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UI Mockup 1

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Here is a design mockup of the game ui, basicaly done just to get an idea of how it might look.

The ui will consists of 2 main parts.

The Inventory:
The Inventory is an expandable 'bar' of inventory items, when you pick up an item it goes into this bar.

Clicking on an item makes you 'hold' the item.

The Radial Menus
The Radial Menus are context-senstive action choices, when you click on somthing in the game world you are presented with a list of actions, such as.

Look At,Take,Push,Pull
Talk To,Open,Close,Use

Pretty standard stuff.

Furthermore, if you have an item in-hand it chances the potential list, take this for example:

If you are holding a key and you click on a door, your options are likely to be.

'open door with key'

In this example:

you are holding a crowbar, and you click on a person, your options might be.

'beat man with crowbar'
'give crowbar to man'

pretty standard adventure stuff; the goals for the UI are to make it exceptionally intuitive, graphically appealing, and really contribute to the gameplay (through a wealth of potential options)
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I give both thumbs up and thumbs down. Let me explain --
Your design seems to come heavily from old Lucas Arts adventure games -- a good thing -- but reminds me the most of the MI3 UI design.

So what is wrong with that? Well, the puzzles in the old SCUMM engine's were more intuitive because there was a FINITE number of actions that could be performed. Unlike MI3, where there were many unknown scripted actions based on item to item context.

You see, renaming the generic actions for context sensitivity isn't bad at all. Infact, it makes the game much more appealing. Instead of having something read "put oil on gear", I would rather read "lather oil on gear." Context sensitive, but in this case, synonyms for the same action.

What happened in MI3 was that they often would use verbs that were NOT SYNONYMS for any of the typical SCUMM actions. You would think to yourself of the generic SCUMM actions you could take, and realize it didn't make sense with any of the items you had. But because the items were context sensitive, all of a sudden an item would gain a special property action -- and it wasn't just a synonym change. Sure, I suppose you could claim that "use" is generic enough a verb from SCUMM that any action constitutes a synonym change -- but we all know that is a fairly tongue-in-cheek argument.

Unfortunately, I can't actually think of a specific example from MI3, but I think you know what I am talking about.

So remember -- context based synonyms for typical SCUMM actions good, random new context based actions bad.

Good luck man.

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From what I remember from Monkey Island 3 (which is a bit of a blur these days), the only actions available were "look at", "hand" (use/push/pull/manipulate/get) and "mouth" (talk/eat/lick/pull with teeth). The "mouth" action was the one that stumped me a few times, as it usually mean "talk to", but could often do other things as well. Frankly, the lack of verbs made that game a bit too easy for a seasoned adventure game player.

I don't think you'll have that problem with your present design, as you've got the full set of verbs from the old Lucasfilm games. The only possible problem is that you might have too many options for that radial menu (if you include inventory in there as well). I think the limit of eight actions that NeverWinter Nights uses is ideal, as you can map the numeric keypad to the actions for quick use.

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the system is still in development of course, you will be happy to know I have considred this. Part of solving this problem will be to insure we dont make puzzles that stump people in such a bad way (but some people seem to like that?) i think a large part of the problem is that puzzle (bite off cork) required you to use the bottle on yourself (fairly rare action) and of course it sort of abused the 'parrot icon', I think with proper implementation (full set of verbs) and careful design (not many hard puzzles like that) we should be okay.

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Hehe, that's the exact puzzle I was referencing. "Bite off cork" [rolleyes].

If I can make a suggestion, I'd make this next title a true blue adventure game, and leave out any RPG-esque action components entirely. That way you can advertise that as a feature to the die-hard adventure game fans. I've got a sister who loves the old school graphical adventures, but hates RPG games, and I'm sure there are heaps out there who are similar (enough to support an indie game, at least). You can then use that to your advantage when advertising your game.

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yup, I can see how people would think this game would have RPG elements in it. The only thing RPG about this game is that it is in Isometric View (RTS? =D).

but yes it is going to be a true adventure game, laden with humor and drama alike.

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Cool. I'll be sure to tell my adventure game loving siblings when the game is released, as frankly the genre is extremely poorly represented these days.

(I love adventure games as well, but I also love pretty much every genre out there, so it's not so much an issue based on my tastes).

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I only wish there was more I could say about it now, things are still pretty sketchy.

ildave1 and I went over some more UI details tonight and decided to go for a slightly different system which allows for more view-space and overall easier use.

more on that later =D

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