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

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Author Topic: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design  (Read 6471 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?

Online 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 ???

Online 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 »

Online 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.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2020, 11:37:57 pm »
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.

This could potentially be misleading to new players expecting NeoLemmix to be like DOS: we've already observed that it has this effect. This is one of the many reasons I think NeoLemmix's menu needs an update.

Preserving existing content needn't be a priority when redesigning the menu, as logos and other custom elements can easily be resized/updated by their creators where possible.

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.

Agreed. The poll has already shown that more people are in favour of an updated menu, and there are clearly plenty of reasons to go ahead with it, so this topic should be a discussion about the new design rather than further discussion about whether or not the menu is to be redesigned.

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.

Agreed again. I followed the OP with several ideas to try to get a conversation going, but since nobody has put any ideas forward yet I'll likely put a few of my own mockups forward. I just wanted to hang back and see if anyone else had anything in mind.

why should I even bother wasting my time making some mockups of new designs?

Because if you're one of the few people who has ideas at this stage, then you're the man! Get them uploaded!

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.

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.

5 cards can fit nicely onto one row without distorting the images or having them too close together - I'll make a few mockups soon and hopefully people will see that this idea can be much more pleasing than the Amiga version.

I also think we need to get away from thinking in terms of "DOS version" and "Amiga version" - as Namida has repeately pointed out recently, NeoLemmix is not these versions, and I think that the main menu should reflect this to avoid any confusion.

Furthermore - it's worth pointing out that the whole point of this is to produce something that the majority of people here agree is better than what we have now, so I don't think there needs to be any worry about the end product being inferior as long as people are pitching in ideas and making their opinions known.

Expect some mockups from me soon. I've been busy getting my new laptop set up and doing other things recently - we're doing some decorating as well so I haven't really had much time for Lemmings stuff, but hang in there - I will produce something we can look at and discuss properly as soon as I get time.

So - Dullstar, please do get your ideas posted, and I heartily encourage anyone else to do the same also.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #16 on: June 09, 2020, 01:05:16 am »
I've updated the original post with a brief list of the functions / important information in each menu screen. There's probably a few things I've missed, though. At any rate, keep in mind it's a reference, not a ruleset - while every piece of functionality should remain available, it doesn't have to be in the same place.

Offline ccexplore

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2020, 01:23:07 am »
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.

This could potentially be misleading to new players expecting NeoLemmix to be like DOS: we've already observed that it has this effect. This is one of the many reasons I think NeoLemmix's menu needs an update.

NeoLemmix borrows too much graphics- and sound-wise currently to break the close association with DOS Lemmings.  I don't think merely changing the menus would make people assume otherwise.  And honestly, even if it uses all new graphics and sound, you're still bound to get some people saying that, for example, they'd want bombers to be timed like DOS Lemmings.  At the end of the day it's a lemmings-like game, and some people especially new players will naturally expect or prefer certain behavioral details to match the actual Lemmings games, even when the NeoLemmix community purposely moved away from those same things.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2020, 02:18:18 am »
NeoLemmix borrows too much graphics- and sound-wise currently to break the close association with DOS Lemmings.  I don't think merely changing the menus would make people assume otherwise.

I disagree. As a fan of the Amiga games, if when NeoLemmix opened its menu looked exactly like the Amiga menu, I would at least subconsiously expect the game itself to follow suit.

NeoLemmix has more than enough features which make it very different from both DOS and Amiga, and whilst it's true that changing the layout of the menu doesn't change what players expect from a Lemmings-like game, it at least indicates that the game itself is intended to be different, rather than an exact clone.

The stated intention of NeoLemmix (according to Namida) is to be a platform for "custom content"; a fully customised menu would further allow it to stand out as such.

Anyway, as interesting as the debate is, the title of this topic is "New menu design", and every time somebody posts here I open it hoping to see ideas about the new menu design. Let's get the discussion moving in this direction!

Can those who voted for an updated menu get a bit more vocal here, please: even if you don't have any specific ideas, simply posting the reasons for your vote to update the menu would be a worthwhile contribution and may help to generate ideas.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2020, 02:52:48 am »
I noticed this while testing font recolorations:

Text will look a lot better if you disable the "Smooth Resampling in Menus" option (not sure if this was on by default or if I accidentally enabled it and never noticed it). The smooth resampling doesn't look very good and I would advise completely replacing it with the high-res mode upscaling, which looks significantly better.

Also, just to see what would happen, I tried manually rescaling the font to see if NL would respond it or if it would result in nonsense being displayed. The result, perhaps unsurprisingly, was that the font display was completely garbled. I'm not really sure if that should be changed or not, but I figured I may as well share. Because of the scaling in the menu_font.png file, however, a double-resolution font would be technically feasible as a simple asset replacement mod.



I did the rest of the Amiga recolors, but most of them don't look very good; part of this is because I didn't change the background at all and part of this is the limitation of having to reduce 7 color letters (6 shades of each color + white) to 4 colors. It happens that the blue one I did first turned out well.

I could probably do better by creating new palettes with the base colors, but I'm going to take a break from this before coming back to it.



I haven't entirely abandoned the idea of doing a more radical redesign, but I probably won't post any mockups until after I'm done with the recolors. When they do get created, though, you'll probably want to focus more on the layout than the visual appearance - they'll probably need touched up by someone who's actually good at graphic design.

Offline ccexplore

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2020, 04:12:48 am »
NeoLemmix borrows too much graphics- and sound-wise currently to break the close association with DOS Lemmings.  I don't think merely changing the menus would make people assume otherwise.

I disagree. As a fan of the Amiga games, if when NeoLemmix opened its menu looked exactly like the Amiga menu, I would at least subconsiously expect the game itself to follow suit.

Ok, except NeoLemmix already didn't start off like Amiga's, and yet you were the one who was pushing hard for changing it to be more like Amiga during the very first few days you started playing with it.  It would seem to suggest the graphics of the menu are already similar enough that, together with your own personal bias favoring towards Amiga version, you automatically expected/wanted an Amiga clone out of it despite the layout actually already being "wrong" in comparison.  It would seem to suggest that the graphics themselves may have to change a lot to break this association for you.

To be clear, I'm neither for nor against any particular menu designs at the moment.  One funny side effect of having played NeoLemmix for a while is, you might quickly get habituated to stop paying attention to the menu altogether (!), since it kind of trains you to use the keyboard (since most options, even common ones like F2 level select, are not accessible via mouse only AFAIK; the one thing you can do with mouse, you don't have to pay attention at all to where you click).

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2020, 08:59:42 pm »
It would seem to suggest that the graphics themselves may have to change a lot to break this association for you.

You're probably right about that, to be fair. I'd certainly acknowledge that as at least one of the reasons why I feel a menu redesign is desirable.

the menu... trains you to use the keyboard (since most options, even common ones like F2 level select, are not accessible via mouse only

Mouse support is one of the new menu's main attributes, so now more than ever it's important that the menu feels navigable.

Here are the main things I'd like to see in the new menu, whatever the layout:

1. A button marked "REPLAY" which leads to a replay browser, from which the player can load the level & replay at the same time (I realise this may technically come under the definition of "new functionality", since at the moment I'm not sure if it's possible to load levels directly from their associated replays...hopefully it is!)

2. All interactive buttons having 3 versions of the button's graphic:
  i) A main graphic
  ii) A "mouse-over" version (this could simply be a momentary recolouring)
  iii) A "clicked" version (I'd suggest a slightly smaller version of the same graphic, with shading) - this could then bounce back to the main version after having been clicked.

3. Vertically larger, more readable text.

4. Correctly aspected logos.

Right, enough waffle from me. I'll get on doing some mockups either tonight or tomorrow. :lemcat:

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2020, 10:10:04 pm »
Quote
1. A button marked "REPLAY" which leads to a replay browser, from which the player can load the level & replay at the same time (I realise this may technically come under the definition of "new functionality", since at the moment I'm not sure if it's possible to load levels directly from their associated replays...hopefully it is!)

It should be easy enough to add that functionality.

Quote
2. All interactive buttons having 3 versions of the button's graphic:

Reasonable, and should be simple enough to do. The only issue here is that I don't really want to put it on content creators, if possible, to have to make such graphics. I propose a way of handling this is to segregate the panel itself, from the graphic on it; similar to how on the skill panel, the panels themself are seperate from the icons drawn on them.

Quote
3. Vertically larger, more readable text.

This one is a double-edged sword. If we make it taller, we can't fit as much of it on the screen. This needs to be taken into account, though I'm not saying it's an outright "this rules out the possibility" thing.

Quote
4. Correctly aspected logos.

The current setup uses the exact size from the DOS game, which is what the current menu is based on. This alone isn't reason to keep the size, but then consider - the logo is perhaps the most important custom graphic outside of styles, to the extent that many packs with otherwise no custom graphics have a custom logo, so there is a lot of existing content to deal with here. I'm open to something that allows a different size from current, but I'm very wary of anything that will outright render a current logo unuseable - probably the only custom graphic that I have this concern about, to be honest. (Even rank graphics, while it would be ideal if they don't break, if they must they must.)

So yeah - I'm open to something that allows use of your preferred aspect ratio, but without an excellent reason, I'm not really open to anything that would disallow use of the current aspect ratio. By extension, I'd argue that it's worth considering if we can allow (within reasonable limits) "any arbitrary aspect ratio" rather than just giving two choices.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2020, 10:15:50 pm by namida »

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2020, 01:29:47 am »
For reference, what are the current requirements that a custom logo must meet in order to display properly?

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2020, 01:51:25 am »
For reference, what are the current requirements that a custom logo must meet in order to display properly?

Exactly 632 pixels wide, and not too tall (I believe around 90px is ideal, but more than that works to a point). You can fake a lower aspect ratio by having blank space at the sides, of course.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #25 on: June 13, 2020, 02:56:51 am »
OK, here's a quick mockup and some general ideas for discussion/consideration.

IDEA A: Same as we have now, but with some improvements:

1 Increase menu size to 800 x 400 - this will allow for more space for the cards/scroller and will just look generally better on widescreen monitors.

2 Allow logo sizes of 700 x 100 (wide) and 350 x 100 (normal) - this will preserve all existing logos whilst allowing smaller logos not to be stretched.

3 Allow scroller lems to be clickable buttons which change the direction of the scroller - this will allow players to rewind the scroller to read the previous line. It could also be that the scroller itself can be clicked to pause/play the scroll.

Here's the mockup. Please note that sizes and positionings in this image are approximate. Also, the background and logo depicted here are for illustration purposes only, they are not suggestions for replacements:



This is just to get the discussion going: what do people think about general relative sizes/positionings of the various menu elements? What do people think about the location of various text items? Should we keep the existing background or make a new one? Should we keep the traditional Lemmings cards or make something new?

I'll do IDEAS B and C soonish as well.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2020, 11:42:08 pm »
Anyone...? :o :(

Offline Proxima

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2020, 11:58:57 pm »
1 Increase menu size to 800 x 400 - this will allow for more space for the cards/scroller and will just look generally better on widescreen monitors.

There are two obvious problems with this. Firstly, if the menu is a different size from the game, it's a bit weird, and more awkward for the user to customise. I'm also not sure how well that would work with video capturing software -- my guess is "not very well". Secondly, that doesn't play nicely with 1366 x 768 monitors -- 400 is just too big to fit at double size, so I would have to keep the window to single size, which is much smaller than I like my NeoLemmix window.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #28 on: June 15, 2020, 01:52:26 am »
The menu is not restricted to integer zoom multiples; because it isn't critical to distinguish individual pixels in it.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2020, 04:46:29 am »
We all  have a pretty good idea of what the menu currently looks like, but I thought it might be useful to add a screenshot of the current layout to make comparing designs a little easier. This is from 12.8.x, but the 12.9.x is pretty much the same and my copy 12.9.x has that light blue font recolor I posted earlier installed on it.



Speaking of the light blue font recolor, I would like to formally suggest that it be used to improve the current layout. I've had it on for a while now and it really does make the screen feel so much easier to read. Reposting the screenshot here:



The font is attached to this post.



WillLem's suggested layout is basically just the current layout redesigned to look like the Amiga layout; I prefer the two rows, but my preference for the two row layout is fairly weak and guided mostly by the fact that I grew up with the DOS version as opposed to the Amiga version. In the Amiga original it's a bit cramped, but the increased aspect ratio of modern screens helps.

I do like what WillLem did to the font, at least at this stage; the DOS font can feel a bit vertically squished sometimes. Using that full-sized font in a few select places might be worthwhile, but it does result in less text fitting on the screen. I wonder if it would work well as a sort of big font/small font set-up where certain text uses the full-sized font. One thing I could imagine would be printing the title of levels in the larger font and the rest of the text in the smaller font, though I wonder if this would actually look as good as I think it would.



My suggestion for handling pack logos is that it should have a maximum size, but no minimum. Leave the scaling at whatever level it is currently, and then center the logo in the allotted area. This would allow the creation of logos that are less squished vertically, while also maintaining backwards compatibility.



Overall I think the main menu is fine. I think the level selection screen and pre-/post-level screens have the most potential for improvement. Of course, there's really only two things that I think cause the current screens to have shortcomings: the introduction texts and talisman requirements.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #30 on: June 15, 2020, 11:54:14 am »
Firstly, if the menu is a different size from the game, it's a bit weird, and more awkward for the user to customise.

From my thus-far experience of customising both menu and levels, the two are almost mutually exclusive; I've never perceived the menu as being "the same size as the game."

I'm also not sure how well that would work with video capturing software -- my guess is "not very well".

NeoLemmix is currently very difficult to work with video capturing software, unless you run it fullscreen, which just simply isn't my preference. Watch any of my recent LPs - the game screen is always either just a bit too small (on 1x zoom) or just a bit too big (on 2x zoom). I don't think enlarging the menu will have any impact on this either way.

Secondly, that doesn't play nicely with 1366 x 768 monitors -- 400 is just too big to fit at double size, so I would have to keep the window to single size, which is much smaller than I like my NeoLemmix window.

The NeoLemmix window responds to drag-sizing, so this shouldn't be a problem at all. Now that namida has implemented "remember last window size", all you need to do is set it how you want it and it will always open that way.

All of this said, if 800 x 400 would cause problems that can't be easily worked around on smaller monitors, then yes - maybe this isn't the way to go. I just think having more horizontal room to work with would be very beneficial for any new design ideas.

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #31 on: June 15, 2020, 01:28:24 pm »
Quote
Speaking of the light blue font recolor, I would like to formally suggest that it be used to improve the current layout. I've had it on for a while now and it really does make the screen feel so much easier to read. Reposting the screenshot here:

I support Dullstar's suggestion.

The mockup from WillLem feels weirdly streched to me and I still think that only 1 row of signs is not the way to go.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #32 on: June 15, 2020, 06:28:29 pm »
The mockup from WillLem feels weirdly streched to me

Yeah, some of the elements do look a bit stretched/squished. This might just be because he was doing a mockup though?

The bigger font looks like it's intended to be reminiscent of the Amiga font, but I don't think it's actually the Amiga font - looks like maybe it was produced by stretching the current font, which itself looks like a manually squished version of the original Amiga font. If we're going to go that route, we should probably re-rip the Amiga font. We could then recolor it however we want. If someone can provide me with a copy of the Amiga font, I'd be happy to try doing some recolors to see what I can come up with for people to use in their own mockups; I don't mind seeing how it would look. But we'd have to keep the increased size in mind when working with it.

Incidentally, does anyone have the original backgrounds? The one currently shipped with NeoLemmix looks pretty blurry to me, and I want to mess with it to try making it look a bit nicer (I don't really like the blurred out backgrounds). It would also be easier to try some color palette adjustments if there were fewer interpolated colors on it. Original Lemmix has a non-blurred copy of the background if someone can manage to convert into a usable format.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2020, 06:50:10 pm by Dullstar »

Offline ccexplore

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #33 on: June 15, 2020, 07:18:18 pm »
I'm also not sure how well that would work with video capturing software -- my guess is "not very well".

NeoLemmix is currently very difficult to work with video capturing software, unless you run it fullscreen, which just simply isn't my preference. Watch any of my recent LPs - the game screen is always either just a bit too small (on 1x zoom) or just a bit too big (on 2x zoom). I don't think enlarging the menu will have any impact on this either way.

That's probably not what Proxima meant.  I think he's specifically talking about having two different sizes being problematic during video capture, since often the captured video can only be of one frame size throughout.  If NeoLemmix handles the two different sizes by resizing the window, then the capture software will likely capture stuff outside the window when window gets resized to the smaller size.  Even if capturing software doesn't do that, when NeoLemmix window is at the smaller size the capturing software will still likely fill the rest of the frame with black bars so that the video frames' dimensions remain constant throughout.  Conversely, if NeoLemmix resizes the smaller game screens also to match the wider width of the menu screen, that's less problematic for video capture, but may then leave certain screens like the pre-level/post-level screens looking too wide with too much empty space on the side.

It can be tricky to have the same layout look good in both the 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio as well as the 4:3 ratio, both of which are still in common use (though the latter perhaps more with older monitors).  Some PC games actually change their layout based on whether it's widescreen or not.

WillLem's layout looks "weirdly stretched" probably partly because it's wider than even the 16:9 ratio.  If we keep the 400 vertical dimension, the horizontal dimension should be only around 711 to match 16:9.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #34 on: June 15, 2020, 07:43:04 pm »
For reference, NeoLemmix only adjusts the window size:
- When initially put into windowed mode
- When the player selects the "Reset window to default size" option
- If the window is less than 416px wide, and the user turns off the "Compact Skill Panel" option (as the window must be 416px wide or more to fit the full-width panel)

Otherwise, the window size stays the same. Menus are resized (using black bars to keep aspect ratio) to fit; while the in-game's way of adapting is a bit more complex but can ultimately deal with any window size you throw at it (subject to a minimum of 320x80 if using compact panel, or 416x80 if using full-width; double both dimensions if also in high-res mode).

On a side note, NL doesn't have any special display behaviours for full screen. It simply treats it the same way it would treat a window equal in size to your resolution.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #35 on: June 16, 2020, 01:30:03 am »
The mockup from WillLem feels weirdly streched to me

Yeah, some of the elements do look a bit stretched/squished. This might just be because he was doing a mockup though?

Yes, absolutely: the graphics were very roughly resized for this mockup: I would expect that the final result would look way better than this, of course. It's just that there's no point in me spending hours doing that if people don't like the idea.

It's possible, though, that Icho simply doesn't like the larger horizontal size, and that's more what he was referring to. I'd say this is more likely, since he's also against the idea of 1 row of menu cards.

My main reasons for favouring the wider menu/1 row of cards combo are these (@Icho, I'd be interested to know your thoughts here):

1) It's tidier. This is probably the main, main, main reason tbh.
2) It allows the scroller to be bigger, so longer lines of text can be displayed.
3) It allows for vertically bigger (and therefore easier to read) text.
4) It doesn't favour any particular set of cards as being "most important" (and therefore on the top row).
5) 2 rows is busy for a title screen, and new players may not be sure where to look; I experienced this the first time I played NeoLemmix.
6) Human eyes are more suited to greater horizontal width, hence why widescreen is a thing.

Having said all this, I'd also vastly prefer a vertically laid out menu (similar to Lix's) over keeping 2 rows of cards.

The bigger font looks like it's intended to be reminiscent of the Amiga font, but I don't think it's actually the Amiga font - looks like maybe it was produced by stretching the current font, which itself looks like a manually squished version of the original Amiga font.

Yes and yes. I probably prefer the vertically larger text because it's more reminiscent of the Amiga font, for sure, but the main reason is that it's easier to read. But yes, for the purposes of this mockup I just stretched the current NL menu text vertically.

To be fair, somewhere between the two would probably be better: not quite as tall as Amiga's, but taller than DOS's text, would be perfect. I'd be happy to make that font and send it over to you so you can play with colours.

Incidentally, does anyone have the original backgrounds? The one currently shipped with NeoLemmix looks pretty blurry to me

+1 for this: if we are using this background (which tbh wouldn't be my first choice, but if it's what people want then fair enough), let's use the best-looking and highest resolution version that we can find.

That's probably not what Proxima meant.  I think he's specifically talking about having two different sizes being problematic during video capture, since often the captured video can only be of one frame size throughout.

From what I've seen, OBS is capable of automatically resizing the source/output in Windowed mode, if the window size changes. But, in any case...

If NeoLemmix handles the two different sizes by resizing the window

...why would NL have to resize the window? It currently adds black bars to the edges of the screen when the window is resized, and nobody has suggested that this behaviour changes. In fact, I'd say this behaviour is preferable to any automatic resizing of the window, which indeed could cause screen capture recording issues.

WillLem's layout looks "weirdly stretched" probably partly because it's wider than even the 16:9 ratio.  If we keep the 400 vertical dimension, the horizontal dimension should be only around 711 to match 16:9.

Fair shout: let's go with 711 x 400 then, if people like the idea of a wider menu.

the window size stays the same

Yeah, exactly - I'm not sure why people think that any resizing of the window is being suggested here, it isn't!

To make it very clear: if the menu is made larger, then I'd suggest black bars continue to be added to the edges of any level measuring the same as or less than the default pixel width. NeoLemmix currently does this anyway, and it's fine.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #36 on: June 16, 2020, 02:34:03 am »
if we are using this background (which tbh wouldn't be my first choice, but if it's what people want then fair enough), let's use the best-looking and highest resolution version that we can find.

Tbf, I suspect the blurring was done deliberately (it looks very similar to the blur effect that's applied to a lot of the style backgrounds, particularly the ones included with the original game styles. I still hate it though.

Offline Simon

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #37 on: June 16, 2020, 06:54:26 pm »
Main menu:
  • I must be able to access the level browser, access the options dialog, and quit the app, all in one click/keystroke (ideally) or only keystroke (if you really want to stick with Lemmings's oddity of lacking mouse control in the main menu).
Level browser:
  • I'm missing search by level name, but it's a weak suggestion. I tend to start the app knowing exactly which level I want to play.
  • Ideally, it should fetch replays for the highlit level, but then the program must know which replays belong to which level; I don't know if the file design allows this. Interesting design problem, prod me if it ever lands on the table.
  • The level browser should offer everything that the preview screen offers, by principle.
Consider splitting the topic into the design of the main menu, and the design of the level browser.

-- Simon
« Last Edit: June 16, 2020, 07:47:17 pm by Simon »

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #38 on: June 16, 2020, 09:01:33 pm »
Quote
or only keystroke (if you really want to stick with Lemmings's oddity of lacking mouse control in the main menu).

To the contrary, mouse support is something that I'm specifically laying down as a "must have" bottom-line for the menu revamp.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #39 on: July 22, 2020, 09:26:06 am »
So, I (finally) had a proper think about what I felt should change, and while I earlier envisioned some more significant redesign, I'm only really seeing a few changes that I feel might be worthwhile now.

Note that this isn't a "I've gone over the topic and compiled feedback". This post is purely my input.

Main menu
(a) Do we actually need the rank signs here? How often do people actually use this, rather than either going directly into gameplay or else using the Level Select menu?
(b) Talisman sub-menu can probably be removed, in favor of making talismans viewable in the level select menu.
(c) Options like mass replay check, cleanse levels, etc, should be collected in a "Creator's Tools" sub-menu rather than hidden behind hotkeys passed around only by word-of-mouth or update changelogs.
(d) Visible mouse cursor, all buttons are clickable, clicking in empty space could either do nothing or retain existing left-click behaviour. Existing middle / right click behaviour would most likely be dropped for simplicity.

Level select
(a) More info about the level visible. Stats, skillset, etc.
(b) A second tab when previewing a level. This second tab would show various records. Exact records TBD, and it is likely that any record not already tracked by NL will be a "this gets added later" thing.

Preview screen
(a) Show a skill panel graphic that shows the release rate and skillset of the level.
(b) Add icons for the talismans. These icons would show only the color and obtained status of the talisman. Mouseover (or perhaps clicking) them would alter the rest of the preview screen's display to show the talisman requirements instead of the level's normal requirements.
(c) Have specific clickable "Continue" and "Exit to menu" buttons, in line with the goal of improved mouse-friendliness. Could still maintain existing left-click behaviour when clicking on an otherwise-inert section of the screen.

Other screens I don't believe need any changes.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #40 on: July 22, 2020, 09:43:15 am »
Outright removing the rank sign would be a drastic overreach. People put a lot of effort into their custom menu icons, and even if they don't have custom signs for all the buttons, nearly every pack at least has custom rank signs. It's simply much nicer to have a visual representation of what the rank is about, rather than it just being a string of characters in the level-selection menu.

With the Talisman menu, I think it's already the case that the sign can be present or absent, depending on whether you've defined any talismans or not. If you have them in your level pack, having such an overview that is accessible without having to look at every single level separately in the level list would still be nice. It's like a list of achievements that can be unlocked in a game on Steam. ;)
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 Proxima

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #41 on: July 22, 2020, 12:21:16 pm »
I never click on the rank sign, but I use it all the time to see what rank I am currently in, especially when using the up and down arrow keys to switch rank. That must stay.

I disagree with showing the skill panel on the preview screen, because I think it would feel out of place -- maybe I could be convinced after seeing what it would actually look like. It's a fair point that linking this to talismans gives a way to inform the player about talismans fixes some of the problems with the current system (information about multiple talismans; information about already obtained talismans). However, one issue with this way of doing things is that it doesn't allow for "max N total skills" talismans (which, admittedly, are not all that common, but there are some levels that make good use of them). Also, it doesn't help with seeing the talisman requirements during play -- and maybe once that is addressed, there won't be any need to show them on the preview screen at all.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #42 on: July 22, 2020, 12:30:53 pm »
Quote
I disagree with showing the skill panel on the preview screen, because I think it would feel out of place -- maybe I could be convinced after seeing what it would actually look like.

Again, this is another optional feature that I could get comfortable with if I could switch it on and off.

For example, in Lemmings 2: The Tribes, the preview screen does show the skill panel. So for my L2-themed pack Lemmings Hall of Fame, of course I would be happy to use this feature. For a more classical pack, like Lemmings Open Air, or for the L3D-inspired Lemmings, Drugs, & Rock 'n Roll, I wouldn't. I could rather use custom pre-level-screen backgrounds for the latter :P , as I stated earlier, but this feature didn't get enough community support.
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 Proxima

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #43 on: July 22, 2020, 12:36:28 pm »
For example, in Lemmings 2: The Tribes, the preview screen does show the skill panel. So for my L2-themed pack Lemmings Hall of Fame, of course I would be happy to use this feature.

I can see the argument for a user-side option to show or not show the skill panel on the preview screen, but I certainly don't see why it should be up to the whim of the pack designer.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #44 on: July 22, 2020, 07:21:23 pm »
Yeah, fair. I didn't expect the suggestion of removing the rank sign would go down very well, but it's one of those "has to be put out there to at least see" ideas because I do ultimately feel it's redundant. Nevermind, let's scratch that idea then (assuming of course that it doesn't turn out you two are the only ones who like it and everyone else wants to get rid of it, but I don't think that's too likely). While I do feel it's wasted space, it is ultimately not a big enough deal either in terms of space taken up or code complexity, that I'd see the need to argue strongly for its removal - it can stay.

Quote
With the Talisman menu, I think it's already the case that the sign can be present or absent, depending on whether you've defined any talismans or not. If you have them in your level pack, having such an overview that is accessible without having to look at every single level separately in the level list would still be nice. It's like a list of achievements that can be unlocked in a game on Steam.

Does this need to be directly accessible from the main menu, though? Would it be acceptable for it to instead be accessed via the level select menu; either as a secondary tab when a level / rank is selected, or else as a "click to view talisman list" button with a similar effect to the existing menu option?

And yes, you are correct that the talisman menu option is already hidden when playing a pack that doesn't have talismans. :)

Quote
I disagree with showing the skill panel on the preview screen, because I think it would feel out of place -- maybe I could be convinced after seeing what it would actually look like. It's a fair point that linking this to talismans gives a way to inform the player about talismans fixes some of the problems with the current system (information about multiple talismans; information about already obtained talismans). However, one issue with this way of doing things is that it doesn't allow for "max N total skills" talismans (which, admittedly, are not all that common, but there are some levels that make good use of them). Also, it doesn't help with seeing the talisman requirements during play -- and maybe once that is addressed, there won't be any need to show them on the preview screen at all.

The main goal here is to have it as an efficient way of showing more info - the release rate and skillset - on the preview screen. The re-use for talismans was actually an afterthought, to be honest, but I do very much see it as a useful idea. I'd also note this wouldn't be a full skill panel, but would only show the release rate + skill buttons (I'm open to going either way on the "does it show placeholder slots when there's less than 10 skills in the level").

I am aware it doesn't help with seeing talismans in-game, but outside of the question of "if we have in-game display, do we need preview display at all beyond "talismans exist"?" in-game display is outside the scope of this topic. That question, though, is well worth giving consideration to, as I'm hoping to introduce both of these features in the same update anyway.

Max skills would need to be considered somehow. This could be an extra "button" in the preview screen panel - presumably, slightly detached from the rest so it isn't confused for a new skill - but could also take the form of some text above or below the panel graphic, if the extra button might be too confusing.

Quote
I can see the argument for a user-side option to show or not show the skill panel on the preview screen, but I certainly don't see why it should be up to the whim of the pack designer.

I would not be holding out for any option full-stop on this one, but if one does occur, then as Proxima says - it will be 100% a user-side option.


And again - I'll stress, this is me floating / discussing my suggestions. This does not in any way mean earlier suggestions in this topic that I haven't mentioned here are ruled out, or anything like that.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #45 on: July 22, 2020, 07:55:28 pm »
Another question to discuss is - since these menus will be mouse-friendly, obviously, they need a visible cursor. Simply using the default Windows cursor is not out of the question, nor is using the same crosshair cursor from in-game. If the in-game one is used, it would by necessity always use the high-res one (as menus are always drawn in a resolution equivalent to high-res, and have been even as far back as DOS Lemmings).

I'm open to new options too, although I'll put down a bottom line that it must be visually clear even to someone not familiar with Lemmings which part of the cursor counts as the actual "position" (eg. on the default Windows arrow this would be the point of the arrow; while on the Lemmings crosshair it's the middle of the crosshair). I recall one Lemmings clone (I forget which - it might even have been an official port) that had a cursor that felt very misleading in this regard.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2020, 09:27:54 pm by namida »

Offline Proxima

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #46 on: July 22, 2020, 09:45:26 pm »
The crosshair cursor sounds good to me.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #47 on: July 23, 2020, 02:22:43 pm »
(c) Options like mass replay check, cleanse levels, etc, should be collected in a "Creator's Tools" sub-menu

+1. Yes! Brilliant :thumbsup:

all buttons are clickable

Could they have "hover" and "clicked" versions as well? This could be a simple recolouring/edge-shading of the background; happy to do the graphical work for this if you like the idea.

I'm in favour of pretty much everything else you've suggested as well, apart from the following:

I never click on the rank sign, but I use it all the time to see what rank I am currently in, especially when using the up and down arrow keys to switch rank. That must stay.

It's simply much nicer to have a visual representation of what the rank is about, rather than it just being a string of characters in the level-selection menu.

+1 for rank graphics staying, for both of the reasons given by Proxima and Strato. It can actually be very useful for seeing where you up to at a glance from the main menu, even if you don't use it as a selection button, as such.

With the Talisman menu... having... an overview that is accessible without having to look at every single level separately in the level list would still be nice.

+1 for this (although I definitely think the F4 Talisman menu should be removed): one suggestion could be having the full list of Talismans visible from the F2 level select when clicking the title of pack itself. Doing so currently already indicates how many Talismans have been achieved - I guess there's no reason it couldn't also display the full list as well.

Also, it doesn't help with seeing the talisman requirements during play -- and maybe once that is addressed, there won't be any need to show them on the preview screen at all.

Agreed. I think a simple icon to indicate the presence of Talisman(s) in the level is all that's needed on the preview screen. I do kind of like the idea of showing the skill panel, though, and I suppose there's no reason that it couldn't also show the Talisman-related skills once the icons are clicked...

I'm generally all for keeping the preview screen as un-cluttered as possible.

Yeah, fair. I didn't expect the suggestion of removing the rank sign would go down very well... - it can stay.

Ah, good! :lemcat: :thumbsup:

Does this need to be directly accessible from the main menu, though? Would it be acceptable for it to instead be accessed via the level select menu; either as a secondary tab when a level / rank is selected, or else as a "click to view talisman list" button with a similar effect to the existing menu option?

+1 for this, as per my suggestion typed earlier in this message.

I need to start changing the way I reply to threads...! :forehead:

The main goal here is to have it as an efficient way of showing more info - the release rate and skillset - on the preview screen. The re-use for talismans was actually an afterthought, to be honest, but I do very much see it as a useful idea. I'd also note this wouldn't be a full skill panel, but would only show the release rate + skill buttons (I'm open to going either way on the "does it show placeholder slots when there's less than 10 skills in the level").

Since this idea needs a bit of support, I'm happy to +1 this. As long as the overall goal of the preview screen is to make it more readable and less cluttered, I quite like the idea of a visual representation of the skillset, RR, etc.

Another question to discuss is - since these menus will be mouse-friendly, obviously, they need a visible cursor. Simply using the default Windows cursor is not out of the question, nor is using the same crosshair cursor from in-game. If the in-game one is used, it would by necessity always use the high-res one (as menus are always drawn in a resolution equivalent to high-res, and have been even as far back as DOS Lemmings).

What about a blue arrow with a green edge... or a green arrow with a blue edge?



Also - if the menus are high-res, why not have hi-res graphics in them? Or run them through your upscaler?

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #48 on: July 23, 2020, 07:59:19 pm »
Quote
Also - if the menus are high-res, why not have hi-res graphics in them? Or run them through your upscaler?

I'm not sure what you mean by this?

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #49 on: July 23, 2020, 09:52:07 pm »
Quote
Also - if the menus are high-res, why not have hi-res graphics in them? Or run them through your upscaler?

I'm not sure what you mean by this?

So... if the menus are hi-resolution, why not have 1200 x 800 background, more pixels for logos, etc...

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #50 on: July 23, 2020, 10:04:53 pm »
Quote
Also - if the menus are high-res, why not have hi-res graphics in them? Or run them through your upscaler?

I'm not sure what you mean by this?

So... if the menus are hi-resolution, why not have 1200 x 800 background, more pixels for logos, etc...

You're suggesting making them even higher resolution?

There isn't so much in the way of technical obstacles to this, but it would invalidate a lot of existing content - which defeats the whole "people have worked on it already" argument for rank graphics, as well as anything else that might be saveable if we keep the same resolution. It'd also mean that any future content that wants custom menu graphics needs to produce higher resolution graphics than they currently do. Finally, it'd also mean we're back to the situation of the menu being higher-resolution than in-game ever is (which was the case prior to in-game getting a high res mode).

Having seperate low / high (or rather, high / higher) res modes for the menu is out of the question. It's plain and simply not worth the hassle - in game there are good reasons for wanting both (especially considering that NL's physics are low-res), in the menus it's far more logical to have a single universal resolution rather than options.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #51 on: July 25, 2020, 01:23:33 am »
There isn't so much in the way of technical obstacles to this, but it would invalidate a lot of existing content... Having seperate low / high (or rather, high / higher) res modes for the menu is out of the question

That's why I suggested running it through your upscaler. This would preserve any existing (and indeed, future) content that is made for the current 600 x 400 menu.

Thoughts?

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #52 on: July 25, 2020, 03:11:52 am »
Incidentally, I don't think the high-res mode cursor should be used in menu. I think the cursor should either be identical to the in-game one, or something completely different - let's not have one that is almost, but not quite the same as the in-game one. Conveniently, however, it would be pretty simple to use the low-res cursor in menu when low-res mode is enabled: the high-res cursor is exactly twice as large, so all we need to do is upscale the low-res cursor using nearest-neighbor rescaling to have an identical cursor in menus and in-game (which could be done either at runtime or by providing an extra set of cursor graphics if whatever NL uses for graphics doesn't provide an easy way to do this for some reason, which would surprise me).

As far as resolution changes go: If the new resolution is an integer multiple of the old one, then nearest-neighbor rescaling is an option; other scaling methods will affect how the artwork looks. I'd be hesitant to use any other scaling method as the one-and-only option (it's okay for high-res mode since you have the option of playing in the original resolution if you want).

That said, the menus currently appear to be using upscaled graphics; if this is indeed the case, can we replace the smooth resampling option with the resampling used by high-res mode? High-res mode's resampling is considerably nicer-looking than the smooth resampling options, which just adds a terrible-looking blur effect (I hate blur effects). It would also be nice to be able to provide graphics that are already the correct size to be drawn without any rescaling necessary.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #53 on: August 04, 2020, 03:21:06 am »
Okay, so I've had a skim over the topic and will address things that I feel need to be addressed, including mentioning things that I feel should be kept under consideration.

If I earlier mentioned something "will not happen" and I don't mention it here again, assume it's still a "will not happen". If I haven't responded to something at all, including here, feel free to bring it up again - it is probably going to end up overlooked completely otherwise (and it's very likely not intentional that they've been overlooked so far; it's easy to overlook some things when trying to put together a list of points to respond to then actually respond to them).

Some points are mentioned here as needing further discussion. Now is not the time to discuss them further - for now, please focus on if there's any points brought up that I've overlooked here, or any outright new suggestions.

General

Overall approach
It seems that even without worrying about whether people are willing to accept a total do-over, the most practical approach would be revisions to the existing menu - some of them relatively heavy, but still ultimately revisions rather than a whole new menu. So at this point, let's proceed under the assumption that we're keeping the existing menu as a base, but are open to strong changes.

Multiple menu styles
After further thought, it simply feels like there's too much room for disaster if we try to keep multiple menu styles in place. This means no "Legacy Mode" in particular.

Menu sizing
There are two different types of suggestions that have been made with regards to altering the menu screen sizes.

The first is to have - it was never really clear to me whether this was "as an additional option" or "make it the standard" - a high-resolution menu. This is not going to happen. The menu's resolution is already equivalent to in-game high-res, I see nothing to be gained from thus dividing the menu into "high res" and "higher res". If anything, there would be a stronger argument to have a low-res mode in line with the game; but that feels utterly pointless too and will not happen.

The other one is to keep the same resolution, but adjust the sizing. The proposals were 800x400 or 711x400, both of which keep the existing height but adjust to widescreen proportions. I am willing to do a size change if it is specifically to a widescreen resolution. In such a case, I would like to aim for 16:9 specifically, though this need not be specifically 711x400 - eg 854x480 could be considered. The crucial details are it shouldn't be too different (aside from proportional adjustments to the width) from the current one - so eg. 1280x720 is out of the question.

One other case in which I'd be willing to adjust the size is adjusting it, either vertically-only or proportionally, if the font height is increased. Whether or not the widescreen thing happens, I will insist that it remain possible to fit 25 lines of text on-screen (for the sake of existing preview / postview texts).

Note that the menu would still behave like it does now in most regards - you could resize the window to a different proportion (menu zooms as much as possible while still remaining 100% visible, with black bars filling in the remainder) or a different size (zoomed in / out), the "size" here is really just the internal size used for rendering it.

tl;dr: Resolution changes ruled out, size changes okay if specifically moving to widescreen and/or to adjust for new font size, must be not too far from widescreen equivalent of current size but doesn't have to be exactly that, must fit at least same number of lines of text as current size (taking into account, if applicable, new font sizing).

Resampling algorithm
It was proposed that the high-res-mode resampler be used for the smooth resampling in the menus. Unfortunately there are multiple reasons this cannot be done. The biggest concerns are firstly, that the high-res-mode resampler is not fast enough to be used for live rendering (as it was written with the intent it would be used only at load-time, thus, speed is not a critical concern); and secondly, that it is specifically written to handle exactly a 2x zoom. You could achieve powers of 2 by applying it repeatedly (though I don't know how well it would work after multiple iterations), but even other integer values, let alone non-integer zooms, would require significant adjustments to the formula.

tl;dr: Impractical to use high-res resampler for smoothing, so it won't happen.

Add / remove some menu screens
Removing the Talisman screen has been proposed, in favor of the talisman list being integrated into the level select menu - with a full list for a given pack (and perhaps for a given rank, too) being visible when the pack, rather than a level in it, is selected.

It has also been proposed that features like mass replay test, cleanse levels, etc be moved into a dedicated "Creator Tools" submenu. This menu may end up being a bit on the empty side at first, but once it exists it may also be that we find more useful stuff to add to it.

Cursor
It has been brought up that a cursor graphic needs to be decided on (though just using the Windows default is not out of the question). Using the high-res in-game cursor has been proposed, though some people prefer the idea of using the low-res one scaled up. I'm open to either, as well as to completely custom ones.

Background
Proposals to use a different or less-edited background image have been brought up. Happy to replace if there's consensus over a new graphic to use.

Alteration to font height / color
Open to this if it's generally supported, but someone else will need to produce (or rip from Amiga, if applicable) the new font graphic. The menu screen size will need to be adjusted if this changes, to ensure that 25 lines of text can still fit on-screen. One target here could be 640x480 or 854x480 (4:3 or 16:9 respectively) with an extra 3 pixels of height added to the font.

Regarding the color, I'd need to see strong support before implementing any "multiple colors are used" setup like Amiga or SuperLemmini have, but I'm not outright opposed to it. I'm quite happy to go ahead with a "keep a one-global-color setup but change what color it is" approach, and I like Dullstar's (IIRC) mockup from earlier in the topic as a potential color to use. I will note that the suggestion of tweaking the font color seems to have support even among some people who are strongly against most changes to the menu, so this particular change could be considered all but guaranteed to be happening.

Main Menu

Logo sizing
This was originally proposed as allowing one of several sizes, or even just requiring a new specific size. There is basically no reason this can't become "allow any arbitrary size, up to a certain cap", with smaller logos being centered on the available area - so this is likely what will happen here.

One row of cards
If they fit - which may be more so with a move to widescreen - sure. Following on from some of the other proposals, it appears we'd need 6 cards: Play, Level Select, Settings, Rank, Creator's Tools, Quit. Not sure if 6 would fit without adjusting their size, which would be preferable to avoid for the sake of existing custom ones - though this could also depend on what the size actually ends up being.

Clicked graphics for cards
Open to this. If we're considering it, we may want to also consider decoupling the parts of the card graphics a bit more (seperate graphic files for the lemmings holding the cards, the cards themself, and the text / graphic on the cards) - this might make customization tidier too. The downside is that even implementing this at all will likely be a backwards-compatibility break, although at least one that only affects cosmetic aspects of packs.

Animated cards
If there's a lot of demand for this from people who are actually intending to make animated cards themself (not just those who think "it'd be cool to see this in a pack") I could look at it. Most likely though, I wouldn't hold my breath on this one - it's a lot of work for not much gain. If the graphics of the cards are decoupled as per above, it could be considered whether only some parts can be animated.

Load replay directly from menu
I like the idea at the most basic level, but I question whether it's the most effective use of menu screen space. With that being said, I'm not sure where else to put it. It could perhaps be accessed by right-clicking an existing panel, though ideally I'd like to move away from "hidden" menu features like that.


Level Select

Additional info about level
I absolutely agree on this. At the very least it should show the level's stats, skillset and talismans. The "what layout?" is a finer point to discuss later.

Display player's records
Yes, I'm in favor of this idea. I would prefer that it be on a secondary tab, away from the main level info.

Search by level name
I understand this was a feature Nepster promised a while ago, but didn't get around to implementing before he left the forums. It's something that should happen - though I'm not promising it will happen as part of these revisions (as it is, really, a major new feature on the inside, even if it seems quite minor on the surface).

Find replays for level
Or some variation, like "show all replays for this level" in the level select menu. Nice idea, implementation could be tricky though - and could have a HUGE performance impact if the player's replay folder has a lot of replays. Unlike Lix, NL does not have particularly strong links between level files and replay files - it has mechanisms to match them up, but these are more designed for "when presented with a level and a replay, check whether or not they match up" rather than "when presented with one, find the matching other".



Preview / Postview

Additional level info
It has been proposed that more info about the level could be displayed, perhaps in the form of a "mock skill panel" showing the release rate (including whether it's locked or not) and skillset. This would almost certainly not include the always-present-never-changing buttons like pause, nuke, etc, nor the info above the main panel.

Talisman info
There seems to be agreement that something needs to change; there isn't so much agreement about what it should change to. Proposals so far include "don't show it at all" and "show icons to indicate that talismans exist / how many / what color, but nothing more". A more complex proposal, tying into the above, is to have clickable talisman icons that adjust the skill display / etc to reflect the talisman requirements.

"Continue", "Exit" etc options
In line with the general mouse-friendliness goal, the "Press ____ button to _____" texts would be replaced with simple "Play", "Exit", etc labels (exact wording to be decided later) that are clickable.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #54 on: August 04, 2020, 09:33:30 am »
For clarity, I'd like to mention that I think the choice between low-res cursor scaled up and high-res cursor should be based on the currently selected option: if high-res mode is enabled, use the high-res cursor; if low-res mode is enabled, upscale the low-res cursor.

I like the idea of being able to load replays from the menu, but I definitely see the potential for technical issues. For one thing, the replay format would need to store the source level (not just be able to tell if they match). Also, it's not entirely unreasonable for someone to want to group packs by author, which would currently be done by placing the levels in a subdirectory of levels instead of directly in levels - but this would almost certainly break the mechanism used to reference the level in the replay. Adding the ability to group by author in the level select menu without having to alter the folder structure might alleviate this issue. The benefits would be quite nice though - for instance, if I've released multiple versions of a level, and someone submits a replay, the replay file itself would automatically be able to fetch the version of the level it was recorded on. But we'd want to make sure we can still load replays when the ID matches even if the filename doesn't, as when I make small changes to a level in an attempt to fix a backroute, a nice test to start with is loading a replay from the previous version, first because it can save me the effort of redoing the solvability proof replay, and second because it's a simple first step to make sure the fix actually fixes the backroute testing (though admittedly some followup testing would usually be required).

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #55 on: August 04, 2020, 10:39:44 am »
Quote
Some points are mentioned here as needing further discussion. Now is not the time to discuss them further - for now, please focus on if there's any points brought up that I've overlooked here, or any outright new suggestions.

I think you got them all, at least I didn't see a missed point. Even if it's not the great discussion time, I still want to give a little statement on my current point of view regarding the list - also as a little note to myself about all mentioned points:

I mostly agree with namida's proposals.

I especially support the proposed changes to the "Level Select" , "Preview/Postview" and the font in the way proposed by Dullstar (https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=4920.msg83377#msg83377).
In these categories I see real player experience gain potential! Especially changes to the "Level Select" screen could go a long way and really improve NL.
On the other hand, I struggle to see the gain in tinkering further with the main menu and cards and would tend to be very conservative here. The main menu is fine as it is in my opinion and we have other areas that could be improved on to MUCH more effect.
The changes I can see advantageous from the menu side are the "allow more sizes" and the widescreen compability points. I also don't see any harm in adding a cursor.


Where I strongly disagree is the "One row of cards" point. It just looks worse and overall cramped. In the current 2 row style we don't have to ask the question if signs fit and it looks nice and ordered. We have a lot of space and we should use it so that it looks clearer and ordered - cramping everything together in 1 row works against that.
The "One row of cards" argument seems to me more like a "make it more like Amiga" argument anyway.

So I would align myself with namida's proposals for the most part. :)

Offline Proxima

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #56 on: August 04, 2020, 12:18:35 pm »
The "One row of cards" argument seems to me more like a "make it more like Amiga" argument anyway.

It's rude to put words into other people's mouths. I find the current stretched-out cards ugly, and having them in a line would allow them to have much nicer proportions.

Creator's Tools could be accessed from buttons in the level select menu; they don't need to clutter up the main menu.

I really don't like the suggestion for the bright blue font. It may be clearer, but it clashes with the overall colour scheme and feels out of place.

I am absolutely against making the menu a different size from the game, because this would interfere with recording software.

My preferred option for talismans is having a hotkey (maybe that works both on the preview screen and in-game) that brings up a pop-up with talisman requirements in plain text. This could be combined with icons on the preview screen to show how many talismans a level has and which ones have already been obtained.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 12:39:51 pm by Proxima »

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #57 on: August 04, 2020, 01:26:38 pm »
Quote
It's rude to put words into other people's mouths. I find the current stretched-out cards ugly, and having them in a line would allow them to have much nicer proportions.

In the "One row of cards" case you may not count towards the Amiga-like case, but it still feels like it to me in some other cases. Sorry, but that's just how it seems to me at least to some degree.

I would again disaggree in the "nicer proportions" point as it just feels really cramped to me. The current layout doesn't feel stretched-out at all in my opinion and I would have it rather strached a bit than cramped.

Quote
I am absolutely against making the menu a different size from the game, because this would interfere with recording software.

Yes, that's an important point to consider! Good thing you mentioned it! :thumbsup:

Quote
I really don't like the suggestion for the bright blue font. It may be clearer, but it clashes with the overall colour scheme and feels out of place.

I am 100% open to another color is it has a similar effect on clearness and feels less out of place to you.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #58 on: August 04, 2020, 06:28:35 pm »
Quote
I am absolutely against making the menu a different size from the game, because this would interfere with recording software.

Yes, that's an important point to consider! Good thing you mentioned it! :thumbsup:

This would be an important point, if it were true - but it's not. It is possible that a change to the underlying menu size might in turn lead to changes to the default window sizing, but the current status quo of "you can make the window any size you want and NL will not usually resize it" will remain - with no change to what said minimums are, and no change to what "not usually" covers. In particular, just like now, it will not change between menus and gameplay.

Current NL allows arbitrarily sizing the window. Menus resize proportionally (with black bars if needed) to fill it; while ingame uses the additional space to show more of the level. There is zero reason why changing the under-the-hood size of the menu screens would require any change to this existing behaviour.

Quote
The "One row of cards" argument seems to me more like a "make it more like Amiga" argument anyway.

I should stress that "Amiga does this" or "DOS does this" is meaningless either way to me. I will neither agree more with, nor reject, an idea on either of those basises.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 07:23:07 pm by namida »

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #59 on: August 04, 2020, 07:41:50 pm »
Regarding the size of the menu: To echo Icho: resizing the window simply results in more of the level being displayed, so there is absolutely no reason why it should affect recording, even in windowed mode.

Regarding the cursor graphic: it might be simplest to allow these to be user-customisable like most of the other graphics. So, even if the decision is to make it the same as the in-game cursor by default, create these as a separate graphic (titled "cursor_menu", for example) so the user can decide either to leave it as-is or change it to something else, without it affecting the in-game cursor.

Regarding the background: again, as long as users can change the background to whatever they want, I suppose it doesn't massively matter what happens regarding this. It would be good to find a cleaner, higher-res (and unblurred) version of the existing one, though.

Regarding the font color: I agree with Proxima that the shade of blue chosen by Dullstar looks a bit out of place, but I appreciate the efforts towards making it more visible. Once again, leaving this as something users can recolour and change themselves (if they so wish) is ultimately the safest bet. It is, of course, important that we agree on a decent default colour though. Also, +1 for having different colours for different lines of text (although I can understand why people would be against this).

Regarding logos: you've pretty much hit the spot with your proposal here - my suggestion was always that different sized logos ought to be allowed and then simply centred/placed according to the standard. This stops the need to stretch logos disproportionately to "fit" the current size. By all means keep the current size as the max (or maybe extend it a bit), but allow smaller logos to be centred. You've found the wording for this suggestion that I was struggling to find, so thanks!

Regarding the cards: I'm somewhat inclined to agree with Proxima that Creator's Tools could be made available from the F2 or even F3 menus rather than being yet another card on the main screen. If anything, it would make more sense for Creator's Tools to be an Editor thing rather than a Player thing. The main screen ought to be kept as simple as possible: PLAY, LEVEL SELECT, SETTINGS and RANK are all that's really needed, as far as I can tell. Do we really need a QUIT button?

Regarding the card layout: I am strongly in favour of a single row. To address this directly (since it seems to the one of the issues upon which there's the most polarisation):

Where I strongly disagree is the "One row of cards" point. It just looks worse and overall cramped... The "One row of cards" argument seems to me more like a "make it more like Amiga" argument anyway.

I agree with you that the way the cards are presented in the Amiga menu makes them look cramped; if anything, they look stretched vertically whereas NL stretches them horizontally. However, none of the suggestions to have one row of cards have ever stated that they should be cramped together or that they should emulate the Amiga version; I think you are making this assumption based on my general preference for Amiga Lemmings (when it comes to the original games), and it was me who originally proposed one row of cards.

However, my reasons for wanting one row have nothing to do with the Amiga version: I just think that 2 rows feels very cluttered, especially when there's a different number of cards on each row, and it makes it difficult to know where to look first. A single row keeps everything more aligned (literally!) and easier to process quickly. Add to that the fact that giving the cards more vertical space allows them to be better-proportioned, and it just seems to be the obvious way to go. That said, if the menu size isn't also increased to 16:9, then I can understand the concern that a single row might look more cramped.

Ultimately, it comes down to the relative size of everything. Have a look here for a version of the menu I mocked up that shows the cards as they could be on the current menu screen. This might help to allay any fears that a single row would look cramped; the cards in this image could easily be spread out even further or made slightly smaller to create even more space. It's possible to make one row of cards look great, thus improving upon anything that Amiga or DOS did in their menus.

Anyway, whatever happens as regards to layout, I'm more than happy to help edit/design correctly-proportioned card graphics, and separate them into different elements for "clickable" purposes if necessary. It's good to have the opportunity to resize and redesign the cards to fit the new menu as perfectly as possible.

Finally, regarding replay loading: maybe this is also something that could be done from the Level Select menu so as not to clutter up the menu screen further. I also agree with Dullstar that it's important to preserve current replay functionality as much as possible (that is, if adding the ability to load levels from replay means significant changes to the way levels and replays work with each other).

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #60 on: August 05, 2020, 07:26:23 pm »
Tl;dr notes for this post:
- Any special "load replay" things - not ruled out permanently, but won't be part of this upgrade.
- Group levels by author? (but this may come later)
- If using crosshair cursor, use low-res (zoomed) or high-res depending on user's resolution setting - not ruling this out but not sure if worthwhile
- Creators tools accessed from level select rather than directly from title screen? (But putting it into the editor is out of the question, for technical reasons.)
- Different new color for the font?
- Customizability of default menu / etc graphics will be no more nor less than it is now
- Ability of packs to provide custom graphics will also likely remain similar to now; backwards compatibility will not be broken "just for the sake of it" but is not considered "sacred" either


Quote
For clarity, I'd like to mention that I think the choice between low-res cursor scaled up and high-res cursor should be based on the currently selected option: if high-res mode is enabled, use the high-res cursor; if low-res mode is enabled, upscale the low-res cursor.

This should be doable, but I'm not sure if it's worthwhile supporting two marginally-different cursors based on a setting that otherwise doesn't affect the menu...?

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I like the idea of being able to load replays from the menu, but I definitely see the potential for technical issues. For one thing, the replay format would need to store the source level (not just be able to tell if they match).

It would not need to store the entire level. It would be possible just with the currently-stored information, but it could be very slow to find the matching level, especially if it has to search the whole library (rather than just eg. a single pack). A more efficient way could still rely on some kind of better method of pointing to the level (eg. perhaps it has a pack ID too, so it uses that to quickly find the correct pack then only has to iterate through one pack's levels) without outright storing the level in full like Lix does.

Indeed, I do not want to get into "store the level in the replay file". I think this is a very poor design, in particular it leads to issues if you want to test whether a replay still works on a new version of a level etc.

At any rate - let's go forward on the assumption that this feature will not happen as part of the menu upgrades, but is still on the table (though by no means confirmed) to look at further down the track.

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Adding the ability to group by author in the level select menu without having to alter the folder structure might alleviate this issue.

Nice suggestion. Although this too might be a "do this later" thing.

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But we'd want to make sure we can still load replays when the ID matches even if the filename doesn't,

For a very brief time on early versions, NL outright prohibited loading a replay if it thought the level was wrong. This quickly lead to issues and will never happen again - NL will warn you if it thinks the level and replay are mismatched, because usually it's right about this, but it will not outright refuse to try running the replay anyway because sometimes it's wrong (and sometimes there are valid reasons for trying to do this - such as trying a replay from one iteration of a repeated level, on another iteration).

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Creator's Tools could be accessed from buttons in the level select menu; they don't need to clutter up the main menu.

Yeah, I could see that working too.

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I really don't like the suggestion for the bright blue font. It may be clearer, but it clashes with the overall colour scheme and feels out of place.

I personally quite like it, though not in the sense of outright being set on it - I'm still very much open to "leave as-is" or a different color.

Quote
Regarding the cursor graphic: it might be simplest to allow these to be user-customisable like most of the other graphics. So, even if the decision is to make it the same as the in-game cursor by default, create these as a separate graphic (titled "cursor_menu", for example) so the user can decide either to leave it as-is or change it to something else, without it affecting the in-game cursor.

Regarding the background: again, as long as users can change the background to whatever they want, I suppose it doesn't massively matter what happens regarding this. It would be good to find a cleaner, higher-res (and unblurred) version of the existing one, though.

Regarding the font color: I agree with Proxima that the shade of blue chosen by Dullstar looks a bit out of place, but I appreciate the efforts towards making it more visible. Once again, leaving this as something users can recolour and change themselves (if they so wish) is ultimately the safest bet. It is, of course, important that we agree on a decent default colour though. Also, +1 for having different colours for different lines of text (although I can understand why people would be against this).

The default ones will be as customizable as they are now - ie: they are externally-stored PNG files so nothing is stopping you customizing them user-side, but customizing the defaults will never be explicitly supported (as opposed to just "possible" - the difference is eg. that I make no promises whatsoever that future updates won't break your customizations, though of course this doesn't mean I'll go out of my way to break them - I just won't make effort to avoid it either).

Allowing customization by packs; my default thought here is if it's customizable now, or something roughly equivalent to something that's customizable now, it will be so under the new system too. Backwards compatibility for such graphics will be considered desirable but not critical.

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If anything, it would make more sense for Creator's Tools to be an Editor thing rather than a Player thing.

It would need to be either part of NL, or a standalone tool. The whole reason I'm envisioning this is to allow implement features that need to make use of NL code in order to work (or in order to be optimally implemented) - the editor does not even have a fully-compatible implementation of NL's rendering, let alone any physics simulation. Perhaps I should be more clear here - I envision that Creators Tools would likely be added to later.

It could be done in a "make the two talk to each other" implementation, where the actual code for the features is in NL but the editor is used to actually access them (in a similar vein to how the editor uses NL for testplay mode or converting older-format levels), but this just seems like it's complicating things for no reason.

(Ideally, the new editor would have been built into NL rather than an external tool. Creator's Tools could then be part of the editor section. This is out of the question at this point - the new editor is not even written in the same coding language; heck, one is .NET while the other is native code; and I already had one go at writing a replacement editor, it did not get very far.)

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #61 on: August 05, 2020, 11:08:56 pm »
About replays (click to show/hide)

About the font: I definitely find the current default hard to read. The bright blue font color was derived from the Amiga version, but the overall appearance is a bit different due to the fact that Amiga has 7 colors per letter compared to DOS's (and therefore the current default's) 4 colors, and I handled this mostly just by picking 4 of the 7 to use, rather than doing any sort of interpolation. It was very much a first attempt, and I liked it better than the current default, so I went with it. I'm still happy to try to tweak it more, though, if people don't really like it. Messing with the background is also an option.

About the cursor: I mostly just want to avoid a situation where we have a cursor that looks almost, but not quite, identical to the in-game one. In other words, it should either be completely identical, or completely different, hence the suggestion of upscaling the low-res cursor in low-res mode rather than using the high-res one. But we could also use the system cursor or something completely different - I believe the Amiga version uses a Lemming hand, IIRC.

Offline Simon

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #62 on: August 07, 2020, 07:14:06 pm »
You can make the font grey, orange, or yellow.

It's fine to postpone search for level. Indexing the levels is a new feature, and file operations on Windows is slow.

It's fine to postpone indefinitely finding the replays for a given level.

-- Simon

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #63 on: August 08, 2020, 12:36:26 am »
About the cursor: I mostly just want to avoid a situation where we have a cursor that looks almost, but not quite, identical to the in-game one. In other words, it should either be completely identical, or completely different... I believe the Amiga version uses a Lemming hand, IIRC.

I agree And yes, the Amiga version does indeed use a Lemming hand. It also uses a graphic of a Lemming asleep in bed (zzZ) for waiting times! :lemcat:

The cursor is one area where we have the opportunity to create something completely new: I think we're all settled on going with the tried-and-tested "Lemmings cards and font" look, even if the specifics of layout and formatting are still in discussion.

Maybe the menu cursor could be something that's exclusive to NeoLemmix!

I also think that QUIT deosn't need a menu card, as well. It could just be a very small button in one corner of the screen marked "EXIT/ESC" and that would surely suffice. So it isn't lonely, an equally sized button could go on the other side with "ABOUT" and that could give detailed NeoLemmix info/credits (NOTE: this isn't a suggestion not to display the current NL version on the main screen - that should, of course, still definitely be a thing).

Perhaps if the menu cards are updated slightly, this would also help to give NL its own look. Here's a version I did very quickly just to riff some ideas. I'm not suggesting this look in particular, it's just to open up some possibilities:


Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #64 on: August 08, 2020, 10:12:23 am »
I did some new recoloring work, since the bright blue one from earlier seemed a bit controversial. Unlike the bright blue one, however, none of these are available, because I did a mock-up to test several new palettes at once, side-by-side. However, if you want one of them to mod into your NL installation now, just ask and I'll go ahead and make it for you.

This time, I took only the darkest and lightest colors I wanted to use from the Amiga version (in practice, this meant the second brightest and second darkest used in the Amiga version, since the brightest is always white, and the darkest is too dark for the background in most cases), and then I interpolated to get the middle colors. Every color from the Amiga pre-level screen is featured here, alongside the current default, the bright blue recolor I posted earlier, an example of what it looks like if you keep the darkest color, and an attempt at the colors suggested by Simon (I didn't have a darkest/lightest combo to work with, so I had to improvise, with varying degrees of success). I interpolated the colors linearly, treating the HSV values independently (For the first couple of recolors, I compared this to the results from using the RGB values, and the HSV method tended to produce more vibrant colors, while the RGB method was more washed out). The resulting text was then placed on the current background as well as a recolored one. The background was recolored simply by shifting the hue in Paint.net, with an input value of 115.

Each color has been given a label so it's clear which one you're talking about, if you'd like to give any feedback.
Current Background:


Green Background:

The Python script was written for Python 3.8, though it probably runs on many earlier 3.x versions as well. It has enough sanity checking of inputs to make sure it won't crash, but it doesn't actually check to make sure they're valid, so if you put some nonsense numbers in there it'll spew nonsense. It's not really production level code, by any means, but that's because that's probably a bit overkill for a single-purpose script. There's a wraparound feature for hue values since they're cyclical, but it's probably not perfect, though I doubt the differences are really all that perceptible in the end result.



Amiga Blue on the current background seems nice. Amiga Teal on the green background is probably my second choice, though it could still work on the existing background.

Right now the main menu and pre-level screen use the same background. The green background looks fine on the pre-level screen, but it definitely does NOT look okay in the main menu, because there's too much green in the rest of the elements. Even if we stick to the current set-up of the pre-level screen and the main menu using the exact same background, if the background can be customized by packs (can't remember if this is allowed or not), it might be a good idea to allow them to be changed independently.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2020, 10:20:21 am by Dullstar »

Offline Proxima

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #65 on: August 08, 2020, 12:51:14 pm »
I like the "Amiga Blue" lettering. What puts it above "First Recoloring Blue" for me is that the light pixels are lighter, giving the digits a more defined presence (yeah, kind of hard to find the vocabulary for talking about things like this, but maybe you know what I mean).

Offline Simon

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #66 on: August 08, 2020, 02:34:29 pm »
Amiga Blue is fine.

Lowermost 7 colors need higher contrast (difference between light and dark pixels). As-is, they look flat and fat. Their edges' lightness should be closer to the background's lightness than to their lightmost pixels' lightness.

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Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #67 on: August 10, 2020, 01:20:45 am »
+1 for Amiga Blue, that's easily the best in terms of how it looks against both backgrounds. Teal is also a great choice.

The others are interesting though... is there a way that a few extra colours could be used? Maybe NL could have a colour scheme of various ones, further give it its own identity.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #68 on: August 10, 2020, 06:24:23 am »
+1 for Amiga Blue, that's easily the best in terms of how it looks against both backgrounds. Teal is also a great choice.

The others are interesting though... is there a way that a few extra colours could be used? Maybe NL could have a colour scheme of various ones, further give it its own identity.

As in more than 4 colors? Yes and no: technically, it's possible. But it's not a trivial change to make, either. To recolor the existing text to a different set of 4 colors, all I need to do is tell whatever program I'm using which 4 colors to change to which 4 other colors. To add more colors, some sort of more complicated change would need to be made, whether by modifying the existing letters, extracting the Amiga version letters (which have 7 colors), or making new ones from scratch.

To add more colors to the existing lettering without altering the art style would be beyond my current artistic capabilities. If someone else wants to, go right ahead.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #69 on: August 10, 2020, 04:42:52 pm »
As in more than 4 colors? Yes and no: technically, it's possible. But it's not a trivial change to make, either. To recolor the existing text to a different set of 4 colors, all I need to do is tell whatever program I'm using which 4 colors to change to which 4 other colors. To add more colors, some sort of more complicated change would need to be made, whether by modifying the existing letters, extracting the Amiga version letters (which have 7 colors), or making new ones from scratch.

To add more colors to the existing lettering without altering the art style would be beyond my current artistic capabilities. If someone else wants to, go right ahead.

Perhaps you've misunderstood: I meant use a different colour for different lines of text, rather than different colours within the text graphic itself...

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #70 on: August 10, 2020, 07:32:15 pm »
It could be done, but it needs to be considered how this would interact with packs providing custom font graphics (in technical terms, I mean). Presumably, we'd have to have one "base" color which then gets RGB or HSV transformations applied to it.

Online IchoTolot

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #71 on: August 10, 2020, 07:51:13 pm »
Amiga Blue for me as well.

I really don't like having different colors for different lines of text to be honest. I think it's harder to read and looks kind of clowny.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #72 on: August 10, 2020, 08:21:07 pm »
Usable Amiga Blue font uploaded.

To use in an existing NL version, replace the existing menu_font.png (located in \gfx\menu) with this one.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #73 on: August 11, 2020, 02:18:05 am »
I really don't like having different colors for different lines of text to be honest. I think it's harder to read and looks kind of clowny.

Yeah, fair enough. One well-chosen colour seems decent enough.

Where are we on the background, has anyone got hold of a non-blurred/generally nicer looking version of that yet? I've looked around online and can't seem to find an assets folder or anything; Google image search yields no results either.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #74 on: August 11, 2020, 03:05:47 am »
I've made a seperate topic to discuss / vote on the font color: https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=5040.0

Regarding the background, I have attached a copy of the background extracted from DOS Original Lemmings' MAIN.DAT file (via LemMain).

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #75 on: August 12, 2020, 04:49:09 am »
Thanks, namida!

I've tested the unfiltered DOS background and it does look way better than the current "blurred" version in terms of colour depth, clarity and resolution. However, like all of the other graphics derived from the DOS version it also has that horizontal stretching thing going on.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure of the exact ratio to which the graphics are stretched, but with a bit of trial and error I think making it 200px wide rather than 320px seems to be about right (I'll have a look at the logos at some point and try to get a ratio to work to for producing a final version).

In the meantime, here's a version at 200 x 104 and another at 400 x 208. The latter seems to fit a little bit better with the current menu generally, the former looks more hi-res.

All resizing has been done using Nearest Neighbour to avoid blurring. Resizing from 320 to 200 did result in some pixel loss, but due to the rubbled nature of the graphic it looks OK anyway.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #76 on: August 13, 2020, 01:51:30 am »
I think I figured out the stretching: if I'm not mistaken, I believe what's happening isn't that the DOS version isn't stretched - rather, the Amiga version is stretched vertically, but some of the graphics weren't resized to accommodate for the DOS version's lack of stretching. I'm making the assumption that the Amiga version's appearance is intended.

Hopefully I'm not being fooled by emulator defaults here, since I don't have an actual Amiga to reference from, but everything seems correct. I believe the zoom is 100%, i.e. the emulator shouldn't be changing how big the pixels are.

First, screenshots of the Amiga version. In menus, the "pixels" of the image appear to be 2 pixels tall in all UI elements, while gameplay element (lemmings, terrain, objects) "pixels" are 2x2 pixels.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Here is the DOS version main menu:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Here is the Amiga version at 100% x 50% (i.e. undoing the suspected vertical stretch)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

And here's the DOS version at 100% x 200% (i.e. applying the same stretch on the Amiga version to the DOS version)
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
This looks a lot closer to the Amiga version - even the font looks like it's probably the same, just with fewer colors.

The background image from the DOS version is therefore 320x104, but was most likely intended to be drawn at 320x208 when it was created.

I'm mostly neutral (leaning towards no) on whether we should resize the background in this way. Reasoning: the background and font don't have anything obviously wrong with them in terms of their sizing, even though both were likely originally intended to be drawn with the stretch.

A version of the background with this stretch applied is attached.


Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #77 on: August 13, 2020, 03:59:16 am »
Had a quick look at potential menu and font sizing.

The font is currently 16px tall. I did some quick testing, and - using a very quick-and-dirty resize - it actually looks a lot nicer at 18px already. (Or technically, 17px, as the "18px" measurement includes the blank row of pixels that the current version also has, for spacing between lines.) The blank line may not be needed depending on the exact design of any new larger-size font; in particular, if the top and bottom rows consist only of semi-transparent pixels, the gap is probably unnecessary.

For an 18px tall font, the internal resolution of the menu screens needs to be at least 450 pixels tall. This would correspond to an internal resolution of either 720x450, if keeping the existing proportions, or 800x450, if switching to 16:9. Both of these work out exactly, they are not rounded.

If we wanted to go to 19px tall for the font, we'd need at least 475 pixels tall. For 16:9, the smallest size we could thus use (without one of the dimensions being rounded rather than an exact 16:9 ratio) is 848x477, or 864x486 for one where the numbers "feel" nice. For existing proportions, 768x480 is the smallest and feels nice enough.

I don't think there's much need to consider 20 and higher, but if people do think it's worthwhile let me know and I'll crunch the numbers.

I think it would be very useful to decide on overall screen sizing + font sizing before going much further with anything else (other than the level select menu).

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #78 on: August 13, 2020, 04:16:48 am »
I'd suggest the following size-related changes:

 - Change resolution to 16:9
 - Increase the height of the cards and logos, preferably by 2x (this would allow drawing the DOS-derived ones in what was most likely their originally intended aspect ratio based on my previous post). Do not automatically stretch old cards to fit in this size; center them in the allotted space instead. Leave the width as-is.

I'm not sold on the font size change, but I'm also generally not a fan of upscaling that is non-integer and/or non-nearest neighbor, which makes an 16->18 pixel change bad, IMO. But increasing the font size to 32 pixels, or drawing it at 16x32 like the Amiga version would probably take too much space.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #79 on: August 13, 2020, 06:58:54 am »
Quote
I'm not sold on the font size change, but I'm also generally not a fan of upscaling that is non-integer and/or non-nearest neighbor, which makes an 16->18 pixel change bad, IMO. But increasing the font size to 32 pixels, or drawing it at 16x32 like the Amiga version would probably take too much space.

Stretching was purely for the purposes of a mockup. I'd do something better quality - Amiga rip if suitable + obtainable, or newly-made graphics, or at least stretched with purpose-made code. I'll also note that in the sample image, the bottom couple of pixels are cut off due to how NL works currently (ie: specifically expects a 16px tall font); this would of course not be the case with a proper size change.

If I can think of a decent idea on how to write some upscaling code here that works well for arbitrary sizes, I'll gladly produce some better samples.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #80 on: August 13, 2020, 07:48:43 am »
While the upscale that you provided had some issues, my general views on upscaling means it would be difficult to create an 18 pixel version of the current font that I would find decent looking (I have very strong opinions about upscaling pixel art), though obviously it's possible others in the community might not care as much.

The Amiga font is exactly twice as tall as the dos version font: letters are up to 15 pixels tall in DOS, and 30 pixels tall in Amiga. That might be a large difference, but I don't have a problem with it if we can make it work. I'd say it's likely that the Amiga version stores them as 15 pixels tall internally, however, as the smallest image components in the Amiga UI graphics appear to actually be 1x2 pixels instead of 1 pixel. Thus, the main benefit of extracting the font graphics would be the recovery of the lost color information between the Amiga and DOS ports (the Amiga version's shape can likely be reproduced perfectly by stretching out the current one vertically 200% with nearest neighbor).


Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #81 on: August 14, 2020, 01:44:01 am »
I think I figured out the stretching: if I'm not mistaken, I believe what's happening isn't that the DOS version isn't stretched - rather, the Amiga version is stretched vertically, but some of the graphics weren't resized to accommodate for the DOS version's lack of stretching. I'm making the assumption that the Amiga version's appearance is intended.

Agreed, it certainly does seem to make more visual sense. The mockups also look proportionally identical when resized vertically by 50% each way.

I'm very much in favour of stretching the DOS background vertically (so that it's 320 x 208) and using that one - the version Dullstar posted looks great.

Font-wise, namida's 18px version looks OK but it would obvs be good to see it without the bottom line missing before making any solid decisions. The Amiga font looks too tall if anything, so somewhere between the two would be the sweet spot.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #82 on: August 17, 2020, 10:27:53 pm »
Earlier on Discord, one user asked about the title length limit. This of course is 40 characters, but it raises two relevant points here:

a) Any new screen size must also be capable of displaying at least 40 characters horizontally. Since there's no proposal to make text wider, but there is a proposal to move to a widescreen size (or at least to increase the size), this is very unlikely to be a problem, but should be noted.

b) Should the screen size increase, the title length limit would be increased accordingly too (unless there is very strong opposition to this).

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #83 on: August 24, 2020, 12:56:06 am »
Here's a somewhat quick-and-shitty mockup of what a 16:9 menu (specifically, 864x486) might look like. This includes 19px tall font.

Note that again - it's quick-and-shitty, so the font / some of the graphics are stretched. The logo is specifically not stretched, as I envision using a "center it in the allowed area" system that allows for any size up to the maximum, rather than only one exact size.

Also, yeah, I accidentally used the old color text graphics. Just to be clear - the "Amiga Blue" color will be used in practice.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #84 on: August 24, 2020, 03:52:25 am »
This definitely looks better, size and layout-wise! I'm guessing that the game itself will also allow more of the level to be shown within the window as a result of this change...?

Online IchoTolot

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #85 on: August 24, 2020, 02:57:10 pm »
With the 16:9 layout it the 1 row doesn't look that bad because of the additional space. I assume talismans are integrated in the level select window then as here is definitly no place for a 6th panel.

I am still interested to see a 2 row layout though to have a comparison.

The main thing I care about here is that existing panels/logo art still works and looks good.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #86 on: August 24, 2020, 06:46:42 pm »
This definitely looks better, size and layout-wise! I'm guessing that the game itself will also allow more of the level to be shown within the window as a result of this change...?

In-game will not be affected in any way - unless you count a very indirect way, namely, that the window will be bigger for some people because the default size will be bigger. However, any window size that's valid now will remain valid (just possibly not default), and in-game will work exactly as it does now with regards to using as much space as it can.

Quote
The main thing I care about here is that existing panels/logo art still works and looks good.

Most panels exist as a single entire image, which would mean they aren't the normal height (I have increased the height here, by about 20%) if existing ones are used. This isn't an auto disqualification, but it might end up looking awkward, especially if any of the new panels are entirely new.

Rank graphics (not the whole sign, but the per-rank labels) are a special case where "keep existing height and center it" should not look too awkward and is likely a viable option.

Logos will work without modification, though redoing them in a slightly larger size might end up looking nicer (due to using more of the available space).


And of course - this is just a mockup, it may be subject to change. I'll make a two-row mockup later, although I have to say I'm quite liking the one-row setup for widescreen.

Offline zanzindorf

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[SUGGESTION] [PLAYER] Main Menu Improvements
« Reply #87 on: September 04, 2020, 03:30:40 pm »
I have a suggestion for the main menu in the NeoLemmix player. The text is a little inconsistent in style when comparing the difficulty meter and the other elements like the "Play" and "Select Level" billboards, so I tried to redo the signs so they match. Also, I thought it would be neat to redesign the NeoLemmix logo to resemble the original style a bit more, which would also improve the overall consistency. I also took a crack at a new talisman design, which displays on the main menu and the talisman menu.

Changes:
* New logo
* New play billboard (text modified from original DOS menu).
* New level select billboard (text modified from original DOS menu).
* New settings billboard (Added a shadow to the gears and added a music note similar to the one from the original DOS menu).
* Added a shadow to the text on the Difficulty Step billboard.
* New talisman graphics and new talisman bilboard.
* New quit billboard (made from scratch because the letters weren't present in the original DOS menu).

I will attach the new graphics so anyone can mess with them if they want. Also, if you want to suggest changes to my designs, I'd be happy to work on them more! :thumbsup:

Comparison:

Original Menu (V12.06.05)

Quote

New Menu (V12.9.4)

Quote



Offline zanzindorf

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #88 on: September 05, 2020, 04:22:36 am »
Late to this conversation, been reading through what's been shared, apologies if I'm missing anything.

After reading comments on cursors, I think my preference would be:

1: We use the existing cross hair. 3D Lemmings did this, and it didn't look out of place at all.
2: We use a standard pixel cursor. I think I prefer a pixel cursor over an HD cursor simply for stylistic consistency.
3: We use a lemming hand. Lemmings 3 and Paintball used hands. So did Lemmings 2, but that one didn't look great imo.

Below is a preview of what the three options could look like (The large red numbers highlight where the cursors are). Obviously the cross hair is from the game, the pixel cursor is something I drew real quick (tried to match the style of the text on the billboards), and the lemming hand is from Lemmings Paintball (but recolored to match the other lemmings on this menu).

This example is based on the menu changes I posted earlier. Also exampled here is how the menu buttons could look if the cursor was hovering over (note the yellow outline). This particular yellow outline makes the menu button graphic slightly larger than it's default size, so I don't know if that's a problem, but it does look kinda nice. Programming wise, you could just have two images per each button, one for normal, and another altered version for when the mouse is hovering over it.

In addition, we could have the cursor change colors or change animation while the cursor is hovering over a button (like the hand gives a thumbs up or something). Not only is this for looks, but it could also accommodate for older level packs which have custom menu buttons, but do not have the "active" version of the button. This way, if there is no highlighted version of the button to display, the game will still indicate when the cursor is hovering over a button.

Sorry if this has already been discussed. Hopefully this is somewhat helpful. :P




Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #89 on: September 05, 2020, 06:36:27 am »
The outline effect would not necesserially need a graphic file at all, given that it's a single, constant, solid color - it's probably possible to either do the entire outline as a programmed effect, or else to programatically generate the outline graphic (when loading the menu screen) based on the panel itself's graphic. Perhaps an algorithm would be needed to determine the optimal color against certain backgrounds, though - or alternatively, it could "color shift" similar to what objects do in Clear Physics Mode so it's always going to be visible at some point or other.

The logos / graphics do look nice, though one thing of concern is that NeoLemmix is trying to weaken the "oh hey it's like DOS lemmings" link. With that being said - the ideal goal is that it's similar enough to have the overall feel, but different enough to make it very clear that it isn't intended to be a direct clone (be it approximate or exact). I'd be interested to hear how other people feel - I'm quite open to adopting graphics like zanzindorf's (though first would have to see how well they fit with, if applicable, a larger panel size) if there's general support for them.

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #90 on: September 05, 2020, 02:41:28 pm »
I have to say, even though the "weaken the "oh hey it's like DOS lemmings" link" is a thing that zanzindorfs new standard graphics look better to be.

It just looks way more refined especially with the letter shading, so I would support them.

I also think the outline while hovering over a sign is a great visual feedback and would support the implementation as well.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #91 on: September 06, 2020, 09:18:09 pm »
Zanzindorf's logo is ace, definitely an improvement over the existing one. It'd be good to see a few other ideas as well, maybe have a few to choose from.

Love the outline idea as well, definitely a good visual cue for card selection. The menu cards themselves definitely need more of a facelift (although I'm sure we can all agree that they should have a consistent look). Just going to throw the one I edited out there for feedback one more time. I think the gradient gives the cards a more "modern" look, plus the lemming has stronger colour and definition. The text probably needs boosting a bit:



Whatever is decided, I think it's important that the cards and logo have a consistent look between them as well. So, the lemmings on the logo should look stylistically the same as the card-holding lemmings.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #92 on: September 08, 2020, 10:35:40 pm »
The logos / graphics do look nice, though one thing of concern is that NeoLemmix is trying to weaken the "oh hey it's like DOS lemmings" link. With that being said - the ideal goal is that it's similar enough to have the overall feel, but different enough to make it very clear that it isn't intended to be a direct clone (be it approximate or exact). I'd be interested to hear how other people feel - I'm quite open to adopting graphics like zanzindorf's (though first would have to see how well they fit with, if applicable, a larger panel size) if there's general support for them.

I like the logo. I understand the concern that it doesn't fit the goal of weakening the links to DOS Lemmings, but to be fair I think very few of the proposed changes go far enough for that.

Right now my thoughts for the panels/cards/whatever are that I like WillLem's proposal for the most part, but I think the text needs redone to be crisper (it's too anti-aliased for the resolution). Algorithmic anti-aliasing is generally designed for higher resolutions than most pixel art is drawn at.

Offline zanzindorf

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #93 on: September 10, 2020, 04:18:11 pm »
Here's another version. My aim was kinda towards a more modern look like WillLem suggested. The button text is completely different, now matches the font I used for the logo. It's a lightly modified "Cooper Std", bold for the logo, bold italics for the button text. Any input on the text would be great. I'm fairly happy with the letter shapes, but I think the shading could be tweaked a bit more.

Does anyone happen to know the font name for what's currently being used for the rank text on the original NeoLemmix menu? It's kinda a nice cursive style font, but I couldn't seem to match it, so I switched to Cooper Std.

(The cursor is also added for demonstration purposes.)


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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #94 on: September 10, 2020, 05:30:00 pm »
Ok, this looks just straight up awesome! :thumbsup:

It would get my vote!

Offline Proxima

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #95 on: September 10, 2020, 05:38:18 pm »
One worry: It would be quite a bit of work to replace all the individual rank signs in the original packs with ones matching this style. (For usermade packs, of course, it would be up to the pack creator whether they want to do this.)

Offline zanzindorf

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #96 on: September 10, 2020, 06:25:48 pm »
One worry: It would be quite a bit of work to replace all the individual rank signs in the original packs with ones matching this style.

It's not too much work. I'm working in Photoshop, so I've just got to re-type the number and save. I've made the ones for rank 1-5 already just to test out the look, but I thought I'd wait to make the rest until I get some feed back and maybe tweak a few things.

Not sure if it would help anyone, but I was thinking I could post the photoshop files too once I'm done, so people can edit the buttons easier for custom packs (If they have photoshop). If not, I can post the layered renders.

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #97 on: September 10, 2020, 06:42:12 pm »
Quote
It's not too much work. I'm working in Photoshop, so I've just got to re-type the number and save. I've made the ones for rank 1-5 already just to test out the look, but I thought I'd wait to make the rest until I get some feed back and maybe tweak a few things.

Not sure if it would help anyone, but I was thinking I could post the photoshop files too once I'm done, so people can edit the buttons easier for custom packs (If they have photoshop). If not, I can post the layered renders.

I think it's not the stage number Proxima is worried about, but the "Fun","Tricky","Havoc".... signs of the standard packs.

For custom packs:

They either have a completely custom sign set, or they just change the rank texts. In the case that they have their own sign sets it's no problem.

If they just have custom rank sign texts we must be careful that an inserted graphic inside of the rank sign still looks alright. An example would be Reunions rank sign texts.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #98 on: September 10, 2020, 07:45:29 pm »
Quote
Does anyone happen to know the font name for what's currently being used for the rank text on the original NeoLemmix menu? It's kinda a nice cursive style font, but I couldn't seem to match it, so I switched to Cooper Std.

I made those, and IIRC was on a Windows 8 PC at the time. So it'll be one of the fonts that ships with Windows 8, assuming I didn't make it by hand (which I don't remember for sure either way). EDIT: Or possibly, one that gets installed along with LibreOffice (or did at the time), if it installs any of its own fonts.

Quote
One worry: It would be quite a bit of work to replace all the individual rank signs in the original packs with ones matching this style. (For usermade packs, of course, it would be up to the pack creator whether they want to do this.)

The only pack I would consider giving any special status to in regard to its rank graphics here, is Redux. Any other usermade packs, including other conversions / remakes / etc of the official games, are their creator's responsibility - of course I have no objection to zanzindorf or any other user offering to help out, but the lack of such would not prevent this menu design going ahead.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2020, 07:50:42 pm by namida »

Offline zanzindorf

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #99 on: September 10, 2020, 08:11:30 pm »
Ok, this looks just straight up awesome! :thumbsup:

Thank you! Glad you like it :laugh:

I think it's not the stage number Proxima is worried about, but the "Fun","Tricky","Havoc".... signs of the standard packs.

Ah, I see. Once I nail down the shading, I'll probably do alternate sprites for the Original and Oh-No rankings, as well as Redux. It's quick to do, even for custom words like havoc and mayhem :)

I made those, and IIRC was on a Windows 8 PC at the time. So it'll be one of the fonts that ships with Windows 8, assuming I didn't make it by hand (which I don't remember for sure either way). EDIT: Or possibly, one that gets installed along with LibreOffice (or did at the time), if it installs any of its own fonts.

Thanks! That helps quite a bit. If I can find it, I'd like to do an alternate menu with that font just to see if we like it better.

Offline mantha16

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #100 on: September 10, 2020, 08:46:32 pm »
i like the blue writing at the bottom, the eyes on some of the lemmings are really bothering me they just look weird.

the font choice is readable altho it does look a tad too big on the level select screen. and i still hate that background but accept thats prob not gonna change lol.  this is not criticising zanzindorf at all btw I am totally in love with some of his styles if the lemmings eyes were changed I would like this but at the moment it freaks me out


Offline zanzindorf

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #101 on: September 10, 2020, 09:47:30 pm »
the eyes on some of the lemmings are really bothering me they just look weird.

Lol I kinda agree now that I step back. The ones with the "play" and "talisman" buttons especially don't translate well. The ones in the original DOS version have the same expression, but it just looks kinda weird in HD the way I did it. I'll take another crack at it.

I really like the background, but let me see if I can come up with an alternative just for comparison sake.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #102 on: September 10, 2020, 11:04:08 pm »
One other thing I'd suggest, is stick to mockups at this stage. It is very possible the sizing of the graphics may change, as one thing that's under consideration is changing the underlying canvas size (with 864x486 being the current strongest contender) and presumably this would involve changes to the size of other elements too.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #103 on: September 11, 2020, 03:45:57 am »
Personally, I prefer Zanzidorf's first mockup to the second one. The shading looks odd to me in the second one, both in terms of the implied texture and the overall coloration (too dark).

The text is (mostly) fine, though the F2 button prompt probably shouldn't overlap the text.

It's also worth noting the lemmings will likely look weird no matter what if the DOS version is used as a base: at least based on the Amiga version, it appears those graphics were originally intended to be drawn with a 200% vertical stretch, so they look a little squished.

I'd be interested in seeing what Zanzidorf's text would look like on top of WillLem's panel designs.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2020, 03:50:59 am by Dullstar »

Offline zanzindorf

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #104 on: September 11, 2020, 06:16:54 pm »
Here's another mockup, this time only focusing on the logo and the play button:



Example 0: I reworked the anti-aliasing so it looks less jagged.

Example 1: Gave an example of my Cooper text on WillLem's button, per Dullstar's suggestion. I had to make it just a tad bigger.

Example 2: Reworked WillLem's button concept, kept the same theme, but made it more detailed and wider. Got rid of the texture from my last mockup. Also reworked the eyes (hopefully less creepy now lol). I gave the button a subtle gradient because I thought the one on WillLem's button was a bit too harsh, but I may have made it too subtle. There might be a happy middle ground, but I kinda like how it is. Makes it look more "shiny" if that makes any sense. This design also has more of a "button" look to it, which is important if we're implementing mouse compatibility.

Example 3: Mockup 2 (Based on the DOS menu but more detail)

Example 4: Mockup 1 (Based on the DOS menu)

RE the 200% stretch:

It's also worth noting the lemmings will likely look weird no matter what if the DOS version is used as a base: at least based on the Amiga version, it appears those graphics were originally intended to be drawn with a 200% vertical stretch, so they look a little squished.

That's super helpful, I did not realize. I'll remember this moving forward, but for now, I kept the same squashed look as the DOS menu simply because of the resolution limit.

For the current default resolution for a button sprite, one could fix the 200% stretch problem one of two ways: you could make the button smaller like WillLem's button, or you can halve the width of just the lemming. A smaller button in my opinion just kinda makes the menu feel more empty. On the other hand, halving the width of the lemming allows you to keep big buttons, but it also makes the lemming seem lanky and weird (it would need super long arms to hold the wide button).

Keeping the aspect ratio as it is I think would be fine, it doesn't look super weird to me, but maybe that's just because I've been looking at it for so long. I always just assumed they were short lemmings lol, or maybe they were sitting down behind the signs and resting it on their feets. Maybe I'll do some theoretical designs of the buttons if the graphics were a bit taller by default.

Thanks for all the feedback! It's super helpful. I think I'm going to work on designing an entire menu around "Example 2" and see how it looks. I'll also explore more options for fixing the squashed look.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #105 on: September 11, 2020, 08:03:38 pm »
For reference, my mockup earlier in the topic that makes the panels taller does not stretch them by 2x. Rather, it stretches them based on how much the DOS version's internal ratio, would be stretched on a normal screen size of the time (4:3 aspect ratio), or in other words, the final graphic - lemming included - is either 86 or 87 pixels tall (depending which way I rounded it, I don't recall). Of course, this doesn't have to be maintained exactly.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #106 on: September 11, 2020, 09:35:50 pm »
The texture on the cards and the shading looks awesome, but the graphic itself needs to be un-stretched horizontally (or rather, stretched vertically).

So... in the most recent example, mockup 3's overall artistic look but with mockup 1's general proportions (albeit resized by 200% so it's bigger) seems the way to go IMHO. Here's my own mockup of how this could look (also re-done the eyes slightly):



As for the logo, it's definitely an improvement but I'd like to see a few other ideas before settling on any particular one. If the menu itself is retaining the DOS aesthetic generally, then maybe a completely new logo would do the trick of setting NeoLemmix that bit further apart.

Font-wise, Cooper is OK. I'd also put forward Showcard Gothic (one of my personal faves) or maybe we could design a custom font that looks like the words have been painted on...? EDIT: Thinking about it, it would be really great to see Zanzindorf's logo/menu style with Showcard Gothic as the font actually. I particularly think the logo would look great with that font and Zanzindorf's texturing style.

Finally, I still think 1 row would be best ultimately.

Other than that, I'd say the current ideas are already a vast improvement as they are, so let's keep the momentum going. You're doing an awesome job of putting these together, btw @Zanzindorf! :thumbsup:

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #107 on: September 11, 2020, 09:42:45 pm »
I am a bit torn between 2 and 3 for my favorite. These two are different but both very good. Although I like the lemming on 2 a better.

I think the proportion on 1 is way too small and it would be my least favorite.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #108 on: September 11, 2020, 09:55:56 pm »
I think the proportion on 1 is way too small and it would be my least favorite.

That's why I suggested resizing it by 200% (see previous comment). I agree, it looks way too small in Zanzindorf's mockup comparison, but it can simply be enlarged to fit the same horizontal space as the others whilst also maintaining its vertical proportion.

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #109 on: September 11, 2020, 10:23:33 pm »
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That's why I suggested resizing it by 200% (see previous comment).

Saw that. I still think they should be more horizontal than vertical as in 2, 3 or 4. It just looks way better.

Offline mantha16

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #110 on: September 12, 2020, 12:20:49 am »
the lemming on 2 looks high af

I prefer the font on 4 but the lemming on 1 and the background colour on 2 so really im no help at all.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #111 on: September 12, 2020, 06:27:39 am »
I think the proportion on 1 is way too small and it would be my least favorite.

That's why I suggested resizing it by 200% (see previous comment). I agree, it looks way too small in Zanzindorf's mockup comparison, but it can simply be enlarged to fit the same horizontal space as the others whilst also maintaining its vertical proportion.

200% would likely make it too tall. Again, I'd think a stretch reflecting the difference between DOS's internal rendering resolution (640x350) and the 4:3 aspect ratio you'd get by vertically stretching this (640x480) will give a nicer result - this would correspond to about a 137% vertical stretch.

Though I'm certianly happy to consider both options. And it's certianly not off the table either that we ditch any links to the existing size and simply think "what works well for the new screen size, in general?" The only constraint I would like to enforce, if possible, is that existing rank graphics should fit on (but don't necessarily have to fill) the panel.

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #112 on: September 12, 2020, 06:08:40 pm »
@zanzindorf

I just realized that I am in need of a logo for the introduction pack.

So I want to ask you, when the discussion about style and sizes is over, if you could maybe (if you have the time and motivation for it) create a logo in the same style as the new standard "NeoLemmix" logo that says "NeoLemmix Introduction Pack"? ???

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #113 on: September 12, 2020, 07:01:11 pm »
@zanzindorf

I just realized that I am in need of a logo for the introduction pack.

So I want to ask you, when the discussion about style and sizes is over, if you could maybe (if you have the time and motivation for it) create a logo in the same style as the new standard "NeoLemmix" logo that says "NeoLemmix Introduction Pack"? ???

Sure! I'd love to :thumbsup: I'll DM you for more info later.

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #114 on: September 12, 2020, 07:29:57 pm »


Here's another mockup. This one is to test a different size for the buttons. I went with Namida's estimate instead of the full 200%, and I think that's the right choice. Now the graphics are 87 pixels tall I think. I added back a more subtle texture on the buttons. The rank graphic is still the same size, just on a larger panel.  I also redrew the lemmings for the new aspect ratio, though, they may need more work. Any feedback is appreciated!

Showcard Gothic

That's a good shout, I'll look into that font and others. Regarding alternate logo concepts, I've been thinking about other designs, but I can't seem to come up with anything, other than a redesign of the original DOS one. I'm open to suggestions, and would also totally love to see designs from others.

Regarding backwards compatibility:

Taller buttons look good, I'm in favor of it, and I don't think it will really interfere with the shorter buttons from older level packs. The mock up seen above is displaying in V12.9.4 without any modifications, other than the rank graphic placement. The placement of the rank is the only thing that will need adjusting after switching to this new size, if we decide to go this route. Currently, the rank displays over the new, taller button like this in game:



To fix this placement and also account for the older buttons without breaking them, maybe it's position could be calculated based on the height of the graphic, so it's always roughly centered?

The only other modification that might be needed, is maybe all the buttons need to be shifted up closer to the logo and further away from the bottom text (If we keep the two rows, if we do one row, this wouldn't matter.)

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #115 on: September 12, 2020, 08:01:12 pm »
Quote
To fix this placement and also account for the older buttons without breaking them, maybe it's position could be calculated based on the height of the graphic, so it's always roughly centered?

Something like this will happen in any final build for sure, but for mockup purposes, you can add extra empty space at the top / left to pad it.

I also waited on giving direct feedback on the design itself to avoid too much influence, but now that it seems the general feedback is positive, I'll mention that I too really like your designs here. :D

Offline zanzindorf

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #116 on: September 12, 2020, 08:58:08 pm »
I too really like your designs here. :D

Yay! I'm glad you like it :laugh: The feedback I've been getting has helped a lot.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #117 on: September 13, 2020, 08:23:42 am »
I'm fine with these new signs as long as we can still use custom ones for each individual pack. In particular, my custom ones for Lemmings World Tour look just like the original signs, but with different name tags attached to them. So I assume these are still going to look the same in the new menu versions.
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 mantha16

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #118 on: September 13, 2020, 11:00:53 am »
the eyes are still off everything else is fine  black iris' and coloured pupils just make them look insane

Offline Simon

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #119 on: September 13, 2020, 12:03:23 pm »
The eyes drill holes into your soul. :lem-mindblown: :8():

Put the gold tailsman in front. :tal-gold:

Rename Step to Rank, it's the most common name.

Otherwise, lovely!

-- Simon

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #120 on: September 13, 2020, 12:11:27 pm »
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The eyes drill holes into your soul.

Agree.

I think the best fix here is not to have them look directly at the player and rather at other lemmings or the scenery. ;P

Otherwise it seems excellent! :thumbsup:

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #121 on: September 14, 2020, 12:03:57 am »
Yes, this last new resizing of the menu cards looks great :thumbsup:

Again though, one row would definitely be better and it would be good to see at least one other logo before making any decisions. Otherwise, it's definitely looking to be on the right track. Great work!

Offline zanzindorf

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #122 on: September 14, 2020, 01:12:07 am »


Changes:
* Changed eyes, hopefully less soul piercing :lem-mindblown:
* Fine tuned anti-aliasing in a few places.
* Swapped the gold talisman to the front.
* Adjusted text, made it a little more bold, hopefully easier to read.

Attached are the following:
* Menu images which can work in the current version (tested in V12.9.4)
* The first five rank text images in gfx/menu are padded with empty pixels to force it to work in the current version (as Namida suggested :thumbsup:), but also included are the unpadded versions in the "Unpadded Steps 1-5" folder.
* Alternate rank images for "Rank 1-5" (as suggested by Simon), "Oh No: Crazy - Wild", "Original: Fun - Mayhem", and "Redux: Gentle - Lunatic". All of these haven't been tested thoroughly, so if you notice anything off, let me know. All of these alternates are in the gfx/menu folder.
* Separated layers of each graphic, including the logo. This is good for testing out your own font or text on the existing buttons.

Also, just noting, by submitting these, I'm not saying this is the finished product, or that more alternate ideas shouldn't be posted, I'm just posting these source files in case anyone wants to mess around with them, or try and fine tune things on their own. I'm still happy to continue making changes if needed. Having all the layers separated out makes collaboration easier and faster, so I thought It'd be good to throw it out there. I'm still thinking of alternate logo ideas like WillLem suggested, I just haven't come up with anything.

One idea I had was "NeoLemmix" text in the style of the Psygnosis logo:



I really like it's 80s rock band ascetic, and it's retro computing vibe, though such a design might require a completely different set of menu buttons as well, which is interesting to think about.

Another thought I had was something that incorporates the blue "home" sprite that's currently used for the NeoLemmix Editor executable, the one that's themed after the marble style home sprite. I'm not entirely sure how to incorporate that though.

Offline mantha16

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #123 on: September 14, 2020, 02:18:29 am »
those eyes are definitely less seriel killery

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #124 on: September 14, 2020, 03:16:13 am »
The NL editor icon is the exit from the namida_lab style.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #125 on: September 14, 2020, 05:15:32 am »
Looks good.

I'd like to second Simon's suggestion to rename "Step" to "Rank". I believe "Step" was chosen because of CustLemm, but "Rank" is the term that is actually in use.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #126 on: September 14, 2020, 07:18:56 am »
Looks good.

I'd like to second Simon's suggestion to rename "Step" to "Rank". I believe "Step" was chosen because of CustLemm, but "Rank" is the term that is actually in use.

Hm. Tough question. "Rank" is also a term that NL has been trying to move away from, because NL allows more complex arrangements (eg. groups within groups, or packs that don't divide the levels into ranks, etc). But "rank" is still very ingrained in Lemmings culture in general, and the vast majority of packs do follow a traditional structure. Agree that "Step" isn't a great word to use, though.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #127 on: September 15, 2020, 02:28:34 am »
NL allows more complex arrangements (eg. groups within groups, or packs that don't divide the levels into ranks, etc).

If I recall correctly, the current handling for a pack that doesn't divide the levels into ranks is to treat it as a single pack with only one rank. Perhaps we could hide the rank card on such packs (and modify the layout accordingly)? But how is the former situation handled right now in the menu? I'm not sure of any packs off the top of my head that use this feature.

Offline zanzindorf

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #128 on: September 15, 2020, 03:29:51 am »
I'm not sure of any packs off the top of my head that use this feature.

WillLem's Amiga Lemmings Project uses that feature I think: https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=4947.0

It's organized like this:
-Original Lemmings
        -The Original Ranks, and a rank for the 2P levels
-Oh No Lemmings
        -Oh No Ranks, and a rank for the 2P levels

For me, for this pack, the player handles this on the menu by cycling through the original ranks if "Original Lemmings" is selected in the level selector menu, and cycles through the Oh No ranks if the "Oh No Lemmings" is selected in the level selector menu. It kinda acts like two level packs nested into a single level pack, which you pick via the level selector menu.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #129 on: September 15, 2020, 10:24:24 pm »
Quote
But how is the former situation handled right now in the menu? I'm not sure of any packs off the top of my head that use this feature.

The menu flattens it into a linear order. Children come first, so eg if we have the following structure:

Packy McPackface
> Fun
>> Semi-Fun
>> Kinda-Fun
> Tricky
> Taxing
>> Super-Taxing
> Mayhem

...the menu would flatten this to Semi-Fun, Kinda-Fun, Fun, Tricky, Super-Taxing, Taxing, Mayhem.

This is actually part of why I proposed getting rid of the rank sign - because it doesn't lend itself well if situations like this were to arise.

Quote
For me, for this pack, the player handles this on the menu by cycling through the original ranks if "Original Lemmings" is selected in the level selector menu, and cycles through the Oh No ranks if the "Oh No Lemmings" is selected in the level selector menu. It kinda acts like two level packs nested into a single level pack, which you pick via the level selector menu.

I haven't specifically looked at it, but if both are marked as a "base" pack, this becomes a purely organisational thing for the level select menu, and each of them would still act as their own individual pack outside of that.

Offline Dullstar

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #130 on: September 16, 2020, 04:44:53 am »
In that case, I'd say change Step to Rank or cull Rank from the menu completely. Because most packs either use ranks in the traditional sense, or have no ranks at all, I'd say the current system of flattening more complex structures is probably fine. Many larger packs use ranks, so I think it does have a place on the menu in these packs. Then, if a pack doesn't use ranks at all, we could hide the graphic if we want.

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #131 on: September 16, 2020, 07:01:44 am »
I'm ok with changing Step to Rank.

I am against culling of the rank sign though. The signs add a big personal tough to a pack and I think a removal would also lead a bit to confusion among new players as they still are used to simply select the rank and press play.

If something has to go, I would rather disallow those complex structures than removing the signs.

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #132 on: September 16, 2020, 08:44:27 am »
If something has to go, I would rather disallow those complex structures than removing the signs.

I fully agree.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #133 on: September 16, 2020, 11:10:34 am »
Quote
I'm ok with changing Step to Rank.

I am against culling of the rank sign though. The signs add a big personal tough to a pack and I think a removal would also lead a bit to confusion among new players as they still are used to simply select the rank and press play.

If something has to go, I would rather disallow those complex structures than removing the signs.

I also completely agree with IchoTolot here. No culling of the rank signs, especially since people spend so much time coming up with creative new rank names and making signs for them! ;)
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 #134 on: September 17, 2020, 12:23:07 am »
To be clear, I consider "cull the rank sign" to be utterly rejected at this point. I'm simply mentioning that the possibility of such structures, is what lead me to even propose it in the first place.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #135 on: September 20, 2020, 01:05:53 am »
It's worth noting that a pack containing several sub-packs is still capable of having different rank graphics and logos etc for each individual sub-pack; Amiga Lemmings does this, and I keep the Lemmings Plus series in a parent folder without it affecting any of the rank signs, logos or anything for any of the packs in that set.

I suggest that the only cards needed for the menu are:

PLAY / RANK / LEVELS / SETTINGS

Any others just clutter it up tbh. Exit (Esc) could simply be a small button at the top left.

Online IchoTolot

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #136 on: September 20, 2020, 09:35:11 am »
I disaggree with that. Buttons in the top corner can easily be overlooked and yes even Exit should not be hidden away.

You could consider "press ESC to exit" is common knowledge, but you really don't wanna assume people know stuff. In the end someone doesn't and gets frustrated.

Talismans is another thing though. I would agree that this can be better displayed in the level select screen as part of the level info.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #137 on: September 20, 2020, 06:45:29 pm »
Quote
I disaggree with that. Buttons in the top corner can easily be overlooked and yes even Exit should not be hidden away.

On the other hand, top-right corner is where I'd instinctively look for a close button if there was nothing more obvious - and in particular, I'd consider that more "common knowledge" than Esc, especially these days.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #138 on: September 27, 2020, 01:53:10 am »
I disaggree with that. Buttons in the top corner can easily be overlooked

On the contrary, it's where the Exit button is for most applications. It's the first place I'd look.

You could consider "press ESC to exit" is common knowledge, but you really don't wanna assume people know stuff

To be fair, I haven't made this assumption. I've suggested that the Exit button be moved somewhere that a) makes more sense, b) decreases clutter, and c) allows use of 4 menu cards, which can be more neatly displayed in one row than 5.

Talismans is another thing though. I would agree that this can be better displayed in the level select screen as part of the level info.

I'm glad we all seem to agree on this. At least we know that 5 cards will ultimately be the maximum number and we can start to get designs together based on that.

As for the EXIT card/button, or whether or not there should be one or two rows of cards/buttons, it seems like it's the sort of thing that's best decided by poll.

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #139 on: September 27, 2020, 10:04:01 am »
I kind of like that Talisman sign and the window behind it is back, actually. I don't particularly care for Talismans in general, but when I do, my sense of "completionism" is triggered much more easily by having them all in a nice overview that can be completed - instead of just attached to every single level as a random additional challenge that you can either accept or not.

Maybe the other "completionists" here on the forums (e.g. kaywhyn and ericderkovits) agree with me on that? ;)
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 kaywhyn

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #140 on: September 27, 2020, 12:57:11 pm »
I kind of like that Talisman sign and the window behind it is back, actually. I don't particularly care for Talismans in general, but when I do, my sense of "completionism" is triggered much more easily by having them all in a nice overview that can be completed - instead of just attached to every single level as a random additional challenge that you can either accept or not.

Like you, I don't care for the talismans in general. I am simply content with solving levels by any means possible. Once I finish a pack, I generally won't go back and try for the talismans I didn't get on my first playthrough. Pretty much the only way I would get talismans is by "accident," because I generally don't try for them, or I didn't know there was one for the level. This is especially the case for Old Formats, because the requirements aren't displayed in the level preview like they are in New Formats in addition to also seeing it in the talisman menu in the main menu. Not to mention that most of the talismans are probably beyond my ability to obtain them, but I think it mostly depends on the pack. Like I've tried getting some for Nepsterlems, but they're just too hard and beyond what I'm capable of achieving, and so when I do resume playing the pack again, I'm not going to go for any of the talismans. At the same time, the only ones likely to be of interest to me are the time solution talismans, eg, complete the level in less than x minutes, particularly since I love time limits in the game and I'm a huge numbers fan. You would think this also extends to skill talismans, eg, complete using no more than x builders, but I found a lot of these way too difficult for me.

Offline Proxima

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #141 on: September 27, 2020, 03:03:01 pm »
I'm a talisman completionist, but I don't like the current main-menu talisman option and I think we may as well cull it if we can't make it better. For a start, it isn't a "nice overview" -- it displays four talismans per page and it's tedious to flip through them if you are looking for information on a particular one. The best overview we have is the talisman icons next to levels in the F2 level list.

My suggestion for a talisman overview screen would be a pop-up like the level list, but instead of listing levels, it lists talismans for the current pack, in a similar font size to the level list, so that up to around 30 talismans can be seen at once. This could be a main-menu button but it could also be accessed from the level list, and that would be preferable to avoid clutter.

Offline WillLem

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #142 on: September 27, 2020, 11:48:02 pm »
In order of preference:

1) Put Talismans in F2 menu (there could even be a button to display just talisman info as a list within that menu), have an Exit button in the top right, arrange the remaining 4 cards onto 1 row
2) Put Talismans in F2 menu, have an Exit card (meaning 5 cards altogether), and arrange the 5 cards onto 1 row
3) Have a card for both Talismans and Exit, and arrange the 6 cards onto 2 rows
4) Put Talismans in F2 menu, have an Exit card and arrange the 5 cards onto 2 rows
5) Status quo

Basically, if we must have 2 rows, I'd rather there be 6 cards (3 on each row), so in that case I'd vote for keeping the Talisman card. But then, I'd strongly recommend a new Talisman screen as the existing one isn't very usable, as Proxima has correctly pointed out.

The best option of all (it seems to me) is to incorporate talisman info into the F2 screen, have an X/Esc button in the top left (or top right) of the screen for exit, and then arrange the remaining 4 cards onto one neat row.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #143 on: October 08, 2020, 09:03:58 pm »
As some of you may have seen on Discord, I did a bit of work towards this at last.

Here's a level preview screen, keeping the existing layout for the most part but it's now using an 864x486 canvas (in a window of the same proportions) and a 19px tall font.



The text on the preview screen already was centered based on (non-hardcoded) canvas size, and adjusting NL to actually use a 19px tall font, meant almost everything here fell into place already using existing code. The only further tweaks were to make the level preview make use of the additional horizontal space available; to move the text down a bit so the vertical size of the preview could be expanded accordingly (overall, the preview area increased from 640x128 to 864x160); and to increase the length at which the talisman requirement text wraps onto a new line.

Particularly nice is that, the 160px tall preview area means a lot of levels (the one in the above image included) can in fact fit, full-size, on the preview screen, instead of having to be shrunk. Far from a critical thing, but it's still neat.

Of course, I realise that further changes to this screen are VERY likely, this is mostly for a preliminary "make everything work, as-is, in 16:9" step before working on actually redesgning / adjusting the screens that need it.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #144 on: October 13, 2020, 12:13:41 am »
Here's actual screenshots of a one-line vs two-line menu. In both cases, the talisman panel is removed.

To be clear - custom rank panel graphics are still supported! However, instead of placeholders that either say "Step XX" or "Rank graphic not found", I've added code that will auto-generate a meaningful placeholder using the menu font, and that's why the rank graphic is such in these screenshots.

Actually seeing them in action, I much prefer the two-line look, even with the taller cards. I am wondering whether they should be spaced out a bit more horizontally, though. EDIT: Added a more-spaced-out two lines.

Note that the graphics for the cards themself are just lazy vertical stretches. Any final production would be much nicer, of course. (Existing custom panels would continue to work as-is, but would not be adjusted height-wise so might look a bit small on the new layout.)

The logo used here is also unaltered from the existing one for LPV. However, the new menu code will accept any logo up to 864x144 in size (vs current menu allowing up to 632x94). In practice, you'd want to leave some margin around the sides, so I'd suggest sticking under 848x128.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2020, 12:26:22 am by namida »

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #145 on: October 13, 2020, 05:06:55 am »
I've done a full rewrite of the menu code. The new menu code currently keeps the existing design (currently using the two-rows, spaced layout, though this is very easy to change under the new code), but has slightly smoother + faster animation on the scroller, widens the scroller a bit, and has full mouse support (except for accessing some of the hidden functions like Cleanse Levels - but if you can see it on the screen, you can click on it). And yes, there are hover / click graphics, though these are automatically generated.

One other change is that it no longer shows the "Step __" or "Rank graphic not found" placeholders. Instead, it will generate a rank graphic if one is not present, by simply writing the rank name in the menu font (and shrinking it down if need be to fit).

Still some minor stuff to address here, including the "one row or two?" question, but for the most part, what needs to be done for the title screen is done. The other screens that still need significant attention are the preview screen, and the level select menu.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2020, 05:22:12 am by namida »

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #146 on: October 13, 2020, 05:15:18 am »
Here's a video showing the new menus in action: https://youtu.be/J1ztE2pamKs

I've also made a dedicated topic for discussion of further changes to the title screen: https://www.lemmingsforums.net/index.php?topic=5158.0
« Last Edit: October 13, 2020, 05:30:11 am by namida »

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #147 on: October 15, 2020, 04:13:43 am »
As there's so much support for the one line and two-line-spaced options (and no votes at all so far for anything else, including "no preference"), I've removed all other options except "no preference". Assume one of these two layouts will be the final result.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #148 on: October 16, 2020, 09:44:16 am »
Dedicated topics exist for a few particular areas that have had / need the most attention:

- Title screen
- Level select menu
- Preview screen

Please use those topics going forward for any discussion on those particular areas. This topic remains the place to discuss all other menu screens / popups.

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #149 on: October 17, 2020, 01:04:56 am »
It was brought up that the preview screen should perhaps have a clickable element for Load Replay.

As a flipside to this, perhaps the postview screen should have one for Save Replay?

Offline namida

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Re: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design
« Reply #150 on: Today at 01:59:25 am »
I have locked this topic and the others to keep all further discussion in one place - the V12.10.0-RC release topic.