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Sir and Gift | New GUI MockUp

Development board for ME3Explorer tools. Please try to keep discussions for each tool inside its own thread.

Which new GUI do you like the best? (see link in the OP to take you to a 3-way comparison)

Poll ended at 18 Apr 2016, 17:15

Version 1 -- the original, more basic
0
No votes
Version 2 -- the newest version with MDI, a little fancy
1
17%
Version 3 -- no MDI, much fancier, tools will all be separate programs in windows
5
83%
Version 4 -- like v3, but a test run of the sidebar in a horizontal orientation
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 6

Re: New GUI MockUp

Postby giftfish » 11 Apr 2016, 13:47

[quote="KFreon"]I've gotta stop making mock ups in code, it's consuming all my time and thinking.
I keep thinking of really cool ways to do things and make things animate and stuff.
So once we decide more on an idea, I'll dig back in.

Yeah, mock ups take a lot of time from a GIMP standpoint as, well. The one above I tinkered with for probably 5 hours. It's not a small thing to work on them, so if we can nail down a specific look right now, that would be helpful. We basically now have 3: the original and the most recent w/MDI and the one I just posted.

If we can get a consensus of which we like the best, I can start refining design more. If folks like the most recent version the best, I need to know if we want to see a horizontal version, or whether to move forward with the vertical version. Imo, vertical still works better from a design standpoint. Especially upon collapsing the main flyout area and it just turns into a narrow strip.

[quote="KFreon"]On an actual note, are we planning on allowing multiple instances of tools? Like two instances of TPFTools in the same toolset?
I ask because if so, the code is going to be a bit more painful. Not terrible, just a bit more annoying than if it was single instance.

Almost all tools right now allow this, and it's important to keep allowing it, yes. I was thinking about that last night, and it's probably one reason WV went with MDI. The problem this, is that the main toolset window was never as functional as the Windows desktop.

To elaborate, as a content mod developer, frequently you have to compare the structure of multiple files -- vanilla, modded, Leviathan-specific, for example. You also frequently need to compare the same files in multiple tools. The toolset allows both right now, but the former is a total pain in the *** due to MDI and no "snap" feature for the windows open inside the toolset. Any resizing must be done manually, Which is tedious. To combat this existing deficiency when modding, I'm always running 2-3 instances of the toolset. Usually different revs (since I think this is bad to do using the same EXE). In this way I can have two instances of PCC Ed2, Sequence Editor, Interp Viewer, open to compare files... in windows that can be managed by Windows.

So, yes, we absolutely need to allow this, but I don't see us needing to allow it for every tool. In fact, I'd say there are some tools where it should not be allowed. Texplorer, ModMaker, TPF Tools don't need this ability. Image Engine doesn't need it since it's a converter and not an actual editor. Plot Database doesn't need it. No TOCing tools need it. None of the Utilities need it. Asset Explorer couldn't take advantage of it if it wanted to, since it only shows the contents of the main Cooked.

That covers everything but the current Dev tools. Most of those we should definitely count on allowing multiple instances :)
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Re: New GUI MockUp

Postby FemShep » 11 Apr 2016, 14:29

Edit: Misread post.
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Re: New GUI MockUp

Postby CreeperLava » 11 Apr 2016, 15:06

@giftfish As I explained earlier, I often use multiple instances of Texplorer (one for each game) and Image Engine together, so I definitely need to be able to open more than one at a time.
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Re: New GUI MockUp

Postby giftfish » 11 Apr 2016, 15:18

CreeperLava wrote:@giftfish As I explained earlier, I often use multiple instances of Texplorer (one for each game) and Image Engine together, so I definitely need to be able to open more than one at a time.

Oooh. I missed that. Okie doke, well then we can include those two then, as well. Perhaps we shouldn't have combined them all into the same tool, lol. This is something to keep in mind, actually, when it comes to us thinking about combining dev tools (Package Editors, etc). Perhaps it's wiser not to. Something to think about anyway.

How about TPF Tools and ModMaker?
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Re: New GUI MockUp

Postby CreeperLava » 11 Apr 2016, 16:30

This will depend on each modder obviously, but I usually use only one instance of ModMaker (which I don't use much), and one or 2 of TPF Tools, depending on what I'm doing (I had 2 open when working on ALOT for ME2). Dual monitors were priceless for this mod, as you may imagine^^.
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Re: New GUI MockUp

Postby giftfish » 11 Apr 2016, 17:07

POLL POST

Easiest way to do this is to put up a poll, so I'm going to edit the OP to do just that. (Only thread OPs can have polls). In the poll I'll point folks to the OP, which I'll edit to include a link to this post that the top. That way folks can quickly navigate here to look at the options before voting.

Version 1
Image

Version 2
Image

Version 3

Image

Version 4
V3 but tried horizontally; no preview yet
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Re: New GUI MockUp

Postby CreeperLava » 11 Apr 2016, 19:42

I voted for v3, but as I said a bit earlier, I can't really make up my mind without trying them out. I like the colors and design of the v2 sidebar, but v3 is also quite nice. Ideally I would have v2 sidebar with v3 main window and a clearer background. Then again, that's just my opinion and other people will prefer something else. Hard choice indeed^^.
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Re: [POLL] New GUI MockUp

Postby FemShep » 11 Apr 2016, 22:19

I like v3 but I am unsure if the design in gimp will be close to what you can get with WPF. This kind of looks like a metro app, with the font and thinness of the design. I don't think the settings in the right need to be open, maybe a bar on the right you expand like in visual studio.

Without MDI does each new tool have a new taskbar icon? Or is it a sub-window of the original process (one taskbar icon to rule them all)?
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Re: [POLL] New GUI MockUp

Postby giftfish » 12 Apr 2016, 15:25

Okay, Version 3 it is. I doubt we'll get many more votes, so I'll move forward with that.

Next mock up will have the interface of the CIC panel tightend up more, show the task pane expanded, and show one of the main tool panels expanded :)
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Re: [POLL] New GUI MockUp

Postby giftfish » 13 May 2016, 15:40

FINAL MOCK-UP

We now have a pseudo-final version of the new GUI.

I've got several panels below, which Sir will be using to begin the redesign. Please refrain from further suggestions on all features but the Task Pane, as these features have already been discussed and it's time to get this redesign moving. For the task pane, this is the first version of that particular feature with this new GUI, so all feedback is welcome.

It's important that Content Modders, especially, chime in on features for the new Task Pane. While other folks may use it, it's really meant for modders who are actively using lots of tools concurrently -- and that's mostly content modders. This feature of the toolset is really for you, so, please, let us know what you want to see :D

In this final version of the redesign, there are 3 panels to the toolset. No matter which menu you are in, the same design is present across all:

  • Sidebar
  • Main Panel
  • Infopanel

I summarize all major changes below, but there have also been a lot of minor changes, such as overall tightening up with the design as far as colors, spacing, sizes, etc.

SIDEBAR

Spoiler:
Image

Changes from previous version:
  • Sidebar is 150x450px in size. Short of minimizing the toolset completely, this is the smallest it can appear on screen.
  • Utilities category has been relocated. These tools are lesser-used (and will be highly overhauled in the future), and don't really need to take up space on the side bar, which allows it to be more compact.
  • The new Info symbol leads to the existing "About" credits.
  • The new bug symbol opens the Debug window.

MAIN PANEL (CIC)
This how the toolset will always look when first opened. It's the "headquarters", or the "CIC":

Spoiler:
Image

Changes from previous version:

  • The main panel is 650x450px in size.
  • It can be collapsed into the sidebar by clicking the toolset logo. When the CIC version of the main panel is open, the logo will display the flare.
  • Tool icons are now used for the Favorites, as it allows for many more tools to fit. We can set the max at 14, or insert arrows (which I have, just to see), and allow folks to favorite more.
  • Icons are by default at about 75% opacity, allowing them to go to 100% when hovered over. Along with this, an aqua line appears underneath.
  • Tools that have different versions for each game, will get new icons.
  • Utilities have been relocated here, clarifying that they do not edit game files. They are utilities.
  • The Settings area has been greatly reduced to Game Paths and Advanced. Since the Taskbar is now the Task Panel and by default "optional", there is no reason to retain it. The Language option has recently be removed. I do expect we will add more, burying most in "Advanced" as an indication that the typical user does not need to mess with them. Game Paths are another story. Those will stay separate.

INFOPANEL (CIC)

Spoiler:
Image

Changes from previous version:

  • The Infopanel above is 300x450px in size. The width may or may not fluctuate with that needs to be displayed; we'll know more once Sir starting coding.
  • Within the CIC, About/Credits, Search, and Advanced Settings are all displayed here.
  • I'm not happy with the option I came up with for controlling Cores; aesthetically it doesn't work, so consider it a placeholder just to convey the idea. The "info" icon there will stay, however, and will contain a tooltip that explains why you might want to change the threading and state the recommended setting.
I know folks also wanted to see how the Search Bar would work, so here's an example of that:

Spoiler:
Image

Basic concept with Search is that we'll assign tags to each tool manually, and when the user's term matches, it will show the relevant tools. I don't expect it will be used much -- maybe by novices.

INSTALL MODS MENU (MAIN PANEL + INFOPANEL)
Mocking up the Create Mods section would take a lot of time, so I went the easy route with Install Mods. They will look essentially identical.

Spoiler:
Image

Changes from previous version:

  • Now that we're no longer in the CIC, the lens flare is removed from the main logo, and the Install Mods main menu icon/text are highlighted in aqua.
  • Tool Category names act as headers above the horizontal line dividers. In the case of "Create Mods", there will be more categories than can be displayed at once. A triple dot at the bottom will indicate to the user that they should scroll.
  • Upon scrolling over a tool an infopanel populates information on the left. Think of it as a slightly more elaborate tooltip that contains basic information about the tool. We may also create a weblink via the tool name that leads to the relevant article on the wiki.
  • This particular infopanel will be most useful for novices or infrequent users. Therefore, we'll probably provide an option to disable it in the Advanced Settings.

TASK PANE (MAIN PANEL + INFOPANEL)
There were several goals for the new Task Pane:

  • Retain the 3-panel design
  • Provide some features that create an advantage over Windows default manager
  • Allow the modder to more easily see differences between files with duplicate names, as far as directory location
  • Show screenshots of the file being edited to also help differentiate when multiple files are open in different instances of the same tools

Here's what we have:

Spoiler:
Image

  • The main area contains the tool icon, name, game it's being used for, and file that's open in the tool.
  • Triple dot at the bottom indicates the user should scroll, as more tools are open to visualize.
  • Arrowing/scrolling over a tool will make it's icon more opaque and trigger the information in the infopanel flyout.
  • The infopanel flyout contains a screenshot of the tool's window, the file name, the directory (up to 5 folders), and the last time the file was saved. The file name is partially redundant, but I can see folks arrowing through the list in the main panel, and focusing solely on the information in the infopanel, so I wanted the file names in both places.
  • For added usability, the infopanel has options to Save the selected file(s) or to Close it/them. I'd also like us to implement some type of Shift+Click for a Save/Close All, as well.
    -- Certain tools like AutoTOC don't have a "file". For these, I've used "Instance". For K's tools, we'll need to be able to detect what "Game Mode" they are in.
Something else Sir and I just started talking about was including a way to tell when the same file is being used by certain tools. This would be a large advantage for content modders who tend to have the same file open in a half-dozen tools at a time. We'll see how it goes :]

At any rate, I have some documentation to draw up for Sir, and I expect things will start moving along relatively soon. Looks like we'll be doing this on a separate "feature branch", to ensure changes can still be pushed to the beta branch without problems :)

Thanks for all the feedback on this, everyone. I think the end result is looking pretty great :D
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