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Draconi on Facebook:- UO Essay: Form Follows Function

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9 replies to this topic

#1
Tabbitha

Tabbitha

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When we shipped the original Kingdom Reborn client it featured a completely redone map. There was a new waypoint system, icons for locations, and an overhauled look and feel. In fact, you could say the "new look" was more of a "ye olde looke" straight out of the Age of Discovery. A yellowed parchment with faded colors, crinkled edges – far more realistic as a "map" than the old UO way of doing things.

Unlike the 15th century Europeans, however, our own explorers quickly discovered that this absolutely gorgeous remake of our old map was mostly useless. In fact, the parchment version essentially diluted the critical detail that the Legacy client offered, combining large swaths of terrain into abstract blotches of mute hues, rendering distant obstacles and paths invisible.

So much time was spent on the new look and new functionality that when we finally shipped KR, well, the map wasn't even as functional as the Legacy version.

Where the older client would overlay player houses and other objects on top of the map, the KR version couldn't. Then again, it would've looked horrible for the housing art to be dropped atop the beautiful hand-drawn look of the map, so it became a cut feature, amongst several others.

For Stygian Abyss, we approached it from the opposite direction. Much of the unnecessary fluff was pulled out, and we replaced the map with the same kind you'd expect in Legacy – a full bird’s eye view of what's actually in the game, and redesigned the look of the map around how it should be used.

Our lesson learned was that in KR, we tried to make the functionality match the new look (often by cutting features), without success. In SA, we’ve done the opposite, letting the form follow the actual functions the players need.

Thankfully, the engineers have pulled off miracles to get this done, delivering a map system for SA that's actually a complement and improvement over the old one. The artists, too, integrated the result beautifully into the UI. Now it works like Legacy, but has a full Atlas mode (finally giving our players a way to see the whole map without using a 3rd party app). It's even rotated correctly (at a tilt) by default!

Some might miss the parchment look and feel of the KR version - that's understandable. Yet given the choice between the Google Maps of UO, versus a pretty piece of parchment, we wanted to err on the side of giving players more freedom.



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Legacy Radar Map


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KR Atlas Map

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SA Atlas Map


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SA Radar Map

#2
Magister_Returns

Magister_Returns

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This is fantastic. I can't wait for the new client.!

~M

#3
Silverfoot

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WOW, I'm impressed! The KR map was the pits (coming from a UO Auto-Map junkie)

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
"Send lawyers, guns and money
The crap has hit the fan
!"


#4
sablestorm

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What caught my eye was seeing the elevations portrayed in the SA Atlas map. Those sorts of small details are things we might not notice while running around in-game, but looking at it from an atlas map, us roleplayers could draw upon such details to expand our writing. I never really noticed that Old Haven was sheltered by hills which ringed the coast.

#5
Adam

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Much better than the KR map, imo.

#6
Merion

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Looks great! And even better: it seems that this time the managed to take the best of both worlds - the clearness of 2d and the incredibly useful KR waypoint and highlighting system.

#7
Laeo

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I am starting to really looking forward to the SA client. And this comes from a hardcore defendant of the 2D client :)

#8
CescoAiel

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    Sir Lir, Ex-UO gamer "Sé do Beatha, mo chara"

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W0000t! Me like! Me getting happier as more is disclosed!

*Crosses fingers and hopes he gets in to the beta... If the devs read this: Pick me! I can test it on several systems, including CXgames on MacOSX (yes, UO:KR runs in that!) and VMware Fusion* ;)
BD Sig New

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Cú Chulainn- Paladin - Avatars of Virtue


#9
Kitsune

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What an improvement! Thanks to the Devs.

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]


#10
Tancred RedStar

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This is my sentiment exactly. I didn't care much for KR but I'm willing to give the SA client a fresh and honest chance.

I am starting to really looking forward to the SA client. And this comes from a hardcore defendant of the 2D client :)







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