The week in Palapeli: Old wine in new skins
August 26, 2008
Palapeli contains all features I would like to have in a 1.0 release (except for GHNS integration), but the interface did not scale up during development. It consisted of some popup menus (with integrated input widgets) and a list for “advanced” actions (import, export and deletion of saved games) which was hidden in menus quite well. The following screenshot shows both interface elements (the popup below the “Save” button, the list at the right):
Now where is the problem with that? As already said, the saved games list is to the new user invisible (as it is not shown by default to avoid clutter), and the screenshot shows that it does not scale up; it’s toolbar is nearly full already. Also, the popup widgets have problems with keyboard shortcuts. (If there was a shortcut and you pressed it, where would the popup appear? Would it show up below the toolbar, or would the menu popup where the action is also available? The answer might be obvious to you, but not to a generic implementation.)
As you see, I could not keep this implementation. (Its only advantage is that it has proven to be bug free, as far as I can consider, and for that reason it currently coexists with the new interface in trunk.)
Now, my friends know that I’m suffering from regular intuition. Last week I had an intuition about a new interface, using the benefits of the QGraphicsView, which is clearly arranged, scales up well, and makes use of your shiny new graphics card. (Just joking, it’s just a small slide and a fade effect.) Most actions have a dialog widget associated with them which appears once you select this action on the toolbar, on the menu or (new!!) by shortcut. This widget will appear on the puzzle table like shown on the next screenie:
Disclaimer: This screenshot shows my working copy where I have removed the old interface to show you how clean the new interface looks. (Like already said, the only thing missing is GHNS which will most likely be in a “Get hot new…” menu or similar.) After some usability testing and bug squashing (as far as necessary), I will delete the old interface completely. Palapeli 0.3 is likely to be released then.
Now, I would like to hear your feedback about the new interface. If you do not have any experience with SVN checkouts, follow the build instructions for Palapeli. For those familiar with SVN, Palapeli is in the games playground.