Design Process

The Problem Statements

Statement 1

Create organization options, so players don't have to spend long periods of time organizing.

Statement 2

Simplify the Inventory System, so players don't feel the need to mod to play.

Statement 3

Modernize the Inventory System, so players feel that the game is current.

Research

  • Inventory Tweaks (mod) - Sorting

  • Stardew Valley Switch - Ease of access to inventory

  • Expanded Recipe book mods- Searchability

User Research

I made some initial wireframes to test with some ideas I gained from my research. Based on those wireframes I gained some information from the players. People did not like the idea of swapping between player and crafting system, but they did like always being able to see the player in different menus. Players liked the idea of being able to organize their inventory with buttons, but what the initial symbols meant were a bit confusing. With an added tooltip players were easily able to understand the symbols. Players really liked the idea of being able to swap their hotbar between all their inventory lines. Additionally players liked the idea of being able to tag items and search for them in their recipe book.

Design Before Pivot

Main Idea

The main change I made was to allow players to change their hotbar with all lines in their inventory using CTRL + Mouse Wheel. I chose these controls because Mouse Wheel is already associated with scrolling through your items on your hotbar so, I wanted to use that association.

Sorting

The next thing I wanted to add were sorting options for the main inventory and the chests. The sorting options I chose were: Equipment, Rarity, and Alphabetical. I also wanted the player to choose how their sorting happened: Default, by Rows, or by Columns.

Reaching the Player

Currently if a player wants to equip an item from a chest on their character they have to go through multiple menus. This can become quite tedious, so I chose to have the character and the small crafting table always shown when the inventory is shown.

Item Tooltip

A common mod I saw in my research was to show the durability of their equipment. The durability bars are quite small and can be hard to tell what the exact durability of an item is. I decided to add the durability bar to the tooltip. I also added text, so the player knows exactly what the durability is.

Recipe Book

The current recipe book is hard to navigate and the layout is confusing. I decided to put it on the right side of the screen so players can see more of it. I also added a tagging system. Players can create tags and drag them onto items in their inventory to tag them. Items that are self tagged can be untagged, but items with built in tags can't be untagged. I didn't want a player to accidentally untag an item and not be able to find it.

The Pivot

I showed my design to my professor and got my pivot and some feedback. The first piece of feedback was that the organization options should be drop downs that are automatically sorted instead of pressing a button. The second bit of feedback was that moving through the lines in the inventory was confusing when visualized. It was hard to keep track of what the lines were. The pivot I was given was I needed to create loadouts. Specifically mining, combat, and building loadouts.

Pivot Research

  • Monster Hunter World - Popular Loadout

Changes Made

  • New button to go to a Loadout screen in the inventory.

  • Removed the scrolling through each line of your inventory as a hotbar.

  • Updated the sorting options in the chests.

  • Added new sorting options in the recipe books based on the layouts.

  • Added tooltips to show what the loadouts are and what's missing.

  • Added a combining button to combine objects of same type.

  • Added tooltips, so players always know what they’re looking at.

With my Pivot being loadouts, I felt the scrolling through your lines of inventory as your hotbar just became confusing. It already had some issues with knowing what lines of your inventory you were at and to keep that with being able to access loadouts confused things more.

Based on the feedback I got on sorting I decided to change how it worked and looked. Firstly, I made the dropdown always go down. It does covers items, but I felt that keeping it consistent was important. I also made it so things automatically sort instead of pressing a button to sort. When I did some user testing I had a few people wanting the option to combine their items if they had multiples. I decided to add such an option for both the inventory and the chests.

To adapt to the loadout pivot I decided to add a screen in the inventory with the loadouts. I wanted to give the player the ability to find items in their recipe book and put it on their loadouts. On the loadout screen the player can't close the recipe book, so they always are able to add new items. I also chose to allow the player to create their own loadouts. There are 5 loadout bars that the player can have. They also can delete previous loadouts to create new ones. To distinguish the loadouts each one has a specific image associated with it. This also helps with the cap because the player must choose which image to use.

Design After Pivot

Loadouts

I added a button to find the loadout window, and a button to change the loadout on the hotbar (the player would also be able to change this through CTRL + Scroll in game). There is also a hover tooltip.

Loadout Menu

The loadouts appear on the bottom of the screen, so the player doesn't have to tab between screens. There are arrows on the side to scroll through the loadouts.When the recipe book is open it adapts by moving over slightly to make room.

Creating New Loadouts

The player can only create 5 loadouts to keep the management aspect that is minecraft. They choose a picture to be assigned to the loadout and then press create.

New Loadouts

The new loadout will be added to the right of the loadout bar, and will by default start empty (unlike the defaulted Combat, Mining, and Building), so the player can fill it with what they wish.

Loadouts on the Hotbar

If the player clicks the button next to their hotbar their loadouts appear in a drop down.

Viewing Loadouts

When they hover over the different loadouts they can see what objects, in order, are in the loadouts.

Hotbar

If the player chooses the combat loadout all the objects that fill that slot, or the closest slot, appear in hotbar.

Changing Loadouts

They can change it to the mining loadout and it will put the proper objects into the hotbar.

Missing Items

The player can hover over their current loadout button to see what objects they’re missing in their inventory.

Combining

If players hit the combine button it will combine the same types of objects together to stack them.

Sorting

The chests, and inventory, automatically sort according to the buttons on the top. When the player clicks the button it changes the sorting automatically.

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