Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Categories

Axis & Allies 1942 Online is now available in Early Access! Buy it on Steam. The FAQ is available.
New Premium Module: Tyrants of the Moonsea! Read More
Attention, new and old users! Please read the new rules of conduct for the forums, and we hope you enjoy your stay!

Making it Work: UI Skins

DeeDee Member Posts: 10,447
edited August 2016 in UI Discussion and Workshop
The discussion here brought up the subject of the Siege of Dragonspear UI skin, which we've been calling Dragonskin.

There are a couple of ideas and proposals that have been mentioned, though nothing specific has been mocked up:
  • The skin doesn't fit with the first campaign in BG:EE. It should only be used for the Siege of Dragonspear campaign.
  • The skin may be too dark for some people on desktop platforms.
  • It would be nice to be able to select from a list of available skins instead of being stuck with whichever one is currently installed.
Be aware that the discussions and proposals in this thread are advisory only; nothing is guaranteed or promised for future implementation. All we're doing is discussing and honing the ideas.

Post edited by Dee on
JuliusBorisovsparkleav00zim00DoubledimasAdul
«1

Comments

  • NatregNatreg Member Posts: 98
    I think each game should have it's own skin (I'm counting Siege as a game instead of an expansion here). this gives each game it's own personality. This will also help in the case of certain windows that are now showing the old UI instead of the SoD one (Black Pits ending for instance).

    Having an option to select which skin to use is also a good idea, but in that case, consistency should be a priority, meaning that certain windows (Black Pits ending again as an example) should be reworked for all different skins.

    00zim00
  • RatatoskrRatatoskr Member Posts: 359
    Personally, I'd like each game to have it's own skin and then also be able to pick which one we want to use for each game. So SOD could have it's own default skin, but I could switch it to use the BG1EE or BG2EE versions if those work better for my computer or I just get tired of it. So I guess I agree with Natreg.

  • smeagolheartsmeagolheart Member Posts: 7,086
    I love the Siege skin and want to use it in all games.

    Still, I'd support a option to swap between skins if you want. And the ability for modders to create additional skins would be cool.

    I personally would never change from Siege to bg2 or bg1 variations.

    darkmoon500
  • RatatoskrRatatoskr Member Posts: 359
    And I'd probably play every game with the BG2 skin if they let me. That's why options would be the best :smile:

    Ravenslight
  • RavenslightRavenslight Member Posts: 1,609
    I say the following with all due respect to everyone who really likes the SoD UI skin. I do realize that some people do.

    I personally find the SoD skin much to dark and very much out of sync with any of the previous versions of BG or BGII.

    For me, the SoD skin is so dark, unappealing and out of character, that I literally can’t stand to look at the screen long enough to play the game. I would not be interested in playing any game that came with such a depressing skin.

    I certainly would not want it to be used to replace either BGEE or BGIIEE ‘s current skins.

    As has already been mentioned here, I think that having the option to use the BGII skins for all three games would be a good compromise. The BGII skin has been used for modded BG games, using something like Tutu, for many years now and people seem to like it.

    It would have the added benefit of Beamdog not having to consider the cost of creating entirely new skins for players who don’t like the SoD one. They already have them.

  • AdulAdul Member Posts: 1,912
    The option to pick from installed skins (including modded ones) would be welcome.

    I miss the old grey stone UI. :cry:

    Ravenslight
  • BillyYankBillyYank Member Posts: 2,732
    Adul said:

    The option to pick from installed skins (including modded ones) would be welcome.

    I miss the old grey stone UI. :cry:

    Given the strength of nostalgia among us fans, I'm really surprised no-one's announced they're working on a mod for that. It would be a lot of work, but at least it's feasible now, and they could craft it screen by screen so they wouldn't have to get everything done before releasing anything.

  • AdulAdul Member Posts: 1,912
    BillyYank said:

    Given the strength of nostalgia among us fans, I'm really surprised no-one's announced they're working on a mod for that. It would be a lot of work, but at least it's feasible now, and they could craft it screen by screen so they wouldn't have to get everything done before releasing anything.

    I'm surprised too. I remember there was a mod for Tutu/BGT that transformed the BG2 GUI to the original BG1 grey stone graphics, and the author did a really great job adjusting the screens for the new resolutions and adding appropriate tile elements wherever necessary. I haven't seen anything similar done for BG:EE, unfortunately.

    Would that I had more artistic ability, I'd try to do something about it myself, but alas...

  • RatatoskrRatatoskr Member Posts: 359
    Well, the more options the better (and it might be fun to play with the old stone one for nostalgia's sake sometimes). But I think having at least the big 3: Bg1, Bg2 and SOD at minimum would be good. Everyone has their favorites and we're probably never going to agree completely on which one is the best.

  • gugulug5000gugulug5000 Member Posts: 233

    Well, the more options the better (and it might be fun to play with the old stone one for nostalgia's sake sometimes). But I think having at least the big 3: Bg1, Bg2 and SOD at minimum would be good. Everyone has their favorites and we're probably never going to agree completely on which one is the best.

    They could even throw in the Icewind Dale UI and any future UI's that come from new games/expansions. More choices is always good.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,200
    Just let the player choose which skin they want to use. All of these games are on the same engine, why can't the skin be interchangeable?
    - BGEE
    - SoD
    - BG2EE
    - IWDEE

    Lots of people find the SoD skin too dark and visually difficult, but I love it, I think it's the most appropriate one for this game world (maybe tied with the IWDEE skin). I never liked the BG2 skin, the Giger-esque stuff is simply out of place in an AD&D game. (IMHO!)

    Mr2150smeagolheart
  • RatatoskrRatatoskr Member Posts: 359
    I'd vote for those 4 at minimum, maybe the old stone one too as a bonus :smile:

    And I like how the consensus on this thread has pretty much been "options, please" from the beginning. It's the one thing we haven't been arguing about.

  • PeccaPecca Member Posts: 1,960
    edited September 2016
    It was noted in other UI discussions, that the most probable way of this happening is when all games have the exactly same layouts of all screens, so changing UI skins would be only a matter of changing graphics and not positions of elements.
    Currently there is one major difference between SoD and the rest - the main menu. I think it would have to be agreed here which one to keep for all games.

    SoD has:
    -Buttons arranged clearly in a column
    -Changing campaigns, loading, continuing a game possible from the first screen
    -Background graphics extended for bigger resolutions

    BG2EE has:
    -Buttons arranged in a "circle" at the center, only six slots there, but unmistakable BG2 trademark design
    -The first screen only allows to select a campaign, has a different design
    -Background only covers 1024x768 space, the rest is black

    Most likely some mixture of these points has to be made. Keeping the superior functionality of SoD while keeping the BG2 circle design too.

    DanathionAdulJuliusBorisov
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,560
    SOD is personally my favorite main menu. I was never a huge fan of the circular-ness of BG2.

    Mr2150
  • ThelsThels Member Posts: 1,326

    And I like how the consensus on this thread has pretty much been "options, please" from the beginning. It's the one thing we haven't been arguing about.

    Well, that's kind of a given. Having options for other people to pick never affects your own interaction in a negative way, so why not have the options there.

    Of course, options means more work on the developer end, so the developers will have the weigh the gain of each option against the additional workload it provides.

  • PeccaPecca Member Posts: 1,960

    SOD is personally my favorite main menu. I was never a huge fan of the circular-ness of BG2.

    Mine too. Both vanilla Icewind Dales and vanilla BG1 had this setup (with a picture background), along with a vast majority of other games. The circular layout is pretty much specific to BG2 only, yet it was adopted to all EEs (except of SoD). It is pretty limiting, on the other hand it kind of belongs to BG2 (but only to BG2).

    ThacoBell
  • lefreutlefreut Member Posts: 1,422
    Thels said:

    Of course, options means more work on the developer end, so the developers will have the weigh the gain of each option against the additional workload it provides.

    It means more work now but in the long run it will be easier to update the UI if the same code is shared between all games.

  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    It doesn't matter too much, in my opinion, I don't spend hours looking at this screen. Another consideration is regarding where the UI Skin selection would take place 'in game'...

    Currently we have: Campaign Selection > Game Selection (Single or Multiplayer) > Go!


    Maybe the order of screens on first load should be: UI Skin Selection + Campaign Selection > Game Selection (Single or Multiplayer) > Go!

    In that way a new aesthetic that works for a double functioning screen to select UI skin and campaign could be created, and it's after that selection that the SOD, BG1, BG2, other layouts are then fixed. A kind of Best of Both Worlds approach....

  • PeccaPecca Member Posts: 1,960
    The selection would naturally be in the options, it doesn't make sense elsewhere. The first screen should ideally contain what SoD first screen contains now (campaign selection plus load, start, continue, etc).

    cmk24Danathion
  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    See, I wouldn't bury the selection in the options - I'd bring it to the forefront as I see it as a fundamental of continuing. How do I want the game I'm about to play to 'look' ? ... I want to make that decision before I start the game proper, and I don't want to hunt a few layers down to find it.

  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    SOD screen has:

    Campaign Selection buttons
    Continue
    Single Player
    Multiplayer
    Options
    Quit Game


    Adding a button that pops up a UI skin selection would be the ideal approach for me.

  • ThelsThels Member Posts: 1,326
    edited September 2016
    @Mr2150: That argument could be made for all kinds of different options as well, while others may be confused, not sure what to pick there for what reason. I agree with @Pecca that it should be in options as normal.

    I'd say add one option called "Automatic", which automatically uses the blue interface in BG1+ToTSC, the dark interface in SOD, the gold interface in BG2+TOB and the wood interface in IWD+HOW.

    That option should be the default option, giving the end user the interface that belongs to that game originally, and then if the end user doesn't like it, they can go and change it around.

    ThacoBellcmk24Danathion
  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    edited September 2016
    I'm not saying it shouldn't be in options too. In certainly should be.

    But I'd like a shortcut straight to that selection from the first screen. This process has shown that for many the feel of the games is as important as the functionality of the games and being able to very easily change that is, for me, a resulting fundamental requirement.

    A good example of this is the instances where people have said "I really don't like X" in the forum, not realising that X already exists in the options screen and could be turned off. I've seen more than a handful of those ...



    I agree fully that there should be an 'automatic' option to play each part of the game in the original skin, as well as the ability to override and use one skin for all.


    I'd say the UI skin selection should simply be three components:

    1) A list of the available UI skins (with room for modders to add more skins); selecting an item from the list, shows....
    2) A picture of the 'look and feel' of the game for the selected skin, and
    3) A 'use this skin' button is enabled (and a cancel button).

    Nice and simple.

    JuliusBorisov
  • PeccaPecca Member Posts: 1,960
    In most games, the first thing I do after installation is going in the graphics options to adjust them. You must do at least one fundamental choice there (scaled vs unscaled interface) so it makes sense to me.

    cmk24Danathion
  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    I think you are a minority in that respect @Pecca .

  • PeccaPecca Member Posts: 1,960
    edited September 2016
    Heh, if we're going there, I think that "most people" inevitably visit the graphics options screen at some early stage of gameplay. If there is a button "change UI skin" I think that "most people" will notice it.

    Anyway, it is a graphic option, I really don't see why it should be out graphic options. Devs must obviously promote it in the patch notes.

    Mr2150
  • lefreutlefreut Member Posts: 1,422
    edited September 2016
    I think people who want to change skin are also a minority. We don't want to confuse new player with a lot of buttons in the main screen.

    PeccaDanathionJuliusBorisovmf2112
  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    Hahaha... I think 'most people' don't go to settings first - as I said above - the number of people that say I don't like X, and they haven't realised it's available to be turned off in the options clearly demonstrates that.


    Having a shortcut to such a fundamental choice helps people, especially unfamiliar or less technical users, and I don't see why an additional shortcut on the campaign selection screen is bad.

    It's effectively saying 'which campaign do you want to play' and 'how do you want that campaign to look'....

    That decision goes hand-in-hand.

  • PeccaPecca Member Posts: 1,960
    edited September 2016
    Well I see a lot of graphic options as fundamental (for me). Scaling interface, highlight sprite, sprite outline, nearest neighbor, scrolling out of bounds, even greyscale on pause. I don't see the UI skin as much fundamental as those actually. The point could be made for all. All of them are graphic options, so all of them should be in graphic options, otherwise it's a mess.

    Also, if a person doesn't realize he has a graphic option available in graphic options, it's not a game's fault and it doesn't mean all those options should be on the main menu screen.

    lefreutThacoBellcmk24Danathion
  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    I do understand that... as I said right at the beginning - you don't spend so long on this screen so it really doesn't matter that much

    I'll mod my own 'shortcut' in if needed... ;)

    Pecca
Sign In or Register to comment.