An alternative UI for the OpenMW launcher and installation wizard

Anything related to PR, release planning and any other non-technical idea how to move the project forward should be discussed here.
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Thunderforge
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An alternative UI for the OpenMW launcher and installation wizard

Post by Thunderforge » 12 Jun 2017, 03:37

I just discovered OpenMW a few days ago and I found the experience for installing Morrowind and setting up the game to be more difficult than expected, requiring a few visits to the wiki and a forum topic to install.

I've created some UI designs for products in the past and wanted to propose an alternative design that I think is easier for new users. My goals are:
  • Make it as easy as possible for new users to quickly install Morrowind
  • Make the Example Suite more prominent and easily installable
It looks like the forum has a limit to how many files can be added, so here are a couple of key images:

As is, the user sees an error message when they first launch OpenMW. Let's show them something friendlier instead.
First Time.png
If the user clicks on "Morrowind", the first thing the user should see is a list of currently installed copies, if there are any.
Detect Installation.png
If there are no currently installed copies of Morrowind, the user should not be presented with the last screen, but instead go straight from the welcome screen to this screen. It's also accessible from the "Install from another location…" button in the last image.
Install Morrowind.png
For the "Steam" button, it basically automates the instructions from this post, creating the needed file and launching the Steam client.
Steam.png
I have more screens, but unfortunately, this forum only allows me to attach 5 things to a post. You can download all the images in this attachment:
OpenMW Launcher Alternative UI.zip
(560.89 KiB) Downloaded 24 times

Or watch a YouTube video of me interacting with the UI
Last edited by Thunderforge on 12 Jun 2017, 04:40, edited 4 times in total.

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Thunderforge
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Re: An alternative UI for the OpenMW launcher and installation wizard

Post by Thunderforge » 12 Jun 2017, 03:40

The "Purchase" section probably also requires some explanation:
Purchase Morrowind.png
My thought is that it would be beneficial to users to have an easy way to purchase a legitimate copy of Morrowind. The two digital links are Steam and GOG, and the physical copies are retailers that Bethesda has on their website for the Elder Scrolls Anthology, which contains discs for Morrowind. I don't know if there are legal issues with doing this (I figure that getting money from referrer links is out, which is why I put the disclaimer at the bottom), but it would be a benefit to the users if it was allowed.

Chris
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Re: An alternative UI for the OpenMW launcher and installation wizard

Post by Chris » 12 Jun 2017, 08:43

I can certainly get behind something like this. I also think you have a really great point with "the user sees an error message when they first launch OpenMW. Let's show them something friendlier instead." It's good to express positivity ("Hey, let's install a game!") rather than negativity ("I couldn't find a game. Pick something to install."). The former is more inviting, which in turn not only creates a more up-beat experience, but also helps provide a kind of psychological defense in case something does go wrong (a positive-thinking user is more likely to remain positive and ask for help in the face of some errors, whereas a less positive user is more likely to just give up and sour them on the project).

Including links to purchase Morrowind is good too, as we do still occasionally get someone who doesn't have it and isn't sure where they can get it. I don't see how it could be trouble legally to simply provide links to where it can be bought (IANAL), but the disclaimer isn't a bad idea either way. I may even take it a step further and mention Bethesda specifically, like "Neither Bethesda Softworks or the above retailers endorse OpenMW for playing Morrowind. OpenMW does not vouch for the above retailers and does not receive compensation from them."

Including some kind of SteamCMD functionality built-in to automatically have Steam download the game would be a nice touch too, for Mac and Linux users particularly, though maybe a bit more involved compared to changing the wizard UI.


More generally in regards to discussions on this thread, I think it would also be worth bringing up these two bugs:
https://bugs.openmw.org/issues/2766 "Install game patches in installation wizard"
https://bugs.openmw.org/issues/3914 "Missing bloodmoon data files"

When installing from non-GOTY CDs, the game is not patched to the final version, which can leave in some game data bugs and even cause compatibility issues with mods. Also when installing from CDs (this might affect the GOTY version too, though I'm not sure), it doesn't install a bunch of files from Bloodmoon, which leaves the expansion kind of broken. With generally improving the install wizard's UI to be more user-friendly, fixing these fairly serious installer issues (3914 especially) would help close up the biggest problems with using it.

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psi29a
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Re: An alternative UI for the OpenMW launcher and installation wizard

Post by psi29a » 12 Jun 2017, 09:47

I really like the mock-ups. :)

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lysol
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Re: An alternative UI for the OpenMW launcher and installation wizard

Post by lysol » 12 Jun 2017, 14:04

Very interesting. The youtube-video was great.
Normal mapped texture replacers, exclusive for OpenMW:
My Nexus page

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Thalen
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Re: An alternative UI for the OpenMW launcher and installation wizard

Post by Thalen » 12 Jun 2017, 14:08

I'm new here too, although I've been using OpenMW for about a year or so, and Morrowind across various platforms since it was originally released.

Personally I haven't found the general installation and setup to be too confusing, but I guess that this could be down to my experience with the traditional methods of installing TES III and all the hassle that goes into modding it. OpenMW is so much better I don't see why anyone would continue in the old way unless there's a specific mod that they really must have and somehow doesn't yet work with the new engine.

I'd welcome a new UI not only for the launcher, but the mod load list and game management as a whole. I can see the benefit of streamlining the initial experience, but for me I find the current form dated in terms of aesthetic design: not that this matters when you're in-game, but I think psychologically the new user would be inclined to feel that this project was as professionally managed as it actually is with a shiny interface.

This is the era of "graphics or it's not really a game" after all.

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Re: An alternative UI for the OpenMW launcher and installation wizard

Post by psi29a » 12 Jun 2017, 15:28

What really grinds my gears is the use of the word 'purchase' instead of 'buy' or 'bought'.

You purchase a house, not a CD or game... unless the game is somehow worth a mortgage. ;)

Purchase: The act or process of seeking and obtaining something; i.e. real-estate
Buy: To obtain (something) in exchange for money or goods.

I know that purchase is commonly (in America) used interchangeably with buy/bought, but there is really no other reason to use the word unless you're actively trying to avoid using the word buy. The rest of the world is laughing at Americans using the following words in every day conversation:
purchase, prior, call instead of buy, before, choice/decision.

Just a public service announcement.

Bonus: Watch 'the walking dead' and take a shot every time someone says "It's your call."

Cramal
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Re: An alternative UI for the OpenMW launcher and installation wizard

Post by Cramal » 12 Jun 2017, 17:41

I don't have a lot to say except that I really like the idea of this kind of "installation/first launch" specific UI.

The current launcher is great for launching the game and adjusting addons and parameters on an already existing game, but this kind of UI would be really good for a first launch

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AnyOldName3
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Re: An alternative UI for the OpenMW launcher and installation wizard

Post by AnyOldName3 » 12 Jun 2017, 18:09

I'm British, and normally annoyingly pedantic about over-Americanisation of language, but I see 'purchase' as being completely valid here. I see the distinction as more a formal versus informal one, so when talking to people you'd use buy, but if you were doing a business deal or were in a service-oriented job, you might prefer to use purchase instead.

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Thunderforge
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Re: An alternative UI for the OpenMW launcher and installation wizard

Post by Thunderforge » 12 Jun 2017, 18:27

AnyOldName3 wrote:
12 Jun 2017, 18:09
I'm British, and normally annoyingly pedantic about over-Americanisation of language, but I see 'purchase' as being completely valid here. I see the distinction as more a formal versus informal one, so when talking to people you'd use buy, but if you were doing a business deal or were in a service-oriented job, you might prefer to use purchase instead.
This was my thought too. I think most web stores I've seen use "Purchase" to obtain a digital good, so I figured it would be a business deal.

That said, I'm totally open to changing it. Is there a better word that I can use, which would satisfy both American and British users?
psi29a wrote:
12 Jun 2017, 15:28
You purchase a house, not a CD or game... unless the game is somehow worth a mortgage. ;)
The game is worth a mortgage in that you will get far more enjoyment out of it, but the price Bethesda is selling it for is a steal!

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