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Moon Wizard
November 21st, 2010, 23:29
OK, my general thinking at the moment is that 2.8 will primarily be a big 3.5E update. There will also be a few minor features, a couple bug fixes and some developer features also.

Given that, I have been heads down rebuilding 3.5E from scratch to use all the latest and greatest ruleset features we have built. In addition, I will be looking at PF as well to see what can be done.

One thing that I would like to do is update the theme for 3.5E to be slightly different than 4E. Currently, they look identical, since I'm using all the new code and graphics.

Does anyone want to take a stab at helping me re-theme 3.5E?

I already tried simple color casting on the current theme, but it didn't look good. Given the current code and graphics, any theme that works for 4E will work for 3.5E.

Cheers,
JPG

StuartW
November 21st, 2010, 23:56
Not quite sure what you're using on 4e (it isn't a system I play at the moment), but using the previous SW d20/3.5e theme might be an idea:

It is a classic, familiar theme, long associated with FG and d20; and
Its sort-of-retro look chimes with 3.5e's emerging role as a system with which some people feel more comfortable ('safer').

Just a thought

Stuart

unerwŁnscht
November 22nd, 2010, 04:47
Where would you want all the graphics posted? It might be best to have a bunch of us submit what we can, then you can pick and choose what you want to use... some people are great at making buttons, some are great at making repeating backgrounds, etc...

Sigurd
November 22nd, 2010, 05:58
I think the first step is change the name of the ruleset. Since 'D20' is no longer a license, I recommend the OGL as a principle part of the title.

Perhaps where the dragon is large and singular on the 4e desktop it might become the 'O' in OGL as the central image of the OGL ruleset.

unerwŁnscht
November 22nd, 2010, 11:00
Just tossing a first draft idea out, but how about a dragon scale desktop? It would still need some more work, its a bit obtuse, but I'm sure you can see the general idea, and yes it tiles.

cpbs
November 22nd, 2010, 16:28
Possibly just changing the dragon symbol to something else to would distinguish it away from the old 3.5 version. Like another dragon symbol but with him face us with his mouth open.

Other then that I've always liked the old fill over the design, but I think no matter what it changes to, the new features under the hood, will be more rewarding then just a renewed design :).

unerwŁnscht
November 22nd, 2010, 21:04
Stage two of what I am thinking, and as far as I am going to go for now, unless people like it... then I will work on it some more.

VenomousFiligree
November 22nd, 2010, 21:17
Stage two of what I am thinking, and as far as I am going to go for now, unless people like it... then I will work on it some more.
Works for me. Don't like the "hinges" on the chat window though. Maybe a "leather look" for the icon bar down the right?

Astinus
November 22nd, 2010, 21:34
Not quite sure what you're using on 4e (it isn't a system I play at the moment), but using the previous SW d20/3.5e theme might be an idea:

It is a classic, familiar theme, long associated with FG and d20; and
Its sort-of-retro look chimes with 3.5e's emerging role as a system with which some people feel more comfortable ('safer').

Just a thought

Stuart

I second Stuart's thoughts. Can anyone really come up with something as elegant, something that feels as professional, from a design standpoint, as the previous theme? I don't think so.

The 4e theme doesn't come close, imho.

One of the great joys of FG has always been the seamlessly integrated design. When you have programmers and gamers all pitching in on design, you get some cool stuff, but it's not elegant, integrated, polished, like the previous, original theme.

Moon Wizard
November 23rd, 2010, 01:48
Good thoughts. I'll try rolling back to the wood theme, and see how it looks.

Cheers,
JPG

blondejohn
November 23rd, 2010, 04:10
I second Stuart's thoughts. Can anyone really come up with something as elegant, something that feels as professional, from a design standpoint, as the previous theme? I don't think so.

The 4e theme doesn't come close, imho.

One of the great joys of FG has always been the seamlessly integrated design. When you have programmers and gamers all pitching in on design, you get some cool stuff, but it's not elegant, integrated, polished, like the previous, original theme.

I agree. The wood background is elegant and neutral: It doesn't take my eye away from the chat box or other information. If you wanted to make a change to distinguish it from 4E or previous versions, a simple change in the creature used in the logo would be sufficient, IMHO.

SLB
November 23rd, 2010, 06:51
Yay to 3.5 update! Looking forward to having all the new features.

The hinges on one of the suggested themes was a call-out to the hinges which appear on the manuals for the 3.5 edition. I thought it was a nice touch.

The other thing they did in the 3.5 manuals is a lot of those "daVinci" style diagrams in the backgrounds to the chapter title pages. Something like that, with faded diagrams of weapons showing measurements etc. might be kind of neat and still tie in to the 3.5 edition manuals.

StuartW
November 23rd, 2010, 07:43
When you have programmers and gamers all pitching in on design, you get some cool stuff, but it's not elegant, integrated, polished, like the previous, original theme.

I personally agree. On the rulesets to which I've contributed, those done by committee don't seem as cohesive as those done by only one or two. This isn't just true for the graphic design, but is at least as true with the coding.

Examples:

Call of Cthulhu: one person on coding, two on graphics;
Rolemaster: two people on coding, three people on graphics;
Savage Worlds: two generations of coders, multiple skins;
BRP: one person coding, one on graphics;
Traveller Classic: one person coding, one on graphics; and
WoD: one person coding, one on graphics.

Of the above, my least favourites (from a consistency perspective) are Rolemaster and Call of Cthulhu, whereas I think that BRP, Traveller and WoD hang together quite well. But then I would say that, wouldn't I?

It has to be said that on Savage Worlds having multiple people worked quite well, because the original ruleset was built as a very robust foundation, SmiteWorks' own guys then added some cool functionality, and a few of us just tidied things up a bit. Likewise, the graphics has been split over multiple themes, so each one feels cohesive.

Stuart

Sigurd
November 23rd, 2010, 10:21
Colours in this arent right but thematically this is what I thought might work.

Reduce the Dragon to fill or represent the 'O' in OGL. Keep to natural subdued tones that don't detract from things on the game table.

Perhaps try to make the Smite Works logo into a gold piece, or something really subtle. I think I would tire of anything that felt 'branded'.

This is a really quick mock up. As I said, I think the colours are wrong. I like the idea of a little retro flavour to the ruleset. Not to take anything from earlier editions, I'd like to suggest graph paper and candles.



Also: I think you should agree on an options window or some such that is the same in all the rulesets from Smiteworks and will tell anyone who asks the alias and some sort of basic info.

blake67
November 23rd, 2010, 19:10
I like the original wood theme, but I also like a lot about the current 4e "Metal" theme (which actually looks more like granite, imho).

Allow me to compare the two.

Wood/Parchment style - I enjoy my virtual tabletop looking like a tabletop, complete with the feel of paper sheets. Call me old school. That said, I think that the patterning of the wood grain is a bit too heavy, which leads to a strong tiling effect. I would change the grain to be a bit more uniform, and maybe just a touch lighter.

Dragon Icon - I'd change it to look like it was simply an outline carved directly into the wood background, if anything. Its fine as is, but don't clutter the background too much if it needs to be spiced up a bit to distinguish it from 4e.

Chatbox - I love the way that the chatbox in 4e Metal has the downwards bevel such that it looks like its actually lower in elevation than the rest of the table. That simple design adds a realistic feel to watching the dice bounce around in the box when you roll them. I've never been a big fan of the Grecian border pattern around the original wood chatbox.

Icons - I like the simple uniformity of the 4e Metal icons on the right side. That said, I also like the original icons, but they are a bit too hard to identify what they link to at first glance. I'd actually recommend using larger versions of the icons that appear at the bottom of the ".\icons\title_***.png" files. I think that style is perfect. Otherwise, I'd prefer just using the 4e ones, except adding in the shadow at the bottom tip of the flag that has been truncated.

Hotkey Box - I'd change these to look like a slightly more plush leather, with a higher bevel, and a different color. Perhaps a dark burgundy (http://www.azspaworld.com/Burgundy.jpg) would be nice. Change the thin light brown border at the top to a light pewter with a little bevel and a nice top-lit reflection.

Come to think of it, it might be nice to also have the dark brown wood icon background also converted to the same dark burgundy leather look. The new icons would go great with it.

Other than that, I'd pretty much keep everything else just the way that it is. I'd be happy to work on some of this stuff if you want some help or examples of what I'm talking about.

Sigurd
November 23rd, 2010, 21:01
Is it possible to position the decoration a fixed distance (or fraction) from the lower right corner rather than in the center?

I think less is more in this case. The dragon logo works so well because it is subtle. It would be a pleasant variety to have an equally subtle image in the lower right.


Sigurd

StuartW
November 23rd, 2010, 22:50
Is it possible to position the decoration a fixed distance (or fraction) from the lower right corner rather than in the center?

I don't believe it is: you can position bits of the background in each corner or edge, but need to ensure the tiling works with it (perhaps by adding a border trim that coincides with the panelling transition) but the decal effect overlaid on that background is centred on the screen.

You can move things off-centre, for example to avoid the chat box, by adding transparent pixels to one edge or another of the decal, but the anchor point is still the middle of the screen.

Unless, of course, anything has changed in the last few months ;)

Stuart

Zeus
November 23rd, 2010, 23:14
Could you not also create a custom panel, positioned where you require on top of the desktop, embed a windowclass and assign the graphic as its frame?

It would require the panel and windowclass definition, but this could be loaded in as part of the extension, could it not? I think you would you have to override the ruleset desktop definition but maybe (as a future update) moon_wizard/doug could add in support for registering panels (via extension) from the ruleset.

blake67
November 23rd, 2010, 23:26
Something like this maybe?

Zeus
November 24th, 2010, 00:32
That looks nice. Here's a suggestion which would build upon the leather/wood theme. Create a new layer, add a square and size to 1.5" smaller than the wood background, place the layer so that the square is on top of the wood element of the desktop.png and fill with the burgundy leather texture. Then add an emboss effect to the motif element of the desktop.png (to give the impression the dragon is stamped into the leather) to deliver a luxurious leather bound desktop complete with dragon stamp.

Phystus
November 24th, 2010, 00:54
I like the look of that. Though I must say I don't mind the look of D20_JPG as it is, either.

I've replaced the decal in the middle with my campaign map, so it's always handy for reference. It was a minor pain to do it, so it might be nice if you could make the desktop decal a separate file from the background, making it simple to swap out. Having it set at the campaign level would be ideal, of course.

~P

SLB
November 24th, 2010, 05:05
That's a fantastic idea. Of course, I'd need a nice looking version of my campaign map ...

StuartW
November 24th, 2010, 07:13
Not a million miles from the Call of Cthulhu design: a leather desktop, but without the wooden edge. The chat screen is even a blotter!

Stuart

VenomousFiligree
December 3rd, 2010, 20:21
What would be the best ruleset to start a 3.5e game in at the moment, so that it would be easily switched to the new 3.5e update?

Sigurd
December 4th, 2010, 00:42
Since D20_JPG was put together by MW and he's doing the update. I'd recommend D20_JPG.

I also recommend the ruleset in general. It's very good.

ddavison
December 5th, 2010, 09:43
We may end up with multiple themes for the new OGL ruleset, but this is the one I currently have pulled together. I quite like the 4E Metal theme, so you can see a lot of those elements contained here as well. The leather trim work that Blake has looks quite nice, though, as do many of the other suggestions here.

I was also thinking of using many items from the Dungeon theme too. I really like the radial buttons for instance.

VenomousFiligree
December 5th, 2010, 10:44
Hmmm, I'm not a fan of anything that clutters up the chat window...

Griogre
December 5th, 2010, 18:05
I'm like MughBpurn I don't like the chat window too cluttered normally. The top scroll work would would look great for a chat window high-lite for die rolling though.

ddavison
December 5th, 2010, 18:59
Got it. Remove the extra graphics inside the chat box. Any other thoughts?

Zeus
December 5th, 2010, 20:33
Got it. Remove the extra graphics inside the chat box. Any other thoughts?

Maybe adjust the hue/saturation of the stack buttons from SandStone -> Granite and the Hotkey frames to something similar. Maybe even the chatwindow too.

I think this would create a nice blended desktop.

Phystus
December 6th, 2010, 17:11
I think it's a bit too distracting, in particular the red decal.

Seems like those spikey things along the top might end up looking funny with the character portraits superimposed over them, but that would be easy to check.

~P

Bidmaron
December 21st, 2010, 02:48
MW, can we please, please get a way to communicate with outside programs so those of us who are programmers can add the features (like sound and communicating with character generators and campaign cartographer) you developers haven't been able to pursue yet?

I had a primitive communication mechanism working previously, but it was unreliable because xml database changes I made in an external program to pass messages into FG2 were not detected as updates properly due to what appeared to be a bug/feature in FG2.

Also, can we please get a setvalue, getvalue on formattedtext? This has long been requested and would really help in the module generation process.

Lastly, can we please get the ability to programmatically change the image in an imagewindow? This would be really handy in implementing things like atlases and magic shop windows.

Thanks for your consideration in this.

Bidmaron
December 21st, 2010, 15:17
Is 2.8 when grand unification between 3.5 and d20_jpg occurs? d20_jpg is just so much of a better ruleset that I never understood why 3.5 remained. Guess it is backward compatibility?

cpbs
December 21st, 2010, 22:19
3.5/d20 was the original project by Smiteworks for their 3.5 game play on FGII. moon_wizard created d20_jpg ruleset before he became to work at Smiteworks or was brought on board. So 3.5/20 was like the step-child no one knew what to do about. Most people, not knew, used d20_jpg while newer people used 3.5 because it came with the program, even tho d20_jpg was free to download. But I think ever since moon_wizard has joined Smitworks its always been their idea to reunify the rulesets at some point.

Moon Wizard
December 22nd, 2010, 03:14
Bidmaron,

On intra-program communication:
External communication is something we want to look at eventually, but user security is something we have to consider as well. We are probably going to look at an XML import/export capability first.

On getValue/setValue for formattedtextcontrols,
As of 2.7, you can get the value of a formatted text control by using the getValue/setValue on the databasenode object retrieved using the getDatabaseNode function. The format for these values is not documented, but is basically a very simplified HTML version. It is the same format used when the data is stored in the db.xml file.

On the image window,
I'll add this request to the feature request list. It may be easier to implement a save coordinates, close old window, open new window, and size to saved coordinates.

On 3.5 / d20_JPG,
cpbs already gave the story that describes the history of those rulesets. v2.8 is the version where they are unified, and new features added from the 4E ruleset.

Cheers,
JPG

Bidmaron
December 22nd, 2010, 05:41
Thanks, m_w. As for the image window, I want to be able to set the file programmatically so that I can build windows in code rather than hard-coding the file name into the database/module.

Astinus
January 11th, 2011, 19:58
We may end up with multiple themes for the new OGL ruleset, but this is the one I currently have pulled together. I quite like the 4E Metal theme, so you can see a lot of those elements contained here as well. The leather trim work that Blake has looks quite nice, though, as do many of the other suggestions here.

I was also thinking of using many items from the Dungeon theme too. I really like the radial buttons for instance.

Just my two cents, but I find the original wood theme far superior to this. I do like the idea of multiple themes. Maybe give us a choice of the original wood theme?

ddavison
January 12th, 2011, 07:29
Having multiple themes is almost a requirement. Peoples' tastes tend to vary widely. We may do a poll or something to determine the default template.

ddavison
January 12th, 2011, 07:51
I think it's a bit too distracting, in particular the red decal.

Seems like those spikey things along the top might end up looking funny with the character portraits superimposed over them, but that would be easy to check.

~P

Here is a screenshot with the character portraits. If I switch back to round portraits, I could put empty carve-outs in the marble for them to be filled as players join in. I could drop the whole decorative top portion altogether if people like it to be more of a plain interface too. I still need to remove the extra filigree on the chat window too.

Bidmaron
January 12th, 2011, 08:39
I guess I prefer the wood theme, but having choices is always good. On the portraits with wells, how would you know how many wells to leave empty (i.e. how many characters to expect)?

SLB
January 12th, 2011, 16:52
I wasn't keen on the look at first but it's starting to grow on me. I like the speech bubbles and the square character portraits. I have characters with long names, how would that look under the images?

Astinus
January 12th, 2011, 21:46
Having multiple themes is almost a requirement. Peoples' tastes tend to vary widely. We may do a poll or something to determine the default template.

Fair enough. I appreciate your openness to giving us a choice. And a poll is a good idea for the template.

CampbellR66
January 14th, 2011, 00:31
I like the current d20_JPG theme

Will we get a dice tower for players to make hidden rolls on ?

ddavison
January 15th, 2011, 04:41
I wasn't keen on the look at first but it's starting to grow on me. I like the speech bubbles and the square character portraits. I have characters with long names, how would that look under the images?

These are in the 4E themes at the moment, but I like them quite a bit and would like to have them added to every ruleset as soon as we can. I still like the original wood theme too.



...On the portraits with wells, how would you know how many wells to leave empty (i.e. how many characters to expect)?


I would probably do six wells -- just enough to fit across the top width of the chat window. More players could still join in but it would just place them to the right of the others. Theoretically you could do less and just have the portrait frame duplicate and overlay the well. That way the ones you add would look like they were filled the same as the core slots. I think this would better establish the expected functionality of that portion of the screen.

For longer names, we would need to make sure they wrapped according to the width of the portrait squares or portrait well diameters.

blake67
January 17th, 2011, 22:19
I like some of the features added in the latest theme screenshot, such as square portraits and chat bubbles.

However, I think that particular theme has way too much going on.

Any time anyone puts in a lot of work on something, especially something artistic, there is a natural tendency to keep iterating on it to improve it. I think that in the case of UI-related graphics, though, this can sometimes be detrimental.

Sure, it looks great when empty or with a few well-placed windows. When you start filling it up during a game with maps, characters, monsters, items, it can get chaotic. During those times, I don't want my eyes drawn to lines, textures, gradients, or colors in the background.

The less clutter there is in the interface, the more the content pops out.

ddavison
January 19th, 2011, 06:10
Fair enough. I think I was trying too hard to incorporate some graphic elements we purchased from a third-party into the design. I'll probably start over on a simpler design and post a few screenshots as I go.