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  1. #1
    Narrel is offline The Lord of the Rings Online Team
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    Lightbulb Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    With the breaking news of Lua’s introduction into The Lord of the Rings Online, we wanted to give you a brief history of how this system came about, what state it is in, and where we want it to go.

    History:
    To start, I will say that the primary driver behind introducing UI plugins is this: no single version of a UI element will ever be ideal for all players everywhere. What one player loves about part of the UI can send the player standing next to them reeling into a frothing rage of frustration. Knowing this, a small group of us got together last year and began investigating the possibility of adding a UI scripting system.

    As several other games have used Lua successfully for UI scripting, we decided to look into it and were quickly able to get a prototype Lua UI scripting interface into our engine. Since then, we have gradually continued to develop the system alongside our other initiatives. Today, we are in the process of Beta testing the Lua UI scripting interface on our closed Beta preview servers.

    Current State:
    Many of you have been asking what this means when it goes live. This system has been implemented to allow players to override existing elements in the graphical user interface. The functionality available in its current state is small in scope but introduces a lot of fun UI possibilities. Our Lua-based UI plugin system exposes functionality through chunks of functionality referred to as “APIs.” In its current state, we have implemented the following APIs:

    • Basic UI element creation (such as windows, text boxes, buttons, etc.)
    • Quickslot information (allowing for additional quickslot arrangements for skills, items, etc.)
    • Inventory UI information
    • Your character’s morale/power information as well as what effects you currently have on you


    To clarify, our implementation of Lua scripting in our game is not a macro-able/BOT-able interface. The system does not allow automated input such as mouse-clicks or macroing, nor does it allow automatic skill execution. Any UIs created through Lua scripts will still require human interaction to use.

    We intend to continue heavy Beta testing on the Lua UI scripting system on the private test servers. There are several internal hurdles that remain to be cleared before the initial launch of the system and it is not yet guaranteed that “Lua in LOTRO” will launch in the Volume 3 Book 2 (F2P launch) timeframe. Much like our initial launch of QuestGuide or DX10, we will likely launch the feature as a public “beta” stage/“work in progress” as we continue to solidify and expand the initial functionality.

    The Future:
    As for our future plans for this, our intention is to continue to add more API functionality after the initial launch. For example, some of the popular requested APIs are: target, fellowship, and raid vitals, as well as vault functionality similar to the current API’s inventory functionality. The ultimate goal for this system is to allow players to legitimately customize their UI as a largely upgraded version of our current long-standing “UI skinning” tech. It’s all about the UI and letting players change it so the information we already expose in our current UI can be presented in different aesthetic fashions.

    I hope this information clarifies what “Lua scripting” means for The Lord of the Rings Online. As we come closer to the actual launch, we will provide more information into the specifics of the system. We are very excited about this feature and look forward to the day when it goes live allowing players to have a much more customizable experience with our graphical interface.

  2. #2
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Thanks for the clarification.
    << Co-founder of The Firebrands of Caruja on Landroval >>
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  3. #3
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    So definately no "gearscore" type of add-ons. Ok.
    Guess that also means no "auctioneer" types neither. Oh well.
    Um...I'll take it. I've begged for one consolidated BAG for long time...

    Good news!
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  4. #4

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Good to hear! This sounds like an excellent addition to LOTRO now.

    I wonder what plugins the community will come up with through this?
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  5. #5
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    What does Lua stand for?

    I know UI = user interface.

    And as long as there will be no bot scripts it's all good.

    Thanks for your hard work.

  6. #6

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Dinara View Post
    What does Lua stand for?
    From http://www.lua.org/about.html
    What's in a name?
    "Lua" (pronounced LOO-ah) means "Moon" in Portuguese. As such, it is neither an acronym nor an abbreviation, but a noun. More specifically, "Lua" is a name, the name of the Earth's moon and the name of the language. Like most names, it should be written in lower case with an initial capital, that is, "Lua". Please do not write it as "LUA", which is both ugly and confusing, because then it becomes an acronym with different meanings for different people. So, please, write "Lua" right!

  7. #7
    Narrel is offline The Lord of the Rings Online Team
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Dinara View Post
    What does Lua stand for?

    I know UI = user interface.

    And as long as there will be no bot scripts it's all good.

    Thanks for your hard work.
    To answer your question I'll give you an interesting information tidbit of the day: Lua as it was intentionally named isn't actually an acronym or abbreviation; it is a noun. According to the creators of the Lua scripting language, it is a Portuguese word meaning the moon (which also explains their logo that resembles the moon orbiting the Earth). So there you have it =).

    Edit: Blast! This is what I get for getting distracted while writing a post: Fredelas beat me to the punch =(.
    Last edited by Narrel; Jul 19 2010 at 05:37 PM.

  8. #8
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by auximenes View Post
    Thanks for the clarification.
    I just got a -Rep for this post. Whatevah.
    << Co-founder of The Firebrands of Caruja on Landroval >>
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  9. #9
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Gedachtnis View Post
    A Graph paper type overlay for the screen. I had one of these in WoW. Pretty much you loaded it up and it placed lines across your screen so it looked just like graph paper. You could then move UI elements around and line them up nice and straight. Just a handy little tool to make the custom UI's nice and neat.
    You can manually edit the location coordinates by loading up the UI save file and tweaking it with a text editor like Notepad. That's how I get my UI elements to line up nicely.
    << Co-founder of The Firebrands of Caruja on Landroval >>
    Ceolford of Dale, Dorolin, Tordag, Garberend Bellheather, Colfinn Belegorn, Garmo Butterbuckles, Calensarn Nimlos, Langtiriel, Bergteir


  10. #10

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by auximenes View Post
    You can manually edit the location coordinates by loading up the UI save file and tweaking it with a text editor like Notepad. That's how I get my UI elements to line up nicely.
    There's a reason I write overviews of addons in action and not actual addons

    I'm one of those people who knows just enough to be dangerous to themselves.

    Text editors and such are mine enimies!
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  11. #11
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Since this is the only place to talk about this (I dont post on beta forums) I hope nobody minds me asking another question

    The "Noob" Plugin, great fun, but me and a kinmate are thinking about a plugin for champs (could be done for hunters/tanks/wardens/WL) That would take some tech for Buffbars, recognize when a stance was off, and instead of NOOB on your screen a really big "Hows that no stance treating ya?" would pop up.

    A few of us think that would be great fun and have some actual practical usage.


    Thx.
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  12. #12

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Narrel View Post
    To clarify, our implementation of Lua scripting in our game is not a macro-able/BOT-able interface. The system does not allow automated input such as mouse-clicks or macroing, nor does it allow automatic skill execution. Any UIs created through Lua scripts will still require human interaction to use.
    I'm cautiously excited about LUA coming to LOTRO, but I had to comment on the above quote.

    Macro != Bot

    Anyone who has used macros in WoW knows full well that:
    • You can't use WoW macros to create a bot (that takes more sophisticated software)
    • Every single macro "will still require human interaction to use", aka a key press/mouse click

    I don't believe that /assist, the idea of having a /focus target, or the ability to choose the rank of heal cast based on whether Shift is being held down (man that would save me so much Quickslot room!) is gamebreaking. I can't even make simple RP emotes that I could in WoW!

    Macros are not gamebreaking and aren't bots. I think Blizzard did an admirable job in making a macro system worth using while limiting it so it didn't result in Bad Things(tm). I wish Turbine would take things beyond the extremely limited functionality they currently have.

    (The reason I say I'm cautiously excited about LUA in LOTRO is because I've experienced first hand how mods like Auctioneer can adversely affect the economy. There are some mods that I don't want to see in LOTRO.)

  13. #13
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoroval View Post
    I'm cautiously excited about LUA coming to LOTRO, but I had to comment on the above quote.

    Macro != Bot

    Anyone who has used macros in WoW knows full well that:
    • You can't use WoW macros to create a bot (that takes more sophisticated software)
    • Every single macro "will still require human interaction to use", aka a key press/mouse click

    I don't believe that /assist, the idea of having a /focus target, or the ability to choose the rank of heal cast based on whether Shift is being held down (man that would save me so much Quickslot room!) is gamebreaking. I can't even make simple RP emotes that I could in WoW!

    Macros are not gamebreaking and aren't bots. I think Blizzard did an admirable job in making a macro system worth using while limiting it so it didn't result in Bad Things(tm). I wish Turbine would take things beyond the extremely limited functionality they currently have.

    (The reason I say I'm cautiously excited about LUA in LOTRO is because I've experienced first hand how mods like Auctioneer can adversely affect the economy. There are some mods that I don't want to see in LOTRO.)
    I thought this current implementation (no macros allowed) was a good place to "draw the line"..
    However, You think it should be drawn on the other side of macros, but still prevent things like bots that can script/scan, like auctioneer. Seems hard to accomplish both simultaneously..

    Ok, but where in macros do you draw the line. At some point, the macros get pretty technical(macroing a series of macros to perform heals based on cooldown timers, targets, etc., aka Dumb bot scripts), and not having a highly regarded/required for X raid macro could be a negative thing for a pug player...
    What I mean is, I think it's much easier to draw the line where they have it right now. Maybe. Um...citation needed..lol
    Last edited by aleczander; Jul 19 2010 at 05:53 PM.
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  14. #14

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by aleczander View Post
    I thought this current implementation (no macros allowed) was a good place to "draw the line"..
    However, You think it should be drawn on the other side of macros, but still prevent things like bots that can script/scan, like auctioneer. Seems hard to accomplish both simultaneously..

    Ok, but where in macros do you draw the line. At some point, the macros get pretty technical(macroing a series of macros to perform heals based on cooldown timers, targets, etc., aka Dumb bot scripts), and not having a highly regarded/required for X raid macro could be a negative thing for a pug player...
    What I mean is, I think it's much easier to draw the line where they have it right now. Maybe. Um...citation needed..lol
    Let me start by stressing I'm in no way advocating, nor would I find acceptable, any system that allowed more than one in game "attack" per player input (keyboard press/mouse click). WoW macros don't allow it and it shouldn't be allowed here. However, I don't think that automating things such as targeting or sending text to FS/Raid channels, etc. is an issue. I don't think Turbine has to have as robust a system as WoW, but some expansion would be most welcome.

    Look at this nearly 3 year old example. To me it's perfectly fine if Turbine expanded the functionality to allow the following:

    • /alias add ;meztarget /cast Riddle /f -=[ Mezzing ;target ]=-

    One keypress/mouse click results in one in game "attack", a Riddle. The text sent to Fellowship Chat is just automated. It allows the word to get out without stepping all over anyone else talking in voice chat.

    As a mage in WoW I did some simple macros that determined whether I was in a Raid or a Party and would announce in the appropriate channel that I had polymorphed a target and what that target was. The macro also used a different polymorph spell (sheep, pig, turtle) depending on whether I held down nothing, Shift, or Ctrl when cast. It was still one keypress, one "attack".

    I also had a very simple macro on every character I played that would target my questing partner (by name) and then /follow'd them.

    • /target <playername>; /follow

    As simple as that is, it apparently can't even be done in LOTRO. That's all the functionality I'm asking for. I'm not asking for C here. I could probably get what I wanted by simply purchasing certain Logitech input devices and using those (I've read Turbine has previously stated those are fine to use as long as it doesn't result in a hands-off, AFK kind of play), but I'd rather have the functionality in game and under Turbine's control.

    Regarding Auctioneer, etc. the thing is mods don't use macros. Honestly, I was rather surprised to hear Turbine is adding LUA. Considering macro limitations, I figured Turbine would add additional macro functionality way before they added other LUA/mod support.

    Finally, while I was often omitted from groups (raids and even regular instance pugs) in WoW due to not having a particular mod installed, I was never even questioned about having or not having any particular macros. They just aren't that powerful.

    Anyways, my feedback to Turbine is expand the current macro capability, even if only a little bit at a time.
    Last edited by Thoroval; Jul 19 2010 at 09:11 PM.

  15. #15
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Regarding macros and targeting, you can do the following:

    /follow ;target

    You have to select the person/mob to follow first, but the click on the shortcut does the rest.

    And you likely know this, but for others, to add it to your shortcut bar:

    /shortcut ## /follow ;target

    Where ## is the quickslot number you want it to be (1-12 = first bar, 13-24 second, through 72 for 6th). I usually keep 1 slot empty at 72 and put a shortcut there, then move it to where I want it.

    ---

    On topic - I am excited about the Lua scripting, both to try my hand at programming my own things and to see what others come up with. As a fairly avid user of the UI skinning, I'm really curious to see where this goes, especially if you put the two together.
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  16. #16
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoroval View Post
    I'm cautiously excited about LUA coming to LOTRO, but I had to comment on the above quote.

    Macro != Bot

    Anyone who has used macros in WoW knows full well that:
    • You can't use WoW macros to create a bot (that takes more sophisticated software)
    • Every single macro "will still require human interaction to use", aka a key press/mouse click

    I don't believe that /assist, the idea of having a /focus target, or the ability to choose the rank of heal cast based on whether Shift is being held down (man that would save me so much Quickslot room!) is gamebreaking. I can't even make simple RP emotes that I could in WoW!
    Actually there is a somewhat healthy outbreak of botters in battlegrounds recently emerged and stated as using sophisticated macros. One youtube video points out this fact point by point through visual experimentation with a known botter. The bot /follows then /targets then /asserts faction, and then /determines outcome - all while following a path in a huge circle around the battleground. These macros are so well thought out that it was virtually impossible for the tester/guy showing us people exploiting, that he couldn't even lose the bots as ghosts. He was a stealth character too, and the bot still picked him up.

    Macros are not gamebreaking and aren't bots. I think Blizzard did an admirable job in making a macro system worth using while limiting it so it didn't result in Bad Things(tm). I wish Turbine would take things beyond the extremely limited functionality they currently have.

    (The reason I say I'm cautiously excited about LUA in LOTRO is because I've experienced first hand how mods like Auctioneer can adversely affect the economy. There are some mods that I don't want to see in LOTRO.)
    As long as there is a proper limit on the depth LUA can reach beyond UI, there should be no issue of botting or LUA exploitation. As of the past 5-6 months, WoW has shown that it can be done and in one youtube video, of a 10 v 10 match of WSG, 5 bots were discovered by this druid. So its getting worse.

  17. #17

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by johnflesh View Post
    Actually there is a somewhat healthy outbreak of botters in battlegrounds recently emerged and stated as using sophisticated macros. One youtube video points out this fact point by point through visual experimentation with a known botter. The bot /follows then /targets then /asserts faction, and then /determines outcome - all while following a path in a huge circle around the battleground. These macros are so well thought out that it was virtually impossible for the tester/guy showing us people exploiting, that he couldn't even lose the bots as ghosts. He was a stealth character too, and the bot still picked him up.



    As long as there is a proper limit on the depth LUA can reach beyond UI, there should be no issue of botting or LUA exploitation. As of the past 5-6 months, WoW has shown that it can be done and in one youtube video, of a 10 v 10 match of WSG, 5 bots were discovered by this druid. So its getting worse.
    If true, and I don't doubt you (I haven't played WoW in over a year) then Blizzard needs to close the loopholes. I'm sure they will. I find it interesting that it's taken folks this long to come up with these macros though. It apparently isn't easy and they're probably exploiting flaws in the system.

    It appears (I don't know for sure) that Turbine is being pretty conservative and cautious with LUA. From what I've heard regarding their past experience with AC bots, I'm not surprised that they're being cautious. I applaud them for their caution. I don't want bots and I don't want gamebreaking mods.

    All I'm asking for is the same approach with a decent macro system. Sure, there's some risk and they'll need to keep an eye on things. But there's risk to me every time I drive down the road. Some idiot may run a red light and t-bone me. That doesn't mean I sit at home in fear. I drive defensively and with necessary caution. When it comes to macros, Turbine is just sitting at home.

  18. #18

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    I'd just love to be able to surface the clock (I tend to stay up WAY too late) or perhaps a better indicator for who is talking in group.
    I think this may be a nice benefit once implemented.
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  19. #19

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Wilredoc View Post
    I'd just love to be able to surface the clock (I tend to stay up WAY too late) or perhaps a better indicator for who is talking in group.
    I think this may be a nice benefit once implemented.
    Front what has already been announced in this thread, I think you will find that both of these should be easily accomplished if Lua scripting is included in the final release. It sounds like authors may be working on these kinds of data presentation plugins already.

  20. #20

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoroval View Post
    If true, and I don't doubt you (I haven't played WoW in over a year) then Blizzard needs to close the loopholes. I'm sure they will. I find it interesting that it's taken folks this long to come up with these macros though. It apparently isn't easy and they're probably exploiting flaws in the system.
    Actually they have been around for ages, they are just becoming more widespread. You can by various 'tools' such as macros/bots/etc for quite a bit of money from varying wesbites, most of these 'tools' stay pretty secret and the common gamer won't know the difference.

    Tons of games have issues like this, and it takes a very long time for remedies to be found as it takes a while till the tools become mainstream enough to draw attention(usually by someone by the 'tool' and distributing it to kinmates,friends, etc rather then keeping it to themselves[like the tool creator says to]. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if there were multiple 3rd party tools for LoTRO that people don't know about(Mining/Foresting bots, fishing bots, etc). I think the only common known bot in existence for LOTRO now is the PvMP multiaccount botter.

    Until more people get their hands on tools they will stay relatively hidden, but it doesn't take long after a games release(usually first 3 months) for their to be rudimentary tools out there to circumvent game technology.

    akin to C? in which way? Even JavaScript is more like C in syntax, structure and operators than Lua is. If anything Lua is closer to older "acronym soup" languages.
    I wouldn't bother trying to argue with him - I don't think he's got certifications in any languages or technologies. The way he speaks makes it sound more 'script-kiddie' then anything else.
    I'm an expert - look at my join date, bro.

  21. #21

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Starrywisdom View Post
    Actually they have been around for ages, they are just becoming more widespread. You can by various 'tools' such as macros/bots/etc for quite a bit of money from varying wesbites, most of these 'tools' stay pretty secret and the common gamer won't know the difference.

    Tons of games have issues like this, and it takes a very long time for remedies to be found as it takes a while till the tools become mainstream enough to draw attention(usually by someone by the 'tool' and distributing it to kinmates,friends, etc rather then keeping it to themselves[like the tool creator says to]. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if there were multiple 3rd party tools for LoTRO that people don't know about(Mining/Foresting bots, fishing bots, etc). I think the only common known bot in existence for LOTRO now is the PvMP multiaccount botter.

    Until more people get their hands on tools they will stay relatively hidden, but it doesn't take long after a games release(usually first 3 months) for their to be rudimentary tools out there to circumvent game technology.
    I wouldn't doubt it - LotRO is no different than any other Windows game using DirectX/DirectInput.

    Quote Originally Posted by Starrywisdom View Post
    I wouldn't bother trying to argue with him - I don't think he's got certifications in any languages or technologies. The way he speaks makes it sound more 'script-kiddie' then anything else.
    well, it wouldn't come as much of a surprise - he did sound like he was making some interesting assumptions, but it was more curiosity than actually trying to argue.
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  22. #22
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Starrywisdom View Post
    I think the only common known bot in existence for LOTRO now is the PvMP multiaccount botter.
    Wait, what? I'm going to need more information.
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  23. #23
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Will plugins like grid and clique (from WoW) be available?

  24. #24
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Utopia View Post
    I can't obviously post the API documentation itself, but that thread should answer most questions, and I'll be happy to answer any others you might have.
    I'm in the beta myself, I don't have any problems, thanks. But I'm sure there are people who want to develop LUA addons who aren't in the beta. And they need the API documentation, not a summary.
    But by the way, great work, I really like your LUA posts.
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  25. #25

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Adalas View Post
    I'm in the beta myself, I don't have any problems, thanks. But I'm sure there are people who want to develop LUA addons who aren't in the beta. And they need the API documentation, not a summary.
    But by the way, great work, I really like your LUA posts.
    The API has changed subtly with each new beta release so far. If someone attempted to author a plugin based on the "current" documentation, it wouldn't even work. (The documentation hasn't been updated since Beta 2 a month or so ago, despite several feature-breaking changes having been made.) Not to mention the author would be unable to test the plugin.

    There are now ways to get a guaranteed beta invite (fileplanet, I believe) if authors are itching to contribute.

 

 
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