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 Post subject: Interface Overhaul
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:27 am 
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Posts: 339
Location: California, USA
General Overview:
This post is a work in progress so bear with me. What I'm attempting to do is redesign the user interface of URU to be more usable, yet keep it in character. Some of these screenshots I've used in other threads, but I've accumulated enough changes that rely on one another that I think it warrants a new thread.

The current interface, to me, seems too compact and limited, so what I'm doing is taking each basic function, finding a way to implement it completely separately from all other functions, then blending it back into an all inclusive GUI (All in concept, I'm not actually going to be editing the game).

This first post will be slowly updated as I make changes to the layout, so if you're interested keep an eye on it.



Headings:
1. Personal Messages
2. The Player List
3. New and Visiting Players in an Alternate Color
4. Built in Translator
5. Hide the KI Independently
6. Name Tags (AKA KiDar)
7. Nametag Shortcuts
8. Optional Chat Bubbles
9. Primary KI Interface (Under Construction)



1. Personal Messages:
Current Interface:
All messages appear at the top of the screen, and a PM cannot be sent to multiple avatars simultaneously, and you can not block PM's.

Redesigned Interface:
While age chat and neighborhood messages still appear at the top of the screen, PM's use their own windows so that individual conversations could be established and easily kept track of.

A button on the primary KI interface to toggle between "Accept all PM's", "Do not distrub", and "Accept PM's from Buddies only" modes should also be added to block PM's at the users descression.

Avatars on your "ignore" list will not be able to send you PM requests at any time, and you will be warned when asked to join somone elses PM when a user on your ignores list is also participateing in that PM.

Practical Usage Example:
You click a name from your Age Player/Neighborhood/Buddy List (or their actual avitar, or their name from the age chat scrolling by at the top of the screen), and from the drop down menu that appears, select the Private Message option. A window like the one in the following screenshot would appear on both of your screens after the recipient of the PM accepts it. At this point you can both gab it up in this window with both text and private voice chat wherever you both are.

Building on this, the next time you select the "Private Message" option on another avitar (or their name in the player list), you would get you a dialog box that asks if you would like to either create another PM, or add this person to an existing PM (and if so, what one).

List other PM's (far left "<"), Chat Participants (left), Chat text (middle), scroll chat history arrows (right "/\ \/"), text entry box (bottom), and remove self from current PM button (bottom right "X").

List of other active PM's closed (Click image for full size):
Image

List of other active PM's open (Click image for full size):
Image



2. The Player List:
Current Interface:
There is currently no control over the display of the list containing Age Players, Neighborhood Members, and Buddies that show up along the left hand side of the screen while the KI is open.

Redesigned Interface:
Allow the Player List to be retracted into the KI. I don't know about you guys, but I don't need it on my screen while I'm chatting most of the time.

Practical Usage Example:
A new button (not neccisarly as shown in the following screenshot), allowing the ability to show / hide the Player List that is usualy displayed along the side of the screen
Image



3. New and Visiting Players in an Alternate Color:
Current Interface:
No matter how long a player has been a member of URU Live, their nickname (that appears in the scrolling age chat at the top of the screen) appears the same color.

(There are no "visiting" trial players, but a text color change would also apply to them)

Redesigned Interface:
Visiting players name in age chat is changed, showing you that they are just visiting (I suggest yellow)

Players that have been members for less than a (insert user defined amount of time) will have the color of their name in age chat altered (I suggest green)

Practical Usage Example:
Just like it says, new players name text is green; trial player’s names are yellow.

A slider to select the cut-off time for "new players" would be a nice touch, that way users can select weather they just want to see players that have joined in the past week, month, 3 months, 6 months, or year.



4. Built in Translator:
Current Interface:
Text appears as it was typed

Redesigned Interface:
A translator can be activated that translates text (as best it can) in the background, transparently to the user.

Practical Usage Example:
You type in Spanish on your computer, it comes out roughly translated into English to everyone else...simple as that :roll:



5. Hide the KI Independently:
Current Interface:
When you minimise (hide) the KI, the chat text at the top of the screen goes with it.

Redesigned Interface:
One way to fix this would be to split the KI and the chat text into two different objects that could be hidden and draged around independently of one another.

Practical Usage Example:
So, that would mean the addition of one last button (next to the Relto Book and KI icons found at the bottom of your screen) to hide/show the chat text that normally appears next to the KI.

As a side effect of these two things now being seperate objects, this would allow for us to drag around each sepeartly of one another, instead of the KI dragging the chat text around with it.



6. Name Tags (AKA KiDar):
Current Interface:
You must hover your mouse over another avatar to show their name.

Redesigned Interface:
Give the ability to force nametags to always be shown, preferably through a button on the primary KI interface to make changeing between options easy.

Practical Usage Example:
A button added to the KI interface that causes every avatars name to always be shown, floating over the corresponding avatar.

Your first click on the new button would show all names in the age, and that includes through walls so the engine doesent need to do unneeded colision detection:
(Click image for full size)
Image

Your second click would narrow it down to only those nearest to your avitar, to reduce visual clutter in a crowded age:
(Click image for full size)
Image



7. Nametag Shortcuts:
Current Interface:
No Current Equivalent.

Redesigned Interface:
A drop down menu that would appear when you click on another avatar or select their name from the Player list or Select their name from the public age chat at teh top of the screen. This menu would contain a list of useful shortcuts such as "Send PM", "Add to Buddy List", "Share Relto", "Ignore", Etc.

Practical Usage Example:
Simply a usefull list of shortcuts that will show up when you click on another avitar, or click on their name on your KI's Player/Buddy List:
(Click image for full size)
Image



8. Optional Chat Bubbles
Current Interface:
All messages are diplayed at the top of the screen with the rest of the age chat.

Redesigned Interface:
All avatars within 12 feet of your avatar display chat bubbles, in addition to their chat text appearing at the top of the screen.

Side note 1: PM's will NOT show up in chat bubbles
Side note 2: THIS IS OPTIONAL, you would have the option of turning chat bubbles off.

Some technical specifications:
1) Bubbles are square (they stack better that way), transparent, and KI themed.
2) Bubbles have a fixed size and text scrolls through them (note the "..." as text scrolls off the top).
3) All bubbles sit at the same height on the screen (standing and sitting get different heights).
4) Bubbles stay centered on the screen.
5) Bubbles always stay side by side on the screen (the never eclipse one another)
6) A line is drawn to a bubbles respective avatar.
7) Once a person is to far away (about 12 feet) their bubble is no longer visible.

Practical Usage Example:
(Click for full size)
Image



9. Primary KI Interface (Under Construction):
Current Interface:
Not much to say here...it can be confusing, a pain to work with, clunky, and just plain not user friendly.

Redesigned Interface:
Each task gets its own tab, instead of just throwing as much as possible onto the screen at once. Sending and reciving messages (KiMail Tab), manageing files like text and pictures (Files Tab), Your current coordinates, avitar name, your hood, KI ID # (Info Tab), etc.

Practical Usage Example:
So, here's the first section, of the first tab, of the primary KI interface.The buddy list will have to drop down if its not already open, but I dont think thats such a big deal.

Take note that the KI and Player List are solid, the chat text at the top of the screen just floats there (no hologram backing like the curent KI when its open), and that the only thing that is a hologram is the tabbed box coming off of the buddy list:

(Click image for full size)
Image

Info Tab (Image Above):
- Current avatar name.
- KI ID Number.
- Currently assigned neighborhood.
- Access to public player ID options through the "Edit Information" button for personal information that you want to make public. This corresponds to the "View Player ID" option seen in the Nametag Shortcuts screenshot.
- Real word date and time.
- D'ni date and time.
- Current location ("<name>'s Eder Gira")
- Current GZ coordinates. r, ?, and z.
- Map of current location.
- Example Images: | Tab 1 | Button 1 | Button 2 |

Ki Mail Tab:
- Manage received KiMail.
- Send KiMail (Includes sending text files and images from the "files" tab).
- Send an invite to one of your private ages.
- Example Images: | Tab 1 | Tab 2 |

Files tab:
- Manage text files you have written.
- Move text files and images from "Received KiMail" to other folders on the KI for permanent storage.
- Sort files by Name, Age Created In, Author, Date, etc.
- Manage picture files that you've taken (Ki Shots).
- Manage audio clips you've recorded and music files you've recived.

People tab:
- Manage Buddies
- Manage Ignores
- List of neighbors
- (Invite feature moved to Ki Mail)

Games Tab:
- Manage the creation of marker games.
- Control whatever other games Cyan implements.

Browser Tab:
- Wait and see :wink:

Settings Tab:
- General KI settings such as chat fade time, text size, etc.

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Last edited by StarLion on Fri Dec 29, 2006 2:27 pm, edited 65 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:38 am 
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Another thing with the nametag (which I assume you mean the little profile area you get when you click on someone's name in your KI) is that it should have a little bit of useful info on the person. I short bio maybe, the last time they linked in, and a better tracking of where they are (instead of Eder Gira, it should say "Name 1's Eder Gira".

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:41 am 
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"Nametag"refers to the name that appears when you hover your cursor over another avitar...Allthough an "ID Card" option for the nametag shortcuts dropdown list WOULD be usefull :D

I've got some work to do in Photoshop, so if you excuse me...

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 3:29 pm 
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These are actually some really cool ideas. Oh an hey since this is suggestions, let's go wild!

The PM windows would need a close button. And it would be awesome if they were scalable like a normal GUI window. A hope for a distant KI upgrade?

And to Whilyam: more info, bio, etc? YES.

You know how in the Sims they have a tiny auto-generated portrait of every person? It would be sweet if every time you exited your wardrobe, or whenever you picked up a new article of clothing, it would take a quick portrait shot of your avatar from the front and stick that in your personal profile (writing over the previous one to conserve server space, too). It wouldn't have to be very big, just a driver's licence type thing.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:13 pm 
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I like all the changes proposed.

1. Would be also neat to be able to tear off some of the elements, like buddy list to be on it's own. Also there were suggestions to have different groups of buddies.

2. I would also like to see the ability to change the keyboard driver (if you have those installed in your Windows) in order to type in a different languages, including options other than Latin (Unicode compatible).

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 4:54 pm 
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:!: Notice: First post has been updated :!:

I like the idea of a "Player ID Card" that each player can put some general information about themselvs on. If you look at the screenshot under the "Nametag Shortcuts" section of my first post, you'll se an option to "View Player ID". That will be one of the options available from both the drop down list from the actual avatar, aswelll as just clicking their name on your Buddy/Player list.

I'm working on some concept scetches for the actual ID screen right now.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 5:10 pm 
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How about in the players' drop-down list you add the command "explode"?

j/k

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 6:37 pm 
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please please please, something that, if someone sends you a PM from another age, and they aren't on your buddy list, you can PM them back without having to open up recent, find their name, add them as a buddy, and then message them.

I do like how, now, the chat scrolls at the top of the screen, so it seems more like closed-captioning of a conversation, than a chat window. but some way to have it not there, unless someone talks at you, would be nice.

A quick way to PM the last person who PMd you, other than having to click their name would be helpful, too. Especially when places are so full that you can't see the whole list of names.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 8:03 pm 
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Eleri wrote:
please please please, something that, if someone sends you a PM from another age, and they aren't on your buddy list, you can PM them back without having to open up recent, find their name, add them as a buddy, and then message them.

I do like how, now, the chat scrolls at the top of the screen, so it seems more like closed-captioning of a conversation, than a chat window. but some way to have it not there, unless someone talks at you, would be nice.
Well, if PM's open in their own windows (like I suggested in my first post) that would nolonger be an issue. All you would do it type (or voicechat) back to them through the PM's chat window that opened when they PMed you.

As for the text at the top of the screen, that would stay for general Age Players chat and Neighborhood messages.

I think its all there in my first post :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 10:20 pm 
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Eleri wrote:
please please please, something that, if someone sends you a PM from another age, and they aren't on your buddy list, you can PM them back without having to open up recent, find their name, add them as a buddy, and then message them.

A quick way to PM the last person who PMd you, other than having to click their name would be helpful, too. Especially when places are so full that you can't see the whole list of names.


Type /reply before your message, it'll send the message to the most recent person who PMd you whether they're on your buddy list or not.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2006 11:09 pm 
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Corona wrote:
How about in the players' drop-down list you add the command "explode"?

j/k


And it only explodes the one who suggested the command in the first place. :P

As for /reply...it does work for the last person who pmed you so you need to be quick. I've had occasions when as I tried to reply, someone else pmed and my message went askew.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:04 am 
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Ayli wrote:
2. I would also like to see the ability to change the keyboard driver (if you have those installed in your Windows) in order to type in a different languages, including options other than Latin (Unicode compatible).


There should be an option to type in D'ni letters. :D

Seriously.

Anyway, I like the PM window idea. it's actually more immersive that way. You see the 'spoken' stuff in the chat log, but the PMs (which break the in -person conversation model) elsewhere - as if you were just looking on at a window on the KI display. KI-IM ;) I'd suggested a tabbed interface - each person's PMs show up as a tab and you can switch beteem 'em.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 3:05 am 
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Firstly - I concur J'ade.

I remember in Prologue - if the '/reply' didn't work - trying to highlight someone's name in the onscreen list - simply to reply to them was 'nigh on' impossible (the list just wouldn't stay still, with names appearing / disappearing as people logged in and out).

Generally - the suggested improvements will be a boon - and I raise my hat to the one who can strike a fine balance between giving us what we want and cluttering up the onscreen Ki display. It has to be a simple GUI or it won't work. Catering for the deft of keyboard / mouse skills will simply isolate Uru Live to a select (noun).

I have been there before, and would advise caution on introducing - what might appear to be - simply too much for your average explorer to take in. And this is important for the initial stages of attracting new members to the fold.

The object of Uru Live is to get as many members as possible for it to survive (I really don't want to go through the demise of Prologue again - one heartbreak is enough), so let's get the members first - and then expand with the innovations.

We simply do not know how many members we can attract - and we need a lot of subscribers for Uru Live to survive - for Cyan to survive.

Implementing too much at the initial stage will simply frighten people off - to some it will appear too complicated - and they will go elsewhere.

All I'm saying is - let's first have a look at how many are willing to subscribe - then analysis will dictate what 'extras' can be introduced.

Tokai being cautious – that’s all.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 7:08 am 
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Lakem wrote:
Anyway, I like the PM window idea. it's actually more immersive that way. You see the 'spoken' stuff in the chat log, but the PMs (which break the in -person conversation model) elsewhere - as if you were just looking on at a window on the KI display. KI-IM ;) I'd suggested a tabbed interface - each person's PMs show up as a tab and you can switch beteem 'em.
Exactly what I was thinking! And yea, I'm still working on that darn IM window...someone mentioned it was missing a "Close PM" button. D'oh!

Tabbing it is a good idea. It would save space and I could remove the "mute" button that way (other tabs would be muted except the one you’re currently on)...and that makes room for a "Close PM" button too.

Quick question though, what side should I put the tabs on? I'll make a coulple different versons for you guys to look at so we can pick between them 8)

And Tokai, I am trying to make it as simplistic and easy to use as possible...I think I'm doing ok so far, but if there's a specific item you have concerns about, speak up and I'll see how I can improve it. :D

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 9:04 am 
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Well, this is how things went. I wanted to try and make it look like the tabs were part of the existing design, so I came up with this "form over function" design:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v349/StarLion/KIIM_TabsRound.png

But I soon figured out that you could only have so many tabs with something like that, so I changed my thinking and went went for more function over form and got this:

List of other active PM's closed
List of other active PM's open

A pull out tab with scroll arrows at the bottom.

Now with this one, you can have as many conversations as you want and the interfacee stays clean. I also changed the mute button to an "X" to represent a "Close Current PM" button...but in retrospect it might have been better to make it a D'ni zero...

Anyway, tell me what you think. For now, I'm going to update the first post with the second idea.
Now, lets see what I can do about the main KI interface...

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Last edited by StarLion on Wed Jun 21, 2006 11:02 am, edited 8 times in total.

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