Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Feedback Requested!

I've recently done a redesign of the major UI elements. The functionality is almost identical to what it was.

The UI, as you can now download it, has a fairly self-consistent and minimalistic look. I definitely liked it for a long time. But I kept finding that I wished that my UI looked more consistent with the default UI. You can have slick and modern unit frames and action bars, but as soon as you open up the character frame, the quest log, or one of the other default frames you see that it's not consistent.

So I took a bunch of the original Blizzard textures and used them to create the artwork for my preferred layout. This involved making backgrounds for the center console area and overlay artwork for the unit frames. I think I've come up with a really nice way to keep the layout I like while keeping the look consistent with the Blizzard default UI. Basically, it's the WoW look, but without the flaws in the default UI layout. :)

I'm posting a screenshot to see what you guys think. I really dig it, and I hope you do too. Let me know how it strikes you. There's more to the new layout than you can see in the screenshot. Particularly, I think I've finally figured out a way to make pet classes look really nice. If you guys want, I can upload more screenshots later so that you can see things in action. Tell me what you'd like to see, and I'll try to oblige.

The screenshot is clickable for a larger view, FYI.


Trunks2560 said...

I have to say that while I am intrigued with what you have done, I think I would need to see more screen shots of the UI in action. I'd like to see what you did with the pet bars and casting/taking actions in a group. You know, just see the think in action.

It's definitly a slick layout. However, the graphics make it look like it takes up more space on the screen. That was one of the selling points of your UI to me was how sleek and minimal it was. In many ways it gave my screen back to me to actually see the in game graphics without crazy art UI getting in the way. In terms of utility, seems like all the great stuff is there. I used to have grid and decurse where you ahve them but I've gotten used to where they are on the last layout, but that easy to change if I wanted.

Long story short, I'd like to see a bit more, until then I'm skeptical.

Change is scary. lol!

Daedhir said...

Yeah, I worried a bit about the compactness of the layout. This is fairly easy to change by scaling either the entire UI or just the central area. I had it a bit larger before I revamped it yesterday, and I was also building the central graphics from a bunch of different kgPanels, while I've now consolidated that.

I'm working on a way where the action bars and textures are tied to each other so that you can scale the entire thing. But this is easier said than done at this point. I know how to tie the panel to the first action bar, but Dominos doesn't allow you to scale the whole thing.

You're right though that I'm going for less minimalism. I'm aiming for something that's useful but doesn't get in your way, but that also contributes to the aesthetic experience of the game. At this point, raiding with the UI is just as easy as before. I'm not having any problems seeing what I need to see. (Just got Mimiron down tonight, finally!) But obviously, it's still a work in progress.

I've also created different versions of the central console graphics with varying levels of transparency on the uncovered parts. I have it fairly opaque at the moment, because I like the way it looks. But I plan to include the other graphics with it if I release this, so you can feel free to use the more transparent ones.

I should mention that the blue areas on either side of the action bars actually serve a purpose. The area on the right holds the class action bar (stances, presences, forms) and the one on the left holds the vehicle buttons. I was never happy that those pieces didn't really seem to have a rightful place in the UI. Same goes for the bag bar and the menu bar.

Overall, I'm just trying to make it more professional, and more aesthetically pleasing. I think I underestimated the degree to which the overall design and look of the UI contributes to the gaming experience, at least for me.

To tell you how far I've gone, I'm once again using Friz Quadrata as the main font.

Maybe it's because I decided to go back and play through Warcraft III, which I'd never played. Blizzard chooses strong aesthetics for their games, so why not just go with it, but improve it? If it can be said that I improve it, that is, which is debatable.

Daedhir said...

Oh, and that's not where I keep Grid when raiding, that was just getting it out of the way for my mage.

I'll post some raiding shots soon.

Brent said...

I'd love to see what it'd look like with a full 25-man raid going. As a healer, I watch those bars a lot, so any aesthetic improvements you can make over there while keeping required info (buffs, class) would be awesome.

Looks awesome though! I've been using 1.0 since you released it, only changing the background of the health bar to "fourths" so i could easily guess percentages on bosses/mobs.