Game Interface Evolution
The general interface to Elder Tale Online is evolved from what it was in previous games developed by the same line of developers. Here, you will find information about the interfaces for the various games, their use of Deep Dive systems, and how they advanced throughout the years.
Within Fragment, one’s actions were guided through voice commands to activate skills and spells. This included calling the Menu to open. When in a menu, it would allow for touch-commands to pick options. It used a half-immersion technology where the world was like a twilight dream state. One was always aware of the outside world and the inside world, and the sensations of the game did not have physical sensations to go with it. Still, the system was able to intercept peoples’ movements as long as they focused on the game. This is what made fear-based PKs popular, as some people would lose temporary control over their characters if they lost focus. What’s more, PK was unrestricted outside of the Root Towns - making some of it a free-for-all. Communication was text only.
Because of the way the areas were accessed through gates, no world map existed, and mini maps were static room indicators on the HUD, simply showing where the player was in the dungeon or city.
NPCs were typical. They had a bit of personality, but it all felt scripted to an extent.
Sword Art Online
Sword Art Online tried to move away from voice commands and focused on the newer technological advances made with the Nerve Gear (Later remarketed as Dive Gear) technology. This meant a full immersion system that tried to draw activating its Sword Arts fully into the motions of the person playing it – and menus were called with hand-motions. This did away with much of the clunky interfaces prior games had taken, including Fragment, when dealing with a character with many skills; but restricted the game to a purely weapon-based system without magic. The helmet would use haptic signals to alert one of movements and happenings outside of the game world – but most people turned off this feature and set in-system alarms for when they needed to get out. It was the first game that intercepted signals properly and ensured that people ‘felt’ the sensations of the game. It even included a limited pain mechanic to simulate player stress. Non-Nearby Communication was text only. Spoken sound would travel as far as expected. PKing became less prominent due to the Diamond indicators of players, (Green, Yellow, Red) - where Yellow meant they recently were involved in a player battle, and red meant they PKed someone and were as such - open to being attacked.
Sword Art Online featured a mini-map with perfect information, but no world map.
NPCs were a bit more natural than they were in Fragment, but they were still clearly scripted in most people's perceptions.
Elder Tale 'Offline'
Elder Tale, or 'Elder Tale Offline', came from a different developing mindset than Fragment or Sword Art Online and went with what many would consider a more traditional command system. While it remained a first-person game, one used manual hand-motions to trigger menu buttons and skill behavior. It was however the first to introduce ‘scent senses’ and similar into the world. And was in fact, more realistic than Elder Tale Online in this camp. Character-control however was taken over when performing skills, which led to a heavy use of ability and basic attack cancels and precise reorientation when in battle.
By those who played Fragment and Sword Art Online, they felt the interface was a step back. But many others remarked on it going back to the basics, and not using ‘confusing’ and ‘unintuitive’ new systems. Though often referred to as the offline variant, there was the opportunity for limited local-lan play with up to four people.
Elder Tale Online
Elder Tale Online embraced everything that made each individual game great. Many great minds worked together to ensure the success of the game. And it was immediately apparent. An improved system coined by the name ‘Real Sense ™’ promised a more realistic sense of the world around them. Physical sensations were fully translated in the system. Pain was, as always, dulled due to the potentially violent nature of the game.
Scents, the feeling of wind over one’s skin, the sounds of one’s surroundings. Enough to be called ‘real’ indeed.
Skill Activation returned to a mixture of Fragment and Sword Art Online. Sword Artes were activated through motion input, where-as Wave Artes would be input through complex voice commands, that required large memorized sequences. This made magic less popular, and certain classes had more complex sequences that made them even more difficult to play – the Enchanter standing out as one of these.
Menu input was purely for summoning things like the party window, guild window, status window, et cetera, and the exit context window. It is summoned by a motion of the finger. These menus, unlike previous generations, were not HUD-based, but character-floating. They’d move with the character, so one could lay out a tactical series of windows around one’s self and keep them in sight without cluttering one’s regular view.
Communications allowed one to keep one, or multiple channels active; allowing one to give players, parties, or guilds more precedence over priority than others. Communication had become of prime importance to games like these.
Additionally, Elder Tale Online introduced the idea of a context-based mini-map, though this feature is disabled within the chaos gates, and other special areas – with a big red-lettered ‘ERROR’ along with ‘static’. The Mini-map displays any NPCs and the like that have been detected by one’s self or nearby allies. The mini-map, however, is purely 2D within ‘context range’.
A world map is only available as an item, and it only shows topography and major city features.
For those familiar, this is best compared to the skill system of the SAO: Alfheim Arc, crossed with that of Log Horizon – and its menu systems.
NPCs seem a bit more alive than before. Until the apocalypse occurs. After that, things suddenly feel eerily realistic to some.
Apocalypse Notable Changes
- Voices seem to translate perfectly from any Real World language to the one people understand.
- People now get tired, including an Exhaustion status. Similarly, there is a Filth and Hunger status as well.