The developers at Digital Extremes have done another installment of their Livestream Developer Q&A.
The stream started on February 21st, 2014, @ 2pm EST.
Our UI designers Dorian and Pablo introduce themselves and then we jump right into questions!
- Reb: Calayne asks: Will we ever have UI customization? Such as energy bar placement, power placement, graphic types, color of UI and so on.
- Pablo: We've heard it a lot. Basically the idea is we do want to, we started working on it. This would be the technical basis. Problem is the HUD has so many things in it. Each one of those needs to be re-written to work with this idea. That is what stopping us. Next update has a lot of UI stuff in it. This is a technical test.
It takes a lot of time to reprogram everything in the HUD.
- Reb: Will this work for PS4 players?
- Pablo: We can make it work for PS4. We had them in mind.
- Pablo: We're working on it, we have a few things that need to come before, but once those are clear this will come.
Currently working onEdit
- Reb: XShadowsaur asks: What are you guys currently working on? Besides fixing up the occasional bugs of the current UI.
- Pablo: Two big features we're working on and on-going tasks for quality. Space HUB
- Dorian: It's about balance. We want to offer the immersive experience. There is always a downside (time). We want to balance and offer a quick access menu so players can choose the type of experience.
- Pablo: The big thing is the Menu is going away. New players it's hard to know where to go in the Star chart, and players just keep replaying the same missions and it gets cumbersome.
- Pablo: This is a mock up called Play Now. It's your next mission instead of the Star chart, joining friends that are playing right now. Basically it's a faster way to Play Now.
- Dorian: Making it more accessible for players that are new.
- Reb: StallordD asks I was wondering if we could get more info on how the upcoming hub system works. Specifically, what are your guy's plans for how the player will interact with the hubs and its specific menus and actions?
- Dorian: It will co-exist. If we do go with no menu it will be fast and lightweight. You’ll have 2 ways to access your screens.
- Reb: Clan management tools have been a big request for a long time. Is anything for Clans in the works?
- Dorian: We've been working on early phases of the Clan screen. We want to make it special like a homepage. Maybe you can see what you're clan mates are doing and making the dojo access more intuitive.
Biggest current UI issuesEdit
- Reb: The Last Disease asks what do you see as the biggest issues with the current UI, in regards to both the menus and the in-game HUD?
- Dorian: We have 5 main pillars.
- Dorian: This is the whole issue on the accessibility of Warframe but it can be quite hard to pick up for new users. It's important for us to improve on; biggest priority is players able to get in game day 1. This is making sure that the UI and game systems work more organically.
- Dorian: This is about the user experience. Lots of art styles that we need to change to stay consistent so players can expect a certain look. Our vision is to unify and standardize the navigation.
- Dorian: This is about the new HUB. We want to let the game/universe shine. Not making the interface as dominate as it was. Making it more lightweight and showing off the characters/weapons/environments. All while keeping the UI minimal.
- Dorian: This is about fostering the social experience. Making meaningful relationships in the game and connecting to people in your squad/clan which makes it more social.
- Dorian: It's been fantastic to go on the Forums to read community feedback. We’re able to evolve the HUD from there. Changes being made are from forums and people at DE.
Nexus App overhaulEdit
- Reb: Nexus app is getting an overhaul too, anything to show for it?
- Dorian: We want the Nexus App to match the style of the game. It’ll have new hotness for seeing the details of various items in the codex. Hopefully this will come out soon and so we can put it on other platforms and devices. Also a redesign of the alerts is coming!
- The ideas are unlimited there.
More Clan managementEdit
- Reb: I want to talk more about Clan management. It’s been an issue for while. What’s the progress on this?
- Pablo: Personally I’m working on this. Problem is clans feel disjointed. This screen will hopefully bring it all together. You go in and you have all the members, active sessions, a log to tell you what’s going on, etc.
- Pablo: The equivalent for someone who doesn’t have a dojo will have access to the training section to know about clans, and an option to find a clan/create one.
The idea is to bring clans together in the forefront.
- Dorian: We just started it recently. Feel free to start your feedback now on what’s more important for your clan gameplay.
- Reb: Azure_Kyte asks seeing as the Warframe UI utilizes Flash .swf files, do the .swfs use the general shape and scale of the UI or are parts of the .swf animation tiled over the screen on the fly? That is, are they just overlaid on top of everything, or are parts of the swf moved here and there on the screen by the Evolution Engine?
- Pablo: Its' more like the HUD itself contains most but not all (like transmission and achievements).
Everything gets moved by codes based on HUD margins, aspect ratio, the motion of when you jump all those get moved separately.
- Reb: Does the new HUD design approach change in regards to PS4?
- Pablo: Main conflict is the largest populations of our players are from Steam which is 740p; PS4 is 1080p. We have to try and keep a balance so our user base has the best possible experience. PC users would be looking at tiny fonts if we used PS4 specs.
It’s something we’re very aware of.
Specific warframe hudsEdit
- Reb: SPRBridgett asks do you think that each Warframes could have their own HUD style that suits their playstyle? For example, Zephyr with a very sleek and smooth looking HUD while Nekros has a dark and spooky looking HUD etc.
- Dorian: That would be awesome. We have to get our core mechanics nailed down but once we get that we can expand and give it more personality. In theory that sounds fantastic.
- Reb: Toe_Ma says I personally am not a big fan of the RPG-esque damage numbers floating above the enemies as you hit them. I come from an action game background and find the floating numbers un-immersive and less ninja action star feeling.
- Pablo: It's a tricky thing; in action games you don't see those numbers. It's what makes it the RPG style because you can see how you’re damage is working. It’s one of those things in the ideal world once we get the fully customizable HUD we can branch out.
- Reb: LadyScootaloo and others ask what about Teammate energy/available powers + durations? Any UI elements that expose elements for tactical team gameplay? Will every power get a skill timer?
- Pablo: At the time we didn't put it in but with feedback we're going to.
- Dorian: If we had a custom HUD users could pick yes or no. We've reached an optimum amount so it's not cluttered.
- Pablo: Some of those things are much better communicated with changes to your avatar. Like getting a glow communicates much better
- Reb: ChickenBar asks we need to see which Warframes our teammates are using in the HUD. Right now it's just showing the profile icon and I often get confused which Warframe is which person, maybe just add a simple text next to the IGNs?
- Dorian: This relates to balancing clutter vs info. It’s a little bit more of a challenge with the amount of customization. We've talked about it but for now we feel good.
This changes from player to player. The location of the powers were centered and got tons of negative feedback, so we changed it to be in the right side/bottom.
- Reb: Karl Castro asks I would like very much to see a way to check the auras that are active on each Warframe, a symbol for each aura and a number counting how many each are active, would be somewhat nice to know what is affecting your Warframe during a gameplay.
- Pablo: Basically it should be something that users need to know so they can make an informed decision. It might come back sometime.
- Reb: Calayne asks what's the possibility of having a dynamic cross-hair? One that changes with the accuracy rating of weapons, as well as reacting to recoil, and so on. This, along with a possibility of selecting cross-hair types?
- Pablo: We have code support for all of that. We tried it but it was too hectic. It is something we have in mind but I don’t know when we can make it work.
Features not includedEdit
- Reb: Navarian asks what features, if any, were you unable to include or features you wish you could include? Not including UI customization.
- Dorian: It's about supporting new features but also improving what we currently have. It's constantly evolving with new features and we're not too proud to go back and change. We’re working off feedback and gameplay so dynamic will keep evolving.
- Pablo: UI touches the core game. Features come in from everywhere. If I had to pick 1 that we haven't tackled, it’s the issue of going into the MOD screen and you're blown away by everything.
- Dorian: Big one for me is accessibility issues. Hard to figure out what’s going on sometimes.
Next to work onEdit
- Reb: What’s the next on the list you'll touch?
- Pablo: The mission complete stat screen is one of the ones that is high priority. That and the upgrades screen and Star Chart.
Recruiting for ClansEdit
- Reb: Will you be able to see a clan list of all clans in game?
- Pablo: If you don't have a clan you can see clans that exist so you can pick/ request to be recruited.
- Dorian: It would work in the same way that can assign roles in the clan.
- Pablo: Recruiting will use the in-game mail system.
End mission statsEdit
- Reb: Will players be able to see more end mission stats?
- Pablo: Those stats are doable.
- Reb: In regards to the foundry, will players get a queue management system for items crafting?
- Dorian: Why not.
- Pablo: The problem is collecting it in your inventory.
Mini map iconsEdit
- Reb: What changes are coming in terms of Icons?
- Pablo: There is a change that they can determine the order which Icons appear. Problems like icons covering the extraction icon should be resolved in the next update. Extraction is a good thing so we made it green. Red should be for bad things.
- Reb: What steps can you take to help colorblind issues?
- Dorian: The mini map icons all have distinct shapes so hopefully that helps. We have been running mocks through a colorblind system to test how it feels.
- Pablo: We thought it looked good with the distinction between shield color/health. Maybe if we can get more specific colorblind problems we can fix.
- Dorian: That's why we have big numbers to add another layer of differentiation.
- Reb: Will you be adding more distinct notification of being hurt?
- Pablo: When you do get hit the whole edge does a thing. That was broken but should be fixed. The reticle also indicates a change; it's a bit further away.
- Reb: Any plans to be able to lock your minimap in portrait mode?
- Pablo: Separating isn't hard. But there is a point where there are so many options. Which is why we added the options section for the HUD.
- Reb: Downed teammates being more noticeable?
- Pablo: One thing we added is a marker. If a downed player is behind you you'll see a marker telling you your player is downed.
- Pablo: There is a setting to always have your teammate’s stats showing.
- Reb: How does Melee 2.0 affect the UI?
- Dorian: You'll be able to see all your melee info when 2.0 comes.
- Reb: Will we be able to see the ping/latency info on the UI?
- Pablo: No.
- Reb: Changes to sniper scope overlay?
- Pablo: Probably not. The sniper rifle should have a little focused feeling to it.
Inventory in the DojoEdit
- Reb: Will the new clan Management system bring the option to view your Inventory?
- Pablo: I’m not sure if we want you to be able to change things in your inventory while in the dojo. The dojo is to hang out.
- Reb: UI icons n the minimap are hard to see where teammates are.
- Pablo: That is already done and will be coming soon.
- Dorian: Your allies are Lotus symbols and enemies are dots.
Friendly fire reticuleEdit
- Reb: Will we see an option for a friendly target reticle, like changing to green?
- Pablo: It is a maybe thing.
Geoff and Steve join the stream.
- Melee 2.0 update
- Steve: So melee 2.0 won’t be next week, maybe the week after. I think what happened was we didn't want to disappoint the players because of all the hype, so we’re going to go back and keep working on it.
The team has dug deep and come up with cool stuff. There will be changes to melee that will take some getting used to like you’ll need to have melee equipped to do blocking/heavy attacks.
- Geoff: We’re introducing Mods that change the behavior. We've blown out the content we're doing.
- Steve: It will give people a chance to customize their hammer or how their fast daggers work. They can use a mod to change the way it works which will bring a new play style.
We're not going to make you grind out Mods to get the new system. Equipping these Mods will give you stat boosts like damage bonuses and attributes.
Quick attacks will be there but you won’t have as much potential. Every weapon style will have new Mods.
- Geoff: The melee enemies are getting hooked up right now. We’re balancing parry to make it have a high timing risk reward. If you pull it off you'll get a boost and vice versa.
- Steve: It’s a way to package new combos for your weapons.