First, the clean version
And the version with the legend
Explanation of the legend.
First of all i used the existing visual elements and kept it simple because that was much easier to do. The current "elfish" visual style of the borders of the Ui elements is ok. If i was doing it from the ground up and if i was paid for the work i would probably try something slightly different, maybe using the visual style, the colors and textures of the Baldurs Gate city architecture, maybe something else, but since i dont know what the design team will use to create the city and im not paid for spending time on this, the current visual style and elements will do.
The point of this Ui idea is to present different functionality most of all, not a different visual style approach.
The current Ui is... okaaaay,... its serviceable but, could be better.
Presents the button for grouping and ungrouping the party. What you see there is an ungrouped party where each character is separated from the group and moves independently when selected.
If the button is pressed again, the portraits move toward each other and coalesce until they are touching with the top and bottom of the portrait pictures. The party is then grouped and move all together.
The chain is just a visual detail, it can stay or go, doesnt have any specific function in this example.
The position can be moved a bit lower to accommodate the initiative order portraits during combat. Whatever.
The minimap. We dont really need it to be open all the time and take all of that screen space.
We have the big map anyway and the small one is actually needed very rarely. It would be nice if we could collapse it to the side slide element. (it would be nice if the world map, area map and the minimap were improved so they resemble the real world old school-fantasy style maps which i prefer. The area and minimap are not that clear either and look unappealing and somewhat cheap)
S.1 element is the same as in the game right now. Ive added two more such side sliding elements - S.2 and S.3, which can serve to show different things that dont need to be in the main Ui element. For example, the Reaction icons can be on the right side, hidden from view in the S.2 element. I didnt notice i can do anything about those anyway. You just choose a reaction on level up and its always on, as far as ive seen. If there will be any options about more different reactions later on in the game - its still nothing we need to see at all times. S.3 element on the left is there to provide symmetry to the Ui elements and to serve as an container for whatever. I dont need to know everything. (although i have a suggestion)
The Main Ui element - U.
The main idea here is to separate all the skills we have into two separate general categories. The Magical skills and the Physical skills.
And to keep each in their own sections of the main Ui element, on the left and right named U.1 and U.2
U.1 on the left,
Contains all the physical skills and abilities our characters have, as well as any other physical items such as potions and bombs.
U.2 on the right,
Contains all the magical stuff, The spells, the scrolls and whatever else is magical. (maybe potions can be moved to this side cause they are relatively magical too)
BUT - all these different items and skills are separated into their own subcategories - inside their specific two general sections.
So for example, the Spells would be separate from the Scrolls and Potions inside the U.2 side of the main Ui. The icons for each sub category would not mix together.
Melee combat and archery and bombs would be separate sub categories of icons in the U.1 side of the main Ui.
As well as the physical abilities such as jumping, helping or reviving the knocked down companion, dashing, throwing items, dipping weapons, pushing and sneaking. (optionally these can be moved to the S.3 element)
Next to the clock in the middle on each side, at positions named U.3 and U.4 I positioned the icons to quickly select the sub categories inside each of the U.1 and U.2 main categories (more icons for each subcategory can be and should be added)
So, if you would select the sword icon for melee attacks on the left - you would only see the various melee attack skills and abilities icons in the U.1 section of the main Ui.
If you click on the Archery icon you would only see your different ranged combat options or moves and arrow icons.
If you would click on the spells or the scrolls on the right, you would only see spells or scrolls in the U.2 section of the main window.
The nice big triangle buttons on each side would serve to change sub categories and or to scroll up and down all icons of each sub category in case the visible space fills up.
(of course the actual designers could do these visual elements much better, this is just a simple example)
Each side of the main Ui could be extended to the left and right edges of the screen just like the current Ui can be extended.
slightly edited for clarity