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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:25 pm 
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It may surprise someone, but I suspect I'm not at all the only one with weak eyes who likes Myst series. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to for me to play it without a detailed guide, and even with it a gameplay is sometimes challenging. (E.g.: What to shoot in Teledahn to lower a ladder to one of journey clothes.) I can't read handwritten fonts at all, and for comfortable reading of remaining documents it's best for me to run Myst in window and use a screen magnifier. This also applies for in-game chat. Lack of interactive object highlighting is quite a big obstacle for guide-less playing. And last but not least, the game is sometimes quite dark, and even with the gamma at max, it is hard to be played in daylight.

So here are my suggestions:

1. I'd like to be able to configure font size in chat/journal window. Screen size can help, but it's quite hard to bring my PC to 42" plasma :-)

2. Active object highlighting - many modern adventure games use TAB for this.

3 Shortcut keys for KI buttons and other on-xcreen gadgets.

4. For static screens (e.g. telescopes), Windows-like object navigation (Tab, Shift-Tab, arrow keys, Enter key) with highlighted object with focus

5. TTS support for chat and document reading - it's quite eye exhausting to read longer texts

6. And an in-game flashlight would be really handy to dark areas.

7. And one thing for users with hearing difficulties: Subtitles for speeches (Yeesha, Zandi etc.) - great also for localization to other languages without need of voice-overs

But there is one thing I really appreciate and I would like this via augmented reality in the real world - if I point to a person, his/her name is shown. This really helps, since in real world, I have a hard times to recognize even the people closest to me :-)


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:54 pm 
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Chat size can be adjusted. If you pull up he full KI window (top button on the KI) you can pull up the KI options (the gear). There's two sliders, the top one is 'chat font size'. Drag it up.
It WON'T adjust how much of the screen the ki chat takes up though even in widescreen... that's a major deficiency of the coding somewhere and probably related to the fundamental way it draws text (and likely related to why we can't copy/paste it either, and for that matter is probably why KI text couldn't be piped into some external TTS system)

Object highlighting would be a bit tricky, mostly in implementation. Modern adventure games are built ground-up to use it, and Uru is not. Plus in Uru a clickable region isn't always just an object, nor is it a large one. But who knows, maybe with open source and an ability to edit Cyan's ages.

There are shortcut keys, the f-keys handle that. But for individual keys on the KI, that would be nifty. See first item.

I don't see what you're asking about the static views.. the reason it uses the same interface as the rest is because of the way the game handles it. It's not like a book, when you look at a telescope any more than you moving your avatar to stare at the map in Ae'gura is you getting a paper map. (No, really, it moves your view.. the others can give far more detail on mechanics tho)

As for TTS, that would be a good idea. Not until open source at the earliest though.

Flashlights are ones people have talked about. I like that idea myself.. the KI light in descent is too short to count. Maybe if it lasted for days on end, it'd be a substitute.

And then subtitles.. YES. I always prefer subtitles because I do have a mild hearing problem with spoken speech. It wasn't implemented and we'd have to transcribe all the spoken text and add it, but its lack is frustrating indeed. Rgh. Blame Cyan for that one.



However, if your screen is too dark.. believe it or not you might have to use a different computer. It does matter.. for the longest time I wondered why people suggested turning the light on in tetsonot... all it did was add a slight red tint to the black for a fraction of a second. Too dark to see. However, now that I have a new computer after MOUL ended.. it's suddenly dramatically brighter. I can SEE the walls of the nexus now in detail! It surprised me, and it wasn't a gamma thing either (that just made everything indistinct and washed out before but still featureless)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 7:55 pm 
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A lot of these would be fine, even good, provided they could be optional (some of us like the immersive feel of having practically zero interface.) We want the game to be accessible to everyone, after all.

Number 2 though... I would really, really hate to see this in Uru. In a single-player RPG, or a MMO that's all about grinding and item-grabbing, that's one thing. But Uru is a shared world experience. You see what you see. Clickable objects blend in sometimes, and that's good. We're explorers. We should try everything (indeed, I'd love to see more trivial, non-game-vital objects become clickable and animated.) Highlighting objects is just... well, it doesn't fit what Uru is. If you're having trouble finding something, ask a fellow explorer.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:21 pm 
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No, Doc, at the risk of sending this into a massive debate off topic I'd say it's perfectly fine. Highlighting clickable objects isn't a new idea in adventure games either, even single-player ones. The debate rages but no matter what you argue it DOES remove pixel-hunt in games where the object is this tiny little thing in a mass of everything else.

Whether it'd be applicable to Uru or not I dunno. I'd say it detracts somewhat, but if it's optional I wouldn't mind. I may even use it in new ages that I haven't had memorized (all non-Cyan ones)

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:31 pm 
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In a single-player game it's acceptable. But in Uru, you have fellow explorers. You have a community that you should be part of. They can help and guide you if you're stuck. Highlight-able objects would make things easier, sure, but it takes what is a fiendish puzzle game and turns it into... well, a standard MMORPG, where puzzles are a joke and you just have to find the right clickable objects.

Case in point: Is anyone ever actually stumped by the puzzles in, say, Dragon Age: Origins? I know I'm not. Look, everything's highlighted! There's no chance that I've missed something, and thus no need to analyze the logical puzzles to see if anything seems to be missing. That's fine in DA:O, which is not a puzzle game and is based on choices rather than solving mysteries, but Uru IS based on those puzzles. Uru IS based on those mysteries.

How difficult would Stoneship have been if the secret panel had been lit up, with "SECRET PANEL" written over it?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:52 pm 
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I agree on the object-highlights not fitting the experience and the gameplay. I'd also like to add that a flash-light would break the puzzle in Gira, and also take away from the atmosphere in some places.

I'm all for the rest of your ideas, though :)


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2010 10:21 pm 
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Gondar wrote:
However, if your screen is too dark.. believe it or not you might have to use a different computer.

If you have an nVidia card, the nVidia control panel (icon on the right of the taskbar) typically has a "Colour Correction" section which lets you adjust the gamma over a far wider range than the in-game setting. I would expect this feature to be available on any card which is capable of playing MOUL.

If I don't use that feature, the game is far too dark even with the in-game gamma setting at max (this probably has something to do with the fact that I have a CRT monitor whereas most games seem to have their gamma settings designed for LCDs).


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:08 am 
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Keikoku wrote:
Gondar wrote:
However, if your screen is too dark.. believe it or not you might have to use a different computer.

If you have an nVidia card, the nVidia control panel (icon on the right of the taskbar) typically has a "Colour Correction" section which lets you adjust the gamma over a far wider range than the in-game setting. I would expect this feature to be available on any card which is capable of playing MOUL.

If I don't use that feature, the game is far too dark even with the in-game gamma setting at max (this probably has something to do with the fact that I have a CRT monitor whereas most games seem to have their gamma settings designed for LCDs).

When you first start the game, it brings up a "Calibration" screen (It's also available in the options pages). In there you are meant to adjust the settings on your monitor so you can see the (ever so faint) "URU" logo in the background, while keeping the black background black. Obviously for LCDs this isn't an option (They have a fixed contrast, which should usually be set to MAX, and a partially variable backlight (Again, usually fixed to MAX)), but for CRTs it should definitely be done. And once that setting is applied correctly, the same setting should work everywhere. If, for some reason, 3D applications are showing darker on your screen, I'd suggest taking a good look at your 3D card settings for some kind of Colour/Brightness correction setting, and resetting it to defaults. That will normally fix things.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:38 am 
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In short, we need the KI to be like EVE Online's chat system. Scaleable, infinitely customizable, and bugless.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 3:52 am 
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Whilyam wrote:
In short, we need the KI to be like EVE Online's chat system. Scaleable, infinitely customizable, and bugless.


:lol: :lol: :lol:

I'm sorry, I just can't quite get over the fact that you used the words "EVE" and "bug-less" in the same post.

EDIT: Not to say that EVE isn't a good game on the whole. (Have enjoyed it so far!)

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:45 pm 
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Anaerin wrote:
When you first start the game, it brings up a "Calibration" screen (It's also available in the options pages). In there you are meant to adjust the settings on your monitor so you can see the (ever so faint) "URU" logo in the background, while keeping the black background black.

My monitor is always at max. contrast and brightness, but the URU logo is invisible without increasing the gamma in the nVidia control panel.

Anaerin wrote:
If, for some reason, 3D applications are showing darker on your screen, I'd suggest taking a good look at your 3D card settings for some kind of Colour/Brightness correction setting, and resetting it to defaults.

Indeed, this is a problem with all games. However, there isn't a separate gamma option for games (or full-screen applications or 3D applications); it just uses the desktop settings. There is a separate option for video gamma, but that only affects the YUV overlay used for playing videos.

The only issue specific to MOUL is that increasing the gamma to a level where the game is playable results in the background of the settings panels being almost white, which is a bit annoying given that the text, sliders, checkboxes, etc are white. An option for black text would be most useful.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:25 pm 
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Thanks for your replies. I naturally suppose all of my suggestions would be optional, maybe under a new icon labled ... Accessibility :-)

Here are my reasons for points included.

Ad 1: Even the largest font size is not large enough for me. I can circumvent it via /catlog viewed in external text editor, but I have to try if it's possible to have chat log synced with the screen.

Ad 2: You know - if you don't know, what's interactive, it's really hard to figure it out. There are two ways of doing it - object highlighting (explained it's hard to implement), cursor shape/color changer which would indicate rough distance to an active object, and maybe in 3rd person view, an avatar could direct his/her sight to active object Grim Fandango's way. But again - if I can't figure out what's interactive, I definitely depend on walkthroughs.

Ad 3: Yes, there are shortcuts, but since no game manual is distributed with game, and the one linked here on forums (I don't mean a walkthru PDF), can't be open with my Adobe Reader 9.3 - it says something about corrupted file, there is no complete reference of shortcut keys.

Ad 4: By static screens I mean screns, where the view is fixed and can't be rotated via cursor keys. In such cases, I would appreciate to be able to move telescope up, down, left, right with cursor keys, zoom in/out with grey +/-, and so on, or more universally, focus controls via TAB key and manipulate them in the similar way via keyboard like in Windows.

Ad 7: I listened to all the sound files distributed with the game, and there are just few speeches, so transcribing them shouldn't be a problem for native speakers of those languages.

And finally, about my monitor. It lacks on-screen menu, and it's control software is a crap, so I don't use it. So there's actually no way to do anything with it except using graphic driver's abilities, which affect the whole desktop, which is not needed.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:48 pm 
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Adobe Reader 9 immediately opened up a PDF of the original manual from 2003 when I started downloading from FilePlanet. Corrupt file sounds like you're having some issue with your software installation, or perhaps it needs to be re-downloaded. (I didn't see a direct link to the manual anywhere, it literally just popped up out of nowhere after starting the installation.)

While I personally wouldn't use any item halos, I certainly wouldn't be averse to allowing them in...I'm not sure if there's a direct way to do it in-game, and if you make the game code put a halo around a certain category of items it's always possible that you will get some anomalies - items being tagged that shouldn't, and that could be especially confusing. Only a test would tell if it would be a problem in practice, but I remember that there were a number of "hacks" used in the creation of the game earlier that could have had unintended consequences.

The other point that comes to my mind is that Age authors ought to pay close attention to contrast and composition of their scenes. I do enjoy the occasional quiet bland spot in an Age, but so often the difference between "Cyan-quality" and the rest is in the artistry.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:40 pm 
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*raises a hand*

With regards to the last point -- the closed-captioning -- if we do get the opportunity to implement that, I will be glad to help transcribe. (Me? Not the world's greatest coder. But a pretty decent transcriptor.)

I have a friend who is hard-of-hearing and cannot play any of the Myst games because of the audio difficulties they present. I would very much like to help in this area.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:38 pm 
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Ok, TomVal, that helps a bit with a few of your points.

Font size should be increased, but it's not 100% feasable unless we can increase the size it uses of the screen too, or at some point you're going to have 5 letters. Really, the whole KI chat system needs an overhaul (me I play City of Heroes, and theirs is wonderful.. but I think all MMOs have far better chat systems than this one which while usable is approaching a decade old)

There is a way to tell what you can click on... if you have good eyes (yeah, your point, I know). The cursor, normally a hollow circle, gets a dot in the center when it's over something you can click on (be it an explorer to highlight their name in the ki, interface items to bring up/use, or objects in the world). Is the cursor hard-coded? Would it be possible to just simply have it change colour drastically so it'd be more noticable when it changed? Then you could just walk towards whatever it highlighted since it already works at a distance.

Shortcut keys, I think there's a reference here somewhere.. but no, there's no good official one. As for not opening the PDF, dunno, ask the person who made it?

Static imager screens often can't be panned, by any means whatsoever. There's a functional engine reason for many of those, and some was a design decision (and sometimes that changes, like the spyroom's telescope which was obviously going to pan a bit at one point before they removed that). IF however you can, there's a way. Hold the right mouse button in the view, and move the mouse. If it pans, it will. If it doesn't, it doesn't so you won't get keys to let you do so.

Subtitles: Yes. Once more, yes. However, adding them will probably have to wait till open source, there's likely nothing in the engine we could do for it, not even a famous ki-hack. Though perhaps a few python hacks, once we're able to touch the python for the game...


As for monitor, yeah. Sorry about that, but it's part of how it works, it affects the whole desktop. If the game is fullscreen the gamma slider 'works' (as in it goes from pitch black to dark to washed out) but doesn't help. Seriously, I had to use my older laptop just recently.. and I noticed a dramatic change in everything. The old one never could make textures bright even when I tweaked like mad of the settings and got everything washed out and foggy (tetsonot was always useless to me, light or no light). The new one however is bright and vibrant without having to change settings. I suspect it's related to using shadows and texture filtering/quality or something (my card does ASF by default even if the game doesn't ask for it)

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That's right, a canon canen cannon!

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