visage wrote:1) Remove the bars on the left and the bottom. They are very cluttered looking. Maybe its how they are designed right now, but they take up a lot of the screen, unecessarily. What I am thinking is maybe have the player portraits on the left side with the bars under them. Personally, I have never been a fan of bars. I would love to completely get rid of them in favor of a more visual system -- sure, it removes some of the strategy of knowing when to heal players, but I think that could be for the better -- especially if we had some kickass art. For example, we already of the whole health blending down ... what if we had sprites "kneel" while they waited to be ready again? We would need something a little more complex than just that, as we are allowing players to attack even when the character is not at 100%. Maybe it would depend on weapon height, or something. When Claudius is tired, his sword is down. When he is 100% ready, his sword is up and wielded.
> if you notice, most 2D RPGs have even more space taken up by menus than what we have here. Just to keep things in perspective.
> Do you mean have ALL the player portraits (maximum of 4) on the left side? The player portraits wouldn't fit if they were all on the left side at the same time unless we make them smaller (but I like having big, pretty character portraits!). Safir-Kreuz has also got the Claudius portraits together so it would suck if we had to resize them now.
> I'm not a huge fan of bars either, but you need *some* way of informing the player of the status of his/her party. In my original draft I kind of used a circular bar-type thing around the portrait, but that won't work out very well.
> Your ideas about using sprite visuals to eliminate the bars is not a bad idea. But do you realize how much more art this is going to take to do this visualization? We need to be able to transition from one set of sprite frames to another set smoothly, and with some of the suggestions you are making here I think its simply too much work on our art team (which is already suffering from being understaffed) just to eliminate a few bars. The net gain is not worth the effort.
> Adding on to my last point, when you introduce this visualization thing, the player has to interpret the data on the screen more. A bar is simple to interpret. Blended portraits/sprite frames are much much harder on the player to know "oh, my character is at around 60% health and 80% wait time". Personally speaking, I like to be able to interpret my data swiftly and accurately so I can formulate an appropriate strategy. Like I said I don't really like bars that much either, but I will gladly take them over some non-intuitive graphics blending system anyday.
Coincidentally, there was a post on GameDev about this type of "lose the numbers" theology a few weeks ago, so you're definitely not alone in this. If you can propose something that's feasible to do and also easy for the player to interrept the data, then I will give that strong consideration over the bars. Its not an easy problem to solve, however.
visage wrote:2) The number on the top left has to be moved. Perhaps on the player portrait.
Agreed. I never liked it off on the top-left in the first place. Portrait sounds like the most logical location to me.
visage wrote:3) The selection menu. Okay, this is going to be totally out there, but what if instead of a menu, we used a "symbol" system that was a radial menu. So when you are selecting a player, his portrait comes up in a center circle (depends if the portrait exists elsewhere on the screen) and around that circle is evenly distributed icons -- "attack, item, defend ... et cetera." When the player chooses one (selection circle going clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on arrow keys), the icons quickly fade out, and a new set fades in. So if he hits "attack", perhaps the next icons to come up would be "Sword Attacks, Magic Attacks, et cetera." The icons should be fairly simple, and speak for themselves, but there could also be a status bar at the bottom -- something very simple, to give a text description of what you are about to click on.
Pros and cons of this.
Pros: Clean looking, easy to manuever
Cons: Requires lots of small images, and makes specialized attacks hard to define without text.
> I don't really like the idea of the action icons popping up over the character portrait. I'd like the character portrait to remain as clean as possible.
> But I do like your idea of circles! That's a pretty neat concept, but my only worry is what happens when the character has A LOT of skills? You'd have to make your circles really small so they could fit in that 128x128 pixel space, and if they are that small you wouldn't be able to see the skill icon very well. That's the primary downfall I see of this method.
I think this idea has some merit to it though and it might be worth exploring as an alternative to the square action selector type graphic we've got going on now. If I get a chance I'll try drafting up some visual ideas of what I think this system could be, but I really would rather work on coding today.