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[NEWS]UOEssay: Form Follows Function

Discussion in 'UO Atlantic' started by Cear Dallben Dragon, May 7, 2009.

  1. Cear Dallben Dragon

    Cear Dallben Dragon Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

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    Form Follows Function



    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.

    [​IMG]
    Legacy Radar

    [​IMG]
    KR Atlass

    [​IMG]
    SA Atlass

    [​IMG]
    SA Radar
     
  2. Lady Aalia

    Lady Aalia Atlantic's Finest
    Stratics Veteran Alumni

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    Love the SA Atlans looks allmost like Auto Map

    :danceb::danceb::danceb: