Author Topic: Icons and zoom  (Read 2167 times)

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Icons and zoom
« on: June 24, 2009, 07:30:58 PM »
Hi again X,

There was another pair of things I wanted to bring up (request), relating to icons and zooming, please.

First, I would like an option to have the icons used at all zoom levels, or at least have some sort of "slider" where I could pick when I want the icons to be turned off (allowing it to go all the way to "never turn off"). I zoom in a certain amount then blam - all my icons go away and I have no idea what I'm looking at anymore. I'd frankly rather just have the icons all the way to max zoom - or have max zoom and max zoom with icons be the same zoom level, just one "click" (of the mouse wheel) apart. I know, your artist is hating me right now... but I'm a gamer, not an art afficionado.

The second one relates to large things (data centers, the AI home world thing that looks like pipes) that are represented by icons... The icons don't scale as you zoom, so what happens is that, when zooming in, it appears as if the (icon-represented) ships are actually moving (expanding) relative to the one big icon. I don't know how to address that, except to say that it is somewhat disquieting and also misleading.

Oh, and a third thing... How about omitting the "I" from the level 1 ships (optionally, of course)?

Thanks!

Offline x4000

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Re: Icons and zoom
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2009, 07:36:54 PM »
First, I would like an option to have the icons used at all zoom levels, or at least have some sort of "slider" where I could pick when I want the icons to be turned off (allowing it to go all the way to "never turn off"). I zoom in a certain amount then blam - all my icons go away and I have no idea what I'm looking at anymore. I'd frankly rather just have the icons all the way to max zoom - or have max zoom and max zoom with icons be the same zoom level, just one "click" (of the mouse wheel) apart. I know, your artist is hating me right now... but I'm a gamer, not an art afficionado.

I love it!  I'll add this as a numeric slider, so you can adjust when there are icons versus not, as you suggested.  Should be helpful, I imagine.

The second one relates to large things (data centers, the AI home world thing that looks like pipes) that are represented by icons... The icons don't scale as you zoom, so what happens is that, when zooming in, it appears as if the (icon-represented) ships are actually moving (expanding) relative to the one big icon. I don't know how to address that, except to say that it is somewhat disquieting and also misleading.

Yep, it is misleading, and it's mainly just a factor of the fact that icons are a fixed size.  If I scale the icons based on zoom, I think it would cause more issues.  Most other games that have large ships and use an iconic view like this have the same issue, so my guess is that the prevailing general wisdom is that while this is a bit odd, it's better than any alternative.  Scaling up the icons is likely to not look very good, too, so there's also that.  But I'm open to suggestions, if someone has an idea of how this might work better.

Oh, and a third thing... How about omitting the "I" from the level 1 ships (optionally, of course)?

Hey, cool idea -- I'll add that as an option.  Though I will say that, in large groups, the little I is helpful for differentiating since the color lets you tell the lower-level ships apart from the higher-level ones.  But the lack of any colored numerals could probably tell you just as much.  Anyway, I definitely like this as a toggle, so it's added to my list!

Great suggestions!
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Re: Icons and zoom
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2009, 07:52:50 PM »
I'll add this as a numeric slider, so you can adjust when there are icons versus not, as you suggested.

Just had another idea relating to this... You could also have an alpha-blend around the time the icons would disappear, so that as you zoom in further the icons don't just suddenly disappear, but rather they slowly fade out as you zoom in and reveal the underlying ship artwork.

(The only other place I can think of that uses transparency is the ship selection circles/range circles, so maybe this sort of thing is hard in your rendering engine.)

OK, time to go home... :)

Cheers!

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Selecting by ship level.
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2009, 07:57:12 PM »
Yikes, and to hijack my own thread...

I had been thinking of a way to select just Level 1, 2, 3, 4 or C ships (not that I have any C, being relatively parasite free). The obvious way would be to have something like a "hold down the 1 when clicking on the ship type on the side," but that doesn't quite work.

But, just because I use a laptop and a numpad-free desktop keyboard doesn't mean we couldn't do that with the numpad 1-5 keys. If you hold those while otherwise selecting things, the selection could be limited to that level (or those levels) ships only. This way when I want to create a quick level 1 fodder run, I could (if I were very adroit) hold NumPad-1 then select my "current offensive group" (which is always main-keyboard 1) and just get the level 1 fodder in my main attack group. Or, if I've run into a zone with an anti-1 (only) ion cannon, I could NumPad-1 rubberband all my ships and warp them out easily.

Not sure that the numpad is the best idea, but I can't think of any other easy to remember keys offhand.

Cheers!

Offline x4000

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Re: Icons and zoom
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2009, 09:23:47 PM »

Just had another idea relating to this... You could also have an alpha-blend around the time the icons would disappear, so that as you zoom in further the icons don't just suddenly disappear, but rather they slowly fade out as you zoom in and reveal the underlying ship artwork.

(The only other place I can think of that uses transparency is the ship selection circles/range circles, so maybe this sort of thing is hard in your rendering engine.)

Alpha blending is used all over the place in the game, it's not hard on our rendering engine at all, but showing icons AND the underlying ships would be.  Basically, we'd be drawing 2x as many graphics, which would just make them choke.  Also, a lot of players (myself included) like to sit just one click above the icons to view certain things, then click in and see the details of the battle.  Making it a softer fade would make the close-in iconic view kind of useless, I think...
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Offline x4000

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Re: Selecting by ship level.
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2009, 09:30:20 PM »
Yikes, and to hijack my own thread...

I had been thinking of a way to select just Level 1, 2, 3, 4 or C ships (not that I have any C, being relatively parasite free). The obvious way would be to have something like a "hold down the 1 when clicking on the ship type on the side," but that doesn't quite work.

But, just because I use a laptop and a numpad-free desktop keyboard doesn't mean we couldn't do that with the numpad 1-5 keys. If you hold those while otherwise selecting things, the selection could be limited to that level (or those levels) ships only. This way when I want to create a quick level 1 fodder run, I could (if I were very adroit) hold NumPad-1 then select my "current offensive group" (which is always main-keyboard 1) and just get the level 1 fodder in my main attack group. Or, if I've run into a zone with an anti-1 (only) ion cannon, I could NumPad-1 rubberband all my ships and warp them out easily.

Not sure that the numpad is the best idea, but I can't think of any other easy to remember keys offhand.

Cheers!

I'm not sure if I'd want to require the keypad, for the simple reason that there are lots of other people like you on laptops.  The quickest way to do subselection right now is to just select everything, then click the selection button so that it pops up the little menu, then hold shift and right-click all the stuff you don't want, removing it from your selection.  If you're commonly needing to do that, I'd think that control groups would be the most effective.

Also, if you want to quickly select all ships of a certain type/level on the screen, just double-click it.  So if you want all your MarkIII bombers, for instance, just double-click the icon for one of them.  If you want to add your MarkIII fighters, just hold Shift and double click those afterward.

Potentially it could be interesting to hold Alt+1 to select all MarkI ships, though, like you are saying, and Alt+2-5 as well.  I've added this one to my list, since I think it will help in some situations, but I think most of the time the existing options are quite servicable (but hey, no one objects to variety, right?).

Thanks for suggesting it!
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Re: Icons and zoom
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2009, 06:34:36 PM »
a lot of players (myself included) like to sit just one click above the icons to view certain things, then click in and see the details of the battle.

This begs for a further enhancement, then: a key which when held will (transiently) toggle between views. So, zoomed in and want to see the icons for a moment, hold (whatever key you decide). Or, seeing icons but want to see what the ship actually looks like, same thing.

Cheers!

Offline x4000

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Re: Icons and zoom
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2009, 08:47:41 PM »
This begs for a further enhancement, then: a key which when held will (transiently) toggle between views.

Wicked!  I love it, added to my list.
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Re: Icons and zoom
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2009, 11:42:30 PM »
Thanks for the footnotes in the 1.007 and 1.008 release notes. :)

Offline x4000

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Re: Icons and zoom
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2009, 11:43:08 PM »
Of course!  Thanks for the suggestions. :)
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