Vanilla UI Plus version 7.2 - June 14th
The new version is shipping with a fix for a major vanilla bug in scrollbars at the Pip-Boy. I was aware of the issue for a long time but I never thought it would be possible to fix it without a low level patch. Well, never say never.
Specifically, when you drag the scrollbar slider by mouse it often fails to properly scroll the list at the bottom. In some cases you have to keep dragging the mouse below the scrollbar, but in other cases it’s even more annoying. See the following video as an example:
Fallout 3 - vanilla interface with Pip-Boy 2500 and Pip-Boy 2500a glowing tubes.
With the bug fixed, the slider’s position now correctly represents the visible area of the list:
Fallout 3 - Vanilla UI Plus with original fonts, Pip-Boy 2500 and Pip-Boy 2500a glowing tubes.
As you can see from the 2nd video, dimensions have been optimally configured for the modified Pip-Boy. This was done by editing the settings file according to the suggestion at its updated comments, so be sure to check Data\Menus\VUI+\settings.xml if you’re planning to use either Pip-Boy 2500 or 2500a.
The new version also contains a minor alignment fix for the precision of the HUD reticle, polishes the fix for the disappearing lines on ultra high resolutions and includes a couple more tweaks.
Vanilla UI Plus version 7.1 - May 19th
While I didn’t plan any major change to this mod, a new minor version would still be published to address an issue with xbox controllers, reported by Ozzyfan. I also wanted to remove the NMM recommendation from the Readme’s installation section. VUI+ installs fine with it but essential mods (such as the MCM, JIP-LN Plugin, PN etc) no longer work with NMM’s latest developments.
At the same time I resumed working on a very old feature request: to restore the user interface font from Brian Fargo’s original Fallout. The request was pointing to a “Classic Fallout Font Replacer” mod at Bethesda.net, but its metrics made it unacceptable for the standards of Vanilla UI Plus. The font would look too small but it would occupy more space than vanilla’s default, breaking out of the info-cards. I simply couldn’t replace the standard font with something that would break elements that I worked so hard to fix in the first place.
On the other hand, the mod did mention its source as a truetype file in the Van Buren demo archive at ModDB. This looked great in desktop view, but my initial attempts to convert it to the Oblivion’s bitmap format looked as bad as the replacer mod. However I kept working on it and started making good versions of the font. At some point I’ve made something that would look good enough, even for non-nostalgia type users.
Opening the original “Fallouty” font with a hex editor, I discovered the license and the name of its original author: Sébastien “Red!” Caisse. The license would allow free usage as long as it would be included along with the original font in the package. I then contacted Red! who offered me some useful tips and was surprised to see that his conversion would still generate feedback after all these years!
There were only two obstacles remaining: implementing the font at the Pip-Boy, and keeping the rest of the UI intact. Pip-Boy edits are the most difficult, but thanks to the work I’ve done in version 6, everything came out nice.
Keeping the rest of the UI intact was an issue: the game offers a very limited number of font slots and I didn’t want to replace the common ones. While the JIP-LN Plugin for New Vegas can be used to expand the number of available fonts, Vanilla UI Plus is also designed for Fallout 3. So I was limited to the 8 vanilla slots. Thankfully one of those fonts was only used in the Pip-Boy and the Repair Services Menu, so I could easily replace it.
Once I finished with the original UI font, I turned my eyes to the all-caps font used for the original Fallout logo. The truetype version of this file was also included in the Van Buren archive, so I’ve converted it to replace the font used for quest names and level-up notifications at the HUD. Not nearly as important as the UI font, but still nice to have everything back.
Version 7 also comes with a nice small feature that I had developed for the Revelation patch: texture preloading. By preloading UI textures invisibly on the HUD, we can retain them for the entire game session and avoid excessive file I/O when a menu is opened.
The Companion Wheel is a good example for showcasing this feature. You’ve probably noticed that the game freezes for a moment before the menu is opened. This is noticeable in the ceiling fan on the video below:
The freeze started exactly when the E) key was pressed. That’s because the game had to read 34 texture files required for this menu. These will be cached like normal files, so the issue won’t affect repeated openings of the companion wheel, but after a while the disk cache gets cleaned up and the freeze returns.
On the following video, the preloading feature has been implemented:
There’s no lag on the ceiling fan because the menu opens instantly. Both videos were recorded right after the game was run, and the video showcasing the feature was actually recorded first so that it would not have the benefit of cached files.
Obviously this is of great importance for VUI+Revelation, which I intend to update in this summer. My checklist includes:
- Updating VUI+Revelation to VUI+ version 7
- Apply the Revelation style to the level-up menus
- Use the original Fallout font in all Revelation menus
So, stay tuned!