Geoff the Medio wrote:
The user being able to resize the build details panel might be good, but doesn't really help at 1024 screen width, at which the current layout doesn't leave enough room at what would presumably be the max allowed horizontal size for the panel...
would be constrained not to overlap the sidepanel, but at higher resolutions, it could be expanded.
The issue that was being raised in the thread you linked to was that at 1024, more space is needed in the details panel. Your suggestion doesn't help with this. Higher resolutions are not relevant (to this point).
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Having the panel be expandable vertically creates some other layout problems... If the sidepanel top section (system info, above the planet panels and planet images) is the vertical size it is now, then the details panel can't expand over any further right than the left edge of the planets panel, as this would cover up planet images (and not just the star). If the detail panel was of fixed vertical size, then it could fit above the planet panels, and extend further right if the system info is less wide than the planet images and panels combined.
I don't get the point of this part either. B
horizontally expand together.
Whether the detail panel and list are horizontally the same size is irrelivant to the point. The issue is that at 1024, we need the extra little bit of space that having the image over the planet images allows. However, if we make the details panel *vertically* expandable, or if it's moved down, then this can't be done. In particular, if it's fixed size, the buildable item icon can fit between the top of the planet images and the top of the screen. If it's moved down, the icon could never fit into the nook-in-question, regardless of resizability.
I'm not trying to exploit the small bit of space above the column of planets. There's very little value in doing so.
At 1600, I agree. But at 1024, I believe I've illustrated its importance above.
...my proposal for the Research screen also moves the details box down.
I'd still like a reason to move it though...
Assuming the list and the details panel are at the top of the screen, the user will want to have the list and the map close to eachother, as they are both things the user has to intearct with. The details panel is more passive information to be read.
Much of the rest of the post I'm replying to was argument that only really apply at high resolutions like 1600x1200. Essentially, the interface looks OK and works OK at 1024, but eleazar/you are thinking about how it would break at 1600. Unfortunately, the suggested fixes would break 1024...
In particular, having the map hole at the bottom is not workable at that resolution. Having the map jump around and recentre to that odd-shaped and off-centre strip would be very awkard and confusing. The strip at the bottom in 1024 also looks as odd and bad as the distorted versions of The Silent One's mockup you've posted.
I'll come back to that, but first I want to address an apparent conceptual discrepancy:
...at 1024x res the selected system has a good chance of not being inside the hole, no matter where it is.
I expect that the most common way to select a system would be to click it on the map... Are you expecting to use the sidepanel to pick systems most of the time (suggested by recent sourceforge feature request regarding which systems to cycle through...)?
When the production screen is dismissed the galaxy map might return to it's former position. This re-centering would be desirable no matter where the "hole" for the galaxy map is...
I think a better solution than having the map automatically jump around when opening / closing the production screen would be to optionally (checkbox?) zoom to systems selected on the sidepanel, regardless of whether the production screen is open.
But i don't think a sorted-planet-list is only applicable to the Production screen. It would be very useful as an alternate form of the sidebar, useable anywhere. At this point in the development, i think it should have the same basic form-factor as the sidebar, but with dividing lines between each planet.
I like the idea of a planets list, and have suggested something simliar for the research screen (techs list, which is particularly helpful to find a tech by name, which is difficult now). However, I think it'd need to be larger than the sidepanel... Likely, it'd cover the galaxy map when the production screen is open at medium or low resolutions. I'd make selecting the planet on the list open that planet's system on the sidepanel (selecting the planet if applicable). The list would be just planet data, not eye candy like the sidepanel, so the two would work together, rather than the list replacing the sidepanel (if that was implied). There are lots of possible columns of data to sort by, so something much wider than the sidepanel (and perhaps freely resizlable, and movable like the fleet window?) would be useful.
I believe production is simple enough that it can be put up in one corner of the screen (as per my last mock-up) and let the rest of the screen operate basically as normal. This may be slightly less optimal purely for Production, but should be overall beneficial, as the player can perform all (or at least most) galaxy map functions with the Production screen up. There need be no switching back and forth between Production and Galaxy maps to find information, or get your bearings. If while placing buildings, you notice one of the planets needs a greater focus on food, you can switch it there, without stopping what you are doing.
The implication here is that you can't already do this... which is incorrect. Presently, the only thing that changes on the galaxy map when the production screen is open is that you can't select fleets. This was done because at lower resolutions, fleet windows covered up too much screen space when the production screen was open, though this obviously wouldn't be the case at higher resolutions.
But, there are longer-term reasons for not treating the production screen as a just regular windows like the fleets window or the sitrep... I'm not sure this is a good idea. Presently, what happens and is displayed on the map depends on what window is open. If the user has a fleets window open to one of their fleets, moving the mouse around the map will animate lines from that fleet to the potential destination the user is hovering over. Later, we'll likely way overlays on the production screen for building ranges or valid locations on the map. Other windows might have their own overlays. Having all of these open simultanously could be a bit confusing and cluttered, and might make it difficult to know when clicking where will do what, if there are conflicting uses for buttons between various open windows. If the production screen closes all fleet windows, then this can't be a problem.
...I think [the mockup] shows pretty clearly that the "hole-in-the-middle" plan at higher resolutions becomes increasing awkward to use, and potentially wastes more space with empty black boxes.
I agree that fixing the details panel and list to the width of the screen minus the queue and sidepanel looks awkward at high resolutions, however this needn't be the case if there's that much space. It also wouldn't look so awkward if you increased the font size a bit, and showed something that's got a big more text in the description panel. Also, in later versions, there's more information in the list, so the list isn't just black space over most of its width. Also, at this resolution, the fraction of the width of the screen occupied by the queue and sidepanel is quite small. I don't see any pressing need to free up that space...
But regardless, it seems that being able to move the buildable items list, and perhaps the details panel, around the screen, as well as resize both, would be useful to making different resolutions workable. At 1024, one can be at the top and one can be at the bottom, so the central map hole is centralized and everyting's usable. At 1600x1200 or higher, the list could be moved up top of the screen. The map could stay centred as long as the list doesn't cover up the centre of the screen (just like opening / closing the sidepanel doesn't require shifting the map around). We might need a special-case docking condition for the detail panel at the top right, though, in order for 1024x768 to get the above-illustrated extra bit of space to make its text more readable.