Author Topic: 2.00 Main menu of player  (Read 7524 times)

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Offline namida

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2.00 Main menu of player
« on: September 03, 2015, 11:15:13 AM »
So - this is something that might actually end up being developed fairly soon, so let's discuss what it should be like.

Would you like to see something similar to the existing (DOS L1-like) menu, but expanded to support better level selection and multiple games (as well as non-game content; ie: small CustLemm-type level packs, and even individual levels)? Or would you prefer a more typical Windows GUI type menu? Or somewhere inbetween, or something else entirely?

Should packs (especially full games) be listed with a logo, or just a text name? And what about ranks within those games?

And, anything else in general anyone would like to suggest for the main menus (by this I mean not just the title screen, but also configuration screen; basically, everything in the player outside of preview/postview screens and actual gameplay).
My Lemmings projects
2D Lemmings: NeoLemmix (engine) | Lemmings Plus Series (level packs) | Doomsday Lemmings (level pack)
3D Lemmings: Loap (engine) | L3DEdit (level / graphics editor) | L3DUtils (replay / etc utility) | Lemmings Plus 3D (level pack)

Offline Simon

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Re: 2.00 Main menu of player
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2015, 11:51:54 AM »
This is a broad question, so I will post loose ideas about interface design.

tl;dr: Display lists of content. Possibly, treat packs as list of lists.

The L1 interface feels problematic, even if you have [left]/[right] to browse within a rank. The L1 interface never lists anything. When you're building a level browser, you want to present lists of levels, or lists of other lists. It should be easy to gauge what's hidden behind the curtain. :8:()[:

The obvious list of (levels or lists) is a directory structure of single-level files. In addition, you have binary multi-level packs in various formats. These packs are level trees too, and could be browsed like a directory of files. Pack = directory of ranks; rank = directory of levels.

I'd have to see an implementation before judging whether to use Windows widgets, or roll-your-own widgets. If you use Windows widgets for browsing these trees, you'll get something like Cheapo. I haven't used Cheapo much, but I don't recall problems with it. An alternative is using the Windows file browser widget, that is comparatively powerful, because it allows for keyboard name entry of files as well as mousing.

It might be interesting to merge preview and level browsing. I have always pushed for eliminating the need for a preview screen, and have all information inside the game instead. The preview is then for level selection, not for preaparation of play.

Previewing levels as they're browsed requires fast rendering of previews, so that the user isn't distracted by a nonresponsive interface. Maybe cache preview images.

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Offline namida

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Re: 2.00 Main menu of player
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2015, 11:55:53 AM »
Quote
The L1 interface feels problematic, even if you have [left]/[right] to browse within a rank. The L1 interface never lists anything. When you're building a level browser, you want to present lists of levels, or lists of other lists. It should be easy to gauge what's hidden behind the curtain.

This description might've been a bit misleading. I more simply ment with the Lemmings-y font, graphical icons (rather than buttons) for the individual sections, etc. Not an exact replica of the L1 menu, just the same kind of overall visual theme.
My Lemmings projects
2D Lemmings: NeoLemmix (engine) | Lemmings Plus Series (level packs) | Doomsday Lemmings (level pack)
3D Lemmings: Loap (engine) | L3DEdit (level / graphics editor) | L3DUtils (replay / etc utility) | Lemmings Plus 3D (level pack)

Offline Simon

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Re: 2.00 Main menu of player
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2015, 11:59:08 AM »
Ah. The visuals are separate from what I wrote, you're perfectly fine to use the fonts and overall L1 look.

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Offline Proxima

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Re: 2.00 Main menu of player
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2015, 12:01:44 PM »
An L1-like interface presents a certain barrier to entry for level designers if they have to design a logo and rank icons to go with their pack. I know that some (such as GigaLem) have enjoyed this challenge, but I would find it an unwelcome burden.

Offline 607

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Re: 2.00 Main menu of player
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2015, 12:44:54 PM »
Hm... if there would be stepped away more from the original Lemmings interface, a big part of the feel would most dertainly be lost... but it could perhaps make things easier to navigate and understand. Still though, I think the feel is important, too.

Offline namida

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Re: 2.00 Main menu of player
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2015, 12:57:27 PM »
An L1-like interface presents a certain barrier to entry for level designers if they have to design a logo and rank icons to go with their pack. I know that some (such as GigaLem) have enjoyed this challenge, but I would find it an unwelcome burden.

It's possible to offer the option rather than make it obligatory to have these, with either auto-generation or simply using a placeholder logo and text-based rank signs if need be.
My Lemmings projects
2D Lemmings: NeoLemmix (engine) | Lemmings Plus Series (level packs) | Doomsday Lemmings (level pack)
3D Lemmings: Loap (engine) | L3DEdit (level / graphics editor) | L3DUtils (replay / etc utility) | Lemmings Plus 3D (level pack)

Offline mobius

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Re: 2.00 Main menu of player
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2015, 01:10:39 AM »
I never had a problem with the DOS screen; but I can't say I ever thought it was anything real amazing either. Have more options or making them look better is fine by me.

The way Lemmini works, I always liked that for the most part, it might have flaws I can't think of right now... But being able to look up menus during game play is a nice feature. Downside is in full screen mode this wouldn't work. You'd have to have a custom made "in-game" menu bar.

<<For those who don't know in Lemmini; basically everything is accessed via the top window bar with tabs like: settings, levels, options etc... To play a custom game you go to levels. To load an individual level there's a load button in, the file menu I think. [I can't remember because I wanted to open up Lemmini right now and check but it seems like a recent Java update broke the current version. Or I misplaced a file somewhere.].>>

another idea is a tree system for selecting levels, much like WinLems. The easiest approach for the user, would be having a window which looks into a real folder on your PC you've designated to store levels or game exes.
everything by me: https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=5982.msg96035#msg96035

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Offline namida

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Re: 2.00 Main menu of player
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2015, 11:47:58 AM »
Quote
The way Lemmini works, I always liked that for the most part, it might have flaws I can't think of right now... But being able to look up menus during game play is a nice feature. Downside is in full screen mode this wouldn't work.

I'm fairly sure it could be done even in fullscreen. That is one possibility, though some things could be problematic (eg. changing certain settings during gameplay).
My Lemmings projects
2D Lemmings: NeoLemmix (engine) | Lemmings Plus Series (level packs) | Doomsday Lemmings (level pack)
3D Lemmings: Loap (engine) | L3DEdit (level / graphics editor) | L3DUtils (replay / etc utility) | Lemmings Plus 3D (level pack)

Offline geoo

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Re: 2.00 Main menu of player
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2015, 10:08:14 AM »
The way level selection from a pack worked in Lemmini was horrible horrible horrible, you had to click through the menu at the top, there were no keyboard controls whatsoever and when you moved the mouse the wrong way the whole drop-down menu from the top would collapse. x_x

I think it's worth identifying design goals. For instance, it should be convenient to access any level from a 10-level pack or any standalone level.
On the other hand, I remember IchoTolot saying he wants to create an experience with his large level packs, so one might want to have a way to play through them as you'd play through the original game. At the same time, you want to be able to access those levels that you have already beaten in a convenient way, and view the whole level list.

With these goals in mind, here's a possible solution. The menus could retain the authentic look from the original game, while the listings/file browsers could look like any modern file list would look like:

Code: [Select]
Lemmix main menu:
    Browse levels
    Play level (somewhere the current level name/preview should be displayed)
    Load level pack (multi ranking pack)
    Options

Browse levels: file tree that can be navigated to find standalone levels and .DAT packs. Here .DAT packs could be treated like folders, maybe. Accessible from /anywhere/ via Ctrl+O or some shortcut like that.
Play level: Ideally, at least IMO, it would skip the preview screen and all the relevant info should be displayed ingame. After beating a level, the next level in the file tree could be selected, or the level browser could pop up again.
Options: ideally also accessible via shortcut from anywhere, and maybe also part of the level pack menu. Maybe some designers also want level pack specific options?
Load level pack: Browser for complete packs. When loading a pack with multiple ratings etc, a new menu would show up basically akin to the original Lemming menu, with ratings and a title bar displaying the pack name (either designed by the pack author, or a simple text placeholder).

Code: [Select]
Level pack menu:
    Rating (as in the original game, change with up/down or similar).
    Play level (first unsolved level in currently selected rating)
    Browse level list
    Exit to main lemmix menu

Browse level list: List all levels in each rating, allow to play any you've beaten or enter an unlock-all code (now here's something Lemmini did well in a way). Either way the cumbersome password system should be avoided. This is just for convenient access to arbitrary levels which is desirable.
Play level: upon solving a level the game should just move on to the next. Preview screen could remain for authenticity.


I'm just treating level packs specially here as I feel some people might want them to feel like the original game. Otherwise they could just be treated like a file tree (and I still think they should also be implemented like that instead of a binary blob, but that's a different issue).

Offline namida

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Re: 2.00 Main menu of player
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2015, 12:43:36 PM »
Quote
The way level selection from a pack worked in Lemmini was horrible horrible horrible, you had to click through the menu at the top, there were no keyboard controls whatsoever and when you moved the mouse the wrong way the whole drop-down menu from the top would collapse. x_x

I agree so much with this. I can assure you that any "Lemmini-like" interface used will not be an exact replica of Lemmini's.
My Lemmings projects
2D Lemmings: NeoLemmix (engine) | Lemmings Plus Series (level packs) | Doomsday Lemmings (level pack)
3D Lemmings: Loap (engine) | L3DEdit (level / graphics editor) | L3DUtils (replay / etc utility) | Lemmings Plus 3D (level pack)

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: 2.00 Main menu of player
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2015, 03:01:28 PM »
I must say:

Geoo's idea sounds nearly perfect to me! :thumbsup:

I would (if it is perfectly codeable and no better ideas show up) strongly enourage this.

I'm just treating level packs specially here as I feel some people might want them to feel like the original game. Otherwise they could just be treated like a file tree (and I still think they should also be implemented like that instead of a binary blob, but that's a different issue).

Put away the might!
This original game feel is sth I would love to preserve and it means quite sth to me and it really impacts the reactions and feelings of people who play packs for the first time and even veterans.
I showed my work to a few non-Lemmings people in personal and the pack was WAY more impactful and attractive as a "real game" instead of the old Lemmini-like file tree stlye.
It is not just a pile of ordered levels this way and people recognise this. Logos, music, rating signs, tilesets....... everything makes this so much more personal and it gets closer to perfection if everything comes together!
Of course a file tree is more practical, but this way our work will loose a lot of attraction to new people who could get "infected" with the "Lemmings virus".
And come on: Everyone gets happy inside when they see or know people are having fun and enjoy the stuff they created and everyone wants to attract as much people as possible.

Not everything should be worked around minimalism and praticalism to the maximum.
The Presentation of our work is a very big factor and geoo's way he described is a very good compromise!





Offline mobius

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Re: 2.00 Main menu of player
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2015, 11:01:22 PM »
the option to change the volume of music and sounds would really be nice. Mostly because right now, both are very loud to me compared to the volume of everything else on my computer. and the only way to compensate is to turn my main PC volume down and everything else up to hear over NeoLemmix.
everything by me: https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=5982.msg96035#msg96035

"Not knowing how near the truth is, we seek it far away."
-Hakuin Ekaku

"I have seen a heap of trouble in my life, and most of it has never come to pass" - Mark Twain


Offline namida

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Re: 2.00 Main menu of player
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2015, 06:37:06 AM »
That's a bit outside the scope of this topic; that being said, this is definitely a feature which should be simple to implement and makes sense to have.
My Lemmings projects
2D Lemmings: NeoLemmix (engine) | Lemmings Plus Series (level packs) | Doomsday Lemmings (level pack)
3D Lemmings: Loap (engine) | L3DEdit (level / graphics editor) | L3DUtils (replay / etc utility) | Lemmings Plus 3D (level pack)