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> Basic Client Requirements
Mole
post Mar 8 2005, 12:27 PM
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This topic is here to discuss basic requirements of our game client. These requirements can pertain to pretty much any operation or aspect of the client itself, including user interface, graphics, sound, etc.

This thread will be open until March 18 for general discussion and idea gathering. After that time we'll stop collecting ideas for incorporation into version 1 of our game client.


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silmaril
post Mar 10 2005, 04:10 AM
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I found parts of the GUI of wish ruining immersiveness. Especially the treeview/list interfaces looked too much like something from a financial application of some kind and not a rpg.

In addition it was terrible slow, which leads me to think the response time of the GUI should be higher prioritized than what it was for mutable realms.
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Lucky_Luciano
post Mar 10 2005, 07:34 AM
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In addition it was terrible slow, which leads me to think the response time of the GUI should be higher prioritized than what it was for mutable realms.
This was indeed a huge problem in Wish. The GUI slowed the game down tremendiously. We should do better here.
Also, to me the GUI of Wish was a bit too cluncky: the windows were big, a lot of different windows needed to be open at once (crafting anyone?), etc...
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Frith-Rae
post Mar 10 2005, 11:55 AM
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I agree - one of the only things I dind't like about WISH was the UI - it took up far too much room and wasn't customizeable enough as far as resizing, minimizing and all that.

For hints on how a good UI should look - go to Horizons - even bitter playesr usually agree its got one of, if not the best, UI in the industry.

WoW's UI isn't bad - but what they did (we might want to consider) is make it fully modable by players - so that players can add mods and have mods that adjust how the UI displays and what the UI displays and the olike - so if we don't want to devote our own time to getting that 'perfect' UI - then perhaps the WoW solution of allowing a certain leverl of player Modding of the UI would be a nice compromise.

I think a UI with the least amount of "additve" graphics is best, as it takes up less space. All windows should be resizeable, keys going horizontal and vertical at the players descretion, perhaps have a more "complex" display for each window as well as a "simpler" display for those who just want more efficient information without the extra graphics/boxes/etc. Or at least have bulkier graphical displays optional (i.e. turn off borders, change transparency, etc).


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Melanthe
post Mar 10 2005, 07:20 PM
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I like the "mod-able" idea. I use an unusual ergonomic keyboard and so almost any GUI made for normal kb's is difficult for me--the more custom I can make it, choose which hand I use to do what, the better.


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oom
post Mar 17 2005, 05:58 PM
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Might be an easy one but... "font size" selection. I like playing games with my screen resolution maximized and my font size minimised.

I also didn't like the tree-style interface Wish had.

Also I'd like to mention something I just made up called "smart opacity". If I have an interface with black text and it is night time and I happen to stumble into an unlit cave... my interface text should change to white. I guess it applies to my whole GUI rather than just my opaque windows... sounded cool though. :)

Cheers,
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Jerky
post Mar 17 2005, 07:02 PM
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Again, options are good thing. Most veteran MMORPG players are going to want to hide a lot of the clutter because they get fast and skillful at doing what they want with the GUI, but the noobs are going to need all those windows and such to get their bearings. So without a doubt, we will need:

sizeable fonts
sizeable gui windows
dockable/undockable windows
gui template for modders
opacity sliders
easily recognizeable icons (professionally done)
lots of options


BTW, what specific things in Horizon's gui and in WoW's do you like? Be specific. These requirement threads are where we need to be specific. Only one day left until the deadline!!!


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Samah
post Mar 17 2005, 08:57 PM
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Probably one of my favourite parts of the WoW gui was that with some windows you had the option to "roll up" the window. A good example is the Quest Minion in CosmosUI (for those that use it). That way the user can choose to see either the whole window, or perhaps a single line of text summarising the most important information on that window. The user could double click the bar/windowshade/whatever to expand the view back out to its default size.

Essentially, less is more. IMO, we kinda want the least actual 'GUI' we can, whilst showing the most information (or the most useful, as it may turn out).

Users don't want to be overwhelmed with a million icons and buttons when they're playing the game to have fun - if they wanted that, they'd go back to Windows ;)

Meh, my 2c.
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Lucky_Luciano
post Mar 18 2005, 05:06 AM
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sizeable fonts
sizeable gui windows
gui template for modders
opacity sliders
Roll-up windows


This is already possible with the current GUI we use.
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post Mar 18 2005, 02:17 PM
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Ergonomic mouse movement for repetitive tasks.

OK, not sure this fits here, but I think so. When you ask the player to do repetitive tasks, such as crafting tasks, then the location of the mouse clicks should be designed so that there is minimal need to move the mouse or the fingers on the keyboard to accomplish the repetitive task.

For instance, when the task window changes as each click produces a result, the NEXT CLICK should be located at or very close to where the mouse cursor is resting from the previous click.

So if I position the cursor over a selection from a list, such as:

Shafts
Arrow Points
Bow

if I choose Bow, and click mouse, and then another window opens with a another list of choices, like

Oak
Alder
Pine

that list should NOT be far away from where my mouse cursor is already resting (like on the other side of the screen, or way higher or lower). I should only have to move my mouse maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch at most to make the next selection.

The windows should move to do this, if required. That is, if the first section can be made in a wide range on the screen, say it's a long list or a scrolling list, then WHATEVER selection is made, the next window should open wherever the mouse is already, rather than the player having to move the mouse several inches repetitively.

Anything we can do to minimize the distance the mouse moves, and the movement of the arms/hands on the keyboard is extremely helpful for repetitive tasks. Combinations of mouse clicks and keyboard selections with the opposite hand are helpful for this.

As I mentioned above, i like to be able to customize keyboard selection, because not only do i use a relatively unusual keyboard layout, but I use my mouse left-handed. You wouldn't believe how awkward this makes some of the repetitive tasks using the default actions.

And I have carpal tunnel (and I don't want our players to get it from playing our game!)

Obviously we should make our defaults as ergonomic as possible based on a right-handed mouse user and standard kb layout, but giving the customize option is critically important too. Otherwise =I= won't be able to play this game, and I wouldn't like that at all after being on the dev team! ;)
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Mole
post Mar 19 2005, 02:09 PM
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Some other things that I've thought of:

- customizable mouse buttons. let the user select what button they want for what. most people probably use a 3 button mouse, but we should also include support for mice with more buttons.

- customizable keyboard commands. Naturally we will have keyboard shortcuts to perform certain tasks (like open a window for example). Users should be able to remap the keyboard command to anything they like if they don't like our defaults.

- a set of default options and the ability to reset all options to those defaults.

- the ability support multiple monitors. Wish had this and everybody liked it. Being able to play the game on one monitor and have all of the internal windows (like chat) on another monitor was something that everyone liked.


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Jerky
post Mar 20 2005, 11:37 AM
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I think Ogre3D brings in all the possible bells and whistles that I could have hoped for graphically. But over the next two years (or whatever) we need to make sure to keep our eyes on the way gfx cards are going, to make sure that we are still 'with it' enough to say that our game will still look good.

I had no idea that Wish supported multiple monitors (I just barely set mine up!), so I think this would be a great idea. I think this would depend on ogre's capabilities, so if it not in, maybe we could get someone to patch it in (in a reasonable amount of time).

How bout being able to adjust the amount of swap the game client takes up. Or at least have the client beable to dynaically try and take up what is best for a system. People with mega-systems (or at least decent ones) like to be able to utilize all that horse-power, so being able to up the settings manually could be a good plus. (again I don't know where ogre stands in this department).


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Mancer
post Mar 21 2005, 01:54 AM
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I'd like to add keeping the Client usable on old hardware while using new hardware to its fullest as a requirement.

Ogre3D has 3 main renderers , DX7, DX9 and OpenGL. From what I've seen of Orge its possible to choose a different renderer when you start any ogre program. So at least in theory it will be possible for us to use Ogre to keep up to date with a lot of future capabilities (it still requires us implementing things like shaders etc for the new hardware, but most of the 'grunt work' is done by Ogre) and keep backwards compatability with old hardware.

Wish's multi-monitor support was actually done via the Win32 api (they were standard windows toolbars with skins), at least as far as I could tell. I believe this is one of the major reason behind the menu/control lag and of course why they didn't implement transperant menus (if they were done via OpenGL/D3D transperancy wouldn't have been hard to implement). What they gained from using Windows toolbars was perfect multi-monitor support, it was just Windows drawing them and that works fine across multiple monitors. I don't even know if its possible to have an OpenGL/D3D screen across multiple monitors, I do know multiple windows are possible which may be possible to exploit for dual monitor support.

Disclaimer: I never actually played Wish with dual monitors, but did see screenshots of it.... and was jealous. :) I may be wrong about how MR did their menus but everything I remember about Wish lead me to believe that is how they did the menus.

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Lucky_Luciano
post Mar 21 2005, 05:57 AM
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Ogre3D has 3 main renderers , DX7, DX9 and OpenGL. From what I've seen of Orge its possible to choose a different renderer when you start any ogre program. So at least in theory it will be possible for us to use Ogre to keep up to date with a lot of future capabilities (it still requires us implementing things like shaders etc for the new hardware, but most of the 'grunt work' is done by Ogre) and keep backwards compatability with old hardware.

There is already vertex- and pixel-shader support in Ogre (both for "assembly", Cg and HLSL). The shaders themselves need to be written of course, though there are a lot of "template" shaders available on the net (like Normal mapping, dynamic water, etc...) that can help us going.


Wish's multi-monitor support was actually done via the Win32 api (they were standard windows toolbars with skins), at least as far as I could tell. I believe this is one of the major reason behind the menu/control lag and of course why they didn't implement transperant menus (if they were done via OpenGL/D3D transperancy wouldn't have been hard to implement). What they gained from using Windows toolbars was perfect multi-monitor support, it was just Windows drawing them and that works fine across multiple monitors. I don't even know if its possible to have an OpenGL/D3D screen across multiple monitors, I do know multiple windows are possible which may be possible to exploit for dual monitor support.

Exactly, while dual monitor support was an amazing feature (if you had two screens :)), it also slowed down the GUI tremendiously, because they, as Mancer said, render it using Windows, instead of Direct3D or OpenGL (which we do) via the game-engine.
I fear that, with the current set-up dual monitor support will not be possible for Project Wish. On the other hand: we have a performant GUI and many features that can help to reduce the GUI: roll-up windows, full transparancy, a fully modable GUI because of XML support, etc...
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Melanthe
post Mar 21 2005, 10:50 AM
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I've watched this discussion with interest. I also never knew Wish could play on 2 monitors, and agree that while it sounds cool, if it slows anything else down, or takes away from anything else, its not worth it. The percentage of players using dual monitors would be pretty small, I'd think, and the Oh Wow factor probably isn't gonna make too many go out and buy a second one. ;)

Only if it can be acheived w/o negatively affecting anything else should we consider it. :)


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Mole
post Mar 21 2005, 01:10 PM
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Dual monitor support was kind of laggy, but it wasn't too bad if you had a big beefy machine. If implementing support for multiple monitors is going to bring the client to a screaming halt, then it is NOT something we want to try to do.

I haven't done any research into seeing we we could do it with we DX or OpenGL so I don't know if it is possible. If it is possible, then we should look to include it. If it's not possible, well, then we just won't do it. :)

With all of the other features that our GUI will have, multiple monitor support may not be as important.


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Frith-Rae
post Mar 21 2005, 02:09 PM
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ok you wanted specifics :).

First the better of the two UI's - Horizons (and if not hands down the best UI available out of box for any MMO at this time...)

Its pretty much - entirely customizeable. You can resize and replace EVERY window you could bring up. You can adjust the opacity - so you can choose to have "totally see through" on many boxes (group, chat, and target/char info window - right now come to mind), or you can have a total black background - which can help with processing speed. Or some variation in betwen.

The windows for targeting characters, and your own char, info can be made really small - and still give you all the information you need (level information, skill bars showing your HP etc). You can choose to have a "more detailed" display where it has like name, or current attack/ability qued up - or you can go for a "simple" display where its just colored bars with no type.

The hotkeys - you can display as MANY hotkey bars as you like (there are 10 total in HZ, less in WOW) - and you can put them on top of each other, or vertical, or horizontal. You can also make these transparent as well - on a slider. ANd you can make them display "simple" mode (no arrow buttons or numbers listed to exchange bars) or the complex mode - where it does have the arrow keys up/down on the hotkey bar, along with the hotkey bar number displayed.

You can form more than one chat window, and you can create with MUCH specificity everything that gets displayed in each chat window. Your tabs *BLINK* when there is a new message there. This Is missing in WOW and let me tell you, its very missed! WoW also has a good degree of "customization" of their chat options, but not as quite as much as HZ. It really needs to be seen first hand how very easy it is to control, as well as easy the interface works back and forth - to be appreciated. I'm not sure I can describe it in enough detail.

All the inventory/charaater/ability/spellbook/map and such windows can be Minimized to a single bar - which can be placed anywhere on screen. This is very helpful when crafting and such - where you can easily trade out windows by minimizing/maximizing and then storing the bars out of the view window for easy access.

The map - HZ has a great Map. WoW's is alright - but not as user friendly. HZ map zooms in and out, is markable as much or as little as you want to mark it personally (with notes and locations and such), and you can resize the window to as small or as big as you like. Its also searchable and has position xx,yy displayed. Very useful :).

Their "basic action" toolbar (sit, craft, attack, stand..etc) you can either have with icons and words for a bit bigger window, or you can use the "simple" version which is just Icons and much smaller. And the entire box is size adjustable so you can make it square, rectangle - take up two lines or just one - and the icons reposition themself as you resize the box. It may not sound like much, but its really nice for those of us who like to get rid of all the "extras" once we know how to get around and have a more "bare bones useful" UI with maximum viewing space.

Planesthif's "basic action" toolbar is like 1 inch tall and takes up the entire top line of the screen - you can minimize it to get rid of the whole thing, but that isn't very "efficient".



What WoW UI lacks "out of the box" (though you can get most of these abilities with the player UIs) is mutiple hotkeys bars (which really bites - and supposedly going to be fixed with the next patch whenever that is going..), a map you can make notes on, and minimizing windows that can stay on your desktop, and all moveable windows. And even the bottom hotkey bar, right now the "only" hotkey bar, with all the "basic action" buttons is immovable. It takes up the whole bottom line of the screen adn you can't get rid of it - take anything out - move sections around - nothing.

Which trust me - Horizon was my first MMO - I had no idea the other Ui's weren't as nice. And when I played other games, I always missed something, if not lots of things that created an easier play experience.

And as much as I loved WISH - the biggest thing I had a problem with was the bulky UI and was hoping they narrowed down the graphics and other things we had no "choice" of having. It was just "big" oversized windows that really annoyed me.

Oh - and make Hotkeys either pretty small *ala HZ* or size adjustable *ala WoW*. Hotkeys that take up an inch in space are just pointless and take up room I'd rather use to see my surroundings.

hope that helps and begins to get detailed enough :). All I can think of off the top of my head.


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Mole
post Mar 21 2005, 03:38 PM
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I liked some aspects of the Wish hotkey menu, but other aspects I found clunky.

I liked that you were able to assign hotkeys to just about every action. That was nice. I also liked that there were plenty of slots available for assigning hotkeys (144 of them).

The thing I didn't like was that most of them were only available after a few mouse clicks. I also didn't like that you could only display 2 rows of hotkeys at a time.

If we're going to allow hotkeys, then we need to give a good number of options and make all of them selectable with various key presses (and those key presses should be configurable).

For example, row 1 could be just the function keys. Row 2 could be <ctrl>-<function>. Row 3 could be <alt>-<function>. Row 4 could be <shift>-<function>. Row 5 could be <ctrl><alt>-<function>. Etc, etc.

This would let you have multiple hotkey rows and be able to select them as you see fit. This seems confusing at first, but only until you work your way up to using them. Obviously the new player wouldn't be using everything, but someone who has been playing the game for a long time might.


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Pashta
post Mar 22 2005, 10:05 AM
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Horizons did have a good UI. The transparency feature was awesome. It's a good model for PW. Whatever else you do, make as much as possible customizable!


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