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December 18th, 2020, 22:40
Owlcat have posted a retrospective on their character sheet interface design in Pathfinder: Kingmaker.

The Search for a Layout

Breaking down information into logical sections provides a good starting point for design, but it does not go far enough. It's difficult to create something without limitations. Our brains rely on systems that help us categorize and understand our surrounding environment. Without a system, things become more difficult. In addition to the difficulty of presenting information in a logical manner, we were also limited by the three-column system from the pre-existing inventory interface. Now, our next step was to combine information from different sections into a cohesive visual presentation. From our perspective, my colleagues and I felt that some of these sections worked well together in the layouts, and some of them were less successful. The rejected versions have all been archived, so I had to go pull them specifically for this article.

Below are some of the early screen layout experiments. All of them try to squeeze the entire character sheet onto the screen at one time. Some sections, such as attack, defense, and skills, do not change much, but others, such as abilities and effects, vary significantly in their placement and presentation.

Moreover, I also greatly underestimated the number of ability options, and often tried to fit them into very small sections. At the same time, by the way, we were trying to find a way to place effects in the left third of the screen, so they would be visible on the inventory screen as well. One interesting moment occurred when discussing the effects section. Some of our colleagues with extensive knowledge of the rules, differentiated between when a character's state is caused by spell effects (either positive or negative), and when it is caused by a condition (fatigued, blinded, etc.). This is written in the rules, and integrates well into the mechanics of the game. These were all viewable in the interface as icons, with text that changed the values of other stats. This can be seen directly within the game code, where the interface code leads to a common denominator of a mechanical nature.







Portraits from Baldur's Gate are used in the layouts.

[…]
Thanks purpleblob!

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December 19th, 2020, 16:41
Quite a long story, this quest for UI (I've skipped parts), but interesting It's nice to see they care about the interface, and it really shows.

The way class evolution is shown, for example, really helps visualize and compare the many possibilities in Pathfinder, which I still find a bit overwhelming. Nor many games do that, and expect the player to be familiar with the path they choose, I still remember staring at the NWN2 character creation screen, wondering how to reach such or such prestige class without making a fool of my character

They're also playing a lot on the tooltips, to void too many information on the sheets (the same is used in dialogs). That's clever.

The only parts of the UI I'm struggling with are the spell shortcuts, and the inventory. Trying not to mix what needs to be sold from what mustn't be sold isn't always easy, I'd like the "junk" flag of D:OS!
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December 19th, 2020, 17:50
Yes the cRPG UIs just keep increasing in size over time, all in an attempt to match the flexibility of point-based builds.
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December 21st, 2020, 15:43
I really hope that for PF: Wrath of the Righteous they use their passion in optimizing the UI to also optimize the save file system.
In Act 2 of PF: Kingmaker you could have save files of 90MB each because it was saving the loot/actor status of every map you previously visited.
By mid to late game you dreaded loading a save file.
I love the game, but the only way for me to enjoy it is by using a mod called Cleaner to reduce the size of save files.
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December 21st, 2020, 16:30
Originally Posted by Arahael View Post
I really hope that for PF: Wrath of the Righteous they use their passion in optimizing the UI to also optimize the save file system.
In Act 2 of PF: Kingmaker you could have save files of 90MB each because it was saving the loot/actor status of every map you previously visited.
By mid to late game you dreaded loading a save file.
I love the game, but the only way for me to enjoy it is by using a mod called Cleaner to reduce the size of save files.
Oh yes. On GOG, the cloud synchronization of saved games fails everytime, even though I've reduced the number of auto and quick saves to a minimum.
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December 22nd, 2020, 00:22
Originally Posted by Arahael View Post
I really hope that for PF: Wrath of the Righteous they use their passion in optimizing the UI to also optimize the save file system.
In Act 2 of PF: Kingmaker you could have save files of 90MB each because it was saving the loot/actor status of every map you previously visited.
By mid to late game you dreaded loading a save file.
I love the game, but the only way for me to enjoy it is by using a mod called Cleaner to reduce the size of save files.
You can always pass on this feedback by posting on their forums or joining discord chat

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December 22nd, 2020, 01:25
This game just keeps looking more and more awesome. Kingmaker is definitely in my top-10 RPGs of all time. It was buggy at first, true, but I had a recent playthrough where I actually managed to beat the game without getting bugged out in the last section and it made me want to look up the Pathfinder tabletop "Kingmaker" adventure/campaign, and I ended up buying several PF2 books just because the lore and the system really impressed me. (And yes I know the game is based on PF1 rules. )
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