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Strife dialogue scaling

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 6:59 am
by Xeotroid
The dialogue windows are already scaled based on resolution (at 1920x1080, the font has 4x4 pixels while pictures use various pixel sizes, probably for aspect ratio correction coupled with using nearest neighbour). Would it be possible to implement customisable scaling of them, mainly to make the text smaller (like an additional HUD scaling slider)? The chunky text is fine for short pick-up messages, but reading whole sentences with it isn't so great on a larger screen. And since player choices already have a transparent black background to make them more readable, would this be a possibility for the character dialogue itself too?

Here's a crappy Photoshop montage of what I mean plus the original for comparison. On a 24" monitor (which I guess is a bit of a larger size for Doom, but people with huge 4K 30"+ monitor might want to play it too) in fullscreen, it's pretty uncomfortable to read the original size, both because the text is so big for sentences like this, and also because the chunkiness and low resolution of it is much more jarring at that scale.


Re: Strife dialogue scaling

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:03 am
by Graf Zahl
I think it'd make more sense to add an option to the dialogue to fall back on the VGA font than to mess around with the rather volatile state of UI scaling.
From a readability standpoint that font would be infinitely preferable, but you know how it is: This isn't merely a menu so some users would cry foul-.

Re: Strife dialogue scaling

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:12 am
by Xeotroid
That might work too, with the added benefit of lower-case letters being included.

Re: Strife dialogue scaling

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:41 am
by dpJudas
Graf Zahl wrote:From a readability standpoint that font would be infinitely preferable, but you know how it is: This isn't merely a menu so some users would cry foul-.

I don't think anyone can come up with a good reason why an optional font override shouldn't be allowed. That said, I personally think that fonts are more than just text - they are part of an artistic expression and help paint a mood. My preferred font visually is Segoe UI, but I'd never ever want to see it in a game.

Re: Strife dialogue scaling

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:47 am
by Graf Zahl
That's precisely why I kept the VGA font to the non-game parts of the menu and merely as a fallback for the rest.
But considering how much text needs to be digested through the Strife dialogues a user-controlled exception may be warranted here, because the default fomt may be nicely styled but it's not the most easy to read thing.

Re: Strife dialogue scaling

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 7:59 am
by Xeotroid
dpJudas wrote:I don't think anyone can come up with a good reason why an optional font override shouldn't be allowed. That said, I personally think that fonts are more than just text - they are part of an artistic expression and help paint a mood. My preferred font visually is Segoe UI, but I'd never ever want to see it in a game.

Yeah, that's true. A set of lower-case letters for it could help (good luck finding anyone willing to put themselves through that, though), making it smaller to hide the pixelisation somewhat could be all that's needed, since I don't remember the font being a problem at all on my old 19" 1366x768 monitor.

The dialogue portraits nowadays are probably a tad too big. Sure, they filled the screen in 1996 too, but were much smaller in practice. On a modern screen, it's reminiscent of the creepy Oblivion close-ups.

Re: Strife dialogue scaling

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:01 am
by Graf Zahl
That's all a matter of taste. They were always rendered to the upscaled 320x200 center of the screen, so with larger screens they naturally got bigger. But they'd be the same size if you used Chocolate Strife upscaled.

Re: Strife dialogue scaling

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:03 am
by Xeotroid
(Wanted to edit the reply into the previous post, but the forum threw it away instead of reminding of a new post)
Graf Zahl wrote:That's precisely why I kept the VGA font to the non-game parts of the menu and merely as a fallback for the rest.
But considering how much text needs to be digested through the Strife dialogues a user-controlled exception may be warranted here, because the default fomt may be nicely styled but it's not the most easy to read thing.

It's certainly pretty, but it probably would be a nightmare for someone with dyslexia to read through it.

Re: Strife dialogue scaling

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:09 am
by Graf Zahl
True. I think sometimes this is an issue many modders tend to forget - they produce overly stylized fonts but totally forget that for some of the users these are absolutely painful to comprehend.
Just have a look at that abominable font Freedoom replaced Doom's SmallFont with. Even I find it painful to use, what does it do to someone with a reading impairment then?

Re: Strife dialogue scaling

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 8:22 am
by Xeotroid
Oh god, what is that thing? Both the small and large fonts.

Re: Strife dialogue scaling

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 11:13 am
by Graf Zahl
Well, it's FreeDoom, what do you expect? :twisted:
It's kind of fitting for a project that has been limping along for 20 years without getting close to completion while in the same time period dozens of high quality megawads got made...

Re: Strife dialogue scaling

PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:47 am
by Rachael
FreeDoom is a perfect example of impulse design.

So many changes are made at the top and so frequently, that by the time they filter down to the bottom another decision has been made which also shakes things up.

The whole constant shifting in planning results in a highly inconsistent, helter skelter work, that's basically just a mish-mash of things thrown together with the expectation that they somehow work. It's basically a project that is constantly in the planning phase simultaneously with the work phase, while the work phase tries to catch up with whatever the planning happens to be at the moment.

It's actually possible to have a "favorite iteration" of FreeDoom because it changes so much and so fast that no version is quite like its previous.

Re: Strife dialogue scaling

PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 4:20 am
by Graf Zahl
In the end it's a clear sign of incompetent leadership - as harsh as it sounds. A good producer would try to channel the available resources toward finishing the product, but the overarching goal here seems to be that "if we got something better, let's replace the old stuff." Sadly, much of the existing content isn't very good to begin with. I still find it baffling that with all the creative work going on over the decades this supposedly important project always got the crap and not the good stuff.

Fun fact: Some 15 years ago I made a 12 level episode out of the then playable parts of the game. Of these 12 levels, I think only two have survived until now and only one of these survived in a form that's still recognizable. So should Freedoom eventually get released, this episode will probably share nothing with the finished product.

Re: Strife dialogue scaling

PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:25 pm
by Graf Zahl
Added a CVAR to switch the font. The feature itself was already present for the Asian languages so this was a relatively quick change.

Re: Strife dialogue scaling

PostPosted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 12:45 pm
by Enjay
Graf Zahl wrote:In the end it's a clear sign of incompetent leadership - as harsh as it sounds. A good producer would try to channel the available resources toward finishing the product, but the overarching goal here seems to be that "if we got something better, let's replace the old stuff." Sadly, much of the existing content isn't very good to begin with. I still find it baffling that with all the creative work going on over the decades this supposedly important project always got the crap and not the good stuff.

Fun fact: Some 15 years ago I made a 12 level episode out of the then playable parts of the game. Of these 12 levels, I think only two have survived until now and only one of these survived in a form that's still recognizable. So should Freedoom eventually get released, this episode will probably share nothing with the finished product.


Yeah, I've never really understood the FreeDoom development philosophy. There has been constant making and remaking the relatively low hanging fruit items but most everything else seems to be ignored. Many of the resources do need touching up, of course, and some of those items could be good if that was done (e.g. mancubus enemy).

The project seems basically to have ended effectively in development hell despite that fact that many, many projects have come to fruition during the lifetime of the FreeDoom project. I check the project page and repository every now and again, but very little happens.

I understand that everything in it needs to be completely free and not based on anything that the authors do not have the rights to distribute as free (which means no frankenspriting/frankentexturing of Doom resources (etc)) but there has been plenty of original stuff produced elsewhere in the community over the last decade and a half too. Every now and again there is a spurt of work. The most recent bit of optimism that I can think of was when Raymoohawk did some spriting work. That stopped rather suddenly though. I don't know what happened to him. I haven't seen him around anywhere for a long time.

There was such enthusiasm and drive concerning FreeDoom when it first started, but it just stalled and nothing much has happened for a very long time. I'm sure that some content from other projects could have been donated but I bet most people don't even think about it. I'm not sure how much drive there is to even get a completed game. I mean, I know that there is something in every essential lump slot, but much of it really can't be called much more than a placeholder. It doesn't feel cohesive at all, and quality is massively variable. It really doesn't feel "complete".

In saying that, I really haven't helped the situation either. Though, most of what I could contribute is covered and the stuff that I couldn't do well is what is needed; perhaps that's a more universal situation?