May update Part 4: The UI
The Repopulation UI
Several systems currently are quite heavy or taxing on both the server and the client. However, one that seems to be getting my attention more and more is the UI for Repop. Though this is something we had planned for the future, it looks like we will be doing some of the early revamps sooner than later.
To start, the general look will go back to the very basics. Though a stylized UI is always nice for a game to differentiate itself from other games, having a clean working UI that has the core functionality and does not replicate across the entire server is also important. So we will be changing things up in the near future, starting with a basic appearance. We do have a set of focuses we will be following with each update that comes out, and a lot will also reflect system changes, adjustments and new systems as they come in.
Default HE Handling:
We want to bring the entire UI back to use the core system and not have to rely on a separate dll or db file to handle the calls when playing the game and using the UI. For us, this means faster development and less changes of bugs occurring when you use the UI. In theory not relying on a 3rd party db means that the UI will have less overhead, less communication back and forth and most of all, easier for us to build and test. IE: no need to build additional db or dll files for the UI.
In the future, this will also allow us to add different styles of UI for players to select from and open it up for custom UI’s when we get to that point. Customizing the UI will primarily be visual allows players to create their own style and layouts for the UI. We do not want to open it up too much to allow mods or hacks into the game and give some players an unfair advantage over other players. We do want to open up not only the optional styles, but let players add and share their Custom UI’s as well.
One of the prime things that hinders the current UI is how data is replicated across the server. We will be removing what we are able to short term with the first UI update, and as new systems are built or the adjustments to current ones are done this will also be reflected in how the UI works for those specific systems. With the massive amount of replication, it causes issues like crashing at area (zone) lines when you have a full inventory, latency hits when someone opens their UI, and so on. So these things will be fixed with each system and subsystem update.
Above you can view the art work for the current UI from Yinan Lu, a UI Artist currently at Netease Games. When we begin the updates, the style will be very basic. The focus will be on efficiency and ease of life. This includes fixing some of the more vocal complaints we all have.We are right there with all of the players with some of the difficulties regarding the UI style and effects.
In future updates we will begin to show some of the new layouts with a basic UI style. This will be updated with a more stylized UI to fit the game. So please feel free to give your feedback and thoughts.
This will be be worked on as well from the start. It might not all be fixed as they had used new prototypes for every part of the system. We will be creating a single prototype for different functionality and reusing it as needed instead of recreating them each time. This means that though we might not catch all of the scrolling issue/bug with the UI right away, please continue to be vocal and let us know when/if we missed anything.
With the new UI being revamped one of the first things that will be going in (and why we are keeping the appearance basic to start with) is the issue of scaling. This includes both the graphics like windows and panels as well as the fonts. By bringing the UI back to the HE default systems, it allows a lot more versatility as well as cleaner code and version control without the worry of the added work to the dll on top of the regular work or added conflicts between internal scripts and the external dll and db files.
We will also be adding in additional scaling options. Allowing players to scale the entire UI, specific windows, font size only, or any of the combination. This is very important as everyone has their own screen size and preferences to what makes it easiest for them.
In today's gaming world, having a UI that is modular and allows players to layout their UI in what fits them best is the standard. For us this is no different. We will be focusing on a more modular design to allow players to move all aspects of the UI how they want it. Be able to save that layout based on account or character and even name their layouts will also take a priority.
Parts of the UI are currently movable, however there are aspects that you cannot move or change. Combining the new scaling system along with the new UI styles will let you layout and save based on your play style.
► Long Story Short: The UI issues related to replication issues, bugs, scaling and customization's will be addressed sooner than later. We will begin with a very basic UI style to include all functionality and reduce overhead, then the actual styling will be added in at a later time. More customizable for the players, less overhead and lag will be first priority.