Engine Ideas/Suggestions

Report any bugs or ideas/suggestions that arise during testing of the Alpha Build Version 5

Engine Ideas/Suggestions

Postby slowdive » Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:58 am

Share any ideas or suggestions that come to mind while testing the engine
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Re: Engine Ideas/Suggestions

Postby Lurking Grue » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:32 pm

In a bit of a rush, so I'll keep this brief.

The character record, as it is now, is way too wide for my tastes, plus the character portrait in it is freaking huge, taking a lot of screen real estate (too much, IMO). I would like it to be changed to a more "page-like" orientation, being longer than it's wide. I did two VERY fast sketches of what I had in mind (they're more than a little rough, sorry). The first has Skills, Traits and Spells (spells are not shown, I forgot them in my haste) in their own tabs, which are choses by clicking their name/tab. The second has them all shown at once, side by side as they are in the alpha v5. I'm not sure which one I prefer; I just threw these sketches together as possible lay-outs of the character record. Both for discussion and as a proposition. What do you guys think? Yay or Nay?

Sketch 1:
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Sketch 2:
Image
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Re: Engine Ideas/Suggestions

Postby slowdive » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:48 pm

Hmmm, both look great, but I'm leaning towards the first one even though it'll be more challenging for me to getting working with the tabs and looking good. May need to be done with buttons instead of the tab control (the journal uses the tab control... c# control)...hmmm
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Re: Engine Ideas/Suggestions

Postby Lurking Grue » Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:19 pm

Ha, got a few minutes! I'm quickly going to write my impressions of the alpha v5. I played the Lanterna module about an hour today, finished the kobold caves before running out of time. First and foremost, well done, Jer! The engine has grown considerably and is advancing towards beta by leaps and bounds. Kudos!

OK, here's what I wrote down as I played the module (these are in no particular order).

- If you have the character record screen open and accidentally press the game's (and not the charcter records's) close window button, the "are you sure you want to quit" window pops under the character record and is not clickable. You cannot move or close the character record at this point, as the game expect you to answer yes or no to if you want to quit. Bit of an awkward moment. Solution: Have the quit pop-up window open on top of any other windows.

- LOS calculation needs some work. Often walls near the PC (even adjacent at times) remain unseen (black) as if there were no LOS to them. Also, further down the line (once more important issues are dealt with), it would be nice to add some "edge softening" (or whatever it is called) to the border of your LOS range. As it is now, the knife-sharp black squares showing blind areas are quite jarring. Blurring and/or softening the edge of those squares would be more pleasant to the eyes.

- Love the item pictures!

- Door options (pick, bash, leave) were great! Very good! However, one seems to be able to see through closed doors at the moment. That needs fixing.

- Talking animals remind me of Narnia and Wind in the Willows (talking badgers!). Warm, fuzzy feelings all around. :)

- Minor Regeneration spell name doesn't fit the button it's on (in combat "Use spell" window).

- We really, really need a remaining moves counter for PCs in combat!

- Currently you can't cast spells out of combat, that's a bit iffy. Would like to be able to at least cast healing spells out of combat.

- There was a constant bug (of sorts) when Rilian(?), the pre-made fighter dude, executed attacks vs a single foe. Probably trying Cleave against a single foe and encountering error there. The error message (in a pop-up window) was something like "Call target has caused an exception" (rough translation as it was not in English).

- When trying to add points to the Concentration skill on level up, there's an error, with the game complaining something about negative values, even if the skill value was positive.

- The range of spells and ranged weapons needs to be shown.

- Dead monsters aren't properly deleted from the map, but can remain colored red in half-limbo on the map. Confusing as it's not certain if they are dead or not.

- Sleeping monsters (slept with Sleep spell) can still do attacks of opportunity.

Aaand I'm off again. Gots to go!

Keep up the good work, Jer! Oh and even if these notes of mine were mostly about fixing something or other, I don't mean to sound negative. Not at all. I'm very impressed by your work, Jer, very impressed how much is already possible with IB. *two thumbs up*
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Re: Engine Ideas/Suggestions

Postby youngneil1 » Mon Jul 22, 2013 10:07 pm

I did two VERY fast sketches of what I had in mind


Great job, Grue. Really am impressed every time you do these studies/prototypes of interfaces. I would opt for option 1, too. Fells more compact and as spell and trait lists will grow, it's good that they get more space by being fully displayed in central window.
I wonder if actually some greyed out preview of all available spells and traits for this class/race combo could be shown (minus secret ones; there could be a property in the trait and spell wizards, like "showInChracterScreenEvenIfnotAllPrerequisitesMet). Idea here is to enable character planning while in char screen even between level ups. I think there's some mind game going on when one contemplates about the future development of this character and dreams ahead a little. Sorting would be important then tough: The already gained spells and traits should always come first.
Finally seeing that the character screen fills only some part of the screen, how about displaying inventory at the same time by default? More overview with one click/button.

LOS calculation needs some work. Often walls near the PC (even adjacent at times) remain unseen (black) as if there were no LOS to them. Also, further down the line (once more important issues are dealt with), it would be nice to add some "edge softening" (or whatever it is called) to the border of your LOS range. As it is now, the knife-sharp black squares showing blind areas are quite jarring. Blurring and/or softening the edge of those squares would be more pleasant to the eyes.

totally agree, especially it's strange that LoS blocking squares directly in diagonal neighbourhood are not shown. "Edge softing" sounds cool, perhaps even add gradual darkness, so that there will be 50, 75 and 100 percent darkened fields (wrote some stuff about LoS models in th lbog I think). Together with softing this should give a nice look of fading light and lurking Grue, aeh, danger :lol:

- Door options (pick, bash, leave) were great! Very good! However, one seems to be able to see through closed doors at the moment. That needs fixing..

Would indeed lend more suspension (and immersive "realism") to doors and blocked, unknown rooms. OnCollsion might help here as the LoS blocking field with the door prop would not have to be entered then.

- We really, really need a remaining moves counter for PCs in combat!

The range toggle in the lower left corner visualizes this. But I agree, an additional number counter of moves remaining would be very helpful.

- Currently you can't cast spells out of combat, that's a bit iffy. Would like to be able to at least cast healing spells out of combat.

Good point, same for active trait and skill use. Speaking of trait use, those traits that are passive, e.g. require no click on the" use trait button" should be removed from the use trait list. There should be two properties for each trait in the wizard (displayInCombatUseTraitListForActiveUse and displayInWolrdMapUseTraitListForActiveUse ). Same perhaps for spells and skills that cannot be cast/used in combat / only in combat etc.

- Dead monsters aren't properly deleted from the map, but can remain colored red in half-limbo on the map. Confusing as it's not certain if they are dead or not.

- Sleeping monsters (slept with Sleep spell) can still do attacks of opportunity.

Yepp, noticed both of these, too.
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Re: Engine Ideas/Suggestions

Postby slowdive » Tue Jul 23, 2013 5:12 am

I did some work on the Character Sheet...still needs a little more polishing

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Re: Engine Ideas/Suggestions

Postby youngneil1 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 6:19 am

Nice one - makes a good and sorted impression. The Misc window is a little bit empty right now, how about adding these and changing the order a bit (so old info is in my list to; [text in these brackets is not for display, but just to explain here]):

Armor Class [ideally with some calculation like "Armor Class: 18, Base 10 + Body Armor 4 + Off-Hand 1 + Dex 1 + Trait 1 + Misc. 1"
Damage Reduction [like above with calculation]
HP/HPMax
SP/SPMax
Initiative [the modifier that decides combined with a roll the position in the initiative order]
Attack Range (current weapon) [read out the value for the currently equipped weapon, eventually modified by e.g. traits]
Number of Attacks (current weapon) [read out number of attacks allowed with currently equipped weapon, likely depending on BAB]
Attack Modifier (current weapon) [read out attack modifier with currently selected weapon; in case of multiple attacks list it like: "Attack Modifier: +6/+1"; showing calculation, per attack then, would be fine here, too]
Base Attack Modifier from class level (just the level based modifier)
Damage (current weapon) (read out damage range from currently selected weapon, modified by STR, traits, etc., so it might be: "Damage: D8 + 4, STR +1, Weapon +1, Trait +2 ; as alter on we will likely want two-weapon fighting, the engine could check for an off hand weapon, too, and if it finds one, it could display "Main hand damage" and "Off hand damage" in two separate lines; note: this could become necessary for the above attack and damage stats , too, then)
Negate Damage Reduction (current weapon) [a bit of an experimental stat; there might be weapons that are especially good at penetrating armor; should lead to some nice weapon switching depending on wheter the target is heavy or only lightly armored; Damage reduction negation will never grant extra damage beyond the target's reductuion value, so it's quite different from a raw damage bonus]
Crit Range (current weapon) [like e.g. Crit Range: 20 would mean that crtical hits require a roll of 20, while Crit Range: 18-20, would indicate that also a roll of 18 might cause a crit, if confirmation roll succeeds]
Crit Multiplier (current weapon) [like e.g. Crit Multiplier: x3 would mean that a crit with this weapon will do thrice the damage, i.e. cause three damage rolls]
FORT save [rather self explanatory, showing calculation would be great]
REF save [rather self explanatory, showing calculation would be great]
WILL save [rather self explanatory, showing calculation would be great]
Movement Points [Number of movement points available in combat; note: there might be armors or encumbrance rules reducing this, traits increasing this; perhaps again show calculation]
Carry weight allowance [optional for those modules with individual encumbrance rules; could be shown like e.g. 120/110 which would indicate that this character already carries 10 more weight units than he can handle without penalty]
Encumbrance penalty [optional for those modules with individual encumbrance rules]
Free Skill Points (unspent Skill points; note it would be fine if these could also be spent between level ups)
Free Trait Points (unspent Skill points; note it would be fine if these could also be spent between level ups)
Free Spell Points (unspent Skill points; note it would be fine if these could also be spent between level ups)
List with temporary status effects afflicting /benefitting this character (a list with key words like Poisoned (Black Lotus), Diseased (Zombie Rot), Blessed, Bleeding, Turned to Stone, etc.; ideally a mouse over or somesuch might explain the consequences of the particular effect)
Number of enemies killed (just a fun stat for ending the list :lol:)
____

Comments in addition to that:
- attribute modifier resulting from attribute boni should return, e.g. "STR 18, +4" (also a mouse over tool tip could show which other values are affected by this part stat to what extent)
- A "show class description" button would be nice, so a user could look up any time details like HP per Level, SP per level, text description of class, etc.
- I would move "party gold" to inventory section as it is about material belongings
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Re: Engine Ideas/Suggestions

Postby Lurking Grue » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:02 pm

Yes! That new character record screen looks a lot better, a lot. Great!

It would be nice to see ability modifiers alongside the attributes (e.g. STR: 12 Mod: +1). Quickly eyeballing it, there would appear to be room for that in the box.

As Karl said above, the Misc box is quite empty now and is in need of filling up. Karl made a pretty much 100% complete list of items to add there (he's a thorough guy ;)). From his excellent list of ideas, I whipped up the following sketch at work (quickly before anyone notices... ;)) made with crummy Windoze Paint (ain't got anything fancier at work). I used a little too big font, so I couldn't fit more than one line/row for status effects, but ideally there would need to be another line under the first, in case there are multiple status effects affecting the PC at once (which is more than likely). This would be the place to find out what the single letter symbols (talked earlier wrt to combat UI) on the portrait actually mean, like P = Poisoned, B = Bleeding, P = Petrified (turned to stone), etc. Once more, apologies for the poor quality, there's not much one can do with MS Paint (while trying to look you're actually doing your job and not drawing UI sketches... :lol: ).

Image

The weapon data shows your currently equipped weapon and your attack bonus with it, plus how much damage it will do (and range and effects of a critical hit). Dual wielding would be a problem for this, though...

I agree with Karl, that party gold doesn't need to be on character record screen and that it ought to be shown on the inventory screen instead. Same place, the inventory, can hold the Encumbrance info (Carry Limit, current ENC and possible penalties from it) too, so as to not clutter the character record with too much info.

Urk, gotta go. I'll be back!
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Re: Engine Ideas/Suggestions

Postby youngneil1 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 1:50 pm

Just loving these visualizations :D

The key info is sorted here in a very charming manner. What could be added is this:

Attack Range
Off-hand/Main-Hand weapon (with separte damage, to hit, crit range, crit value)
Nummber of attacks (per hand then; eahc with to hit modifiers, like Main Hand +7/+2, Off-Hand +6/+1)
Free skill, spell, trait points
Number of enemies killed :D

As the list is very likely scrollable it should be no problem to have some of (less important info) appear in the initailly hidden part of the scrollable list (like free points or enemies killed). Oh, how about allowing some freely definable entries te the end of the list, read from globals. Something like e.g. "Party Reknown", "Permant crippling wounds", "hunger state", "Titles acquired",... or whatever else an autor comes up with? If a global with name "characterInfoEntry1" exists, it's value is placed at the end of the list. Same for "characterInfoEntry2", "characterInfoEntry3", etc.
___

I agree that all the weight and carry info as well as party gold are best placed in the inventory section.
___

What still is missing (but also cluttering) is all the calcualtion info that explains what factors go into the calcutaion, like Damage: D8+4, STR +2, Weapon +1, Trait +1. Might be best to use mosueover info for this? So the claculation appears once the player hovers the mouse cursor over "Damage: D8+4"?
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Re: Engine Ideas/Suggestions

Postby Lurking Grue » Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:17 pm

youngneil1 wrote:Attack Range
Off-hand/Main-Hand weapon (with separte damage, to hit, crit range, crit value)
Nummber of attacks (per hand then; eahc with to hit modifiers, like Main Hand +7/+2, Off-Hand +6/+1)

Yes, there would need to be an optional space for an off-hand weapon, but maybe it could only appear when the PC is dual wielding. I'd guess dual wielding will be relatively rare with most classes not doing it at all, so it would be wasting space to put a permanent space for off-hand. Or? For multiple attacks per round, I'd hope a basic +x/+y notation would be sufficient (e.g. BAB: +7/+1 and lower on weapon stats Attack Mod: +8/+2, etc.) and leave it at that. Mouse-overs would ideally handle spelling out calculations (AC = 10 + x + y +z) and explaning things in more detail.

youngneil1 wrote:As the list is very likely scrollable it should be no problem to have some of (less important info) appear in the initailly hidden part of the scrollable list (like free points or enemies killed).

Yes, however, there is more room to be taken from the Description box as it doesn't really need that much space, IMO. Extending the Misc. box downwards a bit could bring more info on the screen without the need to scroll down a list. But for the more "less needed" info, it could very well be put on the bottom of the list, requiring some scrolling down to see it.

youngneil1 wrote:Oh, how about allowing some freely definable entries te the end of the list, read from globals. Something like e.g. "Party Reknown", "Permant crippling wounds", "hunger state", "Titles acquired",... or whatever else an autor comes up with? If a global with name "characterInfoEntry1" exists, it's value is placed at the end of the list. Same for "characterInfoEntry2", "characterInfoEntry3", etc.

Yeah, this would be grand! It would enable module writers to do custom attributes and stats, like Reputation or Thirst/Hunger. Great idea!

youngneil1 wrote:What still is missing (but also cluttering) is all the calcualtion info that explains what factors go into the calcutaion, like Damage: D8+4, STR +2, Weapon +1, Trait +1. Might be best to use mosueover info for this? So the claculation appears once the player hovers the mouse cursor over "Damage: D8+4"?

Yes, I'd hope to put these calculations in mouse-overs to avoid information overload (and cluttering up the character record). There's a lot of info packed into it as it is. Mmmmm, lots of nice, crunchy numbers! Yummy. :geek:

By the way, you must've played Das Schawrze Auge RPG (aka "The Dark Eye" in English) a lot, as your damage abbrevations look like they're written in the DSA/TDE books and games using its rule system (the good old Realm Of Arkania or Drakensang games, for example) -- that is, writing D8 compared to e.g. 1d8 of D&D. I'm not very familiar with DSA myself, I have the English version of the current edition's rule book on PDF but haven't read it fully, but I understand DSA is (was?) a very successful RPG in Germany (equalling or exceeding D&D even).
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