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Friday, July 26, 2013

Runescape 3 Screen Layouts - Pretty or Practical?

This layout looked cool but wasn't practical
In spite of it's many bugs, I'm still enjoying Runescape 3.  The whole New Interface System is a blast.  Monique mainly keeps to a traditional layout, with some tweaks.  For myself, I'm an incorrigible tinkerer.  Playing with the screen layout is nearly as much fun as playing the game.  In some cases, maybe more so.

My favorite layout, until now, has been a horizontal control console at the base of the screen.  Visually, it's very appealing.  After a few days though, I realized it's not very practical.  Having the gamescreen very short in height and very long in width leads to some interesting situations.  I can click very far away left or right, but up/down (or North/South, if you prefer) is extremely limited.  That didn't bother me the first couple of days, because I wasn't doing much combat.  On day 3, Jagex finally fixed Sinkholes, which had not been re-setting.  Now we're doing Sinkholes again, the problems with my design become obvious.

My minimap is pretty large, which works great in skilling and running around Runescape.  In the Sinkhole, it's confusing.  You see the entire dungeon, and it's difficult to find your location at a glance.  I lost a lot of time trying to figure out where I was and where I needed to go.  Another big problem was the way all the controls were spread across the entire width of the monitor.  Moving the mouse from one control to another took too much time and attention.  Between both issues, it was the worst Sinkhole I've ever run.  Very annoying, and by the time it was done, I was pretty grumpy.

One other problem... I still hadn't customized my keybinds.  The action bar just feels more comfortable using the 'asdfgh' and 'qwerty' keys, which is where they WERE until RS3 wiped my settings.  That was actually okay, since there were so many other keys that can be customized.  So after the Sinkhole was over, the first step was to change the keybinds.  (I'll post more about keybinds next time.)

Next, redesign time.  All the control windows got stacked on the right edge of the screen.  At the top was the settings bar.  It's out of the way, and I'm not likely to hit it by accident.  Next is the chat window.  It went high out of the way, because I don't play socially.  Mostly it gets ignored.
Much better layout- my new favorite!
The Mini-map is a whole 'nother story... It gets a pretty big chunk of real estate, because I very much enjoy one-clicking destinations.  Lodestone to Al Kharid, and it's one-click to get to the Cactus patch, the bank, or the Gnome Glider.  Standing at the GE, it's one-click to the fairy ring.  On Karamja, it's one click from my Spirit Tree to the Palm Tree.  Then one-click to Del Monti.  Then one-click back to the tree.  I could go on.  The point is, my daily run includes harvesting coconuts, morchelli mushrooms, and running around in general.  A large minimap is just amazing. Big thumbs up for the minimap.

Putting the minimap centrally on my 'control wall' makes it easy to go back and forth, from 3-d gamescreen to minimap and back.  It's also very easy to click on the Home Teleport.  Getting around in the world is the most important part of my play-style.

Next, and very close to the bottom, is the backpack, equipped items, prayers, and some random tabs.  It's large enough not to have to scroll, near the bottom for easy access.  This is an important window, and I can reach it easily just under the mini-map.

Lastly is the action bar.  Bottom right corner.  I placed it here strictly to be in line with the vertical design of the screen.  I like the long form of the bar, even though it sticks out from my nice even setup.  It's bearable there.  To be honest, I'd rather have put it above the backpack and below the mini-map, but that would have looked seriously odd poking out in the middle of the screen.  Wish we could resize the action bar as freely as we can the rest of the screen.

Once all that was done, and I'd decided how wide to make the windows, all that was left was to edit the 3-d window placement.  Now I have the perfect Runescape game interface, and will never need to change it again...  Until next time.   :^D

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