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Harrison0807

Seeking feedback for interface design

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       I'm currently in a game interface course and working on an interface project. I'm hoping to get some feedback about three specific functions of my current interface design. The game is a first-person RPG. 

 

       Firstly, I've included a quick-select bar that can be mapped to the numerical keys on the keyboard, 1-8. The bar itself will be located center-screen along the bottom, and each position in the bar will display its number. Each space in the bar can hold an item or potion, or some type of action like a spell or skill. Players can add whatever they'd like to the bar and easily access each by simply striking the corresponding numerical key.

 

       I've also included a function for sheathing and readying a weapon. This function is performed by pressing the "R" key. I wanted to keep the button close to the movement keys (W, A, S, D) so the function can be easily accessed without much hand movement or searching for keys. When characters have weapons in-hand, they move slower for more precise actions in combat. When simply travelling and not in combat, sheathing the weapon allows for faster movement.

 

      The final function is an auto-walk function. Activated by pressing the "Q" key, the auto-walk function carries the character forward continuously until the Q key is pressed again, or until the player uses W or S to walk forward or backwards manually. Strafing with the A or D keys can be done simultaneously with auto-walk without stopping it. Looking around and aiming are done with the mouse, so utilizing the auto-walk function frees the player's left hand while the character is simply travelling.

 

     Any feedback or suggestions for these functions would be great. Thanks in advance.

      

 

      

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As for the skillbar design, if it includes anything from an inventory whose contents can be depleted (or any skills that have a limited number of uses, etc.) that number should also be displayed as well. In addition, you should find some way of greying-out the skill slot when the skill/item is fully depleted as a visual cue that it cannot be used. If there are timers that must be reset before a skill can be used again (cooldown), you should either have them greyed-out as well (though I would suggest a slightly different variety as to differentiate the appearances of the effect), or, if you can, grey it out WITH a colored circle of some kind that acts as a visual representation of the cooldown timer (perhaps even with another number displaying the countdown).

Both of the other methods seem like they meet the standardized interpretations of any generic MMORPG, so I would say they are basic, intuitive, and clear. All good signs. I assume there is a difference between using the left and right mouse buttons for LOOKING / CHANGING_DIRECTION functions? That would make sense as well and players would likely expect to see it.

 

Are there any other functions planned?

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Same as above.

 

Apart one thing : using an AZERTY keyboard myself, the first thing I would want is customizable keys.

There's plenty of good indie games I will never buy because the developer couldn't be arsed to think outside of QWERTY, don't do the same mistake smile.png

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Same as above.

 

Apart one thing : using an AZERTY keyboard myself, the first thing I would want is customizable keys.

There's plenty of good indie games I will never buy because the developer couldn't be arsed to think outside of QWERTY, don't do the same mistake smile.png

 

All buttons would be customizable, the ones here are simply for default control scheme and example. I appreciate the point about different keyboards. I initially considered customization for lefties and personal preference, but I hadn't really considered different keyboard layouts, an important (in my opinion) consideration.

 

 

 

 


an inventory whose contents can be depleted (or any skills that have a limited number of uses, etc.) that number should also be displayed as well. In addition, you should find some way of greying-out the skill slot when the skill/item is fully depleted as a visual cue that it cannot be used. If there are timers that must be reset before a skill can be used again (cooldown), you should either have them greyed-out as well (though I would suggest a slightly different variety as to differentiate the appearances of the effect), or, if you can, grey it out WITH a colored circle of some kind that acts as a visual representation of the cooldown timer (perhaps even with another number displaying the countdown).

 

Excellent points. I'll certainly tack these ideas into the design. Perhaps a colored shade to represent skills/spells in cooldown that dissipates somehow to signify the time remaining of the cooldown? And a grayed out item on the bar or perhaps complete removal of the item with a graphical and/or audio effect to signify that an item has been depleted? As far as mouse functions, looking/aiming is done with mouse movements, left-click is used for attacks and selections, "right-click" I'm toying with ideas for but nothing really concrete yet. 

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The following is what i usually like to see regarding those points, I don't know if it's the same for everyone (probably not).

 

Regarding cooldowns, the issue when playing with transparency only (not sure that's what you meant, though) is that it can be hard for the player to notice exactly when the ability is available again. Maybe you could put a semi transparent bar, or better, a gradient (from transparent at the top to near opaque at the bottom) that decrease in size. So it's easier to differentiate between 'ready' and 'next to ready'. You could also make the icon flash when it's ready to use again.

 

For the items, or lack thereof, consumable should get a greyed out, so the player knows he doesn't have them anymore without the need to rebind the item when he buy some more of it. But weapons/equipments (if you can bind them) no, because if he doesn't have the weapon anymore, it most probably means the player removed or sold it on purpose, so he doesn't need this shortcut anymore either.

 

And, yes, audio queues are always a plus. You don't need a "You don't have any mana potion left" voice-over, in fact you don't want it as it can get annoying quickly, just some quiet 'dong' / 'bip' / whatever is plenty enough smile.png

 

For mouse buttons, well that mainly depends on what the player can do.

If you find nothing really useful, you can still bind it to an ability (like the primary spell / ability of your hero / class ...)

Edited by SerialKicked

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I imagine some people don't like to move slower with sword drawn in some games. I can see myself designing something like that in a game and people criticizing me. But given the genre and the audience playing (tends to prefer complex over simple), it might be okay. I don't really play many first-person RPGs to know. But I prefer a Zelda style:

 

Can sheath sword or draw it

Runs the same speed whether sheathed or drawn

Tends to get slower in combat by automatic means (locking on)

 

Everything else sounds good though. Instead of just auto-walk, how about auto-attack as well? Gives players a break.

 

The Last Story, a third-person RPG, did an extreme in the other direction. It had no auto-walk, but unless you turned it off, auto-attacking was always on. It was how you pretty much played the game.

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as a hard core simulation purist and RPG fan, i'd say movement with weapon drawn should slow movement based on the weight and awkwardness of running with the weapon drawn,   the game should not speed up or slow down for combat - it totally messes with your timing. 

 

there's also a trend towards "less is more" in the way of onscreen UI in shooters.  so a "weapons hotkey bar" at the bottom of the screen becomes a popup quick menu, and only info about the currently selected weapons is shown, and then only when needed, and then fades out.

 

check out this thread for more info on default input controls for shooters:

 

http://www.gamedev.net/topic/654182-common-default-control-mappings-for-fpsrpgs/

 

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