Improving ToEE's User Interface

Discussion in 'Community Projects' started by Gaear, Oct 27, 2011.

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  1. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    Okay, this is the thread where we discuss the nuts and bolts of this business of making improvements to the UI, namely in the form of making the text easier to read (larger) and making stuff look nicer.

    What I have discovered so far:

    Thanks to some old posts by HK that directed me where to look, I have found that:

    • There are six fonts currently installed in ToEE.
      • Arial 10 point (the 'regular' font)
      • Arial bold 10 point (used for some titles)
      • Arial 12 point (which is actually priory 12 point)
      • Priory 12 point (used for most titles)
      • Arial 24 point (used for stuff like numbers in resting window, etc.)
      • Scurlock 64 point (used for the main title)
    • I haven't tried it yet, but presumably (and based on what Surf Solar did, obviously) new fonts can be added.
    • As near as I can tell, the above would require some fairly rigorous detail work. Each font and size has to have an image file that shows all the characters in scale, as well as files that tell the game the coordinates on the image from which to get each character. Tedious work, particularly if we wanted to try to implement larger fonts.
    • An easier way make ToEE text larger without too much effort would be to just make the 'regular' text Priory 12 point instead of Arial 10 point. This would increase the dpi by two sizes and be a better looking font. Priory has some character.
    • Carrying out the above is still some fairly tedious work. Each part of the UI basically has control files that tell the game which font to display. We'd have to meticulously go through all of them and test to make sure they look okay and don't cause problems. There are a lot of different parts in the UI.
    So far I've tested this with the logbook and it actually looks really really good imo. Quests look good and display properly, with only a slight runover in text on the right page border in some instances of the time you did something. Reputations look fine. Keys look fine. Rumors look slightly cluttered but okay, but some of them might need to be truncated. The Ego section is a bit problematic in that the bounding doesn't contain the larger text. That was an area where Troika really crammed in a lot of info, so I think Arial 10 would still have to be used for parts of that. I know Surf Solar offered to redo the boxes as necessary, but I suspect that would be quite complicated, with assigning new coordinates on where to draw it and where to position text, etc. - a road I'd rather not go down if we can avoid it.

    Anyway, the bottom line is: we can fix the small text issue, even if it's just a back door fix like I described above. I wonder where the "cannot be done" thing came from, or if that was just conjecture and disinclination that evolved into urban legend over time. Or if maybe larger added fonts actually do fail somehow.

    I'll post some screens later. I think the worldmap would be next.
     
  2. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    Okay, here's what I have for THE LOGBOOK.

    THE QUESTS TAB

    screen0000.jpg

    Looks good to me. I had to change the "Hommlet & Verbobonc" tab to "Towns" in order for it to fit. I know that Nulb is also a town, but I don't know what else to call it.

    THE REPUTATIONS TAB

    screen0001.jpg

    Boxes are a bit scrunchy and text color can't be changed, but I think it's okay. (*Note: made boxes one pixel taller and reduced space between boxes by one pixel.)

    THE EGO TAB

    screen0002.jpg

    The combat section has to be in Arial 10 point or the text won't fit.

    screen0003.jpg

    Other stuff works fine though.


    A note on the boxes: they actually scale, so we can make them bigger to fit larger text. Unfortunately, the game displays the same number of boxes no matter what, so five bigger boxes fall of the edge of the book. :(
     
  3. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    THE KEYS TAB

    screen0004.jpg

    Much like reputations. (*Note: made boxes one pixel taller and reduced space between boxes by one pixel.)

    THE RUMORS TAB

    screen0005.jpg

    Was able to change the text color on this one. A handful of rumors had to be truncated in order to fit.
     
  4. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    And now THE WORLDMAP.

    screen0006.jpg

    Pretty simple, looks good to me.

    And THE TOWNMAP.

    screen0007.jpg
     
  5. random1

    random1 Member

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    It looks great to me Gaer. :thumbsup:

    Maybe the "Hommlet & Verbobonc" tab could be renamed to "Hommlet & Verb." or "Homm. & Verb." instead of "Towns". I think it would be better for new players.
    I guess it's impossible to add a new tab, right?


    The Rumors screen looks a bit weird, somewhat blurry. I suspect the image was saved using lower quality.
     
  6. Lightsfantastic

    Lightsfantastic Member

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    What I don't HAVE to squint?
    Sign me up.
     
  7. sirchet

    sirchet Force for Goodness Moderator Supporter

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    Looks very nice Gaear.

    I agree with random1 about the renaming to Homm and Verb.
     
  8. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    Yeah, I've since replaced it. The blue is regular ToEE blue btw. (I'm not concocting any colors of my own.)

    Also, correct - we can't add new tabs that I'm aware of, and even if we did I think we'd somehow have to .dll mod the map area assignments to get Verbo maps to be listed separately.
     
  9. twisty

    twisty Morose Marauder

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    Looks much better overall. The only one that doesn't imo is the Keys Found screen, where the text bleeds over the paragraph border.
     
  10. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    That can actually be helped on a small scale by making the boxes 1 pixel taller while decreasing the space between boxes from 2 pixels to 1 pixel. (See updated images.)

    ~

    TRACKING ...

    screen0008.jpg

    Nominally fixed. Here we see the Priory font describing how Soveliss bravely tracks his enemy the sign post in Hommlet. NPCs portraits are off in this function, I suspect because their coordinates are "dynamically generated" and ever since the advent of widescreen that means "f*cked." (Their positioning can't be controlled via the .mes files. Does anyone use tracking anyway?)
     
  11. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    TOOLTIPS

    As is usually the case with ToEE, when you actually want something to happen for testing purposes (random encounters, enemy criticals, etc.), it doesn't, so I can't get a tooltip to save my life. However, after altering the tooltip files I've noticed this little bonus:

    Hover text on PCs and NPCs

    screen0010.jpg

    screen0011.jpg

    Looks neat!

    [edit]

    Strangely, this also controls the display for item, skill, feat, and spell descriptions in the character UI. It also controls the lists themselves for same in the case of skills and feats, but not spells. Of course not spells. Fool! ;)

    screen0013.jpg

    screen0014.jpg

    screen0015.jpg

    As you can see, Gather Information in the skills section will have to be truncated. It's also possible that being as these menus presumably scroll, we could slightly alter the kerning so that the lines aren't right on top of each other. Lastly, some of the feat descriptions run way out of the bounding box. I think we may have to look into making the basic boxes bigger if we expect this whole endeavor to fly.
     
  12. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    SURVIVAL

    screen0012.jpg

    ~

    Does anyone know when/where the skill mastery ui comes into play? There are control files for it as well, but while the ToEE manual gravely says that rogues get to pick it at level 10 (and presumably its window would pop up at that time), nothing happened for me.

    I also changed party_ui and popup_ui but haven't noticed any differences. Likewise party_quickview_ui.
     
  13. twisty

    twisty Morose Marauder

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    That did it.
     
  14. random1

    random1 Member

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    Gaer I just reached level 10 and regarding the Rogue special skill menu there isn't any. It's just the normal level up menu and from there you're able to choose a class skill, but this time those special skills are selectable.
    However I did notice a bug, I wasn't able to select "Skill Mastery" and it is mentioned in the manual.


    This happens even with the normal font size. Text overflow also happens with the description of some items.

    If that's possible, maybe only increasing the height could do the trick.
     
  15. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    Thanks. I have started tinkering around with making the interface boxes bigger, but it's trickier than it sounds. We'll see.
     
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