Saturday, 5 August 2017

Neverwinter Nights NWN Best User Interface UI Mods

Neverwinter Nights NWN Best User Interface UI Mods


I run NWN on a laptop with a native resolution of 1366x768. At this resolution the default text is of readable size on a 15.6" display. And when I run NWN on a desktop capable of 1080p, I simply lower the widescreen resolution to maintain readable text. Hell, I've been known to employ display driver hardware scaling to maintain full-screen mode in 4:3 aspect ratio at 800x600, complete with black borders!

However, I do realize that some people, especially current gen gamers, are allergic to playing any game at resolutions lower than 1080. But then they complain of unreadably small text and non-scaling panels. Of course, they blame BioWare for not adding a scaling widescreen-friendly UI in 2002, when such displays were pretty much non-existent. Anyway, I don't have a cure for their startling ignorance, but I do have a possible solution to the problem, albeit one that is imperfect and in-progress:

• Enhanced GUI: This mod basically increases the font size in order to make it readable at current gen resolutions, scaling some of the panels accordingly. I haven't tested the 1080p version but the 1366x768 version was a bit glitchy for me. For example, in scripted cutscenes the dialogue panel was sometimes pushed over to the right of my display and cut off by half. Also, some fonts don't really fit all that well, and, on the level-up panel, I wasn't able to see the highlight for the class in which I had chosen to level-up. I tried both medium and small fonts; same issue. But this may not be the case in 1080p; anyone want to confirm? Anyway, this is a noble attempt, the issues are minor, and I don't think modding the NWN UI is all that easy... if it was, we would have a choice between several different UI mods like we do for NWN2 (which is easy to mod thanks to XML). 

Note how the journal panel, shown on the right, has not been extended vertically to account for 768px height. Perhaps it, and maybe other panels, gimped as they are by default dimensions, could have added to them the extension bar that you can see at the bottom of the character record panel? It's that lil' down arrow that you see at the very bottom; you can drag it up and down, which I've always thought was cool. And perhaps the examine panel could be extended vertically - or hell, why not horizontally, too? - in order to allow descriptions to be more easily read, without using the scroll bar all the time? I mean, you might as well take advantage of the added display space that we have these days, right? Finally, it would be nice if the examine window was transparent, ala World of Aenea Transparent GUI Overhaul/Upgrade, listed below.


Comparison of medium and small fonts at 1366x768. The character record is somehwhat cut off at the right (can't see stats), but that's not a big issue since I can simply switch the order of the panel display to have the journal cut off and character record centered. Note that I'm in dialogue, too. Finally, I also don't mind the overlap due to the cool transparency of the panels.


Better Font 1: This simple override changes the font to a larger, different one. Thanks to Andrea for pointing it out to me.


• Stylish GUI: It's basically just a slick reskin.


• World of Aenea Transparent GUI Overhaul/Upgrade: The transparency of the examine panels is what separates this from Enhanced GUI. Also, the colorful icons are going to appeal to some people but these can be added to Enhanced GUI.


Custom Menus: Very pretty indeed! (see link for pics)

• Baldur's Gate GUI: This is an override-friendly hak: use NWN Explorer Reborn to extract the files and then throw them into your override. It's actually the BG2 UI. This one is a lil' rough around the edges but it's certainly functional and I like its big buttons.


• BG2 Themed GUI: This one reskinned the main and options menus but didn't mess with the in-game panels. It's more polished than the one above, though lacking the larger buttons.


• Ravenloft Override GUI: A gorgeous gothic horror UI made for Prisoners of the Mist, a Ravenloft persistent world. There is no reason why it can't be used in single-player mode, though.



• Blue recoloring derivative for that clean, spartan look.


• Fallout 44 - GUI Replacement: Another reskin, this one employing some of the aesthetics from Interplay's classic RPG, Fallout. Come to think of it, the Aurora engine would be perfect for a Fallout remake, since there was limited party control in Fallout, too, and lots of role-playing options that NWN could handle with ease. One could employ D20 art and ruleset assets. Real-time world map mechanic would be the only problem, but it could be omitted.

Anyone up to the challenge? lulz :P


• Ultima HUD for Neverwinter Nights: All it seems to do is change a few screen pics and one icon? Still, nice starter menu backdrop.


• NWN Restoration: Restores the original title screen, load screen, portraits, music etc. Below left: The one everyone has. Below right: Restored to the original.


Beyond testing them out for the purposes of this post, I don't use any of these mods on the grounds that I'm not allergic to low resolutions and I love the original NWN UI aesthetic, which I think is unrivaled in the genre.

4 comments:

  1. Enhanced GUI looks really cool.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the list of mods, just started NWN1 and my eyes are already tired of tring to read that tiny font. I took the "Betterfont1" and it looks alot better already.

    I just discovered this blog btw, looks amazing, great job.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad the blog has been of use to you, Fidiman.

      Delete

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