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  #11  
Unread 12-04-2008, 02:21 PM
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Supermax Supermax is offline
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Yes Brode,

I believe that I, along with countless other UI enthusiasts, have devoted a lot of time to improving Turbine's interface (which I think was developed to suit new players, albeit being quite clumsy.) When people complain or make suggestions about the launch UI, we are the answer it seems.

I must say, if we only had some sort of development power or just a voice, we could together do great things.

We represent a very important figure in LOTRO's community; we are the folk who are willing to put in the time and effort to improve the game play and or the integration of different player's needs and desires. We help build the total player immersion.

I think, in a small way, we are one of many factors that have lead to the success of The Lord of the Rings online. I only wish Turbine recognized this.

I don't expect to be paid or appreciated, just a little more cooperation on Turbine's side.

We really should get together and express all of our ideas to Turbine via a letter or something--anything that will get our voices heard.

Maybe Frosty, you can assist in this?

/Ghandi mode

EDIT
P.S. It would be pretty cool to work for Turbine doing UI work IMO

Last edited by Supermax : 12-04-2008 at 05:14 PM.
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  #12  
Unread 12-04-2008, 05:36 PM
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Frosty Frosty is offline
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A little history on me and UI Skinning:

I'm not a game systems guy, I work on the tools. The content tools that allow people to build quests, put monsters in the world, and terraform the landscape. In 2005, I was really concerned with how LOTRO's UI was shaping up and I took a leave of absence from my current job to work on the UI with other (more talented than me) people. I brought you floaty text, chat and IM tab improvements, the radar and map, and vitals updates (to name a few.)

After the year was up, I transitioned back into the job I am in now, the manager for the Live, Support, and Tools team. This means that my team is called whenever the servers crash (yes, sometimes at 2am), we debug and triage the problems and code the solutions. We aren't game specific and we handle both DDO and LOTRO server maintenance. We don't do game code.

Before LOTRO launched, I was playing a lot of WoW and I was amazed at the level of customization their client allowed and I wondered how much of our UI could be modified. It turned out it wasn't a lot - the UI system as it exists today is fairly similar (but updated with functionality) as the AC2 engine. Basic investigation showed me that we could replace graphics fairly easily.

I was on a trip to a brewery in Maine at some point in 2006 (playing hookie from work) when I essentially designed the whole skinning system as it exists today. I think it took me a week to shoehorn the system into the existing UI (on my own time, mind you). Re-positioning UI elements came a few weeks later - to my chagrin this still doesn't work as intended. So UI skinning is essentially a "one man show" from a man who's job is something else. I get to work on skinning when I get the chance (instead I'm writing this post! ... kidding...)

Other people have mentioned it, but we are working on a new UI system that I can't talk too much about. So you have the struggle between devoting resources to a newer cooler system and supporting and adding functionality to the old system.

Posting on this board about your feelings on the UI probably aren't going to change the course of the Titanic, but posting (well thought out, articulate) icebergs on the official message boards might get you somewhere (to continue the metaphor). Remember, I'm not officially attached to the LOTRO project, so you need to convince those developers that improving the older UI is worthwhile.

-P
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  #13  
Unread 12-04-2008, 06:03 PM
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Thanks for the reply Frosty,

Well I guess the first thing I need to point out, and I'm sure you and the UI team already know this, is that you can't make everyone happy.

Players will want both more or less from the interface. At this stage in the game I wouldn't focus to much on providing tools to edit the old interface. The new interface will definitely be a step forward (I'm hoping) but it won't be enough.

Using Turbine's model of customization, the player should be able to (among other things):
-Modify the graphics
-Reposition assets
-Remove or add certain assets from or into different panels (example: also having fervour/focus posted above enemy vitals.
-Build up or take down previous concepts created by the Turbine UI team.

My point being, the player should have the option of giving him/herself a completely unique experience. That's where this community stands. We do the little customizations for ourselves and other people so Turbine doesn't have too.

I don't want to step on anyone's shoes but one of the reasons why we are here is because the UI is VERY unpolished. A lot of assets aren't even aligned properly. A lot of the graphic work is repetitive and mediocre.

Leaving our community in the dark isn't going to get anyone anywhere. I'm not asking for Turbine to spill the beans on any top secret stuff. Although, shedding some light on what route our ship is taking would be really appreciated.

We all appreciate what you've done Frosty. Don't get me wrong. You should be the highest paid employee at Turbine. For the sake of a metaphor: this is your forest, we're just camping in it.

Last edited by Supermax : 12-04-2008 at 06:08 PM.
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  #14  
Unread 12-04-2008, 06:17 PM
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Brode Brode is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frosty
A little history on me and UI Skinning:

I'm not a game systems guy, I work on the tools. The content tools that allow people to build quests, put monsters in the world, and terraform the landscape. In 2005, I was really concerned with how LOTRO's UI was shaping up and I took a leave of absence from my current job to work on the UI with other (more talented than me) people. I brought you floaty text, chat and IM tab improvements, the radar and map, and vitals updates (to name a few.)

After the year was up, I transitioned back into the job I am in now, the manager for the Live, Support, and Tools team. This means that my team is called whenever the servers crash (yes, sometimes at 2am), we debug and triage the problems and code the solutions. We aren't game specific and we handle both DDO and LOTRO server maintenance. We don't do game code.

Before LOTRO launched, I was playing a lot of WoW and I was amazed at the level of customization their client allowed and I wondered how much of our UI could be modified. It turned out it wasn't a lot - the UI system as it exists today is fairly similar (but updated with functionality) as the AC2 engine. Basic investigation showed me that we could replace graphics fairly easily.

I was on a trip to a brewery in Maine at some point in 2006 (playing hookie from work) when I essentially designed the whole skinning system as it exists today. I think it took me a week to shoehorn the system into the existing UI (on my own time, mind you). Re-positioning UI elements came a few weeks later - to my chagrin this still doesn't work as intended. So UI skinning is essentially a "one man show" from a man who's job is something else. I get to work on skinning when I get the chance (instead I'm writing this post! ... kidding...)

Other people have mentioned it, but we are working on a new UI system that I can't talk too much about. So you have the struggle between devoting resources to a newer cooler system and supporting and adding functionality to the old system.

Posting on this board about your feelings on the UI probably aren't going to change the course of the Titanic, but posting (well thought out, articulate) icebergs on the official message boards might get you somewhere (to continue the metaphor). Remember, I'm not officially attached to the LOTRO project, so you need to convince those developers that improving the older UI is worthwhile.

-P
Thanks Frosty. Let me say we do appreciate greatly the advances you made with the ui in regards to skinning and repositioning. It means even more to now know that you took this upon yourself to do as a kindness to the community. Thanks again. It is also VERY encouraging to know that "new Ui system" is indeed being worked on.
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  #15  
Unread 12-04-2008, 08:15 PM
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Enfield Enfield is offline
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Thanks for your reply and your honesty, Frosty. I assume the time you spend on this site is on your own time. We definitely appreciate you here since it's nice to have some insight into Turbine's policies.
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  #16  
Unread 12-05-2008, 10:15 AM
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I certainly didn't mean to turn it into a rant But I do agree, I *should* be the highest paid employee here (i'm kidding!)

In all seriousness, the way that the UI system is set up today, you should be able to replace graphics and move things around in panels. The UI is very heirarchical (sp?) so moving things "between" panels and adding existing elements to other panels is nearly impossible. There is code that expects the UIs to be laid out in a particular way, there aren't any "modules" of UI that get plugged in anywhere.

-P
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  #17  
Unread 12-05-2008, 12:28 PM
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Supermax Supermax is offline
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Lol.

That does make a lot of sense.

So I guess here is my next question. Can our community help you develop any of your tools? I mean I don't know how possible that is, but it's a thought.
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