Minetest UI en menu look

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Kenney
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Minetest UI en menu look

by Kenney » Sat Jun 06, 2015 16:27

The current Minetest UI and menu have a very clinical feel to them and look like they would belong in a software suite or tool instead of a game. My vote goes out to the following;

Use 9-slice elements and pixel-perfect graphics

Let's compare two buttons, the one on the left is the Minetest default and the one on the right could be the new one. The one on the left breaks the style of pixelart/voxels, it also uses a gradient and thin line to break away further from the style of the game. It doesn't look fun and isn't inviting to press. The one on the right however is inviting to press and fits in with the style of the overall game (voxels/pixels).

Image

This button graphic can be achieved by using a 9-slice, which is common in pretty much any engine and game out there. The system would allow for dynamic resizing and creating buttons and elements of various sizes.

Image

Change the current TrueType font to a stylized pixel font

Again, to go with the style of the game a bitmap font would fit in way more than a normal TrueType one. It can still just be a TTF font, but sized solely at powers of 2 (8, 16, 32 etc.). A quick comparison (mind you, the new bitmap font is still anti-aliased which shouldn't happen):

Image

Allow subgames to change textures and colors

And to close it all off; allow subgames to alter these 9-slice, button and element graphics.

Few things to note...

Yes, in my sample I've used the style of Voxus but this new UI/menu style should obviously stick to the Minetest style by default. I'm willing to create these UI graphics, including a custom bitmap font.
Last edited by Kenney on Sat Jun 06, 2015 17:29, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by addi » Sat Jun 06, 2015 16:51

Please no pixel font! A pixel font is ok to use in headings, or buttons but not for longer texts like chat.
 

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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by Kenney » Sat Jun 06, 2015 16:53

addi wrote:Please no pixel font! A pixel font is ok to use in headings, or buttons but not for longer texts like chat.

Why's that? Many, many games use pixel fonts in texts and it works just fine. It hugely depends on the quality of the pixel font and the clarity of text, there's really no choice other than a bitmap font when you'd want the HUD to fit in with your pixelart game.
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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by Krock » Sat Jun 06, 2015 17:01

Feel free to change the font on your client, I do not like those pixel fonts.
If you want to convert the visuals to Minecraft, sure, but that should not be the target of this game.
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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by Kenney » Sat Jun 06, 2015 17:02

Krock wrote:If you want to convert the visuals to Minecraft, sure, but that should not be the target of this game.

It's not so much about converting to Minecraft; it's what Minecraft does absolutely right and Minetest absolutely wrong. Minecraft makes sure their fonts, menu, UI etc. all fits together with the retro style that voxels carry with it. Minetest tries to be modern by changing elements to modern counterparts, but the style absolutely falls flat and it feels like the whole UI was an afterthought.
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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by addi » Sat Jun 06, 2015 17:21

Kenney wrote:many games use pixel fonts in texts
even more gemes using a "real" TTF :-P
Kenney wrote: It hugely depends on the quality of the pixel font and the clarity of text
yes, thats right. Example for bad quality in your screenshot: the 'g' looks like a 9. Btw: I also does not like fonts where a 'I' looks like a 'l' looks like a 1.

I also agree to Krock, the font should be a user choice and not defined by a mod. (like texturepacks)

A danger of the 9slice tiles is that if it can varies from mod to mod, the UI may be look really horrible. eg. mod A uses Default slice, Mod B uses ModB slice Mod C will use ModC slice. All in all I Like the idea of 9-tileslice, but it have to be unique, that the whole subgame ui looks uniform.
 

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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by jp » Sat Jun 06, 2015 17:24

Agree with Kenney - pixel font fits consistently with a simplistic voxel game, unlike the current default one in Minetest.
 

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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by Kenney » Sat Jun 06, 2015 17:29

addi wrote:even more gemes using a "real" TTF :-P

A TTF font can still be a pixel/bitmap font. I've made a few here; http://www.kenney.nl/assets/kenney-fonts

addi wrote:yes, thats right. Example for bad quality in your screenshot: the 'g' looks like a 9. Btw: I also does not like fonts where a 'I' looks like a 'l' looks like a 1.

Yeah, I took the first pixel TTF font I could find. This needs to be custom made, so that those flaws can be gotten rid off.

addi wrote:A danger of the 9slice tiles is that if it can varies from mod to mod, the UI may be look really horrible. eg. mod A uses Default slice, Mod B uses ModB slice Mod C will use ModC slice. All in all I Like the idea of 9-tileslice, but it have to be unique, that the whole subgame ui looks uniform.

Talking subgames here, not mods.
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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by est31 » Sat Jun 06, 2015 17:42

I think, subgame based support for themes inside formspecs is a great addition.
 

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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by Shakajiub » Sat Jun 06, 2015 18:58

This is a great suggestion and a very much needed feature. I completely agree with Kenney, the UI is probably the only thing about Minetest at the moment I really dislike. This isn't about Minecraft, this is about creating a nice, pleasant interface for people to use and look at, and variety (assuming subgames would be able to customize these graphics) is always nice.
 

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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by Wuzzy » Sat Jun 06, 2015 20:37

Support for a 9-slice button would be a great addition indeed. I just want to add that Minetest should not use a heavily-stylized default button design. IMO Minetest's default button should not look like Voxus or any particular subgame. Simple, but still “inviting”, as you said. I have nothing more to add on that.

I am happy that finally someone has successfully defended against the “Minecraft argument”, that is the accusation that you just want to make Minetest like Minecraft. Dudes, it's not always “because Minecraft”, but more like “because it is a good idea and coincidentally, Minecraft has done that already”.

Now for bitmap fonts:

Image

Using a bitmap font would be no justification to break the rules of English grammar. ;-)

One concern I have about bitmap fonts is that they often only support a tiny character set. Especially very detailed scripts like Chinese characters can't be properly displayed if the available area is too small.
Bitmap fonts which cover a large character set are rare.

But optional support for bitmap fonts would probably not hurt Minetest.

If I understood correctly, this suggestion is not actually about bitmap fonts vs TTFs, its about “pixel” fonts versus sans-serif fonts.

GNU Unifont is a great quest to create a huge bitmap font (also available in TTF) which covers as much of Unicode as possible. Sad but true, but the creator(s) of this font said that it seems the smallest amount of pixels where they could possibly fit in Chinese characters is 16×16. Everything smaller than that would simply have far too few detail.

Another problem: Some of you argued that the player could change the font on his/her own. My question is: Why should a player be motivated to do so? Probably only because of a poor default font in the first place. IMO it should not be the task for the gamer to make the GUI design. I think typography is totally part of the GUI design. So choosing a good default font is crucial. Also, a lot of mods rely on the exact size of the current default font, they'll probably break if the user manually changes the font. That's because Minetest does not handle custom fonts very well and mods have 0 idea with what actual font they are dealing with.
I am not saying the player should not be allowed to change the font, but the default font should be already a high-quality font. I am for sane defaults everywhere. :-)

On the other hand, maybe it would be an even nicer (but probably a bit difficult) idea if Minetest supplies a sane default set of fonts. At least one sans-serif font, and at least one “pixel” font. Ideally both fonts already cover a large character set and are interchangable (means, GUIs don't break if another font is used in place of one font).
It would be also cool for mods to change the font on the fly, but I guess this change would be way to huge for now. I suppose mods sometimes would want a sans-serif font in some occasions.

Another problem are formspec definitions. They are a bit complicated and have an arcane syntax, but I can actually live with that, it's not too hard to learn. IMO one of the bigger problems in formspecs is the fact that coordinates are inconsistent. Most widgets use inventory slots, but it seems that some widgets use a coordinate origin which is displaced from other widgets' origins. Other widgets don't seem to base on inventory slots at all. Nothing of this coordinate mess is documented and it is very confusing.

Another problem is, while you could theoretically resize the HUD elements, a lot of mods (including mine) have huge problem with HUD elements in a size other than the default. You will very easily run into overlapping problems. I have still not found a clean way to handle HUD resizing from the mod side.
 

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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by yyt16384 » Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:52

Personally I don't like pixel fonts very much. But I don't know what most people like, so I'm not going to argue about the default. I'm fine as long as sans-serif fonts are still supported.

Wuzzy wrote:Why should a player be motivated to do so? Probably only because of a poor default font in the first place.

Or someone just dislikes the design. Having a fixed font is like having a fixed texture pack, which is not good.
 

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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by Kenney » Sun Jun 07, 2015 12:58

Thanks for the lenghty feedback Wuzzy, absolutely agree with you.

1. Yep, the default buttons/panels should fit Minetest - not Voxus or any other subgame. I'll probably mock something up that will fit in with Minetest's style.

2. The default (pixel) font should support as many unicode as possible, GNU Unifont is the best option so far.

3. You're right, it should say 'Start' and not 'start' ;) my bad!

4. Players should always be able to switch out the font with a one they like, very much indeed.
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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by Minetestforfun » Tue Jun 09, 2015 19:17

I completely agree with Kenney and Wuzzy !
In my point of view, the Minetest menu UI is just sooo ugly, we need to polish it as soon as possible :p
(Kenney texturing skills are great, but yes, the default UI skin must fit a special Minetest style)
 

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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by bdjnk » Tue Jun 09, 2015 20:37

When we speak about 9-slice, are we referring to normal images with the details of slicing described by external code? Might be simpler and more known to use 9-patch (https://developer.android.com/tools/hel ... patch.html).
Last edited by bdjnk on Sun Jun 14, 2015 21:11, edited 1 time in total.
 

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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by Gael de Sailly » Tue Jun 09, 2015 20:38

I don't like pixel fonts. Some people like it. So, put several fonts in the game and add an option to change it.
And what about placing fonts in texture packs ?
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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by Sokomine » Sun Jun 14, 2015 19:07

The suggested new button style (or, at least, *a* button style) looks very good and may make the game look far more polished to players. The font is a diffrent matter. For me, having a font that is easy to read (large, clear) is most important. But as long as it can be changed, a more pixel-like font as default would be ok as well.

Formspecs are a huge problem anyway. Even a larger font may cause them to look quite diffrent. There's no good way to show a text to a player that exceeds one line. Formspecs need work - and more art around them as decoration as well. It would be best if both things could be worked on at the same time so that they fit together.
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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by lightonflux » Mon Jun 15, 2015 22:22

I too are not a fan of pixelated fonts in games. Especially those that overdo it.

But the GNU Unifont does a very good job at being readable, looking good and supporting a wide range of glyphs, despite being pixelated.

Image
 

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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by Dragonop » Thu Jul 09, 2015 17:36

Agree with Kenney, Minetest it's doing wrong if we talk about the UI, and a 9-slice it's a must-have, but, even if I like that pixelated buttons, I think that Minetest isn't aiming to that kind of game.
 

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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by Wuzzy » Fri Jul 10, 2015 13:48

Another issue: If the sans-serif font still continues to be used, we should at least pick a different one. The current font is one of those (sadly far too many) fonts where the small “l” (as in “legal”) looks like the big “I” (as in “I am Groot.”). I bet there are many much better (in terms of readability for small font sizes) sans-serif font out there.
 

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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by ChrisZ » Tue Dec 11, 2018 01:24

Sorry for digging up this old topic.

I've just recently discovered Minetest. One of the first things I noticed is the the GUI Design and the font. They seem so unfitting for the game! I couldn't agree more with Kenney and Wuzzy. The font looks absolutely out of place.

I can't believe that after more than 3 years these things still haven't changed. If you want to attract more people to MT, maybe you want to reconsider the font and GUI design?

I personally love Kenneys "start" button. :)
 

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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by Linuxdirk » Tue Dec 11, 2018 07:32

ChrisZ wrote:Sorry for digging up this old topic.

Necromancy is fun :)

ChrisZ wrote:I can't believe that after more than 3 years these things still haven't changed. If you want to attract more people to MT, maybe you want to reconsider the font and GUI design?

The problem is that none of the devs seem to be an UI designer nor have time/skill to program and implement a properly themeable UI. So Minetest sticks with the weird "formspec" system which - at best - gets the job done (but is far away from looking good).
 

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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by ChrisZ » Tue Dec 11, 2018 18:47

Linuxdirk wrote:The problem is that none of the devs seem to be an UI designer nor have time/skill to program and implement a properly themeable UI.


It doesn't have to be themeable to begin with, but maybe just an UI that is a bit more appealing and more appropriate for a voxel game on default?
 

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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by TumeniNodes » Tue Dec 11, 2018 20:46

any work on this would not commence until after the release of 5.0.0
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Re: Minetest UI en menu look

by Linuxdirk » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:51

ChrisZ wrote:It doesn't have to be themeable to begin with, but maybe just an UI that is a bit more appealing and more appropriate for a voxel game on default?

Then the best thing would be a 9-slice button as described earlier. And this would automatically add themeability via texture packs. And when not used for buttons only but for every GUI element then theming the GUI would be quite easy.
 


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