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One line or two lines for the menu? (See reply #144)

One line
3 (30%)
Two lines (spaced)
7 (70%)
No preference
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Author Topic: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design  (Read 6473 times)

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Offline namida

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[PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« on: June 04, 2020, 04:17:18 am »
I have locked this topic and the others to keep all further discussion in one place - the V12.10.0-RC release topic.



Dedicated topics exist for a few particular areas that have had / need the most attention:

- Title screen
- Level select menu
- Preview screen

All other segments of the menu (ie: pre/post-text screens, postview screen, config menu and replay check screen) should continue to be discussed in this topic if needed.



Last summarized in reply #53

Okay so, I'm interested to gather some proposals on a redesign for the menu screens - basically, everything except for in game. This can be as similar or as different from the current design as you see fit, subject to the following criteria - of course, it's likely the final result will be a combination of ideas, not just one single person's idea taken as-is.

To be clear - this is not about adding new functionality. "Add an option to turn the lemmings purple" is not a relevant suggestion for this topic. On the other hand, displaying more information is fine, even if a bit of work might be needed to achieve this - for example, a suggestion that the entire skillset of the level should be visible on the preview screen and/or level select menu is fine.

The criteria are:

1. It should be possible to access all menu features, except perhaps very edge-case things like saving an image of a level from the preview screen, using only the mouse.
2. It should take into account the need to improve how talismans are displayed.
3. It should keep in mind that NeoLemmix is a game; not an office application.

I might add to this if I think of other things I've overlooked, but in particular, while keeping a similar theme (or even a similar layout in parts) to the current menu setup is not required, nor is it prohibited. If you feel a derivative of the current one is ideal, that is absolutely an acceptable suggestion.

I foresee this discussion going through a couple of topics. This one is mainly about throwing ideas out there, essentially, treat this as a "no idea is a bad idea" phase (within reason).



Here's notes on what the user can currently do or see on each menu screen. This is for reference only, and is not a declaration that any suggestions must also follow this "what's where?" structure.

Main Menu Screen
- Begin / continue gameplay from currently selected level
- Change to a different group (rank) within the same pack - this will select the first unsolved level, or the first level if all levels are solved
- Open the Level Select menu
- Open the Configuration menu
- Open the Talisman list screen (if the active pack has any talismans)
- Exit NeoLemmix
- Perform a mass replay test
- Dump images of all levels
- Cleanse levels
- Get notified if NL or style updates are available

Level select menu
- See a list of all installed levels, sorted by groups / sub-groups / etc
- Select a (sub)group or level
- See info about and completion status of the level; this is currently very limited in scope and should be expanded

Config menu
- Configure various game settings
- Run a mass replay test

Talisman list screen
- See a list of all talismans in the current pack

Preview screen
- See a preview of the level
- See the level's title, author (if noted), group and index, lemming count, save requirement, time limit, and if present and not yet obtained, a single talisman's requirements
- Save an image of the level
- Load a replay

Postview screen
- See save requirement, actual saved count, and save record
- See time taken and time record
- See a "You unlocked a talisman" text if applicable
- Proceed to the next level's preview screen; replay the current level; or exit to menu
- Save a replay
« Last Edit: Today at 01:59:38 am by namida »

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2020, 11:37:18 pm »
Well, darn - there goes my suggestion that there be an option to turn the lemmings purple! :scared: :crylaugh: :lemcat:

But seriously now, here are a few ideas to get the conversation rolling:

1) A simple "facelift" of what's already there:

A better quality image of the background
Logos in proportion rather than stretched
5 menu "cards" (PLAY, LEVEL SELECT, SETTINGS, REPLAY, RANK SELECT) arranged in 1 single row rather than 2 rows
Menu/pre-screen lettering slightly taller so it doesn't look squished and is easier to read
Slightly taller text scroller, also with taller text

2) The same thing but different:

Brand new background image
Animated logo
Animated menu "cards" (otherwise as above)
Menu/pre-screen lettering slightly taller so it doesn't look squished and is easier to read, and can be made different colours depending on what the text is displaying (i.e. level title / author / NL info, etc...)
Slightly taller text scroller, also with taller text

3) Something totally new:

This could reasonably be anything, but here's a suggestion just to start the conversation:

Brand new background image
Pack logo at the top as usual***
A single menu card with cartoon lemmings around the edge and a list of options which can be navigated by mouse and keys. Something like:

PLAY GAME
CHOOSE LEVEL
LOAD REPLAY
SETTINGS
EXIT

It would be great if these could light up/change colour when you mouse over them, and then animate & produce a sound when clicked.

Text scroller at the bottom as usual***

***These are elements that should be part of any new design, ideally.

Also a general suggestion, it might be good to display the pack author's name directly beneath the logo rather than at the bottom.
It would also be great if the menu cards had "mouse-over"/"clicked" versions, and make sound when moused-over and clicked as well.

As for talisman info:

Does anyone else agree that a space in the F2 level select menu giving details of the selected level's talismans is sufficient for this? This space could then also be used to indicate whether the player has achieved each talisman.

Since there is also discussion about displaying talisman info in-level which is being considered, I think it's safe to say that it no longer has to clutter up the main menu and level preview screens.

Offline Proxima

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2020, 11:57:39 pm »
My preference is (strongly) for tweaks to the existing screens rather than something completely different. The classic Lemmings feel isn't something we should abandon lightly. That said, there are definitely tweaks and improvements we can make, and in some cases I agree with what WillLem just suggested.

* The background image is fine -- turn on "smooth resampling in menus" if you want higher quality.
* Logos in proportion -- agreed
* 5 menu cards in a single row -- agreed. We should move talisman info to the F2 menu and some form of in-level display (exact details on this to be decided in its dedicated topic) and then we don't need a talisman card on the main menu. However, I would keep the "EXIT" button rather than "REPLAY" -- mass replay check and cleanse levels can also be added to the F2 menu.
* Use the vertical space saved to improve the spacing of the lettering and scroller.

Level preview screen:

* Keep mostly as-is, but remove the talisman display, and space out the text better (in particular, don't have the level title crushed tight against the preview image).
* Consider whether we really need to keep "Press mouse button to continue".

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2020, 05:46:19 am »
I'd say the talisman information needs to be on the preview screen in SOME form, even if it's just a note that the talisman exists. I have a few ideas on the layout, but 1) I'd like to refine them a bit more before sharing and 2) I might not bother if there's a lot of opposition to an overhaul (compared to tweaking the classic layout), which I'm suspecting is the case.

I wonder if a "classic menu" option would be a good idea - it would give players who want the nostalgia the option of keeping the classic layout, while freeing us up to make radical redesigns to layout without being limited by how it was designed when the original lemmings was created. Of course, the disadvantage is that it's another option.

Offline Proxima

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2020, 09:09:52 am »
That's a good point. I believe strongly that the preview screen should not show what the talisman is, for reasons I've previously discussed (it takes up a lot of room; it makes the layout awkward on levels with no talisman, which is the majority; without a major overhaul, it can only inform the player of one talisman when there may be multiple). But showing that talismans exist, how many there are, and how many the player has already obtained -- that could be shown.

Maybe we could have a row of talisman icons in one of the bottom corners, greyed out for "not obtained yet", in full colour for obtained?

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2020, 09:26:25 am »
I must say I really don't like the "5 menu cards in a single row" point. I think that looks weird and ugly.

With 2 rows the cards can be bigger and more readable and everything doesn't seem as cramped together.

On top of that ,I highly advertise to make possible changes in a way that the custom cards and menu logos of already existing packs are still compatible with the new look.

A menu overhaul is not worth the breaking of these as I think the current state is fine anyway and we will only be left with a ton of broken pack menus where a part of them are likely to never be fixed.

Backwards compatibly should be the highest priority here.

Offline GigaLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2020, 07:24:56 am »
I think a new menu design should be an option and have a Legacy menu for those who prefer how it was initially, I'm fine regardless, but I know there's gonna be people who wish to keep the original.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2020, 09:09:57 am »
I agree; having a Legacy version available sounds like the most straightforward way to handle this. :thumbsup:
My packs so far:
Lemmings World Tour (New & Old Formats), my music-themed flagship pack, 320 levels - Let's Played by Colorful Arty
Paralems (Old Formats), a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
Pit Lems (Old Formats), a more puzzly one, 100 levels - Let's Played by nin10doadict
Lemmicks, a pack for (very old) NeoLemmix 1.43 full of gimmicks, 170 levels

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2020, 01:07:43 pm »
+1 for having a legacy option.

This then frees up more possibilities for a new menu design.

Offline Proxima

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2020, 01:31:24 pm »
Kind of funny how everyone seems to want there to be a legacy option for the people who want to keep the current design, yet if there are such people, none of them have stepped forward to say so ???

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2020, 02:58:45 pm »
Quote
Kind of funny how everyone seems to want there to be a legacy option for the people who want to keep the current design, yet if there are such people, none of them have stepped forward to say so

Here you got at least one.

I am highly sceptical about the proposed changes and I would like to keep the current layout as I think it's good as it is.

A legacy mode would reduce the need to argue about a lot of the proposed changes.

I would even propose legacy to be the stadard option as it's close to the DOS version and likely familiar to new players. Also all current custom pack menus are running with it and it is ensure the pack layouts are working.

The new layout can then be turned on in the option menu for those who are not satisfied with the current design.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2020, 04:42:21 pm »
And I'm on board with IchoTolot in this regard. :D
My packs so far:
Lemmings World Tour (New & Old Formats), my music-themed flagship pack, 320 levels - Let's Played by Colorful Arty
Paralems (Old Formats), a more flavour-driven one, 150 levels
Pit Lems (Old Formats), a more puzzly one, 100 levels - Let's Played by nin10doadict
Lemmicks, a pack for (very old) NeoLemmix 1.43 full of gimmicks, 170 levels

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2020, 07:10:06 pm »
I'm not really keen on maintaining two seperate menus, so any legacy mode would be on a strict condition: It gets no further maintanence, and if / when it breaks, it's gone. (Even this requires more effort than some might think, as the two menus need to nicely operate on the same amount of data. This requires either a little bit of work on legacy mode at first, or else that the new mode is limited by the needs of legacy mode to some extent.) It goes without saying that this won't happen in reverse - I won't waste time discussing and implementing a new menu just for it to be a "no maintanence, remove it if it no longer works" thing.

If people are generally not happy with this, then we need to rule out the possibility of options and settle on a single menu, be that "keep it as is", "total redesign", or anywhere inbetween.

However, I'll note that in earlier poll results, while a lot of people were in favor of keeping a similar graphical style, they were open to significant reconsideration of layouts etc. IIRC, there was one vote for "change nothing" and one vote for "minor tweaks only". So I'm not sure that having a legacy mode is as much of a big deal as it might seem.

I also feel that in regards to maintaining existing content, this is not as critical as it usually would be, for the reason that if custom menu graphics get broken - this has no effect on actual gameplay. Affected packs lose some of their visual fuzz, but they lose nothing at all gameplay-wise. Of course, this isn't an excuse to just blindly make it all incompatible, but it does mean that if there's a decision of "keep compatibility or implement cool new idea?", there's no reason to instantly rule out the latter.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2020, 07:18:45 pm »
No one has stepped forward to offer a specific alternative to the legacy menu layout, which means there's not really any alternative to compare against. I definitely think we can do a lot better than the DOS layout.

Still doubting whether there's really a point in bothering to make an alternative; it doesn't seem like anyone would really be interested in anything that deviates even slightly from the DOS layout, so why should I even bother wasting my time making some mockups of new designs? I doubt I could even get anyone on board with color palette changes to make the screen easier to read (the DOS color palette for the screen is bad, IMO - dark text on a dark background. If the font weren't so T H I C C the color palette would make it extremely difficult to read).



I will say, though, if we keep the DOS-inspired layouts, I do have to agree that keeping the cards on two rows is better than trying to squeeze them all into one row like the Amiga version.



EDIT: Tried recoloring the preview screen and I think this is ALREADY a massive improvement.


(it might look a little blurry on the post since this is just a thumbnail to embed a bit more cleanly into the post than the full-size image)

I started with a screenshot of the Amiga version's level preview screen layout. I chose one of the letter colors I thought might show up well on the DOS version, then selected 4 colors from it with which to recolor the existing font (each letter in the Amiga version appears to have up to 6; the font included with NeoLemmix has just 4).

If you like this recolor better than what we currently have, it is simple to install - simply download the attached menu_font.png and replace the version of the file in [PATH_TO_NEOLEMMIX_DIRECTORY]\gfx\menu with this one.

For reference, here is a screenshot of the original Amiga level preview screen. If someone wants to see/have one of the other letter colors, just ask and I'd be happy to make it for you - should only take me about 5 minutes to make. I think someone (probably WillLem?) already did the background somewhere, but if we can't find it I could probably make a recolor of that too.
Amiga Level Preview Screen (click to show/hide)
« Last Edit: June 08, 2020, 08:25:15 pm by Dullstar »

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2020, 10:34:37 pm »
Quote
EDIT: Tried recoloring the preview screen and I think this is ALREADY a massive improvement.

For this you would actually get my vote.

These kind of improvements I have nothing against. Get a better standard font color, change the standard bg color. I am totally fine with adjustments there and this would also help the intro pack texts.

I just don't think that the main menu should be completely overhauled as it was suggested and I also think the amiga menu is way inferior to what we have now.