Talk:UI Overhaul

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PCGen UI Discussion

Using PCGen 5.16.2 (RC3) for reference. This section will have most of its discussion moved over to each relevant tab page

Useful Links

Key Concepts

  • Set up groups of information in columns and have the user work from left to right.
  • Consider the user as making a character in D&D 3.5.
  • There is a bit of a learning curve that goes into using it. Ease of use for the starting user should not be our only concern, we can find a layout that can be intuitive to the new user as well as the experienced one.
  • My feeling is that this will not be an easy feat to improve the look and feel of the entire program in one go, it maybe best to tackle this in small chunks, that way we can experiment and expose any Swing constraints in minimal doses.karianna 14:11, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
  • Once you actually enter the program it loses it’s ‘gaming’ look and becomes a very mundane text heavy program. It lacks a certain zest and it’s true identity.karianna 14:11, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
  • When I googled “What is PCGen?”, it came up with the following; “PCGen is a character creation and role-playing game playing aid program for d20 System-based games, such as Dungeons & Dragons”. So the overall look could be freshened up, it should look like it generates characters and have a role playing feel about it. Making a character should be a fun and creative task.karianna 14:11, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

PCGen Section

Overall UI

• I think the PCGen look and feel from is a good start and could be applied as the default to the PCGen application.karianna 14:11, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
The substance LAF is very advanced, very performant and visually gorgeous. It also uses modern UI ideas (e.g., tab-sensitive Office bar) that would support PCGen well. And it is open-source.
• Overall the screens could do with consistent headings, intuitive workflow (I understand a new character wizard will be worked on later), attractive and functional icons, more space around crowded elements.karianna 14:11, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
• Space is at a premium with the amazing amount of detail you can drill down to, but there needs to be more padding and spacing in order for the eye to process this abundance of info.karianna 14:11, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
• Generic defaults need be consistent and set, ie. certain default columns.karianna 14:11, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
• Colours for disabled/enabled/current items need to be defined better, ie. Under the ‘Feats & Abilities’ tab, and Feats tab the red text is too overbearing, it actually advances to the eye, instead of receding. This should be changed to be a dulled out grey by default. Maybe a key could be provided that define what the colours mean.karianna 14:11, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
• the arrow buttons ( [>] and [<] ) at the bottom of most of the UI could use more description (some text or an icon)
• more descriptive icons next to tab labels
• use less words for button descriptions. (ex: "Generate Random Name" to "Random Name")
• different panel entries should have containing shapes. (ex: Class tab, HP button stands out, but the more important thing is the number next to it. Same with the saves underneath, the wrong things stand out.
• by default lets hide any columns that give info that doesn't impact the task at hand. (ex: source column in the skill list, nice to know, but unnecessary for making a character)
• Sorting drop down options should have clearer descriptions overall
• One thing that might help users is making the filters more friendly I have to admit that after all this time I still have problems the filters. (Paul Nylan) • A request as something I discovered - Skills Tab; Each Class is listed in the pull down, having to remove and add skills gets very tedious when you need to select the 'correct' class and it won't let you without dealing with the previous classes. This might be more code related, but I'd like the classes broken out in the following manner:

| Class Name | Skills Gained/Skills Spent |

And the ability to pull skills back to the class using the break out instead of continuously having to deal with the pull down menu -Andrew 12/22/2009 @ 4:25pm PST

Splash screen

• Initial entry into the program is good, love the PCGen themed splash page, following that is the potential for prettifying the next screen with options on where to link next. karianna 14:11, 14 December 2009 (UTC)


• right side panel has no scrolling ability

Top Menu

• Game Mode/Campaign should be its own drop down menu

Source Materials

• "available" options drop down descriptions could be simpler. "tree view" > Comp/Fmt/Setting, "full list" > Name only, etc.
• Company/Setting and Comp/Fmt/Setting are too similar and don't change the list organization much, consider merging
• there doesn't seem to be a need to have the right side of the source materials tab to have a list filter, it sould have a list of the books and whether they are loaded or unloaded.
• the buttons on the bottom right (load, unload all, remove all, etc.) should be in the same pane as the chosen source materials (top right side), perhaps replacing the list filer drop down
• give more room to the source material descriptions


• It should be considered to remove this tab altogether since this tab is used only once during character creation. A better move would to have it as a popup from the summary tab instead.--Connor Petty 07:28, 20 December 2009 (UTC)


• Give the list of races a 2/3rds of the tab
• place the XP pane, the current class pane, and the class info pane on the right third of the tab.
• Hide 'VISIBLE:NO' Class Selections in the drop down selection list. I'm able to see Ex-Barbarian, etc. -Andrew M. 17/Jan/2011


• consider color coding the column text. (ex. bold black for the final total of skill ranks, red no and green yes for class/CC)
• consider light lines to separate skills on the chosen character skills.
• consider moving Ranks before Total. The more important info is the actual ranks. Becomes clearer with information that have colors and/or are bold.
• "display by" options drop down descriptions could be simpler. "class tree view" > Cost/Name, "stat tree view" > KeyStat/Name, "List View" > Name, etc.
• consider simplifing the display by combining the two skill treetables into one. A view achieved by either could then be done through the use of special filters. --Connor Petty 07:36, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
• the active skill pool should be the first class that has available skill points --Paul Grosse 21:38, 22 September 2010 (EST)
• Skill List should not display 'EXPORT' only skills. I was able to add Ranks to an EXPORT only skill. - Andrew M. 17/Jan/2011
• Skill List - Ability to Sort by the Title Buttons [Name A-Z and reverse, Cost, etc.]. - Andrew M. 17/Jan/2011

Feats & Abilities (using Feats as an example)

• consider moving the Feats filter (located on the bottom right pane), the Feats remaining, and the available Feats list to the left half of the tab.
• move the selected feats and Feat Info to the right half of the tab.


• Blank - Should have the same message if it's not implemented as the rest of the non-implemented tabs


• Panes present but no equipment can be seen.