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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:37 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
I was asking about one icon no matter how many empires' ships are present.
eleazar wrote:
Its not very useful to know that there are ships at system X if you don't know who the ships belong to.

It's more useful than not being able to see where ships are at all at that zoom level.

The only place you could possibly do that is at zoom level 3:
* 1&2 are too crowded for useable ship icons since about half the time they would be confusingly overlapping stars, rings and/or other ship icons.
* At level 4 there's enough room to have an icon for each empire, with sufficiently rare overlapping.

It would be excessively confusing to use a combined-fleet icon system for just one zoom level. Besides i think zooms 1-3 will mostly be used for getting a big picture of the galaxy, and seeing how the empires are laid out, not so much for fleet movement. I'm all for getting in as much information as we can— without hurting legibility.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 9:27 am 
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I agree with Geoff, have at look at this previous post eleazar.

Still, you are right that it's very unlikely that such a situation will come up. So in the end there could perhaps be a cap at a certain amount. 3 different fleets might be shown individual and once there are 4, they get cramped into a single icon.

edit: Something like this could be done as well:
Image
I'm quite sure that it's not possible to put color in those, but at least the icon indicates by itself, that there are multiple fleets. I'm not sure either, whether we should actually show the amount or just use 2 or 3 for all amounts.


Ignore the orientation of my icons, btw.
Quote:
Besides i think zooms 1-3 will mostly be used for getting a big picture of the galaxy, and seeing how the empires are laid out, not so much for fleet movement.

That's exactly the reason why cramping the (enemy) fleets into a single icon makes sense.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:58 pm 
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pd wrote:
I agree with Geoff, have at look at this previous post, eleazar.

I'm aware of that post, but it doesn't reflect the typical situation of the zoom levels we're talking about. I really don't like the idea of ignoring the empire-color at this level and just using green (if that's what you're saying).

Also the diplomatic situation will be more complicated than simply "Me" and "Enemies". What about allies, or unfriendly empires which you aren't currently at war with? I'm not sure if you want to make these ships disappear at these levels, lump them into another category, or give them their own special icon... but none of these options seem good to me.


pd wrote:
edit: Something like this could be done as well:
Image

You example features an unusual amount of space for the zoom levels under discussion: 1-3. Something like that produces (as i said in the previous post) excessive overlapping at zoom levels 1 and 2. The closeness of stars in the following example is common at zoom 1. And note, i haven't even placed any ships in the "leaving system" position, this example could easily be made to look messier. See this screenshot for the great frequency of stars as close as in this example at zoom L1.
Attachment:
too close.png
too close.png [ 16.51 KiB | Viewed 1040 times ]



pd wrote:
Still, you are right that it's very unlikely that such a situation will come up. So in the end there could perhaps be a cap at a certain amount. 3 different fleets might be shown individual and once there are 4, they get cramped into a single icon.

If we have the very unlikely situation of lots of fleets in the same spot, i think the player's attention should be drawn to it (it might be a coalition of several empires come against him.) Hiding the unusual event with a rarely-seen UI convention may keep the screen a little neater, but doesn't help the player.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 5:18 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
I'm aware of that post, but it doesn't reflect the typical situation of the zoom levels we're talking about. I really don't like the idea of ignoring the empire-color at this level and just using green (if that's what you're saying).

Also the diplomatic situation will be more complicated than simply "Me" and "Enemies". What about allies, or unfriendly empires which you aren't currently at war with? I'm not sure if you want to make these ships disappear at these levels, lump them into another category, or give them their own special icon... but none of these options seem good to me.

The example should give you an idea about using just two kind of icons - the players fleet(empire color, green in this case) and enemy fleets(black, a color that is not used by any empire). Diplomatic statuses(?) are not important, what matters is that the player knows where his fleets are - those that he can control and where non-player, non-controllable fleets are. If he wants more information, he can zoom in and see individual icons.


eleazar wrote:
pd wrote:
edit: Something like this could be done as well:
Image

You example features an unusual amount of space for the zoom levels under discussion: 1-3(...)

Huh? You introduced fleet icons at Level 4. My example is supposed to be about lvl 4 as well, or at least the smallest zoom level, that fleet icons appear on.

Quote:
If we have the very unlikely situation of lots of fleets in the same spot, i think the player's attention should be drawn to it (it might be a coalition of several empires come against him.) Hiding the unusual event with a rarely-seen UI convention may keep the screen a little neater, but doesn't help the player.

Rarely seen events, are shown with rarely used UI elements. What do you want to do about this?

Your (previous) examples are way too crowded even though all those fleets are just located at a single star. Yet, in your new example, you zoom out even more AND place fleets at multiple neighboring systems. That's not fair to compare, is it? Imagine the same amount of fleets using your previous technique, with individual icons, it would be even worse!

I think what you fail to see, is that a player doesn't play at small zoom levels. He doesn't stay at small zoom levels for a long time and therefore doesn't need and in fact shouldn't get detailed information. The closer you get, the more information gets available. That's a simple principle, everyone should be able to understand.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:53 pm 
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OK, skipping the disagreement of the previous several posts, that was probably mostly miscommunication.

With the understanding that this shows ring-overlay mode, I don't want to change anything in this post about zoom levels 1-4. But with more room in the subsequent zoom levels, i tried to do something too complicated, and thus i got stuck.

Still here's what i'm still trying to fit in: (all features won't be present at all zoom levels)
    Star Type (duh)
    Starname
    Sitrep flag
    User-definable "flag"
    Ship-yard indicator
    Empire capitol indicator
    Homeworld indicator
    better distinction of staying, leaving, and outside fleets
    Room for information overlays (population, research levels, PP etc.)
    Visibility indicator (can you currently see what's in this system)
    Empire flags(maybe)



Here's a rough presentation of the start of .

Ships
* Non moving ships are shown in the upper right
* Moving ships are shown in the upper left (this lets the star name fit better without)
* For positioning, diagonal line from the center of the star will cross the center of the fleet icon.

* Ships moving on starlanes can be pointed in the direction of travel, if this doesn't turn them into pixel-mush. It looks OK in photoshop, but in-game results aren't always so pretty. If not moving ships will point to the right as currently.

* Tiny fleet icons (lower yellow icon) which don't differentiate between types of fleets are used approximately from levels 5 to 8
* If too many empires have fleets in a system the white+grey tiny-multi-fleet icon (upper white icon) is used.
Attachment:
tiny-fleet.jpg
tiny-fleet.jpg [ 17.49 KiB | Viewed 850 times ]

* * At level 5 there's only room for 1 fleet icon per position (staying and leaving)
* * At higher zoom levels there's room for more fleets before using the mulit-fleet icon. When some but not all can be displayed priority should be given to:
* * * 1) The player's fleets
* * * 2) Anyone the player is at war with
* * * 3) The larger fleets

Attachment:
galaxymap-zooms.jpg
galaxymap-zooms.jpg [ 47.77 KiB | Viewed 850 times ]
(ring overlay mode shown)

More soonish...

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 2:41 am 
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... continued
Attachment:
fleets larger sizes.jpg
fleets larger sizes.jpg [ 148.53 KiB | Viewed 821 times ]


Rings and Lanes
Starting somewhere after level 4 the starlanes should connect to a thin "system ring" around the star rather than going all the way to the center of the star. Fleet travel is displayed from the edge of one system ring to another... fleet icons are not put inside the system ring. The system rings have several benefits:
    * Preserves a clickable area free of ships
    * reserves space for circle and ring overlays, and provides a standard reference point to measure the size of circles and rings.
    * Provides foundation to visually anchor the starname, fleets and additional icons to, rather than just floating them around a star.
    * Makes it less ambiguous where a ship is when very close (but not quite arrived) at a star
    * looks kinda cool.


Ships
* From approximately Level 9 to 11 or 12 16x16 fleet icons are used. These reflect the aproximate number and type of ships as previously shown

* * I'm considering a layout with these detailed fleet icons successful if 8 fleets can be shown without overlapping near-by stars. Sure there may sometimes be more, but that should be rare enough that an uglier solution involving overlap or some sort of larger multi-fleet icon.

* After 11 or 12 larger 24x24 fleet icons are used, instead of the 32x32 icons shown previously... there just wasn't room

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 4:21 am 
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None of those mockups have fleet move lines. Could you include some?

If ships are seen to move in the space between circles around stars, rather than the space between centres of stars, the distances of intermediate steps could vary oddly. This would be visible when markers are placed at the end-of-turn positions for fleets projected move pathes, with numbers indicating the ETA to each position along the path.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 5:05 am 
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I'd like to see the fleet move lines as Geoff requests. In addition, I'd like to see what fleet movement lines look like when passing through a system -- do the lines follow the curve of the system ring? It would make things a lot easier to judge the mockups if those fleets were actually colored using the top 10 empire colors or so, especially when determining if the fleet movement lines will interact badly with them.

Also, I'd like to point out that this:
Quote:
Still here's what i'm still trying to fit in: (all features won't be present at all zoom levels)

Star Type (duh)
Starname
Sitrep flag
User-definable "flag"
Ship-yard indicator
Empire capitol indicator
Homeworld indicator
better distinction of staying, leaving, and outside fleets
Room for information overlays (population, research levels, PP etc.)
Visibility indicator (can you currently see what's in this system)
Empire flags(maybe)

... probably should never be visible all at once, unless the user does something special to turn it all on. The default should show only much more essential info. If shipyard, capitol, and homeworld are indicated in the system name (IMO a great idea), that still leaves all of this for inside the system ring, which should be turned on or off based on the user's settings:
Quote:
Sitrep flag
User-definable "flag"
Room for information overlays (population, research levels, PP etc.)
Visibility indicator (can you currently see what's in this system)
Empire flags(maybe)

I think the visibility indicator and (if used) empire flags should be just kinds of overlays, with the sitrep and user-defined flags togglable on top of the ring as icons. I think that will all fit, in fact.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:52 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
None of those mockups have fleet move lines. Could you include some?

tzlaine wrote:
... In addition, I'd like to see what fleet movement lines look like when passing through a system -- do the lines follow the curve of the system ring? It would make things a lot easier to judge the mockups if those fleets were actually colored using the top 10 empire colors or so, especially when determining if the fleet movement lines will interact badly with them.

Sure i can do some fleet lines. But i don't really see how that helps judging the mock-up, except for showing how the lines go around the circle instead of under the star. No matter how we do things, fleet move lines will intersect with moving and non-moving fleets. Can't eliminate overlapping. But we can minimize it, especially the most confusing instances.

If a coder wants to get fancy we might have the lines follow the curve of the system ring. But it should be fine, and simpler to simply have the lines disappear when they reach the system ring and reappear on the other side.


Geoff the Medio wrote:
If ships are seen to move in the space between circles around stars, rather than the space between centres of stars, the distances of intermediate steps could vary oddly...

Yeah, the visible intervals that a ship can travel would vary between long lanes and short lanes, but with the markers indicating how far the ship will go each turn, there's nothing to get confused about. The mess that occurs when a few fleets are overlapping a star, and you want to select something, is much more troublesome.


tzlaine wrote:
Also, I'd like to point out that this: [snip]
... probably should never be visible all at once, unless the user does something special to turn it all on. The default should show only much more essential info. If shipyard, capitol, and homeworld are indicated in the system name (IMO a great idea), that still leaves all of this for inside the system ring, which should be turned on or off based on the user's settings:
Quote:
Sitrep flag
User-definable "flag"
Room for information overlays (population, research levels, PP etc.)
Visibility indicator (can you currently see what's in this system)
Empire flags(maybe)

I think the visibility indicator and (if used) empire flags should be just kinds of overlays, with the sitrep and user-defined flags togglable on top of the ring as icons. I think that will all fit, in fact.

* What i clumsily called "Visibility indicator", better known as "fog of war", is something that i wanted to be on all the time, but i couldn't figure out how to make that work without ruining something else. So that will probably be something you turn on and off.
* I've about given up on empire flags. Since you can potentially (though it's not likely) have 10 empires resident in a system, it would take an excessive amount of space to fit them all in an any legible size.
* sitrep and user-defined flags seem pretty important to me. Though obviously they won't work at the lowest zoom levels, i want to make them so they can be on all the time. I haven't tried much with them yet, so i'm not yet sure what will work.


The idea that came to me after i did all the mock-ups is that the highest zoom level might be a lot different, i.e. have a lot more stuff than the previous zoom level. I.E. flicking the scroll wheel all the way would be the quick way to find out the basics about a star.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:58 pm 
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I just posted this in the Fleet Move Lines thread.

Comments specifically about fleet move lines go there, everything else here.

http://www.freeorion.org/forum/download.php?id=252

Note the system names shouldn't be overlapping the system ring... i didn't want to mess with moving them.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:44 am 
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Also the fleet icons that roughly indicates size and composition of the fleet should be used in the fleet window like so:
Attachment:
fleet window.jpg
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:21 am 
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I just committed a small and medium sized version of the fleet icon sets.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:59 pm 
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How exactly should fleet buttons be positioned?

A few empires' buttons are shown here they are shown uncoloured and in a vague concentric partial ring arrangement. How are these positions determined from the fleet icon size and the ring / system icon size?

Exactly how should icons be positioned if I have N fleet icons to place?

Should they be grouped by empire / colour somehow? If yes, how should icons be positioned if I have N1 icons for empire 1, N2 icons for empire 2, N3 for empire3, etc.?

Is stationary at the top right and moving at the top left intuitive? It could be changed or made configurable.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:21 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
How exactly should fleet buttons be positioned?

Ahh, here comes the hard question.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Should they be grouped by empire / colour somehow? If yes, how should icons be positioned if I have N1 icons for empire 1, N2 icons for empire 2, N3 for empire3, etc.?

I would really love to show multiple fleet icons per empire, but that is probably not practical. Unfortunately we don't have a real solid way to estimate how many fleets from how many empires will orbit the same star under usual circumstances. If this is practical code-wise, i'd like to stick with one fleet icon per empire for now, and consider multiple fleet icons per empire later when we are in a better position to evaluate the difference.

To answer the rest i need to make some detailed measurements and diagrams.


Geoff the Medio wrote:
Is stationary at the top right and moving at the top left intuitive? It could be changed or made configurable.

I don't think any corner would be more or less intuitive than any other. IIRC MoO always used the right side for ships staying and the left for ships leaving. I moved the leaving corner to the upper left to avoid overlapping with the star name.
Do other major space 4x games (that use corners similarly) use different corners? If there's a lot of variety we might consider making it configurable, otherwise i see no point.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 6:08 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
Do other major space 4x games (that use corners similarly) use different corners? If there's a lot of variety we might consider making it configurable, otherwise i see no point.

I'm not sure about other games, but making it configurable would take about 5 minutes, including adding the switch in the options screen. It might just do it anyway...


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