Author Topic: Galaxy map info request  (Read 1297 times)

Offline kmunoz

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Galaxy map info request
« on: October 04, 2019, 12:39:44 AM »
(1)

I'd love to see some kind of indication on the galaxy map that shows what type of station I have there - eco/mil/log.

I'd be happy with a letter or icon, but I would be ecstatic if there could be some kind of "heat map" element to it (i.e., color coding of some kind).

The idea for me would be so that I can make sure all of my eco stations are near the interior, my log stations are in the mid and the mil stations are on the outer worlds. (As a rough example.) Having it as a "heat map" in some fashion would make it instantly "glanceable."


(2)

A much less critical request would be a visual representation of the wave sources/destinations on the galaxy map. Ideally, for example, the warp line connecting two systems would have a repeating directional pulse from the source system to the target system.

(3)

The current visual representation of system connections that don't have gates is, I feel, insufficiently distinct. The difference is the line thickness and that doesn't scan very easily. Perhaps a dotted/broken line instead? Or a line broken right in the middle with some kind of "fracture" representation (an X, or parentheses/brackets icons facing away from each other, etc.).
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 12:50:41 AM by kmunoz »

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Galaxy map info request
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2019, 01:02:38 AM »
For 2 and 3, if there are more things I can visually do with a wormhole link then I can update what's done. The only thing I know how to do is the thickness right now. I agree, if I could do some sort of visual pulse or colour gradient or something like that it would be better. I'm not sure how hard that would be for chris to implement though.

Offline kmunoz

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Re: Galaxy map info request
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2019, 01:05:12 AM »
Attached is my really terrible visual suggestion. I am neither an artist nor competent at moving a mouse with precision.

Offline x4000

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Re: Galaxy map info request
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2019, 06:24:18 PM »
Okay, you're going to be really happy, I think: https://wiki.arcengames.com/index.php?title=AI_War_2:_The_Refinement_of_Fleets#Galaxy_Map_Improvements

:)

Thanks for the awesome ideas!
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Offline kmunoz

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Re: Galaxy map info request
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2019, 09:47:18 PM »
Fantastic! Really looking forward to it.

Offline x4000

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Re: Galaxy map info request
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2019, 10:36:59 PM »
It's out now!  Just posted the updates. :)
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Offline kmunoz

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Re: Galaxy map info request
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2019, 12:21:32 AM »
This is very helpful! However, it does look on my screen like the size reduction on the galaxy map is maybe too much. I'm on a 1920x1080 screen and the icons are a little squinty now. Fleets are easy to spot but the other icons are a little blobby. The eco/mil/log icons are not super clear unless I'm zoomed way in. If I'm zoomed out enough to see 1/3 to 1/2 of the overall map, the icons, text and numbers are a little too hard to read.

Below 1/3 of the map (zoomed in enough to see maybe a dozen systems) it's more readable, but I do feel like it still swung a little too far in the other direction.

Some of that may be solvable by reducing bloom even more than the current minimum. (I play with bloom turned down as far as it will go.)

Offline Asteroid

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Re: Galaxy map info request
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2019, 05:34:36 PM »
This is very helpful! However, it does look on my screen like the size reduction on the galaxy map is maybe too much. I'm on a 1920x1080 screen and the icons are a little squinty now. Fleets are easy to spot but the other icons are a little blobby. The eco/mil/log icons are not super clear unless I'm zoomed way in. If I'm zoomed out enough to see 1/3 to 1/2 of the overall map, the icons, text and numbers are a little too hard to read.

Below 1/3 of the map (zoomed in enough to see maybe a dozen systems) it's more readable, but I do feel like it still swung a little too far in the other direction.

Some of that may be solvable by reducing bloom even more than the current minimum. (I play with bloom turned down as far as it will go.)
Thanks kmunoz for your excellent ideas. I had been thinking about something similar for a while. Hadn't thought about icons for the type of command station though, that's a strike of genius since that space was otherwise unused.

As I mentioned elsewhere, 100% agreed about the icons being too small. You need different, pixel-perfect or simple geometric icons if you want to go that small. I think people who wanted smaller icons mostly wanted that for when you zoom out a lot. I vote to revert to the previous planet/icon size and icon border, it looked better and was more functional. Scaling down icons could be saved for the case where a planet is overcrowded. Perhaps do a few tweaks so the zoomed out map looks better afterwards for players who leave the planet names on all the time... though I feel that since it's not the default, not much effort should be spent to support that.

Offline kmunoz

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Re: Galaxy map info request
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2019, 10:10:01 PM »
Perhaps do a few tweaks so the zoomed out map looks better afterwards for players who leave the planet names on all the time... though I feel that since it's not the default, not much effort should be spent to support that.

It seems weird to me that the default is to *not* have planet names on all the time.

Offline Asteroid

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Re: Galaxy map info request
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2019, 12:17:43 AM »

It seems weird to me that the default is to *not* have planet names on all the time.
I think it's a good design choice. You don't need to look up planet names that much during play - the game does a good job of showing you where things are in a positional manner. It leaves more space on the map for crucial information like icons. You see the name for the planet you currently have selected, and you can always hold a key to see all planet names, but I found that in the last 80-planet game that I won (difficulty 6), I showed all planet names five to ten times max - that over the course of 10+ hours.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Galaxy map info request
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2019, 12:26:16 AM »
Perhaps do a few tweaks so the zoomed out map looks better afterwards for players who leave the planet names on all the time... though I feel that since it's not the default, not much effort should be spent to support that.

It seems weird to me that the default is to *not* have planet names on all the time.

This.
I keep pushing control on the map to have the names.

Offline BadgerBadger

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Re: Galaxy map info request
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2019, 01:09:45 AM »
Since there's a setting to turn all planet names on, I don't see a need to worry about this point further. I for one prefer the default settings.

Offline kmunoz

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Re: Galaxy map info request
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2019, 10:47:58 AM »
I think it's a good design choice. You don't need to look up planet names that much during play - the game does a good job of showing you where things are in a positional manner. It leaves more space on the map for crucial information like icons. You see the name for the planet you currently have selected, and you can always hold a key to see all planet names, but I found that in the last 80-planet game that I won (difficulty 6), I showed all planet names five to ten times max - that over the course of 10+ hours.

This isn't a hill I need to die on since there is a setting to turn them all on, but here is where we get into the mechanics of veteran play versus new player play.

I consider myself a new player despite having about 100 hours in AI War 1 and 15 or so in 2. I have never, not once, won a game. I remain at Diff 4. I'm not a good player. That's not the game's fault, I'm just bad at games. But it does mean I tend to experience the game more the way a new player does.

You suggested: "the game does a good job of showing you where things are in a positional manner"

And that's simply not true. If I Q-spin a system map to get a different angle, it NEVER goes back to the original position, which means all of the wormholes are out of position, which means they don't conform to the positioning on the galaxy map, which means the ONLY way for me to correlate the two is by having the names turned on.

Now the obvious rebuttal to this is, don't Q-spin the system maps. But that's not how a new player is going to experience the game. They're going to see this as a non-isometric RTS and they're going to treat it that way, and they're going to spin the map to get different viewing angles. The mere fact that there are gorgeous 3D ship models in the game INVITES players to do this, to get nice satisfying visuals.

The way information is presented in AIW1 and AIW2 is quirky. On the one hand it's insanely detailed when you hover over things or use certain interface controls - to the point of oversaturation in some cases. But on the other hand it displays a lot less information directly on the screens absent user interaction. (Insert my rant about the icons again here.) I really appreciate the recent changes and I find the game considerably more playable now just because of those UI adjustments, but there is so much more the game could show me simply and easily such that I can just look at the map or the system and know what's happening without having to be a veteran player.

I think some of us are falling into the perspective trap. (I do so as well, probably just as often, but from the other side.) Those of us who know the game intimately assume that the way we're receiving information from the game is the most efficient or the most effective because we already know how to interpret it. But this game is in early access. When it releases, the vast majority of its players will suddenly NEVER HAVE PLAYED THE GAME BEFORE.

I really don't want them to bounce off the way I did.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2019, 10:50:43 AM by kmunoz »

Offline Asteroid

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Re: Galaxy map info request
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2019, 04:18:41 PM »
This isn't a hill I need to die on since there is a setting to turn them all on, but here is where we get into the mechanics of veteran play versus new player play.

I consider myself a new player despite having about 100 hours in AI War 1 and 15 or so in 2. I have never, not once, won a game. I remain at Diff 4. I'm not a good player. That's not the game's fault, I'm just bad at games. But it does mean I tend to experience the game more the way a new player does.
I'm not a veteran player by any stretch of the imagination. I have less hours than you in both games. I did win my first game in AI War 2 on diff 6, but I still haven't experienced most of the content (Nanocaust, Macrophage and what not).
Quote
Now the obvious rebuttal to this is, don't Q-spin the system maps.
Don't Q-spin the system maps.

The game doesn't even tell you that you can rotate the camera (unless that changed in the tutorials), and it's bound to a key some mice don't even have. I don't think most people will try it.

This said, some shortcut to reset the camera to default (or even auto-reset whenever you leave the system view) sounds like it could be useful.

Quote
I think some of us are falling into the perspective trap. (I do so as well, probably just as often, but from the other side.) Those of us who know the game intimately assume that the way we're receiving information from the game is the most efficient or the most effective because we already know how to interpret it. But this game is in early access. When it releases, the vast majority of its players will suddenly NEVER HAVE PLAYED THE GAME BEFORE.
As I started mentioning above I'm a newer player than probably anyone else on these forums, having discovered AI War 1 and AI War 2 more or less at the same time very recently. I found the UI in AI War 2 rather intuitive and in particular had no problem with the map, so I think my experience will be representative of at least a portion of new players.

Overall I agree with you that the map can present more information (and I'm currently working on adding more info about waves on there), but I think it needs to be designed around the current default which is with planet names off. If you turn them on and then complain things are cluttered, you're on your own. Otherwise we're just in a standstill where we can't implement anything because we're trying to please everyone.

Offline kmunoz

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Re: Galaxy map info request
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2019, 04:36:33 PM »
Don't Q-spin the system maps.

The game doesn't even tell you that you can rotate the camera (unless that changed in the tutorials), and it's bound to a key some mice don't even have. I don't think most people will try it.

I call it "Q spin" because you use the Q key to switch to the rotation option. It doesn't require a weird mouse button, just the Q key. I don't recall if it's *still* in the tutorials, but I think it was at one point, and it definitely is in the list of controls.

If you prevent people from using the ability to rotate, that means they'll never see anything other than a mostly top down view, which undermines the point of the nice 3-D visuals, which then will make people ask why you can't rotate the view, and then we're back to square one again. And if you leave the option in the game, but tell people *not* to do it because it will mess things up, that's just bad design. So the solution, for this particular problem, for all the people who have never played the game and will find the current state confusing, is either 1) make system names on the galaxy map the default or 2) make the systems snap back to default orientation after you leave and return to them.

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I think it needs to be designed around the current default which is with planet names off. If you turn them on and then complain things are cluttered, you're on your own. Otherwise we're just in a standstill where we can't implement anything because we're trying to please everyone.

Agreed. Like I said, I'm not dying on the hill of galaxy system names, because I *can* turn it on, and because there are more pressing issues.

The one that's got me riled up right now happened last night. I encountered a nanocaust for the first time ever. About 20-30 minutes later, I start seeing messages about waves against systems I'd never been to, and I start seeing blue warp lines between systems I'd never been to. I spent fifteen minutes trying to figure out if I'd accidentally gone somewhere I shouldn't have, or if there was a bug I should report here, before discovering quite by accident that it was a nanocaust (which, as I said, I'd never seen before that game and didn't know how they behaved). Under absolutely no circumstances does it ever make sense for a non-player faction to look and alert like a player faction. Because when they do, to players who don't know what's happening, it looks like a bug. I was literally 30 seconds away from taking a screenshot and posting a bug report here.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2019, 05:43:05 PM by kmunoz »

 

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