UI Lead Hiroshi Minagawa Explains Lack of Text Based Inventory Display Option in #FFXIV

Originally Posted by Hiroshi_Minagawa

Item Name Display Modes

Why is it that the items in your inventory are only displayed as an icon?

There are two main reasons why we’ve made it so items in your inventory are displayed as an icon.

  • We want to maximize the display without taking up too much of the screen.
  • For ARR, displaying an icon uses way less memory than displaying a name.

Due to these reasons, we’ve adopted an icon display method for certain item display windows. We have a text-based method on our task list, but the timing for this is currently undecided.

For those of you who can’t agree with this decision based only on this short explanation, please read the below in-depth explanation!

There are a lot of times where you’ll have your inventory, or armoury chest, windows open along with shop windows as well as your character, trade, and other windows.

When running the game at the minimal resolution of 1280×720, even if we were to change the item icons to text and make it as small as possible, the text lines would still take up a large column width.

With a small icon on the left, the text of the item name, and additional information such as number of items in the stack, the window width would have to be 1.5x larger than the current inventory window.

In the case of the gear set confirmation window, looking at the Japanese version, there appears to be some room that can be eliminated from the right-side, but the reason for this is because the item names for French and German are extremely long.

*By the way, the longest item name in the game is over 60 characters long.

While there were comments mentioning that if the item name is too long, we can have an ellipsis to truncate it, but for other languages the end of a word often shows the grade or special characteristic and if we truncated it this would result in it looking like a list of the same item names.

Additionally, the larger issue at hand is the latter one involving memory. When it comes to UI, the bitmap images are used for both icons and text that are loaded by memory, but the number of elements to display a single item are far less when using an icon than using a string of text.

Unlike a typical offline RPG, it’s necessary to have the proper structure to allow for multiple windows to be displayed at any given time or place in an MMO. If memory management and image asset management isn’t set tighter than an offline RPG, it will become laggy and not function properly.

The amount of resources that can be utilized for game designs where they can avoid menus during battle screens and such is very different.

*For those of you who are interested, please try an press the b, c, p, j, m, i, u, y, h, and k keys in succession on the PC version to open up multiple windows. There will gradually be stress placed on the system, but there almost no RPGs that exist that are designed to allow you to play the game with windows displayed like this. Being able to do this – for example, when fighting a primal – is a special characteristic of an MMO.

Taking a holistic approach to the circumstances and limitations here, we made the decision that it would be best to display items in inventory and Armoury Chest with icons. With that said though, while it will be difficult to do for the PS3 version, it is possible to have a separate option for text display in the PC version.

If only 10 icons are displayed with text, then we could separate the tabs into categories and it just might be possible to do this for the PS3 as well.

Currently, we are in the midst of stress testing the final large component of the UI that is constantly displayed on the screen – the alliance display. Once we’ve finalized this we can start taking a look at display variations and customization for existing features, but until then I apologize for any inconveniences and appreciate your understanding.

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