Minetest radical graphical rework

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Zughy
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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by Zughy » Post

runs wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 13:25
Having pointless discussions that lead nowhere
I'm sorry runs, but this is exactly what you just did. No comment whatsoever about what I posted and a long explanation about theory. For anyone reading this: my topic is not a topic about what MT art should be. This is a practical attempt, exactly like rubenwardy and philip's. So, please, leave your endless debates out of here, because it's irritating to see new messages hoping to find some structured feedback, when they don't add anything instead (creating even more confusion)

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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by runs » Post

Zughy wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 14:49
runs wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 13:25
Having pointless discussions that lead nowhere
I'm sorry runs, but this is exactly what you just did. No comment whatsoever about what I posted and a long explanation about theory. For anyone reading this: my topic is not a topic about what MT art should be. This is a practical attempt, exactly like rubenwardy and philip's. So, please, leave your endless debates out of here, because it's irritating to see new messages hoping to find some structured feedback, when they don't add anything instead (creating even more confusion)
I will not comment because it is a waste of time. After two years I will bump to this post and you will have to agree with me :-D
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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by runs » Post

Sorry, it was a little rough. My parents paid for me to go to the best possible schools, so it shows. I'm going to give my opinion.

Image

Cool for a RPG game, not for Minetest. Zhugy style, too marked. It would be your Minetest.

Image

Outdated. You said it yourself, 90s style. I don't like it, it looks ugly, IMO.

Image

I love this. Maybe it would be a kawaiish style. Sweet. I & Samantha approve this one.
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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by runs » Post

Other reviews:

Image
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I love it, it's a Minecraftian style. Clean and simple. It has resemblance to pixels.

Image

Correct, clean and clear. Too formal for my taste.
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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by philipbenr » Post

Zughy wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 13:10
I also think that what you currently have does not advertise what Minetest is really about
The Pandora's box has been opened: what's Minetest really about?
Wow, I came off hot in that post, whoops...

I'd argue that Minetest is about creating your own game, and less about giving you what looks like a finished, preset product. That's why I am more attracted to a flatter, more "blank-canvas" like design that still looks good.

And I misspoke. I really should have said, I don't think you're advertising what Minetest is really capable of as well as possible, so I felt like your design was limited. In regards to your art style, I meant it looks like it is advertising something 2D, not 3D to clarify what I meant about the Pokemon and Stardew Valley comments. And I know you are not complete, so take that as an artistic comment.
Zughy wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 13:10
This means that the client should be appealing, not what is right now, i.e. neglected (this is me avoiding insulting it). Also, according to the top texture packs, people seem to appreciate the pixelated style, which is indeed an intrinsic characteristic of voxel games. Pixel art is not out of place, vector graphic is (ironically, the current one)
I disagree that vector is out of place. I think that for a base 3D engine, flat, geometric art is perfectly in line. Which that is what Minetest is. For what I mean, see the iconography work I did for fun. I think the simple, monocolor cubes better represent voxels than pixels do.

But I also don't think that pixel art, if done well, would be out of line either. That choice is mostly up to the people who want to decide on the branding and vision for Minetest, which as I understand it, is the developers/c55.

Regardless, these are just stylistic quibbles, (which will likely go nowhere) and I can see at least where you are coming from. I just think geometric vector art does a better job.
Zughy wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 13:10
I think that the most important thing would be creating a style guide for Minetest
No. No, no, no, no. Don't anyone try to theorise art with endless conversations nitpicking this and that BEFORE having an actual creation to base your critiques on. This is not how it works. "But we won't". Really?
First off, I am not theorizing art. I am talking about creating a brand and creating software within that brand.

Second off, I have made a quick design that I can base critiques on.

Please don't try and tell me 'this isn't how it works' if you're referring to the general case. This is in fact how a large part of the software engineering industry functions. I've gone through the process multiple times now. And I'm currently doing software engineering work with a non-profit that is going through some rebranding, so I get to see bits of the process. People that want to have cohesive, polished ecosystem generally work with designers and artists to create some form of brand. This often includes a style guide, iconography, etc. Once a set of design guidelines have been chosen to best suit the product/system, then people move forward designing things around those guidelines to make a very cohesive ecosystem. And then it looks like a legitimate thing; it looks polished.

Let me emphasize the word ecosystem here. I'm talking all about the branding and the image you are trying to put forth. Take for example Google. You know a Google product when you see it. You know a Google page when you see it. Now I will compare this to Minetest. Take a look at minetest.net, ContentDB, this forums, the current client. If you blurred out the text a bit so I couldn't identify it through that, there is really barely anything between each of these that really stands out in common. They don't have a unifying style, saying they are all a part of the same ecosystem.

In this case, I am not saying you need to decide how exactly everything should look before making it. A lot of industries have some pretty hardline designs, which is not at all necessary here. But building a general aesthetic or a brand for Minetest would be helpful for this kind of thing.

And if what you mean is "the people on the Minetest project are people who will reject a style-guide" then, yes. There is no point, and its best to just throw designs at the wall and take which one sticks. And if they're resistant to change across the board, then there's no hope for building a brand or putting up designs. And this thread is subsequently a moot point.

I apologize for the previous poorly written post, I should have reviewed it more before sending.

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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by runs » Post

More Juanchi Reviews

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Nice simplier thing. Need some more polishing.

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Sorry, polysaken, it's nothing personal but I don't like it. Linux gtk1 style from the 90s.

Image
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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by Zughy » Post

philipbenr wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 20:03
You know a Google page when you see it. Now I will compare this to Minetest. Take a look at minetest.net, ContentDB, this forums, the current client. If you blurred out the text a bit so I couldn't identify it through that, there is really barely anything between each of these that really stands out in common. They don't have a unifying style, saying they are all a part of the same ecosystem.

In this case, I am not saying you need to decide how exactly everything should look before making it. A lot of industries have some pretty hardline designs, which is not at all necessary here. But building a general aesthetic or a brand for Minetest would be helpful for this kind of thing.
"That's not how it works here".

And this for a very specific reason: because I'm the only professional artist around. In before "wowowo BOLD!", try to translate this aspect on a coding situation. 50 people who can print "hello world" and call a bunch of functions spend months/years to argue about what's the right code structure to follow. Then the professional kicks in with a proposal and they're all like "no no no, we should decide together first". He'll be like: "dude, I know what I'm doing. Do you want to give me some general feedback? Great. Do you expect me to take part to the endless discussion when NOW I have time to actually do something to contribute? Yeah, cya".

Also
runs wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 18:53
Cool for a RPG game, not for Minetest. Zhugy style, too marked. It would be your Minetest
Yes, that's exactly what happens when you have someone sharing their art: they express themselves through it (if you exclude people trying to emulate a specific style). When you hire an artist, you know they're gonna draw in a certain way. No offense to ruben, but those works are dull and gray. And if you expect gray monotonous designs just because minimal is the new black (which is actually not, check out glassmorphism), just don't follow this topic. Because that's not who I am, I'm about colours, introspection, and places generated in-between the two. Moreover, this is not a commission, it's something I'm doing because I feel like to, meaning I have no bounds (outside decency). I did my homework going through every MT issue labelled as "@Mainmenu", which took me 3 days, and I have no intention of reading 100+ comments of pretty useless theory about art style in the two issues I linked before. I know how to draw and how design generally works, and I also have my vision as someone who've been modding for almost a year now and what to expect as someone who has a pretty appreciated server. I also contributed enough to MT code, talked with some core devs, dove into issues, so I think my empirical vision is pretty complete to interpret the menu

I don't want this to sound like a threat, but I also want to be completely honest: I'm your best bet when it comes to art. I know how to use colours, my palette is spammed and used everywhere, I had a lot of people following my indie projects just because I was the one drawing them, and I'm pretty tired to be considered as "the one who does that thing I can also do because I can hold a pencil in my hand too". There is a huge difference. So let me tell you what would happen if I stopped working on this: Minetest graphics will keep sucking for years and people will keep make fun of it because some of them close it the first time they run it just because of the graphics. Well deserved, I'd add, because it's atrocious. Which is different from minimal. Skills aside, rubenwardy barely has time to breathe, he has enough things to deal with just considering CDB and the gigantic amount of MT issues and PR. I, on the contrary, not being a core dev, I'm able to design something AND to code it through Lua in a decent amount of time without ending in burnout.

With the risk of sounding like an arsehole, this topic is not called "Let's make a main menu together". This topic is about me, trying to contribute to something with the tools I have, providing an explanation to every screen I post because I'd like to have feedback on that (for instance, I'm really glad to people who expressed their doubts on the previous singleplayer screen, they helped me realise how bad it was). And yes, if my design passes, MT graphics will resound with my name. And this, beware, not because I'm a narcissist, but because it's how art works. You don't like mine? It'll be someone else then. You want anonymity? Then it'll suck, because it'll have no soul

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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by rubenwardy » Post

My main menu designs are about user flow rather than actual design, to clarify

To everyone: I suggest making your own topics for your own designs rather than hijacking on this topic

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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by philipbenr » Post

Zughy wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 21:08
"That's not how it works here".

And this for a very specific reason: because I'm the only professional artist around. In before "wowowo BOLD!", try to translate this aspect on a coding situation. 50 people who can print "hello world" and call a bunch of functions spend months/years to argue about what's the right code structure to follow. Then the professional kicks in with a proposal and they're all like "no no no, we should decide together first". He'll be like: "dude, I know what I'm doing. Do you want to give me some general feedback? Great. Do you expect me to take part to the endless discussion when NOW I have time to actually do something to contribute? Yeah, cya".
Well, if it doesn't work here, there's no point in sinking the time into it, as not everyone will be happy and it will be exhausting to attempt to even get a passable design through. Design by comitee sucks. It's why most of the time I stick to more conservative/clean designs, as they usually pass. But I at least enjoy trying to make minimalism look smart, as it is just as much of a challenge as making something complex look balanced.
rubenwardy wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 21:18
My main menu designs are about user flow rather than actual design, to clarify
Have you made any user flow diagrams? I was looking through your post and I didn't see any, so I'm curious if you've mapped it all out. I'd also be happy to help do some of the mapping as it doesn't take much effort if you want.

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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by freshreplicant » Post

Moving the below text here, as it's probably more appropriate in Zughy's own thread:

From all the designs showcased here, I have to say Zughy's stands out to me most. One of the most widely aired complaints in the FOSS world is bad UI design and aesthetics, something I have heard (somewhat begrudgingly) even the most hardened Stallmanites. Arguably for games (or hybrid game/engine monstrosities like Minetest) the more nebulous qualities of 'aesthetics', 'style' and 'vision' are more important, than say they might be for a calculator app or accounting software, because, well, games in their own right are closer to art than that type of software is.

Zughy's designs look functionally better than the current menus, and he has his thinking cap on about user experience, but also visually they are shaping up to be really unique, distinctive and nice to look at. If I knew nothing about Minetest at all and I fired it up with that design implemented throughout, I would not know it's a FOSS game. And I don't mean that in a bad way at all. I mean I would think that its a more polished, marketable product cooked up by some hip indie studio. I love FOSS games, but I usually don't expect much from the UI/Menu designs. Zughy hits the right notes to get you excited about creating or jumping into some kind of adventure, whether that be modded Minetest the Game, or Nodecore, or whatever replaces it down the road. It's also neutral enough to be acceptable for a more 'educational' setting without being stifling.

That pixel/retro art style is super nostalgic, but still contemporary enough to be accessible. The nostalgia factor is extremely powerful and unlikely to go away anytime soon. With the amazing Renaissance in pixel art and games in that style that we've seen, I think it would stay 'fresh' for way longer than more bland/vanilla styles for less 'creative' software. We've seen that 'nostalgia' is contagious, people regularly get 'nostalgic' about time periods, musical or artistic subcultures that predated their birth. The fact that Zughy's Soothing 32 (followed by RPG 16) are the champions of the texture pack realm in Minetest is testament to this.

It's also super advantageous to have professional willing to pull it all together and be there to bring this design through various iterations into a complete, useable and very pretty final form. I hope this opportunity is not wasted. Minetest and the FOSS world is replete with super talented and generous programming talent, but there are much fewer people like Zughy or David Revoy. It would be so rewarding to show the world that the FOSS community can punch above its weight aesthetics as well as form and function.

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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by Dragonop » Post

I really like all your suggestions Zughy! You could start by releasing a modified build with these changes, and see if it gets adopted, I would use your main menu for sure.

I also like runs' first suggestion!

Clean look, minimalistic, fully featured, that's what a main menu should be like.

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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by Zughy » Post

So, things are moving. Today I've worked on the world selection window and this is what I've came with for now:
Image
I think it's pretty straightforward.

"Why are there empty squares next to each world?"
It'd be nice that the engine took a screenshot when the player leaves (resizing it to not occupy much space) and to showcase it in those squares

"Wait, what's nickname?"
One thing bugging me is how in singleplayer games the forced nick is... well, singleplayer. Imagine an RPG where an NPC greets you: "howdy, aren't ya the famous singleplayer? Thanks for saving our humble town, singleplayer!". So, yeah, this is just me pushing for a trivial feature. This aside, the only thing I'm not really sure is the sentence you can see next to the play button (which right now resembles too much the YouTube one?). If you have any idea, it'd be great.

"Why did you have to put a sentence there?"
Too much empty space. I've tried moving the button around but it wasn't balanced. I like how weights are disposed, so I prefer to put something in there rather than sweat even more without any certainty to find a nice solution that doesn't require me to move... pretty anything

"Ok, but what if it's a game where I can toggle things like creative?"
Say no more
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Wanna play online? Sure do
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"Wait, where is the announce server thingy?"
Is that useful at all? Like, if I'm gonna run a server from my client, it's either because I want to play with some friends (so I'm not gonna set it public) or because I want to test something (again, I'm not gonna set it public). On the contrary, if I want to open a server hoping strangers will come, I'll probably won't use my client
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Last edited by Zughy on Wed Dec 30, 2020 13:19, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by Zughy » Post

(Double post because I can't attach more than 3 files)

This part made me look back and tweak a few things, in order to establish a standard. Main menu (don't mind the font)
Image

Basically the soft orange balances quite well with the dark blue background. It's the same combo I used in the world selection

Singleplayer (game choice)
Image

The bluet I used before was not fitting anymore with the rest of the graphics. Hence the dark blue, the same from before. Again, don't mind the font, and remember I still have to polish everything
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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by rubenwardy » Post

Zughy wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 01:07
Heyo, today I've felt like continuing all this. The screenshot above is a completely different approach to the single player tab, so let me explain my reasoning:
I like the use of color and generally the aesthetics, but there are few criticisms I have:


You use a lot of icons in the center but I can't actually tell what they are. From reading your description, it sounds like they're mostly informational - at which point, why do they take such a central position? This feels like bad use of hierarchy to me. The thing you select most should be the most obvious thing.

Both the background and the foreground are complicated, it makes the screen very crowded and not very clean. I understand the background is just a placeholder, however.

I think you're trying to be too fancy with the singleplayer silhouette. It's better to be use more familiar components - a good user interface should not surprise the user. Lower complexity feels different.

Also, I don't really understand how this works or fits together - is this after the cassette view? I think you should go straight from game selection to world selection, and that you should see multiple games at a time. The designs for "Single/Multi/etc", game cassettes, online game selection, and this above design with the icons don't feel consistent to me - they feel like they use drastically different designs and components

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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by MisterE » Post

rubenwardy wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 17:41
Zughy wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 01:07
Heyo, today I've felt like continuing all this. The screenshot above is a completely different approach to the single player tab, so let me explain my reasoning:
You use a lot of icons in the center but I can't actually tell what they are. From reading your description, it sounds like they're mostly informational - at which point, why do they take such a central position? This feels like bad use of hierarchy to me. The thing you select most should be the most obvious thing.

Both the background and the foreground are complicated, it makes the screen very crowded and not very clean. I understand the background is just a placeholder, however.

I think you're trying to be too fancy with the singleplayer silhouette. It's better to be use more familiar components - a good user interface should not surprise the user. Lower complexity often feels cleaner imo.

Also, I don't really understand how this works or fits together - is this after the cassette view? I think you should go straight from game selection to world selection, and that you should see multiple games at a time
I think that Zughy and freinds are really good artists, and we (Minetest) should seriously consider using their talent with a graphical rework.

Rubenwardy, I suggest that you make a template for how you want the menus. Program it with placeholder (something like a png with the text Main menu background) graphics. Make graphics central to the menu, i.e. no words, just icons, but with hoverable text info. DO NOT HAVE UGLY GREY BUTTONS. use rounded corners (though I guess that comes from the textures). Then post the list of needed textures, along with the required size. If Zughy is interested in this, which it seems so, then (s)he can produce the textures, and we will have a really nice game menu.

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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by philipbenr » Post

Icon-only buttons are rarely a good idea for user clarity, save for really universal icons like "settings" or "delete" or the likes. Otherwise, new users are often confused and forget what is what. I think that square grey buttons can be just fine, but they could also use touchups that make them look better. New fonts, pixel-style bevels, different borders, less gradients, etc.

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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by v-rob » Post

philipbenr wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 19:07
Icon-only buttons are rarely a good idea for user clarity, save for really universal icons like "settings" or "delete" or the likes.
Probably my biggest pet peeve with user interfaces is icon-only buttons. It's often hard to tell which is what, so you have to hover over the icon and wait for the tooltip to appear, which is annoying and takes a while. This is especially bad with large toolbars, ribbon interfaces, and all modern Windows 10 applications. I'd take a menu bar any day over those.

As for the rest of the design, I'll wait for more to be done before offering critique. Things are still in a somewhat early stage, after all.
MisterE wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 17:51
Rubenwardy, I suggest that you make a template for how you want the menus.
Difficult. Formspecs can't really make this kind of menu with this much styling and effect at the moment, at least not in a clean way.
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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by ywwv » Post

These are very low resolution and aliased. The buttons are also very big and there are not that many of them. Is this for the phone version? I also cannot read any of the text . You should look into SVG. It can solve this
problem very well. I would also like to see a menu with a higher information density. I bought a high definition screen
so I should be able to fit a lot of things on it.

Image

Also: art is not UI design. These are different practices. I can't judge your art yet because it is very aliased in the images and that is unfair for you, so I want to give it a chance. But I think this is not a very competent computer interface. Maybe this aspect should be considered first? mock ups can be made with no art yet, to seperate what is being judged.

I also don't know which of the art shown is from the game "final fantasy" and which is original artwork. So it might be hard to fix the art from final fantasy if it was aliased like that originally. There are also copyright issues...

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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by Zughy » Post

rubenwardy wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 17:41
You use a lot of icons in the center but I can't actually tell what they are. From reading your description, it sounds like they're mostly informational - at which point, why do they take such a central position? This feels like bad use of hierarchy to me. The thing you select most should be the most obvious thing.
Those icons can definitely take less space
rubenwardy wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2021 17:41
Also, I don't really understand how this works or fits together - is this after the cassette view?
No, the cassette view has been moved to the bin. I didn't like it
ywwv wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 02:36
I would also like to see a menu with a higher information density. I bought a high definition screen
so I should be able to fit a lot of things on it.
I'm trying to design something that can work both for the phone and the PC. It'd spare a lot of time
ywwv wrote:
Sat Jan 23, 2021 02:36
I also don't know which of the art shown is from the game "final fantasy" and which is original artwork.
Only the header and the background. These are mockups, I'm not creating a commercial product with it. Not even Nintendo would sue people for something like this

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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by Andrey01 » Post

I love the ContentDB`s and the rubenwardy`s suggested main menu redesigns. They are classic and at once farther from "technical" style is what does better a look. About the second variant, I`m frustrated by what it is brought closer to the minecraft style, unique designs would be more appreciated. Also, I would suggest to round off the buttons/icons and make the font bolder as in the ContentDB.

As to your style, Zughy, I think this is too drastical and specific, therefore not everyone may like it. I don`t say this is bad, just it should be more universal on my opinion.

Also, it would be nice to select styles of the main menu directly inside it. May be even create a whole new section of media named like "main menu designs", so users could make and share with their formspec layouts on the forum/ContentDB.

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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by cuthbertdoublebarrel » Post

Andrey01 wrote:
Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:47
Also, it would be nice to select styles of the main menu directly inside it. May be even create a whole new section of media named like "main menu designs", so users could make and share with their formspec layouts on the forum/ContentDB.
That is a really topnotch idea .
guessing the original style will end up the most popular as a lot of people really hate menu redesigns . the important thing is its the users choice and not forced upon them .
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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by Gundul » Post

Andrey01 wrote:
Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:47
As to your style, Zughy, I think this is too drastical and specific, therefore not everyone may like it. I don`t say this is bad, just it should be more universal on my opinion.
100% true. No offence, but please do not do it. Makes me feel like my first LSD trip 30 yrs ago.
Andrey01 wrote:
Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:47
Also, it would be nice to select styles of the main menu directly inside it. May be even create a whole new section of media named like "main menu designs", so users could make and share with their formspec layouts on the forum/ContentDB.
Definitely the best solution. Any browser or app can do this be default, nowadays. Or just leave it as it is XD.
Usually time is scarce and there are probably more important issues to solve than some eye candy (or not) main menu decoration.
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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by twoelk » Post

Andrey01 wrote:
Mon Jan 25, 2021 12:47
...
Also, it would be nice to select styles of the main menu directly inside it. May be even create a whole new section of media named like "main menu designs", so users could make and share with their formspec layouts on the forum/ContentDB.
indeed a 'skinning system', as has been suggested long ago, would be great.

ugh - skinning - somehow that sounds wierd. Skin-changing system? UI-design-changer? is there something less clumsy?

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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by Linuxdirk » Post

twoelk wrote:
Tue Jan 26, 2021 10:33
ugh - skinning - somehow that sounds wierd. Skin-changing system? UI-design-changer? is there something less clumsy?
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Re: Minetest radical graphical rework

by v-rob » Post

While having themes for the main menu might be a good thing, there still needs to be a layout as well as a default style. I personally like the usage of saturated colors that Zughy is trying out; just because MTG has boring desaturated textures doesn't mean that everything must be that way. Does it need polishing? Sure. But I think it's a fairly good start.
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