"There is more than one way to skin a cat... game."
This week we have been working on the user interface. Specifically, what happens when you talk to characters in game...
You walk into Cysero's magic weapon shop. He has a big shiny interaction bubble above his head. If you mouse over it, it highlights so you know it is clickable. The icon on that bubble should be a picture of what ever will happen when you click it. Maybe it will open a shop, or show you a quest, or simply talk. In most games, a single NPC only does a single thing. But as you already know, the ones in AdventureQuest Worlds tend to do LOTS of different things. So clicking on the bubble will show a pop up with lots of buttons and text on it. If you have been reading for a while, then you already know this... but we call them "APOPS". Which is short for "A pop up".
"Once you APOP, you cannot stop"
Once Cysero's APOP is open you can access his shops. But what if he has quests too? There is not quite enough room for tons of additional buttons though. There are two solutions for this. First... we can use the entire screen as seen in the next screenshot.
The 3 pillars of APOP success...
Here, you can see we have three columns for buttons and text. Twilly is the in the first column, the speech bubble is in the second, and the buttons are in the third. Actually, anything on the screen can be placed in any column. Tunik & Warlic did a really good job creating this system. See, in the Flash version of the game, all of the buttons and code for the APOPs were done manually. Yup, you heard me right. Every time someone makes an APOP in the existing version of the game, they need to open up the map file and place all text and buttons are placed by hand. This new system in the new Unity version of the game is 100% generated automatically from the database. Which is important. This means team members who do not know how to use Unity can still create and edit them. It also means the design will be consistent. Well, semi-consistent. The amount of freedom will allow us to do weird and unexpected things.
On the topic of unexpected things... what if we need to put 100 buttons on a NPC's apop or suuuuper long text?
Spoiler: The answer is scrolling and tabs
Above is Diogon's design mockup with new buttons, scroll bars, and tabs. It is so beautiful! You may recognize this from an earlier post. Did I mention that everything in the APOPs is skinnable? We can pretty easily change the art to look like anything we want. So a big part of the next week will be locking down the release-ready look and feel.
The screenshot above is a quest screen. We spent some time thinking about this on Wednesday. We want to make talking to an NPC and getting a quest look nearly identical. It would be way more immersive. You would just talk to an NPC and get a quest. It would be... very natural. We came up with an idea and as you read this, Diogon is mocking it up.
Without further adieu... here is the copy/pasta of my meeting notes from Wednesday.
2023.05.17.(You cannot have UI without You and I.)
- Dialogger (A lot of boring stuff!)
- Changing delimiters broke spawn, dcom, and the properties box. Fixed these
- Text box color changing was not working. Changed the way colors worked so it works properly now.
- Added visibility toggle to all objects.
- There are 3 types of name plates and the game automatically chooses the right one depending on what devs enter. The positions of these weren’t in sync. Fixed.
- Shrunk properties window (which gives more room for devs to see everything)
- Deleting page 1 in the cutscene could confuse the editor. It now backs you up to the setup screen.
- If you delete a box and other pages reference that box, it can break the cutscene. Working on a fix for this now.
- On schedule to be done with everything except for camera-work this week.
- Need a zoom feature to move the camera around-- also pan.
- Bouncing around from random thing to random thing last week
- Overhauled the loader
- New updated background graphics to match the Flash game
- Back button functions properly (If loader fails, it will take you to login screen)
- Window name is now "AQWorlds Infinity"
- Class ranks added to player panels so you can see your class and rank
- Added more messages to the loading screen (so it tells you what it is currently doing: i.e. "Connecting to server", "Joining battleon"
- Met with Artix and realized cape and weapon were the wrong size. Tweaked the skeleton to fix this
- Added tabs to go between fields on login screen and enter to initiate login
- Reviewed quest system with Artix and discovered things were broken
- Worked with Yorumi and fixed the quests. Needs tested.
- Added null checks which will now give you more information like the saga name
- Weird error where clicking (!) would cause multiple apops to pop up. The mouse events were getting registered multiple times. This was fixed.
- Had dentist appointment from hell.
- Quests and storylines fixed (needs thoroughly tested)
- Whisper added to chat
- /w <name> message (/whisper works too)
- Text color needs changed
- UI - need to add the same functionality that the flash game has when hitting space in the chat box.
- Pets for other players is now fixed. (They will show)
- Next up is party and guild systems
- Spider - Last final today!
- Ghost - Working on animations
- Zhoom - Working with other teams the 1st half of this week.
- Diogon - New APOP mockup
- Artix - Working on quest system
- The Check List
- At this point, any player should potentially be able to login.
- Any items that were converted will load.
- Items that are not converted will have their name and description with a message that the item has not been converted, but the default items will show in their place.
- Known Bugs, Issues, and Feature Requests
- Inventory not loading on Flash version of the game if your items were not enhanced. Diagnosing issue and running query to fix.
- If you have a weird class equipped it is supposed to unequip it and equip warrior, but it appears there is a bug. The best solution is to treat classes in a similar way to other items where it will use default skills which inform you that the class has not been coveted over yet. (Yorumi says they will use a copy of warrior)
- Z-Order Issue on other players pets
- Next Steps
- Quest review and improvement implementation!
- Put together a testing night to go through functionality on chat with a fine tooth comb.