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Should we change from babyface to traditional as default?
Poll ended at Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:26 pm
YES, babyface does everything backwards! 18%  18%  [ 2 ]
NO, babyface has better usability! 45%  45%  [ 5 ]
Maybe. I don't mind either. 36%  36%  [ 4 ]
??? What's babyface? 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 11
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 5:26 pm 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2003 5:22 pm
Posts: 1461
Location: Finland
Those who know me know that I hate, hate, hate the babyface interface that is new to ToME 3 and much prefer the traditional one. I think we should have a poll on which interface is preferred among the ToME community. If you dig around, you can change the default setting by editing a text file, but since that's cumbersome and non-obvious the default should preferred by the majority.

Babyface is the current default, supposedly easier for newbies. The first thing it does is to ask between starting a new game, loading a game, and getting new modules. After you choose to start a new game, you choose the module, but if you choose to load a game, you choose from among the names of your characters. Babyface names your savefiles after your characters, no questions asked, and by choosing a savefile you also choose the corresponding module.

Traditional is the other interface. The first thing it does is to ask you to select a module. (There is a text to press m to get new modules.) After you select a module you choose a savefile just like in ToME 2. The general appearance is more minimalistic. Your savefile for every module will probably be named PLAYER, just like in ToME 2, unless you take action to have it otherwise.

So which do you prefer?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:06 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 2:08 am
Posts: 929
Location: Orange County, Ca
Nerdanel wrote:
which interface

If the choice is only between the two, I would vote babyface. Much as you dislike it, it is easier for new players, it requires fewer keypresses when loading a game, and it does things the traditional interfce does not. Compare installing new modules, for instance.

However, if you'd like to take the third option, and if you can find someone to do it...redesigning babyface would probably not be horrible. Personally, I think it does exactly the job it's intended to do...it's just ugly.

Though we do need to do something about that non-functional and strangely plural "informations" option.

Quote:
Babyface
After you choose to start a new game, you choose the module

Traditional
The first thing it does is to ask you to select a module.

There are two reasons for the way babyface does it.

First, take a look at the module list. I don't know about you but personally I have 13 modules on my list. And I assume babyface is designed to be able to handle scrolling if the list no longer fits on the screen. Throwing a dozen or more options at a user right away is cumbersome. It's a more gentle approach to start out with a couple options then "branch" out to more choices. "New" "load" "exit" is a good first thing for a user to see.

Second, it doesn't make sense to compell the user to choose from a huge list when there's only one choice he can actually make. Let's say you only play one module, and only have one character. With babyface you simply press "b" to load a game, and then it defaults to your character so you simply press enter. If module selection came first, then you would first have to choose from a list of 13 modules even though there's only a single character save file. Imagine having to press arrow keys a dozen times every time you load a game, just because there are a dozen modules loaded that you never play. It would be needlessly tedious. The sequence used by Babyface prevents this.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:39 pm 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2003 5:22 pm
Posts: 1461
Location: Finland
Remember that a new player starts out with only one or two modules. That's not too unmanageable.

Also, we are talking about a roguelike engine. A beginning player in particular could be succumbing to permadeath very often.

Good way of dealing with that:
"I want to play module X. Click. Oh, it looks like my most recent character is dead/temporarily alive."

Bad way of dealing with that:
"I want to play module X. Now, was my latest character alive or not? Hmm... Click."

When it really gets bad is when the player chooses to load a game and they have a bunch of living characters with savefiles cluttering the selection screen, or even worse, dead characters with savefiles cluttering the selection screen if babyface still acts the way it used to.

That way you don't click to play module X. You click to play Bob or Explorington IV or Elalingriel the disposable character whose name was decided by the RNG in a list full of characters with names that are unlikely to be particularly indicative of the module they belong to unless you make the point of throwing immersion to the wind and being systematic that way. It could be a long list. It could even be longer than the module list if you like to try out characters from the same module in parallel.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 10:08 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 2:08 am
Posts: 929
Location: Orange County, Ca
Nerdanel wrote:
or even worse, dead characters with savefiles cluttering the
selection screen if babyface still acts the way it used to.

Like I said, it could probably use a redesign. I don't like the clutter any more than you do.

But the basic sequence of "load" --> "choose character" makes sense to me, and having the ability to install modules from a menu is fantastically useful.

Quote:
list full of characters with names that are unlikely to be particularly indicative of the module they belong to

When was the last time you used it? Are you complaining about an interface you don't even use? Characters are listed by module with bright red headers. There's no way you could mix up which character goes with which module.

But again...improvements to it would be nice. For example, a default to last character played might be nice.

Quote:
dead characters
cluttering the selection screen

This isn't unique to babyface. The other method does this too. Personally...I would say delete the savefiles of dead characters. It's tedious to have them, as you say, cluttering up the screen. But there's a tradition amongst roguelikes to be able to continue from dead characters to retain monster memory.

Of course...if you're doing that, then you won't have all the dead characters cluttering up the screen because you're re-using the same savefile.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:04 am 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2003 5:22 pm
Posts: 1461
Location: Finland
You can select new modules from a menu in the traditional style too.

1. Press m at the first screen. (There is a text telling you can do that.)
2. The game loads a list of available modules that appear below the installed modules and a separator. Yes, it can deal with more lines than the window is tall, and there is a description of the module the cursor is at on the right side of the screen.
3. You can then choose to install (or not) by pressing enter.

The thing with "load -> choose a character" is that since the T-Engine is no longer a single game but more like a collection of games, the situation is more like "load -> choose a character from among the characters of every game you've ever played on that system". I'd much rather have it "start T-Engine -> choose a game -> choose a character (or just press enter if you don't have more than one character for that game)"

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 7:46 am 
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Reaper

Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:21 am
Posts: 2257
Location: New Zealand
I like babyface...

I admit it could do with a redesign to make it better, and easier, to use.

I agree with Bucketman the ability to install any module that is on the server is great!

Also I have not had a problem with confusing the character and its associated module. It is very clear.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 9:26 am 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2003 5:22 pm
Posts: 1461
Location: Finland
madmonk wrote:
I agree with Bucketman the ability to install any module that is on the server is great!


It's clear to you that this ability is both in babyface and the T-Engine adaptation of the traditional interface, right?

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 12, 2010 12:57 pm 
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Uruivellas

Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2004 2:08 am
Posts: 929
Location: Orange County, Ca
So, I've just tested the old interface...and it's bad. If there's to be an interface change, so be it...but switching to the old interface as it is would not be an improvement.

1) It doesn't display player.make_savefile_descriptor() information.
2) The green "highlight" can scroll off the edge of the screen.
3) Vertical scrolling does not wrap
4) Escape does not back up the the previous menu, rather it causes ToME to suddenly close.
5) There appears to be no way to back up at all. The only way to change your mind and choose a different module seems to be to close and restart.
6) It require more keypresses. Babyface intelligently remembers the last character I played, so I can reload my last game with two quick presses of enter no matter how many characters I have. The old interface requires (on my install) seven keypresses to do the same, and only even that few if I take the time to visually scan through the character list to find the letter associated with the character. The old interface always defaults to the "c" position if there are characters. It doesn't remember the last character I played.

So as is, babyface is more functional, less broken and requires fewer keypresses than the old interface.

I see no reason to go back.


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