happens when the character runs up to attack the enemy, do all those things follow him or her? :uhoh: I just can't envision things looking that good, although the idea itself wasn't bad.



The reasons I like draft 3 the best are:
- There's a permanent section of the screen reserved for character stats and info (plus being immediatley to the left of the character sprite, it's easy to make a quick glance)
- Having that top menu allows for much more space in the battle background image for that "third dimension" than the other designs. See draft 1? There's the transparent upper menu and then a couple tiles more of space for that villa. With methods 2, 4, and 5, we'd have to cut off the top 64 pixels of that image because we can't place the sprites on top of buildings and such.
- None of the menus cover up any sprites or other parts of the battle.


No matter what, I still think draft 3 is the best in terms of meeting all the goals stated in the first post. If someone can make an improved version of the draft4/5 model that doesn't look so messy and constricted, I may sway my opinion a little. But I don't think it will be easy finding the amount of space that draft4/5 requires
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Postby Balthazar » Sat Jun 18, 2005 2:16 am

Yeah, as much as I like #4, it is too busy.  5 is good though I think.
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Postby Roots » Sat Jun 18, 2005 3:06 am

Balthazar wrote:Yeah, as much as I like #4, it is too busy.  5 is good though I think.


But notice 5 doesn't have any room anywhere for those stamina/HP/wait time bars, not to mention status icons... :ohnoes:

3 is the simplest one of these drafts, and simple = teh win :approve: (Plust it will be the easiest for you to program Tim *wink wink nudge nudge*)
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Postby Classic_gamer » Sat Jun 18, 2005 8:37 am

I would chose the third.

I like the top menu in one and two, but having it on the left leaves space for the menu on the top, which is great.

I'm sorry that I can't say more. All the other things that I could have said, have allready been said:
Roots wrote: There's a permanent section of the screen reserved for character stats and info (plus being immediatley to the left of the character sprite, it's easy to make a quick glance)
- Having that top menu allows for much more space in the battle background image for that "third dimension" than the other designs. See draft 1? There's the transparent upper menu and then a couple tiles more of space for that villa. With methods 2, 4, and 5, we'd have to cut off the top 64 pixels of that image because we can't place the sprites on top of buildings and such.
- None of the menus cover up any sprites or other parts of the battle.
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Postby Loodwig » Mon Jun 20, 2005 10:36 pm

A few asthetic things I like:
First off, permanant menu = don't care for it.  I wanna see my battle sprite and the monster, and MAYBE a health bar (which I could show / hide at will).  On that note, I like 1, but with some variety.

First off: you can browse items at leasure, because the game is paused.  If that's the case, plop up a 90% opaque window right in the middle, and go through that.  Once the item is selected, put the item at 10% opaque, and have an arrow, finger, sword, something where you select what to use the item on (if applicable).  Short of that, you only need a menu when you have a battle.  Also, a status bar across the top that's 1 tile in size is fine; I don't think you'll need the extra 16 tiles for the monsters and players.

MP and Wait time do not need a numeric bar, and wait doesn't need much of a visual (can be handy though).  I like the idea of it looping around the character portrait (bars are boring).  As for HP, I like the idea of it being a particular color.  And being able to view status ailments is important, so long as the icon or sprite modification is obvious (don't put a tiny pair of sunglasses on the sprite for darkness... it looks silly, and doesn't really make sense).
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Postby Roots » Sat Jun 25, 2005 10:56 pm

Grr this isn't going as well as I had planned. Everyone seems to be equally divided among the drafts. :cry: I added a poll. Please cast your vote and explain it if necessary (either through text or a mock-up of your own if you're up to it).

Loodwig wrote:A few asthetic things I like:
First off, permanant menu = don't care for it.  I wanna see my battle sprite and the monster, and MAYBE a health bar (which I could show / hide at will).  On that note, I like 1, but with some variety.


We can add an option to hide menus just for you then. :) That won't be hard to do at all. But I can't see too many people using it, because by doing so you're effectively exchanging vital battle data for more "pretty space". :rolleyes:

Loodwig wrote:First off: you can browse items at leasure, because the game is paused.  If that's the case, plop up a 90% opaque window right in the middle, and go through that.  Once the item is selected, put the item at 10% opaque, and have an arrow, finger, sword, something where you select what to use the item on (if applicable).  Short of that, you only need a menu when you have a battle.  Also, a status bar across the top that's 1 tile in size is fine; I don't think you'll need the extra 16 tiles for the monsters and players.


- I think we should allow for both paused and active menu browsing, similar to other games (not just one or the other). Those options appeal to different types of players (I myself am a fan of active)

- A one-tile status bar above the head of each character is really going to be cramming up the screen. We have 12 tiles in height and with your idea, all 12 of those will be consumed when there are 4 characters in the battle (the maximum amount). I would like to see you fit an HP bar, SP bar, wait-time bar, and status icons/indicators on all the screen and make it look good/not busy/not cramed.

- I :disapprove: the idea of a big window popping up in the middle of the screen every time a character needs to select an action. That's annoying, distractive, and takes you "out of the heat of battle".

Loodwig wrote:MP and Wait time do not need a numeric bar, and wait doesn't need much of a visual (can be handy though).  I like the idea of it looping around the character portrait (bars are boring).  As for HP, I like the idea of it being a particular color.  And being able to view status ailments is important, so long as the icon or sprite modification is obvious (don't put a tiny pair of sunglasses on the sprite for darkness... it looks silly, and doesn't really make sense).


- I agree that bars are boring. I originally had SP as a circular "rev-ed up" type indicator surrounding the character's avatar in draft 1.

- I disagree that SP and wait time don't need a bar/indicator. They are just as essential for the player to keep tabs on as HP.



If you can draft up something for this system that looks like it could work, I'd be willing to think it through once again. But right now I'm at 98% :disapprove:
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Postby Roots » Thu Jul 14, 2005 1:59 am

Alright, well we need to decide on a layout soon so the battle backgrounds can get underway. (We need to know how things are laid out so the backgrounds can be designed accordingly). Since things are tied between 1 and 3, I'll use my dictator powers to tip the scales in favor of 3. :D


Why not #1? While #1 may certainly look good in that shot there, when the user selects an action type from the bottom category, there's going to be a big, ugly action selection menu that will pop up in the middle of the battle, and it will be quite distracting. #3 doesn't have this drawback, thus I'd like to go with that design style. Unless there's a huge :disapprove: of this notion from staff/forum members, that's what we'll do.


And also, this very moment, I thought of a cool idea. :) With #3, about 3.75 of the top rows of tiles will be taken up by the depth of the image (in the case of the town battleground in draft #1, that's the buildings and stuff). Now what about this. What if we keep everything below that a static image, but we allow that upper section of the screen to have multiple frames (ie, its animated)? That would be pretty cool eh? In a forest you could show leaves falling through the tress, in a town you could show clothes hanging out to dry blowing around, on a battle field you could show other soldiers fighting, etc. I think it's a great idea and will certainly give more life to the battles. :D

If we had to have a frame for the entire screen instead of just the top, that would be somewhat unreasonable because a full-screen image consumes a rather large filesize. So what do you guys think? :approve: for use of draft #3? :approve: for ability to animate the upper portion of the background? :hack:
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Postby Balthazar » Mon Jul 25, 2005 1:52 am

Well, I'm working on the battle design doc today, and I'm gonna roll with #3.  (Though it might inherit a few tweaks here and there ;) )
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Postby Roots » Sun Aug 07, 2005 10:54 pm

A couple things here.


1) I always thought things would be cramped with trying to fit all 4 character portraits, HP/SP/wait bars, and status icons in that left bar, and then today I thought of a good alternative (I think). Instead of having all 4 portraits, only have one that takes up the 4 tiles in the upper left corner, and have that portrait represent the active character (the character whom the player is currently selecting actions for). Although when there is no active character, I don't know what we would want to put there... :shrug: I like the idea at least, and I think it's MUCH better than trying to cramp things together in that left menu.

On another note, we need to decide where the counter for the number of swaps will be placed. I'm thinking either upper right, or maybe it can be placed close to the portrait some how? Oh, here's an idea: when there is no active character, the swap counter is big and in that 2x2 tile upper left corner, and when there is an active character (whose portrait would be in that space), the swap counter can shrink in size and go to one of the four corners of that 2x2 square. I dunno. :shrug:


2) With regards to enemy placement, refer to draft 1 (Tim, this is the thing I mentioned in my latest critique of your design draft for the battle code). Remember how I was saying before that the upper 3.75 tiles would be the 'background' of the battle (structures, trees, sky, etc.)? Basically what I am trying to say is that enemy's should be able to be placed in the 4th tile row, because it would appear that their feet are on solid ground. Enemy's that are placed in the 4th tile row though can't be more than two tiles tall, otherwise they would extend into the top menu, which would be a bad thing.
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Postby Balthazar » Sun Aug 07, 2005 11:42 pm

Picture is worth 1000 words. :D
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Postby roos » Mon Aug 08, 2005 12:01 am

Edit: Nevermind :) I'd written up a big response but then I saw Balthazar said he was going to roll with #3.
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Postby Roots » Thu Aug 18, 2005 6:12 am

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Okay, so I made up a new draft tonight with the latest ideas I talked about, and the ideas we've discussed in the staff section. This image is 1024x768, so it's "true size" to the game. So here's a list of notes on everything:



Background
(I couldn't find the colored version). See how the base of the building is right around 3.75 squres down? So if you placed the 1x2 Claudius sprite just below the top menu, it would still look good because his feet would still be planted ont he ground, but his body would partially cover the structure and give us a sense of depth. On the other hand, if you tried to place one of those 1x1 spiders in the tile row directly below the top menu, it would look like its floating in the air/attached to the building and wouldn't look right. However, the 2nd tile row down would be sufficient for the spidrs, since their legs would be on the ground.

Character sprite
Looks pretty good doesn't it? :D Nice job with that Sylon! Notice how he's in the middle instead of a "pre-defined slot" that you usually see in RPGs? (ie, if you have 3 out of a max of 4 characters in the battle and the 2nd spot is vacant, there would be a big hole). It just looks more natural to me if everything is centered and characters are equally spaced out. Its also athestically pleasing to my perfectionist sense. :D

Enemy sprites
Same enemy, 3 different frames showing various amounts of damage. We've been debating what to do when an enemy is killed (its HP goes to zero). I suggested maybe we leave the corpse on the field, but others don't think that will add very much to the game. (I'm beginning to feel the same way). If you have any comments on that, please share them.

For those not in the staff, we've been experimenting with an idea with sprite blending. Anyone remember Final Fantasy Mystic Quest where the enemy sprite would change after you inflicted a certain amount of damage to it? The idea is the same here, only instead of a sudden change in sprite frames, we blend two frames together and change the amount of blending based on the percentage of HP. So its a gradual/continuous change, not a sudden/instant change. Comments on this technique are welcome. (I'm doing some tests with the sprite blending this weekend to see how good it really looks).

Status bars
HP bar, skill point bar, and wait time bar. Notice that they are to the immediate left of the character, so its easy to take a quick glance and know who's status is who's. I did the bars vertical here because the menu itself is vertical, and I thought it might be a nice change rather than the plain horizontal bars we're all used to seeing in RPGs. (Anyone have a preference of vertical versus horizontal?) Oh, and pardon my eclipses, they'd be more like rectangles with rounded edges in the real deal.

(On another note I think we'd want a numerical value for skill, because its hard to tell how many skill points a player currently has just from the bar).

Status icons
This I'm a little :| on. I tried experimenting with putting beneficial icons above of the status bars (shaded in green) and determinatl icons below the status bars (shaded in red). I think this consumes a little too much space, especially when we'd have 4 characters in the battle. I think that we might be better off going with just a single row of icons (and we can use that green/red shading to indicate whether its good or bad status.

There's not much horizontal room so we'd only be able to fit 3-4 icons at a time, but we could do a scrolling type-action or shift in/out icons every so often once the horizontal limit is exceeded. My only concern is that this might be distracting to the player's eyes.

Portrait
BAD. ASS! :bow: I love how it looks! The little number 1 in the bottom right corner of the portrait is the number of character swaps the player has available.

Action Type Selector
This was Raj's idea from a day or two ago. Instead of listing the actual action names, we do it Lufia-style with an icon menu. The inital selector position is always the center square, which doesn't correspond to any action type most of the time, but we may use it in special battles/events for invoking special commands. The rest of the type selectors can be reached by holding the direction button (not just pressing) and then pressing the confirm button. The action types are:

- top: Aggresive Skill
- left: Defensive Skill
- right: Support Skill (can anyone think of a better icon other than a plus???)
- bottom: Use Item

To run, the player holds down the left select and right select buttons (think the L/R shoulder buttons on the SNES controller).

Most Rection Actions
The 3 options to the immediate right of the action type selector are the three most recently used options for that character. This was (mostly) decided on after much discussion of having a seperate menu for recently used actiosn (RUAs), just using cursor memory, etc.

Action Selection List
Finally, we have a list of actions. Notice that the same action can be found in both the recent actions menu and this menu (Whirlwind Slicer). Oh, and of course I made up all these names on a whim. :heh:




Now for some general notes about the battle mode layout.


Field bareness
This is something Raj brought up last week. The battle field looks pretty bare, doesn't it? True it does in this shot, but we only have 3 enemies (who all have the minimum sprite size) and only one character, so of course things look bare. Once we start filling the battle screen with more sprites and with bigger sprites, I think we will be able to appreciate the extra space. After all, our battle backdrops are going to be awesome and we don't want to cover them up entirely. ;)


Portrait area when no character is selected
When there's not an active character selected, what should be displayed in the portrait area:?: Someone come up with a good idea, because I can't think of what we could put there. :huh:


Top Menu is collapsable
I definitely think we should make that top menu collapsable, because when there's no characters that can select actions there's just no point in it being there. (The character portrait area will always be present though). So here's what I'm thinking we can do:

- Initially, only the left menu and character portrait area are present

- When a character's wait bar becomes full (or the player decides to select the action early) the action type selector and most recently used action list for that character pops up (in addition to the character's portrait being displayed). I think the animation should be the menus slide from left to right, as if they were "hiding" under the character potrait

- The user can use the menu/swap key to switch between selecting an action type and selecting a recent action

- If an action type is selected, then the action list menu will slide out from left to right. Again, the menu/swap key can be used to switch between the recent action menu and the action list.



:eyespin: Wow, I spent a long time just making preparations for this single post. I hope its useful and brings us closer to deciding on a final battle layout. :approve:
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Postby roos » Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:01 am

AWESOME :D I totally :approve: of your screenshot, so much nicer to have a somewhat realistic mockup than the diagrams from before which imo were a little difficult to judge since they were more abstract...

Comments:

1. That "middle slot" vs. "pre-defined slot" idea about characters seems like it makes a lot of sense. Cool :approve:

2. About the FFMQ-style enemy damage blending thingy... I tested it myself too just to make sure the code I posted before was correct. It's pretty much correct, although the shadow gets darker and darker as the enemy absorbs more damage. No worries though, I know how to fix that. Anyway I think the effect looks good, although it's a little hard to see until the enemy is at least at around 50% damage or so.

3. Status bars: look good.. maybe also above the bars or something we can show each character's name (just an idea). Also you mentioned having a numerical value for skill... personally I'd like numerical values for all status bars.. this might just be me I guess but it really bugs me when there's only a bar and no number because I like to know exactly how much HP my characters have etc..

4. Status icons: I agree, a single row of icons would be good

5. Portrait: I like it :D

6. Action Type selector: when you say "hold down the left select and right select buttons", what do you mean? Are you talking about if the player has a gamepad hooked up the their PC? If they're using a keyboard, what keys would we use for L/R select?

7. It's kind of bad that the top menu bar hides the top of the background image. The focal point of that background is near the top (as I suspect is with most background images). I suppose I shouldn't say "hey how about a bottom bar?" if I value my life since this issue has been through the grinder already... but, it's something to think about anyway, imo, maybe there's some other way to fix the problem... like simply asking the artists to shift the focal center of their backgrounds down a bit :shrug:

8. Ohh. I just read "top menu is collapsable". Maybe that'll alleviate some of what I was talking about in (7).

Anyway cool :cool: This is awesome that we're getting closer to the final layout :)

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Postby Roots » Thu Aug 18, 2005 8:16 am

roos wrote:AWESOME :D I totally :approve: of your screenshot, so much nicer to have a somewhat realistic mockup than the diagrams from before which imo were a little difficult to judge since they were more abstract...


I'm glad you do, because it took me a while to put that together. :eyespin:


roos wrote:2. About the FFMQ-style enemy damage blending thingy... I tested it myself too just to make sure the code I posted before was correct. It's pretty much correct, although the shadow gets darker and darker as the enemy absorbs more damage. No worries though, I know how to fix that. Anyway I think the effect looks good, although it's a little hard to see until the enemy is at least at around 50% damage or so.


I'm glad it's looking good. Maybe you can make a demo video showing the real-time blending. Remember there are three different frames, not just two. For starters I was thinking that the offsets could be like this:

100% health = healthy sprite
50% health = damaged sprite
20% health = heavily damaged sprite

And of course the blending would go in-between. In addition to the frames, I think we should also do a gradual damage degradation/increasing (thinking Diablo II here). So, for example when you attack an enemy and deal 70HP worth of damage, the HP won't just suddenly drop, but will decrement rapidly (and the damage counter would also decrement gradually). Same thing for using healing items/skills. Its more exciting/challenging when healing takes place gradually instead of immediatley, because even if you heal your character if they are target by the enemy in the process there's still a chance they could lose all their HP.

roos wrote:3. Status bars: look good.. maybe also above the bars or something we can show each character's name (just an idea). Also you mentioned having a numerical value for skill... personally I'd like numerical values for all status bars.. this might just be me I guess but it really bugs me when there's only a bar and no number because I like to know exactly how much HP my characters have etc..


Yeah, I'm with you on that. I like to know exact numbers as well so I can calculate my strategy. Maybe we can have the swap button or something work globally as a switcher between bars and numbers, because both are useful IMO.

roos wrote:6. Action Type selector: when you say "hold down the left select and right select buttons", what do you mean? Are you talking about if the player has a gamepad hooked up the their PC? If they're using a keyboard, what keys would we use for L/R select?


There are a certain set of main input event items that can be mapped to either the keyboard or the joystick (and both keyboard and joystick may be used simultaneously). Once I get the new code documentation up, take a look at the GameInput class in engine.h, that describes everything you need to know. The default keys for left_select and right_select on the keyboard are w and e respectively.

roos wrote:7. It's kind of bad that the top menu bar hides the top of the background image. The focal point of that background is near the top (as I suspect is with most background images). I suppose I shouldn't say "hey how about a bottom bar?" if I value my life since this issue has been through the grinder already... but, it's something to think about anyway, imo, maybe there's some other way to fix the problem... like simply asking the artists to shift the focal center of their backgrounds down a bit :shrug:


I see your point, but moving the bar to the bottom would be a bad idea here. The reason is that the top of the battle background (the upper 3.75 tiles) are for the depth in the image, and not walkable ground. moving the menu to the bottom effectively removes two entire tile rows where we could place characters and enemies (unless we allow the menu to cover the sprites, but we don't want to do that). That only leaves us with 8 tile rows to place sprites and since we have a maximum of 4 characters in a party and a character sprites is 2 tiles wide, they'd all be squished in together really tight. I'm not saying your wrong, I'm just saying we can't afford to squeeze things together anymore than we already are and this is the best compromise we can make (that we've thought of anyway).

roos wrote:8. Ohh. I just read "top menu is collapsable". Maybe that'll alleviate some of what I was talking about in (7).


Yeah, that's one way its alleviated. The top menu is only there when the player is selecting actions for characters, and if they just use one of the previous action items then the far top right menu won't ever be there. :)
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Postby roos » Thu Aug 18, 2005 2:49 pm

Roots wrote:I'm glad it's looking good. Maybe you can make a demo video showing the real-time blending. Remember there are three different frames, not just two.


Ok, do you know if we have 3 damage frames for any of the monster? I saw Sylon posted up damage frames for the spider, but I think there were only SpiderDamage1.PNG and SpiderDamage2.PNG

roots wrote:Yeah, I'm with you on that. I like to know exact numbers as well so I can calculate my strategy. Maybe we can have the swap button or something work globally as a switcher between bars and numbers, because both are useful IMO.


Hm... imo it would be better if we displayed both #'s and bars at the same time. At first I was thinking we could just display the numbers directly below or above the bar, but actually that wouldn't work I guess since the width of the text for the numbers would be too long.

:shrug: Here's a pic from Enemy Territory which uses vertical bars for stamina (green) and HP (white)... then off to the side they have the HP displayed numerically.

http://www.schestowitz.com/Interests/Wolfenstein/2004-08-31-054345-goldrush.jpg

roots wrote:The default keys for left_select and right_select on the keyboard are w and e respectively.


Ahh okay cool thanks

roots wrote:I see your point, but moving the bar to the bottom would be a bad idea here. The reason is that the top of the battle background (the upper 3.75 tiles) are for the depth in the image, and not walkable ground.


Alright, I see

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Postby Roots » Thu Aug 18, 2005 3:28 pm

roos wrote:
Roots wrote:I'm glad it's looking good. Maybe you can make a demo video showing the real-time blending. Remember there are three different frames, not just two.


Ok, do you know if we have 3 damage frames for any of the monster? I saw Sylon posted up damage frames for the spider, but I think there were only SpiderDamage1.PNG and SpiderDamage2.PNG


Yeah, I mean to say there's 3 frames total. The 100% health frame, the moderate damage frame, and the heavily damaged frame.

roos wrote:
roots wrote:Yeah, I'm with you on that. I like to know exact numbers as well so I can calculate my strategy. Maybe we can have the swap button or something work globally as a switcher between bars and numbers, because both are useful IMO.


Hm... imo it would be better if we displayed both #'s and bars at the same time. At first I was thinking we could just display the numbers directly below or above the bar, but actually that wouldn't work I guess since the width of the text for the numbers would be too long.


Exactly. We don't have the room for both bars and numbers. We have to make due with the space we have, without try to cram everything together.
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Postby roos » Thu Aug 18, 2005 5:42 pm

OK cool.

I made a video of the damage blending showing the spider going from "full health" to "slightly damaged". The demo doesn't show the "heavily damaged" state because we don't have artwork for that yet.

http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/roos/DamageSpider.avi

As I said before, you'll notice the shadow of the spider gets darker as damage increases. Just ignore that for now ;)

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