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Author Topic: Game Mode User Interface  (Read 71657 times)
pspeed
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« on: February 24, 2012, 09:13:31 PM »

So, I felt like I should probably start talking about "What's up with this game mode thing?"

Since I started Mythruna, I've had in my mind some directions I wanted to take the interface.  Working on the combat prototype, I had to solidify a bunch of these designs trying to figure out how that would work.  The fact that I was having to implement a lot of this piece-meal in the combat prototype, along with the recent re-interest in scripting, has spurred me to get it into a more complete state.  Something that could be hooked up to actual scriptable objects and get us "more game" even before physics is working.

The basic idea:
Interactions with the things you are holding in your hands should be based on a few specific controls.  Mainly this is patterned off of the mouse with a wheel but I've so far left the wheel as a secondary control (and will also be available through the ',' and ',' keys like it is now)... not something you'd necessarily need in the heat of battle.

There is one set of control "methods" and a single key directs them to one hand or another.  Right now this is the ctrl key.  So, for example, if you press left-mouse button then you do the default action of the thing you hold in your right hand.  If you hold ctrl and press the left-mouse button then you do the default action of the thing you hold in your left hand.

The "heads up display" (HUD)...


In general, I try to opt for the most minimal HUD possible.  In the lower left is a "tool orb" showing what is in my left hand.  In the lower right is one showing what is in my right hand.  In this case, I have a pile of wood in my right hand and a torch or match or something in my left.  (This will eventually be augmented with some small stats bars for the player and the orbs may indicate the condition of the tool.  Furthermore, if the tool is something with a visual display then the orb may expand in size... say for a minimap.)

An example scenario would be that I'd left click somewhere on the ground to place the firewood (the default action for plain objects) and then ctrl+left click on the dropped firewood to light it with the match.

If you play with this interface then you can kind of see through the debug output that it sends to the console that this is kind of working.  The message it echos shows the tool used and what was clicked on... and how it was clicked (main click being left mouse button, alternate click being right).

Double clicking an item in the inventory selects it as the right-handed tool.  (So ctrl+double clicking would select the left hand.)  Double clicking on the tool orb with the inventory open will clear it back to just "hand".  Eventually there will be a key to do that, too.

My general guidance is to try to keep these gestures simple and consistent.  In that light, the following "theories" are what drive me:
-the "main" button (left mouse) should generally be the default action.  You should be able to get through a lot of the game just clicking the left button... whether it's to drop an item on the ground, give it to another player, show it to an NPC, picking a lock, whatever.
-the "alternate" button (right mouse) should generally be the "see what my options are" button.  So right clicking a tool on some place or object will present a pop-up with all of the options available.
-the "roll" button (mouse wheel) should be for altering the effect of what I'm doing.  If I'm holding a build wand, it may change the material.  If I'm holding my sword, maybe it switches grips or turns it in my hand so I'm striking with the flat of the blade.  If I'm holding an adjustable light then maybe it makes it brighter or dimmer.  You get the idea.

To some extent, combat breaks one or two of these "rules".  Right clicking in that case me be for an alternate attack (stabbing instead of slicing or something).

Now, how all of that interacts with the scripting system is more complicated than I want to go into here (and will be better with examples anyway).

But hopefully this gives you an idea of where I'm going.

(Note: it's interesting to point out that the current build mode block editing could be redone as a two-handed tool and the controls could be identical... later, I will convert it over but for now regular "build mode" works just fine and I'm not going to "break" it. Smiley)
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pspeed
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2012, 09:21:04 PM »

I should add that the "crosshair" or center "reticle"... in this picture a little glass bubble, will change with the tool and with the available default action.  You can see the beginnings of this when you hover it over objects.  It expands.  This will eventually (soon?) be augmented with visual or textual indication of what the default action would be (for tools that want to indicate it).

Other tools may use this reticle to indicate status of an operation or a different style of interaction.  For example, maybe a bow+arrow would change it to the standard crosshair that we are used to.  Or maybe holding iron in a fire causes the bubble to change colors indicating the heat.  And so on.
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BenKenobiWan
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2012, 09:38:55 PM »

Is there a program I missed downloading?
I didn't get the combat prototype, so if that's it, I'm downloading it now.
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pspeed
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2012, 09:46:23 PM »

Is there a program I missed downloading?
I didn't get the combat prototype, so if that's it, I'm downloading it now.

There is no released combat prototype.

The beginnings of game mode are already in the release.  Just press "g" to get in and out of it.

It just doesn't do much yet.
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BenKenobiWan
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2012, 09:48:03 PM »

Ohh..
I was just about to remove my stupid comment when you replied. Tongue
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FutureB
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2012, 09:48:49 PM »

Wow i didnt expext to read all that but it captivated me lol i like all your ideas and the way of changing atack style with the mouse wheel seems a great idea 
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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2012, 10:51:56 PM »

Bit off the topic... but exactly how will item selecting work? Or do have you not quite decided on it yet Cheesy?
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pspeed
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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2012, 11:05:28 PM »

Bit off the topic... but exactly how will item selecting work? Or do have you not quite decided on it yet Cheesy?

Initially, like it does now: double click in inventory.  Or do you mean something else?

Ultimately you will have quick slots also but that will be (hopefully) based on what you are wearing.  (It makes no sense to me for a naked dwarf to have 10 quick-slotted max health potions. Wink)  Quick slots will represent the things you have readily at hand.

Keep in mind, too that someday the current inventory screen won't be as restrictive.  a) it will be container based (like all containers except this one you hold), b) you will still be able to move the camera and interact with the world while it's open... though the camera will be in "click to drag" mode.  If you have a backpack then it will be one of your quick-slot items... at least in current design.  You'd hold it in your hand to rummage through it.  Maybe some players don't want a big bulky backpack (thinking of you Avians) and everything they carry is in belt pouches or otherwise holstered for quick-slot access.  Belt pouches may also end up as quick slots.

All of that is subject to change based on playability and of course server admins can nerf what they want and give everyone a huge invisible backpack or whatever.

In my designs, I try to skew towards a certain level of realism first and then scale it back.  There are many reasons.  For one thing, I think it forces a level of role-playing... but more importantly, since I'm trying to design a world with physical effects, where things are held, what they are held in, etc. becomes important.  I potentially get some cool effects for free that I would otherwise have to specifically account for.
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BenKenobiWan
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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2012, 11:21:11 PM »

I can't seem to get to the inventory screen. I press 'B', and then click on 'inventory', an it goes to a blank screen, like it always has.
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pspeed
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2012, 11:29:54 PM »

I can't seem to get to the inventory screen. I press 'B', and then click on 'inventory', an it goes to a blank screen, like it always has.

'G' switches to game mode.

'i' opens and closes inventory while in "game mode".

The big "Inventory" button doesn't do anything at the moment and I will probably get rid of it anyway.
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pspeed
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2012, 11:31:56 PM »

Also note: the current inventory window is the absolute minimum I had to implement in order to have objects to interact with for scripting.  It's pretty basic.  And right now it's just showing blueprints... which would be a different kind of thing in the real game mode.
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« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2012, 12:05:58 AM »

Sooo you'll actually be limited in how much you can carry? Cheesy no more carrying enough stone to build an english castle? Pretty sweet. I also love your idea on you can only carry as much as space you have in your backpack, pockets,ect... Btw just a suggestion, mostly eye candy and to make the game more realisitc... you can't INSTANTLY switch weapons and the item at hand... maybe add an animation of the player taking out the items?
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BenKenobiWan
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« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2012, 12:28:23 AM »

Wow, I guess I really missed the memo about this game mode thing. derp.
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pspeed
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« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2012, 12:41:01 AM »

Sooo you'll actually be limited in how much you can carry? Cheesy no more carrying enough stone to build an english castle? Pretty sweet. I also love your idea on you can only carry as much as space you have in your backpack, pockets,ect... Btw just a suggestion, mostly eye candy and to make the game more realisitc... you can't INSTANTLY switch weapons and the item at hand... maybe add an animation of the player taking out the items?

Switching items will take time... as will juggling your quick slots.  This is one of the cases where your stats/abilities affect your actions.  A high manual dexterity and/or agility means you can ready things a bit quicker than the slow-sluggish oaf.

Regarding the raw materials, I agree that it's silly to be able to carry enough stone to build an english castle but in reality you wouldn't be able to carry _any_ of that stone... not a single cubic meter.  (Even a cubic meter of wood weighs about 500 kg... or over 1000 lbs.  A cubic meter of stone weighs several tons: a fun site I keep bookmarked to define Mythruna material types: http://www.simetric.co.uk/si_materials.htm)

A long time ago, I decided that limits on how much raw material you can carry are silly in general.  Either you can only carry a handful of rocks or I come up with a "story" as to why you can carry an unlimited amount.  Or at least limits that don't require you to juggle stacks of 64 cubic meters of stone.  

In the earliest designs, players would carry a magic "build wand" that would hold their raw materials magically in crystals.  Originally this wand was for digging, too, but I'm not so keen on that anymore.  I like the idea of starting the player out only being able to dig with their hands or their starting equipment.  If digging even a simple hole starts out incredibly painful, then it will send a clear signal that this is not "that other game".  

In fact, the "thing that holds the raw materials" was supposed to be a magic component just like any other.  Diamond is the universal storage crystal in Mythruna.  So lately I'm rather fond of giving the player this object that magically converts their raw materials and stores it in a diamond.  They are then free to dismantle this object and/or sell it... thereby losing the ability to carry more than 50 lbs or so of raw material... basically whatever their pack and encumbrance can hold.  Or maybe they take it apart and use the components to build a different magic device.  Or maybe they take it apart, learn how it works, and upgrade to a larger diamond for more storage.

And bam, suddenly I've turned a ridiculous "feature" into something with role-play elements.
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pspeed
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« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2012, 12:41:46 AM »

Wow, I guess I really missed the memo about this game mode thing. derp.

Don't feel bad.  I think I only went into any remote detail on it the changelogs.  Who reads those things anyway? Smiley
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