New PC user interface

August 23, 2011|

Some of you people have been requesting a more lightweight interface, and we agree with you, the playable area was too small. So here is the brand new PC user interface (the old screenshots were using the iPad gui). Note that details may still change so feedback is appreciated.

Stay tuned for the first ever gameplay video! πŸ™‚

114 responses to “New PC user interface”

  1. matthew says:

    looks good, I do think that the elements should be movable, the like character faces, so you can place it where you want, I did like the older GUI, but this one is a lot lighter, maybe you could if you had time, allow for both? and an option to switch, because the old version is more true to the old style RPG games, like DM and EOB, so if there was a choice, I would gladly take that

    but overhaul, the new HUD seems fine, but I think if the character portraits were movable, that will be great, and where is the compass? and the arrow buttons to change direction?

    on second thoughts, the lightweight version might be too lightweight, but if you have the arrows as a smallish box (but not too small, then the compass as well, (but elements movable) (you could add a HUD editor in the options, then once you finalised the layout, its then locked when you play the game, there is nothing more annoying then clicking on movable elements then you accidentally drag instead of clicking, so if you keep with this lightweight version, then a HUD editor would be a good idea

    PS will there be an automap in the game or not? maybe have that as an optional extra

  2. petri says:

    Matthew, thanks for the feedback!

    We have been thinking about having the iPad gui as an option on the PC version too but it has some issues because it does not scale well for different resolutions. Floating elements generally have no such problems. However, we’ll keep this in mind…

    Regarding movement arrows: I’ve never seen anyone using the movement arrows on PC. WASD (plus Q and E for turning) feels much better and faster. Basically they were just taking previous screen estate for static graphics. That’s why we removed them from the gui. Are you saying that you prefer clicking the movement arrows with the mouse? Because if you are then I see your point..

    Compass: the idea is to implement the compass as an item so that you can use up an off-hand slot for it if you like. This way it doesn’t clutter the user interface too much.

    Auto-map: we have a prototype working but we’re not ready to show it yet because it requires more work.

    Movable portraits / elements: it’s a possibility but it’s more work and a bit messy to implement. For example, what happens if you open the inventory and the portraits get hidden behind it. Why is it important to have movable portraits?

    • matthew says:

      I do like using the arrow buttons, I honestly never really use the WASD keys myself, I prefer the arrow keys on the keyboard, but yeah using keys on the keyboard is faster, I just thought it was odd having them missing, but using the mouse to control the movement I prefer, used to it from DM, and EOB, but if there was an option to have this in, having a movement pad to click on, that would be great, best of both worlds then

      as for the compass idea, I can live with that, something to find early on, so yeah would help in reducing space

      as for portraits, it was an idea, but if its not movable, its no big deal, I was thinking for the PC version, how big your screen is, and where you are sitting, maybe its easier on the neck to have the portraits at the bottom for some people, but its just an idea, and that may or may not make a difference in combat, if you do include the movement pad (click with the mouse to change direction) then it might be handy having the portraits at the bottom, hence movable, so you don’t get distracted too much finding where you need to click, but I guess in that respects using the WASD keys might be better, then using the mouse to attack, I do like everything at the bottom, like DM, but this is just personal preference, others may think differently

      and good that you are adding a automap in the game, as that will help, but for the diehard dungeon crawlers, they might not use it, (so much fun getting lost in EOB 1 and DM LOL

      but overall, I like the design, if you make the elements movable, that would be great, but if not, then fine, but by the sounds of it you got things covered

      • bobbd says:

        I’ll tell you why you want to use either the arrow keys or WASD, because that leaves your mouse to handle fighting. You want to be able to move and fight. Based on what I’ve seen so far, one of the things that will distinguish this game from others is the real-time fighting system. This lets you fight as you’re backing up or move around a large monster as you attack so that the monster has a hard time getting to you.

        I expect that using the iPad plugged into a large screen HDTV may be the ultimate interface for a game like this.

    • willow says:

      Good interface, very pretty.

      For movable interface you can see rpg game called The Legacy released in 1993 by microprose that had movable interface.

      Morrowind also had a movable interface and each windows could be increased or decreased.

      The principal advantage is that allow anybody to conigure how he likes (sombody can prefer inventory at right and others at left for example).

    • Theo says:

      WASD keys are fine for the right-handed, but I’m left-handed, so for me it would be IJKL.

  3. Valaki says:

    Nothing much to say here, excellent job guys, especially the magic tab. Can’t wait for the gameplay video!

    • antti says:

      That’s not actually where you cast the spells from, it’s just a scroll with a recipe for a spell on it. You’ll see the spell casting system in action tomorrow, when we’ll post the gameplay video!

  4. subaru swift says:

    very nice looking so far, good ideas & i like the layout so far…. well done all.

  5. MinusEV says:

    Looks cool, I really like the changes as well, and I can’t wait to play it.

    Some feedback:

    – I agree that automap would be nice to have.
    – The UI dont need arrows, as you’ve already pointed out, no one uses them.
    – I see that there’s any experience bar on the char sheet, maybe you should implement that below the portraits, as a very tiny (yellow?) line.
    – I guess there isn’t any “effect” on the characters right now, but if you are planning to do a lot of those (like bless, haste, aid, poison, etc.) it would be great to see how you build that in to the current design. Icons on the poritrait perhaps?
    – It’s not a UI thing, but maybe you can hotkey (1,2,3,4) the characters in order to make them quickly selectable, because as far as I can tell that is a requirement for spellcasting for eg.

    Keep up the good work, it’s great to have developers like your team!

    • petri says:

      Quick answers: the exp bar is already visible in the stats tab πŸ™‚ Keys 1-4 open inventories of individual champions. Champion conditions (e.g. poisoned) are shows as small icons at the bottom of the character sheet (above backpack) but this has not been implemented yet.

      EDIT: oh by “char sheet” you probably meant portraits. I like that idea (having exp bar visible below each portrait).

  6. Demiath says:

    Grimrock’s development seems to be coming along pretty nicely already. The UI is a bit barebones for my tastes, but in all fairness it should be said that this clean interface style represents the general direction in which the PC first-person dungeon crawler genre was going with the last entries (such as DreamForge’s Anvil of Dawn) before the subgenre slipped out of the mainstream completely. Personally I wouldn’t mind more and bigger (and constantly visible) panels, but I guess there is always the issue of not scaring away newcomers with a lot of clutter which obscures the first-person view…

  7. Jani says:

    The character portraits appear huge, at least if they are to scale. On a 1080p the char portraits should still only be 50px as to maximize the viewport.

    If the spell system is going to be DM like, ie comprised of 8 or so runes from which you build your spells, please make it possible to enter the symbols from the keyboard – just use numbers 1 – 8 to match each rune.

    • petri says:

      The gui is always rendered pixel perfect (we don’t like blurry gfx) so at 1080p portraits should be tiny. Actually we probably want to have “double gui size” option for 1080p πŸ™‚

  8. beastman says:

    I like this much better than the big GUI from before. The only thing I would possibly change is: either portraits (and 2×2 pairing like hand-held item order) to the right or hand-held items to the left, so that only one side is “lcluttered” and you have just to look at one side of the screen to get an overview.

    • beastman says:

      Oh, and no need for arrows to move around. Keyboard use where to can choose the keys to be used for [insert action]…

    • petri says:

      The portraits have been arranged so that they cover as little as possible. 2×2 grid could hide hidden switches on the walls. Likewise if the portraits would be at the bottom they would hide floor items.

  9. matthew says:

    yes I see now, that is probably why if they were movable, it would be better, but yeah I see your logic

    still would be good to see the video tomorrow, see how combat and magic works, certainly looking to be one hell of a game, can’t wait for the vid, and will there be a beta or you not decided on that yet? I would glady help to test as I have a lot of beta testing experience, but anyway, keep those updates coming and looking forward to the game big time!

  10. Maalak says:

    It’s quite beautiful, but something disturb me : the floor is too much clean, as if cleaning ladies have just passed before the adventurers.
    Isn’t it possible to add some dusty effect on the ground, or at least lower the reverberance of light sources on it ?

    About the UI, couldn’t be possible to make movable and removable elements like suggested above ?
    This way, you could also add an option to show directionnal arrows for those who want them for example, which then could give it a no-keyboard play maybe useful to play the game on tablet in the future, either with a port of the game on iOS or Android or with an eventual direct compatibility with the future Windows 8.

  11. Kristof says:

    Lightweight interface is a way to go. Graphics look great and all the feeling is very EoBish πŸ™‚

    If the gameplay is good then a must-buy for me. Keep the good work guys! I’ve got a question regarding spells however – will it be just picking it from spellbook, etc. or kind of Dungeon Master style where you build your spells from runes?


  12. Limner says:

    the screenshot are very good!
    do not use too much light, the second screenshot is the best: there there is not much light, it gives the feeling of crawling in a dungeon, where there isnt’ the sunlight and where not many persons went

    • Limner says:

      sorry, i would say that the FIRST screenshot is the best: that where less light along the corridor.

  13. Limner says:

    it would be good to have also an automap sistem, but not entirely automatical: maybe could be a spell, or papers to find….something that not come free but must be paid in game terms, no?

    it would be nice also if would be possible to mark the passare along the dungeon, like scars on walls, dig small holes, write on walls….

  14. axs says:

    It looks awesome!! great work!

    IΒ΄m imagining thing or itΒ΄s a spell system ala “dungeon master”?

    That would be formidable, i love experimenting with combinations, hope it includes a potion system as well.

    Keep up the good work people, hope everything goes smooth.

  15. Darouu says:

    I like this change to increase the playable area! One thing though, I hope you will implement some feedback on the portraits when we take damage. The third screenshot alludes to you have having implemented this (yet?). If you can have them cringe or something and maybe go a monochromatic red at the moment of being struck or something like that. DOOM used a decent system where there was an increasingly bloody portrait as we took more and more damage. People like that stuff. Players want feedback while they play.

    • Darouu says:

      Correction: The third screenshot hints that you have NOT implemented a visual damage feedback system (yet?) on the portraits.

    • Longbow says:

      I would also like to see some feedback on the portraits

  16. Mojo says:

    I really think ( as I already said in another post, ) that your interface is too milky, and too flat compared to the game screen. It’s clean, but it seems more adequate in a 2D indie RPG game than in your Eye Of The Beholder excellent revival.

  17. JF says:

    I really like the looks of the new UI. It’s apparent that you guys have experience in the field. The font works well with the background, the colors are easy on the eyes. It’s a night and day difference compared to other indie RPGs like the Spiderweb games.

    Making all UI elements movable would be ideal, I think. That way everyone can customize the interface to their liking. Personally I would keep the portraits in the bottom left corner in a 2×2 grid like the weapon icons, and place a compass rose in the center. Then the automap could appear opposite the stats/inventory window. I like symmetry a lot, but it’s down to personal taste I guess.

    I’d prefer to have a compass or automap be just UI elements, not items that you have to waste an equipment slot on. That annoyed me a lot in DM2. Although you could make it so they aren’t available from the start, but appear later once you find them/as a quest reward or what have you.

  18. Hmm says:

    It’s probably just me, but would it be too time consuming to create “variants” of the interface? I’m asking because I can see myself choosing the portraits to be displayed at the bottom of the screen or to the right side of it. I would also appreciate small buttons of arrows for movement (so that portraits, the movement arrows and quick inventory would create a nice bar at the bottom of the screen).

    Apart from that, isn’t the interface too “clean” – I mean the outlines of the portraits and the quickslot icons? Could you make them a bit more “rocky”, look like they’re made of wood or something like that?

    Keep up the great work!

  19. webduck says:

    For the P.C. now that does look amazing. THX

  20. webduck says:

    I must say the sound FX for the
    snail attack and hidden passageway are spot on.
    Good work guys, Keep it up πŸ˜€

  21. Aaron McCallen says:

    I feel your interface suffers from several flaws.
    1) You have to travel the mouse a large distance from the character portraits to the action commands. Try to keep menus isolated to a single area of the screen. This will help the player execute his commands quickly during battle.
    2) Inventory is clunky because there is no transitional place for items. For example, in your demo you picked up a key, opened an inventory, navigates to inventory, placed key in inventory, closed inventory, walked to the door, opened inventory, grabed key, closed inventory, used key in lock (10 steps). That is a tedious amount of steps. You could include a “quickbag” in the player action area that has a certain amount of slots for each player. The following action sequence would result: pick up key, drop in quickbag, move to door, pick up key from quickbag, use on door (5 steps).

    In addition, the players hands can be represented under their icon. Placing an item here equips it (torches, wapons, etc). This is useful for exchanging items between players as well as an intuitive place for attacks etc.

    I have included a very rough re-imagining of your UI.

    • Lucid Panic says:

      Another vote for an “action bar”. It would be lovely if you could add a couple of slots near each character portrait, where the player can put Items which can be quickly accessed. Think tool belt.

      For the sake of convenience maybe you could include the option to gather items automagically with SHIFT+LMB ? On the other hand, the manual inventory management is part of the genre and i feel it belongs to the tactical meta-game.

      For the game play i hope you will include a couple of crowd control elements. ( slow, confuse, freeze, random space or temporal displacement etc). As long rare those aren’t overpowered and could give some additional tactical possibilities.

  22. Gregorus Prime says:

    Please, please include a function to map character attacks to specific keys. I’m thinking 1-4 on the main keyboard by default. I also think you should map the runes to the number pad. Makes sense, no?

    • matthew says:

      each rune using a number pad button? well as the devs had said, magic slowness is intentional. I not sure, if this would speed it up too much? not a bad idea but don’t expect it to happen

      I think the classic EOB and DM interfaces were good, I still think that is a classic and better interface to have, I do agree with the character portraits been too high, which is why I still think they should be movable, and a quickbar might be a interesting idea, a keyboard button to make it visible / hidden

      as I do also agree that the number of stops is perhaps a bit high

      but we will have to see how things progress and what feedback the devs take onboard then change. Im not a fan of the new interface either, but anyway lets hope something good happens

  23. screeg says:

    Agree with Aaron that separating the character portraits from the actions doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’d personally prefer that the attacks be arranged in a line instead of a 2×2 grid. This is also more consistent with the portrait presentation.

    What Gregorus says about keyboard shortcuts is dead on. I can’t imagine mapping to the NumPad would be too difficult on your end. You want the player to use WASD to navigate, but the mouse to cast spells? Perhaps allowing keyboard mapping without default assignments would be a reasonable compromise?

    All that aside, having seen your latest video this game definitely looks promising. Have you read the comments at RPGWatch?

  24. screeg says:

    I’m back! What Aaron said about the ungodly number of steps required for simple actions. Would there be any disadvantage to auto-equipping items if the character slot is empty? So if my fighter picks up a helmet and his head is bare he just puts it on? Actually, Aaron makes some really good suggestions in very few words.

  25. webduck says:

    The only negative thing I can see with the interface is it’s hard to tell which attacks belongs to which party member ?
    Also the positioning of each member in the group.
    Is it all in a line, side by side ?
    O O O O

    Or 2 at the front and 2 at the back ?
    O O
    O O

  26. Aaron McCallen says:

    It occurred to me that the quickbox area I had proposed had a redundant tab on it. The following rough concept fixes that.

    I also realized that you could map qickkeys to the quick-inventory tab. This adds a lot of options, as each character can have his own set of quickeys. In addition, mechanics could be incorporated such as “hold shift + number to use the entire party’s quick inventory.” The player could put potions to quaff or scrolls in everyone’s slot and have particular # combo strategies depending on each monster.

  27. Marilu says:

    Holy shzinit, this is so cool thank you.

  28. Antiparadox says:

    First of all I want to say that I absolutely adore this game, its starting to look very good, I too am an oldschool gamer, I was around 14 years old when I finished games like Eye of the Beholder, Black Crypt, Dungeon Master, I was an avid mapmaker of those games and used to send my maps to magazines. So I was wondering a few things, do your dungeons have trapdoors, secrets, hidden walls, teleporters, do you incorporate magic set items, and more stuff from the oldschool dungeoncrawlers. The key to a good game is offering the more advanced players a way of finding more stuff than the average gamer, the better you are at dungeoncrawling, the better your reward should be. I sincerely hope your mapmakers are adept at this. Whats also important is that you should try and strive for a consistent game, it should get harder gradually and the items you can find or buy should also be better and creatures you encounter should also be harder and different from the first dungeons.

    I will certainly also buy this game, make it a big one please, my support is with you!!!!

    • petri says:

      Thanks! You pretty much described the recipe we are using… trapdoors, lots of optional secrets, hidden switches, teleporters, monster and item variation in levels, progression in difficulty throughout the game. Making all this perfectly is no small feat but we are certainly doing our best. btw. our level designers happen to be Antti and yours truly, with Olli and Juho helping out when they are not too occupied with creating new astounding monsters for the game. Antti has a strong background in level design for commercial games (Alan Wake and multiple mobile games) and I’ve been doing scenarios for tabletop RPGs for many, many years in the past. We have a good feeling that we can nail this down.

  29. Antiparadox says:

    Well then sign me up and I will buy this for my iphone 4:) Currently I am playing undercroft and I think its highly underrated, its the first game on the iphone that made me rethink of the good old days. If I were you, I would use some of your friends to post some links to oldschool gamer forums, retrogaming sites, and what not, I am sure this will spark alot of intrest, you could do with some cheap mouth to mouth advertising, alot of people simply adore these games but if they don’t know its around, they might miss a hidden gem:)

    Much luck and support in creating this game!!!

  30. smylingsam says:

    Im curious – will the game have a window mode that does not capture the mouse? Will I be able to pause the game? Can I alt-tab back and forth in full screen mode? How will the game react to on screen popups (outlook, pidgin, skype, etc) I often play at work or while doing other things and tend to walk away from games and come back to them when skype or pidgin rings me or I get email.

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