Thursday, July 26, 2012

Regarding ADOM II logo designs and starting screen designs

The past two days I have been working on the revision of the splash screen and the main screen of ADOM II. As planned for ADOM II 0.3.0 the results of the ADOM II design competition get introduced to the game... and I must say... the new graphical design totally rocks. As far as I am concerned ADOM II is going to have the most beautiful splash screens and main screen ever designed for a roguelike game. Awesome. Believe me. Maybe I'll post a teaser video soon once Krzysztof Dycha improves my main screen sketches... maybe even before to give you an impression.

The new splash screens really are... totally awesome and they will grow over time. Let yourself be surprised.

While talking about the actual main screen of the revised interface Krzysztof proposed a variant of the ADOM II logo he designed so far. It still needs to grow on me (sorry Krzysztof ;-) ) and I'd like to get some feedback from you. Let's have a look:

This is the finished logo from the design competition:

And this is the latest revision of Krzysztof:

I'll refrain from posting my personal thoughts for now - please voice your opinion!

Additionally I have decided to provide two separate starting screens (as a result of learning a bit from DCSS): When I played DCSS a couple of days ago (for the first time in my life) I learned that despite all the stuff DCSS is trying to do to support new players (tutorial, context help, etc.) the main screen is totally overcrowded (my personal opinion - I'm still preparing a much longer blog post with my personal thoughts about DCSS... short version: lots of light and shadow despite it probably being a great game).

If you look at the main screen there are just too many options for a new player (what's al those starting options?), the colors are running amok and starting options, shortcuts, technical information, context menus, etc. all get mixed up.

Thus I decided to try a more newbie friendly approach for ADOM II 0.3.0 working like this:

  • ADOM II 0.3.0 will provide two different starting screens for the game.
  • Screen #1 is the so-called "basic mode" and will be shown the first seven times you start the game.
  • The basic mode just provides the most basic options ("Tutorial", "New Game", "Manual", "Load Game"), an option to switch to expert mode and a button to quit the game. Its design will be very graphic and it will be a lot closer to current app game screens in many respects.
  • Screen #2 will be the so-called "expert mode".
  • The expert mode will be somewhat less graphical (probably, Krzysztof is working on a new design) but offer a lot more options (postcard quest, challenge games, highscore, ...) as well as the option to change to basic mode and quit the game.
  • Once you have played for seven times the game automatically will switch from basic mode to expert mode and give you and explanation about the change. Afterwards you again can decide freely.
In this way I hope to find a good solution for both new and long time players.

On the positive side DCSS has very good ideas on some shortcuts for expert players :-) I'll shamelessly take inspiration from them ;-)

Not to mention the many ideas to simplify game play (although I don't like all aspects) but that's a topic for a different post ;-)


  1. I like the new one better. The perspective feels... righter, although I'd say that the @ has kept the old perspective and it feels a little weird since it's not perpendicular to the stairs.

  2. The new one takes up less space, looks more "traditional" in that the text is easier to read and at less of a slope - and ADOM seems less spaced out. Although losing the > the shape of the stairs means that its only the flagstone which conveys that info now, which is a shame.

    I'd probably vote on the newer one, but perhaps with a full stop on the flagstone under the @ (as the swirls are now missing), and maybe a crumbling wall behind the stairs with a # pattern in it - just to tie it in better with the ascii art of the game.

    1. Oh and the plant behind the @ can be changed very slightly so it looks more like a " symbol! A few little touches like that would really pull it together with subtle visual cues to the game, without descending into full out "lets just make it with ascii symbols" as previous art has done (even though they were great).

  3. Of the two versions given I undoubtedly prefer the old one.

  4. I prefer the old one. The isometric perspective really emphasizes all 3 dimensions and makes the world around it feel more expansive even if it's not drawn. I find that this does a better job of conveying the huge size of Ancardia than the new logo which seems to restrict your movement more to just going downwards with the implication that the game is mostly a dungeon diving experience like Nethack.

  5. In terms of working as a logo the second is far better because the text is more visible and obvious. As a work of art the old one is a little nicer, but the text doesn't jump out as much, so those unfamiliar aren't going to click that it's a logo at all.

  6. I personally like the old one much better.

  7. I prefer the new one, but would insist that @'s perspective is inconsistent with the rest of the image and should be adjusted.

  8. I also prefer the new logo, and also agree that the perspective on the @ is weird.

    Also I think separate "basic" and "expert" menus are a horrible decision. If your main menu is so complex that it frightens beginners, you need to redesign it, not push the problem under a carpet. A simple solution used by many games is to make the obvious and simple choices (those in your basic menu) big and prominent, and hide the complex choices a bit, e.g. smaller fonts, less contrast, push them to the bottom of the screen, etc...

  9. I am not sure if you know about the game called Unreal world.
    But i would really advise checking it out.
    Its very complex but manages to make it much easier to play compared to a lot of other rogue alikes.
    Its development has been ongoing for over 20 years, and is one of my favorite open ended games.