Author Topic: GUI Discussion  (Read 931 times)

Offline x4000

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GUI Discussion
« on: October 31, 2017, 03:36:42 PM »
This is based off of this bug report by Cyborg, which is relating to the October 30th version of the GUI: https://bugtracker.arcengames.com/view.php?id=19264

I'm going to cherry pick specific things to respond to in here, but the full original post is definitely worth a read and I have a feeling Keith may respond to some different things than I do.

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First a couple things, you need to play to two different audiences. new gamers and AI war classic gamers.

I think that this is a really valid point.  Basically the GUI for the first game was "fine" up to a certain point.  That's with a BIG grain of salt, but basically it was internally consistent, pretty decently organized, and something you could follow once you got the pattern of it under your belt.

There are two things that makes me immediately think of with this sequel:

1. In cases of things like where on the screen something is located, changing that from the first game to the sequel needs to have a good reason to do so.  Since the GUI of the first game was also "very much not fine past a certain point," obviously there will be a lot of things that wind up changing.  But some things like putting some element on the left of the screen when it was traditionally on the right isn't something that should be done if there's no compelling reason.

2. When it comes to this new GUI, what we have to kind of think about is if this is a better starting point (what we have now), or whether just trying to ape the first game for a while and then bring in further changes would be a better route to take.

Right now basically there are two things going on simultaneously: implementation of the GUI for this game, and iterations of the variety of things that we wanted to improve over the first game.  In some cases this is a wonderfully fortuitous timing, because with things like the Save/Load screen, the new lobby setup, and the new galaxy map organization, those are pieces that needed a ground-up redo for a variety of reasons.

Things like the tooltips from the first game, and the organization of the build menus and such were things that we did not like to a certain degree, but they were at least familiar.  In the new GUI, I'm personally feeling pretty lost in some of those menus.  I'm also not really loving the changes to the planetary sidebar as they currently stand, because I miss seeing numbers of the ships of each sort.

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As you know, getting started on any project can be difficult. The opening screen that shows the logo needs to put the player in the mood. It’s also going to be your first impression. May I suggest something like a fade-in with some kind of demo battle going on in the background? This isn’t unheard of. Even classic games in the 80s had demo screens that showed the game in action. And make no mistake, while this is a strategy game, your players want shooty bang bang in space, so go on ahead and make it a battle scene. Should be a scriptable thing and fading from black shouldn’t be that hard. I also think that the AI War caption might need something like a neural network overlay or something. If there’s time.

I don't know that there will be time for an entire battle sequence or whatnot there, but I am working on a new visual for the main screen.  I think you'll like it, at least how it moves things forward a bit.

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Let’s move on to the game settings screen. This is probably the worst screen for classic players returning to your new title. I can tell you that a classic player is going to open this game, look at the menu and the settings for creating a new game, and they are going to ask, "Where is everything?

A lot of that just isn't configurable yet.  But overall we also really want to bury the worst offenders of the huge volumes of customizable things inside sub-menus.  Civilization and some other games also have hugely configurable lobbies, but it doesn't feel as overwhelming as classic did.

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Where are the two AI’s with all the different customization options?

One thing we'll have to make clear in some fashion is that there are no longer two separate AIs.  That was always a bit strange of a concept in some regards, and the game now uses a much more distributed approach in general to having localized AIs for clusters of starsystems, etc.  There's more randomization there now, with you choosing things that are okay to encounter, etc.  I'd say it's slightly more roguelikeish in terms of trying to make it so that there is more variety within one campaign (versus just the same two AI types the entire time), and that's a little less conductive to certain types of customization.

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I have no idea why the map options removes previous options from the GUI (buttons are literally disappearing when I press other buttons, that’s not good. Ever.).

Basically those are map-type-specific sub-options, and it's definitely a good thing and a strength of the GUI.  However, they need to be presented in some unified way that basically says something like "these things are all in one panel that gets bigger and smaller."  Or that shows a disabled dropdown with "Nothing To Configure" in them, if we must.  I definitely get why you're confused, but basically some map types have specific extra things to configure and others either do no or have other things.

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The alignment of the buttons doesn’t make any sense to me or any kind of organization.

That's mostly due to the WIP-ness of the GUI at this point, but I'll let Keith speak to it more.  Basically we have to figure out a bit more exactly what map options there will be, and what ones go in submenus or whatever, before we commit to organizing them.

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I can’t see the whole map (there is no point to zooming in on the map by default when you are creating a game).

If that's a general problem, then that's something I'll have to adjust, I suppose, in the camera curves for the galaxy map.

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I also think the screen doesn’t need to be so bright. This screen needs facehuggers. Space is black. But on this screen, space is a bright blue.

facehuggers is one thing, but in general the space backdrops are something I've been struggling with for this game and with the first game since forever.  It's nice to have colored backgrounds that help you feel like you're not in such a bland consistently black area.  But it can become overwhelming fast.

The glow is also overdone, and something I need to tone down.

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The planet names are hidden. You should not be hiding the planet names. You need to sell character and your classic players have fond memories of certain planets where such and such a battle was had.

Keith, I think this will wind up coming up again and again.  People can't talk about planets when setting up multiplayer without having planet names shown, for one.  It actually is a usability issue as well as a theming one.  I seem to recall these are hidden because they were changing when the game actually starts.  Well... I think we need to adjust the algorithm somehow so that change doesn't happen and the names are set prior to that.

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Now on to the next screen, the galaxy map screen. The old classic galaxy map needed an overhaul. But, I can’t even find the new galaxy map! When I click on map (I think it says map, it’s on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen but is covered up by the development build information), and then I click on galaxy, I don’t get a map. And I can't figure out where the controls list is or how to modify it. Frustrated here.

Keith, I think we should move that button over to the left side of the screen since the development build thing is going to be an inevitable thing that continues to be a problem.  We need to treat that little section of the screen like the plague if we can.  Badger mentioned having that button immediately take you to the galaxy map as well, which sounds reasonable to me, but I'll leave that to you guys.

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Only two more screens to go. The planet view is next. The player will spend most of their time on this screen, so it must be spot on. It’s got a lot of problems but none bigger than the vertically climbing menu at the bottom of the screen. This must be thrown out. It’s not salvageable. Classic has a much better planet screen. Revisiting an earlier criticism, having GUI elements that disappear is frustrating. Can’t find what is where when the menu keeps shuffling. Unless you have some better ideas, I suggest going back to what you had with some matching art to your current style.

That's harsh... but I think that's pretty fair.  I really hate how it's so grid-like and how I feel like things keep climbing up in awkward ways.  My mouse has to travel very far on the screen to do anything, too.

In an ideal world, a flexible GUI here would let me see a build queue and the tech tree at the same time, aka in the sense that they are separate windows and the only reason one closes is if it's convenient.  It's not because it's repurposing and existing part of the GUI.  Same for things like the build buttons for direct controls, etc.

Right now those are all wrapped into one general GUI style, but I feel like each has their own distinctive flows and should be handled on their own merits.  They are similar, so I can see why the grid-like climbing approach was taken, but I also think that these are things that should evolve increasingly in divergent ways.  We should start mocking up different versions of these windows and sharing them with players for critique before we make any more changes.

I also have to say that I find the list of control groups down at the bottom to be mildly irritating.  I only use one or two control groups generally, and in general it's just so I can pop back and forth between different parts of my empire quickly.  I understand that some folks use these way more, and having the option to make the control groups take up a lot of screen real estate makes sense to me, but as it stands it seems to be catering to only advanced players with a certain playstyle, and hinting that I should be using that same style.

Oh, right -- the point with the grid-like GUI was so that we could hit hotkeys that were contextual, right?  B-1-1-3 builds something specific?  T-1-2 researches something specific?

In theory I really like that sort of thing, because it is a timesaver.  But realistically I'm never going to learn all of those hotkeys, and a lot of things will move around as I have different types of turrets or whatever in my available build list.  We release an expansion and all the hotkeys suddenly change because of reordered lists.  It also limits us to only 10 things per group, and encourages that sort of building-up GUI.  I just don't think this is a concept that is compatible with a game that is this expansive and changeable.  I think it winds up hamstringing the GUI instead.

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The tooltips for hovering your mouse over things, I don’t know what they mean. However, these pop-ups are so big that you may as well use actual words.

Why is this always one-size, Keith?  It seems related to the ordering of things such that the numbers and whatnot go vertically, and then certain things pop in or out as needed based on the ship in question.  But it winds up really feeling overwhelmingly large.  I like how this emphasizes iconography, but I think we need this to size to its content a bit more, and hopefully wind up being smaller in general.

As far as GUI scaling in general, I think we also need to do a mockup session on what the elements of the GUI are and what sizing rules they follow under various circumstances.  I think what we have right now is kinda close, and works well for high density screens, but for larger monitors it starts feeling phone-gamey, people have noted.

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There’s one graphic that looks like an artist’s palette or a yin-yang symbol cut in half. Is that armor? I’m guessing, I don’t know, and even if I did, it doesn’t mean anything to me because I don’t know what that armor is going to do for me. In classic, we all talked about strength/vulnerability confusions and trying to do away with that. Great. But the math should be clear.

What I want to move to with this is, in the icons here, having a blend of icon plus three-letter word, and moving to having these be mostly silhouettes instead of pixel-art with lots of colors.  That way if you see something scope-like with RNG under it, you can guess that's range.  Etc.

All that said, Keith has a "tooltips for your tooltips" system.  Did you find that?  It starts showing the math, etc, that is there for each piece.  I'm not sure if the flow for putting them into that "now I can get tooltips for this tooltip" mode is really optimal yet.

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I would like to see radar graphs or something more thematic. Some of these screens look way too…happy. Remember, we are generals, civilization is at stake, we are fighting machines.

100% agreed, and Badger seemed to be making similar notes.  For the next version, coming out today, I at least made the backgrounds of the tooltips and buttons not feel cartoony.  And worked on the fonts in the tooltips, per Badger's suggestion.  That's a start, at least.  I 100% agree that we haven't nailed the feeling down yet, at any rate.

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In the old planet view, we had a sidebar that was very minimalist while still being understandable. What we have now is too big, isn’t adding clarity or additional tactical information, and is generally in the way.

I'll be honest, I wind up completely ignoring it the way that it is now, because I never can really understand it.  It would be great to be able to ditch that GUI element entirely, because ideally players should have a good idea of what is going on by looking at the game screen without having to have a cheat sheet like that on the sidebar.

That said... simply doing a few things might help cut it down?

- Going back to having numbers for ship counts of each type, rather than having the little dots that I bet you didn't even notice this time.

- Going back to always having ALL of the ships of a given type in the count for one box, rather than topping out at 16 or 20 squads before putting another line item in there.

- Going back to not showing those things on the left with shielded, cloaked, attacking, or taking-damage statuses.  Those are too specific and cluttered and hard to read, I feel like.  If this is something some people want, then we could make it a settings option to show this or not, I suppose.

- Also I am strongly leaning toward us getting rid of the flair and mark level parts of the icons on the sidebar, and just showing icons themselves.  Any ships that share the same icon (ignoring flair and mark level) would collapse into one entry on the sidebar.  Hovering over that icon would then pop up another thing that shows the counts of all the specific ship types within it (something like Mk I Fighters x4 on one line, Mk II Fighters x10 on the next line, Mk II Autocannon Minipods on the next one, etc; I think those all share the same base icon).

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I almost want to say, it would be better if you had started using the design that you had for the buttons and menus and try to iterate over that.

To some extent, although with a lot of those elements they were built up in a really bad and complicated way, so not starting with them has really helped.

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Some of the issues from classic seemed to stem from not having the GUI elements that you needed to bake the cake.

Very true.  Now we have all the elements we need.

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But now we have what appears to be these square blocky blue menu buttons that you are building up or dropping down, disappearing or appearing. It doesn’t look very good. It looks square.

Agreed, unfortunately.  I think the goal was initially that keyboard-control ability, but that's just not the way the game is organized in a main sense.  I think about techs and building structures and build queues differently, and the sub-interfaces for them should reflect those differences.

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Now, I did include a planet view proposal GUI. I think you should make this a moddable skin. You can use the GUI elements that you already have, just let people paint over them. Also, I’m not saying my design is the best, you realize I did this in Microsoft paint so clearly is not supposed to be Van Gogh, but you get the idea. The information is always where you expect it to be. It doesn’t change locations. The buttons don’t change locations. The player always knows where to look and where to find things. That’s key.

Referring to this, correct?  https://bugtracker.arcengames.com/file_download.php?file_id=9035&type=bug&show_inline=1&file_show_inline_token=20171031F2D-78evtLWT3OR4u35YZGznSGyHCc8z

I'm afraid I don't really follow that diagram, although Keith might.

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I could go on, but I have been testing and writing for a couple hours, and I think it’s time to finish this report.

I really appreciate it, and I think for the short-term we have enough to chew on.  We should be able to make some good headway with that.  Moving mainly in the direction of "mockups first," I think.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: GUI Discussion
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2017, 04:18:35 PM »
Thanks very much, Cyborg, I appreciate the time and effort.


One thing we'll have to make clear in some fashion is that there are no longer two separate AIs.  That was always a bit strange of a concept in some regards, and the game now uses a much more distributed approach in general to having localized AIs for clusters of starsystems, etc.  There's more randomization there now, with you choosing things that are okay to encounter, etc.  I'd say it's slightly more roguelikeish in terms of trying to make it so that there is more variety within one campaign (versus just the same two AI types the entire time), and that's a little less conductive to certain types of customization.
The way things are going it's more a matter of there just being N AIs, however many you add in the lobby, and the game sets up their different territories during mapgen, but for now it's just the one. And there may always be a "Master" one, if removing that assumption causes problems.


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I have no idea why the map options removes previous options from the GUI (buttons are literally disappearing when I press other buttons, that’s not good. Ever.).
Those are basically tabs, but the UI for displaying the distinction between "this is a tab you are clicking" and "this is the stuff associated with the current tab" isn't there.


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The alignment of the buttons doesn’t make any sense to me or any kind of organization.

That's mostly due to the WIP-ness of the GUI at this point, but I'll let Keith speak to it more.
Basically it's more organized than it was a few weeks ago, in that there is an alignment :)


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I can’t see the whole map (there is no point to zooming in on the map by default when you are creating a game).

If that's a general problem, then that's something I'll have to adjust, I suppose, in the camera curves for the galaxy map.
I can see it all, but perhaps that's because my zoomer is the straight-in-and-out one, rather than turning on its side.


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The planet names are hidden. You should not be hiding the planet names. You need to sell character and your classic players have fond memories of certain planets where such and such a battle was had.

Keith, I think this will wind up coming up again and again.
The planet names show up for me, in the galaxy map. I don't know why they don't show in the lobby, as the code paths are basically the same, but I can look into it.

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Now on to the next screen, the galaxy map screen. The old classic galaxy map needed an overhaul. But, I can’t even find the new galaxy map! When I click on map (I think it says map, it’s on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen but is covered up by the development build information)
That says "menu".

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, and then I click on galaxy, I don’t get a map.
True, that is confusing. In that case it means "galaxy settings". Like your current galaxy map display mode.

I don't believe there's a visual ui element for switching between the map and the planet view, it's just a press-tab thing currently. Sorry about the oversight, wasn't an intentional omission.


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It’s got a lot of problems but none bigger than the vertically climbing menu at the bottom of the screen. This must be thrown out. It’s not salvageable.

And

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Oh, right -- the point with the grid-like GUI was so that we could hit hotkeys that were contextual, right?  B-1-1-3 builds something specific?  T-1-2 researches something specific?

In theory I really like that sort of thing, because it is a timesaver.  But realistically I'm never going to learn all of those hotkeys, and a lot of things will move around as I have different types of turrets or whatever in my available build list.  We release an expansion and all the hotkeys suddenly change because of reordered lists.  It also limits us to only 10 things per group, and encourages that sort of building-up GUI.  I just don't think this is a concept that is compatible with a game that is this expansive and changeable.  I think it winds up hamstringing the GUI instead.

If we need to chuck that entirely then I need someone else to design this thing :) It wasn't feasible to learn all the commands in AIWC because all the "top level" hotkeys were quickly taken and after that it got into increasingly obscure combinations, to the point that I just stopped trying to add new ways of controlling your stuff or interacting with the game in that sense.

Even learning the existence of all the comamnds involved extensive reading of the controls screen and reference material.

The purpose of the grid here is to make all/almost-all commands discoverable and quick to access. Without that I don't know of a way to reasonably expose more than about 1/3 of the functionality we currently have in AIW2, let alone any further tools for the player to concisely express to the game what they want done.


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In an ideal world, a flexible GUI here would let me see a build queue and the tech tree at the same time, aka in the sense that they are separate windows and the only reason one closes is if it's convenient.  It's not because it's repurposing and existing part of the GUI.
They're separate windows, it just only shows one at once because you can only navigate one at once in the full sense.


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The tooltips for hovering your mouse over things, I don’t know what they mean. However, these pop-ups are so big that you may as well use actual words.

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Why is this always one-size, Keith?
As you noted, so the indicators don't move around. You learn the meaning by the tooltip and (to a lesser extent) the picture; you remember the meaning by the position and the picture.

A totally different way of displaying all that info is fine with me, I was just taking a stab at a suggestion from several players in the AIWC days. Namely: Icons > Text. They had mockups and it went on for a while and in general seemed an interesting approach.


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In the old planet view, we had a sidebar that was very minimalist while still being understandable. What we have now is too big, isn’t adding clarity or additional tactical information, and is generally in the way.
I basically just tried to do what Eraser said, though it got folded back down to something closer to the original game. Similar with moving it to the left side of the screen.


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I'm afraid I don't really follow that diagram, although Keith might.
My browser didn't understand the link, but I'll look into it later.

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Offline x4000

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Re: GUI Discussion
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2017, 04:37:21 PM »
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The way things are going it's more a matter of there just being N AIs, however many you add in the lobby, and the game sets up their different territories during mapgen, but for now it's just the one. And there may always be a "Master" one, if removing that assumption causes problems.

Makes sense to me.

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The planet names show up for me, in the galaxy map. I don't know why they don't show in the lobby, as the code paths are basically the same, but I can look into it.

IIRC, you specifically turned them off in the lobby because of a bug where the names of planets were one thing in the lobby and another thing after starting the game.

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If we need to chuck that entirely then I need someone else to design this thing :) It wasn't feasible to learn all the commands in AIWC because all the "top level" hotkeys were quickly taken and after that it got into increasingly obscure combinations, to the point that I just stopped trying to add new ways of controlling your stuff or interacting with the game in that sense.

Any takers? ;)

But in seriousness, the main issue I have is that it seems to be a stack of grids that seems to force the data into itself, rather than being windows that pop up based on whatever the individual data is.  It doesn't feel like there is a "build menu."  It feels like there's a row that is sometimes part of the build menu and sometimes part of something else, depending on what buttons I press, and at a glance I have no idea which part of the menus I'm in.

Something along the lines of the attached is what I have in mind, if my quick chicken scratch makes any sense.  And even that design isn't perfect.  But basically when I click one of a few little buttons down there at the bottom, it gives me a new window that makes sense for whatever it is I'm doing.  Tabs at the top of the build menu and techs menus, for organization.  In the Ark build queue, having the queue up top visually separated any with the buttons for queue control right there, and then the buttons for the things I can build in the Ark down under that.

Heck, these can be scrollable areas if they have to be, to allow for people with "I unlock everything" insanity settings.
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Re: GUI Discussion
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2017, 04:50:50 PM »
I suspect the planet names explicitly don't show in the lobby because I complained about it, since the names would always change once you started the game.

For me when I enter the map selection lobby, the screen is zoomed out but the galaxy is really off-center to start and I need to use WASD to center it.

I agree with keith that having a "set of buttons shown for your active selection" is appropriate, especially if the alternative is to memorize a dozen arcane hotkeys. And I do enjoy having all the number hotkeys for things. I think it would make more sense to find a different mechanism of displaying your Current Buttons though, instead of having a set of horizontal menus climbing up the screen. I'm attaching a very crude Paint drawing of one possibility.

In this design, the buttons for your active selection would not climb up the screen, but would replace the previous set of buttons. So it's not a grid, it would only show the top-level of information. Keith, I appreciate the ability to "back up" through menus with backspace, but I've never actually used it in all my hours of play so far. As a resulte, I think showing the tree of menus is not actually critical.

I also moved the sidebar back to the right. I think the top-left of the screen makes more sense for text information (like wave timers, in-game announcements, etc), and having the sidebar there as well really cluttered things. Also note that the Active build Q area needs to be able to tolerate multiple build Qs at once (say a fleet with several flagships, or if I've made all my starship constructors a Group (actually, I expect using static constructors as a group would be reasonably common with this functionality)).

I am not commited to this one by any means, but am just throwing it out there for discussion. Let it join Chris' quick doodle!

I think having the number of units for a given type in the sidebar is in some ways more important than any other bit of information about them. I care way less if they are shielded, cloaked, etc, but knowing How Many is the quickest way to gauge how a fight is going. This is not something that I think I realized when we were initially looking at the sidebar, but it is my current opinion ;-)
« Last Edit: November 01, 2017, 12:17:41 AM by BadgerBadger »

Offline Cyborg

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Re: GUI Discussion
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2017, 08:26:30 PM »
Thanks for the replies. I have great sympathy for Keith. All that work invested in making GUI bits and pieces. I recognize this is code, and I know it's not effortless. Which is why I'm going to make the following suggestion. :D

I don't know if this is a little too fancy, but is it possible to define GUI elements as two-dimensional plates and the activations within those plates as being XY offset coordinate pairs that define a rectangle? 

For example, what if your current square blue button was actually a combination of a 2-D graphic and a XY screen offset coordinate pair, where it would respond to mouse up events if it fell within the rectangular coordinates? Does that make sense? In this way, we are really just defining movable plates and coordinates thereof, which would allow easy positioning, modding, etc. I don't know what the code currently is, if you are using some kind of widget GUI packer (I have used these, although I'm trying to block out the memory) or some form designer. But making these lightweight and simply defined really opens up a lot of possibilities and gives you a pass about the GUI in general. It also allows folks who are classically trained in GUIs to do the work for you. Keith is awesome, but having thousands of players do that work for you is enticing, is it not?

Just seeing the direction this will go, I'm not sure how you create a GUI that will be pleasing to everyone. I could give you presentations on GUI design (part of my schooling, probably moreso for Eraser).

Anecdotally, remember when Windows changed the start menu and everyone lost their minds? Remember Windows 8 (cursed be its name and progeny)? There's a reason people want easy-to-use, familiar interfaces. And sometimes, even something that is "technically" better doesn't succeed purely based on familiarity. See the Dvorak keyboard. Players that just open up your game want to get going. If there's some obstacle to that, how many will persevere?

I guess I'm going to need a tutorial. I don't know how to make a new game and customize it. I don't know how to take territory without command stations. And I don't know how to tackle the AI when I am used to having to plan and choose which AI to go for first. So many things to consider, like level, placement, personality. It's a big change, and I'm open to it, but certainly that game settings screen needs work.

More than a little concerning, I have 295 hours on AI War and I don't know how to play AI War 2.

I get that memorizing hotkeys sucks. I know that the last game had so many of them (I probably customize about 20 of them that I actually use).

My illustration sucks. But I think Badger got where I was going with it. It's just the HUD. I took a standard RTS HUD with my own modifications and made a Microsoft paint picture. It's not even something I'm attached to, but I wanted to illustrate something that's familiar and that people would know how to navigate. Buttons would always be in the same place, things wouldn't be here one moment and gone the next.

Actually did notice the pips on the planet view for the quick select. I was amused, wondering if I was expected to count these. I don't mind the mark designations and actually classic has mark designations. But I certainly like the classic sidebar better than this.

Appreciate that you read my bug report and gave it some thought. You may want to send out one of your kickstarter notices when you want to start getting into redshirt territory (or even now). Some of the other classic folks waiting in the background (I was one of them) was under the assumption you were deep into development and not ready for any kind of feedback.

Badger, your latest GUI mockup, I like the resource bar, ingame info, tooltips being in one static location, and I really like the build queue idea. To be successful at this game, you have to master keeping the builds going. I think I would move the control groups above or maybe as a miniature on the bottom right above the build queue. The buttons for the active selection, I don't know what that would look like. I just know I don't want my menus to be so… athletic. Yes to sensible hotkeys and button navigation, but no shuffling please!
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Re: GUI Discussion
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2017, 09:15:14 PM »
@Cyborg The buttons for the active selection would basically be the top line of the current "athletic" menu. And yeah, my sketch definitely borrows from your idea in Mantis. And I almost want to reserve a space right over the build Q for where the Tech Menu would always appear (imagine hitting T to bring up the tech menu, clicking on a new tech then just moving the cursor down to start building the newly unlocked ship in all the build Qs for your main fleet. It just sounds convenient.... Keith could even make it so you a sequence like  "T (open tech menu)->1 (fleetship) -> 1 (fighter) -> 2 (unlock mark 2) -> B (switch so numbers now apply to the to build Q menu) -> 1 (switch to build Q 1) -> 1 (fighter) -> 2 (start bulding mark 2 fighters from build Q 1) would work. Hopefully that long chain of numbers makes sense)

@x4000 I honestly prefer backgrounds that feel like a night's sky with lots of darkness. It makes it feel more like space to me. It may seem bland, but I like it (also, the planets might look really cool against a much darker background.

The "Map Type Specific Options" are something I added because I wanted it for my map types, which benefited from that. At the moment many of Keith's original map types (or Draco's map types) don't really use that. Some of those maps will eventually wind up with options for them.

I don't think worrying about > 10 options per sub menu is a real issue. If a submenu has 10 options then you should think about re-architecting things because that feels like way too many to me. Or (if it's something like the Settings menu, or the list of all AI types/plots) where it would be fine to not have hotkeys for it.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2017, 12:55:14 AM by BadgerBadger »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: GUI Discussion
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2017, 09:10:21 AM »
I'll process the gui-stuff later, but wanted to comment on:

I guess I'm going to need a tutorial. I don't know how to make a new game and customize it. I don't know how to take territory without command stations.
There's an in-game tutorial in the version released yesterday, from the "Tutorial" button on the main menu. After the very basics it covers how to take a planet. I could tell you more info but I want to see if the tutorial gets it across.

On setting up a new game, there's no tutorial on that, but I could see about adding one. AIWC didn't have a tutorial there, so it didn't occur to me, but it's certainly a good place to have a walk through the first time, especially for folks new to AIW. Better than "here's 20 dropdowns, have fun!".

But for now the basic thing is: pick a map type, maybe an AI type, maybe add some extra factions, and hit start. Things like multiple AIs and their difficulty settings are not exposed as choices yet, though the framework is there.


On another note: the GUI layout and function is defined almost entirely in the external C# code and xml. The GUI graphics are defined in the modding-and-gui unity project included with the game. The tutorial is almost entirely external C# with some linkages in the xml; I used a lot of the modding tools I built for other things (externally defined serialized data schema, for one) when I wrote the tutorial. "having thousands of players do that work for you" is definitely in view in the design :) We'll get it done one way or another, but I'm sure y'all can refine this thing way better than I can, over time.
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Offline x4000

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Re: GUI Discussion
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2017, 09:21:27 AM »
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