Author Topic: [DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen  (Read 315 times)

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Offline namida

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[DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen
« on: October 13, 2020, 10:38:36 pm »
I have locked this topic and the others to keep all further discussion in one place - the V12.10.0-RC release topic.



Alright so, let's talk about what needs to change on the level preview screen. Pretend that I haven't read any previous discussions on this subject - what is your stance now on what should or shouldn't change on it?

For reference, changes that have already been made are very small. Firstly, in line with general mouse-friendliness improvements, there is now a visible cursor and clickable "Play level" or "Exit to menu" texts instead of the "click left button click right button blah blah" text. The previous mouse behaviour still exists, if you click in "empty space". And of course, the preview screen benefits from the global menu screen improvements - 864x486 internal resolution and taller / better-color font. In terms of making use of the extra area from the resolution boost, the only changes are the word wrap cutoff point for talisman requirements, and the size of the level preview area - increased to 864x160, from a previous 640x128.

Possibilities to consider are:
- Displaying skillset and/or additional stats, perhaps using a semi-graphical representation (eg. a skill panel render)
- Displaying zombie / neutral counts
- If / how talismans are displayed

Regarding talisman display, I realise to some extent, the input here will be dependant on what talisman display is available elsewhere. Assume that (a) the Talisman menu (F4) will be removed; (b) full talisman info will be accessible in the Level Select menu (F2); and (c) in-game display of talisman info will not happen in V12.10.X but will come in a future update. Ideally I would like to at least display how many talismans exist + what colors; displaying their requirements are negotiable (players could open up the Level Select menu to check if they're interested).

Remaining todos:
- Currently none.
« Last Edit: Today at 02:00:02 am by namida »

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2020, 06:28:35 pm »
This doesn't happen to be another chance to introduce customisable backgrounds for the level preview screen, does it? :D

I'm referring to a Lemmings 3D-like level-by-level variation of the preview screen background, by simply making the background of the level preview screen another property of each individual level text file that you can add (like the music, or the background of the level itself).

This way, you could, for example, have different level preview screen backgrounds for each tileset, or even present a different image on every single level preview screen, by just adding a line referencing the .png image file in the text file of the level.

I know it wasn't something that a lot of people said they would use back when you put up a poll about it - but there didn't seem to be any opposition to it either. And as far as I recall, you said it wouldn't be too much work to implement it. Thus, if you're now ready to modify all kinds of stuff about the level preview screen anyway... maybe this would be a nice additional feature to have? ;)

Also, we've had some new forum members join in the meantime, after the poll on this particular feature had already been closed. So maybe there's more demand for it now? :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 Proxima

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2020, 06:35:00 pm »
I'm a traditionalist, so I favour keeping the level preview as similar as possible to the old one, except:

* Remove the talisman requirements. Instead, possibly use icons in the lower-left corner to show how many talismans exist, their ranks, and which ones have already been obtained.
* Increase the space between the level image and the text.
* Make the spacing between lines of text more consistent -- still have a larger space between the rank/position and the other statistics, but all the other lines should have the same spacing.

Offline namida

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2020, 06:39:42 pm »
Quote
This doesn't happen to be another chance to introduce customisable backgrounds for the level preview screen, does it? :D

It's a chance, but same goes as before - would need to actually see support for it.

With that being said, one feature that has made it already, is different backgrounds for different kinds of menu screens. So while all levels within a pack (or at least, within a rank) will have the same preview image, you could have a different one for the preview screen vs the title screen for example. If you were to further sort your levels into ranks by style, if that suits your project, you could more or less achieve what you're trying to here using that feature alone.

Offline namida

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2020, 07:02:07 pm »
I'm a traditionalist, so I favour keeping the level preview as similar as possible to the old one, except:

* Remove the talisman requirements. Instead, possibly use icons in the lower-left corner to show how many talismans exist, their ranks, and which ones have already been obtained.
* Increase the space between the level image and the text.
* Make the spacing between lines of text more consistent -- still have a larger space between the rank/position and the other statistics, but all the other lines should have the same spacing.

What do you propose is done with the empty space?

One option is to just leave it as-is and accept there's a big empty space. The other option could be to move the text downwards, and increase the level preview area's height even more - although it's now tall enough that the majority of levels will not benefit from a further increase to it.

Offline Proxima

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2020, 07:21:37 pm »
Here's a very quick mock-up of what it might look like. (The circles are where talisman icons might be.)

I don't think the amount of empty space is a problem, and I think it's good that the screen isn't too cluttered.

Offline IchoTolot

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2020, 07:45:33 pm »
I think that's a bit too much space between the level picture and the level title now. It just looks a bit weird.
Maybe take a third/half or so of the extra space away.

Also, I believe the space between rank and title should be a smaller than the space between rank and level stats.

Otherwise the general idea to add a bit more space is alright. I just think the mock-up is a tad too much. ;)
« Last Edit: October 15, 2020, 08:08:14 pm by IchoTolot »

Offline namida

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2020, 07:59:33 pm »
For reference, here's a screenshot (at actual, internally-rendered size) of the preview screen as it currently stands.

Offline Simon

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2020, 06:56:49 pm »
You allow to load replay from preview, but only via hotkey. Put visible button on preview that loads a replay. Thus, we will prevent such confusion.

I agree with more space between image and title, e.g., Icho's idea of 2/3 of Proxima's idea.

Rename Continue to Play. (Play is short word, it will be harder to hit by mouse with wurst fingers, but that's okay, we'll have to practise then.)

-- Simon

Offline kaywhyn

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2020, 07:02:20 pm »
You allow to load replay from preview, but only via hotkey. Put visible button on preview that loads a replay.

Thus, we will prevent such confusion.

Good idea! I should point out that I too didn't know it was possible to load up a replay on the preview screen until I saw Icho doing it in his United creator's commentary video. I have always loaded up the replay after I entered the level.

As for the level preview screen, looking good, namida! :thumbsup:

Offline namida

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2020, 07:03:38 pm »
You allow to load replay from preview, but only via hotkey. Put visible button on preview that loads a replay.

Thus, prevent such confusion from arising.

-- Simon

All allowed behaviours from preview screen:
- Proceed to preview text, or if there is none or if you've already seen it, to level (left-click in empty space, click on "Continue", or press Enter or Space)
- Proceed to preview text, or if there is none, to level (middle-click in empty space)
- Return to menu (right-click in empty space, click on "Exit to menu", or press Esc)
- Open level select (fixed key, F2 - same as title screen shortcut)
- Open settings (fixed key, F3 - same as title screen shortcut)
- Change selected level (press up / down to navigate between groups, left / right to navigate between levels within a group - this will not let you go outside the current pack)
- Load replay (press your assigned hotkey)
- Save level image (press your assigned hotkey)

These last two require that your assigned hotkey is not one of the other fixed-behaviour keys for this screen.

EDIT: To clarify, if you have multiple hotkeys assigned to these functions, any of your hotkeys can be used. If some of them match fixed-behaviour keys here, you can still use the ones that don't. For example - if you have F2, F3 and F4 all assigned to "Load Replay", you can't use F2 or F3 on the preview screen to load replay (due to them having other, fixed behaviours there) but you can still use F4.

Click-in-empty-space behaviours are pre-existing, I initially removed them from the new code but it felt awkward without them so I re-added them (but for obvious reasons, applied them only when clicking in empty space). This is also true for all other menu screens except the title screen.

My initial thought is that "proceed, with forced showing of preview text if there is one" and "save level image" are obscure enough to be hidden functionalities. The rest should have clickable elements of some kind. Maybe it's acceptable for the change level (arrow keys) functions to also not have clickable elements, as one for the level select menu would be good enough?
« Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 07:23:50 pm by namida »

Offline Simon

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2020, 07:24:19 pm »
Thanks for the list, this is a lot of functionality. The straightforward introduction of buttons for everything will risk bloat.

For level forward/backward, you can introduce labels <- and -> and squish them in the lower corners.

For the rarely needed functionality, I don't have good immediate ideas besides making a submenu or a nonmodal popup on hover-over-something. Neither feels good, I should sleep over this more. Of all screens/menus that we can clutter, the preview screen would be the worst to clutter. This screen is a title screen for the level, and clutter distracts from what we want to preview in peace.

I'm happy that the functionality of preview and level browser converge.

-- Simon

Offline namida

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2020, 07:28:59 pm »
Save Image could also be moved to the level select menu, there's no technical obstacle to this.

Load Replay on the other hand, while I don't think there's any technical obstacle, I think in terms of user-friendliness it makes sense to continue to allow it on the preview screen in some form.

Offline namida

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2020, 02:31:05 am »
Some slight tweaks to the title and level select menus too, but since the main changes are around the preview screen, I'll post this here:

https://youtu.be/Myfzz9jg1sw

Please post in the respective topics if you're sharing feedback about the title screen or level select menu. :)

Offline Strato Incendus

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Re: [DISC][PLAYER] Level preview screen
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2020, 09:27:18 am »
Sorry if I missed it, but is there a specific reason why the buttons at the bottom are a lighter shade of blue than the level information? I assume it's to differentiate between what is clickable and what is not, but these two colours seem to somewhat collide with each other.
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