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Research: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

PostPosted: 12. Jun 2015, 10:22
by Quentin
The Nox spellbar seems quite outdated.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

- 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 a lot 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

Re: Discussion: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

PostPosted: 16. Jun 2015, 18:47
by Drakano
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.

Re: Discussion: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

PostPosted: 19. Jun 2015, 00:27
by Quentin
Yeah, but in Nox you also have to hit several buttons for 1 spell if it's not in the first bar.
Casting a spell in 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.

Re: Discussion: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

PostPosted: 19. Jun 2015, 11:09
by Drakano
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.

Re: Discussion: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

PostPosted: 1. Nov 2018, 01:44
by Quentin
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.

Re: Discussion: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

PostPosted: 22. Dec 2018, 14:50
by Quentin
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 spell casting
- no auto release of casted 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. I didn't test much but i fear the gameplay implications may be too strong (backpedaling gameplay is not fun). I also can't really see how to make it compatible with 30+ spells in a sane way.

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 visual combo system. Instead of Nox hand gestures it could be a system based on runes. For a combo system the spellbar needs to reset to default 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)
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 would 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).
Disadvantage: weird hybrid system, not straight forward

5) Manual reset spellset style: like 2) 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.

Most recent idea:
6) Shortcut-Magicka: Spells are cast using key combos like in magicka. The clou is that you can shortcut every spell to QWERASDF. You can still cast every spell in combat but they are initated with with 1-5.
Advantage: 8 spells are instant-castable, unlimited spells, fits with the combo system.
Disadvantage: Only 8 spells are instantly castable. It's too few. Every other spell is slow to cast.

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

Re: Research: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

PostPosted: 26. Jun 2020, 00:41
by Quentin
Still thinking about it. Added 6) Magicka with shortcuts.
Requirements i have for the Spell-System:

1) Accessibility
2) Must hold a large amount of spells
3) Fits with the visual combo system (nox-like hand signs)

So far i can't think of a system which can do all three.
Maybe a system holding 20-30 spells would be ok, it creates diverse builds which is not bad.

Re: Research: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

PostPosted: 30. Jun 2020, 00:38
by superjack
I would still pay for a legacy nox spellbars system implemented tho

Re: Research: Spellbar-Hotkey-System

PostPosted: 1. Jul 2020, 13:10
by Quentin
I'm not motivated by money sorry :P
Are you using qer or mouse wheel to switch spellbars? If it's just about muscle memory don't worry, it will only take you a few hours to get used to the current spellbar.

I'm not sure if i want to implement multiple spellbars, but i'm open to try out other methods. The main difference between the bars effect on the gameplay is the spell capacity. Just lets say the game has 60 useful spells but you can only cast 25, that means you end up with different wizard builds. That might not be all bad or even fun, but it's a huge gameplay different to Nox where you can fit almost every useful spell in the bar.