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Byrgius

Improved mission menu

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You can already download in bulk, no external downloader needed. It's not beyond improvement (working Alt+Tab would of course be nice, and I believe downloads currently pause if you exit to TDM's main menu), but it exists and doesn't introduce the need for somebody to maintain a (multiplatform) external downloader.


Some things I'm repeatedly thinking about...

 

- louder scream when you're dying

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Wow, that looks great! While someone is busy improving the download menu, maybe it's time to improve the local mission list as well. I remember there was talk about adding the played difficulty and possible other stats to the mission list...

Thank you! :) Well I hear you, but first let's concentrate just on one part of the menu. If we are able to implement the HD textures correctly, then I will do a redesign of the rest of the menus too.

 

Element positioning is done by defining "x y w h".

I'm not sure what the impact is of changing the standard 640x480 resolution to something higher.

Thanks, I will export the coordinates from the design when it's done so that they can be used for recreating it ingame.

We'll see what the impact is, yes, (hopefully a positive one, not destroying everything) so I keep my hopes high :)

 

Very impressive my feedback would be to try and stick with the original book type layout and try and dirty it up a little (like the original)

Thank you biker :) I will try to make it look darker and dirtier (like the original). However I would not go too dark & dirty for the sake of readability, but we'll see when the design is ready in the end ;) The book idea is obsolete since I try to give the mission downloader more space (because of all the filters / list items it gets it needs more horizontal space). It shouldn't be a problem since we use a side flipped paper too in other parts of the game (like the mission descriptions, etc.)

 

I can make some filtering functions. Also I just came up with the idea to have an external mission downloader so that if you want to do stuff outside the game and you want to download in bulk you can do that.

That sounds like a really ambitious idea but I would recomment to wait and try what we can do ingame. Maybe this idea could be something when the menu is done.

You could already try to implement the HD picture here for testing (just change it with the original background image), if we can use it: http://i.minus.com/ibuBLGann5aBPo.png

Just be sure that you change the default viewport from 640x480 to 1920x1200 (the game SHOULD scale it down to your ingame resolution automaticly), because like grayman said, the game GUI normally works on 640x480 and scales it all up. Now we want to find out if we also can set it up as standard on 1920x1200 and the game scales it down properly ;)

Edited by SeriousToni

"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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Wow, this looks so much better.

 

In your layout you put a "rating" header. As I said I think it would be much better to have a difficulty rating rather than a general rating, both for map makers (newbies get discouraged, even when they see "no rating") and for the players (I play all the top rated missions first and then I just stop because it's "not so good anymore"). Also I think rating difficulty is closer to objectiveness than rating goodness. The problem would be when the players should rate the missions (preferably after they completed a mission), but that sounds difficult to implement and could be a problem for later.

 

 

I can make some filtering functions. Also I just came up with the idea to have an external mission downloader so that if you want to do stuff outside the game and you want to download in bulk you can do that.

 

Yes yes yes! As VanishedOne pointed out, bulk downloading of missions may be preferable, but why must this be ingame? If there is no "chosen maps for download" panel, that would leave more room for mission details (the one you clicked on). Later today I'd like to try some slight rearrangement after my imagination.

For the bulk downloading: could such an option not be made available directly at the website? Just thinking...

 

 

With the seperate list and only a handful entries, this list needs to be made scrollable, which is a lot more work (than not having a second list :)

 

I'd say scrollable lists are a must-have, but if it's really that complicated to implement, I'd better be quiet :ph34r:

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Wow, this looks so much better.

 

In your layout you put a "rating" header. As I said I think it would be much better to have a difficulty rating rather than a general rating, both for map makers (newbies get discouraged, even when they see "no rating") and for the players (I play all the top rated missions first and then I just stop because it's "not so good anymore"). Also I think rating difficulty is closer to objectiveness than rating goodness. The problem would be when the players should rate the missions (preferably after they completed a mission), but that sounds difficult to implement and could be a problem for later.

 

A difficulty rating seems like it would be a lot more difficult to gauge than quality if you ask me. It is affected not only by the players personal skill level, but also the difficulty options they choose prior to playing the mission.

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I'm not in favor of a 'rating' value, since it's very subjective and will be incomplete across all missions.

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A difficulty rating seems like it would be a lot more difficult to gauge than quality if you ask me. It is affected not only by the players personal skill level, but also the difficulty options they choose prior to playing the mission.

This might be true. What would be needed is a more sophisticated measurement (I know more about that than about programming, I'm studying social sciences), that takes into account which difficulty level the player chose and somehow functions as a weight; also, a rating for a mission should only be visible if more than one person rated multiple missions, and these are the same persons. Not impossible to achieve, but a bit cumbersome.

I still think quality ratings tell you more about the person who rated than difficulty ratings.

 

I'm not in favor of a 'rating' value, since it's very subjective and will be incomplete across all missions.

Principially I agree. For this and for other complications, ratings should be left out.

Edited by Nico A.

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For the bulk downloading: could such an option not be made available directly at the website? Just thinking...

Isn't there already a seperate exe to check if TDM is up-to-date? Maybe all mission loading could be moved to that app, like keeping TDM missions up-to-date too!

Edited by wesp5

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As VanishedOne pointed out, bulk downloading of missions may be preferable, but why must this be ingame? If there is no "chosen maps for download" panel, that would leave more room for mission details (the one you clicked on). Later today I'd like to try some slight rearrangement after my imagination.

For the bulk downloading: could such an option not be made available directly at the website? Just thinking...

Isn't there already a seperate exe to check if TDM is up-to-date? Maybe all mission loading could be moved to that app, like keeping TDM missions up-to-date too!

Of course it could be done externally. Heck, Thief has no downloader at all. And sometimes I miss Darkloader's 'notes' feature. But the existing approach

(1) already exists; hence minimises set-up and maintenance.

(2) keeps full functionality within the game; no need to leave it mid-play-session in order to download missions.

(3) hence keeps everything easily findable; you don't need to know that bulk downloading has been offloaded to the website or something, because it hasn't, it's right there in front of you.


Some things I'm repeatedly thinking about...

 

- louder scream when you're dying

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Isn't there already a seperate exe to check if TDM is up-to-date? Maybe all mission loading could be moved to that app, like keeping TDM missions up-to-date too!

I think that would make the app too overloaded. Better to enable bulk downloading at the website, if that is possible.

 

What do you think about this suggestion for a new "new mission" functionality?

 

post-21200-0-89513700-1440599904_thumb.png

Edited by Nico A.
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Of course it could be done externally. Heck, Thief has no downloader at all. And sometimes I miss Darkloader's 'notes' feature. But the existing approach

(1) already exists; hence minimises set-up and maintenance.

(2) keeps full functionality within the game; no need to leave it mid-play-session in order to download missions.

(3) hence keeps everything easily findable; you don't need to know that bulk downloading has been offloaded to the website or something, because it hasn't, it's right there in front of you.

Signed. We should concentrate on the easy things first and not try to change too much of the system at once. You've got three strong arguments here.

 

I'm not in favor of a 'rating' value, since it's very subjective and will be incomplete across all missions.

Indeed, I will leave any rating system out of the future design, since we don't know yet what to rate and how to get the ratings (plus implementing them in the current system).

 

I think that would make the app too overloaded. Better to enable bulk downloading at the website, if that is possible.

 

What do you think about this suggestion for a new "new mission" functionality?

Yes, I'll clean up the screen and every comfort functionality which helps getting more space is good. But I have a few questions about your suggestion:

  1. Why does the user have to hit Shift to select multiple missions? Wouldn't click=marked, another click =demarked also work?
  2. How does the system decide / recognize what FMs are single maps and which are campaigns? Is there a parameter in the mission files that can be read?
  3. Does the user know which mission will be launched when he / she hits "Play"? Would it better to call it "Download" and skip the "auto launch last map" feature?

I like how you got rid of the "selected missions" list but still got the multiple map download functionality working. Hopefully we can code this nice feature later :)

  • Like 1

"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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What do you think about this suggestion for a new "new mission" functionality?

 

 

I'm not sure I want to scroll through 100 missions to find the one I want to play, especially since we can't have smooth scrolling.

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(1) already exists; hence minimises set-up and maintenance.

Yeah, I agree that leaving it like that would be easiest. But I thought since the mission download page is to be remade, then better change something now. Why would I like to see it change like that? Because this menu seems way too overloaded to me, and the only reason for that seems to be that it enables bulk downloading, which could as well be external.

So imagine if there was only an external option to download multiple maps at once - would that bother you as a user?

 

(3) hence keeps everything easily findable; you don't need to know that bulk downloading has been offloaded to the website or something, because it hasn't, it's right there in front of you.

To be honest, as a newbie I would look at the website for downloading multiple missions anyway. As a long-time TDMer, I would realize something changed through an anouncement in this forum.

 

Yes, I'll clean up the screen and every comfort functionality which helps getting more space is good. But I have a few questions about your suggestion:

  • Why does the user have to hit Shift to select multiple missions? Wouldn't click=marked, another click =demarked also work?
  • How does the system decide / recognize what FMs are single maps and which are campaigns? Is there a parameter in the mission files that can be read?
  • Does the user know which mission will be launched when he / she hits "Play"? Would it better to call it "Download" and skip the "auto launch last map" feature?
  • Yeah, I also thought about that. But from the standpoint of "I just want quick skipping through the missions and take a glance at the mission details" it would be confusing to always have to uncheck first.
  • I don't think so... :( I agree this would be the most complicated part and perhaps requires the campaign makers to zip their single missions together. Probably also requires quite some new coding, I don't know. But still I'd think that'd ne a neat feature to have (instead of skipping through campaign name 1: mission name; campaign name 2: mission name, ... in the list).
  • This might also work, but when should the player hit "play" then? Normally you'd have to go to the "new mission" menu upon relaunching, which looks like this:

     

    post-21200-0-80792600-1440610346_thumb.png

     

    But, assuming the new design, this menu would be redundant except the "Start This Mission" button. IMO it would be better to have a little text label say the name of the mission. Maybe it's even sufficient to have the last selected mission have a green checkmark whereas the others have gray ones or so.

I'm not sure I want to scroll through 100 missions to find the one I want to play, especially since we can't have smooth scrolling.

I see your point. IF it was scrollable and you could sort by date, would that work for you?

Edited by Nico A.

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Oh I didn't realize that you want to cut out the New Mission menu too! :o

Why do you put everything in one pot (downloading and selecting missions to play)? I think it makes sense to have a mission downloader filled only with maps you didn't download yet and a mission play menu where you only see your locally downloaded mission files, like it is right now. Are there so much benefits in putting all in one pot (please note that like Springheel mentioned, this list would be huge and you would have to go through it everytime you want to change your installed mission)


"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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I see your point. IF it was scrollable and you could sort by date, would that work for you?

 

 

Being able to sort by date would be nice, but it wouldn't really alleviate the problem. I'd like to be able to keep my downloaded missions separate from the ones I haven't downloaded.

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Why would I like to see it change like that? Because this menu seems way too overloaded to me, and the only reason for that seems to be that it enables bulk downloading, which could as well be external.

So imagine if there was only an external option to download multiple maps at once - would that bother you as a user?

 

To be honest, as a newbie I would look at the website for downloading multiple missions anyway. As a long-time TDMer, I would realize something changed through an anouncement in this forum.

When I originally downloaded TDM (via a .torrent), it had just gone standalone and the website was unreachable due to popular demand. Obviously those are atypical circumstances, but hopefully they illustrate why I'm dismissive of 'as a newbie I would...' arguments. But since you asked how I felt, let's say if the downloader lacked bulk downloads now they'd probably be my suggestion in a thread called 'Improved mission menu', and it would certainly bother me if the bulk download option were removed from the downloader that already has it. I have never sat before the downloader thinking, gosh, I wish I could do less with this, and had to switch to my web browser when I want to queue downloads.

 

I agree that the current layout uses excessive space for queueing, but I think design should accommodate functionality, rather than functionality being stripped out for the sake of design.


Some things I'm repeatedly thinking about...

 

- louder scream when you're dying

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I admit, my suggestion was unnecessarily radical in its stripped-downness. I agree we shouldn't let go of functionality.

In my opinion, a reasonable goal of the "new mission" page, which is an _ingame_ downloader, is to choose a mission to play, _ingame_. But, right now, what are the steps one has to take to start a new mission?

  1. Click "New Mission"
  2. Hit "Download Missions" (a rather small, inconspicuous button btw)
  3. Click on the mission from the list
  4. Hit "More" if want to see some screenshots and introducory text, then "Back"
  5. Hit "Select For Download" (for each mission separately btw, if bulk downloading is the goal)
  6. "Start Download"
  7. Message that I find the mission in the "New Mission" page --> "OK"
  8. (what am I supposed to do now? I wanna play! OK, I guess I just hit "back")
  9. (ah, here's the "New Mission" page!) Click on the downloaded mission
  10. (still no "play"? OK, then "Install")
  11. Message that game will be restarted
  12. Click "New Mission" (because we're of course in the main menu...)
  13. "Start This Mission"

This makes around 13 clicks before someone can play a new mission. That's really all that bothers me. I think even without stripping down functionality we could reduce these steps significantly. I think tomorrow I can come up with another layout.

Edited by Nico A.
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This is how a redesign of the current downloader setup could look like: http://i.minus.com/iVfN4407SP7ah.png

 

Clickable elements are bold and slightly shadowed. Grey elements are inactive. To sort the entries, one clicks on the top heading to activate the filter for the category. Another click on the same category makes it de-/ scent (A<Z / A>Z).

Note that the mission details section is not needed anymore as it only had infos about name, date, size and author which are displayed now inside the missions list. If the user clicks on Mission Details after selecting a mission, it will lead to the pop up window we have at the moment (mission info, screenshots, etc.).

The functionality is still the same with rearranged screen elements and more space available due to the loss of the info section. If we want to extend the filters list though, we'd have either to scale down the font, or shrink the Selected For Download list and try to put it under the Mission List, but for the current setup it should work.

Edited by SeriousToni
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"Einen giftigen Trank aus Kräutern und Wurzeln für die närrischen Städter wollen wir brauen." - Text aus einem verlassenen Heidenlager

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I like the idea of being able to scroll through the missions with the mouse wheel.

 

I'll bet this is possible, Obsttorte would probably be the man but I'll check the old modwiki mirror (etc) for details.


Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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I'll bet this is possible, Obsttorte would probably be the man but I'll check the old modwiki mirror (etc) for details.

 

 

We couldn't figure out how to do it when we first created the menus. Scrolable menus were something no one could do at the time, though perhaps things have changed.

 

If we're looking to save space on the download menu, the entire "selected for download" section should be removed. Missions selected for download could be designated by putting a checkmark after the name in the Missions Available for Download section, or by a checkbox before the name.

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why can't we have smooth scrolling? is there no onScrollDown in the scripting language? if not , lets put it in. If it's a gui limitation you mean how hard would it to be to put a frickin scroll menu like mfc has had for like 2 decades. Sorry I bet it's actually really hard I just can't see why it would be.

Edited by c0mputer-fr0d

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There is a scrollDef window definition in id's gui scripting language, but I don't see it in the D3 guis, so it might not be implemented. Or, it's meant to be used with a block of text that you can scroll, but not a collection of selectable items, so it wasn't used in menu guis.

 

Reference.

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