We couldn’t get any professional to do the job, so I tried to design new (better!) interface on my own. It looks ugly, but shows some general concept. Keep in mind that these are meant to REPLACE original tiny creature window.
All windows are 800x480, possibly with scrollbar or vertical scaling with higher resolution.
Default current skills info. Three buttons on the right allow choosing this view, stack experience details or exp tables respectively. Button under stack artifact allows to pass it to hero.
Skill window dispalys all (including basic) skills with description thanks to new bonus-to-string function. They are sorted by their origin, starting from basic to so special effects.
No more line wrapping. Last info may be superfluous and looks ugly anyway.
Exp tables are probably not that important as they are memorized after a while. Font is better and current level bonuses have bold text instead of poor frame.
Same window in battle. Notice 12 fields for spell effects. Right-side buttons are removed, replaced by single “quit” button.
I kinda liked “tiny” creature window - no useless info or wasted space. Keep this as reference.
Some propositions to make it smaller:
Creature abilities: too big IMO. What about making it similar to H3 hero window (secondary skills part) - only type\subtype are always visible, extra info on small dialogue window after mouse click.
for example something like this:
pic- ] Caster
-ture ] Blind (Or empty if ability has no “subtype”)
Experience details: again too big. Try making 1-2 word short description and moving long one to statusbar\right-click.
Name and stack size - redundant, this info already present in left-top corner.
BTW - what about making experience similar to hero window - visible only icon + current value, click to see rank and experience needed for levelup.
Stack experience table: maybe removing it completely is a better idea? IMO such info is better to keep in the manual. And if you’ll remove all levels but current one this window can be merged with experience details.
12 spell slots: Definitely good idea but I’m not a big fan of several rows… Have you thought about placing it like in H3 - below creature info but wider? Place should be enough for 8 cells or so…
Background is ugly… Try using several DIBOXBCK.pcx - should remove all that ugly seams
I’ll probably try to make something in image editor soon. Still have some Linux-related issues with last revision.
Redundant info kills the info. Why the creature stats are in the experience status? We are just coming from that dialog. The experience levels needed to activate an EA ability are not shown, and they were capital. When I open the experience screen and one ability is disabled, I need to see in same screen at which level will activate. A mixture of Ivan’s graphic skills and Warmonger’s layout will be optimal, I guess.
I agree with Valery that too much info kills the info. On the other hand, all info should somehow remain available in-game, so I don’t support the suggestion to have the Stack Experience table kept in the manual only. I would start from a layout similar with Ivan’s, with most relevant experience info very briefly indicated in the 1st screen already (see already my edited version below). And then a click on the Experience icon/info area would open the Stack Experience screen, which should be a merge between the Experience details & Experience table, with font/layout changes so they fit in one window. Something like this for example:
@Ivan: Is the “upgrade” button meant to be used for creature upgrading, or for giving info about how would the creature card look if upgraded (as in WoG, and IMO more useful)? If the latter, then it would prolly be less confusing if we keep the button used in WoG (see below).
As for scroll arrows around the artifact box, it’s not a bad idea (especially for future mods), but scrolling using only 1 display box could become quite annoying. We may get complains from the users for creating so many slots for spells (good idea otherwise), but just 1 slot for artifacts. I’d say 3 slots is a minimum to make it easy for the player to keep track where in the list of artifacts they are while scrolling. There is a bit of space for that if we fiddle around a bit, albeit not much. Maybe something like this:
The main problem would be the Morale/Luck icons, which are perhaps too squeezed. Plus I don’t know if it’s a good idea to use the newly gained space for the info I added there as sample (btw, “level” should be replaced by “rank” in my text - I noticed too late). I’ll give it some thought and maybe come with another version later on.
Also, I’m not sure if this is the place to discuss this, but did you have something specific in mind on how to pass artifacts back to hero? I was thinking of one or more of the following:
EITHER a new (small) hero head icon
OR we can use the Dismiss button (pretty useless actually), which would keep its functionality normally, but if we grab an artifact and hover above it, the subtitle will already change to “Pass artifact to hero” (that becoming the functionality if we drop the artifact above it).
AND/OR use the Check button, which normally would have the “Exit” subtitle/functionality, but if an artifact is grabbed, the subtitle/functionality will change to “Pass artifact to hero and exit”.
Personally I would prefer both of the last 2 above (less work in implementing a different icon, and flexibility for the player who may or may not want to exit the creature screen when passing an artifact to the hero). WDYT?
There already was a simple interface mod which allowed dropping artifacts via one button - imho it’s most intuitive.
Three stack artifact fields are not really useful now and probably will not be for years - as yet no one ever suggested using more than one art simultaneously. Upgrade button is also necessary if we want to use it as universla creature sreen.
When stack experience is disable, simply disable exp button, or disable stack artifact scrolling - and voila, we have new, better creature window with more info and no useless components.
It is a nice idea to put them all aside, but 50% <> of WoG custom maps are played without stack experience enabled. So instead of having a simple window with only the info we need, the primary stats of the mob, we will have at each click trigger a big dialog where we see a lot of disabled skills, artefacts slots and whatever. Do I dream or Ivan’s screens show 12 rows for special abilities? I need to make Rambo unit and fast then. Or maybe Hulk?
Seriously now though, WoG doesn’t have more than 6 abilities for any creature (I think), so a maximum of 9 should take care we have more than enough (and Ivan already mentioned a row of skills would have to be removed to have less than 480 pixels on the vertical). My problem with the 3-abilities/row layout though, is that it doesn’t leave enough room next to the icon anymore for both the name and the description of the skill. So a step back from WoG in a way.
It’s particularly good you pointed out that about half the H3 maps are to be played, preferably, w/o stack experience. I tend to forget that because I like this feature so much, I almost never turn it off. But that is probably not the case for many players out there.
So the more I think of it, the more I believe we should go for something like this:
minor changes to the H3 creature card (increase the spell slots, add just one button for the experience interface, which would not even be visible if the script is disabled)
a single Stack Experience screen, more similar to the WoG one than the proposals above, but changed a bit to include the stack exp. details and to ease the handling of the creature artifact.
(I’ll give it a though and maybe I’ll be able to prepare sth in GiMP)
The main idea for this screen is not only to display stack experience abilities here.
It can display ALL creature skills.
That’s why skill description box is gone - we can show both regular abilities (flying, shooter, double strike etc.), as well as other bonuses given by game objects - a feature popular in WoG. But also skills from artifacts, hero speciality and pretty much any effect the Bonus System is capable of. That’s my point!
Why do you presume that experience skills will be displayed at all when Stack Experience is turned off? The same goes for creature artifacts.
I use “artifacts” word here as the purpose is to allow NEW creature artifacts avaliable. See further!
You mean “skills in copy-pasting”? Nothing more here.
Main problem was finding button that will say “this will drop artifact back to hero”. All what I found was hero head from overview window. Another option is a small rework of cancel button to match required sizes(shouldn’t be difficult).
This is one more thing that I dislike in WOG - a lot of such hidden features. It should be obvious for player how interface works instead of guessing what will happen and when.
For some abilities description is quite obvious like this ones:
No retaliation -> Enemy cannot Retaliate
Ranged -> Creature can make a Ranged Attack
Look on hero window - two words “Advanced tactics” don’t say anything regarding what this skill does. Same goes for this window.
It has eight right now but we can eat through the regular stats (EA:B1-B5) to get more (I think I did it once by mistake and worked).
Maybe the most towards gameplay option would be to stay in the same dishes as they wanted: player selects special abilities as option, all infos are displayed in same dialog but improved as above, and if player selects not stack experience, only creature stats regular window is displayed.
One thing is missing me however, is a local dialog which vanish after a few seconds (3-4?) or moves itself upper dynamically. One of the problems in Heroes is the need of clicking everytime you want to close a dialog, but maybe it is off topic. Something like the chat box text displayed with IF:L. But it stays 20 seconds at the screen, much more than enough.
This didn’t bother me that much, as long as hovering over the object was displaying a subtitle clearly telling us what would happen if we click there. What annoyed me in WoG were the cases when that subtitle wasn’t there (usually for practicality reasons, because L- and R-click had different functionalities for the same clickable button/object > which is something I hope will not be reproduced much in VCMI).
For some yes, but not all. I remember I saw a couple which were pretty long, and in the same time pretty useful. Can’t think of one of the top of my head (except for the rather long Warlord’s Banner bonus descriptions)… I would need them extracted in a list to see how many of them would be useful in longer format, and if that cannot be shrunk somehow.
I’m not sure what you refer to by “local dialog”, but otherwise I do find it annoying that we need to click a lot to get things closed. For that I would simply prefer to generally give “Open” functionality to L-click and “View” functionality to R-click for as many buttons/objects as possible (except when it would contradict with current H3 L-/R-click behavior which is useful and not annoying to players). Otherwise who’s to say how long should the window stay open? 3-4 sec might be not enough for some windows, while 20 sec might seem an eternity for others. If I only want to check a detail from that window, I wanted to to be open only for 2-3 sec while I hold the R-click, no second more. But again, I may not grasp correctly what you’re referring to and/or it can be my lack of experience to such window behavior in games that prevents me to see the added value.
Here is text file which I prepared for bonus description. First column is internal ID, second - name, third - detailed description with some info. Texts are merged from original game, WoG files or my own creativity.
Unlimited retaliations does not exist as ability. You must specify a value, thats why it is called additional retaliations
Shooter range does not exist neither
I hope you find a way to debug the “return after strike”. Actually if the hit is done from behind, the creature does not return.
Three headed attack does not exist, only attack all around. How to choose 3 targets when you are surrounded by 5 for example?
Full HP regeneration does not exist, you must specify a value too
Life drain does not exist
Heals other creatures does not exist
Regeneration is buggy, very risky to use it, freeze the battle
Magic mirror does not work ( you can apply it to a monster, but the results are very strange)
Increase casting cost for enemy does not exist
Mana channeling does not exist
All those can be done, but not via the natural EA abilities, only custom scripts. I don’t know how VCMI implements EA codes still, so maybe will not be a problem.
There must be some sort of confusion here (of terms or of the game version we’re referring to). All of those are in WoG (I’m only a bit confused about “no shooting penalty”, which I thought is covered by the “no obstacle/distance penalty”), including the basic H3 abilities as some creatures have in the basic game already:
Unlimited retaliations: Royal Griffins have it in H3 already
Shooter: All H3 shooters have it, Centaurs get it in WoG at lvl.6
Strike-and-return: Cavaliers & S.Pegasi get it in WoG (though it doesn’t always work as I expect it)
Full HP Regen: I though the L8 Hydras were “closing all their wounds” (I don’t have a saved game with them now to check) and/or Wights/Wraiths as well.
3-headed attack: Cerberi, Hydra… though again this didn’t always work as I expected (I’ll have to study it more closely to see if it’s either buggy, or implemented in a not very intuitive way)
Life drain: Vampires, Blood Dragons
Heals other: Actually another one I’m confused about. It’s a Commander ability… but I’m not sure if I saw it on any creature.
Regeneration/Magic Mirror “buggy” - they may be in H3, but we are recreating from scratch, so we have the chance to make it not buggy
Increase casting cost: I know I saw this one, but not sure if as creature ability, hero enhanced skill, or some mod
Mana channeling: I think it refers to Familiars’ ability