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I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Scroll bars?

You know, rereading my post about the Overview brought me to that line about games with scroll bars. In the post, I said I couldn't think of a game with a scroll bar, but once I sat down and really started thinking about it for a few minutes, I realized that isn't true.

Games with tech trees and player upgrades and such generally have scroll bars. And map-based games usually include the ability to grab and drag the map this way and that, which is like a scroll bar. And a few RTS games have both of these: Homeworld 2 comes to mind, for instance. When I sat down and really thought about it, I remembered I always seemed to be fighting with the scroll bar in its build interface at the exact wrong moments. I would always be searching for something I desperately wanted to build at that moment to counter some strategy the AI was throwing at me.

But of course, I could cheat: I could pause Homeworld 2. So that wasn't really real-time, as such.


Let's take tech trees and build queues, turn-based games and games you can pause, and other such games out of consideration for the moment. Besides EVE, is there another real-time mainstream game that includes a scroll bar as part of its main UI that you see while you're hip-deep in the game?

I couldn't think of one. But maybe the diversity of games I play just isn't broad enough. Can you think of one? Go!

25 comments:

  1. DayZ and Arma's inventory springs to mind. It's a pain in those, too.

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    1. I didn't play that one. But I do remember Yahtzee saying he once got killed while looking through his inventory. So I think this counts, yes.

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  2. Arguably DayZ's standalone, as someone with a large inventory would run into scrollbars when trying to find something, which could come up in combat. Probably not very frequently, but it is possible, and it definitely would be relevant.

    Beyond that, I can't think of any others either.

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  3. The "main UI" requirement is giving me trouble. Pretty much every MMO has scroll bars in its quest journal, for instance. Does that count as part of the main UI?
    I'm pretty sure the Borderlands games have them on their inventory screens, too. You can't pause those in multiplayer and you will eventually have to interact with the blasted things under fire, do those count?
    OH! System Shock controlled your look direction with two scrollbars! Awful design, but true.

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  4. Well, since we agree that we really play Excel, can we please have VBA and macros?

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  5. Paradox grand strategy games when you play multilayer often have pause restricted.

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  6. How far back you wanna go? OK, different genre and maybe too far back for the younger crowd, but Transport Tycoon had loads of scrollbar action going on. Not an online game at all, but was definitely mainstream in its day. A lot of the old adventure-type games also had scroll bars for inventory and such.

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    1. If you include Transport Tycoon (and by extension OpenTTD), then you could probably include Roller Coaster Tycoon as well.

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  7. Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance. You have to click some icons to select your building tier. Not really a scrollbar, but couldnt think of anyting else.

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    1. I was going to ask about submenus, similarly. Like, the original Starcraft has multiple building menus, and I've managed to fail to remember which one some buildings were in.

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  8. A concerned MinmatarFebruary 19, 2014 at 4:41 AM

    Command & Conquer series.

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  9. Replies
    1. that's the one i was trying to remember, thanks...problem was in that game trying to unpin things from the info feed.

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    2. Hm. I don't remember this in Sins. I'll have to replay it a little.

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  10. Skyrim has scroll bars in inventory and magic menus.

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  11. Every elder scrolls game ever. Your stats, items and spells where all inventoried by scroll bars. Most recently is skyrim where the hot key menu was a list with scroll bar. In fact there is a lot of PC mods for skyrim to assist in grouping items together and improving the standard hot key list.

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    1. But the game is paused when you're in those screens.
      -Bantara

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    2. What pixel said. It's not part of core game play.

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  12. Anarchy online.... Scroll bars everywhere!
    Everquest and it's tracking window.


    But hard to think of anything recent where scroll bar fights are a regular ui concept.

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  13. i dont realy understand why ccp isnt allowing player made ui.
    of course that doesnt mean to allow scripts or macros or such stuff, just allow players to take the information the client delivers and create their own ui out of these informations.

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  14. Almost all Online MMOs have one in the chat box UI. You don't think about it much but it's there.

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    1. Yeah, but these are things you can safely ignore while playing.

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  15. Most real-time strategy games involve scrolling menus and, in the case of multiplayer, do not allow the player to pause the game. Ragnarok Online's party interface was scroll-able, because an RO party could hold up to 25 people and the resulting window could very well exceed the hight of a monitor.

    But a better question to ask is: How many games can put several hundred actors on the same field, and how can we allow players to interact with all of those actors quickly without putting them in a table-based overview? As I've told Rixx a few days ago, we continue to use boring, stale tables because sortable tables are currently our best tool for organizing and searching through a lot of items.

    In practice, if you're constantly scrolling through the overview during a fight, and not commanding a large fleet fight, either your overview filters are set up wrong or your fleet commander or exec needs a crash course in target broadcasting.

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  16. Roller Coaster Tycoon 1 and 2 both have scroll bars in the 'select what you want to build' screens; can't recall if 3 does as well, it's been too long since I poked it. Homeworld 1 also had scroll bars in its build and research screens, I THINK Master of Orion did(though again, been a while) And once your inventory starts filling up, so do the Borderlands games(though if you're not in multiplayer, opening the inventory pauses, so not sure if that counts)

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