Some suggestions

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Some suggestions

Postby jms123 » Fri Jul 24, 2020 10:50 pm

I've noted a few things from my current playthrough, I may add as I go. I understand bugs and difficulty are top priority, but these are some things to consider after that:
  • Allow naming of saves, sometimes I save to test out specific scenarios and right now I have to take notes to keep track of which number it is
  • Any display modifiers for items in personal inventory should also be applied to items in the party inventory, e.g., I can see which items I can equip, which scrolls I can learn, etc. (has been mentioned by another somewhere too).
  • Show when casting a spell will trigger an AoO similar to how it shows when moving, sometimes I forget that a larger enemy has reach
  • Consider making defensive casting available in the main combat action menu, not only the spec sheet, and have some kind of very conspicuous display of whether it is on during combat. Also, stop the resetting of defensive casting that happens at various times, like leveling up or switching map levels, etc.
  • Precise Shot Feat (and apply it to ranged touch attacks), and Improved version, to help with builds that want to focus on either archery or ranged touch spells
  • Add keyboard shortcuts for inventory actions equip, split, learn, etc. (unless they are already there and I just missed them?).
  • Allow applicable k/b shortcuts to work from the main menu, i.e. F1 for help should work from there, also O for options.
  • A way to use items directly from the main screen without going through the inventory screen (outside of combat)
  • When selecting an item to use in a dialog encounter, allow it to be selected directly from the party inventory, rather than having to move it to char inventory first (also avoids having to switch chars if inventory full)
    -In cases where the object that needs to be used is obvious/not supposed to be a puzzle, like a very specific quest object to unlock a door, maybe skip the inventory screen altogether and just use a dialog option or automatically unlock the door when it is clicked and say (you used xxx key), I think you actually did this for exiting the sewers, maybe could also do it for e.g. exiting the crypt.
  • In the witch dialogs for selecting a scroll:
    1. Allow right clicking on the spell name in the dialog to see the description of the spell
    2. Allow me to change my mind about which spell class I picked
    Together the above help me to browse for what I want during the dialog, rather than having to study it separately
  • Show the XP tables somewhere in help (or did I miss it?)
  • Help part III "Spells and Psionic Powers": Spells and Psionic Powers are both linked to one overview page. I keep clicking on Psionic Powers there expecting to go right to the psionicist list by level. It is really one link to the overview page, so make the whole line one link instead of two. Also I noticed the help is inconsistent on "psionic powers" vs. "psionicist powers"
  • When I switch characters with the arrow keys it tends to jump to different tabs. Where applicable it should stay on the same tab I am already on. E.g. I want to quickly tab through all the spec sheets to turn off defensive casting, I have to do all these extra clicks to change tabs each time I switch to a new character.
  • If I have an inventory container open let me drag from the party inventory directly into it, or at a minimum, if I drag an item from the party inventory into the current char inventory, don't close the container I already have open
  • If you mouse over a useable weapon/armor in inventory, it shows you the stats if equipped (ideally with comparison to currently equipped)
  • Something needs to be done about having the concept of an "active" character selection I think. Sometimes the character that shows up when I hit a shortcut like "i" or "v" is not the same one I am currently viewing, it jumps to the main char or something. Maybe the upper right character list can maintain a state of who is currently selected and can be clicked to change the selection, something like that. It could also be used for using items outside of combat, and selected by the number keys. There may be some of that functionality already but the UI is a bit hard to grasp at times, not clear why it is bringing up a certain character, etc. Some improvements could be made here I think. Edit to add: I identified a specific scenario that was bugging me. When I use a healing item with my non-main character, and then I want to use another, I hit "i", but that character has lost focus and it goes back to the main again. It should remember who was the last char to have focus and not automatically go back to the main after 1 action completes. That is just one example of how this can be improved.
  • All scrolls should label the spell's base class (wizard, druid, etc).
  • Allow an option for quick load to load the latest save, not necessarily the quick save

    Added in edits:
  • Mentioned elsewhere, but add flat (not by class) alphabetical lists for spells, powers, feats, etc. You may find a scroll and not even know what class it is for let alone what level, so you either have to go online to look it up (and hope it isn't something customized for the game), or take a long time browsing through all the classes/levels.
  • Now that there are a lot of settings that can impact difficulty, for the Steam release, to avoid a lot of negative reviews due to difficulty (investigate what happened to Pathfinder KM, though that was also bugs), I suggest packaging up sets of these options into some difficulty presets (still allow player to change at any time). For example, the 1.0 original settings could be "insane", selecting all of the easiest options for feats/stats/etc. could be "easy", and then find some in-between for "normal" and "hard". Suggest making normal not very hard either, to be safe (including starting at level 2 and no gold for leveling probably). Not sure if you are still considering things like reducing the numbers of enemies or lowering enemy stats (like SR, saves), which could also be good to fold into difficulty levels (but may be too much work).
  • When moving in combat, if I highlight a path and go too far, into the red arrows, it should still let me click to travel along that path up to the farthest yellow arrow, I shouldn't have to adjust the path to the exact stopping point. Or maybe just get rid of the red arrows and stop the path at the yellow, not sure what it adds, it isn't like a TBS game where it remembers the path and the unit can automatically travel more of the path the next turn (like HoMM or AoW).
  • When the only action I have left available is a 5-foot step, the UI should treat it like a normal move, targeting the mouse to the move location with a blue arrow showing the direction, and clicking to confirm, without having to enter a separate command for 5-foot step first
  • Show the turn order on the right side while enemies are acting (so we can think/plan while waiting for the AI)
  • Show the combat log while the enemy is acting (when it is on fastest setting, sometimes miss what happened, or want to see e.g. who somebody targeted for ready vs. spell). Again helps with planning while enemy is moving, and reduces the chance I forget what happened if a lot of enemies move before I get a chance to review. Could be made an option. Edit: Also, for an action like "ready vs. spell" when it displays in large font above the enemy who is performing the action, include the name of the character they are targeting, so we don't need to check the combat log.
  • Allow manual resizing of the combat log that displays at the bottom of the screen, including hiding it or making it much taller to read while enemy is acting.
  • Show enemy statuses, like the swirls for confused/berserk, while enemies are acting

Edit: Will edit to add to the list as things come to mind
Last edited by jms123 on Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:03 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Some suggestions

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Re: Some suggestions

Postby tdunaj » Sat Jul 25, 2020 7:37 pm

Great suggestions, precise shot is there just has to be unlocked. Totally agree with the left, right arrow keys just changing between characters and keeping the tabs fixed (when applicable). And also the scrolls need more information, school type, level and the spell description. Right now when I see a scroll in a shop have to go online and search through all classes to find out what it does.
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Re: Some suggestions

Postby bluehinter » Sun Jul 26, 2020 8:18 am

Excellent suggestions. I'd add...


jms123 wrote:Allow naming of saves, sometimes I save to test out specific scenarios and right now I have to take notes to keep track of which number it is


THIS! It's nearly impossible to tell which saves are which when both loading save games and overwriting.


jms123 wrote: Any display modifiers for items in personal inventory should also be applied to items in the party inventory, e.g., I can see which items I can equip, which scrolls I can learn, etc. (has been mentioned by another somewhere too).


Makes a lot of sense, as long as it can be implemented. I have noticed that when picking spells during level up, it'll let you know that you have a scroll that you can learn from, even if it isn't in that player's inventory, so hopefully that means it can be put into practice on the inventory screen.
jms123 wrote:
Show when casting a spell will trigger an AoO similar to how it shows when moving, sometimes I forget that a larger enemy has reach


I'd append this to say that enemies should have the exact same little icons below their tile as player characters to indicate which spells/item effects they have in effect (especially things like damage auras), and right next to this, some larger more prominent icons for Ready vs. Spell, Ready Vs. Approach, Counterspell, and anything else that's going to trigger if you attack/approach them.

jms123 wrote:A way to use items directly from the main screen without going through the inventory screen (outside of combat)


Item use in general needs to be fixed, both in and out of combat. If you can't use items by selecting the inventory screen, opening it shouldn't trigger AOO attacks opening the inventory screen during combat. You get attacked and then discover that you can't do anything.
It would also be nice to be able to use healing items faster, possibly with some sort of right click, "Use" command that lists your own items first, and then party items second.

jms123 wrote:In the witch dialogs for selecting a scroll:
1. Allow right clicking on the spell name in the dialog to see the description of the spell
2. Allow me to change my mind about which spell class I picked
Together the above help me to browse for what I want during the dialog, rather than having to study it separately

In general, as long as the game is not deliberately trying to be vague about what reward you'll receive (ex: your reward is "something to make you big" or "something to make you fast") you should be able to right click on any item or spell to look up it's stats and who can use it when picking rewards or engaging in trade.

jms123 wrote:Show the XP tables somewhere in help (or did I miss it?)


You can see how much XP you have to earn to level up in the character sheets, but I haven't seen actual XP tables in the help section. That may be because different races/classes require different amounts, but it would be nice if it showed you when you click on that character's XP info in their character sheet.

jms123 wrote:If I have an inventory container open let me drag from the party inventory directly into it, or at a minimum, if I drag an item from the party inventory into the current char inventory, don't close the container I already have open


Again. I'd take this one step further, and say If your character has a container, it should always be open at the bottom of the screen as a permanent extra row. If he/she's carrying more than one, you either get multiple rows and a scroll bar, or clicking on different bags/chests will toggle between them. Constantly having to click the bag to reopen it to drag items in/out is very annoying.

jms123 wrote:If you mouse over a useable weapon/armor in inventory, it shows you the stats if equipped (ideally with comparison to currently equipped)


Another good one. I'd also apply this to trade and reward windows.

jms123 wrote:[*]All scrolls should label the spell's base class (wizard, druid, etc).


YES! If it's a multi-class spell, list all the classes that are able to use it. Also, in the Item Details screen, why on earth doesn't it list the level of the spell and a link to that spell in the help file?



A few others things that come to my mind. The escape screen should be treated more like the traditional "Pause" menu in most modern games.
Hitting ESC should mute all background music and atmospheric effects, and brings up everything that's currently under the File Menu in the game. I instinctively hit Escape to bring up a file menu automatically. It's just one of those gaming standards (like reserving WASD for movement and I for inventory) that has become standard over the years.

You should get a Y/N prompt if you click on a damage tile or attempt to move to a location that you know will damage you. Yes, it shows expected damage on the mouse-over, but since left clicking is also the interact button, the game should give you a bit more leeway here.

It would be nice if you could take your movements in manual steps or otherwise not always take the shortest travel path the game wants you to take. Sometimes, in combat, you could avoid AOO damage if you could just circle around an enemy, but no, the game will only allow you to take the most direct path that it thinks you should to take.
It would be better if say... your player has 5 green arrows of movement, you could click to move the character two spaces NE, and click again to move three spaces SE, and still be able to perform a Standard Action afterwards.

Any spell or combat action that can't possibly reach a target from where your character is currently located should be greyed out or pop up "Impossible: no valid target in range". This is just a QOL thing, especially for players who aren't familiar with what touch, short, medium, and long range actually translate into. Additionally, when you mouse over a spell, it would be nice if it automatically told you the max range (in squares or feet) and failure rate, taking into account any feats, domains, armor effects, ailments, or anything else that may affect it's success.
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Re: Some suggestions

Postby jms123 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:23 am

bluehinter wrote:You can see how much XP you have to earn to level up in the character sheets, but I haven't seen actual XP tables in the help section. That may be because different races/classes require different amounts, but it would be nice if it showed you when you click on that character's XP info in their character sheet.

I don't actually know what exactly is implemented, I made an assumption because when I looked it up in the d20 srd, it only showed 1 table with no variation for race or class, and it has seemed to track with my characters, but I cannot be sure it was an exact match. I guess if it varies then it might be more difficult, depending on what the variables are. Maybe it can show a table with a column for the base plus columns for any modifiers.
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/xp.htm
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Re: Some suggestions

Postby BlueSalamander » Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:37 pm

Awesome! Thank you very much for all the great advice and feedback jms123 and bluehinter! Those are great suggestions for improving the user interface and experience.
Allow naming of saves, sometimes I save to test out specific scenarios and right now I have to take notes to keep track of which number it is
Great suggestion! I'll see what I can do.
Any display modifiers for items in personal inventory should also be applied to items in the party inventory
Yup, already implemented now.
Show when casting a spell will trigger an AoO similar to how it shows when moving, sometimes I forget that a larger enemy has reach
OK I can do that. But if you're set to be casting defensively, then no AOO would be triggered.
Consider making defensive casting available in the main combat action menu, not only the spec sheet, and have some kind of very conspicuous display of whether it is on during combat. Also, stop the resetting of defensive casting that happens at various times, like leveling up or switching map levels, etc.
OK I will see if it can appear in the combat-actions menu. As for the conspicuous display of the setting, mmm, I think that as long as the game displays the AOOs that would be triggered by casting, it should be fine. I will definitely check out the resetting of defensive casting, it should not be reset on level up or map switching.
Precise Shot Feat (and apply it to ranged touch attacks), and Improved version, to help with builds that want to focus on either archery or ranged touch spells
Those were always in the game.
Add keyboard shortcuts for inventory actions equip, split, learn, etc. (unless they are already there and I just missed them?).
OK I will see what I can do.
Allow applicable k/b shortcuts to work from the main menu, i.e. F1 for help should work from there, also O for options.
Yup. Will check it out.
A way to use items directly from the main screen without going through the inventory screen (outside of combat)
Actually, there is a way: mouse over the character who's going to use an item then press 'A' for 'activate special'. Will definitely mention that in the tutorial adventure.
When selecting an item to use in a dialog encounter, allow it to be selected directly from the party inventory
OK, I will see what I can do. Then, clicking on an item in the party inventory will work as 'selecting the item' rather than 'transferring the item to the party leader'.
[Witch dialog]Allow right clicking on the spell name in the dialog to see the description of the spell
OK, will see what I can do.
Allow me to change my mind about which spell class I picked
OK, will check it out.
Show the XP tables somewhere in help (or did I miss it?)
OK, will see what I can do. :)
Help part III "Spells and Psionic Powers": Spells and Psionic Powers are both linked to one overview page
OK I will make the whole line one link.
When I switch characters with the arrow keys it tends to jump to different tabs. Where applicable it should stay on the same tab I am already on. E.g. I want to quickly tab through all the spec sheets to turn off defensive casting, I have to do all these extra clicks to change tabs each time I switch to a new character.
OK, will see what I can do.
if I drag an item from the party inventory into the current char inventory, don't close the container I already have open
Yup. I will make sure the container isn't closed. Also maybe something like Shift + click on the item from the party inventory to send the item into the opened container.
If you mouse over a useable weapon/armor in inventory, it shows you the stats if equipped (ideally with comparison to currently equipped)
OK I will see what I can do. For weapons, the game will have to assume that you would be using them in the main hand.
Something needs to be done about having the concept of an "active" character selection I think. Sometimes the character that shows up when I hit a shortcut like "i" or "v" is not the same one I am currently viewing, it jumps to the main char or something.
It's not that complicated. If you push I or V, the game will display the inventory or character sheet of the party leader. BUT if you were mousing over a character while pressing the key, then the game will display the inventory or character sheet of the moused-over character. I will have to highlight that in the tutorial adventure.
There may be some of that functionality already but the UI is a bit hard to grasp at times, not clear why it is bringing up a certain character, etc
Yup. Just needs to be mentioned in the tutorial, I think.
All scrolls should label the spell's base class (wizard, druid, etc).
I will see what I can do about this.
Allow an option for quick load to load the latest save, not necessarily the quick save
Will see if I can do something for that.
Mentioned elsewhere, but add flat (not by class) alphabetical lists for spells, powers, feats, etc. You may find a scroll and not even know what class it is for let alone what level, so you either have to go online to look it up (and hope it isn't something customized for the game), or take a long time browsing through all the classes/levels.
Should be okay now, with the 'Search' box in the help system, plus the fact that you can click within the item information box to get the details of the associated spell.
Now that there are a lot of settings that can impact difficulty, for the Steam release, to avoid a lot of negative reviews due to difficulty (investigate what happened to Pathfinder KM, though that was also bugs), I suggest packaging up sets of these options into some difficulty presets
OK. The best way to do this is probably to allow setting the difficulty directly in the 'Party Creation' screen. I'll make some space by putting the buttons 'Move Character Up' and 'Move Character Down' on the same line, then add a drop-down box allowing you to select 'Hideous / Heroic / Easy' or something like that. Then the game will set standard options associated with all of these settings. Also, if the player has selected 'easy' but he actually started with level-1 characters, the game should probably grant every character the XP required for level 2 immediately when starting the adventure.
Not sure if you are still considering things like reducing the numbers of enemies or lowering enemy stats (like SR, saves), which could also be good to fold into difficulty levels (but may be too much work).
Yup, this is planned, as well as an option for more campfires. Thank you to Juhani for helping with this! :)
When moving in combat, if I highlight a path and go too far, into the red arrows, it should still let me click to travel along that path up to the farthest yellow arrow
I will see what I can do about this.
When the only action I have left available is a 5-foot step, the UI should treat it like a normal move, targeting the mouse to the move location with a blue arrow showing the direction, and clicking to confirm, without having to enter a separate command for 5-foot step first
I think it's kinda hard to implement that, and maybe not too important.
Show the turn order on the right side while enemies are acting (so we can think/plan while waiting for the AI)
I will see if I can add a new game option to display the initiative list while enemies are acting.
Show the combat log while the enemy is acting (when it is on fastest setting, sometimes miss what happened, or want to see e.g. who somebody targeted for ready vs. spell).
I will see if it's doable with a new option.
for an action like "ready vs. spell" when it displays in large font above the enemy who is performing the action, include the name of the character they are targeting, so we don't need to check the combat log
Great idea! I will see what I can do.
Allow manual resizing of the combat log that displays at the bottom of the screen, including hiding it or making it much taller to read while enemy is acting.
There is a game option for hiding it. Not too sure about reading it while the enemy is acting, as the text is going to be scrolling down a lot. But I will see. Maybe we can have some options for a double-size or triple-size combat log.
Show enemy statuses, like the swirls for confused/berserk, while enemies are acting
Maybe I'll create an option for that.

enemies should have the exact same little icons below their tile as player characters to indicate which spells/item effects they have in effect
They do.
right next to this, some larger more prominent icons for Ready vs. Spell, Ready Vs. Approach, Counterspell, and anything else that's going to trigger if you attack/approach them.
OK, I will see what I can do about this.
Item use in general needs to be fixed, both in and out of combat. If you can't use items by selecting the inventory screen, opening it shouldn't trigger AOO attacks opening the inventory screen during combat. You get attacked and then discover that you can't do anything.
I suppose it's more something that needs to be made clear in the tutorial. That magic items are activated using the 'Activate Special' combat action (A key), and that 'Use Inventory' is only for swapping armour and weapons or giving items to another character, and that you can view anyone's inventory by clicking on their token (thus not triggering AOOs).
It would also be nice to be able to use healing items faster, possibly with some sort of right click, "Use" command that lists your own items first, and then party items second.
Simply mouse over a character then push A, you will get the options for that character.
In general, as long as the game is not deliberately trying to be vague about what reward you'll receive (ex: your reward is "something to make you big" or "something to make you fast") you should be able to right click on any item or spell to look up it's stats and who can use it when picking rewards or engaging in trade.
I'll see if it would be doable to allow right clicking on possible rewards that are weapons or items to get their information screen while dialogue is taking place. It is a very cool idea in any case. When engaging in trade, it is already possible to right click the available items for information.
You can see how much XP you have to earn to level up in the character sheets, but I haven't seen actual XP tables in the help section. That may be because different races/classes require different amounts, but it would be nice if it showed you when you click on that character's XP info in their character sheet.
All the races and classes have the same XP table. Will see what I can do.
Again. I'd take this one step further, and say If your character has a container, it should always be open at the bottom of the screen as a permanent extra row. If he/she's carrying more than one, you either get multiple rows and a scroll bar, or clicking on different bags/chests will toggle between them. Constantly having to click the bag to reopen it to drag items in/out is very annoying.
Too difficult to implement, I'm afraid. Bags are super tricky, really.
[it shows you the stats if equipped] Another good one. I'd also apply this to trade and reward windows.
Certainly could be done in the trading box, I will see.
in the Item Details screen, why on earth doesn't it list the level of the spell and a link to that spell in the help file?
Yup, there is a link now.
The escape screen should be treated more like the traditional "Pause" menu in most modern games. Hitting ESC should mute all background music and atmospheric effects, and brings up everything that's currently under the File Menu in the game.
OK, I will see if I can have the escape-box display some more buttons for loading and saving games, or returning to desktop, as in ToEE.
It would be nice if you could take your movements in manual steps or otherwise not always take the shortest travel path the game wants you to take.
You can, as long as you have enough movement points. You can also use the numpad keys to do it square by square.
when you mouse over a spell, it would be nice if it automatically told you the max range (in squares or feet)
I will see what I can do about this.
Thank you again guys! :)
'Say there is a chunk of meat. Pirates will have a banquet and eat it! But heroes will share it with other people. I want all the meat!!' - Luffy in One Piece
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Re: Some suggestions

Postby jms123 » Sun Jan 03, 2021 2:01 am

Sounds good. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to all of our posts. I haven't played in a while since I already finished the module months ago, but I did have a couple of follow-up thoughts:

For difficulty: I believe I wrote that before some additional difficulty-related options were implemented, like the initiative one. So I didn't mention those, but if you do the difficulty "packages", I would suggest enabling all of those that make the game easier for the lowest difficulty (although the equation may change if you end up modifying the actual encounters by difficulty as well).

For inventory access during combat: Could it be implemented so there is only an action penalty if something is actually equipped, rather than when the inventory is opened? As people are learning the UI they may accidentally open the inventory (e.g., they don't remember how to use an item). I believe that happened to me once. Then, if you had time, you could add the ability to also use an item in combat from the inventory (since people naturally tend to think of doing it like that anyway).
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