Discuss: Your Input - Icon Shape

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Planet10
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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

So 45º is too small but 135º is too wide? Some people are just never satisfied.
The "visual language" I've devised for this is (effectively) "New" and so you aren't accustomed to seeing it yet. You haven't internalized (yet) that "seeing THIS means THAT" because the icons using it were (literally) only made yesterday. I think you're just going to have to trust me when I say that if you see it "often enough for long enough" that you will, in effect, "pick up on the visual lingo" and not keep having this problem.

You can either trust me on this one, or have it your own way.

Yes, ever since Post 99, this has looked a lot like the Redlynne Takes Over MWM in a conquest of design sort of way, but Good Ideas™ lie wherever you can find them, and sometimes you have to go through a lot of mistakes in order to find what you were really after. That's where rapid prototyping like we've done and having a willingness to experiment comes into play, so as to refine and EVOLVE the notions of what needs to be getting done and how you go about doing it can go through that Trial By Fire where you have a repeating cycle of inspiration/communication/test/review so as to hone in on What Works Versus What Doesn't.

Remember, the whole point of this exercise was to find out WHAT WORKS for the UI that Players of this game are going to be dealing with every single time they log into the game. Finding that is going to require a winnowing process that involves iterative testing of ideas and proposals. I waited a "decent" amount of time (98 posts, actually) before tossing my hat full of copper pieces into the (Nimbus) ring and got to work on a comprehensive solution for the problem.

I don't like your tone Redlynne. You are operating as if you come from a position of authority and I do not believe that is the case. The iterative process isn't just narrowing down approaches until you decide it is good enough. It also requires you to revisit the original objective and evaluate the entire decision chain. I am familiar with the complete process cycle.

You can have a visual language that spans eight total options to communicate the intended states. As you have surmised, the user base will adapt and learn this new language. If you have a blank canvas available, making the learning process easier for the user should also be a goal. Tapping into common conventions or familiar patterns can help ease the learning process.

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avelworldcreator wrote:
avelworldcreator wrote:

Try it at 52px by 52px. This is a hard limit to the size of the power icons.

40% (50px'ish by 50px'ish)

edit: 52px x 52px

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I just want to point out that

I just want to point out that it seems like the triangles are gone forever now but I think two factors contributed to their demise both of which are not right or no longer needed. 1) The color scheme was not giving us enough contrast to contrast the little triangles against the rim of the power button they were attached to and 2) the triangles were too small, meaning that they were carved out of the button's rim edge and didn't ever look like they were overlapping it. What I mean is, if you go back to the metal rim with triangles stuff that Izzy did, those trianges were confined to the interior area of the metal ring. You COULD have triangles that are bigger and look like they're on top of the button rim, thus they would have two triangular edges that cross the curved line of the outer edge of the metallic button rim (and cross the inner edge of the metallic rim also).

I think if you put if the better contrast colors AND make the triangles a little bigger relative to the size of the button, you'd be able to see the triangles just fine.

Theoretically, those triangles should look like the metal setting prongs of a ring holding a gem in the center, they ought to look like they're "holding" the button's inner area like a bird holding it in her talons. If the triangle's perimeter cuts across the circle, it breaks it up in a way that makes the triangle more visible and prominent, I think.

All of that said, nobody seems to miss the triangles, and I personally don't care so as Digital Underground once said, dowhatchalike.

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

avelworldcreator wrote:
Try it at 52px by 52px. This is a hard limit to the size of the power icons.
40% (50px'ish by 50px'ish)

That works. I don't know why the percentage system but it's working (actually you are 49x50 there :p )
I've done the rotary effect myself but it only works for round buttons. The multiple shapes has led me to an outward going pulse with a mask as a compromise.
But I also avoid any dependency where I can on colors to communicate meaning - have to deal with colorblind people. Contrasts are more important.

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if its not round, i was

if its not round, i was thinking of breaking up whatever shapes border into almost rectangular segments, and fade each LED in and out.

ex:

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Planet10I don't like your
Planet10 wrote:

I don't like your tone Redlynne. You are operating as if you come from a position of authority and I do not believe that is the case.

Yes - he/she tends to do that. And no - Redlynne has no kind authority here - he/she is a fan just like us, with ideas, wants and desires. The way they are expressed sometimes leaves much to be desired of course....

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

if its not round, i was thinking of breaking up whatever shapes border into almost rectangular segments, and fade each LED in and out.
ex:

Actually I just thought of a way to make a circular strobe using animated materials and a mask. No need to manually divide up an arbitrary shape into an arbitrary number of segments. I'll pass on that exercise, thank you very much. I'm the guy having to implement this stuff!

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Planet10 wrote:
Planet10 wrote:

I don't like your tone Redlynne.

/em shrug

Tough noogies.

I'm not participating in this to be LIKED. I'm participating in this to get something DONE. I'm not even participating in this to get my name put into the credits for the game. I just want the best possible stuff to be put into the game that we can come up with. This isn't about *ME* at all. This is about ideas and developing those ideas in ways that WORK for the game that is being produced here.

Until I started pushing for some rapid prototyping, nothing was (visibly) getting done and a lot of people in this thread were just passing the buck on decision making, assuming that someone else (the Devs) were going to do something awesome and we'd all love it.

But I'm an anti-hero ... as you can probably tell by the colors in my avatar (Red lines on Black). I escaped from the Sisters of Divine Love and Retribution Catholic Girls School and Seminary just before taking the VOW OF VIOLENCE that all members of the Order are brainwashed trained to uphold since early childhood. There are very very few things that I do for the purpose of being LIKED.

Deal with it.

{end in character rant}

Planet10 wrote:

You are operating as if you come from a position of authority and I do not believe that is the case.

"Trust me. I know what I'm doing."


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Redlynne
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avelworldcreator wrote:
avelworldcreator wrote:

Actually I just thought of a way to make a circular strobe using animated materials and a mask. No need to manually divide up an arbitrary shape into an arbitrary number of segments. I'll pass on that exercise, thank you very much. I'm the guy having to implement this stuff!

Hence my question up thread about Premature Optimization and what is going to be the easiest thing to implement with the tools available. If the answer to that question winds up being "circle" then let's go with a circular motif and deal with what that means.


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Redlynne
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avelworldcreator wrote:
avelworldcreator wrote:

Just for the record the work area of our buttons is 52x52 pixels. The slot itself is 64x64 pixels. That's a 3-pixel margin at the edge of each slot. So if you want to play around with what a button might look like limit yourself to that area and see how it looks.

Can you please clarify on the reasoning behind these limitations? I don't mind working within them, I'd just like to know why they are firmly set where they are, since those are some pretty tight confines on screens that can go up to 4k resolution.


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Redlynne
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Izzy? Can we get a new

Izzy? Can we get a new mockup of the following for 128x128 as well as 52x52 scale?

  • Single Target = 11 to 1 o'clock
  • Cones = 10 to 2 o'clock
  • Target Volume of Effect = 1 to 3 o'clock, 5 to 7 o'clock, 9 to 11 o'clock
  • Point Blank Volume of Effect = 12 to 12 o'clock (full circle)

  • Player Only and Miscellaneous Icons = Empty Nimbus (no arcs)

  • Summons or Drops = 5 to 7 o'clock
  • Summons or Drops, Volume of Effect = 4 to 8 o'clock

Single Target

Cone

Target Volume of Effect

Point Blank Volume of Effect

Player Only/Miscellaneous (empty Nimbus)

Summon or Drop, Single Target

Summon or Drop, Volume of Effect


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Ok, giving Redlynne kudos for

Ok, giving Redlynne kudos for being the other person to remember Sledge Hammer.

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

avelworldcreator wrote:
Just for the record the work area of our buttons is 52x52 pixels. The slot itself is 64x64 pixels. That's a 3-pixel margin at the edge of each slot. So if you want to play around with what a button might look like limit yourself to that area and see how it looks.
Can you please clarify on the reasoning behind these limitations? I don't mind working within them, I'd just like to know why they are firmly set where they are, since those are some pretty tight confines on screens that can go up to 4k resolution.

Because not all screens go up to 4k resolution! :D
Lots of small laptops out there. We actually went significantly bigger than CoX did. Plus if we make things too large with the UI it is likely to dominate the play area. I test stuff on monitors of varying sizes to check appearance and layout problems.

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

Ok, giving Redlynne kudos for being the other person to remember Sledge Hammer.

Side effect of watching it and recording a few episodes on VHS when it was airing ...


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avelworldcreator wrote:
avelworldcreator wrote:

Because not all screens go up to 4k resolution! :D

Lots of small laptops out there. We actually went significantly bigger than CoX did. Plus if we make things too large with the UI it is likely to dominate the play area. I test stuff on monitors of varying sizes to check appearance and layout problems.

I've been operating under the assumption that there's going to be a Scaling Control in the UI Options menu, allowing you to go up and down the sizing scale as preferred, so as to take care of that kind of problem. Are you saying that the scaling of the UI size is going to be "fixed" by a hard coded constant rather than controlled by a variable that Players can adjust?


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

avelworldcreator wrote:
Because not all screens go up to 4k resolution! :D
Lots of small laptops out there. We actually went significantly bigger than CoX did. Plus if we make things too large with the UI it is likely to dominate the play area. I test stuff on monitors of varying sizes to check appearance and layout problems.
I've been operating under the assumption that there's going to be a Scaling Control in the UI Options menu, allowing you to go up and down the sizing scale as preferred, so as to take care of that kind of problem. Are you saying that the scaling of the UI size is going to be "fixed" by a hard coded constant rather than controlled by a variable that Players can adjust?

Unreal scales things automatically based on screen size but the base needs to be set. There is a DPI scaling feature with Unreal and it is my understanding that it may be user modifiable at runtime. We will likely be able to allow direct resizing of a number of other elements individually but defaults need to be set too.

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I think single-target might

I think single-target might look better as the slightly narrower 11:30 to 12:30 arc, personally.

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100%

39% (52px'ish)

100%

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And the defaults that you're

And the defaults that you're setting are going to be at 52x52 for reasons various and sundry that are too boring to pontificate on at length.

Okay ... with a 52x52 area to work with, that means that radially from the center you've only got 26 pixels from center to edge to work with. Ideally, at that scaling, you don't want anything to be thinner than 2 pixels wide, otherwise it'll "disappear" at that scale and be barely visible.

And to be clear, are we talking about the Art Area in the center needing to be no larger than 52x52, or are we talking about the whole Icon, including the Nimbus around it, needing to fit within 52x52?

If EVERYTHING has to fit into a 52x52 pixel area, you're probably going to be stuck with something like ...
20 pixel radius Art Area
2 pixel radius Boundary Ring
4 pixel radius Nimbus Ring
= 26 pixel radius circle to fit inside a 52x52 block area

That gives you a 40 pixel diameter Art Area (instead of 50 pixel diameter for a 64x64 icon), which is barely larger than the 32x32 pixel icons used in City of Heroes from 2004 onwards ... and monitors keep increasing their available maximum resolutions. I don't know about you, but that feels ... cramped. Still, the only way to know for sure is to SEE IT done in a mock up to test what it looks like.


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Radiac wrote:
Radiac wrote:

I think single-target might look better as the slightly narrower 11:30 to 12:30 arc, personally.

The narrower it gets, the harder it becomes to read (visually) at a glance. You're talking about going from a 60º arc down to a 30º arc. You can already see that in the 52x52 pic that Izzy just put up.

Izzy wrote:

Looking good, Izzy. Although you did get the Target Volume of Effect one "upside down" again. The white parts should be in a Y position. The reason I'm recommending that configuration instead is to disambiguate more cleanly from the Single Target and Cone Nimbus appearance.

As for the orbiting dots, put me down for the "nostalgia factor" of having a single lighted dot trailing a lighted streamer slowly orbiting around the interior edge of the Nimbus at a speed of 1 revolution per 4 seconds. Kind of curious why you'd put that onto a Player Only/Miscellaneous Icon, but I guess it's the best "leftover" image to do that kind of experimentation on.


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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

39% (52px'ish)

100%

Alright. Aside from the fact that (I think) the Target Volume of Effect Nimbus is "upside down" (as mentioned above) ... who here thinks that the Multiples Of 60º visual language in the Nimbus going on here is Good Enough™ to use for Production Design? You're by no means obligated to use this, of course ... but I'm wondering if it makes for a decent final draft candidate proposal to use in development from here on out.

Izzy?
avelworldcreator?
Tannim222?
Doctor Tyche?
... everyone else on staff I haven't called out by name?

... everyone else who ISN'T on staff ... what do you say?


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

And the defaults that you're setting are going to be at 52x52 for reasons various and sundry that are too boring to pontificate on at length.
Okay ... with a 52x52 area to work with, that means that radially from the center you've only got 26 pixels from center to edge to work with. Ideally, at that scaling, you don't want anything to be thinner than 2 pixels wide, otherwise it'll "disappear" at that scale and be barely visible.
And to be clear, are we talking about the Art Area in the center needing to be no larger than 52x52, or are we talking about the whole Icon, including the Nimbus around it, needing to fit within 52x52?
If EVERYTHING has to fit into a 52x52 pixel area, you're probably going to be stuck with something like ...
20 pixel radius Art Area
2 pixel radius Boundary Ring
4 pixel radius Nimbus Ring
= 26 pixel radius circle to fit inside a 52x52 block area
That gives you a 40 pixel diameter Art Area (instead of 50 pixel diameter for a 64x64 icon), which is barely larger than the 32x32 pixel icons used in City of Heroes from 2004 onwards ... and monitors keep increasing their available maximum resolutions. I don't know about you, but that feels ... cramped. Still, the only way to know for sure is to SEE IT done in a mock up to test what it looks like.

Yep. Everything into a 52x52 area. Around here we start of larger and shrink it down. If it fits within those limits with major loss of detail it's a go. I see Izzy had no problems with his design fitting down that low. If I recall we more than doubled the area the power buttons in CoX had to work with.

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Izzy wrote:
39% (52px'ish)
100%
Alright. Aside from the fact that (I think) the Target Volume of Effect Nimbus is "upside down" (as mentioned above) ... who here thinks that the Multiples Of 60º visual language in the Nimbus going on here is Good Enough™ to use for Production Design? You're by no means obligated to use this, of course ... but I'm wondering if it makes for a decent final draft candidate proposal to use in development from here on out.
Izzy?
avelworldcreator?
Tannim222?
Doctor Tyche?
... everyone else on staff I haven't called out by name?
... everyone else who ISN'T on staff ... what do you say?

Izzy isn't on our staff.

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Granted that Izzy isn't on

Granted that Izzy isn't on staff, but he's been playing with the tools and therefore ought to have a fair idea of how ... obnoxious ... what I've been asking of him to model would be to work with. Then again, avelworldcreator, if you're the one who is going to actually have to do the coding to implement it, it would be fair to weight your opinion on that point a bit more heavily ... ^_~


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Granted that Izzy isn't on staff, but he's been playing with the tools and therefore ought to have a fair idea of how ... obnoxious ... what I've been asking of him to model would be to work with. Then again, avelworldcreator, if you're the one who is going to actually have to do the coding to implement it, it would be fair to weight your opinion on that point a bit more heavily ... ^_~

Quite fair. I'm the task force manager and primary coder for the UI/UX team at the moment.

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Oh, and as far as I know,

Oh, and as far as I know, Izzy works in Unity; we are using Unreal 4.13+

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avelworldcreator wrote:
avelworldcreator wrote:

Oh, and as far as I know, Izzy works in Unity; we are using Unreal 4.13+

UDK? Never Again! I'm done with UDK. >:(

Last thing i worked on was years ago:

ex:

ohh, and can't forget people jumping up and down, saying.. Nooo when i suggested a Mac tray look. ;D

ex:

fun times. :)

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

avelworldcreator wrote:
Oh, and as far as I know, Izzy works in Unity; we are using Unreal 4.13+
UDK? Never Again! I'm done with UDK. >:(
Last thing i worked on was years ago:
ex:
ohh, and can't forget people jumping up and down, saying.. Nooo when i suggested a Mac tray look. ;D
ex:
fun times. :)

Does that mean I can draft you onto my UI team? :D

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

avelworldcreator wrote:
Oh, and as far as I know, Izzy works in Unity; we are using Unreal 4.13+
UDK? Never Again! I'm done with UDK. >:(
Last thing i worked on was years ago:
ex:
ohh, and can't forget people jumping up and down, saying.. Nooo when i suggested a Mac tray look. ;D
ex:
fun times. :)

In all fairness, UDK shares little in common with UE4.

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

Please leave any feedback for Your Input - Icon Shape here.

Redlynne wrote:

Planet10 wrote:
I don't like your tone Redlynne.
/em shrug
Tough noogies.
I'm not participating in this to be LIKED. I'm participating in this to get something DONE. I'm not even participating in this to get my name put into the credits for the game. I just want the best possible stuff to be put into the game that we can come up with. This isn't about *ME* at all. This is about ideas and developing those ideas in ways that WORK for the game that is being produced here.
Until I started pushing for some rapid prototyping, nothing was (visibly) getting done and a lot of people in this thread were just passing the buck on decision making, assuming that someone else (the Devs) were going to do something awesome and we'd all love it.

Redlynne, I am curious to find out what grand design problem you are trying to solve here or what fire you are trying to light under Dev. All Dev wanted from the user base was to provide input on shapes. Until Dev provides meaningful details & requests all of this is just an academic exercise to keep us busy. For all we know at this point, the only meaningful decision that can be made is the actual shape of the buttons. What if the "dots" have some dramatic impact on the design of the Nimbus ring or the power icons? What if they have a more expansive approach for Nimbus and eight states won't be enough? All of this "rapid" prototyping WORK could be rendered useless.

You may not care about your reputation or how you are perceived, but it can impact how people deal with you and how much weight people place in your comments.

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And what's wrong with a Mac

And what's wrong with a Mac tray look?

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Redlynne, that six-section

Redlynne, that six-section split from the radiation symbol just isn't working for me on these buttons. I think we need to go back to eight-section for the targeted AoE. 45-degree segments, instead of 60-degree segments.

Be Well!
Fireheart

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Doctor Tyche wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:

And what's wrong with a Mac tray look?

The look? Nothing wrong there. It is pretty when it whirls around.
It is a pain in the butt when you try to click on something not in the current row, it animates to change position/size and you end up clicking on the wrong thing, or even worse, you click on dead space and your active target gets deselected along with not accomplishing anything. Now you are at minimum two clicks away from doing anything and you've lost time. :/

Mac tray approach is great if you like challenging yourself to play the mini game "Will I Or Won't I Click On What I Want" while simultaneously playing CoT. You could reserve this as a challenge mode for tournaments or charity events.

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Planet10 wrote:
Planet10 wrote:

You may not care about your reputation or how you are perceived, but it can impact how people deal with you and how much weight people place in your comments.

Oh, it's much too late for that! Redlynne is a Long-time contributor, almost a known quantity. He is also very clever and amazingly passionate when he latches on to an idea. Granted, he's been known to argue a point long past anyone else's tolerance - unless they happen to agree with him. However, I'm looking forward to shaking his hand, when the game goes live.

Be Well!
Fireheart

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i think one of the reasons

i think one of the reasons the Sliding Mac tray that scaled down was appealing for me, is the possibility to have it left, center, or right aligned..

in this example, the 2nd, 3rd, etc.. rows would be right aligned, saving some of my central screen space.

ex:

edit:
granted.. the times i played CoH that might have put this notion in me might be the times i played on a small screen, lower resolutions, and older notebooks. :p

yeah, maybe this won't matter as much today, but once tablets are able to handle CoT type of games, its back to lower resolutions, yet again! ;)

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https://paragonwiki.com/wiki

Here's the Summon Demon Prince icon from CoX:

I contend that the nimbus this power actually had uses only about 1/8 of the circumference of the button. I further content that you could take away the two little sidebars on that nimbus, effectively narrowing it further to about 1/12 of the circumference of the button, and I'd still be able to see it. I don't believe that the nimbus vanishes from view as soon as it drops below 60 degrees of circumference arc, as some people claim. I just don't buy that argument. Note also that there's significant contrast between the button color and the nimbus effect. I think that's absolutely necessary. If the nimbus is going to be white, then make the rim of the power, and the background area of the button a dark color to set it apart, then use bright colors, like white, for the icon art in the button, again for contrast, just like the example here. Note that the rim of the button is the same dark color as the button background. If we're not going to do that, we ought to at least make it a color that contrasts the nimbus well.

R.S.O. of Phoenix Rising

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Fireheart wrote:
Fireheart wrote:

Redlynne, that six-section split from the radiation symbol just isn't working for me on these buttons. I think we need to go back to eight-section for the targeted AoE. 45-degree segments, instead of 60-degree segments.

And that's the kind of feedback we needed to be getting here, so thank you for that.

I don't have the time right now to do another series of craptacular mock ups using Preview, but once I'm done with my Day Job (after 7 EST) I'll be right back here again and working on making up a new series which will do a mix 'n' match of octagon/hexagon arc lengths which hopefully ought to settle into place as being the "best" we can do for a Good Enough™ solution.


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I do try to be clear when

I do try to be clear when communicating. *grin*

It's quite possible that we are just duplicating Dev efforts, here, but I feel they would have mentioned it, if they had. Meanwhile, this sort of leveraging of Community talent... well, I've always thought that was one of the things MWM was all about.

Now I find myself wondering what the next UI Element to be sacrificed in public will be.

Be Well!
Fireheart

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We are keeping an eye on it

We are keeping an eye on it here, without changing plans ourselves, in case an idea lends itself as an obvious improvement. Plus, we do hope to enable UI mods, so even if we don't accept someone's ideas they could still be integrated after the fact.

Now, that being said, the way Izzy's constructed these is not how the engine handles things. Shading, reflection, etc, is *not* in the base icon, but instead are material effects which can be adjusted in-engine. Give me a few, and I'll show how an icon is actually built.

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Okay ... so here we go again.

Okay ... so here we go again. This time, I'm doing a mix of shapes relying on multiples of 45º and 60º (hence the underlying circle around octagon and clock face pics, respectively) so as to make the arc lengths and positioning very obvious. Ignore all of the black lines and just pay attention to the placement of the purple lines I've drawn on instead.

Alright, one more time ... from the top ...

  • Single Target (45º arc)
  • Cones (120º arc)
  • Target Volume of Effect (staggered 45º arcs)
  • Point Blank Volume of Effect (360º arc)

  • Player Only and Miscellaneous Icons (empty Nimbus with no arc)

  • Summons or Drops (45º arc)
  • Summons or Drops, Volume of Effect (120º arc)

156x156 scale (for easy visibility of what I'm doing)

. . . . . .

52x52 scale

. . . . . .

Looking at just these "bare bones" craptacular versions of the basic idea I've been blathering on about for some time now, I will freely admit that Fireheart is right that a 4 Corner rather than a 3 Corner arc version of the Target Volume of Effect does look better. It helps to better differentiate and disambiguate the different types of Power Effects that the Nimbus is intended to convey. The only real "price" that you have to pay for that clarity is abandoning an exclusive use of either a hexagon or an octagon as the "guideline" for how long the arcs around the circle ought to be, which honestly isn't that steep of a price to pay.

Izzy, if you want to do another quick mock up set for everyone to see, that would be most kind.

avelworldcreator ... I figure this right here will probably be the last you'll hear from me on this subject, since it feels like this current structural alignment of visual language for Icon and Nimbus Shape has been honed about as far as is practical on my part. After this, it basically comes down to Implementation on your end.

Tannim222 ... unless I'm missing some category of Effect Shaping that you guys had planned internally and never told us about, I figure that this setup of circular Icons and Nimbus Shapes ought to be able to handle pretty much anything we'd be expecting to see based on past experience(s) with City of Heroes. If you need something else thrown into the mix, you're going to have to tell me these things so that I can include them!

Doctor Tyche ... sorry about the mess. I'd like to think I left most of the sand in the sandbox where it belongs. Really appreciate the invitation to come over and play at your house. *^_^*


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Planet10 wrote:
Planet10 wrote:

You may not care about your reputation or how you are perceived, but it can impact how people deal with you and how much weight people place in your comments.

Fireheart wrote:

Oh, it's much too late for that! Redlynne is a Long-time contributor, almost a known quantity.

He don't know me very well, do he?

Fireheart wrote:

He is also very clever and amazingly passionate when he latches on to an idea. Granted, he's been known to argue a point long past anyone else's tolerance - unless they happen to agree with him. However, I'm looking forward to shaking his hand, when the game goes live.

Likewise, Fireheart. Would be nice to meet you at the City of Titans Players Summit.


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Okay ... so here we go again. This time, I'm doing a mix of shapes relying on multiples of 45º and 60º (hence the underlying circle around octagon and clock face pics, respectively) so as to make the arc lengths and positioning very obvious. Ignore all of the black lines and just pay attention to the placement of the purple lines I've drawn on instead.
Alright, one more time ... from the top ...
Single Target (45º arc)
Cones (120º arc)
Target Volume of Effect (staggered 45º arcs)
Point Blank Volume of Effect (360º arc)
Player Only and Miscellaneous Icons (empty Nimbus with no arc)
Summons or Drops (45º arc)
Summons or Drops, Volume of Effect (120º arc)156x156 scale (for easy visibility of what I'm doing)
. . . . . .
52x52 scale
. . . . . .
Looking at just these "bare bones" craptacular versions of the basic idea I've been blathering on about for some time now, I will freely admit that Fireheart is right that a 4 Corner rather than a 3 Corner arc version of the Target Volume of Effect does look better. It helps to better differentiate and disambiguate the different types of Power Effects that the Nimbus is intended to convey. The only real "price" that you have to pay for that clarity is abandoning an exclusive use of either a hexagon or an octagon as the "guideline" for how long the arcs around the circle ought to be, which honestly isn't that steep of a price to pay.
Izzy, if you want to do another quick mock up set for everyone to see, that would be most kind.
avelworldcreator ... I figure this right here will probably be the last you'll hear from me on this subject, since it feels like this current structural alignment of visual language for Icon and Nimbus Shape has been honed about as far as is practical on my part. After this, it basically comes down to Implementation on your end.
Tannim222 ... unless I'm missing some category of Effect Shaping that you guys had planned internally and never told us about, I figure that this setup of circular Icons and Nimbus Shapes ought to be able to handle pretty much anything we'd be expecting to see based on past experience(s) with City of Heroes. If you need something else thrown into the mix, you're going to have to tell me these things so that I can include them!
Doctor Tyche ... sorry about the mess. I'd like to think I left most of the sand in the sandbox where it belongs. Really appreciate the invitation to come over and play at your house. *^_^*

Looks quite good from my end. You and Izzy have been contributing well. Thanks.

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Fireheart wrote:
Fireheart wrote:

It's quite possible that we are just duplicating Dev efforts, here, but I feel they would have mentioned it, if they had. Meanwhile, this sort of leveraging of Community talent... well, I've always thought that was one of the things MWM was all about.

Even if we are spinning our wheels duplicating what has already been done internally, that still has value ... because the very act of duplication by independent means yields a validation that falls under the Great Minds Think Alike heading.

Fireheart wrote:

Now I find myself wondering what the next UI Element to be sacrificed in public will be.

You're not the only one! Still, I'd like to think that the rapid prototyping we did in this thread has proven its merit, since it allows the thought processes and ideas to not only be visible but the progression to be reviewable. That's not meaningless either, even if we wind up in the same place both publicly and internally.


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avelworldcreator wrote:
avelworldcreator wrote:

Looks quite good from my end. You and Izzy have been contributing well. Thanks.

All part of the (public) service. ^_~


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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Even if we are spinning our wheels duplicating what has already been done internally, that still has value ... because the very act of duplication by independent means yields a validation that falls under the Great Minds Think Alike heading.

Yep. Independent convergent evolution is pretty strong evidence of validity.

FIGHT EVIL! (or go cause trouble so the Heroes have something to do.)

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39% (52 pix'ish) 100%

39% (52 pix'ish)

100%

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Alright, how an icon is built

Alright, how an icon is built. I hope Izzy does not mind, but I used his icons for the foundation of this demonstration.

First, the nimbus and animation system is driven by the engine. So, trigger flashes, bits flying around the icon, etc, all in there, so the icon material itself does not need to worry about it.

First, we mask out for the base color of the icon, which actually is the ring color.

Mask out the background color of the interior of the icon:

Mask out the bottom of the icon.

And finally the central icon.

This gives us a, well, flat image.

Now, we want some depth, so we add a special kind of material, known as a Normal.

If you use such a material without any colors selected, you can immediately see the difference.

Now, we want the icon to be shiny like glass, with a metalic ring. Once the masks from above are repurposed for such, this is the result:

So, let us now use the colors from above.

The actual material assembly looks like this:

And that is how an icon is assembled.

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Doctor Tyche wrote:
Ok, giving Redlynne kudos for being the other person to remember Sledge Hammer.
Side effect of watching it and recording a few episodes on VHS when it was airing ...

Did you know that was one of the first TV themes ever composed by Danny Elfman?

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I'd like to add - in case it

I'd like to add - in case it's confusing to anyone :) the masks (in this case they are Red and Green and Blue) - the color of the mask does not influence the end result it only MASKS the area where there is color and it's not black - if you notice for the RED circle, he's dragged a wire off the RED channel for the texture and used that - essentially making that a black and white image to the engine (as individual channels of an image ore really just greyscale masks that apply THAT color to the image based on the mask) (hope that makes sense LOL)

That is then passed into that LERP node which basically says "Take A and put it over B - wherever the mask is not black" - and so on and so on... :)

This lesson brought to you by the letter G ;)

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

39% (52 pix'ish)

100%

Beautiful as always, Izzy.

Doctor Tyche wrote:

Redlynne wrote:
Doctor Tyche wrote:
Ok, giving Redlynne kudos for being the other person to remember Sledge Hammer.
Side effect of watching it and recording a few episodes on VHS when it was airing ...
Did you know that was one of the first TV themes ever composed by Danny Elfman?

Actually no, I was not aware of that bit of trivia. However that does explain why the theme music for that opening is so catchy ...

Hmmm ... I wonder if it would be possible to put an homage Event like this into City of Titans somewhere. I mean, the TCPD could use a Sledge Hammer on the Force ... right?

I ♡ VIOLENCE


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ty. was curious how you might

ty. was curious how you might do that with UE4.

for some reason i heard or read somewhere that the more you offset onto the material/shader, the more bogged down your performance can get when your game grows big... so I've gotten into a sort of habit of creating atlas textures with sprites (can be larger.. scaling down looks better in Unity3D, than scaling up)

here is the texture i made a week ago for that quick mockup:

that's all. 2 draw calls. one for all the buttons, one for all the text. :)
and more layers can be added to the buttons, and just one draw call is used, which is nice.

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Redlynne wrote:
Redlynne wrote:

Fireheart wrote:
It's quite possible that we are just duplicating Dev efforts, here, but I feel they would have mentioned it, if they had. Meanwhile, this sort of leveraging of Community talent... well, I've always thought that was one of the things MWM was all about.
Even if we are spinning our wheels duplicating what has already been done internally, that still has value ... because the very act of duplication by independent means yields a validation that falls under the Great Minds Think Alike heading.

The only reason Dev would mention that we were duplicating their efforts would be to slightly reduce the noise. Otherwise there is no benefit. If they tried to direct the independent development it would taint the effort.
If the design is similar there is little value because nothing new was learned. Now if the approach used to arrive at the design was different it can help validate the design.

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After skimming this, I'd like

After skimming this, I'd like to throw out that colored effects on the icon are probably not wise since some are color vision impaired. .

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Please have Scaling decals!

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desviper wrote:
desviper wrote:

After skimming this, I'd like to throw out that colored effects on the icon are probably not wise since some are color vision impaired. .

You might have seen me mention that issue previously in this thread. I keep telling the team to gray-scale the results and develop elements that can be tinted to the user's desires by the engine. Thanks for reiterating this.

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Lose the 3d effects. Hiding

Lose the 3d effects. Hiding your design is not doing the ui any good.

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a bit more detail on which

a bit more detail on which elements you would change and how would you change them?

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I was thinking about the

I was thinking about the various Nimbus states and how it might morph beyond just simple conversion of a single target to a cone. Without knowing all of the possible mutations, eight states won't be enough especially if you transition between melee & ranged. This set of Nimbus symbols differentiates between ranged & melee, so the Nimbus Ring is split in two (outer for ranged, inner for melee) mainly to display arc attributes. The Nimbus Prongs setup the bulk of the symbol language.

The Nimbus Ring needed to roughly double in size (4 pixels per ring) to make it readable. This also means the button real estate had to shrink to 32 pixels. So the layout from edge to center is Nimbus Ring (outer) at 4px, Nimbus Ring (inner) at 4px, Nimbus/Button buffer of 2px and the Button area at 16px. The hitbox for the Button is a tad bit smaller, so the entire Ring plus the Button itself should be clickable.

Disclaimer on the image: The buttons aren't scaled exactly to 52x52 but it is sorta close. I do not have the expertise to make it pretty, but it is mainly a prototype to gauge the feasibility of the symbols.

The symbols are derived from what we saw in CoH. The possible variants can expand beyond what is listed here.
Nimbus Ring Terminology:

  • A - Character Only
  • B - Single Target (for melee & ranged)
  • C - Melee Cone
  • D - Melee PBAoE
  • E - Summon & similar class of abilities
  • F - Ranged Cone
  • G - Ranged AoE
  • H - Ranged Targeted AoE (template, summon, etc)
  • I - Team buff
  • J - Melee Single Target hybrid with AoE

To my knowledge, powers represented by the F & J symbols did not exist in CoH.
Symbol F denotes a ranged attack that does no damage between the character and the target, but does damage in a cone centered at the target directed away from character. This could be anything like a special munition fired from a gun or Plasticman stretching his arms to wail on a group at a distance.
Symbol J denotes a melee single target attack that has an AoE component. That could be a knockdown kick coupled with an AoE stomp. That could also be a punch that infects the target with a radiation dot.

My question is if there is enough area in the button for a power icon? The Nimbus Rings could probably be shortened by a pixel (3 & 3 instead of 4 & 4).

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Recharging?

Recharging?

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Planet10 wrote:
Planet10 wrote:

eight states won't be enough especially if you transition between melee & ranged. This set of Nimbus symbols differentiates between ranged & melee, so the Nimbus Ring is split in two (outer for ranged, inner for melee) mainly to display arc attributes.

City of Heroes didn't have any kind of tooltip popup on mouse hover type functionality for their Power Trays. This meant that they were obliged to contain a lot more information in "their" version of a Nimbus so as to help differentiate Melee from Ranged. We can dicker over how "necessary" is was for them to do that (ultimately) given how the game turned out, but the point is that they did it.

City of Titans is already planned to be different on this point.

My understanding at this point is that in ways that are broadly similar to how Star Trek Online (among many other games) handles this kind of functionality, upon mouse hover over an icon in the Power Trays you'll see a tooltip popup that will contain details concerning the functionality of a particular Power. All of the Foe/Ally/Self information and things like Range and so on will be contained within that tooltip popup, since you can get more specific (using actual numbers) in the tooltip popup than you can with any sort of Nimbus Arcs visual language. In that respect, putting the Ranged vs Melee distinction into the Nimbus itself not only has to contend with being redundant information but also "unnecessarily redundant" information that complicates the Nimbus for relatively little gain, since that information is better gleaned through the alternative channel of the tooltip popup. At that point you need to be asking yourself if the added complication is worth the "cost" of straying away from Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) principles, since the "reading" of that added layer of complexity increases the "workload" of understanding the visual language/presentation at a glance, possibly to the point where it stops being an intuitively easy read.

My assumption is that with a mouse hover tooltip popup you no longer need to contain this information in the Nimbus and that there are visual design advantages to offloading the distinction between Ranged and Melee into text in the popup rather than keeping it in the iconography of the Nimbus.

Izzy wrote:

Recharging?

Interesting choice there Izzy. It's certainly one way to avoid the "inflating balloon" iconography we're accustomed to from City of Heroes (and the opportunity for legal harassment that could provide) while at the same time being something that is both clear and easy to read, even at smaller scales. You'd also be able to use the exact same region for any kind of "orbiting light" iconography to indicate that a Toggle is ON, so the space being used for this representation is multipurpose.

Only thing I'd want to do is rotate the "recharge lights" arcs ever so slightly so that the vertices between the sections align up/down/left/right instead of the arcs like you're showing here. After that, it's probably a good idea to keep the Recharge Ring in 24 sections like you're showing here, simply because that makes the progression easier to follow visually, rather than using fewer/larger arc sections.


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3 guesses as to what this

3 guesses as to what this does. ;D

40%, 100%, 200%

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i was hoping the Iconography

i was hoping the Iconography would be clear enough to distinguish Melee from Ranged. :(

ex:

the Ellipse could be a Bullet, a Fireball, a etc...

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

I was hoping the Iconography would be clear enough to distinguish Melee from Ranged. :(

Agreed. We don't need to assign that job of distinguishing between the two onto the Nimbus. There are other channels for conveying that information.


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So, it would seem that I am

So, it would seem that I am some sort of anchor. I am not around for a couple weeks and you manage to generate a 243post thread, on top of the other thread on the subject. I mostly agree with the outcome. The OP's goal of establishing an outline of what shapes would be used for what powers. I think has been very well settled, at least for the main power bars. Circles or squares are best.

The secondary topic of the nimbus. I liked some of the early designs with the green nimbus bits, I thought there was some promise in that design. I think the overall design has strayed a bit too far from the original functionality of the nimbus bits. I feel as if they are no longer the dynamic pieces but static representations of exactly what was in COH. Someone mentioned the danger of too closely following COH and I feel that the latest design in this thread of the nimbus bits is all but a copy of what came before. This is why I prefer the earlier prongs or green light styles. I feel as if instead of iterating on that design it was chucked in favor of a single minded drive to copy COH. If that design does end up bearing some weight on the final design I would say that I'm not happy with the contrast between the "on" bit and the "off" bit. Personally I have issues maintaining correct focus. In Izzy's design in post 227 I had to look twice because I didn't initially see the any difference between the ~52px designs. Perhaps if the power bar is sufficiently dark it could work.

In any event I think the devs have received an answer to the original question.

(at)Roxanna - Little Sister - Plutonium Bloom - MilkShakes
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Grimfox wrote:
Grimfox wrote:

So, it would seem that I am some sort of anchor. I am not around for a couple weeks and you manage to generate a 243post thread, on top of the other thread on the subject.

Hey, I had the decency to wait until post 99 before exploding this thread into what it has become ...

Grimfox wrote:

I mostly agree with the outcome. The OP's goal of establishing an outline of what shapes would be used for what powers. I think has been very well settled, at least for the main power bars. Circles or squares are best.

The shapes used do all kinds of things to how people approach and think about the game.

Grimfox wrote:

The secondary topic of the nimbus. I liked some of the early designs with the green nimbus bits, I thought there was some promise in that design. I think the overall design has strayed a bit too far from the original functionality of the nimbus bits. I feel as if they are no longer the dynamic pieces but static representations of exactly what was in COH. Someone mentioned the danger of too closely following COH and I feel that the latest design in this thread of the nimbus bits is all but a copy of what came before.

Form Follows Function.

The Functions that we need to have the Nimbus "doing" are pretty much the same Functions that occur in a wide variety of other games.

  • Single Target
  • Cone
  • Target Volume of Effect
  • Point Blank Volume of Effect
  • Self Only or Miscellaneous
  • Summon, Single
  • Summon, Volume of Effect

The result of the "need" for those specific Functions then shows up in the Form that the Nimbus ought to take to convey that information simply, clearly and intuitively. The fact that City of Heroes did them first becomes a guide, but not a straight jacket, because what City of Heroes did WORKED. The difference is that City of Heroes had a far more complex set of "Nimbus" markings on their Powers (see my earlier postings for the full list) because they differentiated things that ultimately didn't need to be differentiated. So in that respect, we're taking advantage of the City of Heroes experience and "simplifying the hell out of it" and making something even easier to use and read and develop for. It also helps that as a Spiritual Successor, City of Titans will offer a UI that meets the EXPECTATIONS of former City of Heroes Players, so as to maintain that feeling of continuity and nostalgia for what NC$oft took away from us.

K eep
I t
S imple
S tupid

Grimfox wrote:

In Izzy's design in post 227 I had to look twice because I didn't initially see the any difference between the ~52px designs. Perhaps if the power bar is sufficiently dark it could work.

Izzy wrote:

39% (52 pix'ish)

100%

If you know what you're looking at, it's plenty obvious. If you're "new" to the visual language, it might take you a little bit of time to "learn" it, but not much. It is, after all, about as simplified and unambiguous as you can get, given the constraints of what we have to be working within. It's one of those things where once you get "used to it" you'll start to wonder why there was ever an objection to it, but until then it's "foreign" to you and so naturally there will be a period of objection to any sort of changes away from what you were wanting/expecting.

I can tell you that just for myself, the whole "spiky green nimbus bits" had a disconcerting association with teeth and "chewing" the Powers they were surrounding, which made them seem decidedly "unfriendly" in a way that's hard to explain using text. I honestly think that using Arc Spans like we eventually came up with is a superior set of Shapes than using Spikes. I look at Izzy's mockup above and get a very "casual" feeling from that which doesn't have undertones of threat like the Spike Nimbus did.


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Grimfox wrote:
Grimfox wrote:

So, it would seem that I am some sort of anchor. I am not around for a couple weeks and you manage to generate a 243post thread, on top of the other thread on the subject.

I've been in those shoes so many times now.

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Redlynne was giving me an

Redlynne was giving me an executive summary of this thread over lunch today, because apparently I miss all the good stuff on this forum. I've been busy with my real job being on obscene deadlines (coming to a head in March); sorry for disappearing for so long. A couple comments:

The "activity satellite" indicator in CoX (I'm confused by whether "nimbus" refers to this or the button frame) was implemented mostly outside of the power icon, mostly occupying the inter-button margins. If you had two toggle powers next to each other in the power tray, and both were toggled on, the satellites (which were alpha-composited) would overlap. This prevented them from overlapping the targeting-type button frame, and allowed them to be big enough to be identifiable out the corner of your eye (two pixels width isn't big enough from that; it makes you look directly at it, and not at the opponent.)

Therefore I recommend it not be included in the 52-pixel diameter button circle. This margin area was also used for a green circle to indicate a power was on auto-fire, and later added a yellow circle for an alternate fire mode for sniper powers (making them work better for DPS-intense boss fights). I have no idea if this is viable in UE4.

Izzy, your examples would look better on a dark (L = 25% or less) background instead of white. As they are, the frame blends into the background. And I agree with avel: the segmentation of the activity satellite does more harm than good.

I agree with several folks here that melee/ranged/snipe-ranged should be in the iconography, not the frame types. Further, while CoH distinguished between "single pet" and "area pet" targeting (the latter being the "single pet" frame overlaid on the "PBAoE" frame, because it was a single pet with a PBAoE effect when you thought about it), I'm not convinced the distinction is necessary (what if you wanted a shotgun turret with a cone effect? or a mortar pet that fires targeted AoEs?). Further, some pets were placed at the character's feet (e.g. auto turret, trip mine) and others at a free-targeted location (e.g. mastermind pets, oil slick arrow). So the real question is: what of this information, if any, is actually important enough to distinguish?

Finally, I'm kind of taken aback by the denotation of the icon size in pixels instead of percent. It seems like something that will, like CoH, result in interface scaling settings and HiDPI support forever being broken. Along these lines, I probably missed this somewhere, but what display size is being targeted? My vote's for 1920x1080 since monitors that size are all over the place and almost everything else is bigger. (I played CoH on a 2560x1600 display, which exposed a water shader bug that assumed the display width was less than or equal to 2048. And I would have loved to crank interface size to 125%, but that was broken in several places like mission progress bars and window layouts.) So I'm hoping the artwork is really being done with vector art and rendered to bitmaps late in the compositing process. I wonder if it would be useful to have multiple power-of-2 resolutions of the icons (like Apple does for app icons, 32x32 through 512x512) and have the client figure out the needed size and render the final size itself when loading.

Keep up the good work, folks!

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Steam does a Hardware

Steam does a Hardware/Software survey.
This could help: http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

Steam does a Hardware/Software survey.
This could help: http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/

Yeah, took that today when I fired up MOO.

... 1920x1080 got 38%. Looks like 54% run a lower resolution?

Okay, why are 25% reporting a 1366 x 768 resolution? Whatever uses that? Does everyone routinely reduce resolution for FPS, I guess?

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Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

Izzy wrote:
Steam does a Hardware/Software survey.
This could help: http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey/
Yeah, took that today when I fired up MOO.
... 1920x1080 got 38%. Looks like 54% run a lower resolution?
Okay, why are 25% reporting a 1366 x 768 resolution? Whatever uses that? Does everyone routinely reduce resolution for FPS, I guess?

Laptops?

Happy New Year!! :)

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Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

Redlynne was giving me an executive summary of this thread over lunch today, because apparently I miss all the good stuff on this forum. I've been busy with my real job being on obscene deadlines (coming to a head in March); sorry for disappearing for so long. A couple comments:
The "activity satellite" indicator in CoX (I'm confused by whether "nimbus" refers to this or the button frame) was implemented mostly outside of the power icon, mostly occupying the inter-button margins. If you had two toggle powers next to each other in the power tray, and both were toggled on, the satellites (which were alpha-composited) would overlap. This prevented them from overlapping the targeting-type button frame, and allowed them to be big enough to be identifiable out the corner of your eye (two pixels width isn't big enough from that; it makes you look directly at it, and not at the opponent.)

I was just as confused about the term "nimbus" as you are. I still am in a lot of ways.

Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

Therefore I recommend it not be included in the 52-pixel diameter button circle.

Where would it go? The 52x52 bounding box is absolute. The only thing to go outside that box is the background texture. That empty space is vital. The bounding box for the power slot is 64x64 with that 52x52 interior bounding box centered with a deliberately empty 6-pixel margin. What you are saying is the equivalent to going "That sentence has all those spaces between words; I recommend not putting the words between those spaces". Seriously.

Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

This margin area was also used for a green circle to indicate a power was on auto-fire, and later added a yellow circle for an alternate fire mode for sniper powers (making them work better for DPS-intense boss fights). I have no idea if this is viable in UE4.

Actually the margin in CoX never had anything in it at all (except for the number of the hot key). It's purpose is to make sure that the power icons don't visually blend for the user. They added an interior margin for what you are talking about.

Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

Izzy, your examples would look better on a dark (L = 25% or less) background instead of white. As they are, the frame blends into the background. And I agree with avel: the segmentation of the activity satellite does more harm than good.
I agree with several folks here that melee/ranged/snipe-ranged should be in the iconography, not the frame types. Further, while CoH distinguished between "single pet" and "area pet" targeting (the latter being the "single pet" frame overlaid on the "PBAoE" frame, because it was a single pet with a PBAoE effect when you thought about it), I'm not convinced the distinction is necessary (what if you wanted a shotgun turret with a cone effect? or a mortar pet that fires targeted AoEs?). Further, some pets were placed at the character's feet (e.g. auto turret, trip mine) and others at a free-targeted location (e.g. mastermind pets, oil slick arrow). So the real question is: what of this information, if any, is actually important enough to distinguish?
Finally, I'm kind of taken aback by the denotation of the icon size in pixels instead of percent. It seems like something that will, like CoH, result in interface scaling settings and HiDPI support forever being broken.

Why would you be taken aback? Percentages are scalar values. They are dimensionless and unitless. They are used to multiply another value. Using your argument the size of the two monitors I'm using should be 12000% and 25600%. Can you easily visualize the sizes of those two monitors? Here's the shocker - the larger percentage is a much smaller monitor. You have to a definite size for your 100% value based on in appropiate unit of measure. Percentages are not units of measure but pixels, the base unit for visual display devices, are. And the power tray in CoX? That was a fixed size.
So 100% represents a 52x52 pixel absolute bounding box for the icon and all other connected imagery. When Izzy first presented his mockups he simply identified one of the icons as "100%" and did not bother to define what the reference size was. I pointed out to him what the reference size needed to be (his was much larger) for his workspace.
What has shocked me is that nobody has gone back to what CoX had for their icon sizes and compared. They had a 32x32 pixel absolute bounding box. We have more than 2 1/2 times the area to work with!

Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

Along these lines, I probably missed this somewhere, but what display size is being targeted? My vote's for 1920x1080 since monitors that size are all over the place and almost everything else is bigger. (I played CoH on a 2560x1600 display, which exposed a water shader bug that assumed the display width was less than or equal to 2048. And I would have loved to crank interface size to 125%, but that was broken in several places like mission progress bars and window layouts.) So I'm hoping the artwork is really being done with vector art and rendered to bitmaps late in the compositing process. I wonder if it would be useful to have multiple power-of-2 resolutions of the icons (like Apple does for app icons, 32x32 through 512x512) and have the client figure out the needed size and render the final size itself when loading.
Keep up the good work, folks!

The bad news? We have to target a lower-common denominator than that for monitor sizes. Get yourself a cheap laptop and see what you are dealing with. 1920x1080 is all over the place for towers or dedicated game systems. UE uses a percentage system for object placement in the UI. Larger monitors will scale things accordingly.

When you speak of "late in the compositing process" are you talking about a process going on in the engine? Got some bad news for you - UE has no native SVG support. Textures are imported primarily as TGA, PNG, JPG, or similar files (preferably TGA for transparency stuff). It's a performance issue, but here's some links for you (UMG is the base for UI/UX in UE):
https://answers.unrealengine.com/questions/428841/importing-vector-images.html
https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?106194-Getting-SVG-shapes-into-UMG

Nope. 2D artwork is done in Photoshop, Affinity, XAML, or the GIMP and exported out in the formats Unreal accepts. If you examine the assets for about any other game out there you'll find the same thing.

As for power of two I use that already as much as possible. It's for performance reasons. In fact that's where the 64x64 pixel base for the icon slots came from.

P.S. My two monitors are 1920x1080 and 1024x768 respectively (HD and SD). That means that I used 16x9 pixels and 4x3 pixels as the reference sizes.

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avelworldcreator wrote:
avelworldcreator wrote:

Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Therefore I recommend it not be included in the 52-pixel diameter button circle.
Where would it go? The 52x52 bounding box is absolute.

In CoH, the activity satellite wasn't integrated into the power button art. If you want to do that, then yes, it would need to be confined to the 52x52 box and be rather thin if it doesn't obscure the button frame.

For example:

Note the active power in slot 3 of tray 4. The satellite is outside the button frame, is superimposed on top of the margin, and if you eyeball it you'll see it'll overlap both the slot number and a satellite from an adjacent slot at some point in its orbit. Since the satellite only covers a small arc at any given instant, this isn't much of a problem visually. (How much of a problem it is in UE4 I have no idea, and I'll have to take your word for it.)

I haven't found an example, but IIRC the green auto-fire circle was put in the gap between the satellite and the button frame.

avelworldcreator wrote:

What you are saying is the equivalent to going "That sentence has all those spaces between words; I recommend not putting the words between those spaces". Seriously.

What I am trying to say is "if you're going to put parentheses around a word, eliminate the spaces just inside the parentheses." E.g. 1 -> (1)

avelworldcreator wrote:

Actually the margin in CoX never had anything in it at all (except for the number of the hot key). It's purpose is to make sure that the power icons don't visually blend for the user. They added an interior margin for what you are talking about.

Are you referring to the power tray's background or border?

avelworldcreator wrote:

Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Finally, I'm kind of taken aback by the denotation of the icon size in pixels instead of percent. It seems like something that will, like CoH, result in interface scaling settings and HiDPI support forever being broken.
Why would you be taken aback? Percentages are scalar values. They are dimensionless and unitless. They are used to multiply another value.

Exactly. In this context, that base value would be the width of the icon: 52 pixels times the UI scaling percentage.

avelworldcreator wrote:

And the power tray in CoX? That was a fixed size.

A fixed size scaled by the UI scaling setting. Or at least in theory; it broke down in places because they never tested at any scaling other than 100% so they never found all the hard-coded pixel math. Again, I was assuming that UE4 was capable of doing these scalings for you.

avelworldcreator wrote:

What has shocked me is that nobody has gone back to what CoX had for their icon sizes and compared. They had a 32x32 pixel absolute bounding box. We have more than 2 1/2 times the area to work with!

Sorry, I missed out on most of the thread. IIRC, CoH was aiming for a minimum screen size of 1024x768. I was (absurdly, it turns out) thinking that 12 years later that minimum would be larger. The Steam survey does not support my assumption.

avelworldcreator wrote:

The bad news? We have to target a lower-common denominator than that for monitor sizes. Get yourself a cheap laptop and see what you are dealing with.

* cries quietly in the corner.

avelworldcreator wrote:

When you speak of "late in the compositing process" are you talking about a process going on in the engine? Got some bad news for you - UE has no native SVG support.

I was talking about after you load assets from disk and before you render to bitmap and feed it to UE4. I'm getting the feeling that point is buried in a black box inside UE4 and you can't do it.

Regarding SVG, I was envisioning you were doing all the original art in some kind of vector format (SVG, Illustrator, or whatever) internally to your workflow at MWM, then rendering to bitmaps when you build and package the game code. The idea being UE never sees anything but pixmaps, and if you need to rescale the art in the future (maybe you'll want to put the icon on a poster; who knows?), you don't have to redraw it. We outsiders would never see the vector art versions.

Yes, I know bitmaps are what shipped. I wrote a shell script that used assets extracted from CoH's PIGG files and fed them to ImageMagick to generate finished enhancement icon files for ParagonWiki back in the day.

(Source for power tray screen cap above from the following video. Trigger warnings: nostalgia, rage at NCSoft)

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Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

In CoH, the activity satellite wasn't integrated into the power button art. If you want to do that, then yes, it would need to be confined to the 52x52 box and be rather thin if it doesn't obscure the button frame.

Not a problem actually though how it will work with this "nimbus" idea remains to be seen. I stand corrected on the activity thing. It has been quite a while. :p We have 6 pixels to play with then. Unfortunately people are talking about other than circular buttons.

Quote:

What I am trying to say is "if you're going to put parentheses around a word, eliminate the spaces just inside the parentheses." E.g. 1 -> (1)

But I wasn't talking about putting parenthesis in. Just words and the spaces between words.

Quote:

Are you referring to the power tray's background or border?

Background. The very image you provided shows a definite gap between buttons.

Quote:

Exactly. In this context, that base value would be the width of the icon: 52 pixels times the UI scaling percentage.

UE has built in scaling fortunately. I never played CoH at other than full screen. When I went to larger monitors the power tray only shifted position inwards (making me move it back into the corner). I never saw any changes in its base size even then though nor did I ever see something in the various to change that size - but there were a lot of settings that I never bothered with.

Quote:

Sorry, I missed out on most of the thread. IIRC, CoH was aiming for a minimum screen size of 1024x768. I was (absurdly, it turns out) thinking that 12 years later that minimum would be larger. The Steam survey does not support my assumption.

We've had to keep up with this information. When I do a project I use scaleable settings rather than maximum settings as the default for just this reason. But as far as I know this was never actually discussed in this thread.

Quote:

avelworldcreator wrote:
When you speak of "late in the compositing process" are you talking about a process going on in the engine? Got some bad news for you - UE has no native SVG support.
I was talking about after you load assets from disk and before you render to bitmap and feed it to UE4. I'm getting the feeling that point is buried in a black box inside UE4 and you can't do it.

Not really. Unreal store assets in an internal format and I have to do an import to get the ones created into the engine. Technically there is this hack here:
https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?3851-%2839%29-Rama-s-Extra-Blueprint-Nodes-for-You-as-a-Plugin-No-C-Required!&p=210419&viewfull=1#post210419
But it's not been tested and I'm not sure about cross-platform compatibility.

Quote:

Regarding SVG, I was envisioning you were doing all the original art in some kind of vector format (SVG, Illustrator, or whatever) internally to your workflow at MWM, then rendering to bitmaps when you build and package the game code.

Actually that's a good idea. In fact it's essentially what I do with my XAML markup. That is how this was generated (obviously rendered to PNG for this image):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/34p9mhi57rnwo58/GridWSliders.png?dl=0

Every bit of this image was dynamically generated.

Quote:

The idea being UE never sees anything but pixmaps, and if you need to rescale the art in the future (maybe you'll want to put the icon on a poster; who knows?), you don't have to redraw it. We outsiders would never see the vector art versions.
Yes, I know bitmaps are what shipped. I wrote a shell script that used assets extracted from CoH's PIGG files and fed them to ImageMagick to generate finished enhancement icon files for ParagonWiki back in the day.

I messed with the PIGG files some myself.

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Sorry I'm coming into this

Sorry I'm coming into this late - I read most of the comments and would like to just pitch a few things in.

Would it be possible to resize the icons and have them placed on a grid-like system anywhere on the screen? For example, WildStar allowed you to have power icons of a scaling size anywhere on the screen, allowing you to have your big-ultimate like abilities with a long cooldown placed somewhere near your player character so that you quickly knew when it was up, and have say, your toggle abilities placed smaller underneath or even to the side of the screen.

I also back the single-shape icons, as having squares, circles, triangles etc would make the GUI look messy, in my opinion.

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th3proph3cy wrote:
th3proph3cy wrote:

Sorry I'm coming into this late - I read most of the comments and would like to just pitch a few things in.
Would it be possible to resize the icons and have them placed on a grid-like system anywhere on the screen? For example, WildStar allowed you to have power icons of a scaling size anywhere on the screen, allowing you to have your big-ultimate like abilities with a long cooldown placed somewhere near your player character so that you quickly knew when it was up, and have say, your toggle abilities placed smaller underneath or even to the side of the screen.
I also back the single-shape icons, as having squares, circles, triangles etc would make the GUI look messy, in my opinion.

We've been talking about the possibility of making the buttons individually placeable so the answer is yes. Having them individually sizeable? Yes, this is also possible if they are apart from a tray. Right now we are focusing here on basic function and style but planning on future additions as time permits. I too prefer a limited range of shapes.

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I keep forgetting to ask...

I keep forgetting to ask...


is the red outlined area to the left stepping down the Value (HSV)?
and the yellow outlined area to the right stepping down the Saturation (HSV)?

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also, if you're wondering how

also, if you're wondering how it might look if you were to use an irregular shape, with the satellite...
perhaps just separate it! :)

ex: different pieces, combined/overlay

this might be an approach i'll try if MWM gives us MOD's someday. ;D

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avelworldcreator wrote:
avelworldcreator wrote:

Not a problem actually though how it will work with this "nimbus" idea remains to be seen. I stand corrected on the activity thing. It has been quite a while. :p We have 6 pixels to play with then. Unfortunately people are talking about other than circular buttons.

I'm still not clear what "nimbus" represents outside that the word can refer to a storm cloud.

Regarding N-sided regular polygonal buttons, and other CoT possibilities, I was focusing on how CoH did it originally, and IMHO the activity satellite is likely untenable for polygon buttons. In that case, I'd recommend a pulsing frame (one pulse for click, repeated pulses at 1 Hz or so for toggles). If you want an example, I can drag ImageMagick back out and cook up a GIF, and maybe whip something up on jsfiddle to show what it would look like. (Speaking of which, my rotating power tray concept is still on there if you want to freak out. The idea was to make the modifier keys' relationship to the trays more obvious. Press the "Shift", "Ctrl", or "Alt" buttons to see it work. ^_^)

I'm not fond of polygonal buttons because of the odd constraints it puts on the button art for N ≠ 4. IMHO, we could use hexagons (CoH was going to use those for skills, which were never implemented but some of the art was in the PIGGs) but that would make most sense if we were packing powers on a hex grid. I personally like circular buttons the best.

That said, one odd use for polygonal buttons would be (assuming square grid packing onto the trays) to use the leftover areas

avelworldcreator wrote:

Actually that's a good idea. In fact it's essentially what I do with my XAML markup. That is how this was generated (obviously rendered to PNG for this image):https://www.dropbox.com/s/34p9mhi57rnwo58/GridWSliders.png?dl=0
Every bit of this image was dynamically generated.

Oh wow, I remember that discussion... O_o;

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th3proph3cy wrote:
th3proph3cy wrote:

Would it be possible to resize the icons and have them placed on a grid-like system anywhere on the screen? For example, WildStar allowed you to have power icons of a scaling size anywhere on the screen, allowing you to have your big-ultimate like abilities with a long cooldown placed somewhere near your player character so that you quickly knew when it was up, and have say, your toggle abilities placed smaller underneath or even to the side of the screen.

Would it be enough if you could simply have trays of different sizes, from 3x10 down to 1x1, as many as you need? That way the gridding is handled by the trays in all cases and they don't have to handle buttons not in trays on a global screen-wide grid, which could simplify things. It'll also be easier to rearrange if you need to move from a 16x9 to 4x3 or 21x9 screen, because you can still drag whole trays.

Izzy wrote:

also, if you're wondering how it might look if you were to use an irregular shape

Please, Izzy, no sno-cone buttons. Don't give the art department reasons to take up pitchforks and torches.

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Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

Izzy wrote:
also, if you're wondering how it might look if you were to use an irregular shape
Please, Izzy, no sno-cone buttons. Don't give the art department reasons to take up pitchforks and torches.

;) Ok. Just as long as the MOD's we make, Can!
Throwing it out there, so they can keep in mind to make it flexible enough now! ;D

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

;) Ok. Just as long as the MOD's we make, Can!
Throwing it out there, so they can keep in mind to make it flexible enough now! ;D

That's a good question. I haven't seen anything that says that any of this is moddable. The button art's probably going to look weird if a mod uses shapes different from the original, though. Does it gain you anything?

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Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

Izzy wrote:
;) Ok. Just as long as the MOD's we make, Can!
Throwing it out there, so they can keep in mind to make it flexible enough now! ;D
That's a good question. I haven't seen anything that says that any of this is moddable. The button art's probably going to look weird if a mod uses shapes different from the original, though. Does it gain you anything?

Do I gain anything?

I can't speak for anyone else, but my brain works best with visual cues.
If I'm playing Duck Hunt on the NES and i see a DOG pop up... I might not shoot.
But if a Duck pops up, even if i can just make out its silhouette, I'm Shooting! ;)

Maybe that's why i want my cone powers to look like a sno-cone! :)

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Izzy wrote:
;) Ok. Just as long as the MOD's we make, Can!
Throwing it out there, so they can keep in mind to make it flexible enough now! ;D
That's a good question. I haven't seen anything that says that any of this is moddable. The button art's probably going to look weird if a mod uses shapes different from the original, though. Does it gain you anything?
Do I gain anything?
I can't speak for anyone else, but my brain works best with visual cues.
If I'm playing Duck Hunt on the NES and i see a DOG pop up... I might not shoot.
But if a Duck pops up, even if i can just make out its silhouette, I'm Shooting! ;)
Maybe that's why i want my cone powers to look like a sno-cone! :)

Wait, you're expecting mods to be changing hundreds of power icons to individually different things, not holding to a common template?

Yeah, good luck with that. IMHO it'll get confusing beyond cone powers.

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

Izzy
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shouldn't it be just by type?

shouldn't it be just by type?

ex: Shape hints at How it Does it. Icon at What it Does.

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

shouldn't it be just by type?
ex: Shape hints at How it Does it. Icon at What it Does.

1. Damages targets in a square.
2. Damages targets in a circle.
3. Damages targets in a cone.

#3 is obviously a cone, #2 is PBAoE I guess? #1 is anyone's guess. Feel free to show what targeted AoE, pet spawn, and the other types look like.

That said, none of these are decipherable at a glance; the frames are very difficult to see. Why must it be so complicated?

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

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I know I'm not helping, but

I know I'm not helping, but Izzy's 1, 2 and 3 make me think: (1) hitting square-jawed brute; (2) thwacking round-faced healer; (3) clobbering pointy-chinned blaster.

The snow-cone logically should expand in the same direction as the fist.

"The illusion which exalts us is dearer to us than ten thousand truths." - Pushkin
"One piece of flair is all I need." - Sister Silicon

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i'm in the mood to go through

i'm in the mood to go through the various types...
...but if you recall seeing me post this, you get a better idea:

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Lin Chiao Feng wrote:
Lin Chiao Feng wrote:

I'm still not clear what "nimbus" represents outside that the word can refer to a storm cloud.

Refer to the image in the op link Your Input - Icon Shape. Take a look at the little triangle widgets around the buttons. Those triangles are the visual representation of Nimbus influencing the effects of the ability.

Each ability will have X number of enhancement slots. Presumably you can slot things like Accuracy, Damage, etc. You will also be able to slot a "Nimbus" enhancement that alters the ability beyond the standard collection of options (acc, dam, end, etc). You will be able to change a single target punch into a cone, or maybe a PBAoE, or maybe a ranged single target, or maybe a ranged AoE. Nimbus is the vector for the user to mutate/change their powers to suit their internal narrative.

Given that the user will be able to change power effects, it would be difficult to display those indicators in the button art. So all of those visual cues are moving to the ringed area on the outer edge of the button, aka Nimbus Ring. The majority of the 200+ posts have been centered around the design of the Nimbus Ring and the visual language that could support all of the possible variations of mutations that could appear (without Dev input on the number of possible states).

Side Note: Dev has also mentioned that there is another ability modifier that will appear on the button art somewhere (they will explain it in a future update). Refer to the image again, it is the red & green dots on the interior of the button. For our purposes, it is referred to as "dots" since it has not been given a formal name.

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Izzy wrote:
Izzy wrote:

i'm in the mood to go through the various types...
...but if you recall seeing me post this, you get a better idea:

My brain likes the concept initially, but the design isn't consistent (Target AoE & Summon AoE) and might not be able to support all variations. Shifting some of the nimbus options from the ring approach to the button shape could free up ring states for other variants. Essentially, merge button shape + nimbus ring approaches.

The button shape could be a baseline for things like Single Target (square), Cone (snow cone), AoE (octagon maybe?) and Character/Personal (circle). Assuming that toggles are character only, you can maintain the race track animation running around a circle shape.
The nimbus ring around those shapes could indicate things like Group/Team, Target AoE, Summon, Ranged, Melee, etc.

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Planet10 wrote:
Planet10 wrote:

My brain likes the concept initially, but the design isn't consistent (Target AoE & Summon AoE) and might not be able to support all variations.

Well, as others have brought up, not everyone Wants to see the Nimbus... and neither do I. ;)
So, if i were to make a MOD, that would be Cut from the features.

But i would like the ability to change specifics power Icon.. from Punch01, to say, Punch02. ;)

Being able to remember a button shape with an Icon i most relate with, can't be too difficult to recognize, even for me! :<

3 elements: Shape, Icon, Satellite

If the inner Satellite ring can't be scaled up to take up the space the outermost Nimbus ring would normally take up, i guess it's not the end of the world. ;) As long as i have a way to hide the Outermost Nimus ring, its all good.

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Well, since the OP doesn't

Well, since the OP doesn't want to explain the (conceptual) game mechanics of nimbus and dots yet, it's really hard to suggest any designs that aren't potentially self-defeating. E.g. it's one thing if the nimbus is either four triangles or none, if they appear and disappear or they're always on and just change colors, if they build up from zero to four ... or ten, or if triangles are used because that evokes something not yet disclosed.

Izzy, the problem I have with the icon base shapes/markings (mostly the markings) is that they're not differentiated enough, and if they were they'd probably interfere with the button art. Quick, tell me which is which:

Versus the frame versions:

BTW, I think you're trying too hard to shove the activity indicator into the button. Did you notice how it obliterates the cone in the right-hand example? Kick it out of the 52 pix diameter.

Izzy wrote:

But i would like the ability to change specifics power Icon.. from Punch01, to say, Punch02. ;)

That means the art folks have to generate several times more art, though, and players will only rarely see the non-base forms, making them harder to remember and differentiate ("Is that a 3-pump or 4-pump?"). Discrete markings like nimbus triangles make more sense, if you have any indicators at all.

Has anyone seen my mind? It was right here...

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