Oh look, it’s Friday again! Guess I’d better start this blog post. It’s been a good week, managed to get the update to the menu tutorial published (more on that in a sec) and I’ve been researching inventory systems in some of the games I’m playing at the moment to try and get ideas for the system I’m building.
But first, the menu tutorial update. I mentioned this last week, but the update is now live. So, you can head over to the tutorial and you’ll find a third menu style – the scrolling list. The update includes a third test project so I hope you find it useful. Bear in mind though that I work in beta releases, so you’ll need to be using r199+ to be able to open it!
Anyway, moving on.
As a part of the whole scrolling thing, I’ve been thinking about how to add this into my inventory system – it’s something that needs to happen, but there’s loads of different ways to design it. So, I’ve had a look at a couple of the games in my library to try and get some inspiration.
First up, Breath of the Wild. A fantastic game anyway, but I really like how it handles its inventory. It’s laid out nicely so you can quickly see what’s in the inventory, how much space you have and which categories are available to you. It’s also incredibly easy to navigate. Its simple left/right scrolling system works well with the Pro Controller, and having each stick control the inventory in a slightly different way is nice – the left stick allows you to move from item to item, while the right stick switches between pages.
Looking through the BOTW inventory has changed my original design somewhat. I was going to have each inventory page scrolling downwards, but I quite like the left/right design, it feels like it flows better. I mean, I need to actually implement scrolling first, but I feel like this is the way I’d rather it worked.
Now, I know most games when using keyboard controls will also include mouse controls, but I was curious as to how a purely keyboard controlled inventory might work. Which keys would you assign to switch between categories, would you have a left/right scrolling key pair to switch between them, or just rely on the number keys? So, I had a quick look at another game I’ve been playing recently: Fallout 76.
I’ve always been a fan of the Pip-Boy in Fallout games. I just think it’s a cool way of handling a lot of the game’s information while keeping it integrated in the game world. Usually, I play Fallout with a controller which makes things a lot less complicated, but Fallout 76 also includes full keyboard control for the Pip-Boy. Hurrah!
So, if you’re unfamiliar with the Pip-Boy, it displays a whole load of info to the player, split into four main categories, and then split further when you look at each category. Which makes it a pretty nice model to look at for inspiration for this inventory!
The F and G keys allow you to switch between the main categories, while you can use the arrow keys or WASD keys to switch between sub-sections and scroll through lists. Then depending on which section you're currently looking at, a selection of hotkeys allow you to perform certain actions.
The F and G keys are an interesting choice, but honestly, I was struggling to think of what keys to use to switch between my inventory categories, so it’s nice to have a starting point.
Something that both of these games have in common is that scrolling through the inventory is not a looping thing. I’ve been so paranoid about making sure that my scrolling always looped, but maybe that’s not as important as I originally thought. As long as the inventory is easy to navigate, looping shouldn’t matter right?
Anyway, I could witter on about games forever, but I’m curious. What would you guys do in this position? What keys would you use to switch between tabs in an inventory? Is looping a critical thing in a design for you? If you have any thoughts, drop them in the comments – the inventory test project is still well under construction, so I’m happy to hear your opinions. 😊
Have a good weekend!