Tiles Interface Ideas (Bulk)

Name dcss:brainstorm:tiles: tiles interface
Summary A collection of ideas of how to improve the Tiles interface.
Further informationAlso see Improve the Tiles Build, User Interface Implementable List, Mouse Playability, The Usability Project report
Added by jpeg
Added on 2010-01-09 00:38

TODO: Tidy up page

  • Trim down the suggestions to their basic content.
  • Replace quotes with summaries.
  • Remove links where the linked page doesn't contain further content.
  • Reorder sections.

Feel free to add new suggestions or to add comments to existing ones.

More clickable menus

  • doll editor screen
  • help screen
  • ability menu

Highlight bad statuses

The Tiles screen is much busier than the console screen. Also, since monsters and items are clearly depicted on the map, the message area becomes much less important for Tiles players. Combined, both of these have the unfortunate result that players sometimes don't realize when bad things are happening to them. I'm not talking about hit points here (which get displayed nicely underneath the player tile), but about the effect statuses. Players are much more likely not to notice they are starving, heavily glowing, or poisoned than console players.

There are many ways we could make these more obvious:

  • flash the screen
  • make a noise (only works with sound on)
  • encase the entire map in a red frame
  • add a special icon (done for sticky flame and poison)
  • backlight the player tile
  • flash/highlight the message area
  • add short animations
  • use pop-up messages

I was about to post about this, but not for status effects. Torment and smite must also get some kind of visual feedback. — co 2011-01-26 23:40

Categorized inventory

At the suggestion of dpeg I've decided to write my idea here. For tiles, I believe that a categorized inventory would be a great step forward, possibly having different columns (maybe three squares wide?) for items (armour, scrolls, potions) etc. These could either dynamically size or not (depending on how much work it would be) but I think it would be a lot clearer. However, as dpeg pointed out, some classes will have 20 potions and no weapons, and vice versa. This means that a dynamically sizing one would be better but I still think it wouldn't be much of a hindrance. Possibly, if this was seen as a huge problem, different classes could have a slightly different lay out(use the extra square maybe, as its currently 13 squares across)?

Automatic mouse detection

In FR 2880694 an anonymous reporter suggested that the interface help should take into account whether the player was actually using the mouse or only playing via keyboard. Some interface shortcuts (e.g. in the religion screen) are shown as mouse buttons instead of keys if, for space reasons, we cannot display both.

So I would like mouse shortcuts to be either an option, or detected
automatically depending on whether the player actually uses the mouse. The
latter would probably be better, since a new player wouldn't go about
messing with options either.

Default is mouse; when no mouse was used for sufficiently long, show keys.

Prevent misclicks in the item display

Sometimes, while moving or fighting by keyboard I just move aside the mouse without paying attention where I put it. A few times this led me to accidentally click the mouse when I didn't mean to (using a touchpad this is rather easy to do) and I ended up quaffing a potion or reading a scroll when I didn't mean to. In general, I guess it's easier to accidentally click on an item when just browsing or trying to drop it than it is to make typos on the keyboard.

For dangerous chunks, at least, I've now added an appropriately coloured prompt, so that should put an end to that, but what do we do about the rest? We could add warning inscriptions for bad stuff, but that's only part of the issue. Putting prompts everywhere would be really annoying. No, I haven't got any ideas either, just putting this here as something that might require improvement.

I've had this same issue. I'm thinking, why not implement a bit of modern mouse-driven GUI, rather than try to figure out some sort of kludge to prevent a misclick? Right-click for a pop-up menu listing actions possible on an item(bold the default command and place it at the head of the list), and double left-click to use the default command for that item? It's much harder to accidently double click… It'd also be intuitive to new players. — Wolfe 2011-07-29 10:53
As a laptop user I frequently have this problem on account of both the touchpad and the terrible keyboard (my shift key sometimes fails). The misclick problem could easily be solved by an option to disable the mouse (although I do like Wolfe's suggestion as well). An icon in one of the unused spaces of the inventory indicating what effect clicking will have would prevent my shift problem as well as clarifying the differing effects of clicking on different item types (e.g. evoke for equipped rods, fire for thrown weapons…). — Borrovan 2012-07-18

Improve memorization interface

  1. If possible, when reading a book (right-click), the spell list should be a proper menu with clickable lines and icons.
  2. Left-clicking on a book should call the old memorisation interface of spells only in this particular book, clickable of course, and also showing up when you can't memorise any spells. (For tiles, all memorisable spells can already be accessed via the spell inventory toggle, so there's no reason not to keep the comfort of the old system.)
  3. When browsing a memorisable spell description, left-click should be the same as typing 'm' to ”(M)emorise this spell”, right-click escape (as now).

Pop-up windows

As suggested by zelgadis in FR 2900388:

You can do things in tiles with the mouse which cause a yesno() prompt.
It'd be nice if it detected if the most recent SDL event was a keypress or
mouse button click, and if it was a mouse button then but up a clickable
yes/no dialog right underneath the mouse.

The more prompt would similarly work better as a pop-up box, and this has also been suggested for the tutorial messages. — jpeg 2010-01-04 14:55

Indicate demon difficulty

In the console version, the difference between an imp and an executioner is visible at a glance. In the Tiles version, conversely, the player has to memorize three dozen tiles whose difficulty can only sometimes be estimated from the depiction or name. For example, I haven't got a clue which of ice fiend, ice devil and iron devil is the most dangerous and by how much they differ. (Checking mon-data.h, they're apparently 1, 2, 3, in that order.)

I'm not sure how to solve this problem. We could display the number icon with the tile but that seems a tad technical. Colour coding the tiles would greatly reduce the flavour (e.g. blue devil, green death) and background overlays usually serve a different purpose (e.g. halo).

Similarly, the console version allows a rough estimation of the relative difficulty of monsters by colour coding them (the brighter, the more dangerous) and (with some exceptions) reserving capital letters for the more dangerous monsters. We might want to review the tiles to make sure this information comes across from the depiction.

  • For now, I've added the corresponding number icon until we can come up with a better solution. — jpeg 2010-01-27 20:02
  • The numbers have been replaced with pentagrams, but these are just as confusing as numbers, though less technical. — jpeg 2010-02-16 17:19
    • Been testing tiles build running hells and pan, the pentagram tile is nicely drawn but is not helping with distinction and is hiding details. The numbering system was better at displaying info, but I really havent heard any chatter or feedback on either system. IMO reverting back to no flag (or maybe just flagging the greater demons) might be best course for new release. Future release could perhaps include option in tiles init or toggle button in game to show demon difficulty. — Porkchop 2010-03-04 15:18
    • While I agree that the first design was insupportable, I rather like the new (smaller) icons. Also, there already is an option to turn them off. ;) — jpeg 2010-03-04 18:31

Clouds as background tiles

Clouds should be drawn behind monster tiles, as that's rather useful to know. Clouds taking precendence over items is fine.

In-game viewport options editor

The tiles version used to have an options screen that allowed setting the screen size, font etc. in-game. This screen was removed when the screen size handling was overhauled. It'd be nice to have it back.

In-game screen size toggle

Alt+enter should toggle full-screen in-game.

1004 has an incomplete patch for window resizing with mouse.

Improve message overlay for small resolutions

Brought up by Eugene Tomelin in FR 2809735:

I would be fine with an overlay, but does it have to be at the top of the
window ? Having the messages suddenly
appear at the top is disorienting. Its a force of habit to look down to see
a message log.


I guess i could say that the
overlay is TOO transparent, maybe. Its somewhat hard to see the normal
text, not red or blue one. Maybe put manual alpha adjustment in the ini ?

And yes, it kicked in at 800×600 resolution, which still has plenty of
room for normal message area, maybe it should be tweaked to be enabled at
lower resolutions.
We are digging into this with felirx, and noticed one reason to put the overlaid message region to the top: its size changes dynamically, so if it was on the bottom, the first line would jump up and down according to the size of the region. — evktalo 2010-01-29 14:53

Mouseover monster/item names

Add an option to disable the mouseover names.

In particular, tile_tag_pref = none should also disable these. We can add a new setting to disable only monster names (the current “none” behaviour).

Mouseclick Overmap interaction

As brought up in FR 2897693 by zelgadis:

Clicking on some area of the window would bring up the overmap. Clicking
on a branch would auto-travel to that branch, clicking on a level
annotation would auto-travel to that level, and so on.

Quiver interface

As suggested in FR 2900083 by zelgadis:

There should be some way to change what's quivered using only the mouse.
Ctrl-L-Click on ammo in the inventory pane would work, but there should
also be some way of cycling through quiverable items. However, the only
interface I can think of for that is to click on the Qv line in the status,
but that would be different than most of the status region, plus I don't
know how it could be implemented.
I don't think we need a clickable quiver cycle if you can directly assign quiver items via mouseclick. — jpeg 2010-01-27 20:06

Mousebutton action bindings

Suggested by zelgadis in FR 2900402:

There should be a way, at the very least, to change which modifier keys +
left button = fire/spell/evoke, so that if the user wanted they could (for
example) make Shift-L-Click to do spells. More generally, there should be
something like the keypress ↔ command_type bindings for button+mods ↔
actions, so if you wanted you could make Shift-Ctrl-Alt-Middle-button be
“drop item”.

Allow examination of distant tiles

Either when right-clicking the mini map to zoom into the level map or when scrolling around during 'X' mode, display descriptions for the tile under the cursor.

Re-order inventory tiles

Allow the implicit adjustment of items in inventory and spells via mouseclicks.

Double clicking in spell region

Clicking a spell second time in spell region should cast it on the current (initial) target.

Mousewheel support

Allow the mouse wheel to scroll menus. Ideally, also allow horizontal scrolling for 2D menus (character select.)

Additionally, the mouse wheel could be used to scroll through the message history without going to the ^P screen.

Mousewheel over the map could zoom in/out (see below).

Minimap scaling

On a big monitor, the map is easily readable; on a laptop or smaller screen, it's less useful, especially for trying to autotravel-via-click. Some kind of zoom in/out would be extremely useful.

Smarter handling of text tags

Text tags (such as over unique monsters) can overlap with each other and are often too verbose. It'd be nice to handle these better.

Show slot letters and plusses in tabs

From 1836:

“First, show the item letters next to the items themselves. As a keyboard player, I find the tiles inventory very useful for keeping track of my scrolls and potions. However, if, looking at the inventory, I see a scroll I could use, I still have to find it again in the read menu.

Second, show pluses. I think that, if the inventory showed weapon and armor pluses, the only information about your items not available just by looking at the inventory would be artifact properties.

These two suggestions together would almost completely eliminate the need for a list-based inventory even for a keyboard tiles player.

The main problem would be overcrowding the item box, particularly for ammo, which has to fit 4 separate pieces of information in the box - the count, pluses, letter and brand. Everything else either doesn't stack or doesn't have pluses. However, the first suggestion alone wouldn't have this problem and would still make the tiles inventory more useful for keyboard players.”

Looking at an item with a double digit quantity and a brand icon, and you already almost cannot see the tile behind. I say we could shrink number and brand size a bit and add the inventory letter in the lower left, but forget about enchantment. — galehar 2010-12-25 21:13
The brand icons are definitely too large and need to be shrunk down. Shrinking down the numbers, on the other hand, would probably not have much of an effect. Either way, first we'll need a complete set of letter icons. — jpeg 2010-12-28 12:26

Monster awareness indicators

It used to be that sleeping monsters were shown with a ? and confused/unaware/fleeing monsters were shown with a !. Now sleeping monsters get a Zzz and confused/unaware/fleeing monsters get the ?. I propose to change the fleeing monsters to !, so the three icons are used. (! feels more appropriate for panicked retreating than does ?) — minmay 2011-01-27 00:47

Silence feedback

Silence overlays could be either absent or different color where silence has no effect on the monster. — ortoslon 2011-03-05 17:17

Show wielded weapons in monsters' tiles

Currently, humanoid skeletons' tiles don't show wielded weapons like zombies' or skeletal warriors'. — ortoslon 2011-08-20 11:43

Pick up interface

A fullscreen interface for picking up items when there are more than one, similar to the “drop” interface. At present retrieving items from large stashes can be extremely tedious. — Borrovan

There is one. At the pickup prompt, press m, *, ?, g or ,. — galehar 2012-08-06 14:06

Inscription to exclude item (stack) from autopickup

Mostly needed for stones and darts when they are not your main tool. You will find plenty of stacks of these just lying around, no need to have autotravel chase every single dart you throw away. — doublep 2013-01-02 17:27

Change default value of tile_skip_title

The loading screen with the pretty picture is neat. But after seeing all the images many times it becomes a nuisance to have to press a key. There is no reason to ask for a keypress except to admire the drawing. Even though it is currently possible to set tile_skip_title in init.txt I truly believe that the standard user shouldn't be forced to edit large text files. I see three possible solutions to change the default but frankly only the first proposal makes sense in the current state of DCSS:

  • Set the default to true (tile_skip_title=true)
  • Count the number of times the title has been displayed. Skip it after a certain threshold. (tile_skip_title=threshold)
  • After showing the loading screen image the user can press a special key for example CTRL+S to always skip the title in the future. Any other key goes to the menu without persistent changes.

ensis 2014-06-18 19:43

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dcss/brainstorm/tiles/tiles_interface.txt · Last modified: 2014-06-18 20:09 by ensis
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