I'm quite glad tooltips now support pictures.
But i'm still not especially pleased with the resizing of the icons. If it can be coded, i don't think any artist would complain about making icons at various sizes, and letting FO pick the appropriately sized one.
How many hundreds of Favicons can you easily differentiate at 16x16?
I'm not sure, none? Without having seen the icon at a larger size, they are mostly just blobs of color.
I realize English is not your primary language, but these misunderstandings are preventing the discussion from being useful. If what i'm saying doesn't make sense, please give me the benefit of the doubt and look up some of the key words in a dictionary.Differentiate
means to "identify differences between (two or more things or people)." I'm not talking about knowing what the icons mean.
Automatically knowing what the icons means (without being taught by the tooltips) is impossible
with any style and any remotely reasonable size due to the abstractness of these concepts. I don't know why you keep bringing it up. I make no claims that if my plan is followed players are more likely to correctly guess what an icon signifies. I claim that with a simpler, more graphic style players will find it easier to remember icons.
In the third row, I quickly modified Silent's icons below to better represent the style i'm supporting. The forth row of icons is provided to demonstrate that color, and value can be used without making the form of the icon harder to recognize.
Have a look at this: Top line are some icons from my taskbar, 2nd are my special icons and 3rd are the previous ones.
[...] i mean the forms and shapes are distinct and easy to recognize.
That's exactly my point, although I use color to further improve this. Color actually creates distinct shapes on its own. If you look at my task bar icons, the style doen't seem so different to my special icons at this size. The airbrushy treatment is barely visible.
Many of silent's icons which you used in the side-by-side comparison had rather low contrast, and thus were not nearly as distinct as they could have been. But, yes the air-brushy treatment is too visible and hinders the effectiveness of the icon. Colors can enhance things, but if you cram too many colors too close together they just blur.
Look at your crown, all the shadows and highlights have obscured the naturally strong silhouette. The sides blend into the grey background. With a simpler, less over-contrasty treatment the idea "crown" is communicated more quickly
Take the icon second from the right. I don't remember what in the world it means.
But in the larger versions there are two little triangles on either side of the long line. One is totally invisible, and the other is seems to simply be a red spot on the planet. Why include them if they can't be seen?
Tunnels: You've applied enough glow that it looks like a star. The concept is supposed to be a cross-section of a planet with tunnels in it. The airbrushing obscures that meaning.
I'm not trying to rip you up here, but there's really no way to describe what's wrong without going into small details. Making good small icons isn't the same as making a good large piece of art.
Also, I know exactly what you are saying, but I believe it's not that easy with freeOrion. We simply are working with some pretty complex subjects here. So we can't use brand logos or letters/characters. We have to simplify things like techtonic instability unlike a notepad.
The complexity of the subjects is a strong reason for
the use of a clean graphic style. Since we are teaching the player to recognize what are nearly arbitrary symbols, we should give them simple, clean, distinct symbols. "A green circle with an "X" through it = tunnels" is easier to catalog in the brain than remembering a more complex image.
Additionally, we are working for a sci-fi game. If we can't use shiny, glowy icons here, I don't know where else.
In the end, there is of course also an esthetic aspect. Even if usability goes first, we don't wan't to make an ugly game.
Is there even a question in your mind that usability should go first? Are players going to be more annoyed with the game if they can never remember what "Tectonic Instability" looks like, or if that icon is only moderately attractive? Presenting icons clearly should strongly outweigh any artist's desire to make things shiny.
However while usability is the primary goal, that doesn't mean we have to settle for ugly. IMHO it should be obvious that in all the cases the simpler (and probably quicker) approach i've shown produces more usable icons. You may have a subjective preference for one style or the other, but i find it very unlikely that the simpler ones would be consistently identified as "ugly."