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2.4.5 New HUD style, layout etc. Middle mouse click.

#1
The HUD in normal and build mode has been recently update.

Middle mouse button has a new function.

What do you think of it all?

I'm planning on expanding the changes to the fleet control UI and the map UI. Anything you'd like to see, or not see?
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#2
In terms of new stuff:
Awesome changes, the new UI is a huge improvement! I haven't played yet but judging by the release video, it would be useful to separate some of the buttons in build mode a bit (in the top right). Even if they're just in rows separated by a few pixels, or have a bit of text on the end of each row to make it obvious that buttons in each row have a grouped function (e.g. one of the rows does detection range stuff.) As it stands, it's a little bit of a scary cluster of icons.

If saved UI windows could have different icons (so, a missile icon for saved missile windows, an AI icon for saved AI windows, etc) then that would make it much easier to discern between what each one is.

Lastly, it would be awesome if more options could be accessed when not in build mode - especially saved UI windows. Sometimes I need to watch a craft for a while to tune its PID or AI settings, and it's a little bit cumbersome to have to go back into build mode, have the camera move to where I don't want it, move the camera back and then make adjustments. Being able to access saved UI windows from middle mouse when not in build mode would make fine tuning settings blissfully easy.

Suggestions for the fleet control and map UI:
Basically, I think it needs to work much more like an RTS. There are a lot of quality of life improvements that could be done to make that happen. It's in the interests of the game: it would make the campaign more fun if there's more for the player to do in battles, opposed to just watching.

The game could do more underlying work to remove the need to micromanage paths. Giving movement orders needs to be easier and more intuitive - it should be a system that can work very quickly in battle situations so that the game can be more of an RTS. I think the E view should start off more zoomed out - I often find that it's zoomed right in and I have to scroll for a little while until I'm actually in the right place to give orders across large scales on a battlefield. Zoom out should be saved, and the window could automatically when opened for the first time try to pick the right zoom level (e.g. if the nearest enemy is 2km away, you probably want to start 2km zoomed out so you can immediately see them from in the tactical view and start giving orders.) It would turn it into a view that you can pop into, give orders and pop out of in just a couple of seconds.

I think that currently, if you select lots of units at once then movement orders all go to the same point. Instead, this should try to attempt to make crafts move "in formation" or at least with defined parallel paths that are separated by their idle distance as defined in AI settings. It would be amazing if we could select ~5 units at once and order them all to move towards a target but not have them all try to go to exactly the same point in the process and crash into each other - each one should be travelling towards a point separated apart from the other crafts. I also don't know how useful ordering crafts to particular altitudes is - maybe this could be a special setting (e.g. when holding down alt while placing a path), but nine times out of ten I just want the craft to be at its normal height as dictated by the AI, and the extra fiddling on having to assign altitudes on every move order wastes time (and isn't very RTS.) Also I often mess up the altitude and make my planes crash/go to space.


I think the E view shouldn't just be a top-down view of the normal game - units should have permanent outlines to make them a bit clearer (with enemies having red outlines). It would be nice if ships and units "popped out" more against the background. Weather also shouldn't be rendered in a way to make command harder in this view.

A permanent health bar underneath units too would really add to the RTS aesthetic (I think that's only a thing in map mode) and make it into a more strategic interface. Hell, maybe it could even show the current reload status of the largest weapon or two on the craft with another bar - amazingly useful for bombers, for instance. I also find it very hard to tell when a critical system has been damaged on a craft when I'm not on it - it would be awesome if this could be something in text above crafts with a warning, like "Engines damaged" in orange if power generation drops by more than 20%, and "Critical engine damage" in red text if a craft loses most/all power, "Ammo destroyed" if the ammo explodes, "Out of fuel", etc. Or maybe just do it with icons that you can mouse over for a description? It would quickly show you which crafts, even if they're high on health, are critically damaged in other ways and need to be moved away from the battle.

There should be a way to immediately control AI options in this view - maybe a toggleable panel on the left or right? Especially now that AI adjustments are in the game, it would be great if we could be in the E view and see/change what behaviours the AIs of all crafts are doing. Maybe also a way to give all vehicles in a fleet/that are selected the same AI order too? For instance, if you have lots of the same type of torpedo bomber selected, it would be amazing if there could be a way to order them all to change their behaviour at once to a particular AI adjustment (like, a different attack run type). It would make it so easy to give new orders to large groups of smaller craft, as you press one button and the AI on each craft will handle the finer details.

Lastly (oops this is a long post), a way in campaign while in the E view to add/pull craft from the battle. Maybe (like the AI window) it could be a button (e.g. in the top right) that gives you an overview of all the forces currently in play, and all the forces you could spawn in.
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#3
I kinda replied on the video thread about the HUD updates, but I think that was supposed to go here instead, whoops.

(2019-05-04, 03:36 PM)vyrus Wrote: Really nice qol stuff there for build mode, it's going to make a lot of things so much easier!

I would be interested in allowing for more customization of components on a per-vehicle basis. Something like: your default settings for what to show would always be shown but the vehicle can also say that it wants certain elements to show as well. Useful for if you don't always want to show all 3 drives, but a certain ship you build does use all 3 so you want them to show when you're on that one, etc.

Also allowing custom buttons or bars to control or show random vehicle functions would be really cool.
A button block (skinned up like the balloon controller's button block) that can act as an input condition to an adjacent ACB, or show up as a breadboard input. It could be pressed manually for a nice immersive cockpit experience, be bind-able through custom control keys, or give it the option to show up as a button at the top-left of the HUD with a custom icon!
Breadboard nodes for printing text, or custom status bars on the HUD would be really nice too, since with the breadboard we now have a great way to pipe various numerical inputs around. So you could have a custom altitude bar, etc.

I like the minimize function - it'll be nice for doing things like tweaking PIDs. It could be nice to add custom icons for each interface to give some more at-a-glance readability if you end up with a few things minimized, although there's quite a lot of interfaces so that would probably be tough.

As far as the tactical views, I agree a lot with Docterchese above, especially about fleet formations.

We kinda have fleet formations right now (iirc?) using patrol mode to set ship positions in relation to the fleet position. Then when you move the fleet in fleet move mode they all try moving in that relative spacing. I feel like this concept could be better implemented, as it's very tedious to set up a good formation, and ships don't really follow them in battle anyway.

It would be nice to have some buttons for fleets in the map mode that select different grid patterns for the units to align to. Then you can order ships into each of these spots and their way-point would align to that exact position. To help with the in-battle movement adding an AI movement behavior to "follow fleet movement" would be nice, so the fleet would just copy whatever the designated flagship's movement behavior is set to.

It would also be interesting to allow for multiple formations to be defined, that way you (or your AI) can select different formations during battle (similar to how behaviors work), based on how the fight is going. eg if your whole right wing is dead .. move the ships from the left side over, etc.
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#4
So, regarding the interface style and perception ergonomics.

Before turning to the examples, I will say briefly.
The work of the player with the interface has slowed down significantly and partially clogged.

The essence of the science of Ergonomics is that, in the minimum number of micromotations, a person would process information and perform actions as quickly as possible.
An example is a kitchen. You have a box with cutlery, where everything is in a pile. This box is located three steps from the work surface. And every time you need to take these three steps, waste your time searching, make three steps again, and so on.
The solution to the problem is a box with sorted items, for the opening of which it is enough to lower the hand ...
The point, I think, is clear.


Now, how it looks about our game.

The first thing that catches our eyes is the HUD.
Here are the images before and after.

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/5...3309_2.jpg

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/5...5916_1.jpg

Basic errors.
1. Write in gray on white. Light blue over blue. Or translucent on a complex actively changing background ...
It's hard to take.

2. Very sharp contrast.
Eyes from it hurt first of all.

3. Small, thin fonts and icons.

White letters on a red, slightly voluminous background look good and read quickly.
White letters on a light blue, translucent background, lying over a blue sky or a dark blue ocean ...
No comments.


The next example is the building menu.

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/5...2902_1.jpg

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/5...4602_1.jpg

Before - the text. White on blue. One micromovement with the eye and you already knew what was there.
Eye movement - reading - Tree - angle - 3 meters - you know what a block. If you need a visualization - 3D model.
At the same time working with the grid is to read the name or part of the name.

Now - you need to spend time processing the image, read a text that is hard to see on a complex background.
N eye movements for image processing - remember the texture - associate the texture on your graphics settings! ... (some textures are very similar under certain lighting - double difficulties) - tree - then again work with the picture - angle - attempts to determine the block length by the picture. ..
Yes, there is a visualization. But. While the necessary block will turn to the necessary angle it is necessary to wait ...
At the same time working with the grid is complicated by the increase in the distance between the cells.
For example, write one and the same text in one font, but type the second copy with spaces between the letters. It will be unpleasant.

The solution to the problem is the name of the block under the icon. Black and white, for example.
Or allow players to choose what they want to see.
Return the distance between the blocks as it was before.

I understand why you put the picture in the foreground.
This is the standard solution for all such games.
And it has long been suggested.


Additionally I will say about the paint.
No need to increase the icons.
The brush icon can be placed as a normal block (I would really like it) and when clicking on it, display the tree of the palette, as for ordinary blocks.


Next, I will say about the minimalist "futuristic" interface.
This is only my opinion.
Previously, FTD had its own interface design.
Now it is just a copy.
Very contrast copy.


Farther.
Guns interface.

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/5...5709_1.jpg

Previously, at the touch of a button, we immediately got access to all weapon settings.
During construction, in 99% of cases, I do not set up rotors, shelling sectors and so on.
I am editing the caliber, the frequency of shooting, the projectile, the number of barrels and the like.
And it turns out that every time I am forced to make an extra movement. Which is absolutely not necessary to do.
This is the ergonomics of human-machine interaction.


Similar to the ACB.

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/5...5058_1.jpg

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/5...1430_1.jpg

You immediately got access to every step. Now you need to switch tabs and look for the action you need, not immediately to the right in the window, but somewhere below the scroll.
At the same time, small on-off icons, small fonts and the distribution of icons along two axes are not added along one axis.
That is, it is necessary to rush the eye across the screen, and not move down one micromovement, which speeds up the work. The horizontal distance between the icons is much higher than a couple of pixels between the lines.
In this case, auxiliary information the size of 3 lines, takes half the screen ...

I understand why you did it.
The list was too long.
Offer - to make as it was. It was very good, wonderful.
Just make the groups collapse initially.


Separately, I will touch on the topic of grouping perception blocks.
Fortunately, she almost did not suffer.
But for the future.
Example - information about the instrument when you hover the cursor.

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/5...5912_2.jpg

Now everything is compact, everything is in one block, and everything fits on the screen.
Information is not so much perceived without any problems.
But! If information becomes more?

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/5...2029_1.jpg

See it. Separate blocks carry a separate block of information.
Initially, the eye works roughly. It is looking for large objects. And it finds these frames, row delimiters, columns ...
And then reads the information.
Accordingly, it is much easier to catch the necessary information in the old form than in the new one.
You can group in different ways.

But I will offer the following.
There are so many secondary information. Which would be nice to display by pressing any key.
Simply and easily.
Caliber, shells in the gun, the speed of the projectile, accuracy, recoil. Everything else to display when you press the key.


Further.
Huge interface elements, extremely inefficient, using the workspace.

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/5...5916_1.jpg

Not disabled hint about the mouse. I've been playing for a long time, I don't need it, and it is huge.
The right panel, where the numbers occupy only half of the indicator field.
It just eats up the work surface.

Separately, I note the emergence of animation when switching windows interface.
The time spent on the animation is the waiting time, not the time it takes to read the information.
Just need a button to turn off this animation.


Information about the units and the state of their mainframes.

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/5...2231_1.jpg

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/5...4241_2.jpg

The window has become very small. Very small characters, very small text.
It would be nice to increase.
And the buttons are very necessary - completely turn off all units, completely turn off all enemy units and completely turn off all allied units.
You also need a simple, separate button to turn off the unit with a separate icon.
That during tests and researches it was easily possible to work with units.

I understand why you reduced the lines.
There was a problem with a huge number of lines.
But if you make these common buttons and group the mainframes of a single unit under a spoiler, it can be very compact and convenient.


At the moment this is all that I did not forget to write)
I hope all will be ok)

It may seem that I am carping.
But the rejection that can occur inside a person at the sight of a new interface, I believe, is spinning around these things.
"Make love, not war." (с) Gershon Legman


RU FTD Discord
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#5
Little bug.

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/5...1705_1.png
"Make love, not war." (с) Gershon Legman


RU FTD Discord
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#6
(2019-05-04, 04:10 PM)vyrus Wrote: We kinda have fleet formations right now (iirc?) using patrol mode to set ship positions in relation to the fleet position. Then when you move the fleet in fleet move mode they all try moving in that relative spacing. I feel like this concept could be better implemented, as it's very tedious to set up a good formation, and ships don't really follow them in battle anyway.

It would be nice to have some buttons for fleets in the map mode that select different grid patterns for the units to align to. Then you can order ships into each of these spots and their way-point would align to that exact position. To help with the in-battle movement adding an AI movement behavior to "follow fleet movement" would be nice, so the fleet would just copy whatever the designated flagship's movement behavior is set to.

I usually set all ships in the formation to "fleetmove" and then arrange the formation layout, pulling them all out of play after arranging the formation helps to avoid demolition derby and get them all into position quicker. They tend to stay in formation nicely under AI control in fleetmove mode, in most cases at least (it helps to take control of the flagship to keep it on a constant heading).

The problem with formations is that the formation always face the next fleetmove waypoint, even if the ships in the formation turn to a new heading. For example: If you arrange your ships in a line-astern formation heading east, and you steer the flagship north, all ships end up in a line-abreast formation due to the actual formation layout still facing east. The formation layout should turn to correspond with the heading of the flagship instead of the next fleetmove waypoint.

Maintaining formations in battle could be done by enabling "fleetmove" in battle (which is normally disabled), ships in fleetmove (except the flagship) will then ignore engagement and broadside range settings in order to stay in formation.
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#7
(2019-05-06, 02:10 PM)CrimeanChimera Wrote:
(2019-05-04, 04:10 PM)vyrus Wrote: ...

I usually set all ships in the formation to "fleetmove" and then arrange the formation layout, pulling them all out of play after arranging the formation helps to avoid demolition derby and get them all into position quicker. They tend to stay in formation nicely under AI control in fleetmove mode, in most cases at least (it helps to take control of the flagship to keep it on a constant heading).

The problem with formations is that the formation always face the next fleetmove waypoint, even if the ships in the formation turn to a new heading. For example: If you arrange your ships in a line-astern formation heading east, and you steer the flagship north, all ships end up in a line-abreast formation due to the actual formation layout still facing east. The formation layout should turn to correspond with the heading of the flagship instead of the next fleetmove waypoint.

Maintaining formations in battle could be done by enabling "fleetmove" in battle (which is normally disabled), ships in fleetmove (except the flagship) will then ignore engagement and broadside range settings in order to stay in formation.

Yea, I knew there were ways to arrange things, just also knew that it doesn't currently function really as you'd imagine it. Nice to have a good explanation without going and poking at it.
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