Author Topic: Sorting order of inventory  (Read 10295 times)

Ancient

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Sorting order of inventory
« on: November 09, 2015, 05:14:31 AM »
Games with lots of items may divide them into categories like potion, armor, weapon, scroll, book and so on. This is very helpful when hero carries wide assortment of equipment. Lately I have been pondering what should one see first when accessing player character's inventory?

Crawl: weapon, armor, wand, food, scroll, ring / amulet, potion.
NetHack: money, amulet. weapon / missile, food, scroll, book, ring, wand tool, gem.
ADOM: armor, amulet, weapon, missile, tool, ring, wand potion, scroll, book, food, money, gem.
...

Every game seems to take its own approach. I am interested how decision for the order war made. Also, what to do with items inside category? Sort alphabetically, by order of picking up, by assigned letter (if game has those)?
Michał Bieliński, reviewer for Temple of the Roguelike

TheCreator

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Re: Sorting order of inventory
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2015, 09:08:06 AM »
You can also remember which category of items player seems to be most interested in and use that data to determine the order. I don't know if that will work, it's just a random idea :). Its usefulness will probably vary from game to game as every game has its own ideas for inventory management. For instance, if you need to extinguish your torch very often to save the fuel, it makes sense to give the tool slot a high priority, but you can also have a dedicated keyboard shortcut for that, which would allow you to move more important slots higher. My idea is more universal and could probably fit to every game, but it could also be annoying for people who like to have a fixed order of item categories.
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AquaTsar17

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Re: Sorting order of inventory
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2015, 03:33:06 PM »
The first category should probably be whatever the player uses most frequently. If it's a game where the player has to regularly switch weapons and armor then that should be first. Otherwise, commonly used consumables should be first (such as wands/staves, or maybe potions if the game has a lot of these).

As an example from Brogue, I tend to use potions and staves far more readily than anything else. Throwing items fall just behind that, then scrolls, and then pretty much everything else (I don't change equipment often). If that is the common playstyle of the game (based on how the item mechanics are designed) then that should be the order of items. However, if a game allows many different playstyles, or a large quantity of items that the player can figure out what to do with, then the game may want to auto-adjust the categories based on what the player uses most frequently (and save that for future plays).

Regardless, do not change the hotkeys for specific items. I don't want "m" that was the key for a wand to suddenly change to a scroll. That would be pretty disastrous.

Quote
... it could also be annoying for people who like to have a fixed order of item categories.
Easy to fix. Just have the auto-sorting of categories be turned on/off by a checkbox in the game options, and allow the player to customize the order of categories. Some players would prefer pre-defined categories, so that they don't have to do anything, while other players would rather organize it themselves. Allow both and everyone is happy.

Paul Jeffries

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Re: Sorting order of inventory
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2015, 09:16:37 PM »
Something that I like in Wazhack (and maybe some other games?) is that the first category in the inventory is 'recent & marked' items, so items that you've just picked up or have specifically marked as frequently used always show up at the top of the list.  (One thing I don't like about this system, though, is that they don't also show up in the categorised list, so I sometimes scroll all the way down to the bottom to find a weapon, then realise it's 'recent' and have to scroll all the way back up to the top again - I recommend showing it twice instead).

tuturto

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Re: Sorting order of inventory
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2015, 09:51:41 PM »
What about adding items at the end as the player picks them up (sort them by the pick up time essentially) and letting player to move them around in inventory afterwards?
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CaptainKraft

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Re: Sorting order of inventory
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2015, 12:59:17 AM »
The assumption here seems to be that there is one way to view the inventory: a big list of items. Is it possible to rethink the way that inventory is displayed in a particular game?

We could think about new methods to display the items such as tabbed pages, allow the player to select categories that will be displayed, separate bags like in MMOs, a quickbar for your most used items, etc.

I'm sure there are some cool ideas we could come up with that haven't been done before.

As for the big list of items and what to display first, that will probably always come down to the way the game works out for the majority of players. Collect some data on what items are accessed the most often and then you could intelligently decide an ordering.
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Ancient

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Re: Sorting order of inventory
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2015, 07:32:23 AM »
Several good ideas here. My main problem with the most used items approach is PRIME seems to have smaller community than Zap'M had in its best time. I am not in position to make an informed decision here although I will keep collecting information about the stuff. This is most definitely going to be helpful.

One thing that bothered me in Zap'M are two categories for only single item type: money for buckazoids and energy cells for ... duh, energy cells. Both are constantly displayed in status bar and have top position in inventory. Granted, energy is used for about every other powered item you come across, so it really is important.

Regardless, do not change the hotkeys for specific items. I don't want "m" that was the key for a wand to suddenly change to a scroll. That would be pretty disastrous.
Yeah, see also NetHack problem of zapping wand in slot 'z', drinking potion in slot 'q' and eating stuff in slot 'e' (doubly tragic if you are a metallivore and that armor piece was essential for your ascension kit), applying stuff in 'a' and anything requiring confirmation in slot 'y'. Terrible UI kludge. I will be dropping the automatic item assignment mechanism. Instead, the letters will be assigned ADOM style with some exceptions made if player specifically used the adjust command to bind an item to a letter slot.

Paul, I will be going to have to try this recent or marked items approach but with duplicating entries, as you suggest. Your idea is also great for semi-universal commands like throw. List anything that player knows has an effect when thrown (grenades, volatile canisters, some kinds of tools) and then follow with whole inventory as usual. Finally, I will be rid of the confusing inconsistency of the list behaving differently when you have known "throw-active" items (show only those, with full list on key) or not (go right to full list).

Also, how do you mark an item in WazHack to appear at the top?

What about adding items at the end as the player picks them up (sort them by the pick up time essentially) and letting player to move them around in inventory afterwards?
For games with lots of loot this introduces considerable tedium or has players leaving inventory in a mess which does not help enjoy the game. I cannot go this way. When items are scarce this can be very effective though!

The assumption here seems to be that there is one way to view the inventory: a big list of items. Is it possible to rethink the way that inventory is displayed in a particular game?
Certainly I can, as I am in process of tearing the UI down and replacing it. It bears so many flaws of the old days something had to be done about it.

However I think I am going to stay with the list. In PRIME items tend to interact so you quite often want to see for example ray guns and canisters together, to consider refueling the former with the latter. Tools (computers) + floppies, weapons + ammo (at least those follow each other, although I am considering separating guns from weapons), armor + tools + floppies (looking to improve gear). I fail to imagine anything that would serve all those needs as well as a list does.

For dealing with big list ADOM's filters are nice but insufficient in my opinion. Gotta improve them or find something else to make stuff inspections smoother.

separate bags like in MMOs
Or NetHack. Strangely, I do not remember any other roguelike that also implements them. Has anyone? I wonder if gong this route is going to help inventory management or make it harder. Still, it seems to be good for the game theme. Buckets for the janitor, portable refrigerator, safes, dimensional compressors ...
Michał Bieliński, reviewer for Temple of the Roguelike

AgingMinotaur

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Re: Sorting order of inventory
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2015, 08:16:44 AM »
separate bags like in MMOs
Or NetHack. Strangely, I do not remember any other roguelike that also implements them. Has anyone? I wonder if gong this route is going to help inventory management or make it harder. Still, it seems to be good for the game theme. Buckets for the janitor, portable refrigerator, safes, dimensional compressors ...
Vapors of Insanity uses containers, if I recall correctly. It's not where I'd look to for examples of streamlined UIs though (great game as it is in itself). Various containers mostly just add another submenu you have to navigate to get what you want. I've been considering implementing containers in my game LoSt, though. It uses a very simplistic system with a limited inventory: A regular character can (currently) carry up to six items, just arranged in the order you pick them up and use them. In such a system, containers basically add more inventory slots, although I'm planning a weight system (again, highly simplified), where there's a flat penalty for carrying bulky stuff, including crates and other big containers.

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Tzan

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Re: Sorting order of inventory
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2015, 05:55:13 PM »
I see you need help with sorting.

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AgingMinotaur

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Re: Sorting order of inventory
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2015, 09:07:11 PM »
Hah, that was exquisitely silly.

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