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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

donky wrote:
Interestingly, the text part of his game is pretty much pointless within his demonstration. He may as well get rid of it, and have more fancy windows for the interactable aspects like attackable monsters.

The text window is serving a general purpose, dealing with everything not covered by the other windows. He could in theory drop it, but he'd need a lot more windows first.

Perhaps someone will eventually take the plugin that far, but I think a text-based game with no text window would be a bit too radical for most people.
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donky



Joined: 26 Jan 2009
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

KaVir wrote:
The text window is serving a general purpose, dealing with everything not covered by the other windows. He could in theory drop it, but he'd need a lot more windows first.

Perhaps someone will eventually take the plugin that far, but I think a text-based game with no text window would be a bit too radical for most people.

I read an article the other day, which I am unable to locate now. It was about web pages and how people aren't learning much from them. One of the justifications for that claim was along the lines of each link the mind encounters giving it a choice and detracts from the learning experience because of the loss of focus.

This is kind of how I feel about these more advanced user interfaces. Each facet extracted into its own separate representation outside of the main text window, detracts from the attention paid to that text window and the value of what is imagined from it. There is a commonly stated notion, that text-based games are superior in the way they allow a player to construct their own interpolated picture of what is happening within the game world. The player has their own quality picture of what the world looks like, where with graphical games someone else's picture is presented.

To me, it makes sense that when the brain is monitoring multiple sources of input, it is less free to engage the same level of imagination.
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure that I agree with that. I can agree that sometimes people take it too far - too many windows, buttons and bars are going to get distracting. But used in moderation, I think GUI elements can make the interface much easier to use.

The GUI plugin I've been working on for MUSHclient is pretty sparse and dominated by the central text window, but I still take advantage of energy bars and graphical maps (you can view a couple of screenshots here and here).

Is an energy bar more distracting than a prompt?

Is a graphical map more distracting than an ASCII one?

Personally I don't think so. If anything, I find it makes the text easier to follow, because data that would otherwise be spammed over and over is being filtered out to a separate location, where I can see it at a glance.

It's very easy to get carried away with the interface though, and I think that's where the real danger lies.
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ide



Joined: 21 Feb 2006
Posts: 105
Location: Seattle

PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would agree that things like prompts and global chat messages get in the way of the gameplay, and I almost always want these removed from the main text window -- if not in a GUI, then the option to only a display a battle prompt or something like that is very useful IMO.

Graphical maps are less of a necessity for me, but I think only because (like most people here I imagine) I've played muds for a while, and keeping the layout of an area in my head is standard practice. But I've found GUI maps are still very handy as an occasional reference, and they're excellent for creating new areas.
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