Author Topic: Which text roguelike has the best, most approachable UI?  (Read 10090 times)

TSMI

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Which text roguelike has the best, most approachable UI?
« on: January 14, 2013, 11:00:05 PM »
So I am looking for some *cough* inspiration. UI is likely hugely important in getting non roguelikers to play a game. However all the discussions I see about making UI nice and accessible presume some sort of more sophisticated graphical environment..

I am interested in what can be done on a console game, or pseudo console.

So please, suggest any ascii/unicode games that have a great UI. The game itself doesn't even have to be fun, just something that's easy to get started at.

Darren Grey

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Re: Which text roguelike has the best, most approachable UI?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 11:07:28 PM »
Toby the Trapper, for something simple: http://www.gamesofgrey.com/index.html#trapper

All of Jeff Lait's 7DRLs if you want something nice - Vicious Orcs especially: http://www.zincland.com/7drl/orcs/

PrincessRL if you want something cool: http://flend.net/princessrl/index.html

MegaCorp

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Re: Which text roguelike has the best, most approachable UI?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 11:42:39 PM »
You pose an interesting and not-to-be-overlooked issue.  My solution, once I moved away from old-fashioned VTxxx series video terminals with a strictly text oriented RogueLike interface and over to Macs/Windows, was to present a pair of UIs that worked interchangeably.  The idea being to let the player interact in a way that proved most comfortable to him/her.  And thus hopefully draw in folks who might otherwise be leary of approaching the game because of perceived complexity and/or the (then) intimidation factor of using a computer.

The approaches were: (1) clicks on the game map area to perform functions and interact with what was presented, and (2) provide an array of text buttons below the map that could be clicked on or invoked via keyboard shortcuts.  In earlier versions for strictly text based, I presented command words with the keyboard shortcut letter underscored.  For example, Open for opening doors and crates.

Seemed to work out pretty well.  Had non-gaming adults as well as 5 year olds saying it was easy to play.  Me, I'd play by doing a mix of things, some via map clicks and other stuff from the buttons and keyboard.

There is a YouTube video that briefly demonstrates the game at this url:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s09El7ARRic

Note that I am not suggesting that any of my UI decisions are right for you.  The intent is to emphasize the importance of the issue you expressed.  Give a lot of thought to it.  Experiment.  My own fundamental philosophy was that a player should be fighting the badguys in the game, not fighting poor UI design.  Struggling against a UI seriously impairs fun factor.

What will work best for you will of course be dependent on how simplistic or more advanced the design center of your overall UI.

Dave S.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2013, 11:44:23 PM by MegaCorp »

guest509

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Re: Which text roguelike has the best, most approachable UI?
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 01:29:13 AM »
  I'm thinking Brogue does it a bit like that.

Legend

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Re: Which text roguelike has the best, most approachable UI?
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2013, 06:56:44 AM »
A big thing for me personally, when it comes to UI, is being able to make all menu selections with the arrow keys and "enter" or "space" key to confirm selection. This includes inventory, item selection, equipping, main menu selections (like race, class, stats, etc), etc.

Considering those things, I think Infra Arcana and DoomRL have the best text-mode interfaces that I have played.

guest509

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Re: Which text roguelike has the best, most approachable UI?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 05:24:05 AM »
  Xpadder for the win Legend?

Legend

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Re: Which text roguelike has the best, most approachable UI?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 05:59:23 AM »
  Xpadder for the win Legend?

Yup.  ;D

TSMI

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Re: Which text roguelike has the best, most approachable UI?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2013, 03:10:51 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions. I've noticed some common themes

1. the less keybindings to remember, the better
2. Some people really, really like using the mouse.
3. An easily accessible help menu is a must.

Legend

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Re: Which text roguelike has the best, most approachable UI?
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2013, 10:04:41 AM »
Quote
2. Some people really, really like using the mouse.

I actually dislike mouse interfaces for the most part.  I tend to not enjoy games that are very "clicky". I can understand why many do like it, but I've always disliked it.  As long as it is at least an option to be able to control everything by keyboard would be nice.

Tapio

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Re: Which text roguelike has the best, most approachable UI?
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2013, 11:50:00 AM »
I'll list a few points that make an UI attractive and approachable for me:
  • Colors. This is the single most important thing for me. Monochrome looks boring and forces the player to examine the screen more carefully, as things cannot be so easily distinguished with a glance.
  • ASCII bars instead of numbers (for things like health). Helps achieving a more visual look.
  • Using full words or unicode symbols for UI texts instead of abbreviations that mean nothing to beginners and make the game look geeky (e.g. STR, STA, INT etc. for the player stats)
  • Games aimed for beginners or simple coffee-break roguelikes could have the few keys needed for interaction other than moving listed in the UI. If you list your abilities, it doesn't take much more screen space anyway.

Here's a very fun, short online roguelike: http://ondras.github.com/star-wars/
It passes all the points I mentioned above and also throws in short tutorial messages, which introduce all of the enemy types as they come in.

I'll also shamelessly link a picture of my own 7DRL, which got full points in the Aesthetics category from review committee: http://tapio.github.com/cotc/pics/cotc.png It also achieves most of the points I mentioned.

PS. Personally I hate mouse in roguelikes.