Interface Suggestions.

Have a thought on how NESmaker can be improved? We are a small team with limited means, but we'd love to hear your ideas!
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Shodanbot
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Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:46 pm

Interface Suggestions.

Post by Shodanbot » Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:31 pm

Some suggestions.

General:

  • Intelligent mouse wheel scrolling depending on where the cursor is, not what list or button the user had previously clicked on. The current mouse scrolling available to the user is one of those Windows quirks, an OS interface that has popularized a lot of retrograde GUI habits that the modern software developer would best avoid.
  • Common keyboard shortcuts, like CTRL-Z or CTRL-Y, would be very useful.

Game Objects/Monster Graphics Banks:
  • When choosing new tiles for a monster/player/etc made up of more than one tile it would be very handy if I didn't have to move the cursor down and click on the adjacent tile to the one that has already been filled. In addition to the manual method available to us now, selection should probably start at the top left tile and move to the right, then down and repeat until it reaches the end or round-robins to the first top left tile. I like my lazy features.

Overworld/Underworld:
  • In addition to handling warps through definable X/Y numbers, you could allow for a "Choose Screen" button that opens a second window. Here the user could switch between the overworld/underworld screens and then choose the position the player should warp to on the selected screen. If I don't know the coordinate numbers off the top of my head, then this would be a more productive option than the awkward one we currently have available to us.
  • User comments and screen labels would be very handy to have. This is more of a general QOL, but specifically for the overworld/underworld, I can imagine the worst case scenario of a creator juggling with a large number of screen types and having a tricky time keeping track of them all and what each of them does.
  • Searching and user-defined search tags. I can imagine a moment where I'm trying to find that one NPC on a single screen out of a hundred different screens.
  • In Overworld/Underworld screens, toggling tooltips at the top doesn't produce the expected result when hovering the cursor over an object or screen of interest. Nor does it remain toggled when I change to a different editor or screen. A developing feature? Bug?

Text Editor:
  • When editing a text for an NPC or sequence, I can't scroll up or down the text I'm editing or examining with the mouse wheel. Furthermore, there's no scroll bar available to allow me to examine a larger body of text without clicking within the margins of the text. Instead, the user is limited to using the directional or pgup/down keys.

Input Editor\Project Settings:
  • It is Impossible to see the entire label of a script in both the input editor and project settings window if neither window is maximized. However, if I examine the same scripts in the Scripts folder to the left, I get a tooltip with the full label of a script regardless of the conditions of the window.
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chronosv2
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Re: Interface Suggestions.

Post by chronosv2 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:06 pm

I've got some things to add or comment on, so I'm gonna' take this bit by bit.
Shodanbot wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:31 pm
  • Intelligent mouse wheel scrolling depending on where the cursor is, not what list or button the user had previously clicked on. The current mouse scrolling available to the user is one of those Windows quirks, an OS interface that has popularized a lot of retrograde GUI habits that the modern software developer would best avoid.
  • Common keyboard shortcuts, like CTRL-Z or CTRL-Y, would be very useful.
I definitely agree on some of the keyboard shortcuts. As a developer I habitually Ctrl+S, and I'm not sure that does anything currently to save the project.
As for undo and redo, I think whether those work or not largely depends on the part of the tool we're in, if at all. Some of the stuff we're doing makes handling undo history very difficult.
Shodanbot wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:31 pm
  • User comments and screen labels would be very handy to have. This is more of a general QOL, but specifically for the overworld/underworld, I can imagine the worst case scenario of a creator juggling with a large number of screen types and having a tricky time keeping track of them all and what each of them does.
Right click a screen, click Set Comment.
You can set a Screen Group and write a comment for a given screen there. :)
Shodanbot wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:31 pm
  • Searching and user-defined search tags. I can imagine a moment where I'm trying to find that one NPC on a single screen out of a hundred different screens.
You could put comments on screens with NPCs and mouse through your screens that way, I think.
Shodanbot wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:31 pm
  • In Overworld/Underworld screens, toggling tooltips at the top doesn't produce the expected result when hovering the cursor over an object or screen of interest. Nor does it remain toggled when I change to a different editor or screen. A developing feature? Bug?
Show Tooltips shows screen group and comment information.
As for de-toggling, a lot of UI elements do that in the tool as things are loaded and unloaded.
Shodanbot wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 2:31 pm
  • It is Impossible to see the entire label of a script in both the input editor and project settings window if neither window is maximized. However, if I examine the same scripts in the Scripts folder to the left, I get a tooltip with the full label of a script regardless of the conditions of the window.
I've struggled with this too. Would a left-to-right scroll bar be possible on both panes? Even that would make selecting scripts easier.
Shodanbot
Posts: 14
Joined: Sat Aug 18, 2018 5:46 pm

Re: Interface Suggestions.

Post by Shodanbot » Fri Aug 31, 2018 5:07 pm

chronosv2 wrote:
Fri Aug 31, 2018 4:06 pm
Right click a screen, click Set Comment.
You can set a Screen Group and write a comment for a given screen there. :)
Ah, there we go. :) Every new GUI is a learning experience.
You could put comments on screens with NPCs and mouse through your screens that way, I think.
The tags/searches thing is more inspired by my experience with Hammer Editor or DromEd. Specifically, with the VISGroups in Hammer and my silly compulsion to categorize absolutely everything that is of importance beyond the simple props, geometry, or standard enemies. Inspired by a bad experience from not doing it. :lol:
I've struggled with this too. Would a left-to-right scroll bar be possible on both panes? Even that would make selecting scripts easier.
That could work too.
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chronosv2
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Re: Interface Suggestions.

Post by chronosv2 » Fri Aug 31, 2018 5:29 pm

Grouping screens is still a little slow. I feel like a Right-Click Menu Group could help speed that up, but doing it the current way makes sure you don't accidentally change it too. Decisions decisions.

Also worth noting that Screen Groups are a user convenience feature. They have no effect on the game.
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TheGeek
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Re: Interface Suggestions.

Post by TheGeek » Sat Sep 01, 2018 3:49 am

Thank you! I have copied your list of suggestions over to my list. I agree with pretty much everything you say. The mouse-scrolling thing is more of a Windowzy thing. They like having certain inputs stick to the control with focus.

I put CTRL-Z/Y in the pixel editor. It feels really clean there! I plan on adding it to the other interfaces, but each one is a special instance to code.

On the Monster Tiles, I REALLY want to clean up that interface. I LOVE adding lazy features. I'm thinking of things like 'N' moves the active tile... click-dragging in the tileset window would allow you to place multiple tiles... stuff like that. I am really big on keyboard shortcuts, so whenever I start messing with a control, I try to add stuff like that.

For the map screen, I have a couple hotkeys that really improve how fast you can move around. Hit the Arrow keys to move the the nearby screens, and hit the TAB key to toggle between that location on the overworld/underworld map. It actually goes really fast!

For the text interface, That was put together real quick. It needs a lot of love.

On project settings, I made that a re-sizable dialog to help with that. It does need a little more love as well though.

Thanks again! Please keep these interface suggestions coming! I promise to add as many as I can with time permitting!
--Josh
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cargo
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Re: Interface Suggestions.

Post by cargo » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:09 pm

My two cents:
  • Recently opened projects on the File menu.
  • Auto save project option. Eg, every N minutes or every time "test and export" is selected. Give the user the choice to disable this should they want to.
  • A Help menu with options to an "About" modal window and other quick URL links to NESMaker's website, forum, any future FAQ, wiki or documentation, and Discord server.
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