The Content Creation Improvement User Group (CCIUG) has been discussing redesign of the Build Panel. Geenz Spad has been bugging me to get people interested in redesign of the panel. I’ve been like, “OMG! This is boring…” Now with the announcement of a materials system project, I understand his motivation. See: Second Life Materials System Announced.
To implement the materials system will require design changes to the Build Panel. Whether anyone likes the idea or not the panel is going to change. So, you can either participate in the design process or not. HOWEVER… for all the clueless people that can’t handle change or cope with frustration and fill the forums with rants without participating in the process, remember. We will be pointing to this point in the design process to mock you. :p
Two Build Panels
Some think the Build Panel is already too complex for new people. They are thinking that perhaps splitting the panel into basic and advanced panels would be a wise move.
Consider. For moving furniture and adjusting prim attachments a simplified panel might be a good thing. That would be all new players would need. The Basic Panel could change into or perhaps link to an advanced builder’s panel, which would have all the tools.
There is consideration of whether the Basic and Advanced panels should be two panels that work together on the screen. This would save duplication of Basic controls in the Advanced panel.
Bottom Menu Tools
I suppose those could be buttons you could move around. Imagine having a move button. Click it and select an item and the move arrows appear on the object. It would make it easier for new users to move furniture and stuff.
There could be buttons for scaling and rotation too.
Not much more is really needed.
Some think a new tab would be all that is needed. The new materials setting could be put in a new tab. Little if anything else needs to change.
Move to a Sidebar
Some would like to see the build panel move into a sidebar. Remember the sidebar? I suppose something like that. Others think placing it in a side bar would be a horrid solution.
I don’t know which is best or better. I do know that I have to keep moving the Build Panel around the screen when I am building. It manages to keep getting in the way. I think it has to do with how the Alt-Left-Click-Hold camera control takes the clicked point to the center of the screen. A sidebar might solve that problem for me… or it might just eat up screen space.
Could the sidebar be dockable? I suppose so. That might be more popular with everyone. In my mind the question is: what to do with the docked buttons we have now?
What Goes Where?
As one starts to consider a redesign of the Build Panel one has to think of what controls need to be in the Basic Panel and which only in the Advanced panel.
What about textures? I think that is an advanced building skill. Think about each step one has to take to change texture.
Each item in the panel has to be considered and the controls divided up into basic and advanced. What would you put where?
Some think the dividing line should be based on whether the person is a ‘user’ or a ‘builder’. I’m not sure there is a clear dividing line there. Or that it is a good consideration. What about the problem of teaching people how to build? Now they see lots of controls to experiment with and may learn more just from being curious. Of course some may see the panel and feel overwhelmed. Speculation won’t provide a good answer to these questions. One needs actual user metrics. I don’t know if we’ll get that from the Lab.
I’m just touching on a few of the points that came up in week 33’s meeting. If this interests you, get to the meeting on Tuesday at 3 PM SLT/PT in Hippotroplis.