• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Filthy Rich Clients: Couple of questions

 
Gavin Tranter
Ranch Hand
Posts: 333
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
First the dumb one, how applicable is the technical substance of the book to making UI's for games?
I mean from one angle a game is just another application, but then a game UI would need to be light weight and very fast, si swing even suitable?

Rich UI's seem to be all the rage, but I wonder, if the cycles used to display the rich UI are actual worth it, and would not be better spent on processing actual data. I look and Windows Vista, and to a lesser extent XP (I always turn the duplo brick UI off on XP) and Mac OS X, and they have all these graphical gimics that make the UI more intresting to look at, but are they really worth the effort and processor cost? Are menu effect actual useful? I just want my drop down to appear (with ALL menu options).

On the other hand I always enjoied interacting with products by MetaCreations, KPT, Byrce etc. They had well thought out UI's.

Should we not be learning how to struture our UI's before we "pimp" them?

(ok it was more then a couple )

G
 
Romain Guy
author
Ranch Hand
Posts: 47
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
First the dumb one, how applicable is the technical substance of the book to making UI's for games?


Very applicable Many of the effects I talk about in the book were first inspired by video games. I actually often made a connection to video games in various articles on my blog (http://www.curious-creature.org).

I mean from one angle a game is just another application, but then a game UI would need to be light weight and very fast, si swing even suitable?


It depends on which part of the UI you are talking about. In the game itself, sure. In the menus, there's no problem. I have seen a few games on the web based on Swing and Java 2D and it seems to work really well.

Note: I once worked for Atari and created the UI and menus for a video game we shipped on GameBoy Advance ;-)

Rich UI's seem to be all the rage, but I wonder, if the cycles used to display the rich UI are actual worth it, and would not be better spent on processing actual data.


It depends on how much data you have to process. When I look at the CPU usage on my two laptops, it rarely exceeds a few percent (those percents are usually taken by multimedia apps to play music and video.) Let me ask you the question the other way around: is it worth having those very powerful CPUs and use only a few percent of their capacities?

A UI is always a tradeoff. I am convinced UIs need to be rich and interactive and pleasing BUT not at the detriment of the actual data processing and not at the detriment of user interaction. Yet, I would sometimes rather sacrifice a bit of data processing performance to improve the UI. For instance, any application that shows a progress bar is wasting quite a bit of CPU time. Without the progress bar, the operation would go faster. But the user would be at loss about what's going on.

are they really worth the effort and processor cost? Are menu effect actual useful? I just want my drop down to appear (with ALL menu options).


Again, it depends on how it's done. On Windows XP and Vista I disable most of the visual effects. For instance, the menu effects on Windows XP are just way too long. However, I keep all the visual effects enabled on Mac OS X. Why? Because they don't get in my way. On Vista I hate the fade/grow effect when a window shows up/disappears, because it is way too long. Would it last 100 or even 50ms less, I would love it!

Should we not be learning how to struture our UI's before we "pimp" them?


Yes, definitely yes.
 
Maneesh Godbole
Bartender
Posts: 11445
18
Android Eclipse IDE Google Web Toolkit Java Mac Ubuntu
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Originally posted by Gavin Tranter:
Should we not be learning how to struture our UI's before we "pimp" them?


G


My 2 cents:
Structuring of the UI has nothing to do with rich clients. It has more to do with usability. Usability would define what kind of menus to have (menu bar or popup), the kind of grouping in menus, accelerators, mnemonics and similar stuff. So usability would be the "what" part and rich UI would be the "how" part.
 
Romain Guy
author
Ranch Hand
Posts: 47
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Visual elements are also important to usability: contrasts, colors, spacing, etc.
 
Gavin Tranter
Ranch Hand
Posts: 333
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for your response, they are very constriuctive, I was already intrested in the book, but now more so (I saw it mentioned on the sun java site i believe).

I was thinking more about in game menu systems then external menus. Ah Atari, now that brings back memories..

I guess that is a good question, it is a shame not to use the power processor, and I agree with the need for progress bars. It is frustrating to know if an application is doing something or not.

Although I feel windows needs to addres its progress bars.
 
Romain Guy
author
Ranch Hand
Posts: 47
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Games also have the advantage of being able to use all of the compuer's resources without the user complaining
 
Gavin Tranter
Ranch Hand
Posts: 333
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
very true
 
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!