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Death Knight rune addons: How can we do better?


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#1 Nephthys

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 09:13 PM

(Discussion moved from the Death Knight class mechanics thread.)

Currently available addons to track death knight rune cooldowns seem... lacking. There's probably a better way to show that information, one that it's easier to take in at a glance and doesn't take up too much screen space. I'm having trouble imagining what that would be, though. The traditional status bar / icon spinner frameworks don't seem up to the task.

What information do we want from a rune addon? In order of priority, I'd say:
1. Which runes are available NOW
2. Which runes are almost available
3. Whether the almost-available runes are available on the next GCD, or whether there's space to throw in another ability like Death Coil.
Ideally, an addon would show all this information such that point 1 is more visible than point 2, and so on.

What do we NOT need to know? What information can we throw out to make the display easier to read?
4. Whether it's the left blood rune or the right blood rune (for example) that's available.

The different addons we have highlight these things to different degrees. RuneHero, for example, is really good at points 2 and 3. Not so much at point 1, because moving things always attract your attention more than static things. This is the big failing of bar-based addons and those that put number text on icons. Available runes should stand out more than non-available ones. SimpleRune takes a different approach and is really good at points 1 and 2, but really bad at point 3.

For me, the big question is: what kind of graphical convention would cover all of these bases, in the order they need to be covered? Ideas?

#2 dr_AllCOM3

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 09:28 PM

I've done this so far.
Posted Image
Video: Deposit Files
You can see other addons in comparison.

Have to see if there are good addons for disease tracking, but adding two additional bars wouldn't be hard to make.

#3 Janraea

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 09:34 PM

Currently available addons to track death knight rune cooldowns seem... lacking. There's probably a better way to show that information, one that it's easier to take in at a glance and doesn't take up too much screen space. I'm having trouble imagining what that would be, though. The traditional status bar / icon spinner frameworks don't seem up to the task.

What information do we want from a rune addon? In order of priority, I'd say:
1. Which runes are available NOW
2. Which runes are almost available
3. Whether the almost-available runes are available on the next GCD, or whether there's space to throw in another ability like Death Coil.
Ideally, an addon would show all this information such that point 1 is more visible than point 2, and so on.

What do we NOT need to know? What information can we throw out to make the display easier to read?
4. Whether it's the left blood rune or the right blood rune (for example) that's available.

The different addons we have highlight these things to different degrees. RuneHero, for example, is really good at points 2 and 3. Not so much at point 1, because moving things always attract your attention more than static things. This is the big failing of bar-based addons and those that put number text on icons. Available runes should stand out more than non-available ones. SimpleRune takes a different approach and is really good at points 1 and 2, but really bad at point 3.

For me, the big question is: what kind of graphical convention would cover all of these bases, in the order they need to be covered? Ideas?


I think that the runehero approach is an excellent one. We just need the 'ready' runes to flash fairly brightly and then fade in and out at you - that would be more noticeable than gradual and linear motion.

My mental picture: A vertical runehero (runes come down from the top). Active runes are fading in and out of brightness at you, moving ones are fairly dark - They flash when they hit bottom. Any period sufficient for an rp burn ability (no runes within 1.5 seconds before, period is 1.5s + long) is highlit weakly in gray, and flashes to white when entered. Optionally, a slight, pleasing sound would be played when you hit a rune as soon as it cooled down, or an rp burning ability as soon as you should.

Disease and HB cooldown timers would be a thin colored line behind the rune that was used to apply them last, or separate and to one side of the display (preferably an option to switch between those).

I'm not certain that the option of sticking an 'ideal' rotation' on there as an overlay of some kind would be workable, but if it is, it would certainly be handy - doing maximum dps would boil down to playing guitar hero/DDR.

#4 Kjallstrom

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 09:36 PM

This visual is pretty much totally ripped off from the Bard joke from April Fool's (and Guitar Hero/Rock Band games in general), in terms of icons cascading and crossing a line.

- Vertically oriented countdowns, one column per rune, scaled to the 10 second timer
- When a rune is used, its icon jumps to the top of the field, and starts moving down
- When a rune is available, its icon sits at the bottom of the field, pulsing in some visible way (point 1)
- The last 1.5 seconds of the vertical time scale should be a colored zone (red, maybe). Rune icons in this area indicate both almost availability (point 2) and if the area is empty (not red, maybe) that indicates that you have at least one GCD before another rune is ready.

I think you could set this up to be user-configurable as columns going up or down, or rows going left or right. You could also configure the ordering of columns (some users might want blood blood frost frost, or blood frost blood frost, or some other ordering).

I think your 1-3 ordering is the priority - which abilities you can use now matters the most, and then which abilities you can almost use; the "squeeze in one more shot before the GCD" is relevant only to people who really want to squeeze out optimal performance, which wouldn't be all mod users.

This visual display would be to my knowledge very complex to code, unfortunately.

(Edit: looks like Janraea and I have a similar mental image, and post at the same time :oD.)

#5 jokeyrhyme

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 09:40 PM

There are so many add-ons that can be used for disease tracking. I agree that it might be nice for people who just want to install the one add-on, but make that part of it LoD or optional or something. Displaying runes is what's really important here, not reinventing debuff timer bars.

#6 Janraea

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 09:44 PM

There are so many add-ons that can be used for disease tracking. I agree that it might be nice for people who just want to install the one add-on, but make that part of it LoD or optional or something. Displaying runes is what's really important here, not reinventing debuff timer bars.


I think the reason most people think of them as integrated is that when our diseases run out affects when we use our abilities - the two sets of timers need to be visually related enough that we can make decisions about when to use what based on when the diseases are up, AND when the appropriate runes will be up.

#7 Dristig

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 10:06 PM

I'm considering something radial with a border for when you have hit the point of no return in GCD. I did a quick gif but it's kinda hard with the tools I have at work. the grey circle would represent the last chance before GCD. So if your runes are still inside it you're good to go otherwise you will be clipping. Also, the grey circle could be used to show the GCD itself heart beat style or with a sweep second hand kind of thing. I also thought about using the grey circle to show how much RP you have. Obviously I would want to add more game-like textures. I'm just trying to throw out some ideas.

Sample animation had trouble mocking it up but I'd like to shrink the runes when they are in the center in addition to fading:
Posted Image

or showing RP as fill:
Posted Image

or showing GCD as a sweep:
Posted Image

#8 dr_AllCOM3

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 10:10 PM

I'm not certain that the option of sticking an 'ideal' rotation' on there as an overlay of some kind would be workable, but if it is, it would certainly be handy - doing maximum dps would boil down to playing guitar hero/DDR.

Funny idea, a DDRune addon, but left to right and more static is far easier to read.


I think the reason most people think of them as integrated is that when our diseases run out affects when we use our abilities - the two sets of timers need to be visually related enough that we can make decisions about when to use what based on when the diseases are up, AND when the appropriate runes will be up.

Yeah, you'll want disease timers (FF and BP only) right next to your runes.

#9 Janraea

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 10:12 PM

I'm considering something radial with a border for when you have hit the point of no return in GCD. I did a quick gif but it's kinda hard with the tools I have at work. the grey circle would represent the last chance before GCD. So if your runes are still inside it you're good to go otherwise you will be clipping. Also, the grey circle could be used to show the GCD itself heart beat style or with a sweep second hand kind of thing. I also thought about using the grey circle to show how much RP you have. Obviously I would want to add more game-like textures. I'm just trying to throw out some ideas.


I think trying to show the time in more than one dimension, (the GCD sweep idea) is visually very confusing - gcd bars are easy to find on their own, so if the integration of gcd with rune display isn't going to add anything, it should just be left separate. The same goes for showing RP in the center fill - it's easy enough to show that elsewhere, putting it in the time-display doesn't gain anything.

I think your radial idea is very intriguing, and might be combineable with the old-style huds that used to be so popular. If our eyes stay focused near the character model, having a rune timer that causes runes to be near the center when they're close to ready (the reverse of the demonstrations you gave) would be convenient and natural.

edit:
A mockup of that idea seems too complicated, but runes would start out in a rough circle around the character (or maybe a semicircle), and would jump away from the center of the screen when used. They'd drift back in, toward a light circle, which represents cooled down, and become brighter and less clear (higher alpha) when they're available, or possibly in two steps: 1.5s from available and actually available. GCD could be shown as a thin gray circle/semicircle that moves from the 1.5s marker to the 0s marker. It'd be very busy, visually - I think it would be best as a semicircle, or smaller arc even, that puts the runes all below the character model. Ordered like (FUBBUF), maybe (So that paired FU runes would tend to be from the same side).

#10 pldcanfly

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 10:18 PM

My its an idea to simply show the cooldown in following way.
Posted Image


I think Dristigs approach is really good to.

#11 Dristig

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 10:38 PM

Janraea, You mean something like this:
Posted Image

I actually like it more than I thought I would.

#12 Andread

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 10:40 PM

Well if we're doing mockups here's the UI I was thinking would be useful:

2 blood runes available
0 frost runes avail, the next one is 1/6 off colldown
1 unholy rune avail, the next is 1/6 off cooldown

Posted Image
Posted Image

#13 Dristig

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 10:43 PM

I was consider showing only three elements too but was having trouble finding a way to show double runes and Death runes when they are stacked. I like your thick border and can see how just making the rim purple could indicate death runes. hmmm, I'll have to sketch some more ideas and maybe show some mockups after I get home.

#14 Janraea

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 11:11 PM

Janraea, You mean something like this:
Posted Image

I actually like it more than I thought I would.


Yeah, that looks about right. But picture it upside-down, and probably only a 90 degree arc in the center bottom (The huds are usually arcs to the left and right). I expect I'd make the runes much smaller as well.

Is there a site helping you do that, or a free tool? Thanks for doing the work for me, but I'd be happy to mock up my own stuff ;-)

Edit:
Alternatively, just a vertical, upside-down runehero would merge pretty well with most huds - the active runes would be at the top of the chart, near the model. All I was really trying to illustrate is that 'nearness to the visual focus' is also a useful way to control visual importance.

#15 Nephthys

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 11:34 PM

These are some great ideas! Two things:

Radial setups look neat, but they make it harder to determine which of two non-adjacent runes is available next. Like in Dristig's setup, it'd be kind of hard to tell if a blood rune or a frost rune would be up next. Linear setups make this comparison trivial.

Consolidation of runes helps a lot, in my opinion (point 4 in the OP). One thing i like about SimpleRune is that the rune of a specific type with the shortest cooldown is always displayed on the top row. It basically reduces the number of elements you had to watch from six down to three. It's the addon in the top right of dr_AllCOM3's movie. Here's a picture:

Posted Image

#16 tayedaen

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 11:44 PM

What information do we want from a rune addon? In order of priority, I'd say:
1. Which runes are available NOW
2. Which runes are almost available
3. Whether the almost-available runes are available on the next GCD, or whether there's space to throw in another ability like Death Coil.
Ideally, an addon would show all this information such that point 1 is more visible than point 2, and so on.

What do we NOT need to know? What information can we throw out to make the display easier to read?
4. Whether it's the left blood rune or the right blood rune (for example) that's available.

I really recommend Runemaster.
I tested all available rune addons, and I found this to be the best for exactly these 4 reasons.
I choose the depleting bars, which gives a very nice indicator of what will be back next.

You can even see if the runes that will come up are death runes, because the cooldown bar is grey in this case.

My settings are:
["depleteStatusBars"] = true,
	["hideBlizzardRunes"] = true,
	["statusBarWidth"] = 30,
	["horizontalRunes"] = true,
	["statusBarSpace"] = 2,
	["outOfCombatAlpha"] = 25,
	["locked"] = true,
	["statusBarLength"] = 20,
	["hideCoolingRunes"] = true,
	["inCombatAlpha"] = 100,


#17 Dristig

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 11:57 PM

I tried runemaster and really just couldn't get into it. I don't know if it was the bar style or what. Maybe I just got spoiled by the pretty moving runes in Runehero.

Anyway here is another one I just did. No animation this time. I changed computers and don't have Adobe Imageready anymore. This one looks a little like a stoplight in the sketch but with game textures i don't think it would. Think of it as a compact Runehero that is center based instead of left based. If any part of a rune is inside the grey box you will clip. Since this is totally linear it should be dramatically easier to code than my pie in the sky radial ones.

Posted Image

#18 Aeryn

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 12:30 AM

I've done this so far.
Posted Image
Video: Deposit Files
You can see other addons in comparison.


Could you provide an option for a 3x2 grid (BFU/BFU) instead of a 1x6 grid? I'd find that easier to read and it would save valuable vertical screen space (consolidation of runes was the term used in this thread I think).


There's a rune mod effort going on at Deathknight.info, DKi Runemod Project. So far it offers a couple different options already, including GuitarHero style.

Personally, what I'd like to see is something like this:

- Two-row layout that functions very much like that SimpleRune one
- Make runes that aren't available almost invisible to reduce visual input
- Active runes or runes that will become active next always on top
- One GCD before a rune is available, show it at 50% opacity, then fade in to 100% visibility during the final 1 or 1.5 seconds (maybe some fancy activation effect), so when an attack misses, you'll immediately see the rune fade in from 50% to 100% during the GCD

Example mockup:

All runes active.
Posted Image
Using Obliterate, used runes hardly visible.
Posted Image
After using bloodstrike, a deathrune pops up, but hardly visible. The used frost and unholy rune have faded in a bit by now.
Posted Image
Using Obliterate again. The previously used frost and unholy runes move up to the primary row.
Posted Image
One GCD before frost/unholy rune activation
Posted Image
Frost and unholy runes from the first obliterate are available again, rest is still fading in.
Posted Image

#19 pldcanfly

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 12:34 AM

I tried runemaster and really just couldn't get into it. I don't know if it was the bar style or what. Maybe I just got spoiled by the pretty moving runes in Runehero.

Anyway here is another one I just did. No animation this time. I changed computers and don't have Adobe Imageready anymore. This one looks a little like a stoplight in the sketch but with game textures i don't think it would. Think of it as a compact Runehero that is center based instead of left based. If any part of a rune is inside the grey box you will clip. Since this is totally linear it should be dramatically easier to code than my pie in the sky radial ones.

Posted Image


I would linke to see the runes coming from one direction only, this would ligthen the question "What runes next?!". Its some sort of runehero, but but in runehero my problem was that it was way to big and the rune were ready when they were in the middle of the sword or so, so i didnt now wich rune was ready and wich one was still on its way.

#20 rhea

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 01:54 AM

This is my upcoming rune addon. I can't code LUA yet but I will if no one else does this.


Posted Image
The black on runes is at the wrong end I just noticed (yay 4AM). When you use a rune the one you use disappears.
Then it will gradually fill outwards and decrease alpha transparency at the same time.

And the bars aren't going to look just like that. See 'mooghud': http://img406.images...eenshoottp8.jpg
(quick google)




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