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Old December 24, 2011, 23:29   #41
will_asher
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PunkCapitalist View Post
1. I think someone mentioned this in the early posts in this tread, but: have you thought about a DCSS-like who's on the screen feature? I mean, DCSS (Crawl) displays in it's right info column a list of monsters on screen. That worked MARVELS for me to get into that game, it is a neat feature.
2. A DCSS-like scroll-the-screen-as-you-move option (the way Angband scrolls the screen is a bit of a turn-off for me)
3. DCSS-like auto-explore funtion.
We already have #1 and #2 of your suggestions.
#1 is the monster list. Set it up by making a second window visible in the window>visibility dropdown menu. Then go to options (=) then (w) for subwindow display settings and you can set the monster list to show in the second window.
#2 is the "center map continuously" option. Go to options (=) then (d)isplay options and turn on center map continuously.
I always play with both of these things turned on.

We don't have any auto-explore. Personally I think the dungeon is too dense with monsters for an auto-explore to be useful.
There is a run command which helps move around faster when there's nothing dangerous nearby (I don't remember what the command is in the default keyset because I always use roguelike commands).

EDIT: Derakon beat me to it.
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Old December 24, 2011, 23:44   #42
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Sorry for suggesting things which are already implemented (just trying to give some imput )
You should give a thought on enabling some of these by default, a new player might be confused by the options, so offering for-noobs defaults should be a good option (remember: first impressions ussually stick). Angband was probably the first RL I tried, but didn't stick to it because I found the interface king of confusing (I then went on to Nethack, and latter Crawl.
I have never played a multi-window RL, I'll pick-up Angband to get a taste of it (although, I like playing in a single-window terminal style).
Sheers and happy festivities (is that the inclusive way to say it? hahaha)!
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Old December 25, 2011, 02:15   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PunkCapitalist View Post
You should give a thought on enabling some of these by default, a new player might be confused by the options, so offering for-noobs defaults should be a good option (remember: first impressions ussually stick).
Without changing the legacy/default options, couldn't this be accomplished easily by packaging several 'sets' of ini and/or pref files, and then giving the end user a few simple choices (splash screen) upon first execution.

1. I'm new to Angband and would like to try playing with graphics.
2. I'm new to Angband and would like to try playing with text-only (ASCII).
3. I've played games like this before. I'll set my own option in game.

Obviously, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Other 'themes' (sub-windows, etc) could be presented as well.

Aside, While I'm certainly biased, starting with the 32x32 tile set enabled just makes sense to me. Veterans presented with 32x32 tiles will know how to enable ASCII. Noobs presented with ASCII (as default) might not know or stick around long enough to ever realize that there are other options.
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Old December 25, 2011, 13:05   #44
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Many of comments and I think, barriers to entry into roguelikes and Angband in general, deal with the arcane interfaces. While after experience and help menu diving can yield understanding and eventually familiarization, new players will usually experience frustration and confusion. This is why you see RLs like ToME, DoD, CQ, etc fair much better with early adoption than the elder RLs. It is usually clear, or easy to discover what one can and cannot do. ex) hate it or love it, the ribbon interface in MS office did expose more features that generally were not known to all but the power users. ToME and DoD did exploit this concept and have done rather well because of it.

I think perhaps adding context sensitive menus, or implementing a branching UI interaction system that is obvious or apparent may help with exposing features and systems that may go unnoticed. (i.e., how helpful was that radial menu in Bioware's Neverwinter Nights when you first played it?) However, almost all of these will require a rethink in the existing screen space and ui framework. It may not have to be that pretty or fancy, but its usefulness is obvious as far as exposing features.

I also have seen keyboard-mouse 2D games work to great effect in games like S.P.A.Z. (not a RL, but it has a good keyboard+mouse implementation) and Realm of the Mad God. So, we know it can be done, but that doesn't mean that it should be done either. Keyboard + mouse on a desktop isn't bad, keyboard + mouse on a laptop or netbook would be horrendous.

Anyway, those are some thoughts.
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Old December 25, 2011, 14:07   #45
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A game should be fully playable with either only keyboard/only mouse/a combo of both IMO.

One thing that is sorely lacking in angband: a hotkey bar. Allowing you to assign a spell/item/.. to a hotkey in an intuitive way would go a long way toward making things easier.
It's near incomprehensible to me that in 2012 you still need to make a macro to cast spells in any efficient ways.
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Old December 25, 2011, 21:11   #46
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I've been thinking about this, and while that doesn't suddenly make me a UI expert, it did make me realise one thing. My wife got a new smartphone a few days ago, which is more powerful than any PC I ever owned except the current one - it's a 1.2GHz dual-core Samsung SII with 1GB of RAM. It occurred to me that Angband has been playable on phones since AngbandCE over a decade ago. The real problems were screen real estate (which is now solved with 800x480 WVGA screens) and UI.

Everybody tells me that the future of UI is gestures, not keyboards or pointing devices. So if we can make a UI that interprets gestures correctly, those of us who want to play on a desktop can just plug in a USB touchpad thingy to receive them. (I guess we can then set up our own keybindings if we want, or use the defaults.)

Has anyone done any UI stuff for phones using gestures? It's not something I know anything about. Are there libraries of any useful maturity?
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Old December 25, 2011, 21:47   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkGod View Post
One thing that is sorely lacking in angband: a hotkey bar. Allowing you to assign a spell/item/.. to a hotkey in an intuitive way would go a long way toward making things easier.
It's near incomprehensible to me that in 2012 you still need to make a macro to cast spells in any efficient ways.
Agreed. And I think roguelikes can learn a lot from modern MMORPG interfaces. In 2009 I played World of Warcraft, and immediatly after that I gave LambdaRogue a hotkey interface, which is still working fine. I miss this very much in most other roguelikes. Therefore, I am happy that ToME 4 also received such a thing, and I wish Angband had this, too.

I also think that such UI elements should float above the game world, prefarably moveable, instead of being put into ugly rectangular boxes.
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Old December 30, 2011, 19:35   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will_asher View Post
We already have #1 and #2 of your suggestions.
#1 is the monster list. Set it up by making a second window visible in the window>visibility dropdown menu. Then go to options (=) then (w) for subwindow display settings and you can set the monster list to show in the second window.
#2 is the "center map continuously" option. Go to options (=) then (d)isplay options and turn on center map continuously.
I always play with both of these things turned on.
You perfectly illustrate the whole problem.

Why is "center continuesly" not default, but turned off hidden 2 menue layers deep in a screen with a dozend other options

And it took me 3 years to find out how the window options work - not only do you have to manually activate windows, but they will not show anything until you dig deep into a totally different part of the configuration (window gui menues vs angband internal menue structure) for the options what to show in them.
(and half the time they do not show anything either until selection of a font, etc).
Not to mention that the last time i looked at vanilla, the whole process was not at all documented.

If you insist on windows, it would be a lot better, if:
- those windows were magnetic towards the main window
- something sensible was the default content instead of no selection
- some kind of hint was given to users that this option does exists

Also, it really does not help that all the options are in this convoluted mess of configuration dialog that has been growing for years.
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Old December 30, 2011, 21:43   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imsabbel View Post
Why is "center continuesly" not default, but turned off hidden 2 menue layers deep in a screen with a dozend other options
Frankly, I don't understand this either. The ToME 2.x options screen claims that this option is "slow". It is noticably slower even on modern machines, at least with the X11 UI, but that's just because the UI basically hasn't been maintained nor optimized for a long time.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by imsabbel View Post
(snip good points about the window options)
The number of open windows should definitely change dynamically based on what information screens you've chosen in your window configuration. It's absurd to have to invoke
Code:
angband -uCHARNAME -mx11 -- -n5
to get 4 extra windows.

Btw, why do I have to choose the name of the savefile (CHARNAME) on the command line, but I choose the name of the character separately?

(I realize that this isn't trivial to implement -- nor have I done so myself back when I was interested in maintaining ToME 2.x, but as long as we're throwing around ideas...)
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Old December 30, 2011, 23:11   #50
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I find "center continuously" to be rather annoying -- a single step means that the entire screen changes, which can make motion of other objects harder to track (especially since Angband doesn't have any movement animations). But then again I also play with a gigantic screen that means that I'm never close to the edge of the visible space anyway -- the jump-scrolls occur well clear of the view boundary.
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