Dialog System Mockup(s)

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Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by blast » Fri Jan 30, 2015 3:37 am

One of the plans for BZFlag 2.6 is a dialog system. This would allow for the server (either through normal functionality or custom plugins) to trigger dialogs on the client. This would, for instance, reduce the need for the majority of the slash commands. Banning and kicks could be done through a pop-up dialog that can be manipulated with mouse, keyboard, or gamepad. I'll be posting some mockups here to get some feedback on the layout. These mockups will be just that.. mockups. Their aesthetic look will not be representative of the final product as I'm just trying to experiment with layouts.

One thing I would like to move to a dialog is the team selection. The main reason for this is that having the team selection pre-join means that the team selection is useless on some game modes (such as rabbit chase servers) or less useful in some configurations (such as servers with automatic team selections). So instead of choosing a team on the Join Game menu, I feel it would be better to pick a team after connecting and downloading the world. So, the first mockup I made is what the team selection dialog could look like.

The icon/text for each team would be selectable with either the mouse, keyboard, or gamepad. The server would send updated player counts for the dialog as they change. Any comments/feedback on the layout?

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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by Sniper752 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 5:18 pm

Looks great! That definitely makes sense selecting a team after you join.
I'm assuming /set commands might be in a dialogue too? Cause that would make life easier for sure (as would kick/ban commands)
If you would like any help with mockups or graphics I would be glad to help!
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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by Sniper752 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:43 pm

Had a few ideas pop into my head when I read about the dialogues...
Here's what I came up with
The first image is the menu button, 'nuff said
The second image is the first menu; The first column is what everyone sees, the second only admins see. More items could be added, but I was at a loss as to what else to put on there
The third image is an example of the mute/kick/ban menu; You enter the reason, select the player, and click on one of the options. The IP buttons are separate and represent taking the action above it by using the IP instead of the username

While I was putting this together, I realized you might want to go about it through the escape menu (The existing system). I have a few ideas and am working on a potential re-structure of the existing menu system to accommodate some of what blast had mentioned.

Let me know what you think!
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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by blast » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:40 pm

At this point, I'm not sure if the actual client menu (the stuff we have now) would use this same dialog system or not. I've been focusing on more of the server-oriented stuff like team selection, ban/kick/mute, lagstats, polls, and custom plugins.

Anyways, I don't think that having a menu button on the screen would actually work. If you're using the mouse as your active input device, the mouse is used to move and shoot. Having a clickable button on the screen during gameplay would mean you would accidentally click it. So I think having stuff still associated with some sort of a key/button binding would be ideal. For instance, replacing the current 'O' single-line text menu with a dialog system.

I also only see a single image attachment. Can you post the other two images you mentioned?
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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by Sniper752 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 9:43 pm

right, forgot about active mice... i use kb, so it didn't cross my mind
here's the other images...
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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by Sniper752 » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:34 pm

With that now in mind, here's another, based on the idea that the menu is bound to a key
Its rough, but I just kinda threw it together
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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by blast » Sat Jan 31, 2015 3:23 pm

I'm thinking that each kind of action (kick, ban, mute) should have their own dialog. This would help prevent accidental misclicks when trying to mute someone and accidentally banning them instead (since the top would say "Ban Player"). Plus, there are three different types of bans, but only one kind of kick (and currently no IP mute, just a session-based mute). Banning can either be by IP, host, or bzid, and has a duration and reason. Kicking only has a reason. Muting doesn't have anything beyond who to mute. So, the interfaces for each would be different.

I mocked up a potential "Player Info" dialog that would show lagstats/idlestats, flag history, and gameplay stats in a tabbed interface.

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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by Sniper752 » Sat Jan 31, 2015 11:30 pm

yeah, I caught the IP mute problem as reflected in the dialogue menu.
But man, I need to think through these things a little more... :P
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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by Kitsune » Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:21 pm

I'm wondering how far along you are with this plan as well as if you discussed this topic with people that might be potentially interested in the function prior to creating this thread? I, for one, probably wouldn't find any major use in it all together. The slash commands are a classic, and the display afterwards is more than sufficient. If you have supporters behind you that aren't just playing smart but would actually find use in such a system in day-to-day usage, then I have nothing against it. However, as much as I gained from the presentation in the OP, I would prefer to keep to the current style.

If this ever gets implemented, make it optional, please.

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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by blast » Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:14 pm

Yes, aspects of this have been discussed over the years. For instance, here's a thread from 2009 about the poll system: http://forums.bzflag.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=13830

I just think that we need to reduce the learning curve of the game so that new players stick around long enough to become part of the community. We have over 100 weekly downloads of the BZFlag 2.4.2 Windows installer alone. So where are all those players? Registration is done via a forum, voting is done with slash commands, team selection is done for servers that don't allow team selection (either rabbit chase or automatic team selection), the mouse cursor shows up in the menu but can't be used to click on anything, etc. It's not intuitive and that needs to change so that new players stick around. There are a lot of other free games out there that we must compete with now.
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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by Kitsune » Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:40 pm

Color me surprised to hear such a response. I always pictured BZFlag more as a place where people with too much free time and a development-ish mindset gather and work on it as some sort of a fun development project over it being a game that's trying to compete with other 3D download-able FPS. That is because the latter won't be achieved in any way whatsoever where the game stands now, with there being multiple good reasons for that. To add to your list of examples, a strong factor is also relatively hard creation of maps (bzw) and then actually running a server (bzfs). To you, it might seem like a piece of cake. But you must assume that gamers are usually stupid people that many times don't know the difference between hardware and software. Just this one factor alone cuts the percentage of people staying by a lot, as many prefer mindless enjoyment from shooting other tanks down. This can be seen with Apoc always being the top map - fast tank and shot speed as well as insane killing speed is preferred over tactical play, with the latter being the only place where BZFlag excels over other FPS games. Yet, the current regulars lean towards the former despite the fact.

The matter of needing to register on the forums to gain additional rights in-game is quite useless, to be frank. There could be a single-purpose database set up where you could register your name as well as password and that would be that. Forums would be external entirely, which means that GroupDB wouldn't be handled via the forums either. This gets especially nasty when the GroupDB and registration for in-game additions (voting, optional chatting, etc.) are handled the way they are now, as heavy subjective ideas come around. I've seen hate or disliking towards specific users which then led into them getting banned on the forums, which directly connected to in-game activities and status. That's not how it's supposed to go. In-game registration and GroupDB should be entirely objective, not directly connected to a community hangout with its own rules and staff.

But to get back to the topic, I would drop the idea of seriously trying to compete with other games. Additional interfaces won't really change a thing at this point. One of major factors that prevents people from staying around is the basic structure and type of game BZFlag is in itself. Many other games get the players ready to face others in one way or another. Via tutorials, difficulty-orientated maps, rank-separated players, and whatever that makes the game challenging just at the right intensity. BZFlag is a total opposite in this aspect. Veterans dominate and new players get dominated, badly. I, as someone who has been around for around a decade (don't mind the registration date), many times go easy on others just so they stay and play on the map. But not everyone's the same as me - rare are. The unreal difference in game knowledge and approach makes newer users uninterested in playing, as the basic rule that applies for all FPS games applies here as well: you hate to lose. But you keep on losing. Because you don't have the drill down yet. Even though that's the case, the game itself does not have a sort-by-rank server system that would help players play against others of similar rank, with which newer players would play against each other and veterans against veterans as well. But all this is meaningless in the situation we are now, as there is too little active players around to even consider splitting them even further.

So, what do we do. Change, yeah. By chance have that change be an improvement. As said, I won't say anything against a change in the interface other than me personally not being a fan, but that's just me speaking for myself alone. A crucial factor I would say needs giving a little bit of thought is game accessibility. Messing up with installation, additional lines inputting and so on already makes the game not worth it in many eyes. People want a game that's a click away, and that's just not what BZFlag is at the current. People that dislike such lazy players can hate on them all they want, but that won't change the fact that such type represents the majority and if we assume BZFlag as more of a game than a project, we will have to serve them one way or another. A change in the interface that would make various features easier to use and access might indeed not be bad for a lot of users out there, but I highly doubt it is as major in relation to other changes that could be made. Good luck, however.

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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by blast » Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:45 am

If you check out the BZFlag 2.6 plan that is linked in the initial post in this thread, it already covers some of the points you say we need to improve. The primary motivation for the dialog system is so that tutorials can be created/improved/updated without having to push out a new client (meaning the dialogs could be generated on the server via a plugin). A tutorial mode (via servers) is one of the primary goals for the 2.6 release, at least as I envision it. (Additionally, a web services revamp has been in the planning phase for a while and has some documentation on the wiki and on our github.)

Anyways, I'm not expecting BZFlag to compete with AAA games, but I think it could at least be up there with indie games. It's just going to take some time, effort, and management to get to that point.
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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by cute koa » Sat Mar 21, 2015 9:03 pm

i really like this concept :3
But bzflag could easily be up there with the indie games it just needs some updates. (btw even though i'm quite new to programming but i would love to help out with the development and i also could bring some help of my friends :) )

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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by blast » Sun Mar 22, 2015 4:49 am

Feel free to hang out in the freenode #bzflag IRC channel. That's where most development discussions happen. I'm blast007 there.
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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by Kitsune » Sat May 23, 2015 10:33 am

Relatively late response, but allow me to highlight this part:
"It's just going to take some time, effort, and management to get to that point."

You seriously need to consider putting "mindset" and "community approach" to that line, even though management could in a sense cover all of that. Games that are more or less new or are smaller in active community aspect and want to grow must work on their staff-user/player relationship. That matter is, however, being treated as garbage as of right now. People that need help or want to become a part of the inner community are either overthrown by facts alone or criticism how stupid they are or alike, many times that's being done by the staff here. Pretty much the only ones who would appreciate such behavior are masochists or people who actually posses knowledge to smartly reply to such responses. I wouldn't know about the former, but you won't find much of the latter. The majority isn't excessively smart, as said in my previous post, and if they are, I'm in belief that they don't spend their (free) time on a game project that has potentially extremely low future ahead of it. You, blast, are one of rare who do so. I'm not saying that's bad or stupid, but it just brings up a death loop of failure. You bring in some players and repel most of them away, while indie games in general tend to enclose and welcome new players by giving them what they want and approaching on a warm way.

Not to mention that these forums highly encourage elitism via these user ranks which, of course, are given to those who openly contribute to the game and develop BZFlag is one sense or another. It's just that much more of an evidence that the general ground BZFlag stands on isn't indie game orientated, but a project around which developers with too much time gather, and the outcome just randomly being a game. It could be something completely else. That's the essence it gives, and that's not what people that are hunting good indie games are looking for.

My suggestion: Make BZFlag more community-focused and not so stuck up in the code. While the game indeed hasn't received any relatively major changes content-wise, I don't believe it has to. BZFlag is complete, even though much more simple than some more complex products, but as an overall, it can be damn fun. And that's all it matters. Bottom line, you've got a product, but now you've gotta sell it. You don't start with the changes to the code or advertising, that can be done later. You start with your attitude to the current members of the community. You try to connect the members. You try organizing events. Sure, not having the inner parts/code carved into stone is important, but that's not the key to success. At least not at the point where BZFlag stands now, with its apparent strong-points and weak-points.

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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by The Purple Panzer » Wed Mar 30, 2016 5:08 pm

I like thw "Change Team" mockup a lot. One thought - sometimes players want to play on the same team as specific other players, but they have no way of knowing what team any of those players might be on. Perhaps have a pane to (say) the right-hand side that lists the current players, in their team colors (as the current scoreboard is).

A second thought - not sure you meant this "Change Team" to be used only on joinup, or in the middle of the game (after one has been playing for a while). If the latter, maybe have a checkbox as to whether to preserve score information, or reset it (as it is now if one rejoins).

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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by MarkMcneely » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:19 am

that's great now we do not have to do commands we can trigger and team selection feature is amazing.

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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by trpted » Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:00 pm

Please tell me more about the Dialog System Mockup(s).

For example: I have to download the source code, these are the changes I need to make, and compile.

If they are only Dialog System Mockup(s), what program do you use / how do you do that?

For example used Gimp/Photo Shop and this/these option(s).

Please and thank you

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Re: Dialog System Mockup(s)

Post by Zehra » Sun Feb 03, 2019 4:42 pm

From the top of this thread and even in the topic name itself, it says Mockup(s).
These are concepts and ideas for an interface in 2.6. (2.6. has not been released yet as well.)
I'm not sure, but I doubt it has been implemented at this point in time, but to be certain ask on #bzflag on the Freenode network to see if it will or has been implemented.
If it has been implemented, it will be on the master branch on Github and changes may not be possible to backport changes to 2.4.x, so using them on 2.4.x may not be possible.

For creating a mockup, it all depends on personal preference, GIMP, PhotoShop, Inkscape, Windows Paint..etc, they all work alright.
They vary a bit in capabilities and ease of use, but it should not matter which one you use, although it may be worth it to consider the limitations within the software itself.

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