Building Tool Usability (Landmark)

Blog from Jake Sones, Building & UI Lead

We’ve got these crazy powerful tools and (just as we had hoped) you guys have been making INSANELY awesome things with them! We’re really happy with the ability that the tools give you, but we’re not so happy with the usability that some of the tools subject you to. Right now we’re working on addressing a pair of issues that we think we’ve solved with one elegant solution. Some of the things that have frustrated us in building are attempting to precisely place a large object and placing any object with an offset. You can never seem to get them in the right spot!

The problem in both these situations is two-fold. Firstly, a slight mouse movement can have a huge impact on the placement spot. Secondly, you can only see what you’re placing from one angle, which makes it difficult to tell where it actually is in 3D space.

The solution seems obvious once you realize that we’ve already solved it with props. It just takes one small conceptual change. When you place a prop, you can go back and move it around afterwards, when you’re changing voxels that’s not an option. We can MAKE it an option. Instead of doing whatever action you would normally do by clicking (with any voxel affecting tool aside from the line tool), if you hold SHIFT while you click, you’ll release the translucent volume that was previously attached to your cursor. The volume will sit in the world where you left it and have all the controls that props currently do when you decide to change their placement. Then you can freely move your character around, drag the volume into the exact position you want, make sure everything is perfect, and when you’re ready, click a UI element to commit that action. Internally we’ve been calling this “tweak mode” but we’re not really feeling that. Do you have a better name?
EverQuest Next

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