Skill Menu Interface

Name dcss:brainstorm:skills:skill_menu
Summary How to fit all skills info and commands on 80×24.
Added by galehar
Added on 2010-11-15 11:53

The skill screen is already full. I managed to squeeze the transfer knowledge display in it but we need more room. The enchantment split is adding a new skill, and it has been asked that we provide a “show all” option.

New help layout

Let's reduce the help to 3 lines. The last line has a list of commands, similar to the toggles in the find menu. The other 2 lines are updated whenever ? or ! is pressed to display help about this specific topic. A more detailed help can be accessed with _ (like in inventory). Default line:

a-x: toggle practise  ?: change action  !: change display  *: show all  _: help

After ? has been pressed:

a-x: describe  ?: change action  !: change display  *: show all  _: help

Other 2 lines (last - 1 and last -2). Text within bracket isn't displayed.

[Toggle Practise (default)]

Press the letter of a skill to choose whether you want to practise it.
Skills marked with '-' will train very slowly.


Press the letter of a skill to read its description.


The percentage of the progress done before reaching next level is in cyan.


The species aptitude is in red. Crosstraining is in blue, antitraining in
magenta. The skill responsible for the bonus or malus is marked with '*'.

[Transfer knowledge]

The progress of the knowledge transfer is displayed in green in front of
the skill receiving the knowledge. The donating skill is marked with '*'.

Only downside I can see of this system is that it is not obvious at all that you can check the progress of transfer knowledge by pressing ! twice.

This is a very good system. One comment: instead of ?: change action we might be a little clearer by writing ?: read descriptions or ?: select training, as appropriate. For !, we would print !: show aptitudes or !: show progress (instead of !: change display). In case there are three modes (because of skill transfer), we should first of all start m screen in transfer mode and then !:… should just indicate the next step, so there'd be an additional !: show transfer slot.
By the way, we have many instances where a mode can be changed, for example in shops, ability lists, skills etc. I have the feeling that the choice of mode should be made visually much clearer, although I don't really know how. Change of palette would be okay. — dpeg 2010-11-15 14:25

Show all

It has been often asked that the skills at 0 are displayed. Displaying them all by default isn't good, but we can add a “show all” option. I suggest that activating it automatically puts you in aptitude display mode, since this is going to be the main use for it. I don't think it is a good idea to allow the disabling of level 0 skills. This would encourage tedious play (systematically disabling several skills upon starting a new game).

All seconded. — dpeg 2010-11-15 14:25

Always show aptitudes

The skill screen ('m') shows your levels for the various skills OR your aptitudes for them - toggled between them. Why is this toggled? Since 0.7, all aptitudes are two characters long, three if you include a space. Surely there's room for three extra characters, and if there isn't, get rid of the word “skill” that shows up after every skill. — minmay 2010-12-3 16:22

That's actually a pretty good idea. In the new version, I actually got rid of the “skill” string and have 2 columns. So it's certainly possible to show aptitudes right next to progress. — galehar 2010-12-04 09:04

Manual training interface

With the introduction of manual skill training mode, the interface needs some changes. The skill boost provided by Oka and Ash could use some interface improvement too. Since the XP pool will be removed, we gain one line at the top of the skill menu. Shift everything upward, and we can use 2 lines for the list of commands. I suggest using this:

[Mode(/): auto|manual] [Do(?): practise|describe] [Show(*): known|all]
[Level(_): enhanced|normal] [View(!): training|progress|transfer]

I've put colours readable on white for the wiki, but in-game, I'm thinking of using yellow for hotkeys, white for selected options and dark grey for unselected ones. Unavailable options are not shown of course, so level is shown only when some skills are boosted and transfer only when skill transfer is in progress. As _ and ! are not affecting the same columns, it's better to have them as separate toggles. “enhanced” is replaced by “reduced” when under Ash's wrath.

  • Mode auto/manual is for toggling between automatic training (default, skills used are trained) and manual (you choose which skills are trained).
  • Do practise/describe works like the current “change action” toggle.
  • Show known/all is unchanged.
  • Level enhanced/normal is quite self-explicit.
  • View training/progress/transfer. Training works both in auto and manual mode and shows for each skill the percentage of incoming XP that will be attributed to it. Progress and transfer works as currently.

galehar 2011-06-10 12:28

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dcss/brainstorm/interface/skill_menu.txt · Last modified: 2011-12-22 17:14 by XuaXua
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