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Making It Work: Journal

Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
edited September 2016 in UI Discussion and Workshop
Potential Discussion Points:

- Cannot filter by completed / active / all quests
- Hard to work out which quests are done because the font colouring is poor
- 'NO OBJECTIVE TEXT' issue for BGEE and BG2EE (this is jointly a UI issue and an engine issue)
- Conceptually it's a brilliant idea (small journal that you can have on screen at the same time as you are still 'live' in the game) but it can introduce a major bug that causes slowdown of the game.
- Some people may prefer a larger journal that fills the screen (and pauses the game).
- The graphics used for the journal and parchment don't feel quite right.
- The Chapter graphics are sometimes too small for some languages
- Quest chains can be marked completed before subsequent elements are done
- Cannot filter/search quest entries, only journal entries and user notes
- Cannot easily delete user notes, you have to go in and manually delete all the text - I think.
- The parchment colour is too “white”, it needs to be brought more in line with the tones of the original games.
- Ability to go into the journal from the inventory screen.
- TPU doesn't find quests and journal entries
- TPU sometimes presents entries that don't exist (this is more an engine issue)
- TPU doesn't occur for some entries (this is more an engine issue)
- ..... BUT, TPU status 'Journal Updated' is sometimes misleading if any of the previous two issues occur
- TPU sometimes occurs too quickly to read / click on
- TPU updates can often be sequential (eg if a quest is given and updated in the same conversation) - example talking to the mayor of Nashkel for the first time produces two updates.
- TPU position is often in the way / takes up too much space
- TPU position squeezes text and makes it unreadable.

@Dee said:
Be aware that any mock-ups or designs posted in this thread are advisory only; nothing is promised or guaranteed for future implementation. All we're doing is discussing and honing ideas.



  • RavenslightRavenslight Member Posts: 1,609
    Nice and roomy in here. But no lived in feeling yet. ;)

  • RatatoskrRatatoskr Member Posts: 359
    Looks pretty good to me. I don't think I have anything to add at this point since you already included my previous suggestions. Although, if we do get journal pause again, I think I'd like it to be optional.

    Seriously, though. Any mockup I made would probably just look like your mod for the most part.

  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    edited September 2016
    Does anyone have a screenshot of the old 1.3 journal handy?

  • RatatoskrRatatoskr Member Posts: 359
    edited September 2016
    @Mr2150 Here's one for BG1. Let me know if this works.

  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    edited September 2016
    To add a spoiler tag, edit the post and then highlight the text that begins < img ... > that's the image file.

    Then click the symbol that looks like a backwards P next to an I.. that has all the styles ... Spoiler will be in the drop down box and clicking it will put any text or pictures highlighted within in a spoiler for you :)

  • RavenslightRavenslight Member Posts: 1,609
    edited September 2016
  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    OK - So am I right in thinking (it's late and my memory is fuzzy) that there are three sections:

    Quest Entries
    Journal Entries
    User Notes

    And now the new journal has two sections:

    Quest Entries
    Journal Entries and User Notes

  • RavenslightRavenslight Member Posts: 1,609
    The 1.3 also has done quests

  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    OK - but that would be a subsection of quests, yes?

    So maybe it's more precise to say it's like this:

    1.3 has:
    • Quest Entries
      • Done Quests
      • Active Quests
    • Journal Entries
    • User Notes
    2.0+ has:
    • Quest Entries
    • Journal Entries and User Notes

  • RatatoskrRatatoskr Member Posts: 359
    I suppose active and completed quests are technically subsets of the same thing but it's not quite the same since they are two different pages. There is no page for both at once. So 2.0 took 4 distinct pages and made 2.

    Should we throw on an example of the 2.0 version and maybe you're mod for extra comparison?

  • RavenslightRavenslight Member Posts: 1,609
    Seems like we should just start without the mods yet.

  • RatatoskrRatatoskr Member Posts: 359
    Fair enough. I just have to remove the mods to get a screenshot of vanilla 2.0

  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    I agree. Let's assume the mod doesn't exist.

  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    The functionality of the 2.0+ journal allows users to play the game whilst the journal is open. 1.3 doesn't allow that as it is centred and fills the screen.

    People play the game in different ways and I'd imagine that as many people would like one format as the other. A potential solution, therefore is to have the option to flip between the journals whilst still in the game. That's something that is possible and would keep everyone happy, I think.

  • RavenslightRavenslight Member Posts: 1,609
    I’m not sure what you mean @Mr2150

    I just know I really dislike the new setup, personally. I want the game to pause again and get a centered larger screen again. So I was thinking a toggle?

  • RatatoskrRatatoskr Member Posts: 359
    The option to choose which version to use or to switch between them in game would both make me happy.

    And just for reference, here's what the vanilla BG2EE journal looks like with all the open and completed quests mixed together. It might not be quite as bad if the text had better differentiation but it's still a mess.

  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    edited September 2016
    Kind of like a toggle - but an in game toggle that's completely optional to use.

    So you press J and the game pauses and you can read the big centred journal. There's a small button there which you can press (but only if you want), and it makes it turn into the small version. And vice versa, there's a button in the small journal which will turn it into the large journal.

    That way, you get the best of both worlds. Want to spend time reading and going through your quests - use the big journal. Want to check something quickly when walking across the map, use the small journal.

    It's entirely possible to do in the UI and would give the most flexibility, be completely optional to use and allow those who have a preference for one or the other to completely ignore the alternative one.

  • RavenslightRavenslight Member Posts: 1,609
    Once you have made a choice, are you going to have to press to change it again each time? Also, would it work the same bringing it up with the mouse click on the journal icon instead of keyboard?

  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    It would remember your last choice each time.

    Yes, it would work the same as mouse or keyboard.

  • RavenslightRavenslight Member Posts: 1,609
    Sounds good to me :) I was only concerned that it might keep resetting itself.

  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    OK - the reason I went that direction was to try to work out where we should start. Essentially, what we are saying is that we need to model and make blueprints of two different screens - one large, one small... but with the same or similar functions in each.

    The dimensions of the large screen should be the same as the inventory / record screen (864x710) and the small journal is (501x773). It's still early here so I'll have a crack at knocking up some basic blueprints later today.

  • PeccaPecca Member Posts: 1,960
    What Mr2150 is talking about with the two versions of the journal is what we did in the Dragonspear UI++ mod. There is a difference between the "large" centered mode of that journal and other screens like inventory though. Other screens are "hard paused", which means that while those are opened, the engine "operates" only with that screen and nothing else. The large journal of the UI++ mod only creates an (imperfect) illusion of the "hard pause" with series of elements employed to maintain that illusion. That's because it is still based on the function of the small journal, which, for modding purposes, is hardcoded. Such way isn't really feasible for official release obviously, so while Mr2150 says it's possible (and it very well might be for the devs), it still might not be (perhaps in option settings it would be more feasible, but not likely as the flexible button inside the journal screen).

    Anyway, just for the sake of curiosity, this is how the journal looked in one promo during the beta stage of SoD (before they introduced the current concept):

  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    I wasn't specifically thinking of how we do it in Dragonspear UI++, @Pecca but rather the need that we argued debated to have two alternative journals so that there is the flexibility for the way people might play the game.

    I do believe it is possible in the UI, but this stage is just about identifying needs. Also, we have the smaller journal right now in v2.3 and it has many advantages over the large journal (and likewise the large journal has many advantages over the smaller journal). If this process justifies a change back to the larger journal, so be it. But there may be some other reason that prevents that... so we need to look at both and if the ideal (a dual approach) will not work at least we have then mapped out all the options for both screens rather than just concentrating on one or the other.

    So we need to discuss and look at those advantages/disadvantages as part of the consideration process.

  • RavenslightRavenslight Member Posts: 1,609
    Good points @Pecca . I have no idea what’s possible for them to do. I just know that what is most useful for me is a centered, larger screen. It pausing all other actions in the game is also very important to me. I don’t like any distractions or interruptions when I’m reading or planning my next actions.

  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    Radical idea:

    Have the small journal for user notes only. A scrapbook of your thoughts / ideas / notes and things to remember.
    Have the large journal for quests details and journal entries.
    Find some way to have one, the other, or both open at the same time.

  • RatatoskrRatatoskr Member Posts: 359
    I could see that working; the things I need to check while in the active game are usually notes I made for myself or things I copied from scrolls - such as all the codes for the Machine of Lum the Mad.

  • Mr2150Mr2150 Member Posts: 1,170
    edited September 2016
    Forgetting any other alternatives for a bit... Here's a few screens I knocked up for a large centred journal. I'll do my best to try to explain how they would work.


    Screen 1 - Default screen
    On opening the journal with J or by pressing the Journal Icon on the main screen, a modal window opens. The journal should be openable from all game screens. The game is paused and the user gets this:

    There are three main sections...

    At the top, the first section, there are buttons to switch between Quests, Journal and Notes. There is also a toggle to shift between the chapters.

    On the left, the second section is a breakdown of all Quests (the title of the quest only). They are grouped by two headings: Active Quests and Completed Quests. Clicking the header collapses the breakdown of quest titles, clicking it again expands it. The game remembers which headers are collapsed, so that they're always in the preferred configuration when the player opens their journal.
    At the bottom of this section is a search box and button to trigger the search. This search box can search quest titles and quest text (NOTE - need to decide the behaviour once the search is triggered).

    The third section is to the right. This lists all quest entries in timestamp order so that the quest log is acting as a journal.

    Now the clever bit, clicking a specific quest title on the left filters the quest entries on the right. For example:

    The quest entries for that specific quest are then filtered and displayed. The most recent entry is at the top, and there is a single separator between that and older entries.
    Right-clicking (or long pressing on tablet/mobile) copies a quest entry and changes the screen to the notes section, in edit mode, so you can edit it and update it.

    Moving on to the journal...

    Clicking the middle button, toggles the journal section.

    The buttons on this screen work as you would expect. The search box would filter the entries in this window to display any found text (much like the journal search in 2.3 currently works).

    Right-clicking (or long pressing on tablet/mobile) copies a journal entry and changes the screen to the notes section, in edit mode, so you can edit it and update it.

    Moving on to the user notes...

    Clicking the third button at the top, displays your user notes.

    All the user notes you've made appear here, in timestamp order.
    Clicking a user-note highlights it and the buttons at the bottom change.

    Add Note becomes Edit Note and the Delete Note button is no longer greyed out.
    Double-clicking, or long pressing on tablet or mobile, automatically enters edit mode.

    Edit mode would look something like this:

    Add Note has changed to Save Note and Delete Note is still available.

    Whew.... Appreciate your thoughts and comments!

    Post edited by Mr2150 on
  • PeccaPecca Member Posts: 1,960
    Looking good. But is filtering by quest name reliable?

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