[WIP] ToEE Front-End X 5.0 Progress Report

Discussion in 'General Modification' started by Agetian, Apr 20, 2013.

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  1. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    Hey guys,
    Time to wipe the slate clean and start working towards the next milestone which is currently known as TFE-X v5.0 (but may actually be changed to v8.0 to reflect the symbolism of the upcoming final release of the Circle of Eight mod, numbered 8.0.0).

    CURRENT PROGRESS (LAST UPDATED 08/12/13)
    ( - - not done, * - in progress, + - complete)

    Core functionality:
    - Tooltips for menus and buttons in the main interface.
    - ToEE-themed interface (buttons, menus, windows are themed in colors, fonts and graphics similar to the game).
    - Possibly migrating to Java FX and JRE v1.7.0 for a more robust interface.

    File format support:
    - No current goals set.

    - Agetian
     
  2. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    Re: Back on track!

    Here's the first screenshot of the recoded ToEE Front-End X GUI running on the new Java engine (codenamed Maywind). Currently it does nothing, it's just the user interface. However, even now it has several important advantages over the previous version: first of all, it's scalable - it can be expanded, maximized, etc. Second, it looks native on every operating system without messing up the UI elements. Third, it works on both Windows and Linux without the necessity to install Mono etc. Of course, the obvious downside is that you need to have Java installed in order for this to work. On many desktop Linux systems it's not a problem as OpenJDK comes preinstalled (or is at least installed with a couple clicks from the repository). On Windows, some people may have to install Java, but I realize a lot of people have Java installed already for one reason or another.

    Currently the new TFE-X looks almost indistinguishable from the current standard one except for some buttons moved to new places and menu items reorganized.

    The new TFE-X will be 100% compatible with the standard one currently shipping with v7.7.0 and will be usable interchangeably with it. The two front-ends will not conflict if installed side by side, and will use the exact same files in exact same formats.

    Now, some things which I think I'll do away with in the new front-end: first of all, I think we can safely assume the old style ToEE Front-End modules (pre TFE-X) are non-existent by now and all end user installations are TFE-X. As such, I'm not going to port over the functionality to convert old format ToEEFE modules to TFE-X. Also, certain disabled functionality which seems not to be used in TFE-X anymore (e.g. portrait pack selection) will not be ported over. Let me know if this would be alright.

    - Agetian
     

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  3. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    Re: Back on track!

    Woo-hoo, sounds great, Ag! :)

    I agree, old front end modules are dead, particularly given the fact that all supported modpacks (even old versions) are now in the new TFE-X format.

    The portrait pack thing is an interesting question, because while, much like the old modpacks, the old portrait packs are not in existence, it would be nice to have that functionality for the new packs. The new ones currently are do-it-yourself packs, requiring the user to manually extract and overwrite files, etc. The only other way to package them would have been to make them add-ons (.tfa). If we could somehow integrate that function into TFE-X without making them add-ons (of which only one can be installed at a time as you know, so we save that slot for patches), that would be neat.

    I'd also like to discuss having the TFE-X resolutions and those listed at Widescreen Gaming forums square up with each other, as there have been some questions along the lines of "why do you make unsupported resolutions available in TFE-X?"

    We could also probably get rid of the 'delete map cache' check item and humble NPCs, as they are pretty much mandatory anymore.

    Anyway this all sounds great, looking forward to shipping the new version with a modpack. :)
     
  4. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    Re: Back on track!

    Thanks a lot for the input, Gaear! :) Sure thing, we can get rid of Humble NPCs and Clean Game Cache then - is that taken care of automatically now or something (especially the latter), or just unnecessary due to DLL hacking?

    Yep, we can sure bring back the good ol' portrait packs! Can you please give me some hints about what the new DIY portrait packs look like and what is done for their integration into the game? This will probably be done after the original TFE-X functionality is recoded, so there's enough time to discuss this. :)

    Widescreen options - wow, didn't realize there was a new list of them out there somewhere (I was away for long :D) - can you please tell me what list exactly you mean? I'd be happy to integrate the new list of video modes into the new FE! EDIT: Provided that I'm looking in the right place, the list of modes is almost the same as in TFE-X except 1280x960 is not listed as supported (which is an interesting question as on my Linux box, 1280x960 works fine while 1280x800 crashes to desktop, while on my Windows system both of them seem to work fine). Should we keep both then?

    P.S. Also, hope no one is going to miss the "No Sound" option, I did not add it to the new front-end 'cause it seemed kinda rudimentary.

    P.P.S. A little progress report: the new Java TFE-X is now able to run the game on both Windows and Linux systems (and no matter how toee.exe is called - lowercase or uppercase, that is). Woohoo. Currently, no options are coded in yet - so not much, but it's something. :)

    - Agetian
     
  5. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    Re: Back on track!

    Sorry, I was unclear - clean game cache should go from being selectable to automatically on and not even in the menu. No one should really have the option to turn it off I don't think (pretty much anyone who does is not going to know why they're doing it anyway). Given that, there's really no need to have it appear in the menu at all. Likewise with Humble NPCs - it's in override mode right now (can't turn it off), and it won't be going back, ever, so there's no need to see the option there. Unless it works with vanilla ToEE ... if that's the case it should probably stay, but I've had the impression none of the .dll stuff (max number of NPCs etc.) applies to vanilla. Is that so?

    Well we have a portrait packs sticky thread in the Downloads forum. I can explain the aesthetics if you like but I suspect you're more interested in the technical stuff. Each pack simply contains an appropriate copy of portraits.mes and all it's custom portraits (Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, etc.), with portraits.mes corresponding to the included portraits. In order to work, the user simply has to overwrite his modpack portraits.mes file with the one from the pack and add its images to the portraits folder. So if TFE-X could carry out that function and then be able to restore the original portraits.mes (the added portraits could stay as they don't hurt anything if they're not used), that would be ideal. Maybe we could add a directory called 'portrait packs' to the modpack install that TFE-X could check for available packs, similar to how it looks for add-ons.

    Hm, I'd suggest we only keep the ones that Widescreen Gaming Forum has verified, if for no other reason than that we can blame any errors on them. ;) (Seriously, it seems like that is their business, so I see no issue with defaulting to whatever their determinations were.)

    Also, in the initial list of resolutions in TFE-X (top of the line), there are 4 resolutions listed. The first three are vanilla resolutions, but I'm not sure what the fourth is (1600 x 1200), and it's not listed as supported by WGF. Actually as I look at it now, I see 1280x960 is vaniila too, so we should indeed keep that. (I assume WGF did not bother verifying vanilla resolutions.)

    Maybe it would be best if the menu broke them down into two categories, like 'original' or 'vanilla' and 'widescreen' or 'high definition.' I think they would be as follows:

    vanilla - 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, 1280 x 960, 1280 x 1024

    high def (as per WGF) - 1280 x 720, 1280 x 768, 1280 x 800, 1440 x 900, 1680 x 1050

    That's perfectly fine.

    Sweet. :thumbsup:
     
  6. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    Re: Back on track!

    Oh, all the DLL hack options (such as humble NPCs) should technically work with everything including vanilla as long as the game is patched to either official patch 2 or any of the Circle of Eight game DLL revisions. Therefore, I guess humble NPCs should stay the way they are, but I agree that "clean game cache on startup" can just be performed automatically and not be an option - I agree it's highly technical and pretty much always needs to be on for the end user anyway.

    Widescreen modes - yeah, I agree with your suggestion, it's highly reasonable. Also, 1600x1200 was a non-widescreen 4:3 mode that was popular on late large CRT monitors (20"+) and maybe some early non-widescreen LCD ones of similar size, too. I assume someone tested it to work back in the day when it was implemented as an option (likely to be pre-TFE-X times), but I have no idea. Anyhow, it's a standard non-widescreen mode on some large 4:3 monitors, it's not used on widescreen monitors. Do you think we need it or should we just kill it then?

    Will definitely look into implementing portrait packs, too! Will keep you posted on my progress!

    P.S. Working on a new front-end installation dialog - hopefully that one will be a lot clearer than the old "provide no feedback for a long time" one, we'll see. But anyway, I hope to make it a lot more automatic and a lot more interactive as far as feedback goes. ;)

    - Agetian
     
  7. phlippy g

    phlippy g Member

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    Re: Back on track!

    I would like to second Gehennis's request.
     
  8. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    Re: Back on track!

    As of right now I have no idea what the mentioned behavior is controlled by, but if it's a certain DLL modification that can be toggled on/off easily enough, sure, I don't mind adding it to the front-end.

    - Agetian
     
  9. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    Re: Back on track!

    Here's the first, early screenshot of the new installation and deployment window which will replace the old clunky installation/activation procedure which was anything but responsive/intuitive. I'm hoping that the new system will be more dynamic and will provide more feedback (such as percentage, perhaps) about what is going on. It will NOT require those monstrous presses of Enter at every step, too, the procedure will be fully automatic.

    P.S. The screenshot is taken on my Linux box, which is running Linux Mint 14 KDE Edition.

    - Agetian
     

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  10. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    Re: Back on track!

    Sweet. :)

    I understand how that should be the case, but I swear I've heard reports of basically no FE options working for vanilla. At any rate, yeah let's keep that.

    I would say let's kill it.

    Absolutely not, and this is not a thread for random feature requests, so please refrain from doing that here.

    To be clear on TFE-X options: they are simply not going to exist for random elements that you may or may not like throughout the game. If you dislike animal companion behavior, please post about it in the AC thread. After a significant amount of feedback/testing has come in, we may consider reverting it, but there will be no front end switch for it or anything even remotely like it.
     
  11. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    Re: Back on track!

    Hmm I may be wrong. :) Anyhow, I'll keep it for now and do some testing later on when the front-end becomes functional enough - then we'll get back to this and decide if we're keeping it or not.

    Done and done. :)

    That's very true, I completely agree. For a second I thought this might have been a certain DLL hack or something like that along the lines of Humble NPCs that should be toggleable - if it's just a feature then I agree that it should be posted in feature requests and will then be considered by the team.

    - Agetian
     
  12. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    Re: Back on track!

    Hey Ag, gazra1971 has pointed out that the menu options Concurrent Turns and End Turn after Default Action are enabled by default, but that neither of these are ideal default options. (Concurrent turns is kind of anti-turn-based by nature, and pressing the space bar is preferable for actually choosing to end your turn rather than the game ending it for you somehow. I suspect that both of these things were misguided attempts by Troika to attempt to accommodate those who wish they were playing a phase-based game.)

    Could we get these turned off by default in TFE-X module activation?
     
  13. Agetian

    Agetian Attorney General Administrator

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    Re: Back on track!

    Absolutely! Noted and added to my todo list. A quick note to self - these will be controlled with:
    Code:
    concurrent_turnbased=0
    end_turn_default=0
    
    I assume these shouldn't be menu options, they should just be the options that are automatically set as module defaults when the module is activated, right?

    - Agetian
     
  14. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    Re: Back on track!

    Yep.
     
  15. Salk

    Salk Established Member

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    Re: Back on track!

    Thanks for this upcoming update to the front end!
     
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