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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.
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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

    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.)

  9. #9
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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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  10. #10
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Narrel View Post
    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 =(.

    Actually I'm glad you answered and confirmed her explaination.

    I kinda thought that maybe the word had a different meaning than what Fredelas was offering. You confirmed....Thank you both!

    So Lua is a scripting language so named by the creators.

  11. #11
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Call me cautiously optimistic. As someone who is not a huge fan of the current UI as a whole, I'm wondering how difficult it will be to change. As someone who's never used LUA before, is it easy enough to pick up or will I just be stuck waiting until someone else makes something close to what I want?
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  12. #12

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by ShinryuLOTR View Post
    Call me cautiously optimistic. As someone who is not a huge fan of the current UI as a whole, I'm wondering how difficult it will be to change. As someone who's never used LUA before, is it easy enough to pick up or will I just be stuck waiting until someone else makes something close to what I want?
    It's a programming language... so that would depend on how skilled of a programmer you are.
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  13. #13

    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.

  14. #14
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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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  15. #15
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Iracham View Post
    It's a programming language... so that would depend on how skilled of a programmer you are.
    Well, that clears it up, thanks. I wasn't sure if it was a more visual system or a text based one. I have done some programming before so I'll have to see it up close then.
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  16. #16

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by ShinryuLOTR View Post
    Well, that clears it up, thanks. I wasn't sure if it was a more visual system or a text based one. I have done some programming before so I'll have to see it up close then.
    Lua is kinda "Visual Basic-ish" at least in terms of "wordiness". Using extra words such as "then" or "end" instead of brackets - might make it actually easier to learn/read for the novice.
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  17. #17
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    The only thing I found confusing about it at first was the whole table stack thing.

    Oh and you start a new code block by way of indentation instead of using a '{' or a 'begin'.
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  18. #18
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by atimes View Post
    Oh and you start a new code block by way of indentation instead of using a '{' or a 'begin'.
    This statement isn't true. If you are interested in learning more about Lua, then I suggest you visit the homepage, http://www.lua.org/home.html. The About link has a very good overview.

    Regards,

    Brad

  19. #19
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Digital_Utopia View Post
    Lua is kinda "Visual Basic-ish" at least in terms of "wordiness". Using extra words such as "then" or "end" instead of brackets - might make it actually easier to learn/read for the novice.
    Phew...I'm a FORTRAN and Visual Basic programmer...all those languages that require punctuation drive me nuts! Counting brackets is for the birds.
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  20. #20
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by b-morgan View Post
    This statement isn't true. If you are interested in learning more about Lua, then I suggest you visit the homepage, http://www.lua.org/home.html. The About link has a very good overview.

    Regards,

    Brad
    Has it changed from this then?

    Code:
    local i = 1
       while a[i] do
         print(a[i])
         i = i + 1
       end
    as opposed to the more "traditional" style of
    Code:
    local i = 1
    
       while a[i] do
       {
         print(a[i])
         i = i + 1
       }

    Because with my (limited) Lua experience that is how you branched because '{' was reserved for tables.
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  21. #21

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    First, I agree go to the LUA site to look up how the code work's.

    Second LUA is more akin to C code, and if you do any coding these days it's not in notepad but in a editor that uses color syntax highlighting and code formatting.

    I use either GVim (Windows or Linux, same GVim) or Notepad++ (Windows notepad replacement)

    The type of code where you use indentation is python and LUA is not python in nature.

    Something else, seems a few people don't like auctioneer in WoW. Consider that a lot of addons in WoW are more or less information gathering and displaying addons, auctioneer is not a bot nor does it give anyone a unfair advantage. But instead will show the AH in a more easier to use Interface. giving one a better access to the information present in the AH and the abilities to look at and manipulate that info in a easy to use manner. If you think the scan feature it uses is bad consider what it actually does, it simply a method to cache the pricing of items for easy reference to it's history, if you read the auctioneer Dev pages you will understand that a lot of business financial math went into the back end in a effort to understand the ebb and flow of the AH market place.

    Some people just love to play the market (Must have a copy Ferengi Rules Of Acquisition handy) and that is the game they enjoy.

    The current AH in LOTRO I think really need's a bit of a overhaul, I still think the auction/selling board you put up in the EQ2 (In your house) is the best.

    I would wish for a longer auction period myself.

    As they stated, not everyone is 100% happy with all UI elements and LUA gives the end user a ability to customize the UI the way they find the game most comfortable and that makes it more attractive to more players.

    LUA is a interesting language to learn but what info the LOTRO Dev's expose in the UI will be key, since they are a lot of very creative programmers out there.
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  22. #22

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by atimes View Post
    Has it changed from this then?

    Code:
    local i = 1
       while a[i] do
         print(a[i])
         i = i + 1
       end
    as opposed to the more "traditional" style of
    Code:
    local i = 1
    
       while a[i] do
       {
         print(a[i])
         i = i + 1
       }

    Because with my (limited) Lua experience that is how you branched because '{' was reserved for tables.
    The snippet you show can be done without white space

    Code:
    local i = 1
    while a[i] do
    print(a[i])
    i = i + 1
    end
    Will work but is not pretty, remember that white space in this language is a lot like C code and is for human readability.

    Another thing to remember is that LUA, in the way WoW uses it and I suspect that LOTRO will use it, is not a compiled language and it behaves just like a shell script would in Bash for example. It is why when you look at addons in WoW (The code) you tend to have all functions at the top.

    Indentation is what usually will screw up a C/C++ coder who starts to learn Python.

    C and other languages that use ';' for the end of code lines, it is used by the compiler when it turns the code into object form. C for example will strip out all white space the is not explicitly inside quotes or () before it does starts to actually compile the code.

    EDIT: One quick note, the ';' can be used like in C but is optional. Just checked the LUA Manual.
    Last edited by wmerkens; Jul 20 2010 at 01:36 PM.
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  23. #23
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    WTB ... Buff Bar that can actually be read easily! It's always astounded me that the mail alerts get a decent sized icon, but if I want to see what buffs I have on I need to squint at the bottom of my unit frame to look at them.

    Oh for some decent buff bars, cooldown timers, action/button bars and clean unit frames WITHOUT PORTRAITS. I swear, it will be heaven.
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  24. #24

    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by wmerkens View Post
    Something else, seems a few people don't like auctioneer in WoW. Consider that a lot of addons in WoW are more or less information gathering and displaying addons, auctioneer is not a bot nor does it give anyone a unfair advantage.
    I'd like to explain my view of Auctioneer. First, I know it's not a bot. I used to use it a TON in WoW, loved it in fact, and I know plenty of folks who made lots of gold using it. (The AH WAS the game for a couple of them.) I was fine with that. I believe in a free market economy.

    However, what I discovered though years of Auctioneer use is it often helps keep prices unnaturally inflated. For example, I recall a patch that took some spells that used to only be instance dropped books and put them on class trainers. Six months after this patch, I checked prices on the AH (the books still dropped in instances as before). The book prices were still sky high even though the spells could just be purchased from the trainers for next to nothing! (Think LOTRO Legendary trait books. They still drop in instances, but are also on class trainers.)

    I then started checking a whole list of items that were obsolete or easily farmable, some even soloable, for example stuff from level 50 instances. Many of the items were still just ridiculously priced. If that was happening for that many specific items, what was happening with everyday consummables? Were they actually artificially inflated as well?

    Why was this happening? My theory is that many folks using Auctioneer had no idea about real markets and simply listed items at Auctioneer's recommended price. It didn't matter that they were using months old, obsolete scan data. This resulted in more recent scans still showing stupidly high prices. It just perpetuated the problem.

    I won't go into cases were I've seen folks manipulate the market for certain items by posting/buying items in a manner intended to manipulate Auctioneer.

    I think the bad outweighs the good in this particular case, but I'm not going to jump up and down in dismay if an Auctioneer-like mod comes to LOTRO. I just recommend against it. I've watched the LOTRO market fluctuate in realistic ways that I've never seen in WoW which always seemed stuck on highway robbery.

    I do agree that the LOTRO AH is in severe need of an overhaul.
    Last edited by Thoroval; Jul 20 2010 at 08:06 PM.

  25. #25
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    Re: Lua UI Plugins in LOTRO

    Quote Originally Posted by Thoroval View Post
    I then started checking a whole list of items that were obsolete or easily farmable, some even soloable, for example stuff from level 50 instances. Many of the items were still just ridiculously priced. If that was happening for that many specific items, what was happening with everyday consummables? Were they actually artificially inflated as well?

    Why was this happening? My theory is that many folks using Auctioneer had no idea about real markets and simply listed items at Auctioneer's recommended price.
    For low level farmable materials, I think it's not the case. As someone who does go out and gather this stuff in the games (LotRO and WoW), it really is a case of supplying the market where no-one else can be bothered to gather it. People when they get to high levels and have lots of cash are happier to folk out the "jingling-stuff" for materials than go out and collect it themselves. Simple.

    That and it gives alts are bit of a boost that was not available back in the early days of the game.

    I know that's off topic .... but I don't think you can blame Auctioneer for that. It's market forces.

    I do agree that the LOTRO AH is in severe need of an overhaul.
    If the community can develop a better AH and mail interface, I'll be ecstatic!
    [charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/0420800000002289f/01003/signature.png]Degoras[/charsig]

 

 
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