New NPC Conversation Window - Feedback

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Lord_Darkmoon, Jan 14, 2017.

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  1. Rada Torment

    Rada Torment Community Ambassador (ES)

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    It was not awful for me, in fact is one of the best features of Morrowind imho (combat system was by far worse for example). Modern RPG has a lot of things to learn from some old RPGs. The prove is that we can see some successful rpgs released in the last five years using the old systems we found in games 15 and 20 years ago. New doesn't mean better.

    A good example of an awful and bad system for me is the overrated Skyrim. I can't imagine someone saying good things about the Skyrim npc conversation system tbh.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
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  2. Browncoat Jayson

    Browncoat Jayson Legend of the Hearth

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    I'd still prefer conversation trees, where the keywords shown are context sensitive and new topics were added either to the current responses or to the main list. NPCs should have a "As I already said, " precursor if they repeat something. Not perfect, but closer to what I'd expect.

    Mostly, Ultima 7 level of conversation.
    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Twiggi Fizzlesticks

    Twiggi Fizzlesticks Avatar

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    Will keywords that have already been entered disappear, or will there be some indication (color change, asterisk) that indicates it has been (at least for the current conversation)
     
  4. Vladamir Begemot

    Vladamir Begemot Avatar

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    I know that one fixed camera angle isn't ideal, but I don't want to stress the Devs any more than needed, we will be lucky if we get a single angle that works well and is cinematically approved (ie looks good and conveys some drama.)

    I was going to go on and on about how a context sensitive camera would be great, focusing on the speaker, then I cut that feature because they have literally moved the chat window into the middle of the screen, put on a few buttons, and called it an advancement. For whatever reason this is getting almost no development resources. At this point I'll be happy if there is a UI that doesn't look like I'm chatting online back in the 90's.

    That being said, I'll make another mockup with grey on grey colors, and lets see how it looks. I'll help out however I can to get this INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT part of our game looking good.

    I'll say it again, if the Quest UI is a flop, the game is a flop. We don't have the luxury of ignoring this, or just moving the chat menu to the center of the screen.
     
  5. majoria70

    majoria70 Avatar

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    Yes it needs to look good. So much skimping and utilizing one feature to make another feature is fine in some cases but IMO it is overdone. Make it different, make it special to bump up the look and feel of this game.
     
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  6. Gix

    Gix Avatar

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    Looks good, but I wouldn't do #2 as it removes functionality. Do it more like this:

    Code:
                   [To You]
    Bard: Hello again, avatar.
    NPC2: Man, you smell awful.  Have you been to the sewers lately?
    
                   [To NPC2]
    Bard: Behave!
    
                   [To You]
    Bard: Forgive my friend; he's drunk.  What is it you wanted?
    
    Darkstarria: song
    
    Bard: No, it is nowhere near finished yet and I NEVER
    perform my work while still in its formative stages.
    
    Darkstarria: work
    
    Bard: You must begin to walk the path of Courage, avatar!
    
                   [To Bard]
    NPC2: The avatar sure has a knack with words, doesn't he?
    
                   [To NPC2]
    Bard: Shhh!
    
    That way, even if the conversation only happens between you and a single NPC, it wouldn't clutter your dialogue.
     
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  7. Womby

    Womby Avatar

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    My single biggest objection to the new interface is the choice of side scrolling:

    [​IMG]

    This will very rapidly become a major and constant source of annoyance as the number of keywords grows. Much better to have a scrollable vertical list to the right.
    Another objection is that it still looks like it was designed by a programmer. Sure, it's functional, but where is the art?
    Translucent does not have to mean ugly.
     
  8. Gix

    Gix Avatar

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    If it was designed by a programmer, it'd be a pop-up menu instead of an arrow to scroll through options ;)

    I think their idea of "art" is to be as minimalist and unobtrusive as possible... which is sad if you're like me and believe they missed the mark entirely.
     
  9. GrayFog

    GrayFog Avatar

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    Yup.

    To me a simple chat window while talking to an NPC is totaly breaking the immersion for me...
    And that horizontal bar with the keywords is just awful design.

    I would have never done this (i am an programmer :p).

    Vertical ftw.!
     
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  10. majoria70

    majoria70 Avatar

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    and please don't put (to you) and (to bard) that is a give-in, we know we are talking to the bard. ;)
     
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  11. Vladamir Begemot

    Vladamir Begemot Avatar

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    *These are not "Hey Portalarium use this interface" pics. They are "Hey Portalarium do something that isn't just a hack of the chat window!" pics. If there is no budget, someone in Dev+ can probably make you an interface in a week, or buy one from the Asset Store. I'll buy it from the Asset Store. Or we could Kickstart it.

    I was/am in a lot of pain due to a headache and shouldn't be looking at the monitor, but did these crappy ones in a few hours. Replacing buttons and background in Unity is super easy, there can be no excuse there.*


    I did some dark transparency on dark on white for @yarnevk. I don't like it, but someone with more talent could make it look better (I'll email anyone the .psd that wants to play.)

    I did bright colors for me. I like it best, but I like bright colors. That's not the point though, the point is "Look how many options there are in interface design!" And this isn't even showing many options. There are a billion ways to do it.

    Random idea, IM style bubbles. Very popular and generally accepted, and make the text pop out. If billions of people are doing it, it might be a good idea to just copy. For 3 - way Conversations you can make the bubbles different colors for each NPC.


    Opaque background, different colored chat bubbles, purple buttons in a frame. This was the last image done, the two at the bottom could be spruced up with the frame but they were finished already.
    [​IMG]


    Opaque background, almost white text on grey, frame for buttons.
    [​IMG]

    Transparent background, almost white text on grey.
    [​IMG]

    Transparent background, almost white text on black.
    [​IMG]
     
  12. majoria70

    majoria70 Avatar

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    Nice. This is on the right track. :)
     
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  13. Gix

    Gix Avatar

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    @majoria70 I just wrote about how we should keep that info while changing it's presentation. The conversation interface needs to accommodate for situations when NPCs are talking with each other... A good example of this is when you're at the Crypt of the Avatar.

    The idea is avoid repetitive info, not eliminate it completely.

    @Vladamir Begemot You should do the experiment in situations where the camera isn't perfectly positioned between the two characters. Some players don't play with the dialogue zoom function "on" and a camera like that would clip through walls almost half the time (hence why the current zoom is more or less facing the character dead on).

    I'd be interested to see the dialogue be displayed at the top of the screen and have "dialogue arrows" pointing to the head of the characters as if they were speech bubbles.

    The main problem I have with the way you present it is the amount of redundant elements. Your text is inside an opaque bubble that is over an opaque box that, then, has a border around it... You could probably get rid of the box entirely.
     
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  14. majoria70

    majoria70 Avatar

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    I know but to me it looks fake to say (to you) and (to bard) and why it is repetious like you, yourself, and I are talking instead of Majoria and the Bard are talking. I would rather just see his name or who he was and my name or even avatar if we must do that if he cannot call me by name because of coding not being there.
    Like:
    Majoria: Please help me.

    Bard: What can I do for you Miss Majoria?

    or as Vladimir says no name, we just know we are talking to them
     
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  15. yarnevk

    yarnevk Avatar

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    That one is the best though I think the background still covers too much of a scene forcing you to pose the avatars with their conversation side, if transparent then there is no need to pose. The chat bubbles does add some much needed spacing for reading, simply left chat is you, right chat is others. I play in first person so trying to associate the chat with avatar screen position would not even work.

    Also keywords need to be a scrollable list because they dynamically change depending on where you are in the tree, and will often be a bigger list than stacking buttons will allow.

    Maybe your headache is from your bright conversation windows? Just look at Steam and these forums, they are light on dark greys for a reason that it offends the least peoples vision. Many creative authoring tools also have similar templates, even Unity itself.
     
  16. Lum the Mad

    Lum the Mad Developer Emeritus

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    The last 2-3 pages of this thread is a good example of why no one agrees on user interfaces!

    (everything below this line is under DLMB* caveat, as it's still being worked on actively)

    Spacing text out between responses... it's a good idea. Don't know if it's doable but we're looking into it.

    Different colors for participant names... good idea, we'll do this

    Removing redundant (to you) (from you) text from responses... good idea, we'll do this

    Make it a fancy font like the compass... The compass uses a very ornate serif font. Reading text like this is literally painful. See this (admittedly extreme) example:

    [​IMG]

    Sans-serif fonts are in general far more readable which is why we use them.

    Vertical list for keywords vs horizontal... subject of very active discussion. Some here come down on one side, some on the other, your feedback here is valuable.

    Player emotes for keywords: there's no reason we can't do this but it will require a lot of work (mainly just deciding what to play where) and it won't be this release

    Replacing a keyword with a completely typed sentence... long term we'd like to this. Not this release.

    Alternating justification of each line... this makes it harder to read IMHO and more like a cellphone/IM conversation which we don't want. Can possibly play with different color text to accomplish a similar effect. Colored text against black backdrop is a good point but we don't want to have a textured window background because we want the scene to be visible behind the window.

    Shading keywords that have already been used... hopefully we can do this

    ---
    * DLMB - Don't Lawyer Me Bro, especially not me, i'm not the producer or lead designer and i'm likely to throw things
     
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  17. yarnevk

    yarnevk Avatar

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    Agree it looks fake because it is stage direction that scripts would have that the actor would never read, but is only there to inform them how to say it so it is clear to the viewer who they are talking to. This can be done by shifting the NPC gaze away from the avatar to who else they may be talking too, and using writing that makes it clear they are talking to someone else so the log still makes sense. IRL if in conversation with someone and wanted to shift attention to someone else you would say their name and look at them so they know you are talking to them now.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
  18. yarnevk

    yarnevk Avatar

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    Agree with most of Lum's words....more spacing is needed which the cell phone chat version has but I think it can be done without changing side justifications. And sans serif is indeed easier to read especially if one has astigmatism.

    Wanting to use phrases later rather than keywords is justification alone for doing vertical list rather than horizontal menu, as well as being able to fit more keywords in same space.

    Although I think phrases do not work for RP as it forces them to say it rather than working the word into their own phrasing.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
  19. GrayFog

    GrayFog Avatar

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    Ofc. not, never ever. Everyone who designs games in some way or another knows this.

    However, the current GUI definetly needs more graphical polish. It doesn't really look like an RPG interface.
    Even UO in 1998 was better than this...

    Look what GUI Interfaces i did a while ago in NWN2 for my player housing plugin (the 3 in the center). Just to give a random example how to improve the look of a chat window with some fancy borders and headers somewhat. Could have made it even a bit transparent.
    Ok the examples are no chat/convo windows, i just wanted to point at the simple overall GUI design.

    Sure, now not everyone will like this example either. But my point is something definetly has to happen with the entire GUI someday (including the conversation interface).
    [​IMG]

    I don't feel immersed at all in an RPG/Fantasy World with Port's current design of the entire GUI.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
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  20. mercster

    mercster Avatar

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    THIS is a great mockup. @Lum the Mad it may "look" like a cellphone discussion, but it just works. It doesn't remind me of a SMS conversation, it just works.
     
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