Thoughts about the options menu

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Professor Hastig
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Thoughts about the options menu

Post by Professor Hastig »

As this has been a repeated discussion, here's some thoughts I had after checking how both the simplified and the full variant are set up.

First thing: The simplified menu is shit. It's a classic case of missing the forest for the trees operating on the false belief that less is more. As a result it omits many important options but does little to give a streamlined feel. It should be tossed out entirely while fixing the real problem which is mainly bad menu hierarchy and too much focus on items of lesser importance in the top level menus.

The first big problem is that too many submenus are directly placed in the main options menu. All things combined it contains 20 items!

First example: There's 3 top level entries for control setup: 'Customize Controls', 'Mouse Options' and 'Controller Options'. While all these are important it cannot be denied that for most people they are a one-time affair. They go there, set up their preferred control setup and rarely use it again later. Which means that these 3 are better grouped into a 'Controls Setup' menu, which then can also be used to contain the most important items of this group.

Second: Both 'Gameplay Options' and 'Compatibility Options' are specialty items. 'Player Options' is also not something used frequently, if ever. Again, let's group all these in a 'Gameplay Setup' submenu, again using the intermediate layer for the handful of really important things, including parts of the 'Miscellaneous options'.

Next up is the 'Browse xyz' items. Why are these in the top level menu? They should be buried somewhere deep below where the average user never comes by accident. So for now let's put them under 'Miscellaneous Options'.

This alone reduces the footprint of the main options menu by half! But we're not finished yet. Next up is the visual configuration. Again we got 4 menus with several submenus for that - 'HUD Options', 'Display Options', 'Automap Options' and 'Set Video Mode', with items strictly being grouped by function, not by importance. This makes it virtually impossible for the uninitiated to find what they want to change.
Like before, 90% of the content is specialty items that rarely need to be changed which should be relegated to submenus. So let's again group all these into one 'Display Setup' menu and put the 5-10 most important options on the top level plus adding a nice, understandable submenu where the screen size (and only the screen size!) can be set up as this would be too much for the top level menu to handle.

'Miscellaneous' is a dumping ground of stuff that is mostly better placed elsewhere. Some of its content needs to remain but I think a significant part can be moved around.

I have no complaints about the sound menu. Unlike all others this is well organized, presenting everything important in the top level and the rest in an 'Advanced' submenu. I wish the other menus had been done the same way.

With such an organization the main menu only has the following items:

Controls Setup
Gameplay Setup
Miscellaneous Options
Sound Options
Display Setup
------
Option Search
------
Reset to defaults
Reset to saved
Save current settings

Which is a lot better but still not optimal. The order of the submenus is almost the reverse of their importance. So let's do:

Display Setup
Sound Options
Controls Setup
Gameplay Setup
Miscellaneous Options
------
Option Search
------
Reset to defaults
Reset to saved
Save current settings

I think this is how the main options menu should present itself. Some feedback about the proper term 'Options' vs. 'Setup' is appreciated. I'm not fully sure what's better.
I'll post some thoughts about the submenus later, I gotta have to analyze them a bit more detailed first.
Professor Hastig
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Re: Thoughts about the options menu

Post by Professor Hastig »

Now the display options.

The display options is clearly the one in direst need of change. Here's my suggestion, the top menu only contains the most essential options not to be missed, submenus appear generally at the BOTTOM of the list:

Fullscreen
Texture filter (only on/off as options)
Multisample
Sector Light Mode (see my PR for further thoughts)
Render mode (if SW renderer is available)
Vertical Sync
Max. FPS
------
color correction controls (gamma/brightness/contrast/saturation)
------
Monster interpolation
HUD scale (the global setting only)
HUD preserves aspect ratio
Show Messages (it's too easy to switch off with the hotkey and too hard to find later elsewhere)
------
Appearance (submenu)
HUD Options (submenu)
Automap Options (submenu)
------
Set screen size (submenu)
Advanced display options (submenu)


About the submenus:

Appearance will contain most previous content of the display menu which is mainly preferences of how game content is handled. A few items from miscellaneous should also go here, plus the crosshair options.
HUD Options and Automap Options remain as they are, except for a few items being moved up from HUD options.
Set Screen Size is most of the old Set Video Mode menu, minus the items that go to the main Display Setup.
Advanced Display Options links to all the rest. Some minor cleanup may be advised, e.g. moving the 'anisotropic filter' item up one level.

I think this will solve most of the problems here - the really important things are easier to find and all those noisy preferences are moved down one level and more cleanly separated.
Professor Hastig
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Re: Thoughts about the options menu

Post by Professor Hastig »

The rest will be simpler:

The sound menu needs no change. All the needed work on this one seems to have been done long ago already.
Customize Controls, Mouse and Controller options can also remain as they are, just moving them one level down into a submenu, but we can move the two hotkey options from Miscellaneous to here now.
Player, Gameplay and Compatibility options also can remain as they are, again moving to a submenu.
This 'gameplay setup' menu can now tale a few options from 'Miscellaneous' as well, e.g.:

Disable keyboard cheats
Enable cheats from all games
Enable making screenshots by scripts
Allow skipping of intermission scrollers

Miscellaneous will remain but lose a few options to elsewhere.
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Rachael
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Re: Thoughts about the options menu

Post by Rachael »

I do like the general direction where you are going with this, I'm hoping someone who is less comfortable with technology compared to you (and would benefit most from these changes) would agree.
dpJudas
 
 
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Re: Thoughts about the options menu

Post by dpJudas »

If you are playing around with the options menu, my suggestion on how it should look like can be seen in the VkDoom repository.
Professor Hastig
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Re: Thoughts about the options menu

Post by Professor Hastig »

What you did with the top level options menu is very much what I have in mind as well. But that's only a small part of the problem, the real issue here is the display options menu that needs a fundamental redesign to get the important options on the top level and not all this stuff most people will never touch with the things that need to be there being buried in that mess of submenus where normal people never go.

I'll have a look later if I can somehow combine your ideas with mine.
dpJudas
 
 
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Re: Thoughts about the options menu

Post by dpJudas »

There's certainly room for improvement in the display options in my proposal, but keep in mind the simplified menu in GZDoom pretty much hided every single setting I want to change. Make sure whatever you do isn't too much tuned into only one type of user's preferences.
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Graf Zahl
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Re: Thoughts about the options menu

Post by Graf Zahl »

Professor Hastig wrote: Wed Jul 05, 2023 12:34 am First thing: The simplified menu is shit. It's a classic case of missing the forest for the trees operating on the false belief that less is more. As a result it omits many important options but does little to give a streamlined feel. It should be tossed out entirely while fixing the real problem which is mainly bad menu hierarchy and too much focus on items of lesser importance in the top level menus.
From that I'd guess that this won't happen. I kind of have to agree with the sentiment. The simplified menu omits too many things without providing anything of value in return.

BTW, the draft for the main display options menu sounds good, that's precisely the important options that need to be directly accessible.
Professor Hastig
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Re: Thoughts about the options menu

Post by Professor Hastig »

Don't worry, I won't dumb down the menu like this. In my opinion the simplified menu was one of the most useless things ever added to GZDoom.
I had a look at VkDoom and it goes a bit further in areas I didn't touch but not far enough in others.

Here's an attempt to combine both approaches into one - use VkDoom's cleaned up menu structure but also rework the display options to have the really important things on the main page.
Feedback is welcome.
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dpJudas
 
 
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Re: Thoughts about the options menu

Post by dpJudas »

Took a quick look. I really like this version of the menu. It seems very straightforward to navigate.

Only thing I would change is to move the two input options "Merge left+right Alt/Ctrl/Shift" and "Alt-Enter toggles fullscreen" into the "Customize Controls" sub menu, as they are keyboard bindings like the rest in that submenu. Other than that I think it looks great. :)
Professor Hastig
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Re: Thoughts about the options menu

Post by Professor Hastig »

dpJudas wrote: Thu Jul 06, 2023 5:01 am Only thing I would change is to move the two input options "Merge left+right Alt/Ctrl/Shift" and "Alt-Enter toggles fullscreen" into the "Customize Controls" sub menu, as they are keyboard bindings like the rest in that submenu. Other than that I think it looks great. :)
In a way they are, but they are not really. It might work either way, but the miscellaneous menu never was a good place for them. Let's see what others have to say about this.
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Rachael
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Re: Thoughts about the options menu

Post by Rachael »

Professor Hastig wrote: Wed Jul 05, 2023 11:14 pm In my opinion the simplified menu was one of the most useless things ever added to GZDoom.
Be that as it may - at the time it was better than any other solution anyone was willing to come up with.

No one else was willing to address the menu's many problems and it got so bad that when I saw it took a streamer several minutes just to change texture filtering something had to be done. And at the time this really was the best idea anyone was willing to come up with.

Let's not forget also - I do like how you are addressing the problem in a more coherent and comprehensive way - but it's still going to take time for people to get used to the new changes to the menu.
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Re: Thoughts about the options menu

Post by dpJudas »

Professor Hastig wrote: Thu Jul 06, 2023 5:42 am In a way they are, but they are not really. It might work either way, but the miscellaneous menu never was a good place for them. Let's see what others have to say about this.
It is not like it is a disaster where they are right now. It's just that I feel the settings a bit too esoteric to get front-row seating like they do right now. That is mostly why I would move them.

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