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 Post subject: Re: Fleet Move Lines
PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:38 pm 
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Rather than use a dashed line for the fleet, a broken or dashed line should be used to show supply range, like so:
Attachment:
lanes.png
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Fleet move lines could be dots or triangles with the end-of turn markers shown above. This is the reverse of several of my recent mock-ups, but i hadn't considered the 2 elements together.

A fleet line of dashed would tend to excessively cover up the supply-range graphic if it was dots.

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 Post subject: Re: Fleet Move Lines
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:26 pm 
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The basic problem with the different kinds of info were trying to put on starlanes is that it looks too similar and it easily blends together. For instance it is nearly impossible to see the selected fleet lines over solid empire supply lines.

Basic solution:

    Supply lines: leave as is solid empire color the width of starlane

    Fleet Supply lines: leave for now may need some changes, making the empire-colored part longer, but that involves other topics and i don't want to confuse the issue

    Non-selected fleet line: Moving Empire colored dots wider than the lane with a black stroke. Thus it shows up even on it's own empire's starlanes

    Selected fleet: Similar but white with numbered markers showing how far it will go each turn. The markers will have to shrink and/or be removed at lower zooms since they will overlap too much.



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


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fleet move lines2.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Fleet Move Lines
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:06 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
The markers will have to shrink and/or be removed at lower zooms since they will overlap too much.[


As a more complex alternative to simply removing the numbered markers we can drop some of the numbers out when there's no room. Starting with the last marker, when can skip every other marker, and then skip two in a row, then three at even lower zooms.

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 Post subject: Re: Fleet Move Lines
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 11:12 pm 
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I assume the selected fleet has the white glowy outline? I'll probably need a texture for that.

What should fleet icons look like when moused over? (I dislike the current system where they get bigger)

Do fleet move lines not connect to the fleet icon istelf when at a system? Currently they go from the icon's location to the next end of turn position or system along the fleet's route. This makes it easier to see which fleet the line applies to.

Are end of turn position indicators drawn over top of system icons when the fleet will end its turn at a system, or at the spot where the lane connects to the circle?

What happens if there are multiple empire's fleets with project move paths along the same starlane, and thus multiple colours of dots would be needed?


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 Post subject: Re: Fleet Move Lines
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 12:07 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
I assume the selected fleet has the white glowy outline? I'll probably need a texture for that.

What should fleet icons look like when moused over? (I dislike the current system where they get bigger)

I dunno. The glowy outline is just something i did quickly. It may not be practical. I agree we need something better for mouseover and especially selection of fleets, i'm not sure what it is ATM.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Do fleet move lines not connect to the fleet icon istelf when at a system? Currently they go from the icon's location to the next end of turn position or system along the fleet's route. This makes it easier to see which fleet the line applies to.

Are end of turn position indicators drawn over top of system icons when the fleet will end its turn at a system, or at the spot where the lane connects to the circle?

It's useful with the as currently implements, but I don't think it will be necessary with a sufficiently obvious method of showings fleet selection and this more obvious treatment for move lines. Since we are now measuring the move lines, having the first turn-length extra long would be odder than the compression caused by the the system circles.

The main point of the system rings is to avoid the messy pileup of icons and indicators that often happens over the stars in 4X games, so the indicators just go to where the lane meets the ring.

On reflection, I may have made the rings too big in this example.

:arrow: However, the main point is to:
* make normal fleet move lines wider than the lanes, empire colored, and surrounded by a black stroke
* make the selected fleet lines the same except white, with numbered markers

This will all function without the rest which could be implemented later.


Geoff the Medio wrote:
What happens if there are multiple empire's fleets with project move paths along the same starlane, and thus multiple colours of dots would be needed?
Then you'll get an effect something like moving christmas lights, but that should be better than the current result, an information-less, nearly solid white line.

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 Post subject: Re: Fleet Move Lines
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 6:20 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
I assume the selected fleet has the white glowy outline? I'll probably need a texture for that.

What should fleet icons look like when moused over? (I dislike the current system where they get bigger)

I dunno. The glowy outline is just something i did quickly. It may not be practical. I agree we need something better for mouseover and especially selection of fleets, i'm not sure what it is ATM.

I think the glowing version of the icons works nicely. I think Geoff was just suggesting he needs an unselected and a selected version of each icon, since the glowing effect would be hard to do programmatically.

Quote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Do fleet move lines not connect to the fleet icon istelf when at a system? Currently they go from the icon's location to the next end of turn position or system along the fleet's route. This makes it easier to see which fleet the line applies to.

Are end of turn position indicators drawn over top of system icons when the fleet will end its turn at a system, or at the spot where the lane connects to the circle?

It's useful with the as currently implements, but I don't think it will be necessary with a sufficiently obvious method of showings fleet selection and this more obvious treatment for move lines. Since we are now measuring the move lines, having the first turn-length extra long would be odder than the compression caused by the the system circles.

I agree that if the selected fleet is glowing/otherwise indicated, it's not necessary to connect it to its movement lines. It also makes the code a lot simpler.

Quote:
:arrow: However, the main point is to:
* make normal fleet move lines wider than the lanes, empire colored, and surrounded by a black stroke

When you say "lines" do you really mean "dots"? I don't see any movement lines per se. Is that right? Also, the dots will be moving, like the dashed lines do now, right?

Quote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
What happens if there are multiple empire's fleets with project move paths along the same starlane, and thus multiple colours of dots would be needed?
Then you'll get an effect something like moving christmas lights, but that should be better than the current result, an information-less, nearly solid white line.

I worry about this too. A naive implementation would place all the dots on top of each other, so you'd only see the last one rendered. If we tried to space the dots out so that sections of starlanes that have >=2 empires' fleets dots on them show all the dots, we need to be sure that the spacing between the dots allows for showing all possible empires at once. Could we see a mockup with say 5 empires traveling through the same starlane?


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 Post subject: Re: Fleet Move Lines
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 7:06 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
Selected fleet: Similar but white with numbered markers showing how far it will go each turn.

I assume the above example covers the already-ordered move lines for the selected fleet, but what about projected fleet move lines? That is, the lines that are shown when a fleet is selected from the fleet's location to the system under the mouse cursor, or as close as the fleet can get, along the path that the fleet would take if order to move there?

These could look distinct from non-selected and selected fleet's established move lines...

Or, it could only show the turn ETA markers for the selected fleet's established move path if the mouse cursor isn't over another system. If the cursor is over another system, the selected fleet's (projected) move path would be shown to that system.

Edit: Also, looking ahead, we might want to have several queued move orders for a fleet, so that it'd go from one to the next in sequence, allowing the player to more precisely specify a long-range move path or a continuous patrol route without having to re-do orders after each leg. If it's practical and possible to think about it now, a way to indicate this that's compatible with the present plan would be good to have.


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 Post subject: Re: Fleet Move Lines
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:06 pm 
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tzlaine wrote:
I think the glowing version of the icons works nicely. I think Geoff was just suggesting he needs an unselected and a selected version of each icon, since the glowing effect would be hard to do programmatically.

Selected, unselected, and mouseovered.
The "glowing effect" is just a 2px white stroke at~ 60% opacity. I don't know if that is as hard programatically as it looked, but i still want to experiment with some options.


tzlaine wrote:
When you say "lines" do you really mean "dots"? I don't see any movement lines per se. Is that right? Also, the dots will be moving, like the dashed lines do now, right?

Err, yes, I mean "dots". Yeah, i think they should still move-- it helps to eliminate the possibility of a single unfortunately place object covering up the one dot on a short lane.


tzlaine wrote:
eleazar wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
What happens if there are multiple empire's fleets with project move paths along the same starlane, and thus multiple colours of dots would be needed?
Then you'll get an effect something like moving christmas lights, but that should be better than the current result, an information-less, nearly solid white line.

I worry about this too. A naive implementation would place all the dots on top of each other, so you'd only see the last one rendered. If we tried to space the dots out so that sections of starlanes that have >=2 empires' fleets dots on them show all the dots, we need to be sure that the spacing between the dots allows for showing all possible empires at once. Could we see a mockup with say 5 empires traveling through the same starlane?

First keep in mind that if the player isn't clear on which fleets are going where, i intend that he can select any fleet (that he can see), and the move lines will switch to the white dots with the numbered markers. The selected fleet is always drawn on top of other fleets.

But still we want to do something that's clear the vast majority of the time, without clicking on fleets.
The spacing of the dots is a little inconsistent since i didn't measure. But it averages roughly 4-6 dot lengths between each dot, which means we could theoretically show 5-7 different empire's fleets moving on the same lane without overlap.

I'm not sure the following is practical, but it should eliminate dots covering dots:
* divide the number of frames in the dot-moving-animation by the number of empires in the game
* Use the result multiplied by the empire's number to offset the dot animation for that empire

Does that make sense? Basically each empire offsets the dot-moving animation by a unique amount so overlap in minimized.

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 Post subject: Re: Fleet Move Lines
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 8:30 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
Selected fleet: Similar but white with numbered markers showing how far it will go each turn.

I assume the above example covers the already-ordered move lines for the selected fleet, but what about projected fleet move lines? That is, the lines that are shown when a fleet is selected from the fleet's location to the system under the mouse cursor, or as close as the fleet can get, along the path that the fleet would take if order to move there?

These could look distinct from non-selected and selected fleet's established move lines...

Or, it could only show the turn ETA markers for the selected fleet's established move path if the mouse cursor isn't over another system. If the cursor is over another system, the selected fleet's (projected) move path would be shown to that system.

I see, when changing a destination of an already moving fleet, you have the old and potential new path displayed at the same time... i hadn't considered that carefully. You may be right... i have to test some things.


Geoff the Medio wrote:
Edit: Also, looking ahead, we might want to have several queued move orders for a fleet, so that it'd go from one to the next in sequence, allowing the player to more precisely specify a long-range move path or a continuous patrol route without having to re-do orders after each leg. If it's practical and possible to think about it now, a way to indicate this that's compatible with the present plan would be good to have.

It should be easy to incorporate way-points, for more precise control of long trips.

Repeating patrol paths are another story. At first glance they look rather troublesome.

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 Post subject: Re: Fleet Move Lines
PostPosted: Tue Feb 17, 2009 10:49 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Or, it could only show the turn ETA markers for the selected fleet's established move path if the mouse cursor isn't over another system. If the cursor is over another system, the selected fleet's (projected) move path would be shown to that system.

Yeah something similar.

The distinction the player needs to see is between the path that he may be canceling, and the new path that he could choose with a click.

When the selected fleet already has a chosen path, it is shown with the same white dots and turn-markers mock-uped previously...
... except when you mouse over a different valid destination.

Then the white dots on the old path are ghosted out to 60% opacity, and the turn-markers are removed. The new, potential path gets the fully opaque dots and turn-markers just the same as if you were selecting the path for the first time.


I.E. In the attached example, the green fleet at Merak had previously be commanded to go to Prior. But the player rethinks that, and this is what you would see with the mouse over Whipple. If the mouse goes off a star the path to Prior again becomes fully opaque and gets the turn markers.

Notice that i changed the style of the markers... this works better with the range of empire colors.


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fleet move lines2.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: Fleet Move Lines
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:23 pm 
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How would fuel or other limits to where a ship can go be shown? Particularly for line with ETA indicators, if the move path doesn't go all the way to the mouse cursor, it'd be nice if there was some indication why.

Similarly, if a ship has to stop at a system for a turn to refuel, how is that shown? It would be confusing to have a (4) on one side of a system, and the next marker be (6) leaving the other side...

As well, if a ship is moving very slowly, the turns to get somewhere might be a very large number, and to avoid showing a very large number, the code currently checks for this case and returns a special "NEVER" value. For this case, and the related case of large numbers in ETAs, what should be shown? The circles in the mockups only really have space for one digit numbers.


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 Post subject: Re: Fleet Move Lines
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 4:46 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
How would fuel or other limits to where a ship can go be shown? Particularly for line with ETA indicators, if the move path doesn't go all the way to the mouse cursor, it'd be nice if there was some indication why.

What reasons are there besides fuel, and the more obvious "you haven't discovered starlanes that go these"?
If that's all the "whys" then we just need to make clear "what" is happening.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Similarly, if a ship has to stop at a system for a turn to refuel, how is that shown? It would be confusing to have a (4) on one side of a system, and the next marker be (6) leaving the other side...

Yeah that would be weird. However it can simply be avoided if you can't plot a course past the point where fuel runs out.

Geoff the Medio wrote:
As well, if a ship is moving very slowly, the turns to get somewhere might be a very large number, and to avoid showing a very large number, the code currently checks for this case and returns a special "NEVER" value. For this case, and the related case of large numbers in ETAs, what should be shown? The circles in the mockups only really have space for one digit numbers.


If a ship cannot make it to a star without running out of gas, if the time is "NEVER", or for any other reason it just can't go there, the system mouseover indicator changes to a red "X" indicator. I've just uploaded the quick one shown.

Also the markers are big enough (as shown) for 2 digit numbers, but not for 3 digits. Is "NEVER" invoked before reaching 100?

What i'm not sure about is what to do when attempting to go further than is possible when part of the trip is doable. We could:
1) draw the move lines as far as the fleet can go and then stop, or
2) only draw the move lines when the mouse is over a valid destination

"2" seems to be what we are doing now, so i wouldn't change it yet.


Attachments:
fleet move lines2.jpg
fleet move lines2.jpg [ 64.47 KiB | Viewed 1294 times ]

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 Post subject: Re: Fleet Move Lines
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:50 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
How would fuel or other limits to where a ship can go be shown?
What reasons are there besides fuel, and the more obvious "you haven't discovered starlanes that go these"?

I can't think of anything else at the moment.

Quote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Similarly, if a ship has to stop at a system for a turn to refuel, how is that shown? It would be confusing to have a (4) on one side of a system, and the next marker be (6) leaving the other side...

Yeah that would be weird. However it can simply be avoided if you can't plot a course past the point where fuel runs out.

Not really... Having to stop in a system for a turn to refuel is not a reason to not let players plot move pathes further than that system. Not being able to do so would be really annoying due to the (pointless) additional micromanagement required.

Quote:
Also the markers are big enough (as shown) for 2 digit numbers, but not for 3 digits. Is "NEVER" invoked before reaching 100?

Currently NEVER is "invoked" if the ship's speed is less than 0.1 units per turn, where stars are something like 50 units apart. It could be changed to 100 turns, I suppose.

Quote:
What i'm not sure about is what to do when attempting to go further than is possible when part of the trip is doable. We could:
1) draw the move lines as far as the fleet can go and then stop, or
2) only draw the move lines when the mouse is over a valid destination

"2" seems to be what we are doing now, so i wouldn't change it yet.

"1" is what's done, as seen in the attachment. Excuse the work-in-progress fleet icons.

If you're judging based on a version with the whole galaxy / all starlanes visible, note that being able to see a starlane in the GUI doesn't mean your empire has actually explored / discovered that starlane. The latter is used for move path availability determination.


Attachments:
File comment: Fleet at Hamal is selected, and player has moused over Formalhaut. Move path would be two jumps long, but fleet only has one jump's worth of fuel, and can't refuel at its current location or the intermediate system along the path. Fleet can still be ordered to move, but will only get to the middle system Sagan, and this is as much of the move path as is shown.
PartialMovePath.png
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 Post subject: Re: Fleet Move Lines
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:29 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
Having to stop in a system for a turn to refuel is not a reason to not let players plot move pathes further than that system. Not being able to do so would be really annoying due to the (pointless) additional micromanagement required.

What is the reason for the ships having to stop then? Why can't they refuel on the fly, as long as they are in an area, that supplies fuel?


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 Post subject: Re: Fleet Move Lines
PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:51 pm 
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pd wrote:
Why can't they refuel on the fly, as long as they are in an area, that supplies fuel?

Yeah, it probably should be done that way.

Edit: Although there could also be cases where ships get fuel more slowly than fleet resupply, such as by generating their own, where it takes several turns to generate enough to make a jump.


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