Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

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Re: Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

Postby Caligari87 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:22 am

I read through pretty much all of it, and I like! That's a legit awesome menu revamp there. One point of criticism is that some things were too dumbed down unnecessarily. For example, "antialiasing" isn't jargon, it's been an integral part of PC gaming for well over 20 years now and pretty much every game uses the term. Calling it "smooth edges" is actually more confusing, ironically. There were a few others along a similar vein.

Overall though, great work. I'd love to see this implemented with all the possibilities you talked about.

8-)
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Re: Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

Postby GFD » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:38 am

Graf Zahl wrote:Just one thing: The main options menu has a very distinct appearance and I'd like to preserve that, if possible. This has been in ZDoom for 20 years and is one of its trademarks.
I'm curious as to what you mean exactly. I expect my thought about making the top level options menu into a bigfont listmenu is out the window though. I wouldn't have any issue with removing the double-spacing. And I don't plan to move stuff around in what will now be the "advanced options" menu too much, so it should look mostly the same.

Caligari87 wrote:One point of criticism is that some things were too dumbed down unnecessarily. For example, "antialiasing" isn't jargon, it's been an integral part of PC gaming for well over 20 years now and pretty much every game uses the term. Calling it "smooth edges" is actually more confusing, ironically. There were a few others along a similar vein.
This is a reasonable point. But, while it is a relatively common option in at least PC games, that doesn't necessarily mean everyone who plays these games will know what it means. And the type of players who poke around in the advanced graphics options of other PC games will probably be looking at the advanced version of the graphics settings in GZDoom, no? But these are all just assumptions, as unfortunately there's no real reliable data to go off of here.
Keeping the acronyms (FXAA, MSAA) present in the settings names I hoped was a good compromise. Part of my thought process here was like, if you played Doom on DOS back in the day, and then picked up GZDoom today without otherwise being a PC gamer, you probably wouldn't have heard of "anti-aliasing" before. But if you're already a PC gamer, you're probably already familiar with what FXAA and MSAA mean.
Now, something that could easily be done here is changing the option name from "Smooth edges" to "Smooth edges (AA)". It's my opinion that this isn't more confusing for anyone than calling it "Anti-aliasing".

I'm curious to know what other option names you think could use some revising.
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Re: Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

Postby Apeirogon » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:44 am

Graf Zahl wrote:Just one thing: The main options menu has a very distinct appearance and I'd like to preserve that, if possible.

Double this.

GFD wrote:Now, something that could easily be done here is changing the option name from "Smooth edges" to "Smooth edges (AA)". It's my opinion that this isn't more confusing for anyone than calling it "Anti-aliasing".


Just add signature under every menu line what it do, with current selected option variant.
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Re: Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

Postby Caligari87 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 11:57 am

I'm not sure we should be targeting "people who have never heard of PC gaming before" at risk of alienating the main userbase. For every one person that crawls out of 1994 or Candy Crush and says "What is antialiasing? What is ansiotropic filtering?" there's probably several hundred users who would say "Smooth edges? Far texture filter? Are these new?" The descriptive options themselves help, but it's a big change to industry-standard naming conventions, and IMO unnecessary.

Granted, this is bikeshedding a relatively minor issue, and overall it does look great. I just want to get an early jump on the one thing that stuck out like a sore thumb to me. I'd rather the options menu not make a reactionary jump to the opposite end of the complexity spectrum for sake of like 1-5% of possible users.

8-)
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Re: Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

Postby GFD » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:18 pm

I'm not in love with "Far texture filter" as an option name, admittedly. "Distant texture filter" was the original name I had, but I think it was too long and caused significant issues with text getting cut off at 320×200 with Raven/Strife IWADs. Using "filter" instead of "quality" in the option name is because of the "None" option. It obviously needs to be available because some users will think it looks better. But having "None" as a setting for "quality" doesn't really make sense—how can you have no quality at all?—but calling it "Low" instead would imply that this is a performance option rather than a subjective option.

I do believe that having mipmapping and anisotropic filtering as separate options in this menu is overly complex, in any case. I would think most users who want one would also want the other.
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Re: Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

Postby Graf Zahl » Mon Apr 16, 2018 12:23 pm

Let's be clear about it:

These two terms will remain what they are: 'Antialiasing' and 'anisotropic'. Any PC gamer knows what they are - we are not dumbing down the engine for casual mobile gamers!

That here gets a big, fat *NO!*:

Code: Select allExpand view
OptionValue "GFD_LineSmoothing"
{
    1, "\c[Red]Off"
    3, "Poor filter (FXAA)"
    5, "Good filter (FXAA)"
    6, "Great filter (FXAA)"
    7, "Best filter (FXAA)"
    2, "2x high-res (MSAA)"
    4, "4x high-res (MSAA)"
    8, "8x high-res (MSAA)"
   16, "16x high-res (MSAA)"
   32, "32x high-res (MSAA)"
}
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Re: Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

Postby GFD » Mon Apr 16, 2018 1:12 pm

Yep, this is exactly the reaction I expected from you in response to some of these designs. I figured it was worth a shot to give a different perspective, but if it's not to your liking I won't lose sleep over it either.
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Re: Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

Postby Trusty McLegit » Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:59 pm

I'm highly against having a "simple settings" menu, and an "advanced settings" menu. Now it just seems like I have to navigate 2 separate menus to try to find what I want, and is considerably more confusing imo. If we really need to go that route, I really think we should have an advanced menu for each top menu item (ex. Display Options - - > Advanced Display Options)
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Re: Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

Postby Matt » Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:32 pm

Those euphemisms would cause far more confusion than help.

I didn't know/remember what anisotrophic was so I spent 15 seconds googling it.

(Granted, that could also be said of the alphabet soup of the various texture types, etc. that I still don't understand, but imagine if those got "layman-friendly" descriptions that didn't tell you the actual names of the things! Better to just hide them in the advanced options.)


EDIT: I just want to add here: Earlier today I got into a completely unnecessary argument with someone where in fact I was wrong, and didn't even really want to take the legal position I was taking, but I could never easily get a proper, definitive explanation of why. Everything was either pure specialist gobbledygook or so dumbed down that it was impossible to follow up to get to the underlying legislation. Eventually one paper mentioned a single specific technical term and it all clicked together. However simplified it is, that menu needs to have enough of the jargony words in it that we can figure out what, specifically, they do and why something is being presented as an option.


(In the meantime, please do not grey out crouching and other options when the map disables it - the user should take precedence here first off, and secondly for the same reason why I don't want software options disabled when GL is being used.)
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Re: Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

Postby GFD » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:07 pm

Everyone seems to be in agreement that the 3D graphics terminology should be maintained, so here's another stab at the graphics menu designs based on this.

Image

In "Classic Graphics Options", I've renamed the FXAA option here from "Smooth edge filter (FXAA)" to just "FX anti-aliasing". I'm still not sure about this name. You usually see it as "FXAA", but I still want to include "anti-aliasing" in the option name to be consistent with the OpenGL graphics menu, and "FXAA anti-aliasing" would be redundant. Actually, maybe the best option here is "Anti-aliasing (FXAA)"...? I also renamed the texture filtering options to "Near filter mode" and "Far filter mode", and gave them both the same settings.
I'm using Strife for these previews to show off some of the text cut-off issues its wide fonts cause. I didn't even notice earlier, but the title for both graphics menus doesn't actually all fit on-screen at 320×200 with Strife's bigfont. It's all still readable, thankfully.

Image

In "OpenGL Graphics Options", I renamed "Smooth edges" to just "Anti-aliasing", and similarly renamed the setting names. Unfortunately, there are still some minor text cutoff issues at 320×200 here with the relatively long setting names, but it's still pretty easy to tell what they say. "Realistic lighting" now reads "Ambient occlusion", and so its setting names no longer have "SSAO" appended to the end.
I renamed "Texture filter type" to "Texture filter mode" to stay consistent with the usage of "mode" in the names of similar options in "Classic Graphics Options". Mipmapping and anisotropy are separate options now. Admittedly, I'm not sure whether or not I like mipmapping more as a separate item, or as part of "Texture filter mode" the way it is in the old menu. It also only works as a separate item if mipmapping actually works this way, which I don't know that it does. GZDoom normally has three kinds of mipmapping with "none" filtering, but only two (bilinear and trilinear) with "linear" filtering.
Unrelated to these discussions, I realized that the two options for shadowmaps could be combined into a single option, since the one option only has effect when the other is set to "on" anyway. I'm not sure I like it better this way, though.

Across both menus, any setting names with "highest" were changed to use "best" instead. The latter is fewer characters, which helps fit "FXAA best quality" on the screen better.

These are the discussions I want to have. I went all-the-way with simplifying things to present a totally opposite perspective from what we already have, in a "devil's advocate" sort of way, but this feedback helps pare things back to a better middle ground.

Trusty McLegit wrote:I'm highly against having a "simple settings" menu, and an "advanced settings" menu. Now it just seems like I have to navigate 2 separate menus to try to find what I want, and is considerably more confusing imo. If we really need to go that route, I really think we should have an advanced menu for each top menu item (ex. Display Options - - > Advanced Display Options)
I want to mostly or completely maintain the current menu's organizational system for the "advanced" menu, so that it will still be familiar to everyone who's been used to using it for all these years. Putting "advanced" submenu counterparts in every "simple" menu would go against this by necessitating significant structural changes.
Every single setting in the "simple" menus will naturally be available in the "advanced" menus as well, so you don't need to navigate more menus than you already do. As well, there should be an option to go to the "advanced" menus at the top level instead of the "simple" menus, so that you don't need to go down to the "Advanced menu" item every time you want to access them. (Actually, thinking about it, a "simple" and "advanced" toggle in the options menu would work just as well.)
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Re: Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

Postby Pixel Eater » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:51 am

I am struggling to even log in to discuss my menu at the moment as my Internet is completely stuffed (there’s an error at the exchange requiring at least 48hrs to fix) which is great because I’ve just spent my birthday alone with no phone or web access :/

Anyway I am able to briefly hotspot at times (hours apart) so I’ll say as much as I can in this post.

I honestly like a lot of what GFD has to say but I don’t like the direction that they have taken with it. Superficially I like the colours and spacing and I would totally prefer their Multiplayer menu over mine (I wanted to use line spacing but it was something I thought that custom menus didn’t allow). However, for all of the settings lost in GFD’s menu submission, there is little gain in ‘ease-of-navigation’ over my proposal.

For instance, when I click on a menu item I don’t want to be greeted with just more menu items. There has to be some basic options presented to the user otherwise it’s a waste of space and the user’s time. The whole idea behind this rewrite is to bring things forward because people have had it with digging through buried options.

Another thing, the removal of options such as the Free Look Cvar- while technically yes, you can still disable it with the speed slider, people still like to retain values that work for them without having to refigure them every time they toggle something. It’s the reverse of convenience to remove it, which is what the redesign is supposed to focus on improving. Funny note: I forgot to copy that option into my own menu XD

Something I expect is that as time goes by, more and more options are going to be re-added as people realise they were useful and GFD’s menu structure isn’t designed with that in mind. It depends on there being fewer settings otherwise it would be messier than mine (and some already are). A couple years will pass, new engine capabilities will be plopped on top and we’ll just arrive back at square one.

And to clarify, I don’t care if mine is chosen or if multiple are merged (I would gladly ditch some of my crap for GFD’s gold), I just don’t want to be stuck living with a neutered menu that doesn’t think forwards.
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Re: Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

Postby Kotti » Tue Apr 17, 2018 6:14 am

One thing I find absolutely necessary here is that switching between simple and advancecd menus should be remembered for the next time the options menu is opened.

While I appreciate the effort to make the menus more accessible, I have to admit that I felt completely lost in the simpler ones because nothing was where I'm used to find it.

Another thing that bugged me is the color choice. Using red and green is good, using the same full saturation variant as for regular text in Doom is not. This makes things very difficult to make out. Better use desaturated variants of the primary colors for the options to improve contrast.

Last but not least: The player setup menu is fine as it is. The simple version of the options menu should use the original with the animated player sprite, not some seemingly crippled replacement base on the plain text menus.
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Re: Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

Postby GFD » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:29 am

Kotti wrote:One thing I find absolutely necessary here is that switching between simple and advancecd menus should be remembered for the next time the options menu is opened.
Yes, this is what's intended.

Kotti wrote:Another thing that bugged me is the color choice. Using red and green is good, using the same full saturation variant as for regular text in Doom is not. This makes things very difficult to make out. Better use desaturated variants of the primary colors for the options to improve contrast.
I also agree that different text colours might be needed. Not only does the red "negative" setting colour look the same as or very similar to the red colours used for the option text in Doom, Hexen, and Action Doom 2, but the green "positive" setting colour looks the same as or very similar to to the green colours used for the option text in Chex Quest, Heretic, Delaweare, and Blasphemer. It does help that they're always in a separate vertical space of the screen at least, but further differentiation is a good idea.
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Re: Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

Postby GFD » Wed May 16, 2018 11:45 pm

Though I'm double-posting in here, unfortunately I've not yet had time to finish tidying up the classic/advanced menu layouts to give my thoughts there. However, it's not of highest priority to me at present, since I'm thinking that it seems easier and more sensible to plan for a menu redesign to be implemented whenever OpenGL 2 support is removed from the engine. It'd be a waste to spend significant effort designing menus around accommodating OpenGL 2 support when it won't be around forever, and this would simplify quite a few things in terms of the display and graphics menus, such as (and I'm hoping these examples are accurate):
  • Since the engine would require graphics hardware that supports render buffers well, keeping the options for mode switching, at least in a "simple" menu design, would no longer be necessary.
  • Options like bloom and lens distortion effects could confidently be kept in a suitable renderer-agnostic menu, since they would now be able to apply to both renderers.
  • There would be no need to worry about how to indicate to the user whether or not features like shadowmaps are actually usable by the current graphics hardware, since this should always be the case.
Does this seem like a good idea to everyone else as well?
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Re: Brainstorming a GZDoom menu revamp

Postby insightguy » Thu May 17, 2018 1:06 am

With regards to updating the options and settings, I have 2 suggestions:

Can we please either have a short description on some of the graphics options? This is not to whine or anything but I think more info on what does what (if it's not self-explanatory) would be better if a small description came with it. (basic description of AA, texture filtering and the like.)

Not sure how viable is this, but what about a "simulation map" of sorts? a map that runs in the background to show what actually changed and to test what's making the game into a power point presentation?
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