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00Kevin

Alternate inventory screen design

7 posts in this topic

Most games today make use of Diablo style inventory screens or simple filtered lists like those used in Skyrim.

 

For my game, I've been considering alternative concepts to inventory screen design.

 

The concept I'm focused on right now is a tree structure.    The inventory system would make use of container items for nodes.      It would allow you to move items and even containers full of items between characters.  Now,  if I recall Ultima Underworld and even some of the old SSI rpg games like Ravenloft used this concept.     

 

stone_prophet_021eyhw.gif

 

underworld2.jpg

 

 

 

 

I think the inventory tree structure adds more realism to the game (which I like), but the only problem is that I just can't figure-out how it would work with a console controller.     The tree concept seems to be limited to PC games since drag-and-drop is essential.  Controllers are limited to a cut/paste like function that I'm not really sure is all that intuitive. 

 

If I did create a pc/console game that used a tree structure do you think I'd get a lot of flak for it?   

 

 

 

 

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Well, yes and no... When you're talking about inventory management with a controller I can't think of a game that's been acclaimed in that regard.  I think, for the most part, your options are going to be a choice between bad and less bad.

 

Of course, this is the sort of thing where people have vastly different ideas about what is good and what isn't, so there will be an element of damned if you do damned if you don't not matter what choice you make.  I think the key question you need to keep in mind as you move along is "Is it fast enough".  The biggest gripe you will ever get about inventory systems in general is when it takes too long to do some regular task.  If you have to hit some sequence of 7 buttons to transfer one item from Character A to Character B, then your system is fail, I don't care if its Diablo style, Skyrim style, or Tree style.

 

Consider this... you say drag and drop is necessary, I disagree.  Say you want to move something from one inventory (be that a characters inventory, a storage container, or a shop) to another.  At any given point in your game, how many possible target inventories could you have?  So you have Inventory A open, move the cursor to the item (or container) that you want to transer, hit triangle for transfer, and then your game pops up a list of places you could want to transfer it to with a button associated with each.  There's no need to move a cursor over to another inventory, so why make the player do so?

 

I could ramble on this topic forever, its one of my biggest gripes with all of gaming, lol.  Just do me one favor, for the love of god don't require an individual "are you sure you want to sell this" for every item you want to sell, ok?  :)

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Just to add to what Plethora has said, grouping also makes things much faster. Maybe you don't have a tree structure, but still allow players to group things or mark things in their inventory. For example press square to mark an item. That way when you want to sell, trade, or transfer a lot of items. you don't have to click through all of them. You just apply an action to an already existing group of items that the user has specified and the action is take for all of the marked items.

 

Just a thought.

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Isn't that the same as Diablo inventory system ?

Diablo 1 was released/ported for Playstation right ? Check it out.

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I never played Diablo 1 on Playstation, so I can't speak to that, but it wouldn't surprise me. Diablo II for PC was a well built game. Blizzard knows what they are doing.

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Definitly the UI you have thought of is cool but just focusing on the UI and not the functionality may fail the design.

So be sure that the scrolling should be fast and functionality remains as it is.

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Anti-controller bs always makes me laugh so hard. There is no limiting factor here other than your imagination and design skills. You don't need to drag and drop anything, because there is nowhere in there that actually needs that functionality, even on the PC.

Have a button to give an item. It will be removed from one list, and added to the other if there is room. If you have multiple characters, use a button label for each. Simple. Quick. Refined.

Have a button to equip an item. Items can only go in one slot so there is no specification needed. You can't equip a helmet on your ass. You can't equip a shield on your head. The one special case is right hand or left hand. Use the trigger buttons to select. Simple. Quick. Refined.

Have a button to drop an item. Simple. Quick. Refined.

In a shop, the button to select an item will buy it, and the button to drop an item will sell it.

If you are dead set on dragging things around, a typical standard controller has 3 pointing devices (d-pad, 2 tumbsticks) instead of just the one with your mouse. Use the right stick as a cursor, and push it in for your click. Edited by Daaark
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ok after reading your posts I'll take back what I said about drag drop being required.
 
Yes, transferring an item really isn't that bad. The player would just press the select button, move the directional arrow to select a target, and then press confirm.    Three button clicks.  
 
I really like what Overman suggested.  If you can select (Mark) several items and then move them into a container like a large sack the UI will be very easy to use with a controller.  
 
At the moment,  I haven't designed the UI at all.  In fact, it will be one of the last things I do.  Until that time, the game is working as an ugly windows form application.   Of course, I'm more focused on ensuring that the mechanics of the turn based combat system are working and designed well.  The good news is that all the game objects are finally talking to each other.  Once and a while I have sit back and refractor my classes and take into consideration how the UI and game animations will interact with my objects and methods.  I think that if my windows forms application simulates how the UI will function I'll be fine.  
 
So far I've designed the Inventory class to function as a tree and I think I'll keep it that way.       My initial concept was to create a more realistic inventory system that made use of containers (sacks within larger sacks) complete with max object dimensions.    Yes I know, with the path I'm going on I might need to include a "Grognard" gameplay option.  smile.png
 
Anyway, the inventory system in my game is very complex. I even have OneHanded, TwoHanded, and OneOrTwoHanded items.   In addition, the engine supports creatures with up to 6 equip-able hands (like the 6 armed troll I'm testing with).      The troll bites, carries a shield in hand 1, a mace in hand 2, a sword in hand 3, no weapon in hand 4 (which opens up his claw attack), and a huge axe in hands 5 and 6.        
Edited by 00Kevin
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