Saturday, June 24, 2017

Look better in ADOM

Hi everyone!

As part of our "Ease of use UI" milestone we are tackling a variety of issues with ADOM. Today I spent quite a number of hours on completely rewriting 'l'ook mode and by now think that the new look mode has become really nice and beautiful.

We still need to implement it in NotEye but below you can already find a video that shows you the new 'l'ook mode in ADOM:
  • Navigation now adds the ability to iterate through "interesting" spots (e.g. stairs, altars, item stacks and more) besides the existing ability to iterate through monsters and manually navigating the map.
  • The information about the current spot now is displayed in a kind of ASCII information window that collects all information about the current map spot. ADOM tries to position the information window as smartly as possible so that it is close enough to the cursor for easy persual but far enough away in order to not obscure your view.
  • You now can inspect item stacks as long as they are in sight.
  • Monster memory is available as usual.
  • For all types of situations all information now is displayed (e.g. tiles, features, monsters and items).
  • As all information is displayed in an information window the key help for look mode no longer will be obscured and you can see all available keys all the time.
  • The mechanism is easily extendable so that if we decide to add more data we no longer will have problems with lack of space in the message area.
In total I believe that the new look mode really has become pretty beautiful. I'm also looking forward to the NotEye implementation for our graphical mode. Hopefully we will be able to implement true tooltips so that you don't even need to activate look mode explicitly but rather just can hover over the map with the mouse.

And now enjoy the ASCII demo video:


  1. This is amazing improvement in compare to the previous mode! Already feel how comfortable it would be.

    A few probably useful thoughts on it:
    - Wouldn't it be batter instead saying "several items are lying there" say something useful, e.g. "154 gold pieces, poition of holy water, 2 rocks and 5 more items are lying there"? Limiting either by number of items to tell about or by text length of the entire message in general. In case of only one stack this is a must-have feature.
    - With regards to the dialog itself... Isn't it strange to have a title "You see..." and than "You don't know..." or "You recall: ..."?
    - A case with a gobling rockthrower is standing on the pile of rocks please? Will we get a chance to view items on the ground in such a case?

    1. 1. I like the enumeration idea. I was a bit afraid that the text might become pretty long but I'll try it. We want perfection :-)

      2. Do you have a better suggestion for a title? Just "Look"? The title is generic for the window so it wouldn't really work to change it with each move...

      3. Yes, you will be able to see both the goblin rockthrower and the items and get a chance to invoke both monster memory and the detailed item list view. This is already implemented.

    2. The item enumeration idea now also has been implemented.

    3. Thank you a lot!

      Don't have an idea in my mind about generic window title. It's not a big hassle since it just affect aesthetic feeling but doesn't affect usability and convenience. Titleless dialog, "Look" / "Examine" or position coordinates could work. But different titles is what would I try implementing.

      As I see below you decided to go that way too ;)

  2. Beatiful! A couple of thoughts though:

    I agree with the previous poster that the title should perhaps indicate the type of information you have: "You see...", "You recall...". In the "unknown" case, you might just have "Unknown area" as the title, and then "You don't know anything about this place." below.

    Now the next one's more like just food for thought, becuase I'm not sure if it would be better that way. Having the dialog move with every single step when navigating the map can seem a little weird. I'm not entirely sure what the optimal solution would be, but maybe it should only update its position when the "look" cursor (the place you're looking at) gets too close to the dialog (you don't want it to be obscured) or the optimal position gets too far away from the current one (again, not sure what would be an optimal setting of "too far", here perhaps 10 characters? 5? 20?).

    One final question: any estimates when we'll be hearing about the "big" updates we've been teased with for like half a year now? :)

    1. I'm eager as you are. Once I can tell the big update I also can tell the reasons. I'm very much hoping for July. Probably second half right now. It's coming but there are... things to consider... I just can't speak about right now...

    2. Regarding the window title: I now have added a means to change the title. So it will be "You see..." for places currently visible to you and "You recall..." for everything else...

    3. That sounds great!

      Some clarification on the other point I made: it might also be that the window is just a bit too far away. For example, should it look like a tooltip appearing near your mouse cursor in the NotEye mode, that would look perfectly natural, I think. But here the dialog is far enough that it doesn't really create the association "this is attached to the cursor", so one would expect it to be in some semi-static position, yet it still moves along. (Now I understand the reason: you don't want to obscure the area in the vicinity of the location one's looking at. I haven't yet thought of a perfect solution to this, just pointing it out.)

      It might also be that this feeling is just because this kind of tooltip-like interface element is unusual in keyboard-driven UI's. So feel free to ignore these observations if they don't seem to make sense or you disagree.

    4. P.S. I looked at the video again, and I changed my mind a bit. It looks fine most of the time, maybe I'd move it 1-2 characters closer, but sometimes the dialog appears in a weird spot, e.g. far above or to the left when it wouldn't quite fit in the usual position.

    5. Part of the idea of the somewhat distanced idea is to not obscure any nearby map parts because that might be annoying, too.

    6. Hopefully the big announcement is something good for Adom. The way you said it makes it sound a little scary (at least to me lol)

  3. Could we get native ascii rendering back? NotEye still comes with many problems for people who just want an ASCII experience.

    Generally shimming in a rendering layer to read output from one medium to render another is mega meh. Still play the old version because of NE :( Worried that the update disparity is going to get rather large soon.