There is so much snow on the ground right now that I can barely leave my house, even if I wanted to. Insanity has engulfed the city; snow madness will soon set in. Why do people live in these terrible climates again? Oy. Hopefully, dear reader, you are somewhere nice and warm, kicking your feet up on the desk and giving yourself the break you deserve with some Reader UI of the Week.
You might remember Vhei from a long while back -- in June, to be exact -- when we looked at Ve's UI. Same person, new name. Back then, Ve's UI was a nice, segmented interface that relied on strong border contrasts to separate interface elements from one another. I probably said something like, "I don't like spaces!" You know me all too well. Ve, now Vhei, has returned with a new offering, one that I very much enjoy, since I'm a sucker for good texture work. So stand back as I plow through this column like the snow plow that never showed up on my street. Please send help. There's so much snow.
What do you got for me, Vhei?
It's Ve again. Except I had to name change my main toon to Vhei after I moved him from Area 52 to Dentarg. Since last time, I have taken the feedback from everyone who commented and have designed a whole new interface in lieu of Cataclysm, with matching colors to set a dark, eerie molten lava theme. What you see is the manifestation of 3 days work, on and off. Sporadically, I worked in Photoshop CS5 to design the bottom and top first before cutting it up for KG Panels into 512 x 512 dimensions.
My last design was black and blue, which coincided with the Lick King frost-esque theme; however, seeing as we're turning a new page in World of Warcraft, this meant a new UI scheme, one to match the current expansion. Ergo, black and orange came about. Less data broker, as you may see and a more reasonable approach to screen real estate awareness. As you can see, the design is complex and data-heavy, to an extent. I do enjoy seeing statistics on my screen without having to navigate to the proper pane. For this reason, I have TitanPanel and SLDT Data text among many other addons, which are:
- TitanPanel Data Broker at the top with custom skin
- PitBull Unit Frames 4 To replace Blizzard UFs
- Elkano's Buff Frames For a matching structure to the theme. It still allows to cancel with right click, which is hard to come by with such versatility after 4.0.1
- Prat Enchanted chat modification
- Quartz Allows me to modify my casting bar and to conveniently allocate it inside that little nook at the middle of my screen, out of the way but plainly in sight.
- ButtonFacade Something I failed to utilize at the birth of my last itteration of this type of UI. It allows for a more fluid and concise design of my buttons. See how they all have orange borders? Thanks, ButtonFacade.
- Bartender 4 Extremely powerful bar addon. It allows me to minimize my bars into nothing.
- SLDT Data Text This nifty addon displays real-time stats on my screen such as FPS, latency, time, coords, location and my mailbox status.
- SexyMap Enhanced and powerful minimap configuration.
- WoW-Pro Quest Tracker replaces and leveling guide. Now that I have 5 levels to dredge through, I'll need it.
- Skada Damage meters for raids and dungeons.
- KGPanels The pinnacle of my UI. Without this, I'd be nothing. This addon grants me the power to display custom artwork on my UI.
You might have noticed that I have configured Skada and WoW-Pro to overlay with different protocols. Skada appears during raids and dungeons while WoW-Pro appears when I am leveling. I have also scripted, vigorously, for my KGPanel art to coincide with each addon. That way, when Skada appears, the bottom of the box it is held in fades away due to its dynamic nature. You won't always have 3 DPS and 1 tank. I have also configured both Skada and WoW-Pro to scroll when they pass the limit of visibility. I have also taken a liking to my new and snug castbar, which rests in the bottom middle of the screen flowing with my interface instead of just plastered on.
I hope you guys enjoyed my new UI and many cheers to all. Thank you and good night.
Ve (Vhei) of <Running Wylde> on Dentarg
P.S. A shoutout to my GM Adoreus: 'Sup?
Thank you for the submission, Vhei. I know that come later in the day, I'll have a million requests in my inbox for this one, but hopefully everyone in the comments can help some people out with some decent lower panel art.
I like Vhei's art because it isn't overwhelming. The textures are complex, yes, but I think the art does a good job in being so distinct from the addons that live on top of it. The cut-outs for each addon are cut out specifically for the addon that goes there, so if you're going to make your own art in a similar fashion, be sure to assemble the UI first on paper and then draw it out on the computer.
The new color scheme is nice, and the whole setup reminds me of the dashboard on a car. Spacing is excellent, and the color and texture coordinated top and bottom elements gel together very nicely. There is a lot of scripting that goes on behind the scenes in kgPanels, as Vhei discussed in the email, but there are many workarounds for complicated art such as this. If you don't really care about the shifting tiles and crazy art size changes, just make a spot for those addons and fit the addon to the hole, not the other way around.
Slimming down the unit frames
Vhei's unit frames are slim and, for a tank or DPS, this is definitely the way to go. As a warrior tank, I used to think that I would need a robust Grid setup to be competant at using Intervene -- that is, until I created a mouseover macro for it and never had to click on Grid again. The slim frames allow only the vital information to be present, mostly health and mana, and to save on screen space.
Vhei already saves on screen space by having the art come up to a point, instead of becoming a gradient that could grow larger if the need ever arose. Instead, the art and the interface are built as one, and leaving out the unit frames allows Vhei to have a bit more freedom with them and not have to craft a large piece of art for that specific element.
Text is back, baby!
Text is one of the cleanest, simplest, and minimalist ways that you can slim down your UI and get the information you need right in front of you. I talk about SLDataText a lot, and for good reason, because the addon rocks and gives you excellent information right where you need it -- mainly, anywhere you want. Simple text takes up a fraction of the space graphics do and, if you're just a smidge savvy with the kgPanels, can create simple black backgrounds for your text addons.
Another thing that's great about text is that it is easily configurable. Most people already understand the basics behind text customization -- fonts and size. Also, text sits nicely on top of other addons, including across the tops of chat addons and cast bar addons.
Vhei, I love the new setup. If you wanted to send me the bottom art piece, I'd love to share it with the rest of the site and our readers in a special article of sorts. Let me know! Until then, I'm hard at work on a bottom panel specially designed for Reader UI of the Week readers that I can write some tutorials for. After a long bit of thought on the matter, I decided against writing a guide on any art dealing with SpartanUI. That is their art, they worked very hard on their UI, and I wouldn't feel right co-opting it in any way at all. I still want them to do a slim version of their UI, however.
Interested in getting the most out of your user interface? Come back once a week for more examples of reader UIs. For more details on individual addons, check out Addon Spotlight, or visit Addons 101 for help getting started.