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WFTO Wednesday #57: Player Research

Seb

Player Research
WFTO Backer
Jan 25, 2014
17
17
40
#61
Hey Enjou!

Overall I approve of the new UI design. Minor suggestions:
1. Move the Objectives panel to the bottom right corner instead of top right. I think it would be more aesthetically pleasing by making the overall design more symmetrical. The worker and rally flag buttons could also be moved down.
As I stated in an earlier post, the bottom right corner is the 'crush zone' for lower-res displays, and is likely to need to stay empty at this time. Rally flags could certainly be better placed (and probably smaller than the mock-up suggests)

2. You need a payday countdown somewhere - doesn't have to be on all the time, but at least mouse over on the gold resource bar. Perhaps an hourglass icon or a clock giving an estimate to payday would work.
I believe it is due to be hovertext and/or mouseover on the gold bar as suggested.

3. The gold bar for gold make sense as to what resource it is, as does the purple bar for mana bar, but what is the red bar? It couldn't be sins, given that you've got a counter for that already and a progress bar surrounding it.
Ritual progress (we've talked to the team about colouration for the different resources - red is legacy only at this point)

What do you all think of the central Sin bubble, with the Veins of Evil mounted to it?
 
Nov 13, 2013
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#63
Ritual progress (we've talked to the team about colouration for the different resources - red is legacy only at this point)

What do you all think of the central Sin bubble, with the Veins of Evil mounted to it?
For ritual bar coloration, what color do you have in mind? I would like it if it changed based on the ritual type you were preparing, so red for wrath, blue for sloth, and green/yellow(not sure which was chosen) for greed.

I have no complaints about the sin button, I think it is fine :)
 
Likes: [Epic] Cubano

Enjou

Ember Demon
WFTO Backer
Jan 10, 2012
1,315
785
545
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#66
As I stated in an earlier post, the bottom right corner is the 'crush zone' for lower-res displays, and is likely to need to stay empty at this time. Rally flags could certainly be better placed (and probably smaller than the mock-up suggests)
That's sensible. One solution could be to change it's position based on the game's resolution - on very small resolutions put it in the top right, and on larger ones where you have the real-estate put it on the bottom. 1024x768 is likely the lowest resolution you'd need to be concerned about since the number of people in today's market are highly unlikely to have less than that, and gamers are even less likely to have such a low screen resolution.

Ritual progress (we've talked to the team about colouration for the different resources - red is legacy only at this point)
Consider having the icon show which Ritual is being prepared where the gem is - Rituals aren't fired off automatically on completion, so a reminder of which Ritual you have prepared or in the works could be helpful.

What do you all think of the central Sin bubble, with the Veins of Evil mounted to it?
I rather like it. It's a nice centerpiece to the top of the UI and given the importance of keeping track of that resource it's good to give it a place of prominence.
 

Jobs2k

Skarg
WFTO Backer
Dec 29, 2012
390
149
370
Stevenage, England
www.minecraftforum.net
#69
What do you all think of the central Sin bubble, with the Veins of Evil mounted to it?
  • So far I'm liking it but I'm wondering if it is actually the most important thing to be slapped in the face with. Isn't it highly likely that people will spend all available sins the moment they start so they can unlock the rooms they need to get a dungeon up and running? At that point it's a waiting game for the next one which will probably be spent just as rapidly on the next room needed.
    After a while the rate at which sins are generated will increase for the people that spec into the relevant vein but they will still be looking to spend them quick, right?
    I'm thinking that, while drawing attention to sins and their subsequent Roots Of Evil is important, it's central positioning isn't as desirable as your Core's health or a payday timer.

    Basically: the sins will read 0 most of the time so it would be better for things that are slightly out of your control to take the prominent position for ease of monitoring.

  • As for the creature panel: 'The Sixth Button' should be at the right end ( ---> ) of it and it should have the least amount of 'stepping' in size. By this I mean that the minimap is taller than the buttons to its right, which are taller than the creature panel area. Keeping a certain uniformity in sizes is my preference.

  • Does the area on the bottom right really have to be dead?
    Is it difficult to put the objectives panel down there for higher resolutions and have it slide in from the right?
    Maybe for the lower resolutions it can still slide in but have it above the creature panel area?

    Either way, I feel that a small button with a '«' or '»' on it that shows or hides it will help everyone cope with it's existence. :)
 
Mar 5, 2013
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Brisbane, Australia
#70
I think this is looking really good so far. It's not hogging up much of the screen space (and I particularly like the inclusion of the shrink display button :)). Sorry about the upcoming wall-of-text.

As a few people have already mentioned I think hotkeys (1 through 5) would work fine to control rally flag creation and selection to pick them quickly without having to skip around the screen with the mouse. Having the icons on the right gives an easy representation of what groups you have available. Is there a way to tell exactly what units you have in each group though?

What do you all think of the central Sin bubble, with the Veins of Evil mounted to it?
I like it, the tree looks great with all the rooms and the colouration behind them. Does the red bubble represent anything? I realise the number is how many sin points you have accumulated, wondering if it might also be an indicator of remaining health in the dungeon core.

The Unit Panel is a really tricky problem - trying to display (what is essentially) a spreadsheet in a useful, beautiful and usable manner. I'd especially like to hear about functionality that players feel could be removed from the unit panel in order to afford an opportunity to tidy it up a bit.
I'm wondering about unit happiness, does a happy creature work/act differently to a neutral creature? Will they work harder, fight better, move faster, be stronger? (sorry couldn't help but throw a silly Daft Punk reference in :p) Or do they just walk around with a figurative grin on their face? If there isn't a difference then the only relevant information there is which ones are unhappy and if that's the case I'm not sure that it requires a tab dedicated to it. Instead it could be handled by things like notifications, a discolouration over the creature numbers and an angry face on the info bubble that floats over their heads.

wfto.png (I really like the portraits taken from the original design artworks)

In this image (apologies for the MS Paint grade editing, and kudos to Rhasta - I stole your mockup) I've replaced happiness with a Level toolbar listing units from highest to lowest levels. In this image there is an angry level 2 Necromancer, indicated by the red number next to it. From here you could click to pick him up or right click to zoom to him. Obviously there would have to be a notification to accompany this when he becomes angry so you are aware of it. The problem though is if it was the 3 that was red, that could mean 1, 2 or 3 level 3 Necromancers are angry and clicking might not necessarily get you to the angry one.

Another idea, have a notification appear on the left of the screen with a window/info bar informing you that you have angry creatures: (apologies for the tiny size, stole this from a DK1 battle bar screenshot to get creature icons).
angry.png
This shows an individual icon for each angry creature, the bars under the icons could represent their level of unhappiness and they are arranged from least angry to most angry from left to right. The one on the far right has reached boiling point and his icon has begun to flash red. From this panel you could left click to pick up the angry creature or right click to zoom to them. This way you can have more than one angry creature of the same race represented individually.

Of course, if there are reasons for us to know what and how many creatures are happy and neutral then everything I've said can be disregarded :cool:
 
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Enjou

Ember Demon
WFTO Backer
Jan 10, 2012
1,315
785
545
35
#71
  • So far I'm liking it but I'm wondering if it is actually the most important thing to be slapped in the face with. Isn't it highly likely that people will spend all available sins the moment they start so they can unlock the rooms they need to get a dungeon up and running? At that point it's a waiting game for the next one which will probably be spent just as rapidly on the next room needed.
    After a while the rate at which sins are generated will increase for the people that spec into the relevant vein but they will still be looking to spend them quick, right?
    I'm thinking that, while drawing attention to sins and their subsequent Roots Of Evil is important, it's central positioning isn't as desirable as your Core's health or a payday timer.

    Basically: the sins will read 0 most of the time so it would be better for things that are slightly out of your control to take the prominent position for ease of monitoring.
I'd hardly call it being slapped in the face, and I don't think there's another resource that it makes sense to have put in that place. Also, given clicking on it would open the Veins of Evil it makes quite a bit of sense given their location on the screen.

Also, I disagree with the notion that people will spend available sins immediately. At the start of the game, most likely the player would spend everything immediately. But as the game progresses people aren't going to spend them immediately. You aren't necessarily going to have the gold to spend on the room you're currently inclined to pick, so it may simply be better to leave the point unspent in case you need to change your priorities and need a different room sooner. Having an extra two or three sins unspent could be very useful when it comes time to alter your strategy.
 

Jobs2k

Skarg
WFTO Backer
Dec 29, 2012
390
149
370
Stevenage, England
www.minecraftforum.net
#72
I'd hardly call it being slapped in the face
I didn't mean that in quite the negative way I now realise it could be read. I was saying that the top-middle area of the screen is a good place for alerts or things that generally require some attention/monitoring. The things that are out of your control like Core health and payday might work better in that area.

You make very good points about the Sins and Veins though and I'm not going to bitch about the current use of that that area of the screen. I'm completely comfortable leaving it up to what the Team feel is right for the game. I just felt I should put my view forward.
 

Enjou

Ember Demon
WFTO Backer
Jan 10, 2012
1,315
785
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#73
The things that are out of your control like Core health and payday might work better in that area.
I don't think health of the Dungeon Core generally needs to be displayed in the UI, just as it wasn't in certain other games. The vast majority of the game the health will remain at 100%, and if it's at a point where the enemies are bashing at it you're either going to die horribly or the enemy army will have died in the attempt and you're going to counterattack.

Payday, as I previously suggested, could best be represented by the icon for the gold resource bar, or alternatively a sub-part of the bar that gradually decreases until you hit payday.
 
Nov 13, 2013
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#74
Also, I disagree with the notion that people will spend available sins immediately. At the start of the game, most likely the player would spend everything immediately. But as the game progresses people aren't going to spend them immediately. You aren't necessarily going to have the gold to spend on the room you're currently inclined to pick, so it may simply be better to leave the point unspent in case you need to change your priorities and need a different room sooner. Having an extra two or three sins unspent could be very useful when it comes time to alter your strategy.
Agreed, it's like having "opening builds" in SC2 that you do in the early game, and then you scout your opponent and move on to one of several strategies depending on what your opponents strategy is.

Like lets say your thinking of some early aggression and get a beast den. Then, you see your opponent via prophecy and see he predicted you(or is just really paranoid) and built up a strong early defense with so many ramparted ballista and other traps that any early beast pressure would be suicide.
If you already invested your next couple of sins into aggression like upgrading your beast den and underminers then your in trouble. But if you left a few points on the side for just such an occasion, then you can put them into greed instead of wrath, out-expand and out-tech your opponent, and steamroll him with a powerful mid-game.

So I'm pretty sure that the flexibility of being able to change up your strategy in a reactionary fashion will make leaving a couple of points in reserve a very good idea :)
 
Jun 28, 2012
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#75
Impressive! The mockup already looks very accessible and comfortable to use. A few final revisions and I think youll have it set :)
 
Mar 5, 2013
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Brisbane, Australia
#77
Payday, as I previously suggested, could best be represented by the icon for the gold resource bar, or alternatively a sub-part of the bar that gradually decreases until you hit payday.
There seems to be a horizontal progress bar behind the number value of your gold. I'm guessing this means that payday will occur when the gold bar is full, working as a countdown timer. Either that or it is showing how full your vault is.
 
Dec 14, 2012
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#78


Overall this UI looks pretty solid to me with Only two things I would like to point out;

It looks to me like the lower right hand corner is underused, I would recommend increasing the size of long panel under the information panel to extend nearly all the way to right. You also might want to increase it's height
I'd rather maximize visibility of what the player can see. However I do agree it will feel a bit odd while in use when portions of the display seem to be arbitrarily unused.

I'm pretty iffy about the objectives panel being so large, I think it might work better as a panel accessed from the pause menu like in several other RTS games I have seen. Also, that is a pretty decent sized panel that is not being used in multiplayer, which most of the time has one simple objective (kill the other guy/guys) that doesn't change.
Perhaps make this an option that can be simultaneously accessed from a UI section of the games Options screen as well as a hotkey to toggle on/off?

I could only see such an area of the screen being taken up with objectives being useful/convenient/necessary if in the campaign we frequently have our objective change, which is possible, but I still think it would be better if that corner was being used for something else. Mostly because I could see experienced players getting annoyed by having a screen constantly reminding them what they need to do. I think it would be better if a player could access it if they forgot their objectives, but it shouldn't be there all the time, because it isn't USEFUL all the time(only useful if you forgot your objective) like knowing a variable which changed far more frequently, like gold,mana, creature number, etc.
If it only shows one objective at a time then it could dynamically shrink vertically to minimize the amount of the display covered up by it, without compromising the display of the current objective. However if it is intended to show the current objective as well as previously completed objectives or if there are situations where you're presented with multiple objectives simultaneously then I dunno, making the Objectives Panel toggleable is the best way to handle this.

Edit: I also saw that the top right hand corner is not being used, but I see that notifications stack up on the right hand side, so I agree that it would be best to leave that place unused so as to leave maximum room in case of notification overload or some such
I believe you mean the Top Left corner? I have a suggestion: Top Left corner = gameplay events/notifications, they appear at the top and more recent events/notifications appear below the current event/notification. Bottom Left corner = Single Player Cheat Input/Multiplayer Chat :), messages appear from the bottom and newer messages appear on top of previous message.

Feature request: Customizable opacity of (Presumably) translucent chat (and event/notification if my other idea comes to fruition) background.
 
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Mar 5, 2013
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Brisbane, Australia
#79
I could only see such an area of the screen being taken up with objectives being useful/convenient/necessary if in the campaign we frequently have our objective change
I might be wrong, but there could be objectives that require you to reach a certain area of the map. The objective window is there to point an arrow in the direction the objective is to your current position. To prevent that from simply meaning 'dig this direction', there would likely be empire units or impassable ground that may hinder your progress towards it making different approaches a better option.

Perhaps make this an option that can be simultaneously accessed from a UI section of the games Options screen as well as a hotkey to toggle on/off?
I would also like a hotkey and a button to shrink the objective panel, like the shrink display panel button you already have the in the overview design you posted. This way we can get it out of the way if it's unneeded at the time and we wish to clear screen clutter.
 
Dec 14, 2012
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#80
Any thoughts on not having the UI flush with the edge of the display? Most (all?) RTS's I've played have had the UI flush with the edge of the display which basically renders the UI "Dead Mans Land" as you can't see or predict anything happening behind the UI.

If the UI was instead positioned say 5 - 15 pixels away from the edges of the display then you would be able to see enemies entering from all sides of the display and be able to predict (to a degree) what's going to happen, as well as simultaneously be aware of the presence of an enemy and thus can pan your view to prevent the UI from being a problem and see what they're doing (I suppose the minimap might be "good enough" for this though).

Aesthetically this kind of change might cause the UI and playing field to appear cluttered/cramped but it's an interesting idea, at least to try out.

Alternatively make the edges of the UI that are closest to the display edge, translucent.
 
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