Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
 
LotRO Journal by mbp

Many of my readers are bloggers themselves, which is why we call this a "blogosphere", in which ideas bounce around back and forth between writers. It is often impossible to say who started a specific concept or idea. So I'm not claiming that me writing MMORPG journal entries is in any way original. One of my readers, mbp, is also running a LotRO journal. I want to quote something about a LotRO "feature" from there, because it already annoyed me, and I haven't written about it yet: "One feature that I sorely miss is the ability to adjust the size of the user interface (menus, text and icons) independently of the screen resolution. I have a 1280x1024 pixel LCD monitor and if I use a lower resolution the image seems blurred as it tries to stretch to fill the screen. Unfortunately at 1280 x 1024 the on screen interface is too small for my liking but I cannot find a way to get it bigger. I now have a choice of blurry 1024x768 or squinty 1280x1024. It is quite possible I am overlooking something here - it seems like a glaring omission to me. I imagine people with 1600x1200 LCDs must be really suffering on this one.

You might be aware that I just bought a new high-end gaming computer with a dual core processor, more RAM than necessary, and a Geforce 8800 GTS 640 MB graphics card. So given my horsepower of course I tried to get the max out of it when playing LotRO and initially turned up the resolution to 1600 x 1200. And as mbp writes it is impossible to play LotRO at that resolution, because your user-interface becomes far too tiny. You *can* increase the chat font size, but not all the other fonts (like the quest journal) and user-interface elements. So I had to compromise at 1280 x 1024 resolution, where I still can read everything, but the game isn't too low in resolution. World of Warcraft is *much* better in that respect, having a scaleable (and fully modable) user-interface.
Comments:
Yeah I think WOWs UI is better out of the box as well, but there will be interface mods, and I assume you´ll be able to download someyhing off of http://www.lotrointerface.com/

Lets hope so!
/zut
 
I noticed the Titan Addon (for WoW of course) seems to mess with the size of my UI, or at least the position of the hotkey bars, or maybe it's just on my PC. I play at 1280x1024 with the default UI (yes, the default WoW UI. Shocking, I know.) with every hotkey bar turned on. When I enable both of Titan's information bars it compresses the screen vertically by just enough that my hotkey icons in the bottom right corner overlap each other, while the hotkey icons at the top of the right hand toolbars creep up over the minimap.

Lucky WoW has the scalable UI which helps to eliminate that problem...sort of, but I eliminated it further by turning off the bottom Titan bar, which only ever had my armor durability, amount of gold, bagspace, etc. No big deal.

I've been playing the LOTRO Beta recently and I've got to say, I really like that UI. I'm playing a Minstrel and I put my Tier 1 Ballads on the default Hotkey Bar, my Tier 2 Ballads go on the Ctrl+ Hotkey Bar, and my Tier 3 Ballads go on the Alt+ Hotkey bar, which makes it very easy to string together Ballad combos.

In WoW I don't like to remap my keys too much, so I don't know how to bind keys for commonly used spells, actions, etc, so the only way (for me) to play WoW is to surround my screen with the hotkey bars, so all available spells, attacks & actions are visible and ready for use should I need them. Yeah, this makes for a somewhat cluttered screen but I'm used to it, but I still like LOTRO's UI :)
 
dunno tbh.

i am playing lotro on 1600x1200 but i thougth it scaled. i can read evrything without any problems.

well check when i'm home ;)
 
Yeah, I have the same issue. I was pleasantly surprised to discover my computer was capable of running LOTRO at 1600 x 1200 with no issues (chugging upon first entering a crowded town occurs no matter what resolution I'm on) but discovered I couldn't use the higher resolution because trying to read quests, item stats, etc., was simply too painful.

I wish they'd done what Guild Wars did, where you can scale each piece of the interface as much as you like.

It seems like a glaring omission in an otherwise polished product -- very strange.
 
hmm interesting. I found that on my friends spare PC which was in 1280x1024 the UI was too big and took up too much of my screen. On my home PC which runs at 1920 x 1200 the UI is adequate in size (though I'd like the chat fonts to have an even smaller option than "small"). So my experience is the opposite.

I agree it would be excellent to have a UI scale in LOTRO (in WoW I had mine scaled right down...guess I like small ui's!).

I personally do not beleive that a fully modable UI is a good thing. I think WoW got into a right pickle allowing mods to run rampant. Now I love my WoW mods, don't get me wrong! But I do think it was a mistake to go that far and ultimately changed the way the game was played, especially in raiding and PvP.
 
UI scaling is one of the first things supposedly coming. Along with loremaster fixes, farming fixes, performance improvements, putting the first raid in the game, finishing the economy...

We'll see if Turbine is up to the task. As much as TBC WoW has had major balance problems, Turbine's track record isn't exactly inspiring me so far.
 
In theory WoW's approach offers a lot, but in reality wow was nearly unplayable without addons from the beginning. Missing bars, no raid interface, nothing movable. Addons made Blizzard a little bit lazy. They only implemented features everyone already used.

The other problem with addons: People with addons get a great advantage. Auctioneer, KTM, the good old decursive... imo WoW would be fairer without them. And not every PC out there has enough power to play a raid + addons.

I think Guild Wars' UI has the best customisation options: Moveable, resizable and no external addons.
 
Thanks for the reference Tobold although I wouldn't get too excited about my so called lotro journal. I don't have your dedication to blogging and it is very likely to peter out soon. With regard to your monitor: Have you tried 800x600 with a high level of anti-aliasing? 1280x1024 is likely to give you graphical anomalies as extra pixels are crammed in to stretch the image to the monitor's 1600x1200. 800x600 is an exact fit - using four monitor pixels per image pixel. Using a high level of anti-aliasing will help overcome the worst effects of having a lowish pixel resolution.
 
On my home PC which runs at 1920 x 1200 the UI is adequate in size.

Yeah, what we failed to include in our discussion here is the size of your screen. You have a 24" screen, and I have an old 19" CRT screen, with just 18" of visible area. The resolution at which text becomes too small or too big depends strongly on the size of the screen. I think I'll ask Santa for 21"+ LCD wide-screen for christmas. :)

On the other hand, using a CRT screen I don't have the "native resolution" problem that mbp describes. So I'm running well enough at 1280 x 1024 with maximum graphics details and anti-aliasing. It's just sad to know that my computer supports a higher resolution than my screen.
 
i agree with the laziness of Blizzard, but on the other hand..hats off to the developers of every game.
it sux to be a pc-developer, or especially with the graphics. not everything can be scaled otherwise it just looks crap.

let's sum up ;)

2 cpu types (amd,intel)
6 different gpu's (ati,nvidea, directx 8,9,10)
12 screensizes (17-22inch, wide or not widescreen)
4 OS's (98,XP,Vista,Mac(?))
and i can go on and on...

that means 2x6x12x4 different combinations of hardware you have to cope with for one game.
not to mention the zillion of drivers, networking crap, exotic features, standard yet not implemented features etc. etc.

perhaps a bit overrated ofcourse, but you get the picture ;)
 
Dont neglect the most important component of a computer system ... the DISPLAY :)

Im at 1900x1200 and the UI is small but its perfectly readable. However I cant seem to get Ctrl-\ working to move bits around :(. My "health" bar is a loooong way from the action :O
 
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