All posts tagged with "ui design"

So I hear you like a large interface

Here you may see a new display option for Dredmor's UI in the upcoming 1.0.6 patch. It's the little things.

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Crashes, Cynical Brit, Feature Request FAQ

First: Crashes

There is known crashing due to problems with the SDL sound library or something. Nicholas is chained to his work station with a coffee IV (Foul Liqueur of Yog Sothoth!) and is enjoying the effects of The Motivation Stick. Ye shall receive another patch post-haste.

Cynical Brit / Total Biscuit

… did a lovely video for Dredmor. Check it out:

Wonderful stuff! (By the way, his Blade Being spell kept going to random squares because he targeted a monster directly – if you do that, the spell will get pushed off to a random tile.)

Feature Request FAQ and Other Nonsense

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Why Do a Job Once When You Can Do It Eight Times in Only Eight Times the Time?

Quiet? Only outwardly. Our Dear Leader saw fit to allow ye players to select your own resolution rather than be limited to a proper and traditional 800×600 screen. Oh, we have such things in store. You will be able to descend far deeper into the Dungeons of Dredmor than ever imagined previously!

Now come with me and perform a cheap analogue of descending into the dungeon by scrolling down past this large image which is a crop of the title screen painting, showing how I’m expanding it to fit higher resolutions!

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Game Design Dialectic: Dwarf Fortress and Goblin Camp

This is only the beginning of a story, but it could prove to be a very interesting story if it bears out. I think it already contains instructive lessons for game development and design.

On the left, Dwarf Fortress. On the right, Goblin Camp.

I hope you know about Dwarf Fortress, the very complex roguelike-lookinglike fantasy world sim / citybuilder. From a development perspective, DF is a very long-running obsessive project coded by one guy, Tarn Adams, who makes more money than I do (not difficult) entirely by donations from his fans. I admire Tarn’s goals and his creative freedom which lets him indulge his whims – I wish I could do that. I even had fun playing some Dwarf Fortress until I explored most of what there was to explore. It was sweet while it lasted, but I grew tired with the tedium of a very rough user interface and tedious gameplay.

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The Insane Vortex of UI Redesign

This wouldn’t be Gaslamp if we didn’t completely redo a major game system once a week.
And this wouldn’t be the ongoing Dungeons of Dredmor beta if we didn’t completely redo between three and five major game systems every week!

Let’s talk about UI redesign.

Here’s the main game UI in Dredmor 0.4:

(Click on any of these images to view at full size.)

Not so bad, right? Rather archaic and clunky, perhaps. But the clunky UI has what we might call character.

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The Interaction Problem

Oh playtesting, how you tear down my illusions, besiege the fortress of my ego then poison its well and set fire to its stores of grain.

Fig. 1: The good part of Dredmor’s interactivity.

It is shocking just how surely a player will ignore tutorial text. The help button is effectively invisible, ignored, the text left sad and unread. Whatever it is, the “go away” button is clicked via Skinnerian response to years of training at ignoring inane popups. Yes, Nicholas passed me a link (or possibly a newer one) to Jeff Atwood writing on the subject when this issue of the tutorials being completely ignored came up, and it got me thinking.

Fig 2. The bad. Don’t ask why it says “Axe” on that lightbulb.

We’ve got issues.

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