Dungeon Siege UI/UX and Core Game Mechanic Analysis
Dungeon Siege UI/UX and Core Game Mechanic Analysis

Dungeon Siege UI/UX and Core Game Mechanic Analysis

Dungeon Siege is a top down, 3d. I am doing an analysis on the keyboard and mouse input, as well a the UI/UX used to manage the RPG elements for both a single player and your party.

Camera and Character Movement Controller

Left click on empty ground to move, attack, or interact with the item under cursor.

Camera can be zoomed in and out with + and - and mouse wheel.

You can orbit the camera around the selected character or party members via holding middle mouse button and moving the mouse.

You can pan and tilt the camera

Party Control

Select party members with F1, f2, f3, etc.

W key to show/hide full weapon slot selection

QUEST

You start as a single player with an inventory and 4 ability slots with most of the screen taken up by the 3d world. You can select any of the items in the slots of 1, 2, 3, 4 with those keys.

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When you have a party it is useful to use Ctrl-1, ctrl-2, etc to set groups of "Favorites" for your party's item slots. In my screenshot above, I've set "Group 1" to be:

  • item 1 (melee weapon) for my first three tanks
  • item 3 (fire combat spell) for my 4th character
  • and item 4 (healing spell) for my 5th.

This means that during regular movement and combat, this is the default items and skills that each of my characters will do without me having to ask them to do so.

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Hints

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Party Behaviors

A single character selected, is set to engage, defend, and target closest.  Note he has the 4th skill slot selected (his nature magic of healing) for this skill group.
A single character selected, is set to engage, defend, and target closest. Note he has the 4th skill slot selected (his nature magic of healing) for this skill group.
The extended "squad behavior" in the bottom right lets you set the formation for this squad and gives you English names for all of the indicators for this teams setup.  In the case of my team here, I have a mix of contradictory commands for various selected members of the team.
The extended "squad behavior" in the bottom right lets you set the formation for this squad and gives you English names for all of the indicators for this teams setup. In the case of my team here, I have a mix of contradictory commands for various selected members of the team.
Notice the circle and triangle indicators under the feet of my characters.  This tells me (I believe) who is my leader and the rest of the squad.  Not super useful, but it could also give me information such as their health, mana, their currently selected skill, and even their selected group behaviors if they had put the extra time into that icon language.  The icons could have even been used in place of the avatars when you zoom out the map.
Notice the circle and triangle indicators under the feet of my characters. This tells me (I believe) who is my leader and the rest of the squad. Not super useful, but it could also give me information such as their health, mana, their currently selected skill, and even their selected group behaviors if they had put the extra time into that icon language. The icons could have even been used in place of the avatars when you zoom out the map.
You can ctrl click on each portrait, or you can ctrl-click on each character in the world or map view, but you can also drag a box around the characters to select them.
You can ctrl click on each portrait, or you can ctrl-click on each character in the world or map view, but you can also drag a box around the characters to select them.

Notice how the tree goes mostly transparent when any of my characters move so that it is likely to be between them and the camera.  Note that the tops of dungeons and buildings do the same thing, only returning to being opaque once my selected party members are in front of it.
Notice how the tree goes mostly transparent when any of my characters move so that it is likely to be between them and the camera. Note that the tops of dungeons and buildings do the same thing, only returning to being opaque once my selected party members are in front of it.
I've select my skill group 3 here — which sets my whole party to use ranged weapons.  It is the skill group I use most when enemies are at a distance and I don't want any party member running out there and gathering aggro then drawing enemies back to the rest of my less "tanky" members of the group.
I've select my skill group 3 here — which sets my whole party to use ranged weapons. It is the skill group I use most when enemies are at a distance and I don't want any party member running out there and gathering aggro then drawing enemies back to the rest of my less "tanky" members of the group.
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This is with the full party UI control extended. The three triangle arrow button to the far right lets you collapse it again. The three triangle button to the bottom lets you close the whole party command UI. This is their "Restore" and "minimize" UI language.

UI Hints on RPG Growth

When only the most active skill is shown (via collapsing skills with w hotkey), you can see that particular skills growth as it is being used.  You can also see the same when all skills are shown, it is just less obvious with more info on the screen
When only the most active skill is shown (via collapsing skills with w hotkey), you can see that particular skills growth as it is being used. You can also see the same when all skills are shown, it is just less obvious with more info on the screen
Note that though only the active skill is showing, if you hit the 1, 2, 3, etc hotkeys, it will change the shill for all characters to just show the pre-programmed one for that skills group.
Note that though only the active skill is showing, if you hit the 1, 2, 3, etc hotkeys, it will change the shill for all characters to just show the pre-programmed one for that skills group.
Note all of the growth in Dexterity, melee, and ranged when I selected this character
Note all of the growth in Dexterity, melee, and ranged when I selected this character

The green bar in his strength shows me his growth since last I looked at this character's RPG card.  He has growth that much in strength because I had him using his bow and arrow (ranged combat skill), so I'm not sure why his ranged isn't also green for what has changed, but you get the idea.
The green bar in his strength shows me his growth since last I looked at this character's RPG card. He has growth that much in strength because I had him using his bow and arrow (ranged combat skill), so I'm not sure why his ranged isn't also green for what has changed, but you get the idea.

Map Navigation

A single person selected, left click on the map's "ground" and with the follow command, the rest of the team follows up behind him in the group's formation as best they can.  It saves you from having to ctrl-A select the whole team every time.
A single person selected, left click on the map's "ground" and with the follow command, the rest of the team follows up behind him in the group's formation as best they can. It saves you from having to ctrl-A select the whole team every time.
You can select the whole team and told them to move together as a single unit to be able to turn off the "follow" behavior, letting you send a more capable scout ahead into dangerous area while leaving the rest behind in safety.
You can select the whole team and told them to move together as a single unit to be able to turn off the "follow" behavior, letting you send a more capable scout ahead into dangerous area while leaving the rest behind in safety.
Notice how the edges of the fog of war are organically grown as I move my party around the map.  It isn't obvious what blocks walking and what doesn't, but a quick left click in the map makes a "donk" sound if I can't move there pretty quick.
Notice how the edges of the fog of war are organically grown as I move my party around the map. It isn't obvious what blocks walking and what doesn't, but a quick left click in the map makes a "donk" sound if I can't move there pretty quick.

Inventory, RPG, and Magic UI

You can expect a single player's UI to reveal their RPG stats, the rag doll with equipped armor, inventory, and magic book setup Notice the green highlight on my active character.

A full RPG, stats, active equipment, inventory equipment, and spell book UI opened for a single character.
A full RPG, stats, active equipment, inventory equipment, and spell book UI opened for a single character.

Hover over an equipped item in the UI to get a popup on its stats and buffs
Hover over an equipped item in the UI to get a popup on its stats and buffs
Mule / Pet inventory is large, making him a high value to protect, but he is pretty much useless in combat.
Mule / Pet inventory is large, making him a high value to protect, but he is pretty much useless in combat.
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You can also any item onto other portraits in the party to give an item to another character (target character will move within range if they are too far to "give").

Skill level at this "class" of active skill as defined by this particular characters use of that item.  In this case, I was checking their ranged ability, so how able they are to use a bow and arrow.
Skill level at this "class" of active skill as defined by this particular characters use of that item. In this case, I was checking their ranged ability, so how able they are to use a bow and arrow.
👨🏼‍🚀

NOTE that the more a character uses a specific item like a bow and arrow, their RPG elements will increase aligned with that item. So a bow and arrow increases Dexterity the most, and strength a much smaller amount. Using both types of magic increases intelligence, and using weapons (perhaps the larger the more so) increases strength.

Hover over an item that is in your inventory which is painted red to understand why you cannot wear that particular item.  In this case, this character needs strength of 25 before they can wear this "heavy" of an armor.
Hover over an item that is in your inventory which is painted red to understand why you cannot wear that particular item. In this case, this character needs strength of 25 before they can wear this "heavy" of an armor.
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To get this character up to 25 strength the quickest, make sure to have them using heavy weapons for most of their combat time, as that will grow their strength and their melee skills the fastest, growing them into a "tank" of a character the quickest.

A "cute" feature where you can view the character model in his fight stance with all the current equipment applied when you click on the "view" button.  Not hugely useful as the character graphics are showing their age quite a bit, but was innovative at the time — and for multiplayer if we are going to do aesthetic items with microtrans, it will be useful for someone to see their own character and to view other's.
A "cute" feature where you can view the character model in his fight stance with all the current equipment applied when you click on the "view" button. Not hugely useful as the character graphics are showing their age quite a bit, but was innovative at the time — and for multiplayer if we are going to do aesthetic items with microtrans, it will be useful for someone to see their own character and to view other's.
You can  ctrl-click multiple party member's headshots and get multiple inventories open, but you lose the RPG elements and a firm understanding of who can use what as the red indicator probably refers to the secondarily selected character, but even after 5 hours, I'm not sure of that.
You can ctrl-click multiple party member's headshots and get multiple inventories open, but you lose the RPG elements and a firm understanding of who can use what as the red indicator probably refers to the secondarily selected character, but even after 5 hours, I'm not sure of that.

Quest Journal

Perhaps one of the weakest elements in the game, the quest journal doesn't really give you much guidance.  It does let you re-listen to the dialog from when the quest was assigned, but I did not see any quest direction indicators or often even "go north" hints in the dialog and I just had to wonder and hope that the game was linear enough that I wasn't going the wrong way for hours.  Also, it allows you to walk right past the goals of your quests, requiring you to circle back.  The only advantage you have is that enemies don't respawn and the world state never resets, so you know you are circling back because of all the dead bodies around and the already gathered treasures from chests, etc.
Perhaps one of the weakest elements in the game, the quest journal doesn't really give you much guidance. It does let you re-listen to the dialog from when the quest was assigned, but I did not see any quest direction indicators or often even "go north" hints in the dialog and I just had to wonder and hope that the game was linear enough that I wasn't going the wrong way for hours. Also, it allows you to walk right past the goals of your quests, requiring you to circle back. The only advantage you have is that enemies don't respawn and the world state never resets, so you know you are circling back because of all the dead bodies around and the already gathered treasures from chests, etc.