AuthorTopic: Fantasy Miniatures  (Read 23290 times)

Offline Zizka

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Re: Fantasy Miniatures

Reply #40 on: March 13, 2017, 11:17:49 am
Don't worry about giving feedback. That's the reason why I put it here. I'm not looking for praises, I just want to get better, that's all that matter.

I'll try it again!

Offline vicente_fleitas

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Re: Fantasy Miniatures

Reply #41 on: March 13, 2017, 12:48:11 pm
8 is really cool!
I am currently working on a project "Golden8Bits" platform to make video games pixel 8x8

Offline Cherno

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Re: Fantasy Miniatures

Reply #42 on: March 13, 2017, 05:57:27 pm
You probably thought about this as well, what can be done about the abbreviated item names on the character sheets? As it looks there's not much space for rearranging but "Bd Sword"... Broad Sword I guess? ;) One idea just came to my mind that might work:
Remove the item names altogether, and only show them as tooltips if neccessary. Instead, remove the generic item type icons and replace them with unique icons for each item. The freed space from removing the names would also allow for bigger icons if neccessary.

Offline eishiya

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Re: Fantasy Miniatures

Reply #43 on: March 13, 2017, 11:20:53 pm
To add to Cherno's feedback about the HUD:
The "Life", "Energy", and "Attack" labels are redundant since those things have unique icons. You could save a lot of space by removing them. Perhaps then you can move the character sprites up to be next to those icons, leaving more space for equipment titles.
The empty(?) energy bars are hard to distinguish from the filled ones, I'd make them paler.

I feel that overall the UI takes up too much space. Even in tactics games where the data is usually more important than the visuals, the combat field usually takes up significantly more of the screen than that. I think it's okay not to have 100% of the information on screen at the same time, as long as it's easy and quick to access. Even if you want all of this info on the screen, you could present it in a much more compact manner.

Offline Decroded

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Re: Fantasy Miniatures

Reply #44 on: March 14, 2017, 08:43:38 am
Just quickly, I like this but the backgrounds are too distracting.
I think the floor tiles are too small (detail) and repeated, and still have too much contrast.
The grid effect is not only overkill but it also confuses the actual gameplay grid.

Be aware of the general rule that the more detailed, contrasting and saturated something is, the more it attracts the eye.
Generally you would want characters and items to really stand out.

Offline Zizka

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Re: Fantasy Miniatures

Reply #45 on: March 14, 2017, 11:20:42 am
Quote
Remove the item names altogether, and only show them as tooltips if neccessary. Instead, remove the generic item type icons and replace them with unique icons for each item. The freed space from removing the names would also allow for bigger icons if neccessary.

I had thought about that. The thing is that it will then quadruple the amount of icons I have to do. I want to make this game a real thing so I need to keep myself in check with features and not end up getting swamped with icons and extra things to do. I'll give it a shot though.

Quote
The "Life", "Energy", and "Attack" labels are redundant since those things have unique icons. You could save a lot of space by removing them. Perhaps then you can move the character sprites up to be next to those icons, leaving more space for equipment titles.

That's a good idea.

Quote
The empty(?) energy bars are hard to distinguish from the filled ones, I'd make them paler.

I agree.

Quote
I feel that overall the UI takes up too much space. Even in tactics games where the data is usually more important than the visuals, the combat field usually takes up significantly more of the screen than that. I think it's okay not to have 100% of the information on screen at the same time, as long as it's easy and quick to access. Even if you want all of this info on the screen, you could present it in a much more compact manner.

Ok but how?

Quote
Just quickly, I like this but the backgrounds are too distracting.
I think the floor tiles are too small (detail) and repeated, and still have too much contrast.
The grid effect is not only overkill but it also confuses the actual gameplay grid.

Yeah, you have a point. I'm actually using the pattern from Hero Quest:


Quote
Be aware of the general rule that the more detailed, contrasting and saturated something is, the more it attracts the eye.
Generally you would want characters and items to really stand out.

Yes, I didn't realize that before.


Offline eishiya

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Re: Fantasy Miniatures

Reply #46 on: March 14, 2017, 02:42:18 pm
I just noticed there's an empty heart too. I think that also needs to be lighter.

"How" is the hard part and that's why you're the artist, not me xP
Tips to clean up an overgrown HUD:
  • Eliminate redundancy:
    • You don't need both the class name and the character art, because both communicate the same information.
    • You don't need the entire character sprite in the character info box because it's already present in the combat area. You need just enough of it for the player to clearly connect the two. In other words, use portraits or class icons instead of the full sprite.
    • You don't need labels for things that are already distinct. You don't need class labels ("Rogue", "Warrior", etc), and you don't need labels for health/energy/attack. Labels are for disambiguation. Clarification (explaining what each thing is) should not be needed, but if it is needed, it belongs in tutorials or tooltips, it should not be an ever-visible HUD element.
  • Show only the information the player needs right now:
    • Confirmation dialogue should be a pop-up, not an ever-present element. Eliminate confirmation boxes whenever possible. Most of the time, players will just be annoyed by them. For those rare few times when a player is actually not sure about their decision, give them an Undo instead. In Disgaea, for example, you move as soon as you select a tile to move to. If you're not happy with where you are, you can press B to return to your previous position, as long as you haven't done anything else after moving. It's intuitive and doesn't waste the player's time.
    • Only show the stats for the currently selected character, as chances are they're the only one the player cares about right now. The stats can show up in a dedicated part of the screen. Since it's just one character at a time, you can show more stats without taking up a lot of room. This will also allow you to have stats for any number of characters on the screen, not just the four you have room for currently! This means players could view (limited) enemy stats and such too, and could play with more than four units. If they have fewer than 4 units, it also means there's no space being wasted on the screen for empty character boxes.
    • Unless the character can switch gear on the fly during battle, don't show the current gear on the battle screen. Show only the parts that matter - current attack and defense, and perhaps icons for effects added by gear.
  • Condense information that's always visible:
    • Put life indicators on the combat map sprites, so that they're visible even when the character isn't selected. For example, maybe their bases can have tiny hearts etched on them that change colour.
    • Use bars instead of icons for health and energy. Since the numbers in this game are low, bars should probably be made of equally sized segments instead of being percentage bars.
    • Use digits to represent values that don't change throughout battle, like the attack power.

Lastly, it's okay if your HUD floats on top of the action and overlaps some of it. You don't need a frame of stuff, especially if you don't even have enough information to fill that frame (so much dead space around the inventory, map, and turn order!).

Here are some of these suggestions in action:

All that darkened area is now available for showing more of the combat field, allowing the player to see much more of their surroundings at once. Plus, I think it just looks nice, since the combat area tiles are probably going to be prettier and more interesting than the HUD.
I made the inventory slots a little larger to fill the space at the bottom, which created space to put even more information (hotkeys). The turn order would probably look better similarly expanded, but I got lazy.
The confirmation dialogue could be centered in the dark area rather than on the screen, depending on how you organize the rest of the UI.
If you want more negative space in the character info boxes, you could expand them vertically a little so that they reach the bottom of the screen and move the inventory over to the right (the larger version won't fit, but the original smaller one will). You could also have the turn order or the inventory run along the side or top if you want.

To reiterate, this is still subpar because the character information doesn't need to be on the screen at all times. With a single, more detailed character info window, this HUD could be rearranged to more compact and tidier than the somewhat messy layout I have here, and it could be made more symmetrical.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 02:54:36 pm by eishiya »

Offline Curly

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Re: Fantasy Miniatures

Reply #47 on: March 14, 2017, 03:04:19 pm
I don't know if someone has already said this but I don't remember reading it.
The walls and floor look too clean. That kind of place is usually in ruins, but even if it's not an old building it looks like orcs and goblins imprison humans there. I wouldn't expect a place like that to be nice and clean :P

Offline Zizka

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Re: Fantasy Miniatures

Reply #48 on: March 14, 2017, 03:35:14 pm
@Curly: Yeah, they're clean freaks goblins... Nah, I could definitely dirty those up.

Quote
I feel that overall the UI takes up too much space. Even in tactics games where the data is usually more important than the visuals, the combat field usually takes up significantly more of the screen than that. I think it's okay not to have 100% of the information on screen at the same time, as long as it's easy and quick to access. Even if you want all of this info on the screen, you could present it in a much more compact manner.

About this, I was going for something similar to Wizardry:


You'll notice the setup is similar as both HUDS take quite a bit of space.

Quote
You don't need the entire character sprite in the character info box because it's already present in the combat area. You need just enough of it for the player to clearly connect the two. In other words, use portraits or class icons instead of the full sprite.

I like the idea of a class icon.

Quote
You don't need labels for things that are already distinct. You don't need class labels ("Rogue", "Warrior", etc), and you don't need labels for health/energy/attack. Labels are for disambiguation. Clarification (explaining what each thing is) should not be needed, but if it is needed, it belongs in tutorials or tooltips, it should not be an ever-visible HUD element.

Ok right, I'll give it a shot.

Quote
Confirmation dialogue should be a pop-up, not an ever-present element. Eliminate confirmation boxes whenever possible. Most of the time, players will just be annoyed by them. For those rare few times when a player is actually not sure about their decision, give them an Undo instead. In Disgaea, for example, you move as soon as you select a tile to move to. If you're not happy with where you are, you can press B to return to your previous position, as long as you haven't done anything else after moving. It's intuitive and doesn't waste the player's time.

What I had in mind was movement with the stick/d pad and then ''A'' to execute. ''B'' would be to actually cancel the route selected with the movement stick.

Quote
Only show the stats for the currently selected character, as chances are they're the only one the player cares about right now. The stats can show up in a dedicated part of the screen. Since it's just one character at a time, you can show more stats without taking up a lot of room. This will also allow you to have stats for any number of characters on the screen, not just the four you have room for currently! This means players could view (limited) enemy stats and such too, and could play with more than four units. If they have fewer than 4 units, it also means there's no space being wasted on the screen for empty character boxes.
Unless the character can switch gear on the fly during battle, don't show the current gear on the battle screen. Show only the parts that matter - current attack and defense, and perhaps icons for effects added by gear.

Your design doesn't represent this however (the screenshot you posted) as the four characters are present. But I see how that's not really relevant information to display.

Quote
Use bars instead of icons for health and energy. Since the numbers in this game are low, bars should probably be made of equally sized segments instead of being percentage bars.

Hmm... I like my icons but the segmented bar is appealing as well! Decisions, decisions!

Quote
Put life indicators on the combat map sprites, so that they're visible even when the character isn't selected. For example, maybe their bases can have tiny hearts etched on them that change colour.

I tried that but I felt that having this information on the screen might end up hiding other miniatures or background detail.

This being said, I have a lot of things I want to change with my current setup.

Offline eishiya

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Re: Fantasy Miniatures

Reply #49 on: March 14, 2017, 06:11:46 pm
Wizardry 8 had the sides collapsible to just the combat-relevant information. The bottom has a much higher density of information and tools than your mock-up, and is designed primarily delivering large amounts of text, which is probably why it looks the way it does.
The earlier Wizardry games had much more of a fixed frame thing going on, but well... they did away with that for a reason xP

I think if you start by ranking in writing all the important things players will need to see at key parts of the game (combat, navigation, etc), you should have an easier time organizing those things visually and avoiding redundancies.

Also, regarding undoing movement: It's B to cancel the route prior to confirming, A to confirm, like you said. But then, after confirming, if you select the character and press B without going into any combat menus, that should undo the move if possible. NIS (Disgaea, Phantom Brave, etc) and some other games do it this way; while other tactics games I've seen don't let you take back movement at all, but most of those also don't bother with a confirmation box either - if you press A, that's it. I think the NIS way is very convenient for players, since it lets the player preview the character's attack range in context, which alleviates the need to count tiles on the screen, which in turn alleviates the frustration of having to do so, and allows you to make battle maps that can erase the grid more and look nicer.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 07:20:39 pm by eishiya »