Poll

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

One line
3 (30%)
Two lines (spaced)
7 (70%)
No preference
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 10

Author Topic: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design  (Read 6474 times)

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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.