Author Topic: Developer feedback requested: Ship Icons.  (Read 6483 times)

Offline rkfg

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Re: Developer feedback requested: Ship Icons.
« Reply #15 on: March 02, 2017, 02:59:10 PM »
Uh, also a (maybe) unrelated topic but still. Could all these icons merge if you zoom out? Like markers on Google Map. Then visual clutter won't be such an issue, you'll have a brief structure of the fleet with averaged health or maybe two health bars, average and lowest. Or a separate health bar for special valuable assets like golems or exodian blade. Because yeah, having lots of same-type units to be represented by one icon is good but being able to merge different types under a well-structured icon set is also nice.

Offline daktaklakpak

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Re: Developer feedback requested: Ship Icons.
« Reply #16 on: March 02, 2017, 03:18:59 PM »
Maybe multi-purpose some parts of the icon?

I was thinking, for example, you could use the Mark number to also indicate shield/cloak status.  Say a white roman numeral is normal, a blue numeral is shielded, and a numeral with a purple outline around it is cloaked.  Shielded + cloaked would be a blue numeral with a purple outline.


Offline draeath

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Re: Developer feedback requested: Ship Icons.
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2017, 03:35:01 PM »
I'm a fan of K.I.S.S. and easy visibility, and quick differentiation.

To that effect, I'd think something more along the lines of NATO symbology would be better over something stylistic. As someone else said as well, the various mantifestations of colorblindness should be taken into account as well. There's various filters you can find that you can apply to confirm that things are still distinguishable ;)

Of course, you'd have to make up new symbols - but at a glance I have no idea what the icons in the sample are intended to represent either. So given that, I'd think they would be better off completely abstracted?

If you're absolutely fixed on it being visually connected to the unit, I think a fixes isometric render of the ship silhouette is acceptable - so long as the styling and perspective are unified.

Offline zharmad

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Re: Developer feedback requested: Ship Icons.
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2017, 04:21:02 PM »
Hmm. I think the top row of large ship icons don't stand out immediately being for very different ships - might be because of the colour palette being rather close, and not very different from the background so the ship outline doesn't stand out.

The white-blue ship icons below them are excellent, in comparison. The blue shade is the team colour? The shield and cloak works are difficult to read though, I wonder if that can be replaced with images instead. The left most icons with the largest symbols feel the best to me.

Offline darkarchon

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Re: Developer feedback requested: Ship Icons.
« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2017, 04:25:58 PM »
So, this would be my suggestion, please note it's a rough draft and looks ugly, I've made this in like 15 minutes



1. The Icon Color is the player color (might get lost the less HP the ship has though)
2. Shape of the unit is represented
3. I ignored that requirement, there's still room for icons on the bottom left for example
4. Mark level is prominently displayed
5. Health is displayed with the fill of the icon itself
6. Selected squads are icon 1 and 2 (yellow border)
7. Shielded squads have a shield icon on the top right
8. Cloaked squads have an eye icon on the top left
9. I tried scaling it down to 10% and it's still sort of visible

10. If you use vectors instead of bitmaps you could scale this up easily and with that increase information available e.g. implement 11 at a higher zoom level.

An alternative would be the healthbars in a vertical position next to the ship graphic and have it filled at all times.

I feel like the *most* important information that you *need* to see at a glance is:
1) what is that ship
2) what mark level does it have

Everything else is just fluff that helps micromanaging mostly and is just *not* that important for the typical player. You still have  dozens and hundreds of squads.

-Is the health of a single squad so important to display it permanently?
-Is it so important to know at all times that the unit is under a shield? (You can see it visually)

Just a few thoughts.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2017, 04:43:52 PM by darkarchon »

Offline cocobacca

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Re: Developer feedback requested: Ship Icons.
« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2017, 04:28:07 PM »
I really like the layout that's displayed in the left column of the existing prototypes. The only things I would change on it would be that the health bar would change color depending on ships health (from green to red like lower right). Also, the shield/cloak text looks really small and I think it would get lost in the background. Perhaps if the letters are slightly bolder they would stand out more. As for squad notation, you could put the squad number underneath the icon that's to the left of the health bar (attack move, defend, etc.) or just underneath it.

That's my 2 cents on this, hope it helps.

Offline rkfg

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Re: Developer feedback requested: Ship Icons.
« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2017, 04:34:10 PM »
Maybe multi-purpose some parts of the icon?

I was thinking, for example, you could use the Mark number to also indicate shield/cloak status.  Say a white roman numeral is normal, a blue numeral is shielded, and a numeral with a purple outline around it is cloaked.  Shielded + cloaked would be a blue numeral with a purple outline.
I like that! Though it has to be properly explained and maybe expanded from just the Mark number to the whole nameplate. I think the main problem here is how good it scales if there are hundreds of units. The cloaking indication is confusing in Classic as it looks pretty undistinguishable from forcefields at a distance (both are blue though not of the same hue). And to make it less confusing we'd need to be able to create squads I guess? Like group some ships together manually (it's better than my previous proposal) and see all the icons lined up instead of mixed on top of each other. See, that way it would be possible to put more information around the icon itself without making an unreadable mess.

Offline x4000

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Re: Developer feedback requested: Ship Icons.
« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2017, 05:00:32 PM »
Couple of notes:

- Generally speaking, if we're not showing the health bars then you can't tell if you're making progress on killing something big.  Or how close your own thing is to death.  We always had the ability to turn that off, but having it is useful.

- Regarding things being under forcefields, that's not at all obvious thanks to the many perspectives you might have on the view.  That said, I could make that a part of the  "plate" under the squad, or something like that, rather than it being part of the central icon.  Heck, maybe just having a blue forcefield-like glowing bar around the health bar would be fine for this.  And for cloaking status... that's just shown elsewhere, and we don't worry about that here.

- I think that mark number is just as central of information here as the ship type.  And in classic, we wound up showing different mark numbers with different colors to make them stand out more.  I was thinking we'd do something similar here.

- There are a lot of thoughts here about ditching the little extra icons for things like FRD and whatnot, and that makes sense to me.  The colored borders were less cluttery, and also easier to associate -- there's no going "is that FRD icon with unit A or the unity 2px to its right?"  So that makes sense to me.

- Not being overly literal with the shape of the icons compared to the shape of the ships makes a goodly amount of sense to me.  With that in mind, perhaps focusing more on ship roles rather than individual ships themselves would just make the whole thing easier to understand?  Basically if we could collapse the set of icons down from being something huge like 130 icons to instead being more like 30 icons that are easier to recognize, then everybody wins.  Readability goes way up.

- Combining like icons for nearby units is something that we have done in the past (Classic does it), but my goal is that for AIW2 that won't be needed.  We've already cut the number of icons likely to be shown on a planet by an average of 1/5th or 1/10th of the previous count thanks to squads, so a lot of that work is already done.  Doing the proximity calculations for combining is kind of expensive, although doing it on a secondary thread would keep that less of an issue.  So it might not be as big a deal anymore as it was in Classic when it had to be inline in the main thread.
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Offline Matruchus

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Re: Developer feedback requested: Ship Icons.
« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2017, 05:04:23 PM »
Hm, I really don't like any of the current options. They just don't seem to fit right.

Eitherway I would get rid of the action style icons they will just perplex beginner players which this is all about. Heck even I could only understand attack and defend icons. The other two are like "what the hell does that mean".

Personally I would replace the current shield bar with a different shades of green bar which is kind of canon for health bars and under it I would place the shield bar in standard blue colour. The bottom right icons in bottom row could be ok I guess. Still I think you are trying to squeeze too much information in to these icons. The icons should be simple and just show ship classes aka fighter, bomber, and so on, icons and include health, shield bars and level of ship class. Right now the icons seem to show a spider? Which ship class is that? I know its just concept art but still it needs to be intuitive for the player to recognize the ship class so that he doesn't need to go to look up what that is supposed to be.




Offline x4000

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Re: Developer feedback requested: Ship Icons.
« Reply #24 on: March 02, 2017, 05:06:09 PM »
Rough list of planned ship types:

Phase 1
Ark
AI Controller
Derelict Controller
Human Controller
AI Master Controller
AI Master Controller Stage 2
Warp Gate
Fighter
Bomber
Missile Corvette
Space Dock
Shield Generator
MLRS Guardian
Mk 2
Mk 3
Mk 4
Mk 5
Needler Guardian
Mk 2
Mk 3
Mk 4
Mk 5
Laser Guardian
Mk 2
Mk 3
Mk 4
Mk 5
Plasma Guardian
Mk 2
Mk 3
Mk 4
Mk 5
Shield Guardian
Mk 2
Mk 3
Mk 4
Mk 5
Stealth Guardian
Mk 2
Mk 3
Mk 4
Mk 5
MRLS Turret
Needler Turret
Laser Turret
Missile Turret
Plasma Torpedo Launcher
Tractor Turret
Tachyon Array
Phase 2
Flagship
Derelict Asteroid Mine
Asteroid Mine
Derelict Reactor
Reactor
Derelict Fuel Refinery
Fuel Refinery
Starship Constructor
Assault Starship
Mk 2
Mk 3
Mk 4
Mk 5
Siege Starship
Mk 2
Mk 3
Mk 4
Mk 5
Sniper Starship
Mk 2
Mk 3
Mk 4
Mk 5
Shield Starship
Mk 2
Mk 3
Mk 4
Mk 5
Phase 3
Alien Dreadnought Husk
Ruined Network Node
Data Center
Coprocessor
Advanced Factory
Advanced Starship Constructor
Advanced Research Station
Experimental Fabricator
Experimental Turret Controller
Design Template Server
MLRS Corvette
Multi-Needler Corvette
Laser Gatling
Raider
Phase 4
Stealth Starship
Mk 2
Mk 3
Mk 4
Mk 5
Carrier Starship
Mk 2
Mk 3
Mk 4
Mk 5
Autocannon Minipod
Raptor
Eyebot
Lightning Corvette
Spider
Sniper Turret
Spider Turret
Flak Turret
Lightning Turret
Beam Cannon
Mk 2
Mk 3
Mk 4
Mk 5
Phase 5
Fortress
Minefield
Focused Gravity Generator
Auxiliary Reactor
Auxiliary Mine
Auxiliary Refinery
Usurper
Mk 2
Mk 3
Mk 4
Mk 5
Nuclear Warhead
EMP Warhead
Lightning Warhead
Warhead Silo
Post-Alpha-Release Core-Game
Dire Lightning Guardian
Dire Missile Guardian
Dire Plasma Guardian
Dire Shield Guardian
Dire Warp Beacon Guardian
Dire Commander Guardian
Troop Accelerator
Black Hole Machine
Raid Engine
Alarm Post
Planetary Cloaker
Attrition Emitter
Magnifier
Super Terminal
Ion Cannons
Orbital Mass Drivers
Warhead Interceptor
Armored Golem
Artillery Golem
Black Widow Golem
Regenerator Golem
Cursed Golem
Hive Golem
Botnet Golem
Devourer Golem
Dyson Sphere Golem
Zenith Trader
Preferable-but-optional Core-Game
Dire Heavy Beam Guardian
Dire Magnifier Guardian
Dire Teuthida Guardian
- Teuthida Drones
Dire Implosion Guardian
- Implosion Drones
Dire Widow Guardian
Dire Shredder Guardian
- Shredder Drones
Dire Hunter Guardian
- Hunter/Killers
Sniper Guardian
Widow Guardian
Lightning Guardian
Flak Guardian
Heavy Beam Guardian
Missile Guardian
Carrier Guardian
EMP Guardian
Self-Destruction Guardian
Vampire Guardian
Gravity Guardian
Implosion Guardian
Vampire Claws
Snipers
Space Tanks
Vorticular Cutlasses
Infiltrators
Space Planes
EtherJet Tractors
Armor Ships
Grenade Launchers
Sentinel Frigates
Spire stretch goal
Spire Capital Ships
Mk 2
Mk 3
Mk 4
Mk 5
Spire City Hub
Spire Shard Reactor
Spire Habitation Comples
Spire Shipyard
Spire Galactic Capitol
Nemesis stretch goal
Nemesis (like the Devourer)
Devious Device 1
Devious Device 2
Devious Device 3
Interplanetary Weapons stretch goal
The Very Large Ion Cannon Array
The Pulsar Device
The Inteplanetary Assault Cannon
The Galactic Mass Driver
The Photon Lance
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Offline x4000

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Re: Developer feedback requested: Ship Icons.
« Reply #25 on: March 02, 2017, 05:06:36 PM »
So with that said... that creates a challenge for how to show those things in icons in a way that's clear.
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Offline Tridus

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Re: Developer feedback requested: Ship Icons.
« Reply #26 on: March 02, 2017, 05:07:32 PM »
Uh, also a (maybe) unrelated topic but still. Could all these icons merge if you zoom out? Like markers on Google Map. Then visual clutter won't be such an issue, you'll have a brief structure of the fleet with averaged health or maybe two health bars, average and lowest. Or a separate health bar for special valuable assets like golems or exodian blade. Because yeah, having lots of same-type units to be represented by one icon is good but being able to merge different types under a well-structured icon set is also nice.

That'd be nice, yeah. If I have a giant pile of fighters all massed up together, how many Fighter icons do I need?

Offline darkarchon

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Re: Developer feedback requested: Ship Icons.
« Reply #27 on: March 02, 2017, 05:08:12 PM »
- Generally speaking, if we're not showing the health bars then you can't tell if you're making progress on killing something big.  Or how close your own thing is to death.  We always had the ability to turn that off, but having it is useful.

My suggestion here would be, enable the health bars only for starships and structures. It's not that important for squads. It would introduce a lot of visual clutter when used on squads imo.

- I think that mark number is just as central of information here as the ship type.  And in classic, we wound up showing different mark numbers with different colors to make them stand out more.  I was thinking we'd do something similar here.

I'd wholeheartedly agree. Mark + Ship is the most important information a player needs to know/see at a single glance.

- There are a lot of thoughts here about ditching the little extra icons for things like FRD and whatnot, and that makes sense to me.  The colored borders were less cluttery, and also easier to associate -- there's no going "is that FRD icon with unit A or the unity 2px to its right?"  So that makes sense to me.

Yes while it might be not the most beautiful thing, it was very easily distinguishable at one glance. It worked well in AIWC, I wouldn't stray from this path but that's my opinion.

- Not being overly literal with the shape of the icons compared to the shape of the ships makes a goodly amount of sense to me.  With that in mind, perhaps focusing more on ship roles rather than individual ships themselves would just make the whole thing easier to understand?  Basically if we could collapse the set of icons down from being something huge like 130 icons to instead being more like 30 icons that are easier to recognize, then everybody wins.  Readability goes way up.

Here, I'm not sure and I'd rather disagree. The icon should display the ship you're actually seeing there. That might make a difference when selecting units based on type and whatnot. E.g. even alone with bombers, going from AIWC, there were zenith and normal bombers. Normal bombers were polycrystal, zenith weren't iirc. For some bombing actions you wouldn't want to use the normal bombers and vice versa. Not seeing this at a glance (or even losing expensive/unique ships just because they get thrown in with other ships that fulfill the same role) is not a good idea in my book.

What I would not do is different icons for different mark levels. Just throw them all together and pack a big fat mark number under the icon.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2017, 05:11:45 PM by darkarchon »

Offline Matruchus

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Re: Developer feedback requested: Ship Icons.
« Reply #28 on: March 02, 2017, 05:13:09 PM »
So with that said... that creates a challenge for how to show those things in icons in a way that's clear.
I think you will need to group units, buildings and implement some kind of superposing icons. As said before, one icon for fighter, bomber, flagship, shipyard, etc. Just simplify it.

Offline Tridus

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Re: Ship Icons.
« Reply #29 on: March 02, 2017, 05:15:24 PM »
I'm glad this has come up, because I find it hard to tell what's going on with the current icons. Even with one system, with just whatever you build initially. The icons kind of blend together into an unintelligable mass of stuff.

Bear in mind, the things we NEED to convey:

1. Team color (icon color, typically)

2. What is this ship? (icon shape, typically -- and maybe shading?)

If you're already using the color for the team, then shape is better than shading because it's more distinctive at a glance, particularly with other colors already in play.

Quote
3. What is its action style?  (FRD, attack-move, group move, and maybe a few others)
--That's the little icon in the upper left of these examples.
--In the first game, it was a border color, but that has limited attractiveness and clarity.

Attractiveness, yes. Clarity, it was pretty easy to see. Small icons may not accomplish the same thing.

Quote
4. What is the mark level of this ship?
--Here it has two examples, one with it under them (as with the first game), and one at the right of the health bar.

5. What is the health of the squad?
--The health bar is shown here in kind of a rainbow gradient, but really it would be all one color that changes to those colors as it ticks down from full to almost-dead.

Might be better to keep it a single color so with all the stuff on screen, it's obvious what it is at a glance. as in: health is always green.

Quote
6. Is this squad selected?
--That's not really represented here.  I was thinking that this could be done in a fashion where there is a white outline stroke around them to denote that.

7. Is this under a shield?
-- I've suggested the little "shield" words above the health bar, for this one, but not sure if that's the best.
-- In Classic, that worked as a bubble around the icon.  It was clear, but not my favorite thing.

Clarity is important. It was clear. Go with that. The text is not clear when you throw 200 icons on screen, particularly as it's space intensive and will be hard to read when lots of them are stacked over each other. I also tend to think it looks cool. :)

Quote
8. Is this cloaked?
-- Again, the small text above the health bar here.
-- That was a purple bubble in Classic IIRC.
-- If something is shielded and cloaked, then just stacking the text vertically would be the idea here.

See above. Sticking entire words in the icon is not helping clarity once there's lots of them.

Quote
11. OPTIONAL: Since icons now represent squads with multiple ships, we COULD have it show the ship count in there.
-- In the first row, that's what the little number in the bottom right of the icons is meant to be.
-- I think that gets too cluttered fast, though.

I also think it gets cluttered fast, and simply isn't going to be that important all that often. This should be high priority information.