Larger Widescreen, Fonts, and Crafting
Continuing with yesterday's theme of new layouts for larger resolutions, I tried a few ideas for a layout that fits 1360x768 (one of the more common resolutions these days).
Unfortunately, making all graphics 2x normal size won't work. As we saw yesterday, the most compact size I've been able to fit everything into is 800x450, so 2x that would be 1600x900. So I started fooling around with making some parts 2x, and others 1x zoom.
Also, since font size is a concern, I looked at ways of increasing the areas with the most text (i.e. the log window and encounter text).
Here's what I came up with:
As you can see, it looks a lot like the 800x450 mock-up. However, a few things are different.
First of all, most of the screen is 2x zoom. Items, spaces, log window, paper doll...they're all double size. Since we have an extra 500x300 pixels, I tried my best to make everything larger, so it was easier to see and work with. And since it's a whole-number zoom, it avoids ugly aliasing/jagged edges.
I wasn't able to make everything double size, though. The stats and buttons on the left are still at normal size, since I didn't have room to blow them up.
Also, you'll notice the log window uses a slightly different font. This is an experimental 2x font with thicker, smoother letters. It's still a pixel font, but it should be a bit clearer to read. I figured that folks who complain about the font are probably most concerned with big sections of text, like the log window. So this layout tries to fix that by making large text areas use a larger font.
Here's another example:
This is the same layout, but showing a mock-up of the encounter screen. The items and encounter illustration are both 2x normal size, and it uses the new 2x font for both the log window and encounter text. (Note: the original 800x600 NEO Scavenger actually uses a 2x encounter image already, which is why it probably looks a bit smaller here.)
I think the font is an improvement, though it might be overkill. I'm going to try one more font in this layout which is halfway between the original (5x8 pixels per letter) and this one (10x16 pixels per letter). Either way, though, it'll be easier to read.
If I can make this layout work, we'll have 3-4 zoom levels that should cover a wide variety of monitors:
- 800x450 (1x zoom)
- 1360x768 (mixed 1x and 2x zoom)
- 1600x900 (2x zoom)
- 2400x1350 (3x zoom)
Plus, I could always make it optional to scale-up to full-screen using the bicubic (blurry) filter, for people who want a perfect fit, but don't mind the little bit of blur. I think this range of options would offer a good fit for pretty much every monitor out there. There may be letterbox/black bars on some 4:3 and 5:4 monitors, but it should be an improvement over the old, jagged zoom.
Keen readers will also notice that this new layout is missing the "Take/Drop," "Use/Consume," etc. buttons along the top of the screen. I had to remove them to fit everything in all the screens (items, encounters, battle, etc.).
One possibility I'm considering is switching the cursor modes out, and trying to make single-click, double-click, and right-click cover all those cases. I may have to avoid the Ctrl, Alt, Windows, and Command keys, since they can have wonky behavior on some machines. But I can probably safely use Shift.
What I'm thinking is that the cursor modes will map to the mouse like so:
- Click to Move - Left click (default behavior just picks up and drops item)
- Take/Drop - Double left click (sends item across to most appropriate container)
- Use/Consume - Only available via right-click menu (user has to right-click and choose "Use" for each item. Clunky, but maybe acceptable given items aren't often used in rapid succession.)
- Destroy - Only available via right-click menu (Like Use/Consume, it's used rarely enough that this should be ok.)
- Whole Stack - Shift plus any of the above. (I have to research whether most games default to whole stack or single item when normal clicking, and I'll adapt accordingly.)
The down side to this is that using or deleting a lot of items at once may require lots of clicks. Plus, I'll probably need to explain the clicks in the help menu somewhere. But it saves some in-game UI, and is probably faster/easier for most normal operations (i.e. moving items around).
That's the plan, anyway. I still need to see if I can do it.
I still need to figure out crafting, too. Now that it's on a separate screen, I have a chance to try new layouts for it. As I mentioned before, I'm considering making the crafting screen use copies of the player's items, so it doesn't disrupt any buffs/debuffs when an item is used as an ingredient (e.g. campfires causing blindness when used during crafting).
However, this means that every possible item for crafting needs to be accessible on the crafting screen. Plus the mixing area, output area, and known recipes. It won't all fit at once, so I may need to start doing toggle/tabbed views for the player's items vs. known recipes on the crafting screen. Could be tricky to build.
If anyone's seen a really good crafting UI that would work for NEO Scavenger, let me know. And ditto if you have any thoughts on the new layout, fonts, etc.
Have a good night, all!