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  #1  
Old November 7th, 2006, 12:35 AM
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Default Fixing the Horrid UI

There has been a lot of discussion about the UI and how in effective it is. While I cannot comment about what was said during the beta it is clear now that many of the people buying the game don't like the current UI configuration and lack of intuativeness. While I think the UI looks very professional, the functionality of it leaves a lot to be desired.

One of the most effective ways to affect change would be to isolate the discussion around the UI and suggestions for improving it. That way at some point a list can be presented to Aaron out lining what fans would like to see done to improve the UI.

Know this, there are literally dozens of UI improvements suggestions currently available to Aaron via other means, and as of yet he has been unable to focus his attention upon improving the AI because he has been working on taking out the bugs discovered in the retail version of the game.

So don't give up on seeing UI improvements. They are just going to take some time.

Is should also be noted that dramatic changes to the UI will not happen. IE the moving of the tabs to the top or the addition of tabs. So please keep that in mind if you choose to post an idea.

Suggestions should be kept to practile improvements that are witin the realm of feasablity for Aaron to do.

As an example of a simple yet extremely useful idea, click on the attachment above.
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File Type: png 468130-displayideas.PNG (1.17 MB, 178 views)
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Old November 7th, 2006, 12:42 AM
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Default Re: Fixing the Horrid UI

Improve the transfer cargo window

The current system lists out each individual troop and doen't group them together. This makes transfering of troops a major nightmare. A real click fest.

See attachment for more details.
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File Type: png 468132-cargoimp.PNG (466.1 KB, 158 views)
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Old November 7th, 2006, 12:43 AM
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Default Re: Fixing the Horrid UI

Here is an idea for improving at a glance the systems you have control over. Take a look at the attached image to see what I mean.
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File Type: png 468133-quadrantmapimprovement.PNG (748.7 KB, 151 views)
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Old November 7th, 2006, 12:52 AM

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Default Re: Fixing the Horrid UI

AT: get the patches. The troop thing already has a condensed view option. The third would be already in-game, if the buttons above the quadrant map worked right..
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Old November 7th, 2006, 01:03 AM
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Default Re: Fixing the Horrid UI

I can't play the game after installing the 1.13 patch. The game just locks up after turn 2 on any new or saved game.

I have to alt Ctrl Del out of it and then close it down. Its very frustrating. Makes me want to say *uck this and unistall it and wait until a stable version can be cleanly installed.

I didn't see the troop condensed view option. When I get the damn game to work again I will look for it. Thanks Phoenix.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 01:27 AM
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Default Re: Fixing the Horrid UI

General comment: I really think MM should listen to fans' request for UI improvements because, no matter how "good" the game is, SE5 really loses its fun due to the UI. I just don't enjoy playing it, although I want to. The crappy UI just ruins the experience for me; it's too much work, too inefficient and aggrevating.

Specific recommendations:

Ship design:
- add "sensor range" & "sensor level" to both the create design screen and view design screen.
- allow installing any researched level of a component, not just the latest.

System view:
- add "system attributes" where there is only 1 entry per known system with all system-wide abilities shown

In various queues:
- allow drag/drop to reorder lists
- as a minimum, have "move to top", "move to bottom", "move up", "move down"

In research queue:
- add button that adjusts research percentage to "next # of turns" so that I can click to cycle a research project to finish in 0.1, 0.2, 0.3, etc. turns; or whatever is possible. This would be nice since I bet everyone is already tweaking the research percentage to get these anyway.
- for overlapping techs (like engines) add toggle option to either "upgrade to next level of same" or "upgrade to next higher component" so (for engines) I could decide to upgrade ion engines to higher levels of ion engines OR to jacketed photon engines based on this toggle. This may require restructuring the various files and/or adding another field to link them to the same family like in SE4.

In retrofit screen:
- allow retrofitting multiple ships at a time.

In Log screen:
- or better yet, a hotkey for: "take me to the location of the next log event and pop a small window telling me what happened there" That way, I don't have to keep coming back to the Log screen. I can just step thru the events, stopping as desired to take action at any/all locations.


In the help screen:
- show all versions of components, facilities, mounts, vehicle sizes, etc. so that the player can see how research is affecting higher levels and if higher levels are worth continued research. Make this easily viewable from the Designs screen and the construction queue screen for the purpose of upgrading.


In the cargo transfer screen:
- highlight the existing value so that I can just overwrite the existing number to be transferred. Having to backspace to delete the "1" is just insane.

In input dialogs for naming things:
- make the CAPS LOCK key work.
- make the ENTER key work



I have to eat dinner now. I'll add more later.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 01:36 AM
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Default Re: Fixing the Horrid UI

Fleets
If you select a fleet and right-click to bring up its report, it will display the attack/defense formations, list all the ships, and display TF information on a sub-tab, and the warp transit order on a sub-tab. You can't change any of this stuff without leaving the Fleet Report. I shouldn't have to go to the Fleet Transfer Screen to change the Task Force formations and strategies for a single fleet I'm looking at already.

Fleet Report
Task Forces Tab:
-Clicking on the attack/defense formations and strategies should open up a drop-down box so you can change them.
-Double-clicking on the Task Force Name should allow you to edit it.
Warp Transit Order Tab:
-Add "Move up" and "Move down" buttons so players can edit the fleet's transit order directly.

Fleet Transfer Screen:
-Should be able to change Fleet/Task Force names by double-clicking on the text.
-Instead of the buttons along the bottom, should be able to change strategies and formations by clicking on them, opening up a drop-down box.
-Double clicking on ships should add them to/remove them from currently-selected task force.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 01:53 AM
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Default Re: Fixing the Horrid UI

Quote:
General comment: I really think MM should listen to fans' request for UI improvements because, no matter how "good" the game is, SE5 really loses its fun due to the UI. I just don't enjoy playing it, although I want to. The crappy UI just ruins the experience for me; it's too much work, too inefficient and aggrevating.
I agree 100%
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Old November 7th, 2006, 05:10 AM
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Default Re: Fixing the Horrid UI

Just four words: Show all the buttons.

What was so wrong with the two rows of buttons in SE4? Show them all, light up the ones that have a use in the current context. Simple, and effective.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 07:35 AM

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Default Re: Fixing the Horrid UI

Mouse Cursor
Fix the lag - this makes every flaw in SEV's UI far less tolerable and is the biggest current problem IMHO.

Window Focus
SEV doesn't appear to have any concept of an "active" window to determine where a keyboard command should apply (resulting in the hilarious situation of not being able to use the letter "T" in ship design names during the tutorial since this just brings up/closes the tutorial window). This means that pressing Esc may close a background window (e.g. in Ship Design when reviewing component details).

If having an active window is too big a change for SEV's UI, then each one needs to have unique keyboard shortcuts (especially for common buttons like Close or Cancel).

Better Use of Screen Space
SEV's use of screen real estate is inefficient making it harder to use with lower resolution screens. One specific problem is with the unit display where the headings (in gold) take up as much space as the information field. It should be possible to reduce the space taken by 1/3 just by changing this format (i.e. to something like Heading: Details).

More (and Consistent) Keyboard Shortcuts
SEV only seems to offer keyboard shortcuts for the top-level commands - these need to be expanded to other areas also. In particular it should be possible to use the cursor keys:
  • to select a square in the Ship Design window;
  • to select a hex/planet/ship (depending on the command chosen) in the System Display window;
  • to select a location or ship (depending on the command chosen) in the Combat windows.
Better Positioning of Command Buttons
Having the unit command buttons at the bottom right is just about the worst place possible for efficient utilisation, in terms of minimising mouse movement. A better option would be a floating window which would appear alongside a selected unit which would only contain applicable buttons (reducing wasted space).

Filter/Display Indicator and Selection
SEV needs to indicate when it is possible to right-click on a heading to access filters or displays (adding a special icon which provides left-click access would be the simplest method).

It should then also be possible to select/combine multiple entries - e.g. being able to list engines and weapons in the Ship Components window or being able to display construction queues along with existing facilities in the Colony listing (this is one feature I especially want to be able to quickly determine where I can build new facilities).

Map and 3D Control
Having the map rotate when the cursor is at the left/right hand margins of the screen is counter-intuitive and inconsistent - the map should move left or right just as it moves up or down. Rotation should then be done via right-click drag as with Homeworld. It should also be possible to center the display on any item (e.g. by Ctrl-clicking on it).

One particularly interesting option could be to switch viewpoint to that of a selected unit when in tactical combat mode - this would make it a more immersive experience though it could also more clearly highlight the lack of "true" 3D currently (everything being on the same plane).

Ability to View Old Components
Previous versions of SE allowed you to view previous versions of weapons and other components or facilities (and even use them) making it possible to check the exact benefits of a new generation. This needs to be restored to SEV.
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