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Research: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

Research: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

Postby Quentin » 12. Jun 2015, 10:22

The Nox spellbar seems quite outdated.
Modern games don't make you scroll through 5 bars to find a spell.
But then again most of them don't have as many spells as a Nox.

Either way: the spellbar has to be more modern.

- Custom hotkeys are mandatory

Todo:
- research how other games implement spellbars.


Interesting to note: the Nox spell system was intented to be quite different:

The game was originally intended to be played with a gamepad, with spells cast by quickly pressing several buttons, inspired by Mortal Kombat's combos, but it was eventually deemed to be "a large barrier for new and less dexterous players" and replaced with numeric hotkeys and mouse-controlled movement. The leftovers of this system are, however, still seen in the released game in the form of syllables and hand gesture icons accompanying the casting of each spell.


Funny thing is, this sounds quite alot like the magicka spell system. But i don't think Nox developers intended to use several elements to cast the spells.


Pros: higher mechanical skill ceiling

Cons: way higher skill floor
Last edited by Quentin on 18. Jun 2015, 20:36, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Discussion: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

Postby Drakano » 16. Jun 2015, 18:47

It should be a system where you can use more than 25 spells + different Spell-Sets. Like one against each class.

The Magicka-System:
Its a way slower then the Nox-System, because you have to hit 3-4 buttons for 1 spell.
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Re: Discussion: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

Postby Quentin » 19. Jun 2015, 00:27

Yeah, but in Nox you also have to hit several buttons for 1 spell if it's not in the first bar.
Spellbar 3 needs 3 buttons. And you also have to press 2 buttons to get back to the first bar.

Idk, i think the Nox bar system isn't very noob friendly for a modern game title. There must something simpler and more effective.
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Re: Discussion: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

Postby Drakano » 19. Jun 2015, 11:09

The other extensive Hotkey-System I know is the one MMO's use.
There I use all buttons around esdf (movement) --> qaw345rtgvcxy + same again with Alt-Key.
Thats 13*2 = 26 hotkeys. This isn't a considerable number and its sometime a bit awkward (Atl + Y).
Aaand we don't need Movement-Keys. ^^

Its just that you can't reach enough Keys with just one Hand to have 1Key=1Spell. So it would be Optimal if 2Keys is the limit. Maybe something like a two digits numblock code where the skill automatically release after a possible combination.
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Re: Discussion: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

Postby Quentin » 1. Nov 2018, 01:44

Maybe have like three different 7-10 slot spellsets: attack, defense, utility. Select each spellset with a hotkey. Could be quite fast but not exactly noob friendly. I haven't come across a good system for 30+spells in any other game afaik.

I'll just start with one big-ass spellset which can be bound to hotkeys. Magicka system is too slow so it's out.
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Re: Discussion: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

Postby Quentin » 22. Dec 2018, 14:50

Just tested Magicka and Battlerite to get some inspiration.

Magicka: the game is slow as fuck but not necessarily because of the spellbar. Reasons:
- slow movement
- additional movement slowdown during skill usage
- no auto release of spells
- almost no instant spells but channeled ones

The problem with the spell system is that it's extremely hard to learn. Until you master it it's unpredictable. It kind of works because Magicka is a slow game. In Nox this system would increase the skill needed by 1000 times and be extremely frustrating.

Battlerite: uses wasd movement and q, e, r, f, space, (+mouse buttons) for spells.
- Only works because the amount of skills is extremely limited.
- You can't really use any other buttons than those four (+space). The number bar is already too far away to not conflict with wasd movement.

For testing i implemented wasd movement with mouse aiming in Glaurung. Being able to run backwards while still aiming forwards is quite different gameplay but it feels pretty good actually. I can't really see how to make it compatible with 30+ spells in a sane way though.

My thoughts on spellbars currently:
- I really don't like to rely on mousewheel scroll. Most mousewheels suck. It works of you got an excellent one but most are not precise enough. Even my $150 logitech gpro wheel sucks. So it will be designed around the keyboard.

- I would like to implement some kind of combo system. A visual representation matching the pressed spells would be nice, Instead of hand gestures it could be a system based on runes. For a combo system the spellbar needs to reset after every spell.

- In terms of gameplay it makes the most sense to have the most used spells as 1-key, common ones could be 2-key and a few heavy spells could even be a 3-key combo.

- Keyboard wise it is highly desirable to keep it to ASDFQWER. Numbar 1-5 really adds too many buttons into the mix.

Combo vs. spellbar system: The advantage of a combo system is that you don't need to keep track in which spellbar you are currently in. The disadvantage is that you don't have 1-key spells while in a certain spellbar.

1a) Nox enhanced: 5 spellbars but increased in size (8 instead of 5 slots)
Q W E R
A S D F
Select the spellbars with 1-5. Allows for 40 spells.
Disadvantage: a lot of buttons to cover with one hand

1b) Nox: ASDFG for slots and QWERT to select the spellbars
Advantage: less buttons to press
Disadvantage: only 25 spells possible

2) 2-key combo style: QWERASDF. The first press on the button selects a spellset. The second press casts the spell.
Advantage: Allows for 64 spells. No need to reach for 1-5 to select spellsets. Blends in with a visual casting combo system.
Disadvantage: no 1-key spells, every spell is a 2-key spell.

3) Shift combo style: eight 1-key spells on ASDFQWER but you can press shift to enter combo mode. While in combo mode the spellbar behaves like 2) 2-key combo style. 8 + 64 = 72 spells possible.
Advantage: beginners could play without combo mode. 8 spells is enough to play a very basic style.
Disadvantage: You have to press shift all the time. For experienced players a "every spell is 2-key"-system could actually be less of a hassle.

4) Hybrid combo style: four 1-key spells on ASDF and the QWER buttons bring you into an 8-slot ASDFQWER spellset.
Advantage: four 1-key spells (or five if G is also used), really useful for fast spells like teleport to target.
Advantage: all other spells are true 2-key spells without shift.
Neutral: 4+32 = 36 spells possible or more if 3-key combos were allowed but that could get confusing very quickly (Magicka problem).

5) Manual reset spellset style: like 2) or 4) but don't reset the spellset after casting a spell.
Advantage: you can stay in a spellbar, 64 spells possible and limited to QWERASDF
Disadvantage: requires an extra button to reset the spellset to neutral (shift or space probably) and switch between spellsets needs 2 button presses (reset and select). I guess it won't feel very natural because of the 2 buttons needed to change the spellset. That needs some testing.


Addition: Magicka 2 uses 1-4 for additional quick-spells to the QWERASDF layout.
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