Battle Layout Discussions, Part II

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

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Which battle layout entry do you personally like the best?

Entry #1
5
56%
Entry #2
1
11%
Entry #3
1
11%
Entry #4
2
22%
My favorite isn't listed! (explain)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 9
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ChopperDave
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Postby ChopperDave » Sat Jan 27, 2007 3:09 am

Defnitely use the diamond shaped icons Jetryl made.

I guess I'll go with right.
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gorzuate
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Postby gorzuate » Sat Jan 27, 2007 4:13 am

I really like Jetryl's mockup, but Roots' last one isn't bad either.
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Roots
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Postby Roots » Thu Feb 01, 2007 4:13 pm

Okay, I guess we're going with right then. Here's how it will look with the diamond shape icons (slightly different from Jetryl's, I wanted to see how well it could do with no overlap).

Image


I activated the grid and sprite areas in this draft for illustration of the layout. I also tried some small changes in the enemy info box. Reduced font by 2pt, centered name + attack point at the top and abbreviated "status, weak, resist" from the earlier draft. I think it looks betters with abbreviated text, because its easier to focus your eyes on whats important rather than reading big words. :heh:


I think we are mostly done with this discussion now (finally). Of course there are still details to iron out, such as how do menus transition, the exact requirements of stamina icons, improving the HP/SP bar + text overlay, etc. But I now believe that all major design decisions have been decided upon. :)


After polishing up a few bits of this layout, i'm going to upload it to the wiki with an enumeration of all of the various aspects of the layout to put in the battle design document. :approve:
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ChopperDave
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Postby ChopperDave » Thu Feb 01, 2007 7:16 pm

Only two things:

1) I have already extended the height of the left menu to touch the bottom bar. Do we not want this anymore?

2) I would change the st, wk, and rs to something else. Looking at that, I immediately think st means strong and wk means weak, not status and weak. Also, we have plenty of room, so we might as well go ahead and spell them out completely. We're not crunched for space. Make them something like:

Strong, Weak, Effects.
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Roots
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Postby Roots » Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:06 am

ChopperDave wrote:Only two things:

1) I have already extended the height of the left menu to touch the bottom bar. Do we not want this anymore?


The reason I put it at the top was because if we have a long list of skills, then that would make the menu extend all the way from the top to the bottom. It would feel weird for the player to first make their selection on the first menu near the bottom, then suddenly have the cursor placed at the top of the new list. (I didn't explain that well, but hopefully you get the idea).


ChopperDave wrote:2) I would change the st, wk, and rs to something else. Looking at that, I immediately think st means strong and wk means weak, not status and weak. Also, we have plenty of room, so we might as well go ahead and spell them out completely. We're not crunched for space. Make them something like:

Strong, Weak, Effects.


Maybe we could abbreviate status as sa then. I don't think it looks good spelling out those long words, because they make the important text (monster name + attack point) harder to read. This is something that can be changed pretty easily though.
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Postby ChopperDave » Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:20 am

It would feel weird for the player to first make their selection on the first menu near the bottom, then suddenly have the cursor placed at the top of the new list.


Actually that's pretty much SOP. Any RPG player would actually expect that kind of behavior.

because they make the important text (monster name + attack point) harder to read.


Then shrink the font. Make it small enough to still read, but so it doesn't compete with the monster name.

There are no good abbreviations for the three parameters. Regardless of what we pick it's going to seem unintuitive to a significant number of people. That's why I voted for the whole word.

But we can come back to that later when there's nothing more important to do.
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Rain
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Postby Rain » Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:27 am

Actually that's pretty much SOP. Any RPG player would actually expect that kind of behavior.
Thats true. Most of the item menus that I am accustomed to start off at the top at all item index screens, regardless of where the previous item screen left off at. It might be a nice function if we can incorporate a 'speed feature' so that items can be scrolled through quickly with little hassle and littler time wasted. Just a thought.
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Jetryl
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Postby Jetryl » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:20 am

Rain wrote:
Actually that's pretty much SOP. Any RPG player would actually expect that kind of behavior.
Thats true. Most of the item menus that I am accustomed to start off at the top at all item index screens, regardless of where the previous item screen left off at.


Yep.

Rain wrote:It might be a nice function if we can incorporate a 'speed feature' so that items can be scrolled through quickly with little hassle and littler time wasted. Just a thought.


Yep.
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Postby ChopperDave » Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:22 pm

It might be a nice function if we can incorporate a 'speed feature' so that items can be scrolled through quickly with little hassle and littler time wasted.


Explain.
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Rain
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Postby Rain » Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:55 pm

ChopperDave wrote:
It might be a nice function if we can incorporate a 'speed feature' so that items can be scrolled through quickly with little hassle and littler time wasted.


Explain.
For instance, in Final Fantasy Tactics, the item lists are incredibly long for certain screens. It would take quite a while to go from the top to the bottom. You can quickly scroll down them by holding the square button and holding down making the whole idea of going through the item screen in the first place, considerably less irritatable. Or better yet, we could organize the inventory screens so that they are easy to read and little to no scrolling is needed. Such as, each weapon or armour grouping having its own list. Case in point, refer to the inventory listings as they appear in Final Fantasy XII. Easy to navigate and ultimately very customizable. Certain features can also be implemented to make the more important or powerful armors and weapons appear at the top of the inventory list to make things more convenient for the player.
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ChopperDave
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Postby ChopperDave » Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:10 pm

So hit Page Down to jump down a whole page of items and page up to jump back up?
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Postby Rain » Fri Feb 02, 2007 8:32 pm

That could work. What I also suggest is to make item lists manageable to the point where no scrolling is needed. Thats a best case scenario and probably what we should strive for at first. That is, To organize each article or accessory to fit under its particular item compartment heading so that the player doesn't need to check one long list to see whether or not they have a potion, or a hauberk, or whatever. As a rule of thumb, the player should probably be able to find what they are looking for in the menu as quickly as possible. Its no fun having to dig for things because of a poorly organized item management system and it could frustrate people to no end. Most RPG's have a single item list which necessitates the need for scrolling. I am saying that we can make a Backpack/folder which contains separate compartments for each item name. 'Armor' , 'Weapon' , 'Item' , 'special item' , etc.

This will make things more organized and much easier on the eyes.

If you still don't understand quite what I mean, I recommend taking a look at how inventory is grouped in Final Fantasy XII.
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Roots
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Postby Roots » Tue May 15, 2007 3:26 am

We have some new issues to address here. ChopperDave has discovered that with our current layout, it is very difficult to squeeze in the name for the actions/items in the action menu on the left side of the screen. This is something we'll need to amend after the demo, but I had a spark of inspiration a few days ago so I've been fiddling with my battle layout draft image to come up with a design that I feel fixes this problem. Take a look below, but before you say anything in this thread about this image, you are required to read the rest of this post. :devil:

Image

First, notice that I completely removed the left side menu. It is gone. It is not present in any way, shape, or form with this layout. Instead, I moved the information that this menu displays to the bottom right hand corner.


Before we discuss the menu, lets discuss what I removed from the bottom right hand corner in order to get that menu there. What I removed was the character status icons and the enemy stats. Enemy stats I think is a clear ringer to remove because you can only see those when you have an enemy selected, so that space was empty during battles most of the time anyway.


The status icons you'll see are below the player's HP/SP bar, BUT that's not where they actually are placed in this draft! I just put them there to show that they are still a part of the battle, but that's not where they'll go (they won't fit when there's more than 2 characters in the party). I have two ideas for the placement of the character status icons:

#1: whenever the player holds down the 'swap' key, the HP/SP bars will hide, and that area will be replaced with the status icons. That way the player can always quickly take a peak at their character's status.

#2: Place that status icons to the left of the character sprites (where the left side menu previously was). You can see there's plenty of space here, although I don't think the icons would look very good just floating around there...



Now on to the discussion of the action menu. You'll see there are actually 3 menus there; but that's obviously not the way I am proposing we draw the battle screen, since we don't want to cover up the stamina bar or enemy sprites. From bottom to top, that is the progression of how the contents of that menu change with each action. In the bottom, you'll see the player selects the action type (attack in this example). The middle menu shows a list of actions and their SP required, with plenty of room for longer action names. We can only display about 4 actions at a time, but I think we can live with that. Finally the top menu shows the action that the player selected, and the enemy, attack point, and status of the enemy that is selected to execute the action on.


Other ideas I have thought of include displaying the selected skill's attributes (atk power, elemental effects, short description, etc.) when the player presses and holds the menu key when an action is selected. This info would go in the bottom right hand menu of course. It could similarly be used to display an item's description, etc. if the player selected to use an item.



Personally, I really like the idea of keeping almost all the GUI/HUD info solely at the bottom portion of the screen. It makes the screen look much less cluttered, is easier for the player since all the information (except for the stamina bar) is in a single place, and it makes it easier to appreciate the fantastic visuals of our battle sprites and battle background. Your thoughts?
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Postby Roots » Fri Jun 15, 2007 6:59 am

So, I never got any feedback to my post above. :( Now that the demo is out can we come back to this issue?
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Jetryl
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Postby Jetryl » Fri Jun 15, 2007 7:32 am

Roots wrote:So, I never got any feedback to my post above. :( Now that the demo is out can we come back to this issue?


:huh: WTH, I could have sworn I replied to this.


I short, your proposal rocks absolutely, and is generally a brilliant idea; the only thing I'd change is that I'd alter the gui used for a background on the currently red menu thingie.

I'd also find some other font for use here, or use a smaller text size, so that we could display text without cramping the status icon display.

So, major :bow: for you.
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Roots
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Postby Roots » Fri Jun 15, 2007 4:19 pm

I'm glad you like it Jetryl. :) I agree with you on the GUI/font thing. Right now the video engine only supports one menu skin at a time so we have to fix that, and yes I think we should change our font as well.


Anyone else have any issues with it? It would be nice to start implementing this in battle mode ASAP if there are no major problems with this design.
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Postby Drakkoon » Fri Jun 15, 2007 11:30 pm

I like the idea, but I suggest having the menus swap from right to left so that if the player is targeting an enemy, the menu would be to the left and if targeting an ally, it would be on the right.
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Postby Linds » Sat Jun 16, 2007 1:28 am

Mmm, really like the battle gui concept. Am I guessing this makes switchable GUI skins a priority? ^_^
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Postby Jetryl » Sat Jun 16, 2007 10:24 pm

Linds wrote:Mmm, really like the battle gui concept. Am I guessing this makes switchable GUI skins a priority? ^_^


Sortof - it would more entail being able to use multiple gui skins at the same time, for different things.

And also simply expanding our GUI to include more widgets and parts than it currently does.
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Postby Roots » Sun Jun 17, 2007 12:12 am

I am currently working on adding multiple GUI skin support, FYI.
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