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Unread 12-18-2008, 02:46 PM
SOE-Rothgar SOE-Rothgar is offline
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Default Community based project: Creating a new default UI

I've had an idea for a couple years now that I wanted to pursue. I really wanted to create a community-based project with the modding community to create a new UI from the ground up that could possibly be packaged with the base game; sort of an alternate Default UI. The target audience would still be new players as well as existing players so I wouldn't want to fill the UI up with a lot of advanced features. The main point would be to redesign the UI in a more intuitive way, a fresh look, and a more organized configuration of styles and elements. I was thinking of this project back when I created the window manager because I thought that I really wanted the new UI to have minimizable windows. But part of me would really like to see a more integrated UI that isn't based as much on floating windows like the current Default. Something that has a more "HUD" feel to it. Another thing I wanted to do was create a "drawer" system for hotbars so pressing a hotbar button would popup a drawer with other icons in it. This way you could layer all of your potions/poisons behind a single button for example. One of my biggest gripes is that our players have to open 6+ hotbar windows in order to play the game.

Anyway, I've gotten off on a tangent. But seriously, if the idea of this project sounds good to anyone, we should talk about it.

Last edited by gm9 : 12-19-2008 at 05:12 AM. Reason: removed content relevant to other thread I moved this from
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Unread 12-18-2008, 03:42 PM
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That definitely sounds like a good idea. If you try for a community based project like you were talking about, it would open up a whole new spectrum of things we can do. There are so many different minds that could contribute. You, the modders/players, perfectionists, me . We could make the UI much better by doing this.

I would be up for it.
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Last edited by gm9 : 12-19-2008 at 05:12 AM. Reason: removed content relevant to other thread I moved this from
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Unread 12-18-2008, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by dragowulf View Post
That definitely sounds like a good idea. If you try for a community based project like you were talking about, it would open up a whole new spectrum of things we can do. There are so many different minds that could contribute. You, the modders/players, perfectionists, me . We could make the UI much better by doing this.

I would be up for it.
I agree, it sounds like a lot of fun and a chance for us to do some really cool things together. The biggest hurdle will be soliciting feedback from people but not end up with the "too many cooks in the kitchen" syndrome. You also don't want to make the project take 10x as long to complete by putting every issue up to a vote.

In order for it to work well, I think there needs to be a small group of people that actually do the work and make the final decisions, but involve the entire community via screenshots and forum posts throughout the process. This way if the community has an idea or sees something they don't like, we can talk about resolutions during development.

I can provide code support for special needs on my own time so it doesn't interfere with my normal workload.

The biggest thing I ask from the project is that everything we do from top to bottom is professional looking and doesn't cut any corners in quality. There are a lot of niche custom interfaces out there that look cool and will be popular to a part of the player base. But I'd really like to do something that's traditional looking that will have a wide appeal to the most people.

If we're successful in making something that's leaps and bounds beyond the Default UI, I would push for making it the new Default or at the very minimum having it shipped with the client and marketed in a way that players will know how to try it out.

I really love the idea of doing something of this caliber with the talent that you guys have. It certainly would not be meant as a replacement for the UI's that you guys are already working on. A good example of functionality is the click-to-cure feature that has become a part of several UI's. I think this is a really awesome idea and a great testiment to your ingenuity, but I'm not sure if its something you'd want to include to the mass player-base. I guess the first step is to determine what the goal of the project is. Are we creating a replacement for the Default UI that should be easy to learn for new players? If so, advanced features like those should probably be left out. However, if we think that what the game needs is a Default-style interface, but one that caters to the more advanced players, then maybe those are the type of features we should include.

There are lots of things to talk about obviously. I guess the first step is find out who is interested in doing this and put together a team. Then we can hammer out the details over chat. =)
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Unread 12-18-2008, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SOE-Rothgar View Post
I agree, it sounds like a lot of fun and a chance for us to do some really cool things together. The biggest hurdle will be soliciting feedback from people but not end up with the "too many cooks in the kitchen" syndrome. You also don't want to make the project take 10x as long to complete by putting every issue up to a vote.

In order for it to work well, I think there needs to be a small group of people that actually do the work and make the final decisions, but involve the entire community via screenshots and forum posts throughout the process. This way if the community has an idea or sees something they don't like, we can talk about resolutions during development.
So involve the whole community, but only a group will determine the final decision based on logic/reasoning. Sounds reasonable.

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Originally Posted by SOE-Rothgar View Post
The biggest thing I ask from the project is that everything we do from top to bottom is professional looking and doesn't cut any corners in quality. There are a lot of niche custom interfaces out there that look cool and will be popular to a part of the player base. But I'd really like to do something that's traditional looking that will have a wide appeal to the most people.
Aye quality is important. If it's done right the first time, you don't have to go back and edit it several times. For me when editing UIs, it has to be perfect on each side with the same amount of pixel deadspace otherwise it bugs me.

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Originally Posted by SOE-Rothgar View Post
I really love the idea of doing something of this caliber with the talent that you guys have. It certainly would not be meant as a replacement for the UI's that you guys are already working on. A good example of functionality is the click-to-cure feature that has become a part of several UI's. I think this is a really awesome idea and a great testiment to your ingenuity, but I'm not sure if its something you'd want to include to the mass player-base. I guess the first step is to determine what the goal of the project is. Are we creating a replacement for the Default UI that should be easy to learn for new players? If so, advanced features like those should probably be left out. However, if we think that what the game needs is a Default-style interface, but one that caters to the more advanced players, then maybe those are the type of features we should include.

There are lots of things to talk about obviously. I guess the first step is find out who is interested in doing this and put together a team. Then we can hammer out the details over chat. =)
I'm not exactly sure. What does everyone else think?
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Unread 12-18-2008, 11:18 PM
Landiin Landiin is offline
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I agree with Rothgar, that windows should not have elaborate scripting in them.
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Unread 12-18-2008, 11:40 PM
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Yeah. The elaborate scripting is for the us

Otherwise what are we here for?
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Unread 12-19-2008, 04:23 AM
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Though I am not a code wizard by any means, I would be very interested in being a part of this project, perhaps in a testing capacity or with the look/graphic elements involved.
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Unread 12-19-2008, 04:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SOE-Rothgar View Post
But part of me would really like to see a more integrated UI that isn't based as much on floating windows like the current Default. Something that has a more "HUD" feel to it.
Sounds like a job for Landiin to me.
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Unread 12-19-2008, 05:00 AM
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1. A community constructed alternate default UI would be awesome.

2. We need to think even further back to the basics here first. I really believe there needs to be a way for users to select their UI from within the game, and have the setting saved. I know that this is the PC age, but I think it would help out a lot of players if they didn't have to setup a eq2.ini file and then set a variable inside it.

3. I know this post is sorta off topic from the original post, but to go along with my #2. I would really like to see the UI INI layout files be in a readable format, editable by a text file, rather than in a compressed/strange format that we can at best, backup the files because we know they're working from with in-game.
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Unread 12-19-2008, 05:17 AM
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I made a new thread out of this discussion. I'm sure you'll forgive my editing of posts where necessary to achieve that.
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Unread 12-19-2008, 12:14 PM
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The hotbar idea is interesting for all the extras we like to have quick access to. But if you are thinking of redesigning hotbars a new issue has come up with TSO. I swap mostly between a swash and brig and play 95% from the keyboard. The problem is there are only 3 keyboard driven hot bars and all the of mine are used for combat, no fluff in them. TSO has added 4 new combat arts i have no place to put except in clicky bars and swapping the primary hotbar in fights is a pain. Setting up 2 spell macros doesnt work well since you can't see the status of one of the spells. A 4th keyboard hotbar using Shift-1, etc maybe would help.
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Unread 12-19-2008, 01:27 PM
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Setting up 2 spell macros doesnt work well since you can't see the status of one of the spells. A 4th keyboard hotbar using Shift-1, etc maybe would help.
You set the spell with the longest recast timer to the primary. When you see the icon "ungrey" you know u can chain the two ca/spells. Thats they way I do my chains any ways.
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Unread 12-19-2008, 01:32 PM
SOE-Rothgar SOE-Rothgar is offline
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Originally Posted by Drumstix42 View Post
1. A community constructed alternate default UI would be awesome.

2. We need to think even further back to the basics here first. I really believe there needs to be a way for users to select their UI from within the game, and have the setting saved. I know that this is the PC age, but I think it would help out a lot of players if they didn't have to setup a eq2.ini file and then set a variable inside it.

3. I know this post is sorta off topic from the original post, but to go along with my #2. I would really like to see the UI INI layout files be in a readable format, editable by a text file, rather than in a compressed/strange format that we can at best, backup the files because we know they're working from with in-game.
2. I agree, this should be easy enough.


3. I've wanted to do this for awhile myself. In fact I sort of already started on it about 6 months ago writing a replacement for our streaming class to stream to XML instead of the binary format it uses now. The problem is that every single window in the game needs to change so that it not only outputs the value, but the name of the value. Currently we rely on the position of the data in the file to know what it is. To move to an XML format, we'll need to send more information about the data. We also need to remain backwards compatible with the older format since we never know when a player might log in from an old installation. So behind the scenes, our deserialize code will look kinda bad supporting both. However, I still think its something worth doing. It would be a tremendous help when it comes to troubleshooting issues related to ini settings.

gm9, thanks for making the new thread!
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Unread 12-19-2008, 01:33 PM
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i would prefer to add this community UI as an advanced UI and keep the default UI as the basic / beginner UI like in many Tools (software) there are often basic settings and advanced settings. The player can decide wich fits his need best. Or if possible doit like the Con-System, switchable?! GroupWindow with C2C and without. On a Raid i prefer C2C, on a casual Group i don't really need C2C or at soloing.

At the beginning of the Game there are several hints displayed, maybe display a hint to switch UI if the player reaches a level? (30/40?)



I also vote for the fourth "keyboard-hotbar"!

kind regards,

Nimda
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Unread 12-19-2008, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by machbane View Post
The hotbar idea is interesting for all the extras we like to have quick access to. But if you are thinking of redesigning hotbars a new issue has come up with TSO. I swap mostly between a swash and brig and play 95% from the keyboard. The problem is there are only 3 keyboard driven hot bars and all the of mine are used for combat, no fluff in them. TSO has added 4 new combat arts i have no place to put except in clicky bars and swapping the primary hotbar in fights is a pain. Setting up 2 spell macros doesnt work well since you can't see the status of one of the spells. A 4th keyboard hotbar using Shift-1, etc maybe would help.
We've been kicking around the idea of creating hotkeys for the 4th hotbar. They would be Ctl-Alt-#. Probably a pain for abilities you use all the time, but for lesser-used things, it would be easier than reaching for the mouse.
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Unread 12-19-2008, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by N1Md4 View Post
i would prefer to add this community UI as an advanced UI and keep the default UI as the basic / beginner UI like in many Tools (software) there are often basic settings and advanced settings. The player can decide wich fits his need best. Or if possible doit like the Con-System, switchable?! GroupWindow with C2C and without. On a Raid i prefer C2C, on a casual Group i don't really need C2C or at soloing.

At the beginning of the Game there are several hints displayed, maybe display a hint to switch UI if the player reaches a level? (30/40?)



I also vote for the fourth "keyboard-hotbar"!

kind regards,

Nimda
I agree. I gave this some thought last night, and there are lots of resources that we will want to use from the Default UI, namely all of the icon textures. The client already falls back onto the Default if a file is missing from another UI folder. So we'll want this new UI to work just like the other third-party UI's so we can exclude files like the icons and they'll still be found by the client.
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Unread 12-19-2008, 02:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SOE-Rothgar View Post
3. I've wanted to do this for awhile myself. In fact I sort of already started on it about 6 months ago writing a replacement for our streaming class to stream to XML instead of the binary format it uses now. The problem is that every single window in the game needs to change so that it not only outputs the value, but the name of the value. Currently we rely on the position of the data in the file to know what it is. To move to an XML format, we'll need to send more information about the data. We also need to remain backwards compatible with the older format since we never know when a player might log in from an old installation. So behind the scenes, our deserialize code will look kinda bad supporting both. However, I still think its something worth doing. It would be a tremendous help when it comes to troubleshooting issues related to ini settings.!
Funny just cracked open UISettingSpy source today to fix the addition of the voice channels. How soon will this be implemented? If soon I'll just trash the stream code and start tooling it for xml.
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Unread 12-19-2008, 02:54 PM
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We also need to remain backwards compatible with the older format since we never know when a player might log in from an old installation.
ONly for bonus points, I'd happily have my entire UI reset if the uisettings.ini files were easily editable in return (and I could finally keep the ProfitUI default settings easily updated).
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Unread 12-19-2008, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by gm9 View Post
ONly for bonus points, I'd happily have my entire UI reset if the uisettings.ini files were easily editable in return (and I could finally keep the ProfitUI default settings easily updated).
Yeah, me too, but I don't think we're in the majority. Some people just don't care how we store the INI files and would probably be upset if all their window settings were lost.

Maintaining backward compatibility isn't really a problem, its just an inconvenience in the code.

Landiin, I don't have any time frame for getting this done. This is not something that is actually on my schedule so it would most likely be something I have to do in my spare time.
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Unread 12-19-2008, 03:46 PM
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Do you think you will support <include> statements therein?

file: ProfitUI_1280x1024_eq2_uisettings.ini
<setting1/>
<setting2/>
<setting3/>
<include>ProfitUI_resolution_independent_uisettings.xml</include>
Also if you work on the file already, could you store the UIfolder in it?
<UIname>Default</UIname>
<setting1/>
<setting2/>
<setting3/>
<UIname>ProfitUI</UIname>
<setting1/>
<setting2/>
<setting3/>
That would be sweet.
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Unread 12-19-2008, 06:45 PM
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Woot, feedback on INI files
Thanks, Rothgar. I think anytime frame of "the future" works well enough for me. Been 4 years anyhow

Suggestions/Food For Though/Requests

1. [Think this is what Gm9 was saying...] Have configurations saved separately per UI (or in the same file).

2. Have the correct (last used) UI load upon logging into a character. Many people would like to have different UIs for different characters (IE: from templar to an assassin)

Nothing else comes to mind off the top of my head.
I really think open discussions like these are the best starting point for any additions to the game. Lets do it more often

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Unread 12-20-2008, 04:25 AM
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This entire post has me excited Have a lot of typing and mock ups to do! Also nice new avatar gm9
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Unread 12-20-2008, 04:57 AM
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Sounds great! The art and style of the UI is obviously something that needs to be determined as early as possible. So if you've got some ideas and want to submit some screenshots, that would be excellent!
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Unread 12-20-2008, 05:10 AM
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This entire post has me excited Have a lot of typing and mock ups to do! Also nice new avatar gm9
Off topic, but his avatar is a result of him pointing out that I'm awesome.
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Unread 12-20-2008, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by SOE-Rothgar View Post
Sounds great! The art and style of the UI is obviously something that needs to be determined as early as possible. So if you've got some ideas and want to submit some screenshots, that would be excellent!
I was just going to jot down everything I could think of Id do if I built the UI that's essentially what you want right? then we could discuss all the different ideas ect.

Any specifics that are off limits?
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