Combat screen feedback update

9 posts / 0 new
Last post
#1
Combat screen feedback update

Well, it's basically a small idea that I have, on how to make a combat screen feedback a little bit more intuitive, without changing to much. I am talking about the way conditions for both player and the opponent are presented. They are all piled up and clumped together, making it somewhat harder to see, on the first glance, what exactly changed recently. The problem isn't really serious, but I do think a little bit more "orderly" feedback would help players, especially the new ones, to quickly recognize important data.

So what I propose is a simple matter of dividing the presented conditions into a few groups, to keep those of the same "type" together. Here is an example presentation I've made (to the left is how it is now, obviously, and to the right is my proposed change):
IMAGE(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag130/Kaaven/Proposition_zps37f5222e.png)

I've put 3 groups: Status - for some general/global conditions, like skills or Blind; Situational - for all the dynamic conditions happening during the fights; and Health - to separate the direct hazards to the character's well being.

Obviously, the groups can be constructed differently (or simply named with more sense) but the point is, by grouping similar statuses together the screen will be, in my opinion, much easier to read/analyze fast.

Any opinions on the subject are welcome :D


<--Mighty (mini)Mod of Doom-->
DeviantArt Gallery of MoD Sprites

Nice and simple. Much easier to see what's going on at a quick glance. I like it.

That's an interesting idea. I'm not sure what the best way to categorize it might be, but I can see how it would make things easier to read.

I'm strongly considering a combat UI update these days, given the amount of feedback I've received since launch. Combat is one of the UIs most often called-out as being tedious. I just haven't figured out exactly what it would look like yet.

One thing I'd like to explore is showing all combatants on the UI at once, rather than just the immediate left/right creatures with arrows. In my head, I'm picturing a long, horizontal line drawn across the screen, with creature sprites at different points along (above) the line. Closer creatures would be on the left, near the player sprite, while further creatures would be on the right.

One of the creatures would be highlighted, and their stats would appear below the line on the right side of the screen. Player stats on the left. Clicking different creatures would move the highlight and update the stats accordingly.

I'm thinking this would help with keeping track of opponents in large battles, so we don't have to constantly move left/right in the list to see where everyone is each turn.

However, there's still a lot of reading involved to assess what's going on. And for this, maybe there are some things we can do to each sprite that might help. I know in another thread we talked about turning sprites sideways if they're "fallen," so that's one possibility. Crude, but it works.

Maybe there are status icons that could float alongside each creature, too? E.g. the most recent move is above their head, their current target listed there, too. Bleeding icon, or unconscious, etc. It's take time to draw all the icons, though, so maybe that's more work than it's worth.

In any case, there's room for improvement on this screen, and it would make a big difference to many players. So it's probably worth investigating. Fitting it onto 800x450 will be a challenge, and is one of the reasons I haven't tackled this yet. But I'm strongly considering it!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

+1 for Kaavens design.

If you do the rotation for fallen characters you could rotate them differently to distinguish between conscious and unconscious ones. Conscious fallen characters lie on their back while unconscious or recently deceased characters literally bite the dust. This way it's easier to see which opponents are more dangerous.

Ran around with a clown mask before it was cool

Maybe something like that then:
IMAGE(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag130/Kaaven/Proposition2_zpsa9a30d1e.png)

Seems like it might be more helpful that way. But things are very cramped together...

A bar on top allows to quickly search through available enemies (four fit into one screen at lowest resolution), which are sorted by distance to player (the arrow icon with a number next to it). Clever thing - while player don't know exact distance to hidden enemy, he can still estimate it, if he sees someone who is even further behind.

The orange out-line shows currently selected opponent. And there is a place for 5 Conditions in each category.

The only two things I had to remove, in order to fit all of this, are an indicator on whom the move was targeted ("vs. player, etc.) and Visible status. A pop-up description of the last move might contain info on who was targeted (it's not that important anyway) and visibility is a bit redundant as the enemy's avatar shows when he is visible, and can be switched with "?" icon (or another generic icon for all hidden but known dudes) if he is not.

And I must say, I really don't like the idea of flipping the enemy avatars to the side to show they are fallen. I think it will be comical, and not in a good way. And will look very cheap too.
All that is necessary is already listed in the list of Conditions section anyway. Either make a sprite for each status (and remove the conditions list) or leave the avatars static.


<--Mighty (mini)Mod of Doom-->
DeviantArt Gallery of MoD Sprites

How about using a small version of the corpse images as fallen characters?

Ran around with a clown mask before it was cool

As I said, I don't like the idea. Why special treatment for Fallen and not Recovering, for example? Or Crippled? Both are as prominent in battle as the Fallen is. My guess is, it's mostly because it's relatively easy to make a "fallen" sprite.

But there are two real problem I see with that.
One, it might be confusing to the new players. Why exactly is this special thing happening only with Fallen status, and not with anything else? Is it more important? That kind of stuff. As I said, if there was a time and ideas enough to make graphical representations for all conditions (I would prefer status icons over avatar changes anyway), I would be OK with that. But only one or two is too incoherent for me, from GUI mechanics standpoint.

The second problem is the lack of animations, and comic effect it would cause. Falling would simply switch one picture into the other, as there are no animated transitions. And remembering that falling happens fairly often, both NPCs and player, get tackled or trip while running. And it only lasts for a short while, cause one can stand up on his very next turn.

So in battle involving tackling or running at night, the avatars will be constantly jumping between "up" and "down" pictures, and for more experienced players who proceed with their turns faster, it will look like some sort of circus of idiots (especially if several enemy avatars will be visible at once).

Here, it's somewhat exaggerated, but illustrates the point I hope :D
IMAGE(http://i1302.photobucket.com/albums/ag130/Kaaven/gif_zpsbe58090d.gif)


<--Mighty (mini)Mod of Doom-->
DeviantArt Gallery of MoD Sprites

The corpse pics look way less comical that just rotated ones in my opinion. If my enemies are constantly falling they appear as a circus of idiots anyway.

Ran around with a clown mask before it was cool

These are some very good points! I'm following along, but I don't have any good answers yet, so I'm keeping quiet :)

There might be some way to do status icons or even overlays for relevant situations. E.g. a "zzz" icon for unconscious enemies, a down arrow for fallen, or a cover icon when they're using cover. I'm not sure if they can be made both informative and non-comical. We can try, though.

Also, thanks for these mock-ups. It really helps the discussion to see examples. I had a layout in mind that I wanted to mock-up as well, but I'm forcing myself to finish these DMC items :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games