Proposals for new Dialog Box

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Vladamir Begemot, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. Vladamir Begemot

    Vladamir Begemot Avatar

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    @Lord British asked for this on twitter, so lets give him some good feedback.

    I've heard words like "kerning" used, I don't know what that is. If you're a pro please get your feedback in now while you can.

    Don't expect the keyword system to be redone, this is just the window to the story, not basic quest functionality.

    The question was asked about what is wrong. From where I view it it is primarily readability, specifically:
    • Font size
    • Window size
    • Space between dialog
    Current Dialog Box:

    [​IMG]

    So tiny.

    ----

    Here's a VERY ugly late night minimal work for Developers mock up. It's still ugly but at least it is readable.

    Note: I had to use the out of dialog positioning to demonstrate. The current camera positioning will be great if it's shifted just a bit to accommodate.

    [​IMG]

    Obviously the buttons are super ugly, I just stretched them, but the are large and more readable. The font is bigger, and the window is not going to scroll any dialog off the top before it is appropriate. There is also larger line breaks between each reply. Too large, I was just eyeballing it because I want to go to bed.

    Overall, despite the quick ugliness of it, I think it is far more readable. A professional job would obviously look better.

    ------

    Respondents were split 50/50 on the black background. I don't like it I believe it would look more attractive if there were some artistry to the display.

    So here is what I would really like to see, still uses in game assets, I think feels more Ultima esque than a MUD dialog box:

    [​IMG]

    I expanded the window size wider than books because it gives the long dialog sections a chance to word wrap into fewer lines. I have heard 4 lines is ideal before a line break on screen.

    Maybe or maybe not on the font, people who know what kerning is should decide that.

    ----

    So, better graphics artists, please get your proposal up, @Lord British would like to see it.
     
  2. Vladamir Begemot

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    Oh, and take out the timestamp from dialog, lol!
     
  3. Lars vonDrachental

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    Thinking about it…do we even need a dialog box?
    E.g. if the NPC could measure the avatars orientation and distance they could react on “spoken” words if the avatar is near enough with the roughly direction of view at the NPC. E.g. you face the NPC, type “hello” into the local chat and the NPC is responding in chat + the visible “text-box” to you. If multiple NPC are in range adding the name of the NPC will limit the reaction of NPCs to just one and as far as I remember they already have the tec for NPC to work up sentences.
    A double click window could stay as the fast way to get through the conversations but at least as an alternative this might be a possible solution to think about.
     
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  4. Paladin Michael

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    Referring to questing and dialogues I wrote alot of threads and posts over the last 5 years and won't bother again with all things.
    [Can still be found in my history list].

    Just the top of them:
    Because we have to read(!) alot of text it is very very important to make it comfortable for our eyes(!).
    That's 50% of a good reading (flow) ...


    Plese remove underlining of words as standard.
    It's destracting - it destroys our reading flow.
    As a matter of fact, our eyes "jump" around with all those underlined words.


    Reading on screen is different from reading on paper --> Everybody knows :)
    How can we improve reading on screen so it is not exhausting?
    Have a short look, what amazon is doing with kindle font - and why.

    Just watch above the example from Vladamir:
    What feels better? The black background OR the bright - kind of letter?
    I would prefer the letter style, not only for reading - it also provides a feeling of better in touch with the game - not the feeling that I opened just another program window.
    I am not talking about different colors. They are helpful to see exactly, who said something.


    Another important thing - not only important for dialogues:
    Show on screen only information when needed! [OR for Chaos friends: if a player toggled it to be shown every time!]


    For example:
    - Player stats on screen could auto fade, until we are starting an attack (z standard) or we get attacked (how wonderful would this be to recognize immediately when an arrow hits our back!).
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
  5. Paladin Michael

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    Everything to improve the FEELING to be IN the story is helpful.
    If we're talking about 'boxes' or 'windows' - it mustn't be a visible framed version ...
    Just an area which is nice to look at - which is inviting to look at - and to read and follow a great story :)

    So, any kind of 'artificial intelligence' could help :)
     
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  6. Arkah EMPstrike

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    I kinda like the paper thing. and I deffinately like it being off to the side like that
     
  7. oplek

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    The opacity difference is important too. You can have the text meeting contrast requirements, and it can still be a struggle/strain to read because there's complex stuff happening behind it. If you want people to read, it really has to be easy on the eyes, and brief.

    I'd go further and not have a dialog history shown at all (except on request), and show the one response at a time, in large text. I think they're a victim of trying to recycle the general chat window mechanism, which wasn't really geared towards these goals.
     
  8. Browncoat Jayson

    Browncoat Jayson Legend of the Hearth

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    This shouldn't be rocket science. Just use standard web chat interface markers. Your text aligns to one side, and the person/people you are talking to aligns to the other, with different colors for the names (and possibly the whole text) to distinguish them.

    If you want to better link this to the game word, do what Star Wars: The Old Republic does and throw the player into a special phase/instance where you hide the "normal" versions of them and position the camera where you want it, animate the characters to where you want them, and make them play "talking" emotes (plus whatever are actually in the conversation). If the player gets attacked, throw them out of the "chat instance" and back into their normal camera angle/etc (or, just like SWTOR, don't allow players to get hit while talking).

    Quick mockup based on the OP; you could just as easily keep the chat entry and keywords at the bottom of the window.
    [​IMG]

    Have responses stay until more space is needed, then fade them away. They will still be in your chat box once you exit from the "chat instance".
     
  9. Cora Cuz'avich

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    I like both of those, though I prefer the paper style.

    For the paper one, I'd like to see the "default" keywords (name, job, etc.) on the bottom, and the NPC-specific keywords in that side panel. You could also Show/hide the side panel, for those who want to get their keywords old school-style from the dialog itself. When there are multiple speakers (looking at you, Path of Love) each speaker's text would ideally have a different color (nothing garishly bright, just differing dark colors, like a dark blue, dark brown, black, etc.) with good sized line breaks in between each speaker's text. (And while I realize it would likely be a huge amount of work, I'd love to see character portraits; that'll really make multi-person conversations flow better.)


    For Browncoat Jayson's version, I'd prefer the text entry box over to the left more, and the Anais' responses over to the right, rather than on top of the characters. That's confusing to look at.
     
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  10. Vladamir Begemot

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    Are you suggesting to move it back to the corner chat window? Not sure I'm following
     
  11. rebbieforever

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    I like the scroll one but generally would prefer it a bit darker. Since we spend much time on chat windows I would rather not something hurting our eyes
     
  12. Cora Cuz'avich

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    In a perfect world, the NPC dialog would be different from the chat window. I find he current chat window is fine for that, and for combat/loot stuff. ESPECIALLY since one of the biggest immersion killers in the game is when you're in a dialog with an NPC for a quest and "SuchAndSuch is Offline" appears in the dialog window mid-conversation.
     
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  13. Vladamir Begemot

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    @Browncoat Jayson I actually campaigned for the IM style chat, but now realize all we ever say is things like "Rumors". I wish we had real sentences to go with the keywords, but that's a whole other barrel of worms.



    Two important things I saw brought up:
    • Underlined Keywords in the NPC responses should be OFF by default.
      • They cause the eye to jump around and are terrible for readability.
      • Keywords now exist in buttons at the bottom so they are redundant as well as detrimental.
    • Making the NPC dialog box Opaque should be strongly considered.
    It would be a great idea to have one of us who is a professional in readability, or a short term contractor, make sure the next version isn't violating generally known readability rules.



    @Paladin Michael what is Amazon doing with the Kindle font?

    @Cora Cuz'avich I think that Offline/Online dialog is gone for good finally. Yes, making the Dialog window out of the chat window was a bad misstep.
     
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  14. Cora Cuz'avich

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    Ah, good. I have a very short friends list, and I haven't done a quest in a while, so it doesn't happen that much for me.
     
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  15. Vladamir Begemot

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    @Astirian can you get your version in here?
     
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  16. twofoldsilence

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    I'd rather SotA use an artsy conversation window similar to recent single player CRPGs such as Divinity Original Sin 2, Pillars of Eternity, or Wasteland 2 then a generic box full of text, where the conversation window is a separate window from the normal chat / chat log window and a portrait appears for each NPC you're speaking to along with their name anytime they say anything so you know who's currently speaking, but I'm sure everyone will argue that SotA doesn't have the budget for such a conversation interface but all the games I reference here were also Kickstarter games with a small development team, so I don't see why Port can't do it too. Also, only NPCs that actually have useful information or background info should speak. Those NPCs that don't have anything to say should just bark conditional short generic sentences such as "I'm tired of all the rain." (When it's raining), "Have you ever visited Ardoris. It's a beautiful city.", "All the skeletons that came up from the south really frighten me.", etc., etc. instead of opening up a conversation window like they have something to say even though they don't. Also, these random / conditional barks could be regional, universal, and/or local to add flavor to SotA. Obviously, the majority of the examples I give are tree based and all three use flavor text, which I'm all for, but Lord British won't let Port developers use flavor text, but even without flavor text and being keyword based I think any conversation interface similar to them would be a huge boon for SotA and its player base. Especially, new / young players that expect such artsy conversation windows.

    Divinity Original Sin 2
    [​IMG]

    Pillars of Eternity
    [​IMG]

    Wasteland 2
    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Dartan Obscuro

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    I'm not an artist but I hacked something together...

    [​IMG]


    I remember Lum saying that positioning the camera to frame the NPC and player nicely is difficult. Here I put the NPC in the window with the camera positioned directly on them zoomed in. A fixed camera should be easier to implement.

    The conversation box I imagine would only contain their response and would clear with each interaction. No hypertext. Though the full conversation would be able to be reviewed in the log.

    The response buttons should be limited based on the current topic. If the player wants to deviate from that they can type whatever they want into the box below the buttons.
     
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  18. Mishikal

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    I love the timestamps personally, which is why I specifically enabled them (IIRC). If it's not optional, it should be, but I like them. ;)
     
  19. Vladamir Begemot

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    I like them for chat window, but for dialog they should be a separate option, defaulting to off (thinking of new players here).

    If you want them, fine, but to me it's really weird time stamping what an NPC says.
     
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  20. Vladamir Begemot

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    Right? It's hilarious how many of them "Don't speak to Outlanders" and then will carry on a five minute conversation with you. :confused:
     
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