Author Topic: [Sug][Player] Adding a bit more space between lines in pre level screen  (Read 1403 times)

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Offline IchoTolot

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I was thinking about an issue that Strato mentioned about the new formats.

I agree with the current system that the empty space between the pre level screen information lines was too much in the old format and it made extracting that info more difficult.

Now I think we've got the other extrem though. The text is too dense and it affects the information extraction process as well. Also it looks a bit worse.

My suggestion: Try the middle ground! Maybe using only half or a third of the old formats empty space.

In my opinion both new and old format versions of the info text have their flaws and the middle ground could be the optimal solution for easily readable information here + it also could help improving the visual attractiveness. :)

Offline Nepster

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Re: [Sug][Player] Adding a bit more space between lines in pre level screen
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2018, 05:40:20 pm »
Changes like this would be a lot easier, if I had any knowledge about how the text positioning works. Up to now all such changes were made by namida. Although I suspect that it is possible to have half-line gaps, I am not even totally sure the current text-writing method actually supports this.

Offline namida

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Re: [Sug][Player] Adding a bit more space between lines in pre level screen
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2018, 07:41:04 pm »
Changes like this would be a lot easier, if I had any knowledge about how the text positioning works. Up to now all such changes were made by namida. Although I suspect that it is possible to have half-line gaps, I am not even totally sure the current text-writing method actually supports this.

It does. #13 in the internal text string represents a full new line. This is expected behaviour. (Note that the code does NOT recognize #10. This is how Lemmix was written and I just never changed it. Supporting #10 as well would be easy to implement - TGameBaseScreen.DrawPurpleText, in the "case" statement, change "#13" to "#10, #13". With that being said, this does not affect files - the text-format file parser can handle any common line ending. The supporting-#13-only is ONLY relevant to the input strings for drawing menu screen text.)

However, during development of the talisman screen, I needed - and thus implemented - a "half new line", which uses #12. This works the same as a regular new line, except the text position is only moved down half a line for the next line. If you do something like "This is#12a test", there'll be a bit of overlap between the two lines. But if we have a case that's currently "This is#13#13a test", that would currently produce "This is", followed by a blank line, followed by "a test". If we change this to "This is#13#12a test" (or #12#13, doesn't matter), the result will be the same but with only a half-line gap between them.

So basically - support for half-lines is there, the preview screen's text just needs to be modified to make use of it.

In the case of the preview screen, TGamePreviewScreen.GetScreenText is where you want to look. The code that generates the talisman graphic / text is conveniently seperated into a sub-function, so you don't need to worry about breaking that. :) Do note though - this function or rendering functions do NOT automatically add padding lines; they are achieved by adding extra blank lines when constructing the text.
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Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [Sug][Player] Adding a bit more space between lines in pre level screen
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2018, 10:05:13 pm »
Thanks for bringing this up, IchoTolot! ;)

I actually find it easier to extract information if the lines are further apart. Especially as someone who likes to write walls of text ^^, I know how breaking up different types of information into different paragraphs makes things more easily legible. And since the numbers of lemmings, the save requirement, release rate, time limit, author, and rank are all different types of information, I'd prefer them as different "paragraphs", i.e. with some space in between. And especially not the rank name plastered randomly right beneath the level title! :devil:

Yes, how much space there should be between the lines is certainly debatable, though I'd think we already have less space than original Lemmings due to the optional author line? Though it could be that original Lemmings just left the bottom line blank, so that there was some space between the last line and the "press mouse button to continue" command.

My main reason for empathy towards the design in New Formats would be the need of space for displaying talisman information. But given the recent survey and how few people seem to actually care about talismans, combined with the fact that the majority of levels does not have talismans anyway, I think the old approach of having the talismans in a separate menu for those interest to view is more appropriate. There's no need to sacrifice visual clarity and aesthetics for everyone on every level for the minority that cares about talismans on a minority of levels ;) .
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Offline Nepster

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Re: [Sug][Player] Adding a bit more space between lines in pre level screen
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2018, 04:07:47 pm »
Ok, with namida's help here, I am now able to add half-line spaces. However I personally don't care one bit about the visual appearance of the title screen and personally see no problem with the current layout, which makes me a terrible person to implement these changes. If I am left alone, I will almost certainly manage to mess this up again (at least in your eyes ;)) and I really don't want to change the preview screen time and again.
So before I start implementing any changes, I would like one of you (especially IchoTolot or Stato Incendus) to post mock images how you would envision the preview screen. It would be perfect if you could give me images both for a level without talismans and for a level with a talisman. When making these mock images, please take the following points into account as well:
1) In what order would you like to have the information about the level?
2) How should the respective information be displayed, e.g. "10 To be saved" or "To be saved: 10" or "Lemmings to be saved: 10" or...
3) How should these information alingn? Should all of them be centered? Should all of them be left-aligned? Should the numbers align? Something else?

Once we all agreed on one perfect design for the preview screen, I will try to implement it (or at least get as close as possible to that).

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [Sug][Player] Adding a bit more space between lines in pre level screen
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2018, 07:37:27 pm »
Ok, as my goal is simply some space in between lines I just did that to a standard titlescreen in my image.

I measured a line as ~ 48 pixels and added 24 pixels of space in between the lines. Then I filled out the white space with copy pasted background (looks a bit weird :P).

I have no idea how talismans affect this, as I don't really have ever seen talisman text there + I can't find a level with it. I would simply just add the space there as well though.



Offline Nepster

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Re: [Sug][Player] Adding a bit more space between lines in pre level screen
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2018, 07:49:09 pm »
We can certainly use this if there is no talisman for that level. But with a talisman, there is no longer enough space for it. I attached a preview screen with a talisman description, just as it is displayed right now.

PS: Note that this type of talisman description gets shortened when repacked with a newer pack toolkit, but it nicely shows how much text there can be for the talisman.

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [Sug][Player] Adding a bit more space between lines in pre level screen
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2018, 07:56:52 pm »
Then I simply suggest the standard screen without extra space for talismans.

This way we get more visual differences when a talisman is there, highlighting it even more.

So my idea:

No talisman --> Half a line of extra space in between lines. Like my mock image.

Talisman --> Dense text and up to 3 extra text lines for the talisman. Just as the standard now. Maybe just add an extra half a line of space between level title and rank as this seemed Strato's main point of critic and we seem to have half a line of space still left over ;)

But let's see possible suggestions from other people now. ;)

Offline namida

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Re: [Sug][Player] Adding a bit more space between lines in pre level screen
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2018, 08:03:57 pm »
I measured a line as ~ 48 pixels and added 24 pixels of space in between the lines. Then I filled out the white space with copy pasted background (looks a bit weird :P).

Each character, before being upscaled to fit your screen size, is exactly 16x16, and there's no extra padding between lines / characters (instead, the characters just have some blank space in that 16x16 graphic). I believe the internal resolution of menu screens is 640x480, but I'm really not 100% sure on this. (It's 640x350 in DOS or Lemmix, but I'm almost certian I changed this to a more-normal size in NeoLemmix at some point, and 640x480 seems like the most likely candidate there.)
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Offline Proxima

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Re: [Sug][Player] Adding a bit more space between lines in pre level screen
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2018, 10:57:38 pm »
I agree with Icho. Possibly there could be an option to never show the talisman info, if there are players who don't care about talismans at all.

Another thought I had: is it necessary to show the release rate on the preview screen? That feels like it's mostly there because of tradition. Then again, removing it wouldn't be enough to solve the current problem on its own.

Offline namida

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Re: [Sug][Player] Adding a bit more space between lines in pre level screen
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2018, 11:13:30 pm »
Quote
Another thought I had: is it necessary to show the release rate on the preview screen? That feels like it's mostly there because of tradition. Then again, removing it wouldn't be enough to solve the current problem on its own.

This is actually an excellent point. Time limits are the exception rather than the rule, and displaying them on the preview screen feels important when they exist. Every level has a release rate, though, and even if you don't look at the value, you notice it very quickly. It's not really any different to that the skillset isn't displayed on the preview screen either.

I would wait and see what others say here, but personally I would not object to it being removed from the preview screen (unless the skillset were also to be displayed, in which case I would argue the release rate should definitely be displayed along with it).
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Offline Nessy

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Re: [Sug][Player] Adding a bit more space between lines in pre level screen
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2018, 11:35:36 pm »
In my experience I don't really pay attention to the Release Rate on the title screen except if it's something like 99. Even then I really don't know how the release rate is going to affect what will happen on the level itself until I actually start playing it and getting a feel for it. For example, if a level says the release rate is 85 and I see on the preview screen that the lemmings are going to head into danger, I really don't know if the 85 release rate is going to be an actual problem until I actually start the level. When I start the level I might see something I couldn't on the preview screen or I might see the skillset and the skillset might actually help me out a little more to handle the release rate than I thought at first.

Much like a lot of these discussions I don't really have a strong opinion for or against, so I do not object to it being removed :)

Offline nin10doadict

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Re: [Sug][Player] Adding a bit more space between lines in pre level screen
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2018, 03:10:45 am »
Perhaps there need only be one line dedicated to talismans; just display a line like "This level has a talisman" or something like that. Then again, that might cause irritation in not knowing what it is upon seeing that line and having to go check the talisman list to figure it out.

As for release rate, it could probably be left out. RR is something the player tends to notice quickly upon starting the level and they don't really get a feel for how it will affect things until they dive in, as Nessy mentioned.

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [Sug][Player] Adding a bit more space between lines in pre level screen
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2018, 08:03:55 am »
I have an issue with removing the RR line, not because of personal preference though: It drags attention to it and I would deem this a big advantage in the case of new players.

New players will notice the preview text line and see the term "Release Rate" and a dedicated number to it. This greatly increases the chance the player will use and understand the numbers in the bottom left corner. Also the term "locked" apprears there as well.
+ I think it was always criticised that newer players sometimes miss this function and this line helps getting that number down.

So I would leave this line of information in there to help newer players understand the term and function of the RR (SI) and also I would call it nice to know in advance anyway. ;P

Offline Nepster

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Re: [Sug][Player] Adding a bit more space between lines in pre level screen
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2018, 10:12:02 am »
Possibly there could be an option to never show the talisman info, if there are players who don't care about talismans at all.
No, this is far too unimportant to waste global options on it.

Perhaps there need only be one line dedicated to talismans; just display a line like "This level has a talisman" or something like that. Then again, that might cause irritation in not knowing what it is upon seeing that line and having to go check the talisman list to figure it out.
Warning: Some general game theory follows!
There is one big rule, namely to actively lead players towards actual game-play once they started your game. So for the same reason we write at the bottom of the preview screen
  Click mouse to start the level
(or something similar) instead of
  Click mouse to start the level or F2 to select another level or F3 to change your options
we should either completely remove the talisman info again, or keep the talisman description. Everything else would be to say
  Hey, check out that talisman menu instead of playing the level!
which we certainly don't want to do.

Another thought I had: is it necessary to show the release rate on the preview screen? That feels like it's mostly there because of tradition. Then again, removing it wouldn't be enough to solve the current problem on its own.
Yes, together with the author name, this is probably the least relevant piece of information. Regarding IchoTolot's point: Is "Release Rate 40" or "Spawn Interval 20" really so informative to new users, who encounter this for the first time? In my opinion the biggest UX problem with the RR is, that changing it does not give an immediate feedback to the player. And displaying it on the preview screen doesn't help much in that regard.
So I tend to prefer removing the RR info from the preview screen.