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Unread 03-17-2011, 03:27 AM
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Palantir 2 - what's next.

I wanted to take some time to talk about the next major version of Palantir - not only what to expect, and what my plans are, but also to get an idea of what you feel about them. You know, just in case I've suddenly gone insane without being aware of it

First thing's first - Palantir 2 will be about as much of an improvement over v1, as v1 was over the beta version. The two main reasons for such a giant change boils down to getting Palantir ready for the future, and dumping every possible option I can think of (many are thanks to your own suggestions )

My goal is to allow the casual user to just start it up, just like they could always do - but those of us who like to get everything looking and behaving exactly how they want it to, should be able to spend a decent amount of time playing in the options panel to do so.

Since Turbine introduced access to class meters and the API is at least set up to someday provide access to at least fellowship and/or target vitals, I figured the best way to go about things is to make everything bar centric - meaning that instead of just having 3 sections (Main,Color,Text),you will see a button for each type of bar. Most bar's settings will have 4 tabs (Basics, Appearance, Text and Alert). Among the bar types - there will be 4 bars that will not be functional on release, but will be as soon as Turbine provides support (Target Morale, Target Power, Special Morale and Special Power). The latter two exist under the assumption that some day we will be able to choose a player/mob to track - even if we are not currently targeting them.

Due to being bar-centric, and wanting to provide further customization on appearance, There will be a few "tools" to help keep things neat, orderly and relatively sane. The first is Direction. The goal is to have each type of bar able to be displayed in 4 directions (Left,Right,Top,Bottom). If you want the Debuff bar on the left, or top - you'll be able to do that. Want your power and morale on the same side? again - you'll be able to do that too.

The second "tool" is something called Linking, and goes hand in hand with Direction. This will allow you to link one bar to any bar on the opposite side (Top<->Bottom/Left<->Right). When you do this, any change in bar spacing for that bar, will automatically be applied to the linked bar. The end result is a much neater appearance - without having to eye up the spacing, use a grid, or have to mess with trying to drag elements around the screen.

Finally, with all the various settings available for each bar, I figured it would be handy to copy and paste from bar to bar. Not only pasting, but also "advanced" pasting, which will allow you to select exactly the options you want to paste.

Now that the "tools" are out of the way, there are a couple of actually new play features coming - and this is in addition to the class meters bar (i.e. fervor/focus/attunement). Both of these fall under the "Alert" section - the first isn't exactly new -as I've talked about it before, but will finally show itself - that being, flashing alerts. It will work very similar to the color points, except, instead of picking a color for two points, you'll be able to select the speed of the flash. For those who haven't been following, this will "flash" the fill of the bars when the level gets down to a certain point. The Debuff bar will also have this option as well, although there will only be a flash speed setting.

The second addition is something influenced directly by a fighter jet HUD, but also shows itself in another form in that "other" game. All it is, is a bit of text in a outlined, transparent box, that's displayed directly in the center of the HUD. This can be anything from "Low Health" to "Wound" to even "Crit Response" - quickly and plainly alerting you to a situation. It will of course have an opacity setting, as well as a duration timer (i.e. arbitrary number of seconds or until it no longer applies). As far as what will happen when more than one of these shows up? That's still being worked out - but it will most likely cycle between them.

Another much talked about, but still missing feature that will finally show up in Palantir 2, is skinning support. While I can't promise that user created skins will be supported at such a time, the structure will certainly be there - as well as a couple of skins to choose from.

Last but not least, I'm planning on reworking the Debuff bar again - Mainly because I think it's just far too bulky as it is. This also means I'm going to be re-evaluating the decision for pot support. I'm not going to lie - I'm not very enthused about making anything on Palantir clickable. A HUD is supposed to be strictly for information purposes and that was my initial vision. That being said, I understand how convenient it is to just click somewhere more accessible than a standard quick slot, to access critical items like pots - whether it be morale, power, or cures. I would rather work on a plugin that provides such a feature, that would fit in well with Palantir, but not be an actual part of it. This way it could be placed wherever it's most convenient to you - without having to place limitations on it, in order for it to work with Palantir. Of course, the other advantage is that even if players don't want Palantir, they could still make use of it.

That being said, It's not my place to tell you what you should or shouldn't like. If there's enough demand for the debuff bar quickslots, I will continue to use them - but only because they are convenient, and they don't risk blocking out the screen, or cause other undesirable actions. Unfortunately that isn't the case with the other bars - so those will remain without quickslots.


That's all for now - no pictures yet, as I'm finishing up the initial plan, and working on the pseudo code to get all my classes/functions/structure laid out. However, any additional news, pictures, sketches or mockups that I have, will be posted here. My goal is to have this ready before Isengard at the latest, but hopefully well before that. I also plan on doing an extensive beta for it - to hopefully avoid the 5 billion patches that plagued v1. I will announce - again, in this thread, when that time is near, with more information including how invites/requests are going to work. It's probably not going to be very complex, but I do want to make sure that people are actually testing it out, so that bugs can be found and fixed before release.

Of course, as always - any comments, suggestions, complaints, or questions are welcome. I'm done for now - it's your turn
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