HUDless UI

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Back to Mechanics.

Visuals

  • Fluid visual design without visible borders.
  • Text layered popups in coded colors by type, e.g. action alerts, area chat, group chat.
  • Fading effects for text and buttons.
  • Chat text appears from the direction of the sending player.
  • Text scale depends on relevancy and immediacy.


  • Integrated gauges (e.g. HP) display only when changed.
  • Indicate gauges with player emotes, blood shed, or reddening of the cursor (mouse), which flashes in critical state.


  • Action buttons pop up into display accordingly to context.
  • Buttons surrounds the target.
  • Actions that are more often in use have larger buttons with more opacity.
  • When there are too many actions to display, an extra action button will appear as a plus (+) button. It opens an extra actions menu of buttons.
  • Actions that are rarely used will eventually disappear into the extra actions menu.
  • Target include: Players, NPC's, Objects (Anvil, Door), Items (Sword, Shoe), Self and Areas (Sky, Forest.)
  • Depending on ability and skill, different buttons may appear over tools of a trade. E.g. An anvil may display a basic set of options for a new smith, and an advanced set of options for a veteran smith.
  • Buttons may gray out when an action is not available due to lack of materials or conditions.
  • Buttons symbolizing relevant conditions or materials popup around a dependent button that is selected, in order to display its' requirements.
  • Action include: Abilities, Skills, Special Moves, Spells, Resistances & Defenses and Knowledge Specialization.
  • All actions are measured in general levels: Unfamiliar -> Novice -> Expert -> Master.
  • Pop up buttons may be hidden by pressing Escape or by moving the cursor away from the target.


  • Maps are accessed by default with Alt + M.
  • Maps are displayed in the center of the screen.
  • Maps are displayed with partial opacity, which is adjustable by dragging an Eye button.
  • Using the CTRL key, locations on the map may be selected and accessed.


  • The popularity Ranking of a target is displayed by pressing Alt + R when the cursor is over a target, or manually by writing the target's name.


  • Quests are displayed as marker buttons over the sending characters.
  • A quest that aligns better with the player will blink more rapidly, to draw attention.
  • A quest's difficulty level for the player is color coded from Easy to Impossible: Green -> Yellow -> Orange -> Red.
  • The difficulty level for a quest is measured by the necessary skill levels and previous experience record with quests of the player.
  • If the gain from a quest is insignificant to the player, either having an already familiar reward, or gaining little experience or no skills from it, then even an easy quest will be marked as irrelevant to the player.
  • The requirements for a quest, either items or skills and abilities, are displayed as pop up buttons around the quest marker, when selected.
  • If a quest is under a specific category, e.g. combat, knowledge, social, then its' marker will be outlined accordingly.


  • Characters, NPC's and Creatures are outlined according to alignment towards the player by color codes for friendlies, dangerous, family and hazardous.
  • The thickness of the outline varies accordingly to the danger felt, with a thicker line representing more suspicion and fear.


  • Council mode organizes the faces of a group of players on screen for closed group conversation. Text is displayed together with its' player's face, and each player get a different text color.
  • In council mode, a simple tactical display is available, to decide or roles during activities.


  • Notable experience gains are marked with target originating light flashes. A single flash occurs when, for example a target is responsible for giving the player a large amount of experience, for a successful action.
  • Color coding helps identify the relevant ability or skill related to the experience gain. A dying enemy may flash in red, while a modification action on an item may flash in orange.
  • Experience is only counted towards which ability or skills is being used.
  • Action repetition reduces the amount of experience gain drastically. In practice, a player must vary his activities and use of abilities and skills, in order to have efficient experience gain.
  • Further experience gains may be limited by requirements other than variation, e.g. a Master warrior may have to further those under his command, in order to open new options for himself as a warrior.

Some actions are rather casual, which means that real-life fatigue can be avoided, by making grinding impossible.


  • Loss in experience, ability, skill or item is displayed as a fading black outline around the player's character.
  • The more loss occurs, the thicker and slower to disappear the outline.
  • For temporary losses, such as debuffers in battle, time-counting clock buttons appear over the character. Those are gone once they complete a full circle, either in rotation or in color filling.


  • For new players still not used to the color codes, there is an option to display event titles on screen as small fading text.


  • Bulletin Boards (Forums) are available in-game as well as on browser. These may only be displayed from safe areas.
  • The World Chat, unlike the Area Chat or the Private Chat, is available both in-game and from IRC (or browser with IRC.)


  • Detailed descriptions are accessible by holding Shift and selecting a target.
  • Descriptions are displayed to the side of the screen in partial opacity.
  • A scaled display of the target is included in the description display.
  • A description includes the Title, Short Description, Extra (Target Specific) Description and other attributes relevant to the target.
  • Not all targets must have a description, at all.
  • Knowledge abilities and skills affect the description display offered to the player.
  • Knowledge skills may identify unknown species and objects, and even allow the player to officially offer description of the target, for all to see.


  • An animated and live face of the player's character is displayed on screen, by default in the top left corner.
  • The face displays emotions, such as fear, anger or joy, and even simply being preoccupied.
  • The character's state and AI is visible only through their face, and is an important visual to pay attention to.

An angry character may be inclined to attack weaker enemies, even if no reward is offered. A hungry character will buy and consume food wherever available. A tired character will seek rest whenever possible.


Commands

  • All commands are displayed as action buttons attached to their target.
  • Buttons differ by image, color, scale, rotation, shape and animation.
  • Button animations include bounce, rotation, coloring and scaling. Also, timer buttons display either a counting clock or a fill up animation.


  • Action timing and maneuverability is key to the action buttons design.
  • Similar actions may group, such as aggressive versus defensive actions.
  • Less used actions gradually fade, until they are moved into the extra actions menu.
  • Unavailable but commonly used actions are grayed out and moved away from the target, until available once more. E.g. lack of energy to activate an attack.
  • Buttons change placement according to need. For example, an injured player will have defensive actions given focus.
  • Timing critical actions, that are identified from previous experience, may glow when they should be used.
  • Buttons can be sorted by holding the CTRL and SHIFT keys.
  • Buttons can be dragged in order to create new groups. Dragging with CTRL changes the focus given to the action, while dragging with SHIFT regroups them.


  • Long distance and location specific movement is object oriented.
  • Selecting a previously visited location on map lets the player go there.
  • Selecting an area edge on the map lets the player go there.

When the default route must be avoided, then the player must jump between shorter distances in this manner.

  • Teleportation, when not available as a skill or item bonus, remains to be a social option requiring the player to find someone to assist him.


  • Creatures and NPC's can be controlled using action buttons.
  • In the case of recognized use patterns, the buttons will shift after each selection. For example, after mounting a flying beast, the following action button to be highlighted will be the Soar action.


  • An in-depth view of the Ranking system is only accessible in safe areas.
  • All items, objects, creatures, NPC's, players and areas can be rated in the Ranking system.
  • A target is rated by selecting a thumb-up or thumb-down button.
  • A target's Rank is measured by it's ration of thumbs-up to thumbs-down ratio.
  • Ranks can be sorted by ratio, thumbs-up, thumbs-down and categories.


  • Looted items can be remember for future automatic looting by looting with the CTRL key pressed.
  • Items can be removed from looting memory, by selecting the item, regardless of it's location, while holding CTRL.
  • Item classes, such as Jewelry, can be selected for looting by looting with the SHIFT key pressed.
  • Some preferences are learned by the player character. When a pattern is established, the character will try to repeat it by default, unless stopped by the player or other means. For example, if the player tends to sit in the same place in a specific tavern, then the character may go sit in that place without being told to do so.
  • Player character AI actions always happen after a short delay and are marked by a slight blurring of the character area on screen.
  • During AI actions, the blur around the player character is more defined.
  • AI actions can be stopped by pressing the Escape key or by sending another command.
  • In case of unwanted repetition, AI actions in their entirety or by selection may be disabled. They can always be enabled again.
  • An advanced player will have the option to set up manually configured automatic actions for his character.

While controlling a living character may seem tedious, it is without doubt an important aspect of the design of player characters in virtual worlds. When used correctly, it makes the game flow better.
"Botting" characters for personal gain is impossible, due to the inherent limit of the automatic actions system. Using a varied array of actions requires a flexible action pattern that cannot be recognized by the system.