Author Topic: GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar  (Read 1657 times)

Offline x4000

  • Chris Park, Arcen Games Founder and Lead Designer
  • Arcen Staff
  • Zenith Council Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 31,237
GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar
« on: January 26, 2018, 01:39:08 PM »

This is another area that is likely to be kind of contentious, and it's one that needs to convey a lot of information in a small area.  The main things under discussion here are:

1. The sidebar on the right-hand-side with the ship icons, in general.
2. What to do with the squad counts.
3. What to do with the squad mark levels.
4. What the control groups part should be like.
5. How these should be ordered and segmented.
6. If multiple marks of the same ship type should be collapsed into one entry (yes?).
7. If we should have a second, sidebar-specific tooltip for each item at the mouse cursor (please!).
8. What we should do about showing the selected ships, since that's kinda related.  It's not in the game at present, in the sense that we had it in the first game.

Take our quick poll and give us your feedback on the Sidebar!

https://goo.gl/forms/wTu9E5LJT9FqTZ2y2
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 04:07:56 PM by Dune »
Have ideas or bug reports for one of our games?  Mantis for Suggestions and Bug Reports. Thanks for helping to make our games better!

Offline etheric42

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 107
Re: GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2018, 06:03:25 PM »
This is a long post with a lot of questions.  One of the neat features of this forum software is after you hit reply it shows previous posts beneath the reply box.  You can scroll down to that post and find the relevant section, highlight it and hit "Quote (selected)" and it pastes that quote into the bottom of your reply.  Since there are a lot of questions though, feel free to just copy/poaste this whole block and just type "Response: (your response)" or whatever on the line right below each question.

I have taken the list from Chris's post and added specific sub-questions to each item that he mentioned in the video:

Currently shown on the sidebar:
Control groups (even ones on different planets)
Enemy ships and squads (and total strength)
Own and allied ships and squads (and total strength)
Individual numbers of ships in a squad are not shown.  Instead color, ship icon and number of squads are shown.

1. The sidebar on the right-hand-side with the ship icons, in general.

2. What to do with the squad counts.
How should the quantities be aligned in the sidebar?  Should there be an "x" in front of the number?  What if the number of squads gets too large?

3. What to do with the squad mark levels.
This might be useful to see enemy planets with high number of high mk ships and also when you are down to just your mk1s.

Maybe the lowest mark level of the class of ship in the upper-left corner while the highest mark level goes in the upper-right?

4. What the control groups part should be like.
How should control groups be shown?

Keith uses control groups a lot and advocates people should use them more (how to get people to use them effectively?)

Currently you can see control groups on other planets in the planet sidebar and you can click on a control group to focus on it even if it isn't on the planet.  Handy, but it sounds like it should be an advanced feature.

5. How these should be ordered and segmented. (visible at 14:30 in video)
Enemy ships grouped together and self and allies grouped together seems like a good idea.  Is it?  How should it be sorted within a section?  By ship class then player, or by player then ship class?

How should the classes of ships be sorted?  King units first, then structures, then mobile ships?  Probably should not sort on number of squads because it would change frequently.  Could do it alphabetically, but the names aren't shown in the sidebar.

6. If multiple marks of the same ship type should be collapsed into one entry (yes?).

7. If we should have a second, sidebar-specific tooltip for each item at the mouse cursor (please!).
Currently there is a detailed set of information on the left side of the screen when you hover over a ship on the right sidebar.  That's a long way for the eye to travel, but it is consistent and doesn't block the view.  Should that info be all the way on the left?  Chris suggested maybe a small tooltip with critical information (unit name, faction, quantity, strength, % health, and that's it) appear at the mouse pointer while the full data still appears on the left.

8. What we should do about showing the selected ships, since that's kinda related.  It's not in the game at present, in the sense that we had it in the first game.
In the original there was a scrollable list with text and health of component classes of ships.  Chris liked that, but it is inconsistant.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 10:01:44 PM by etheric42 »

Offline etheric42

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 107
Re: GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2018, 10:35:12 PM »
2. What to do with the squad counts.
How should the quantities be aligned in the sidebar?  Should there be an "x" in front of the number?  What if the number of squads gets too large?
I don't think there needs to be an x.  Right justify is fine, but see my response to how to display marks for a suggestion (oh and make sure squads are capped small enough that it never gets too large.  Display a smiley face or something if a modder raises the cap to add an extra digit.)

3. What to do with the squad mark levels.
This might be useful to see enemy planets with high number of high mk ships and also when you are down to just your mk1s.
Don't display the mark level, instead position the quantities of squads to represent the number of squads of that mark.  If you have to make the icons a bit bigger to make it fit, you've saved from having the same class of ship show up multiple times.  I don't remember how many levels you are planning on putting into this version, but if it is four, then display:

 | ICON |
Mk1 | Mk2
Mk3 | Mk4

With the quantity of ships of that mark replacing the abbreviation in that diagram.  For example:

| Fighter |
000 | 012
102 | 000

Means that there are 12 mk2 fighters and 102 mk3 fighters. (you can leave the 000s as just 0 if you want, I just left all three for spacing on the forum)

4. What the control groups part should be like.
How should control groups be shown?

Keith uses control groups a lot and advocates people should use them more (how to get people to use them effectively?)

Currently you can see control groups on other planets in the planet sidebar and you can click on a control group to focus on it even if it isn't on the planet.  Handy, but it sounds like it should be an advanced feature.
I loved control groups, patrols, and the ability to set control groups and patrols to construction facilities in Total Annihilation.  My preferred way to play was multiple humans vs AI with increased game speed.  It allowed me to build mass automated armies.  I thought that would be a core way to play the original AI War, but in practice I really didn't do that.  Static defenses and early warning was how I typically played and a drag-selected main fleet (sometimes split, sometimes moving to defend, often in FRD while idle) was enough to handle most situations.  I usually only used grouping to quickly find builders or if I had a specific class of ship I needed to micro (like some kind of seige ship I might break off from my attack blob).  Other than that, ships were built, destroyed, repurposed and redesignated faster than I had time to manage with control groups (ships destroyed on an attack likely would be immediately replaced at construction facilities and I wouldn't want them to move and trickle into the assault in progress (or show up late) and often they should stay right where they were constructed in order to defend or be easily found for another fleet massing).

On the other hand, I love games that have gameplay/ui-facilitated fleets.  Instead of it being an arbitrarily selected group, it represents your primary fleets/strike groups for use when maneuvering around the game.  Selecting one of the fleets (and it should be double-click to center... but what if the fleet is spread out... center on a flagship?  Largest cluster?) should allow you to easily deploy massed firepower where they are needed strategically.  Reinforcing the fleet should be easy, either allowing a fleet to "requisition" fleetless ships to join them/be produced, or being able to add ships to a fleet (and then they travel to join it) without it unselecting the existing ships.  The ark should very likely be the initial fleet, possibly even not being able to unbind it.  The number of fleets could even be limited, instead of the full 1-9+0 of the keyboard you start off with 3 (or even 1) and have to gain additional fleets by science expenditure / reactivating flagships / conquering a threshold of planets.

Otherwise I don't really know a way of incentivizing control groups.

5. How these should be ordered and segmented. (visible at 14:30 in video)
Enemy ships grouped together and self and allies grouped together seems like a good idea.  Is it?  How should it be sorted within a section?  By ship class then player, or by player then ship class?

How should the classes of ships be sorted?  King units first, then structures, then mobile ships?  Probably should not sort on number of squads because it would change frequently.  Could do it alphabetically, but the names aren't shown in the sidebar.

I feel like mobile ships should go before structures.  I want to be able to grab my combat units first and read them first (since they are the most likely to fluctuate over the course of an engagement).  I don't know if I'd like to see My bombers, allied bombers, my fighters, allied fighters vs my bombers, my fighters, allied bombers, allied fighters.  The former lets me see the total strength of the engagement resources better, but the latter let's me find my stuff to select faster.  I guess In the original AI War I didn't often click the icons directly in the sidebar (particularly in engagements) because I never learned to read the icons fast enough, but that doesn't mean I won't here if the icons are designed better (which they appear to be so far).

6. If multiple marks of the same ship type should be collapsed into one entry (yes?).
See response to #3.

7. If we should have a second, sidebar-specific tooltip for each item at the mouse cursor (please!).
Currently there is a detailed set of information on the left side of the screen when you hover over a ship on the right sidebar.  That's a long way for the eye to travel, but it is consistent and doesn't block the view.  Should that info be all the way on the left?  Chris suggested maybe a small tooltip with critical information (unit name, faction, quantity, strength, % health, and that's it) appear at the mouse pointer while the full data still appears on the left.
Another option is to move the full data to a transparent bar immediately left of the of the right sidebar.  But then again looking at the information currently displayed, I don't think it would be terrible to just have a full tooltip on hover at mouse location (extending down and to the left) and keep it all in once place.  Also, consider telling me if there are enemy ships in this system that are weak against the ship I have selected (or are strong against the ship I have selected)?

8. What we should do about showing the selected ships, since that's kinda related.  It's not in the game at present, in the sense that we had it in the first game.
In the original there was a scrollable list with text and health of component classes of ships.  Chris liked that, but it is inconsistant.
What if the selected ships are removed from their current section and appear on a new section that is just ships selected?

I also don't like the whole 80% health thing.  If I had 50 mk1 fighters and 50 mk2 fighters originally and now I only have 25 mk1s and 25 mk2s and the health is at 50%, what does that even mean?  If I stop to think about it, I assume that I am at 25% of the original hit points I started with, because I lost half of my fighters and the remaining half are at half health, but that's not entirely intuitive and it means if some of the low health ships I had left are destroyed, the percentage would actually increase.  How about telling me how many HP I have left instead?  I don't really know.

Offline ilitarist

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
Re: GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2018, 05:06:31 AM »
1) First of all I'm pretty sure you shouldn't show version number after you've started a game. Show it when player accesses menu.

2) I'd recommend moving Menu button to a corner (probably top right) and switching it to some sort of small icon, like a gear. Right now it's near a button you'll be clicking (or use shortcut) all the time.

3) Don't show shortcuts on buttons themselves. Move them to tooltips.

4) Make "X Squads" text have some background (probably transparent) and make it clickable allowing to select everything.

5) I think Strength is OK. Everyone would get what it means.

6) It'd probably be good to show Roman numerals on top of control groups with some sort of grouping through thick border between groups. See how Total War does it: http://www.gamersheroes.com/total-war-rome-2-gameplay-screenshot-3/#

Offline Dune

  • Arcen Staff
  • Newbie Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 16
Re: GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2018, 03:47:08 PM »
Take our quick poll and give us your feedback on the Sidebar!

https://goo.gl/forms/wTu9E5LJT9FqTZ2y2
« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 03:54:21 PM by Dune »
Helping organize things for AI War 2.

Offline Draco18s

  • Resident Velociraptor
  • Core Member Mark V
  • *****
  • Posts: 4,108
Re: GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2018, 10:16:52 PM »
Take our quick poll and give us your feedback on the Sidebar!

https://goo.gl/forms/wTu9E5LJT9FqTZ2y2

"Indicate your preference" does not contain a "I don't know" option.
"Which display order do you prefer" 3rd option has extra bits the other two don't have (I'm answering as if they weren't there / included in "king units").
"Which option is best for showing information about selected ships" has a "Third Option."

Offline Kordy

  • Jr. Member Mark III
  • **
  • Posts: 91
Re: GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2018, 12:05:27 AM »
I was going thru the video myself when I wrote this, then promptly forgot about it because I'm dumb. I'll check Etheric's post and add in stuff.

  • Should we show the mark level?

Dunno, should you? Is it pertinent information for the player? Does it affect the strength of your fleet? YES. Shove it into tooltip at worst, but keep it shown! It is useful information.

Also, why is the tooltip on the left of the screen, while the player focus is entirely on the right side? Hovering expanding dynamic tooltips existed in AIW1, why go back to fixed tooltips?

  • Control Group Shenanigans
Yeah those numbers are humongous.

Two numbers are needed here, I think. A big number that shows the amount of ships, and a smaller number that shows the control group assigned to those ships.
  • Squad Structuring

Adding mixed unit types (as in, builder units and mobile units) doesn't make sense to me - specialty units notwithstanding, you're probably not going to send a starship fabricator along with your main murderball to the enemy defenses. Put them in a seperate list, so it should read
MY Control Groups
MY Production
Enemy Structures
Enemy Units
MY Squads

Hell, I'd probably want to have access to defenses (and the strength level of those defenses) if the tower defense aspect is still around, too. The actual ordering of these I'll let other people comment on, but I'd probably want this.

Also, how are you going to deal with scrolling if I have a ton of squads somehow, due to expansions, mods, what have you?

Also also, why is there a sizeable (5-6% of the screen) empty space between the edge and the squads? You don't need that much space for edge scrolling, do you? Planet Standing Orders button is snugly aligned, but the ships aren't.

Also also also, do you think a dedicated unit control area on the UI like say, starcraft or command&conquer would be better?

  • Squad Order

Order them by armor type? Weapon type? So it's easier to see and control in a glance units that can deal with fortifications, fighters or missile pods or whatever. Otherwise your users will have to memorize/look up every goddamn ship type ever. Whether they make sense or not. Teleport Raiders and their strong/weak against changes a few years back comes to mind.

Alphabetical would be especially horrible in this case.

Once you're in the enemy system, getting information out of the enemy squads in one glance is not quite possible with alphabetical.

Why are tooltips divided into two? If you select your squads, you get a tooltip on the bottom left about the numbers, but hovering over puts the tooltip on upper left.

Speaking of tooltips, does the resources on the top of the screen have tooltips? They should.

  • TOOLTIP LOCATION

Expanding dynamic tooltips under the mouse. Like it was on AIW1. In non-fps games, eye tracking by default follows the mouse, why waste time (esp on humongous monitors) with two different locations?

Give the pertinent information precisely where the player is already focused - on the cursor. Don't make me hunt information in random places. Who cares if it blocks the view for a second? Move the mouse and the blockage goes away, but a dedicated tooltip location is a black hole of dead space.

Think of it this way - you're always going to have units on the sidebar. Enemy, friendly, obscured. Always. But you won't always have tooltips. You won't always have the mouse hovering over a unit.

If anything, the small pop-up you want should be available on the main window when you hover over enemies.

I assume you're going to include a health bar for given squads, right?

...

Nasty, eh? I respectfully disagree. And you actually don't have to update too frequently.

Anyway, proposed unit counter look:



It gets a bit mushed, but the I, II etc are mark levels. I don't like the visual confusion IV makes, and I assume the AI is going to throw V's in the future so I went with alternate roman numbers for the mark levels. These are all moot points though, because I'd strongly recommend you to rethink your stance on the hp bars.
[/list]

Anyway, my major points would be:

Ordering Ships by Weapon or Armor Type
HP bars on ship icons.
Tooltip should not be fixed and should be dynamically expanding. Kill the 2nd tooltip altogether.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2018, 12:09:43 AM by Kordy »

Offline Dune

  • Arcen Staff
  • Newbie Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 16
Re: GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2018, 10:24:24 AM »
"Indicate your preference" does not contain a "I don't know" option.
"Which display order do you prefer" 3rd option has extra bits the other two don't have (I'm answering as if they weren't there / included in "king units").
"Which option is best for showing information about selected ships" has a "Third Option."

Thanks for the feedback
Helping organize things for AI War 2.

Offline Thalone

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2018, 11:24:26 PM »
| ICON |
Mk1 | Mk2
Mk3 | Mk4

| Fighter |
000 | 012
102 | 000

Agreed with Etheric's presentation here. Additionally, I think it would be helpful to have the sum of all marks, perhaps displayed on the icon itself. All the mark counts should be clickable to select the relevant ships, just like the icons currently are.

I think the groupings should be self, allies (total, including self, to help judge relative power against the AI), and combined enemies (it is not relevant to me if the enemy ship is part of the special forces or the regular planetary garrison--they're all out to get me anyway).

Somewhat tangential to the issues you talked about, I think it would be useful to be able to toggle a sort order for the right sidebar. Say, sort by mark level, type, or total count.

Offline Dune

  • Arcen Staff
  • Newbie Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 16
Re: GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2018, 12:07:03 PM »
Here our the results of the poll so far:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YGiumuSNBAnnM5tL-5Kmcebt3uA23TOctRiODpLQfQY/edit?usp=sharing






The poll is still open for more feedback, so please take the poll if you haven't yet:  https://goo.gl/forms/5S6zMUhRBKfEAB3P2
Helping organize things for AI War 2.

Offline Atepa

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 59
Re: GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2018, 01:04:18 PM »
1. Overall I like the sidebar, although it takes up a little more real estate on the UI than it should, and as a couple others have mentioned isn't right up against the side of the window, which IMO it should be.

2. What has consistently messed me up is the Squad count, as it often seems to be higher than the actual number of items below when you add things together. (e.g. in your video (before you load into the saves) you have 36 Squads worth 4k Strength but when you count the items below you only have 32 'things'. Where are the additional 4 squads coming from?) The only thing I can think of is that it is counting things like the Fuel/Metal Collectors, Science lab, and Controller, even though they don't show up in the list. If they are being counted as squads then I believe they should be in the list (similar as to AIWC), but since they are 'planet unique' items I think it is better for them to just not be there at all, but then they should also not be included in the total for squads either.

3. I think it is important to see the mark levels, and etheric42's idea of the icon, and then the counts below could definitely work. I'd like to see us move away from the text window of AIWC only because it is a lot of hunting through the text to find the marks of a specific ship if you have many selected, or time consuming to select "just" your fighters to see what mark they are while trying to maneuver / fight. I think the icon 'blowup' in the form of a mouse over would be a really good way of exposing this info without it cluttering up the overall UI


4. Control groups should be accessible from any system view as with the right keyboard commands they let you pull your fleet to a specific spot, if I remember correctly from AIWC. There is also the added bonus of yes being able to quickly hop from system to system based off of which groups are where.

5. I Think order should be such that you don't have to worry about things shuffling around too much, and done by type. Maybe something along the lines of Structures > King Units > Flagships/Golems > Mobile Ships. Within those 'types' maybe sort by alphabet so you always know where in the sub group a specific ship will be. Ideally, we'd have a few different options that people could choose from the options menu.

As for segmented, I like the split between different factions, although is there any plan to allow us to re-order them? For example in the current build (0.705) Enemies are above my own ships. In a system with a lot of bodies, I'd worry that my own troops won't be visible on the display or get pushed down so much to get overlooked. Ideally, our own ships would always be on the top, then allies, then enemies.

I don't mind the mix of enemy ships together, but I think personal and Allies ships should be split, even if they are in the same section (for Squad Count and Strength) just as a visual queue of being able to see what all you have left quickly.

6. I think collapsing ship marks into a single icon would be good, as long as we can still quickly see what we have left in regards to marks from a quick mouse over or something. (possibly implementing etheric42's Icon and Mark split out as a mouse over when you hover over an icon. (having it pop up just to the left of the side bar so that it doesn't cover up other ship icons.)

7. I'd avoid any sort of UI pop-up that is actually tied to the cursor itself, as often times it leads to issues with not being able to click/see things because a pop-up is in your way. Having the mouse-over pop-up just to the left of the sidebar though would work possibly though. Or allow those quick info details you were mentioning to cover up the control group area above to show the relevant stats.

8. IIRC in AIWC the ships you had selected were highlighted in the side bar (I believe they were yellow highlighted) something like that I think would work wonders again. Possibly even adding a sub line to the "# Squads (# Strength)" that shows the value of selected ships.

Offline Dune

  • Arcen Staff
  • Newbie Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 16
Re: GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2018, 02:02:38 PM »
1. Overall I like the sidebar, although it takes up a little more real estate on the UI than it should, and as a couple others have mentioned isn't right up against the side of the window, which IMO it should be.

2. What has consistently messed me up is the Squad count, as it often seems to be higher than the actual number of items below when you add things together. (e.g. in your video (before you load into the saves) you have 36 Squads worth 4k Strength but when you count the items below you only have 32 'things'. Where are the additional 4 squads coming from?) The only thing I can think of is that it is counting things like the Fuel/Metal Collectors, Science lab, and Controller, even though they don't show up in the list. If they are being counted as squads then I believe they should be in the list (similar as to AIWC), but since they are 'planet unique' items I think it is better for them to just not be there at all, but then they should also not be included in the total for squads either.

3. I think it is important to see the mark levels, and etheric42's idea of the icon, and then the counts below could definitely work. I'd like to see us move away from the text window of AIWC only because it is a lot of hunting through the text to find the marks of a specific ship if you have many selected, or time consuming to select "just" your fighters to see what mark they are while trying to maneuver / fight. I think the icon 'blowup' in the form of a mouse over would be a really good way of exposing this info without it cluttering up the overall UI


4. Control groups should be accessible from any system view as with the right keyboard commands they let you pull your fleet to a specific spot, if I remember correctly from AIWC. There is also the added bonus of yes being able to quickly hop from system to system based off of which groups are where.

5. I Think order should be such that you don't have to worry about things shuffling around too much, and done by type. Maybe something along the lines of Structures > King Units > Flagships/Golems > Mobile Ships. Within those 'types' maybe sort by alphabet so you always know where in the sub group a specific ship will be. Ideally, we'd have a few different options that people could choose from the options menu.

As for segmented, I like the split between different factions, although is there any plan to allow us to re-order them? For example in the current build (0.705) Enemies are above my own ships. In a system with a lot of bodies, I'd worry that my own troops won't be visible on the display or get pushed down so much to get overlooked. Ideally, our own ships would always be on the top, then allies, then enemies.

I don't mind the mix of enemy ships together, but I think personal and Allies ships should be split, even if they are in the same section (for Squad Count and Strength) just as a visual queue of being able to see what all you have left quickly.

6. I think collapsing ship marks into a single icon would be good, as long as we can still quickly see what we have left in regards to marks from a quick mouse over or something. (possibly implementing etheric42's Icon and Mark split out as a mouse over when you hover over an icon. (having it pop up just to the left of the side bar so that it doesn't cover up other ship icons.)

7. I'd avoid any sort of UI pop-up that is actually tied to the cursor itself, as often times it leads to issues with not being able to click/see things because a pop-up is in your way. Having the mouse-over pop-up just to the left of the sidebar though would work possibly though. Or allow those quick info details you were mentioning to cover up the control group area above to show the relevant stats.

8. IIRC in AIWC the ships you had selected were highlighted in the side bar (I believe they were yellow highlighted) something like that I think would work wonders again. Possibly even adding a sub line to the "# Squads (# Strength)" that shows the value of selected ships.

Great feedback.  Thanks
Helping organize things for AI War 2.

Offline powpow

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2018, 08:46:19 PM »
Hi good people at Arcen,
Thanks for keeping us all updated on the AI War 2 development. Rather than add my amateur opinion to the poll,  I think what I want to do is have a look at other highly rated RTS games in my Steam collection and see what they did with their UI.

If there is any great UI from other games that could be copied, that would save a lot of time (and reduce learning time for gamers familiar with those layouts).
I hope to be in a better position to give feedback in a few days.

Keep up the good work!

Offline Dune

  • Arcen Staff
  • Newbie Mark II
  • *****
  • Posts: 16
Re: GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2018, 04:54:29 PM »
I hope to be in a better position to give feedback in a few days.
Your ideas and feedback are very important to us.  Please share any ideas or opinions you have!
Helping organize things for AI War 2.

Offline Elda King

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: GUI Focus Group: Right-Hand Sidebar
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2018, 09:36:44 PM »
If possible to implement, I think ships should be divided in categories by function instead of just sorted. At least a line break to separate economic stuff/turrets/mobile combat ships. Starships would be better off separated from fleet ships as they require finer control during combat, but if it is taking too much space it is not a big deal. This makes stuff much more organized, you can tell at a glance where one kind of ship starts and where it ends instead of having your first fleet ship in the middle of a possibly huge list.

A small thing that is bothering me way too much: add some borders to the sidebar. It doesn't need to be solid lines, just make it a semi-transparent box or something, but don't just leave the text floating in there. And perhaps borders between different "boxes" like control groups, AI ships, allied ships.

An "ideal" case for the sidebar IMO would have individual categories and subcategories that the player can minimize or expand at will. A good example of a nice-looking and functional "sidebar" would be Stellaris (or Europa Universalis 4 or Crusader Kings 2 that are similar). Most of the information displayed would be different, but the layout is nice.

Now that I think of it, taking inspiration from Hearts of Iron 4, each control group could also have a selectable icon to make them easier to identify/remember... would be really neat, especially if you have many groups, but that is one step beyond everything else.

The tooltip should absolutely be at the cursor position, and should be the main source of information. Other information, if any, should be secondary (perhaps require a right-click or clicking a "More info" button or something).

As for displaying number of ships/mark levels, I think the solution was nailed early on:

Don't display the mark level, instead position the quantities of squads to represent the number of squads of that mark.  If you have to make the icons a bit bigger to make it fit, you've saved from having the same class of ship show up multiple times.  I don't remember how many levels you are planning on putting into this version, but if it is four, then display:

 | ICON |
Mk1 | Mk2
Mk3 | Mk4

With the quantity of ships of that mark replacing the abbreviation in that diagram.  For example:

| Fighter |
000 | 012
102 | 000

Means that there are 12 mk2 fighters and 102 mk3 fighters. (you can leave the 000s as just 0 if you want, I just left all three for spacing on the forum)