mrlachatte: (Default)
I had this idea for an alternate/novelty IRC client, which would introduce some interesting new chatting paradigms (big word lolz).  Basically, my client revolves around the idea that there's no window.  It'll always be on the top of all your windows, and it's completely transparent.  All messages appear at the bottom of your screen in a cartoony bubble, and slowly float up to the top of the screen and burst/fade out.  Any messages that involve your name will be coloured differently or something, to get your attention.  You can click on a bubble at any time to "reply" to it (prefix your message with the sender's name), or press some key combo and a cartoony input bubble appears, and stretches across the taskbar or something.

Other ways to make it less intrusive that I just thought of - all bubbles have 20% opacity by default (this can be changed), but if you move the mouse over a bubble then it fades opaque, and returns to transparent on mouseout.  There could also be a hotkey that would set the opacity for all bubbles to a specific amount (60%?) if a conversation suddenly piques your interest.

Now, this doesn't address the problem of multiple channels, and I can't see any way to add that without completely confusing the user.  I guess different types of messages could appear at different locations onscreen (server messages on the far left, with very little opacity, private messages somewhere in the middle with more opacity than normal messages?)

Now, I just found GhostIRC a bit ago, and it's interesting how this guy had some of the same ideas as me.  I still think that my "client" would be easier to use (if harder to implement) as the screenshot doesn't look all that pretty, what with the text completely obscuring what's going on underneath.  I'm fairly certain that my client would need a windowed log in order to review messages that disappeared or you missed.  Perhaps multiple channels could be implemented this way, a small bubble in the top of the screen that appears when you move the mouse in its vicinity, and contains a list of all the channels you're in.  Only one at a time can be active, however, and when you choose a different one then your display of bubbles changes as well.  All messages will still be logged, and little status indicators could appear by channel names indicating whether there are new messages, and whether any of them contain your name.

Yeah, the more I flesh this idea out, the more it sounds like a lot of fun to play with.  It's too bad that I have no idea how to do one of those always-on-top apps, especially a window-less one like this.  I like the names SpeechBubble, or BubbleTalk, as well.

December 2007

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