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Dev Discussion #36 - User Interface

VaknarVaknar Moderator, Member, Staff
edited December 2021 in General Discussion

Glorious Ashes community - it's time for another Dev Discussion! Dev Discussion topics are kind of like a "reverse Q&A" - rather than you asking us questions about Ashes of Creation, we want to ask YOU what your thoughts are.

Our design team has compiled a list of burning questions we'd love to get your feedback on regarding gameplay, your past MMO experiences, and more. Join in on the Dev Discussion and share what makes gaming special to you!

Dev Discussion - User Interface
Do you prefer to set up your UI very minimally, cover your screen with as much information as you possibly can, or something in between? What UI information is absolutely essential to you?

Keep an eye out for our next Dev Discussion topic regarding Holidays!

UPDATE: Greetings friends - thank you all again for taking the time to join in on this discussion! After putting together a recap for our team, check out some of the top notes you shared with us below:

  • The large majority of players would like a variety of customization options, allowing them to both load their screens with as much information as possible, or clean it up for a minimalistic appearance.
  • Many players expressed a desire for the ability to export, import, save, and share multiple UI setups.
  • There were some players who rallied behind the idea of UI elements that dynamically change according to content you’re doing (ex. exploring, raiding, sieging, RP, solo/group content, etc.).
  • A few players would prefer a simple “less is more” approach to their UI.

While many people shared many wonderful ideas, there was one that stood out in particular:
Logan wrote: »
Nothing burned my taters like realizing I couldn't be competitive in WoW Arena without covering 80% of my screen real estate with blocks of bologna.


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    Less is better

    One thing that always annoyed me about wow but I put up with was all the screen clutter.
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    MrAmazingMrAmazing Member, Founder, Kickstarter
    Can we have the best of both worlds? The option to turn on more information if we want it?

    I speculate we're talking about stats on the screen for health bars, buffs, debuffs, timers, damage, heals, and graphical points of interests?
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    as much info as possible with moveable elements and the ability to hide elements that I don't need
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    ToredevirToredevir Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited November 2021
    Hello! If we are to answer in absolute, i would say "Something in between"

    If i answer freely, i would like to be able to customize the UI.
    In many mmos, we end up downloading addons to rearrange/add/remove visuals on the screen.
    Having that from the get-go would prevent/diminish the need for people to ask for such addons.

    For hardcore players sometimes having many things in the screen is a must, but for casual players having too much infos in the screen can be a deterrent from enjoying the game.

    Thank you for your time. Have a good day
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    GruntagGruntag Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    I tend to prefer less on the screen, so I can take in more of the beautiful game (scenery, effects, etc). With that said, I would appreciate the ability to add more on screen at times and reduce what is on the screen at other times. Give us the tools in game to change as we would like.

    Definitely need the basics on screen, such as the minimap, health, mana, skills and abilities. If we have these as well as toggles to add more, or reduce, I think you'll make many happy campers in AOC.
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    I think it would be better to start with a minimalistic UI, with the ability to turn on more UI elements.
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    prymortalprymortal Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    Less is better

    KISS - You should develop with this in mind!
    Keep It Simple Stupid
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    It is always best to allow the user to choose. Have the options of customizing the UI at will!
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    As far as user interfaces go, in my opinion as much information as possible should be made available to the player. That said, the user should be able to to choose how much of that information they want to be displayed, how it's displayed, and where on the screen it is displayed. Two really good examples of this are Star Wars The Old Republic and Final Fantasy XIV. Both games have high customization built into their UIs by default.
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    SaphyGamingSaphyGaming Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    It had better be less. But you should be able to customize everything as you like. The size of the individual elements, move where you want to have what and what you want to have displayed.
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    l3v3rag3l3v3rag3 Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I want the option to blind myself with UI, but the ability to customize and put everything where i want.
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    It's very important that tool tips provide concise accurate information on what an ability does. Like... damage how it does damage conditions on how it does damage what type of damage it does for example.

    That being said you can achieve a very compact way of expressing that without overwhelming people who might want less than more. I think it's very important the least information provided includes the "basics."

    As far as floating damage numbers in combat etc that should all be toggleable but included. Knowing when you crit etc is something people usually expect to be able to observe.

    To answer the question directly: I personally like to see as much info as possible that is usable to me. For example in eso I played a tank; the way taunt worked is that you would use an ability that had a taunt debuff associated with the damage the skill did. So if the skill had a dot I didn't care to see that so I toggled dots off but I toggled initial hits on. That gave me a confirmation visually on the mob I was trying to taunt; I was able to see that I did indeed taunt them because the floating damage number proc'd over them.

    I also used the function of target frames which allowed me to look at a mob or enemy player to see what debuffs ot buffs they had so I can make more informed decisions. Like if my healing debuff is still on them etc

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    Everything! It depends. Easy answer, make the UI editor like SWTOR. The end. Best UI editor, without the need of filthy addons, ever. FFXIV one comes in second, but not quite as great and in-depth.

    I personally like "essential" stuff or things that I need, depending on situation, visible. The rest can go away (looking at you BDO).
    Assuming you're not in a group for raid or dungeon (where the names start popping up), I think there's no need for other than HP/Resource bar, experience bar, FPS AND LATENCY (please), hotbar/skill bar, minimap and quest tracker.

    If then you let us customize everything, for example make the minimap bigger for those who use it that way, or let us set the order/size/amount of the quest tracker on the side, the position and size of bars, etc. then it's golden. If you like more info on screen, just activate it / configure it, place it, done. If you like less, deactivate it, done. Do you like the old school HP/MP bar on left top? You can. Do you like it in the middle and bottom, center around character? You can. Bigger or smaller group names, do they go vertical or horizontal, how many columns?. Side tracker, do you want up to 5 quests to appear or unlimited? Would you prefer quests to be ordered by age / time acquired or by zone/location?
    Do you like fewer longer hotbars for skills, or do you like more and smaller into squares? Are HP bars blank, do they have info? If yes, is it numbers, percentage or both?.

    Another key thing, let us move windows around and resize them. I can't say how many times I opened 2 or 3 at the same time and then have to close the first one, to see the second, to then close it and see the third, to close it and then open 2nd again, and so on and so forth. I know that's kind of my fault for not having a 1080p monitor but I mean, if other games did it you should too!
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    HotspurnHotspurn Member
    edited November 2021
    I am probably somewhere in the middle personally, i enjoy my UI to be small but contain a fair bit of information. On another note, i agree with other comments made that there should be a option to turn on more information whenever needed, like a checklist in options.

    I also think that each element that will be included in the UI should be able to be customized in basically 4 ways;
    - Size/Scale
    - Width/Height
    - Be able to move it anywhere on the screen. This will allow total freedom to make a layout that suits each individual, such has having minimap with action bars at the bottom of the screen rather than the traditional one with minimap on top right and action bars on bottom.

    When it comes to Combat text, so damage numbers, heals received etc, i would like that this can be customized in various ways.
    - Size of the text
    - Changing font and color
    - A checklist of what information you want it to display
    - Direction of where what type of information goes and what is highlighted. This could be a big ask, but ideally that is something i would enjoy. So as an example; Damage dealt goes up, Heals received left, persistant damage (DOT's) right. This is merely a random example.

    Just my two cents of the top of my head. :)

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    Customizeable UI is the way to go, one thing I always appreciated about wow was the ability to set up the UI however I needed. Everyone's needs are different, and they heavily depend on everything from class choice to play style. There simply is no one size fits all when it comes to UI.
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    fully customizability. Like WoW UI addon customizable. let me adjust on/ off, size, opacity, location, shape, font, colour.
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    StretchStretch Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Customizable is the way to go I feel.

    To start off with, I feel like there should be the bare minimum on the UI. Health, Mana, Action Bar & Minimap. I like the idea that everyone's starting experience should be they are a player in a world that is bigger than themselves. A UI that has too much information can hinder that but there should be options to enable additional UI features.
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    Customizable UI! Some UI features that would be great would be:
    • Actual time in my area
    • Minimap with compass
    • Damage/healing meter
    • Party members, chat
    • Active quests and quests that party members share
    • Health/Mana/Casting bar
    • Threat meter
    • Spells with tool tips
    • Bags
    • Tooltips

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    George_BlackGeorge_Black Member, Intrepid Pack
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    George_BlackGeorge_Black Member, Intrepid Pack
    edited November 2021
    I keep my screen to a bare minimum because I like to watch my character, other players, mobs as well as the environment. I like looking at the ability animations instead of rolling numbers, warnings and prompts and all other bullshiet that players use because they think it makes them better.
    It doesnt because I destroy them in PvP.

    AoC UI must have:

    Skills hotbar (ff14 has great costumizations for that)


    Lv/XP progress bar

    Target mob HP (NO PLAYER TARGET HP)

    Raidboss % hp bar

    Selfbuff bar

    Debuff bar

    Active quests drop-down

    Target player debuff bar (NO VISIBLE BUFF LIST FOR TARGET PLAYERS, just the visual art for effects during duration, like auras etc)

    Group HP/MP (my suggestion is to minimize zerg gameplay by not providing raid group windows, effectively restricting the ease at which healers can assist non-group members. So no raid members HP/MP windows. Just a raid icon without the full list of raid members)

    Minimal mini map with player directional arrow and group member dots.

    Character, inv, skills, guild, quest, system etc etc box, with icons for all the above.

    Chat box

    Free to move and resize as well as control the opacity. Font size options as well.

    I rly dont want to see combas or minimap or on screen hovering POI icons like eso, witcher, AC and other games that make you play looking at the objective minimap 100% of the time.

    If we are questing and we are supposed to gather 10 roses for example, dont put an indicator over the flower. Make us look at the actual flowers and their visual art.
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    I think this question is pretty situational, and would have to be answered on case-by-case basis to really get right. (i.e. Get a good UI designer or several, and implement a lot of options for players.)

    Only thing I can really say is that I prefer to have more information readily available. I'm not a fan of "minimalistic" UI, if that means important stuff is hard or impossible to find. Of course it doesn't ALL need to be on my screen at the same time. So I'd like options to show/hide stuff in different contexts (mostly in or out of combat).

    As an example, if I'm playing at a high level, then I could potentially be making decisions based on small things like buffs/debuffs/resources (maybe even cooldowns) on my allies and enemies. A minimalist approach would probably cut that stuff out, but I'd want it on-screen basically any time I'm in a party.
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    Yours truly prefers customization options: extra lines of toolbars, different arrangements for them, the ability to re-size them.

    Some features I'd like to see:

    PLAYERS ON THE MAP! Good god! I used to play Star Wars: Galaxies and then went to playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. In SWG, you could see dots in the map to tell you where other players were (unless they were stealthed) and could get a feeling of how busy an area was. This would also give you an idea when a hostile player was approaching you. In SWTOR? There was ***NOTHING***! You never got a feel for traffic of other players, could never tell when someone else was nearby, and - unless you happened to be looking in the right direction - were left completely blind-sided when a hostile player was coming at you.

    We should be able to re-size the mini-map and move it around.

    We should be able to have MULTIPLE CHAT-BOXES, as well; If I want to put different channels and messages in different places on the screen, then this should totally be a UI option.

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    KovrmKovrm Member
    edited November 2021
    Being able to customize it as needed would pretty much be perfect.

    Also, if possible have a way to export/import UI setups between people. If I run mine a certain way, and someone likes the layout and wants to try it for themselves all I'd have to do is export/copy a code to my clipboard and give it to them. Then they could copy paste/import it into their UI and have my exact layout. I think that would also be a cool option to have.
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    OsFurOsFur Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    edited November 2021
    I want to see
    my skils
    quest list open permanantly
    mana life bar , and those of my target
    open, close, move the chat ( text )
    nothing more
    fully customizable if you can

    the problem of the game is not the
    our avatar look like barely articulated wire, motion animations are rigid, fixed postures are not natural.
    Baron of Shadows
    Graveyard's Grin
    Your bones dance to my rhythm
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    fudefude Member, Braver of Worlds, Kickstarter, Alpha One
    I think split screen is fun like in eve online. you have the essential to game play on you main screen but you use a second moiter to have further information open for the specific job ya doing. differens between you and eve is. eve need 3rd party website on you second screen to try and not get killed as much or hunt. ashes having no 3rd party stuff. I dont know what it would look like but it dos give a lot more room. you could try a world map on your second screen with objectives info quest info all none essential info. on it
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    I tend to prefer both. Sometimes I wish to have no "clutter" in my UI when I want an emersion and want to look at the scenery. But most of the time, I want all the information I can get from a glans. So I would LOVE to have a fully customized UI. It's always safe to allow everyone to customize the UI fully, like resizing, moving, deleting and having presets. Combat text is as important, and that means the size of text, font and colour.
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    NeurotoxinNeurotoxin Member, Alpha One
    Scalability. I like keeping things streamlined until the verbose details are needed to make a properly informed decision. Allow me to strip it down to simplicity and play almost like an arcade experience, or pump it up so I can see every last detail about buffs and debuffs at a glance.

    Unless there's a button I'm missing, I'm really upset with New World right now for not subdividing all my resistances into something I can view at a glance. I'm not into that. Don't make me sit there doing math on my attributes and gear just to know what I have going for me, let it be something I can look up with ease. I'd personally like an attributes modeler so I can see what the damage of a spell will be with X gear vs Y gear (ESPECIALLY before I buy it) but that can be a tool for the AoC app.
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    Kovrm wrote: »
    Being able to customize it as needed would pretty much be perfect.

    Then they could copy paste/import it into their UI and have my exact layout.

    I love that idea!
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    It would be nice to be able to easily switch between different UI layouts that a user has predetermined
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    Very customizable, the ability to change most things around, change the size, etc.
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