Author Topic: What's the best way of displaying and handling game messages?  (Read 5995 times)

miki151

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What's the best way of displaying and handling game messages?
« on: January 13, 2014, 11:47:36 AM »
I've been using a Nethack-like system so far with a "more" prompt. It's good because it makes the player read all the (possibly important) messages, but I try to display important things in a more visible manner anyway, like coloring the PC green if he's poisoned. With fast paced playing the "more" prompt gets really irritating, so I want to get rid of it.

I very much like the idea of a game narrator, so I don't want to take the route of tiny, little, disappearing messages in the corner that no one reads. I want the majority of the players to read them most of the time. Is there a game that has this well implemented that I can shamelessly copy from?
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Quendus

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Re: What's the best way of displaying and handling game messages?
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2014, 12:17:39 PM »
You can make a subwindow or separate window that can display the most recent messages. Crawl and IVAN do the former, Angband does the latter. If your game doesn't run in an OS terminal, I prefer the latter because it gives the player more control over the size and position of the message log.

-more- prompts are really annoying, it'll be good to get rid of them.

TheCreator

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Re: What's the best way of displaying and handling game messages?
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2014, 01:07:14 PM »
Does your game group similar messages? I mean something like:

Quote
The goblin bites you (x5).

This makes "-more-" unnecessary most of the times and if there's still a need for displaying a large portion of text, you can use a popup window, as Quendus suggests.
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Quendus

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Re: What's the best way of displaying and handling game messages?
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2014, 02:23:21 PM »
I don't mean popup window that appears and has to be dealt with, I mean a permanent non-modal window.

TheCreator

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Re: What's the best way of displaying and handling game messages?
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2014, 02:31:23 PM »
I don't mean popup window that appears and has to be dealt with, I mean a permanent non-modal window.

Sure, that's much better :).
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guest509

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Re: What's the best way of displaying and handling game messages?
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2014, 09:08:58 PM »
I see what you are going for here, I'm not sure of a game that does this well. I'm sure there has to be...I tend to prefer very little reading. You might check out infra arcana. I could be remember incorrectly, but I remember the flow and feel of that game is top notch (I've not played the new version though).

Krice

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Re: What's the best way of displaying and handling game messages?
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2014, 10:52:21 PM »
The obvious solution is use more than one line for messages. Even two is better than one. You still need -more- sometimes, but not that often. There are two ways to display messages: old school from top left to down with the message area cleared per turn -or- scrolling messages (one message per line, old messages scrolling up) (IVAN has it if I remember right).

You can also try to reduce the amount of messages in the first place. It can be done for example by displaying only important messages with some kind of priority system, discarding less important messages if the player is doing something more important. Also, a visual representation of some action might be good enough to understand without a message.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 10:55:40 PM by Krice »

miki151

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Re: What's the best way of displaying and handling game messages?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2014, 08:23:27 AM »
Yeah I have 3 lines of messages, but they got often full during combat, which was pretty annoying. I show a popup window for really important things, like "a boulder is rolling toward you", so there is some kind of prioritization. For now I just discard the oldest line of messages instead of the -more- prompt, and it seems to work well.

I'll check Infra Arcana, thanks.
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