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%)

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Author Topic: [PROPOSALS][PLAYER] New menu design  (Read 6472 times)

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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.

Offline IchoTolot

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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.