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Old December 24, 2011, 01:30   #11
takkaria
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nppangband View Post
Yes, it should all be an option, much like the windows are now. I do not want to take away or alter one bit of the current UI or the ability to play that way. I just want to give the player more flexibility. You should be able to turn on additional message lines, a section for inventory, equipment, etc.... on the main screen, and the ability to interact more with a mouse.

@Takarria - One question: Why does anything need to be done to have both text and graphics? Text already displays when the player is in tile mode. I agree with you that ASCII/text should always be an option.
I'm sorry, I wasn't paying enough attention to the detail what you actually wrote - it sounds like you want to enhance the existing terminal-style display rather than to have a sea change in UI design. I think that in order for graphics mode to be properly usable and integrated, Angband needs to be able to stop displaying tiles over an integer number of terminal grids, and instead of pushing graphics through the terminal layer, push them through a graphics layer instead. But in order to do that, you have to think about to have a display that is part graphics and part text without the graphics being displayed on the same grid system as the text. Does that make sense? I'm not sure if I'm being very clear.
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Old December 24, 2011, 01:43   #12
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Greetings,

I have come to pretty much the same conclusion in Hellband, which allows the player more flexibility what to show, it is all configurable with options which may or may not be to your liking. Quality of the code is not good enough to get inspiration from though..

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Old December 24, 2011, 10:06   #13
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I whole heartedly agree with your initial thoughts.

Is there anything worth stealing from Unangand where I've put together the following hacks to achieve:

a) Messages overwrite the screen display as required.
b) Removed the side bar and put everything at the bottom of the screen.
c) Mouse peek if you enable the correct options (Windows only).
d) Command abstraction allowing you to go object verb, rather than verb object. (The 'h'andle command).

More if/when I think of them.
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Old December 24, 2011, 10:52   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nppangband View Post
As a follow up to the discussions in the ASCII
Shockbolts gave us a gift in his tileset. They are an amazing improvement and gives us a screen display as nice as any roguelike has, but now we need a better layout to take full advantage of them.
Even the way the 64x64 tiles are used can use some work - I recently played the new 3.4 build with the tiles.

IMO it suffers from the same issue that has plagued crawl's tiles version for a long while (and to some extent it still does, although they have improved it a lot starting in 0.7 & every release after that).

And that is, even tho the individual tiles are nice, they are not arranged in a nice way - there isn't much of a consistent visual theme, the map in general looks too plain & the transitions between tiles are too stark/harsh.

Look at these 2 examples, one from angband+shockbolt and the other from my own game, Cardinal Quest:

Angband:


Cardinal Quest:


Both of these were taken a couple of steps into the first level, so they contain no fancy late-game stuff, just the most basic look.

My tiles are 16x16 (at 2x zoom), and are obviously not nearly as "hi-fi" as shockbolt, but there is a lot more variety: some ornaments on the walls and floors, some easy to do variations on the walls themselves (the green vines), slightly nicer lighting code, and generally some modicum of general style.

Now, I'm not claiming that CQ is some genius work of graphics design (there are many indie/hobbyist games out there that look a ton better), but this is what I managed to do in a game that was basically a one-man operation for most of its life with not a huge ton of work spent on graphics.

I dare say that while my individual tiles are far inferior to shockbolt's, using just a few relatively easy tricks (some graphical and some programmatic like the lighting) I managed to make the game look much better than angband.

-Ido.

PS - nppangband is of course 100% right, everything around the map needs improvement too (in both functionality and aesthetics), and this is something angband shares with almost all roguelikes.

Last edited by tametick; December 24, 2011 at 11:10.
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Old December 24, 2011, 10:55   #15
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I find this difficult to respond to, because I've been here, but I'm not at the moment. In fact, some of this is stuff I've basically given up on...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nppangband View Post
After looking at the screenshots of the most popular roguelikes in that poll (TOME, Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, Brogue, etc), I came to the conclusion that Angband's screen layout, while great for a 1980s game, is sad, pathetic and antiquated. I believe it is probably the single biggest reason why so many other roguelikes have a much bigger audience than Angband these days. If I were just starting to play roguelikes, I can see 10 other roguelikes out there I would play ahead of Angband, just based on first impressions. Shockbolts gave us a gift in his tileset. They are an amazing improvement and gives us a screen display as nice as any roguelike has, but now we need a better layout to take full advantage of them.
I think much of this is a matter of taste. I don't prefer any of those interfaces to Angband's - although I acknowledge that that may be habit.

Moreover - beautiful as Shockbolt's tiles are - I prefer ASCII. We are taught to recognise letters easily and quickly from a young age, so there is less concentration required to interpret what's on the screen. Also, it forced the player to get over the "this isn't realistic" feeling right up front - and once over that, what's on the screen is all just information, and the brain does the rest.

Quote:
Angband is still based on the Moria screen, which was 80x24 because that's what the size of monitors were in the 80s. There is one line at the top, and one line at the bottom for presenting information to the players, and 20 ( I think) spaces on each line on the left of the screen to present all relevant information. Why has this not changed?????? Why have we stuck with with this antiquated format all these years? Options for additional windows have been added for people who want to see more information, and that is a great workaround, but it doesn't address the issue. The displays of the main window have to be flexible.
The format is not bad - the map is central, as the most important thing, and the rest can be configured around that. The obvious improvement is to make that configuration easier; UnAngband has done this with the ability to separate the left-hand information, and FA had (at one point) the option to put that info at the bottom.

Quote:
Why can't Angband let the player choose as to what shows up onscreen, and/or have it pop up temporarily (for those playing on smaller screens, such as Ipads, or nintendo DSs), or display permanently (for those playing on much larger monitors).
The temporary stuff is a great idea - Immir did some of this for the DS port, but more could be done. For small screen play, what is really needed is the ability to zoom in and out (again, some of this is in the DS port), and possibly optional reduction of LOS and spell distances (as in a formed FA birth option).

Quote:
Why can't the inventory, floor items under the player, and equipment all have their own "toolbar" on the screen (see Crawl Stone Soup), with ASCII or tile representations of each item onscreen, so if the player wants to interact with that item, they can just click on the item, and get a menu of commands?
In my experience (and I tested this quite extensively a few years back) playing with just the mouse is good, and playing with just the keyboard is good, but trying to play with both is jarring and awkward.

When Psi and I developed the Windows CE port for FA, we set it up so that everything could be done with just the stylus. Psi went further and made a GUI bar for the (currently in other ports only text) mouse buttons, and an awesome "macro bar", where you could set up new buttons and bind macros to them. I started doing this for the SDL port, but (like so many things) never finished it.

Quote:
Why can't we display up to 5-10 lines of messages instead of just one (assuming they are recent, if they are more than 5 turns old, they should dissappear and the dungeon displayed in that space instead)?
UnAngband and some versions of FAangband have this.

Quote:
Why can't, wherever the mouse is at that current moment, a space on-screen be dedicated to telling the player what terrain is at that space, the monster at that space, and any objects that may be at that space as well.
This is a nice idea for screens with sufficient real estate, and may even be worth it for small screens.

Quote:
Why can't a list of possible commands be on-screen for the player to click if they want? Why do we make players learn 50+ keyboard commands to play the game?
Current Vanilla has this (command menu brought up with enter), albeit a little clunkily; older versions of FA did it rather better. The issue here is that Angband is a very complex and very long game, and that requires a largish number of commands and the ability to make customisable shortcuts. Some games have simple interfaces because a lot of the gameplay complexity has been stripped out. Wanting Angband to follow this lead is in some ways like saying "Fast food is more accessible and more popular than home-made salads. Why not just eat fast food?"

Quote:
Without my realizing it, a couple of months ago, the mission statement for NPP changed. I like the old Angband (from the 2.8x-2.9.x era), and I want to preserve it. I think it is a near-perfect game and in NPP I have always tried to add to it without taking anything away from it. I wish the devteam all the success in the world for all of the changes they want to make to Angband gameplay, but frankly, I don't think the roguelike community is going to care or take notice unless a better UI is developed first. Most of my time is going to be dedicated to UI improvements these days, that hopefully Angband and all of the variants can take advantage of.
I am delighted that you are going to try to make UI improvements. I have been tried to push this for a long time now, and have met sufficient indifference, inertia and sometimes outright hostility that I've given up. I wouldn't say I'm bitter, but I am a bit disheartened.

As for the roguelike community - I think, with all due respect, that we should largely ignore it. I think that looking at other roguelikes and getting ideas is fine, but it may well be that the reason Angband doesn't do the same things that other games do is that it is a different game, and that those things would not work. Certainly trying to make Angband more like <insert game here> is just cultural cringe, and should be avoided like the plague. The best thing to do is to make Angband excellent, but still Angband, in every way we can.
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Old December 24, 2011, 11:19   #16
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Originally Posted by takkaria View Post
2. Do you want to allow different platforms to differ in their functionality? I decided to design things so that this would be possible - so OS X has different conventions to Windows, which has different conventions to GTK and then again to terminal emulators. You might want the UI to pan out quite differently depending on platform. I think now it would be better just to treat these desktop platforms the same. I always wanted the game to integrate with the OS well, like a normal application, but it seems pretty obvious to me now that it was misguided and unnecessarily complicated.
I'm glad to read that

Games are not "normal" applications & shouldn't look like a text editor or a spreadsheet - it is more important for the game to have a consistent internal style than to fit in with the style of non-game applications on the host OS.

In fact we should actively try to make games not look like normal apps (I've made the same mistake myself with some poor choices of fonts & colors).
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Old December 24, 2011, 11:43   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tametick View Post


Now, I'm not claiming that CQ is some genius work of graphics design (there are many indie/hobbyist games out there that look a ton better), but this is what I managed to do in a game that was basically a one-man operation for most of its life with not a huge ton of work spent on graphics.
Wall decorations and wall variations have been painted, even 2.5D walls have been made, but the current Angband code doesn't handle the above yet..

example image pulled from the 64x64 tile thread:

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Old December 24, 2011, 11:46   #18
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Originally Posted by Nick View Post
In my experience (and I tested this quite extensively a few years back) playing with just the mouse is good, and playing with just the keyboard is good, but trying to play with both is jarring and awkward.
I am one of the apparently few people who play Angband with the default sized window, no subwindows, and the fact that it's entirely keyboard based with no in-game mouse movements is a big part of the appeal for me. Probably to do with why I play; I'm a writer, and I find it incredibly useful to have something that keeps my fingers engaged, constantly typing, while I'm composing my next line or paragraph. (There is nothing quite so bad for getting writing done as sitting poised unmoving in front of a computer, mentally chanting, "Come on, think, brain".)

So as a rule, I'm switching back and forth between two windows very frequently, and games that take up too much screen space or have interactive stuff pop up whenever you move the mouse across them make that a much more annoying process. That's the biggest thing that bugs me about playing Crawl: can't have the mouse anywhere over the window without unwanted hover info popping up under it.

So by all means, add lots of cool, whizzy stuff to the UI - just make sure all of it can be completely disabled, because for some of us playing in a single compact window with minimum interactivity is an important feature, not a flaw.
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Old December 24, 2011, 12:23   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
I am one of the apparently few people who play Angband with the default sized window, no subwindows, and the fact that it's entirely keyboard based with no in-game mouse movements is a big part of the appeal for me. Probably to do with why I play; I'm a writer, and I find it incredibly useful to have something that keeps my fingers engaged, constantly typing, while I'm composing my next line or paragraph. (There is nothing quite so bad for getting writing done as sitting poised unmoving in front of a computer, mentally chanting, "Come on, think, brain".)

So as a rule, I'm switching back and forth between two windows very frequently, and games that take up too much screen space or have interactive stuff pop up whenever you move the mouse across them make that a much more annoying process. That's the biggest thing that bugs me about playing Crawl: can't have the mouse anywhere over the window without unwanted hover info popping up under it.

So by all means, add lots of cool, whizzy stuff to the UI - just make sure all of it can be completely disabled, because for some of us playing in a single compact window with minimum interactivity is an important feature, not a flaw.
Same here, my "wish" for Angband is that the UI becomes graphical or at least comes with an option to view it that way instead of just text as it is now. I did make a poor example of it in another thread just can't remember which at the moment.

I've always played angband using the keyboard and I don't think adding mouse support will add to the gameplay itself, it would however speed up the monster/creature/item/trap identification process on mouseover compared to using the keys.
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Old December 24, 2011, 12:43   #20
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Mouse support is *vital*, not for existing players, but to grab the attention of new ones. It allows to start playing immediately and later, if they stick to the game, start to learn keyboard shortcuts.
Mouse should let you do most important things: casting, running(and I mean running; a single step per click is not good enough), using inventory, ...

As shockbolt just said, his tiles are made to have variations, wall corners & such.

Also, UI customizability, while it is a nice goal, should *never* be an excuse to not have a good default; you can't tell new players "oh this sucks I know, but if you fiddle with those weird parameters in this .prf file it'll be better". You can not and will never please everyone, but strive for the majority (and the majority(of players not RL players) expects mouse to be usable).

Angband has three big problems IMO: UI is not great (far better than many other RLs IMO but still not good enough for 2012), it encourages grinding too much (personal opinion obviously) and it lacks a real consistent theme.
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