Quest: smart interface, neat design

  • #1, by FlorianTuesday, 25. June 2013, 13:57 7 years ago
    Greetings,
    I want to know, how the most intelligent interface for a point&click-Adventure might look like.
    We all experienced a lot of interfaces from the beginning of adventures until now. And many interfaces and commands that seemed suitable for their time became obsolete, because they were too tedious or time consuming.
    I am looking for a (mouse driven) input possibility, that is neat and sleek enough to last.

    I.) Command Input (mouse)
    Problem:
    Typed command lines and parser are unquestionably outdated. An interface with redundant commands (Maniac Mansion) is more trial&error that real gameplay. A coin-interface (MI3) is a desaster as a held mouse button is delaying and feels awkward.
    I liked the item rotation of Sam&Max, however I believe it still could be faster.
    Best solution I see so far is a simple right-click for "look" and left-click for "use" (including: take, talk, open, leave, etc.) and a left-click on an unoperational object makes the character walk there.

    Solution:
    Has anyone a smarter or sleeker solution so far?


    yet to come:
    II.) Pointing Device Graphics
    III.) Interface
    IV.) Dialogues
    V.) ...

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  • #2, by afrlmeTuesday, 25. June 2013, 15:47 7 years ago
    Personally I like the simplicity of the left click for interaction & right click to examine (when available) interface which I first noticed in broken sword games as it's very simplistic/modern & also it would work well for pretty much any platform you plan on using for your game as opposed to some of the older control interface systems. You could also create some actions for the middle mouse button or wheel using Lua - such as rotation of commands or even your inventory & could use middle button for hotspots or something.

    in regards to the left click action to make it faster you only need a single command & then you control what using the left click command on an object or character does as opposed to creating multiple commands & switching between them - really saves time.

    --

    cursor graphics: I liked the simple animated ones in broken sword 1+2 but some people might favor the split pointer graphics in some of the more modern adventure games in which the cursor graphic has sections which highlight/become visible/change depending on what you hover over. In other words you can almost always see the examine icon & then the other section icon changes to interact/pick up/talk etc... Just check Deponia cursor graphics.

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  • #3, by vozerThursday, 13. February 2014, 16:05 6 years ago
    i would say what daedonia did with the mousewheel-slide-interface is already a really good point in the right direction. It makes life so much easier and adds some "swipe-touch" to the game.

    in search for a perfect interface i would maybe think more in the direction of the items-interface (maybe having the items as a cycle-interface to not only open and click the interface?) and make more use of the keyboard.

    cheers

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  • #4, by ScubidubiSunday, 09. March 2014, 22:57 6 years ago
    I personally think that assuming older techniques are to be left dying out because of complexity is exactly why a great genre has nearly vanished in game history. The reason why monkey island was great, was because it was monkey island. Simply the way it was. Take this as analogy for adventure games in general. Modern seems to be a synonym for convenient. Why not have button to make the game play itsself for you? Monkey island had that as a joke. But the point is... you should experience thjlings by yourself..hence the word adventure. I fesl like this "modern" gaming is holding our hands assuiming we are all babies. I liked to grow up on games by lucas arts because it had me feel smart figuring something out..or increadibly dumb if i was to stupid to see it..but it had me think..if everything is convenient and all i need to do is enter a logical chain of commands without using my fantasy and imagination..i do not wish to live inthese worlds anymore. Like a boring corridor shooter.

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  • #5, by FlorianMonday, 10. March 2014, 04:25 6 years ago
    Monkey Island is great for its dense atmosphere, game depth, unmatched humor and hilarious think-outside-the-box riddles. I can not remember anyone applauding for how funny the mouseclicks felt and the unbearable tension if the correct command for the doormat in Maniac Mansion was "pull" or "push".

    I play an adventure for its story and riddles. And I do not want a second to mess around this the interface. The "interface" is not part of the puzzle and it does not improve a game. The interface itself is always annoying.
    And so it has to be as suitable as possible, because it inherently is laborious, repetitive and time consuming.

    You would not consider Maniac Mansion more entertaining than Monkey Island because it offers 15 commands where MI only has 9 verbs. The most interfaces are nostalgia and to be honest they mainly were already outdated when they came out. But we did not care in those days, because anything other than typing into a text parser was an improvement.

    fun facts:
    The Adventure genre did not die out because of todays peoples reluctance of brain teasing or the modern convenience. The main reason is the genres disability to evolve and to mix with other genres. Point'nClick Adventures are very particular in many respects.

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  • #6, by ScubidubiMonday, 10. March 2014, 13:22 6 years ago
    I don't think there is a need to evolve just for the sake of evolution. and i am happy it dind't blend with other genres actually. however this could be an eternal argument.. two sides of a coin. No common denominator for us here smile

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  • #7, by ScubidubiMonday, 10. March 2014, 13:43 6 years ago
    But you might want to check out machinarium. i think it is a czech based team that did a wonderful job there. one buto for everything i believe.

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  • #8, by afrlmeMonday, 10. March 2014, 14:56 6 years ago
    I too grew up playing classic point & click games from LucasArts, Delphine, Adventure Soft etc...

    Back then, they may not have had the resources to create simpler interfaces - or maybe they just made them like that, because that is what everyone else was doing? Sure, when I was younger & had a lot more patience than what I do now, I enjoyed trying out every single command on every single interactive point, in each scene & trying to combine random items in the inventory, but after a while it starts to become tedious, & repetitive, to the point where you are wanting to tear your hair out.

    Monkey Island 1 & the Simon the Sorcerer games for example both had 12 commands whereas Monkey Island 2 reduced the commands down to 9 but it was still a lot of commands. More modern games tend to only have around 1 to 4 commands. Also the thing I never liked about retro interfaces was the fact that they took up at least 1/3 or 1/4 portion of the screen. These days it doesn't matter so much as we can fade in/out - or slide in/out - the interfaces, as required.

    My favorite interface was the one used in Broken Sword 1 & 2 - not the remastered editions, interface was shit in them - because I liked the simplicity of the animated cursors changing to reflect what action would be performed on left click & the right button for examine. I also liked the simplicity of the slide in/out menu (top of screen) & the inventory (bottom). It really helped keep things neat & the lack of 5 million commands meant that you weren't interrupting the flow of the game/story with having to arse around trying loads of commands etc... Sure it has dumbed games down a little bit but I still believe it was a step in the right direction.

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  • #9, by FlorianMonday, 10. March 2014, 16:00 6 years ago
    Machinarium is very nice and The Dream Machine aswell.
    However the Adventure "Woodruff and the Schnibble of Azimuth" already made use of the two mouse buttons back in 1994.
    And Leisure Suit Larry 5 used cycling commands in 1991 which was adapted for Sam&Max later in 1993.
    The typical 9-commands interface of Monkey Island, Indy 4 and Dott seemed superinnovative, but retrospectivly it was not even smart back then, as it plainly was a workaround to avoid typing in the commands. But I cheered anyway whenever I played a Lucasfilm Games / LucasArts title.

    You stated, that you are content that the Adventure genre kept clear of mixups. But I dont see the new crossgenre titles as watering down a genre. They have just became so deep, that they do not fit in a single genre any longer.
    GTA is no driving game anymore, Mass Effect no shooter and the Walking Dead no adventure. These titles can easily compete with the narration of a good adventure.
    Only the Point'n Click Adventure still thinks in Genres. Because it is still too particular and too obstructive to become anything else.

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  • #10, by afrlmeMonday, 10. March 2014, 17:11 6 years ago
    The Walking Dead & The Wolf Among Us - might not be classed as a typical point & click game, seeing as you can control the character via keyboard/joypad but they still play like point & click games & still feature a point & click system for interacting with objects & characters, & for the QTE's, on occasion.

    I think it's nice that we now have various fused genres rolled into one game, as it keeps them interesting. Even shooters try to add more in depth story telling to them these days - see tomb raider (last one) or the max payne titles wink

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  • #11, by ShyralonMonday, 10. March 2014, 17:36 6 years ago
    Best interface I've seen so far was in Book of unwritten Tales (which is one of the best adevntures I played after MI..) Inventory always visible (no annoying turn inventory on/off), walk with left mouseclick, if you hover over an object it automatically changes to the suitable cursor (look first, after looking take/use if avaible)..
    For commands in Inventory like combine etc. you could just change the command with right mousebutton..
    Was really nice to play, liked that system a lot..

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