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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:52 am 
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If a system has been explored such that you know the contents of the system, I'd like to be able to see my colonization options BEFORE I send a ship to that system. The process would similar to what it is now:

Click on the colony ship that you plan to colonize with, then click on the star where you are thinking of sending the colony ship. Each of the planets will show the data from "the colonize button" - the initial (determined by the colony ship capacity) and target planet population (determined by the species to be colonizing). The only difference will be that the button itself will not be "active" if the colony ship is not in the same system as the world that you are thinking of colonizing.

This would save a lot of time for those of us who aren't experts on the criteria for planetary populations. In other words, I wouldn't have to save the game, quit, go consult the docs, start the game and make my decision. Or send the ship to a system, check, send it to another system, check, then make my decision.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 2:57 pm 
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As shown in this screenshot, it used to be possible to see how habitable a planet is, whithout having a colony ship in the system. I'm not sure what the motivation for the change was, but IMO it was for the worse.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:44 pm 
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pd wrote:
...it used to be possible to see how habitable a planet is, whithout having a colony ship in the system. I'm not sure what the motivation for the change was, but IMO it was for the worse.

The changes for the current version are due to the addition of species. Because each species can have a different max population on each planet, you need to select a species to colonize with before the game can estimate what the population of a planet will be once colonized. The easiest way to do this seemed to be to use the species of whatever colony ship the player has selected in the same system as the planet.

There's no major reason the game couldn't show the predicted population of any planet in any system when a colony ship is selected anywhere. There would need to be a separate UI means to show potential population without showing an actual colonize button, though, when the ship isn't in the same system as the planet for which potential population is being shown.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:31 pm 
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How about displaying the habitability information targeted to the player's starting race by default(and have it always visible)? You can still change the information once a colony ship with another species is selected.

Image

Notice, that the message "select a colony ship..." is not displayed for asteroid belts(same for gas giants) and inferno, as these are no valid planets for the players race(Gyisache).

When building a Trith colony ship*, the encyclopedia panel should display the habitability preference for Trith and so the player will know what planets he can colonize.


* should actually be done for colony ships in general


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:05 pm 
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pd wrote:
How about displaying the habitability information targeted to the player's starting race by default(and have it always visible)?

That could be very misleading or confusing when the player has more than one species available...

Quote:
Notice, that the message "select a colony ship..." is not displayed for asteroid belts(same for gas giants) and inferno, as these are no valid planets for the players race(Gyisache).

That would mean there'd never be a prompt to select a colony ship in some systems even after the player gained accessed to colony ships / species that can colonize those planets.

Quote:
When building a Trith colony ship*, the encyclopedia panel should display the habitability preference for Trith and so the player will know what planets he can colonize.

* should actually be done for colony ships in general

As important is having something in the encyclopedia entries about species that indicates their environmental preferences. Hopefully this can be autogenerated. I've been pondering ways to mix autogenerated and hand-written encyclopedia text similar to this.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 6:26 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
pd wrote:
How about displaying the habitability information targeted to the player's starting race by default(and have it always visible)?
That could be very misleading or confusing when the player has more than one species available...


Then add " for Gyisache" to the default display as well. The player will start out with a certain species - his main species. At least in the early game he'll be interested in what planets are suitable for his main species. He'll see and learn.

Quote:
Quote:
Notice, that the message "select a colony ship..." is not displayed for asteroid belts(same for gas giants) and inferno, as these are no valid planets for the players race(Gyisache).

That would mean there'd never be a prompt to select a colony ship in some systems even after the player gained accessed to colony ships / species that can colonize those planets.

As it is, it's extremely misleading and frustrating(choosing a colony ship[2-3 clicks], just to find out that inferno worlds, asteroids belts and gas giants aren't suitable, even though there was a prompt to "select a colony ship to colonize").
The player isn't stupid and will be able to remember which of his species prefers what kind of planet type. In my opinion he doesn't need such a prompt, especially after the first couple of turns.

Quote:
Quote:
When building a Trith colony ship*, the encyclopedia panel should display the habitability preference for Trith and so the player will know what planets he can colonize.

* should actually be done for colony ships in general

As important is having something in the encyclopedia entries about species that indicates their environmental preferences. Hopefully this can be autogenerated. I've been pondering ways to mix autogenerated and hand-written encyclopedia text similar to this.

Agreed.


edit:

We could also do something like this: A dropdown selection for the habitability indication.
Image

This might also be helpful in evaluating a system from the enemy's point of view.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 8:50 pm 
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pd wrote:
As it is, it's extremely misleading and frustrating(choosing a colony ship[2-3 clicks], just to find out that inferno worlds, asteroids belts and gas giants aren't suitable, even though there was a prompt to "select a colony ship to colonize").

I don't really like having the prompt there, but the multi-window multi-click process now required for colonization seemed like it was a bit much to expect players to work out without some prompting.

Quote:
The player isn't stupid and will be able to remember which of his species prefers what kind of planet type. In my opinion he doesn't need such a prompt, especially after the first couple of turns.

The current text can be replaced with some tutorial hints / popups at some point, which would be turned off after the initial viewing.

Quote:
We could also do something like this: A dropdown selection for the habitability indication.
Image

This might also be helpful in evaluating a system from the enemy's point of view.

Having a filter like that was sort of my original plan... I was going to have a droplist of species next to the colonize button to pick which species to colonize with, and then use that select to estimate populations after the planet would be colonized. This didn't really work though, as it's still necessary to pick a particular colony ship to colonize with, which is why we have the current system of picking a colony ship to also pick the species.

Having a droplist might still be a bit confusing though, as you might have cases where the ship being used to colonize has a different species from the one selected to predict colony populations with... So the droplist-selected predictions would need to be shown only when a colony ship isn't selected. And it might still seem like the colonization process would be to select a species in the droplist, and then click to colonize with that species, when it's really select a colony ship and click to colonize with that ship's species...


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:05 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
There's no major reason the game couldn't show the predicted population of any planet in any system when a colony ship is selected anywhere. There would need to be a separate UI means to show potential population without showing an actual colonize button, though, when the ship isn't in the same system as the planet for which potential population is being shown.
Why? In the case of a colony being ordered for colonization when a colony ship isn't in the same system, it seems reasonable that the colony ship could be given an order to move to the planet, then colonize it. If, for some reason, the colony ship is unable to reach the desired planet, the button could appear greyed-out/unclickable, but still display the population information for that combination of planet/colony ship.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:12 pm 
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Bigjoe5 wrote:
In the case of a colony being ordered for colonization when a colony ship isn't in the same system, it seems reasonable that the colony ship could be given an order to move to the planet, then colonize it.

That would require the capability to queue orders, which is currently not possible.

Quote:
If, for some reason, the colony ship is unable to reach the desired planet, the button could appear greyed-out/unclickable, but still display the population information for that combination of planet/colony ship.

Greying out the button would be an example of a separate UI means to display that information. I'd prefer a nicer-looking non-button bit of text and/or icon, though.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 9:24 pm 
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Geoff wrote:
The current text can be replaced with some tutorial hints / popups at some point, which would be turned off after the initial viewing.

I like this.

Geoff wrote:
you might have cases where the ship being used to colonize has a different species from the one selected to predict colony populations with... So the droplist-selected predictions would need to be shown only when a colony ship isn't selected.

Yes and selecting a colony ship with a certain species would force this dropdown to choose the species of the colony ship.
Geoff wrote:
And it might still seem like the colonization process would be to select a species in the droplist, and then click to colonize with that species, when it's really select a colony ship and click to colonize with that ship's species...

The colonization process stays the same. The drop down just allows for more flexibility in evaluating a system, without having to own a colony ship and without having to select one.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:02 pm 
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pd wrote:
Geoff wrote:
And it might still seem like the colonization process would be to select a species in the droplist, and then click to colonize with that species, when it's really select a colony ship and click to colonize with that ship's species...

The colonization process stays the same. The drop down just allows for more flexibility in evaluating a system, without having to own a colony ship and without having to select one.

My point is that the droplist's purpose is unclear. A reasonable player might think that the droplist was used to pick a species to colonize with.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:22 pm 
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That's just a question of labeling it. I think "habitability" is sufficient, but other suggestions are welcome. Also, the prompt about how to actually colonize can still be shown, as I've done in the mockup.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:12 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Greying out the button would be an example of a separate UI means to display that information. I'd prefer a nicer-looking non-button bit of text and/or icon, though.
The ability to know at a glance why a planet can't currently be colonized would be useful. A greyed-out colonize button would be a very intuitive place to put a tooltip containing that information.

pd wrote:
That's just a question of labeling it. I think "habitability" is sufficient, but other suggestions are welcome.
I agree. Also, tooltips. If the player sees the text "view habitability and target population for a particular species" or somesuch on mouseover, he's unlikely to misinterpret the purpose of the droplist.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:36 am 
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Bigjoe5 wrote:
The ability to know at a glance why a planet can't currently be colonized would be useful. A greyed-out colonize button would be a very intuitive place to put a tooltip containing that information.

Greying out a control suggests it's not available, which doesn't encourage the player to mouse over it to check for a tooltip. I also find large greyed out colonize buttons rather unattractive on the planet panels.

Also, there not generally a useful answer to "why a planet can't currently be colonized" to show...

The logic in the UI for when to show a colonize button (that says colonize) is that there needs to be an unowned planet, with a valid selected colony ship in the system, and the planet can't be alread ordered colonized and it must have a target population above zero for the selected ship's species.

The only useful information in there to put in a tooltip would be the target population. If it's zero, then generally there's not much more detail in the breakdown of why it's zero to show. There might be some cases where there are competing positive and negative effects acting on the target, but more often I'd expect there to be just no effects to show.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:46 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Greying out a control suggests it's not available, which doesn't encourage the player to mouse over it to check for a tooltip. I also find large greyed out colonize buttons rather unattractive on the planet panels.
If you don't expect it to be available, no. If I do expect a button to be available and find it greyed out, then yes, I will be encouraged to mouse over it, if only to click it several times in frustration.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Also, there not generally a useful answer to "why a planet can't currently be colonized" to show...
...currently.

"The selected colony ship has insufficient fuel to reach this planet"
"This planet is not connected to the selected colony ship's location by any known starlanes"
"The selected colony ship's species cannot colonize this planet"
"The selected colony ship belongs to a different empire"

Sure, it's the kind of thing I could check for myself, but it's always nice to have relevant info right there, if possible.

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