Stars v3

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drek
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Stars v3

#1 Post by drek » Mon Aug 09, 2004 11:33 pm

A couple of ideas:

1: Empire colors instead of star colors. Star color has very little effect on gameplay. While the star on the sidebar would retain it's color, the stars on the galaxy map might might instead reflect empire color, giving an insta-poltical map. (blackholes and nuetrons would still be different sprites, but colored by empire) If more than one empire owns planets at a star, the empire with the larger population in system would determine the coloration of the sprite.

2: Different stars for up close and far away. Current stars look good when zoomed out; not so good when zoomed in (except for the blackhole). When zoomed in, there are less stars on the screen--so maybe a larger texture can be used without any performance hit.

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Geoff the Medio
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#2 Post by Geoff the Medio » Mon Aug 09, 2004 11:59 pm

I think star images shouldn't change size when zooming... (nor should most other things, like fleet icons). To me, the point of zooming in is to better see the relative locations of things that are too close to see separately when zoomed out. If stars / ship icons change size when zooming, then the ability to see stuff somewhat reduced. As a perk, if star pictures were always the same size, you'd only need one picture, so it'd always look good.

Star colour as empire colour would be a good overlay option... the political one perhaps. There should be a variety of galaxy map display modes that display various different types of information. It should still be possible to show "actual" star colour on the map though...

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#3 Post by pd » Tue Aug 10, 2004 1:01 am

Empire colors instead of star colors
i like the galaxy as colorfull as it is now, very much. coloring the stars in empire colors could be done in an extra map mode maybe, but i don't think it's a good idea to do this in the standard mode. the starnames are already colored in the according empire color, should be enough visual feedback imho.
Different stars for up close and far away.
i'm not sure but i think we did already talk about this somewhere. the main problem with this would be the smooth blending of the low res and high res pictures. but having high resolution and of course more detailed stars when zoomed in would definitely look nice.
I think star images shouldn't change size when zooming
this would look very odd(i mean very very odd). scaling the stars while zooming is a must.
If stars / ship icons change size when zooming, then the ability to see stuff somewhat reduced
when all icons would have the same size all the time, well i don't see a reason then for having zooming at all ;) but this would be pretty boring i guess.
Star colour as empire colour would be a good overlay option... the political one perhaps. There should be a variety of galaxy map display modes that display various different types of information. It should still be possible to show "actual" star colour on the map though...
full ack.

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#4 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Aug 10, 2004 1:23 am

pd wrote:
I think star images shouldn't change size when zooming
this would look very odd(i mean very very odd). scaling the stars while zooming is a must.
It wouldn't look odd at all. The actual "stars" themselves are far smaller than a single pixel at any zoom level. It looks "very very odd" for them to have visible radius at all, rather than be a pinprick of light, or a centra spot with thin glar lines around it. The fact that the visible size of them changes with zoom level is even weirder! This implies that the visible size on screen is the actual visible size of the star. If they didn't change size, then it could be assumed that the images are just iconic representations of the star, which are meant to look nicer. Instead, it seems that the FO galaxy is composed of stars which are tenths of light years across.

For comparison, consider the starfield that flys by in Star Trek while at warp speed. The individual stars don't change in size very much.
If stars / ship icons change size when zooming, then the ability to see stuff somewhat reduced
when all icons would have the same size all the time, well i don't see a reason then for having zooming at all ;) but this would be pretty boring i guess.
The point of zooming in is to be able to see the relative locations of two things that are too close together to separate at a wider zoom level, or to easily click on without accidentally getting the other. The point of zooming out is to see more stuff on the same screen. In either case, the icons used to display things need to be legible, and as individually distinguishable as possible. Right now, FO has the worst of both worlds... too small to see when zoomed out, and too big to get any extra position discrimination when zoomed in.

Consider this:
Image
If the star image didn't grow so big when zoomed in, it would be possible to tell those two stars apart... or at least that there were two stars, other than by the names.

Also, consider this:
Image
While zoomed out, clicking on one of the tiny tiny little fleet icons is almost impossible, beacuse they're so small.

Zooming in to make the fleet icon bigger (or the stars for that matter, which are too small to be distinguised from the background stars) is not an acceptable solution. The information displayed at a zoom level needs to be displayed legibly, and not rely solely on other zoom levels to be useful.
Star colour as empire colour would be a good overlay option... the political one perhaps. There should be a variety of galaxy map display modes that display various different types of information. It should still be possible to show "actual" star colour on the map though...
full ack.
... "full ack." ? I assume this is a negative reaction, which seems odd, since you basically suggested the same thing yourself...
coloring the stars in empire colors could be done in an extra map mode maybe

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#5 Post by leiavoia » Tue Aug 10, 2004 4:43 am

Star colors are usefull if they corespond roughly to their (potential) contents. For instance, in MOO1, the yellow and green stars were alwys first to get hit on the scouting mission. White/Red stars where usually useless.

Politics can be donated by label colors or some other kind of box/ring/icon

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#6 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Aug 10, 2004 5:17 am

Thing is, once you've explored them once, you know what's there and don't need to know the starcolour for much else after that... (a few weird things excepted).

Thus my suggestion for overlays, which would allow you to select between various display options which would, among other things, use star colour to display data such as political ownership on the galaxy map. Overlays would include other display options as well, such as how much detail about fleets or industry or population or other system conents to display graphically, and how, on the map. Different overlays would be set up for different functions, such as fighting a military war, a culture/espionage war, managing your supply lines / shipping routes, looking at the pretty star colours / exploration, etc.

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#7 Post by drek » Tue Aug 10, 2004 6:55 am

I think star images shouldn't change size when zooming...
You know, this might be a pretty good idea, for the closer zooms (stars would still have to get smaller for the far out zooms). Just have to cap the max size of stars at 32x32 or something....once I get around to figuring out how to compile FO with msvc, could probably make the change in five minutes flat to test it out.

There's a 4x java game I use to play that does this, doesn't look odd at all. Would help with stars getting squished together at very close zooms too, as you indicated.
i like the galaxy as colorfull as it is now, very much. coloring the stars in empire colors could be done in an extra map mode maybe, but i don't think it's a good idea to do this in the standard mode. the starnames are already colored in the according empire color, should be enough visual feedback imho.
Starnames don't give the same visual impact as the star itself. But poltical overlay would have the same function: either way sounds good to me.

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#8 Post by pd » Tue Aug 10, 2004 10:13 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:
pd wrote:
I think star images shouldn't change size when zooming
this would look very odd(i mean very very odd). scaling the stars while zooming is a must.
It wouldn't look odd at all. The actual "stars" themselves are far smaller than a single pixel at any zoom level. It looks "very very odd" for them to have visible radius at all, rather than be a pinprick of light, or a centra spot with thin glar lines around it. The fact that the visible size of them changes with zoom level is even weirder! This implies that the visible size on screen is the actual visible size of the star. If they didn't change size, then it could be assumed that the images are just iconic representations of the star, which are meant to look nicer. Instead, it seems that the FO galaxy is composed of stars which are tenths of light years across.

For comparison, consider the starfield that flys by in Star Trek while at warp speed. The individual stars don't change in size very much.
okay, but i still think not scaling the stars while zooming would look odd. but it might be a good idea to stop scaling 3 or 4 'zoom steps' before the maximal zoom is reached.
Geoff the Medio wrote:
If stars / ship icons change size when zooming, then the ability to see stuff somewhat reduced
when all icons would have the same size all the time, well i don't see a reason then for having zooming at all ;) but this would be pretty boring i guess.
The point of zooming in is to be able to see the relative locations of two things that are too close together to separate at a wider zoom level, or to easily click on without accidentally getting the other. The point of zooming out is to see more stuff on the same screen. In either case, the icons used to display things need to be legible, and as individually distinguishable as possible. Right now, FO has the worst of both worlds... too small to see when zoomed out, and too big to get any extra position discrimination when zoomed in.

Consider this:
Image
If the star image didn't grow so big when zoomed in, it would be possible to tell those two stars apart... or at least that there were two stars, other than by the names.

Also, consider this:
Image
While zoomed out, clicking on one of the tiny tiny little fleet icons is almost impossible, beacuse they're so small.
hmm, this is more an issue with star generation/placing which should be avoided in future versions.
Geoff the Medio wrote:Zooming in to make the fleet icon bigger (or the stars for that matter, which are too small to be distinguised from the background stars) is not an acceptable solution. The information displayed at a zoom level needs to be displayed legibly, and not rely solely on other zoom levels to be useful
yep, not scaling(or less scaling) of fleet icons might be a good idea.
Geoff the Medio wrote: ... "full ack." ? I assume this is a negative reaction, which seems odd, since you basically suggested the same thing yourself...
calm down ;) it means 'full acknowledgement'

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#9 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Aug 10, 2004 8:31 pm

drek wrote:
I think star images shouldn't change size when zooming...
You know, this might be a pretty good idea, for the closer zooms (stars would still have to get smaller for the far out zooms). Just have to cap the max size of stars at 32x32 or something....
I posted a feature request a month or two ago... capping both the max and minimum size of everything when zooming, so you can still actually see them when zoomed out, and can get some new info when zoomed in.
once I get around to figuring out how to compile FO with msvc, could probably make the change in five minutes flat to test it out.
You might ask vishnou00 for some help. He was very very helpful for me. Otherwise, if you're using VC.NET, it's just a matter of compiling all the dependences, and sticking the appropriate dlls and the GG folder into the Freeorion directory.
pd wrote:okay, but i still think not scaling the stars while zooming would look odd. but it might be a good idea to stop scaling 3 or 4 'zoom steps' before the maximal zoom is reached.
For stars, that might be ok... but ship icons should always be the same, clickable, size.
hmm, this is more an issue with star generation/placing which should be avoided in future versions.
The former is partly that, but fleets that happen to be near a star but not on it can make it impossible to click on one without getting the other. Zooming could fix this, but the images get bigger too, so it doesn't help as things are now.

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#10 Post by drek » Tue Aug 10, 2004 9:14 pm

but it might be a good idea to stop scaling 3 or 4 'zoom steps' before the maximal zoom is reached.
I think starlanes ought to get the same treatment. They look a little wierd when they get fat due to zooming.

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#11 Post by pd » Tue Aug 10, 2004 10:00 pm

exactly, i've noticed this too, but have somehow forgotten to mention it.

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#12 Post by miu » Tue Aug 10, 2004 10:37 pm

drek wrote:
but it might be a good idea to stop scaling 3 or 4 'zoom steps' before the maximal zoom is reached.
I think starlanes ought to get the same treatment. They look a little wierd when they get fat due to zooming.
I agree with this.

I want to reach the clarity and tranquility we have in these early sketches:
1:
http://users.evtek.fi/~k0201783/freeorion/buttons2.gif
2:
http://users.evtek.fi/~k0201783/freeori ... sign07.jpg

Think that in first sketch the distance between "shekprime - tsumok" is same that distance between "knuth - chandasekhar" in second.

It feels really that stars are far apart, and makes the atmosephere more peaceful, and I dont think that even in central parts of the galaxy the stardensity should be more than little higher than on those sketches with that zoom-level of starspics. (consider only the lower half of 2. pic)

And eyecandy issue, it would be good that a person could zoom near to see star glimmer and shine in all 256x256 detailed glory :) - essential is that the stardensity is thought well so that it wont look too messy and so that when in close-zoom you would see only handful stars on screen.


-starlanes and fleet icons are always at the same size.

-on very close zoom - staricons will grow bigger to be able to see it 256x256 or 128x128 detail.

-at neutral-near zoom staricons will hold same size,
roughly ~ bright spot 3x3 pix, strong glow 18x18pix, almost nonexistant/invisible glow/biggest streaks 50x50pix.

-on high zooms star-pictures will reduce in size.

Then it is just defining the limits in zoomlevel when the sizechanges will start.

I agree with PD that constant-starsize might feel strange - I have never tried or seen it in practice, but yes, it could work well with some adjustments. I want to see/try it in practice before forming my final opinion.
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#13 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Aug 10, 2004 10:49 pm

Suggestion to consider:

Stars have a default / basic image that is fairly small (say 6 pixels across) that never changes size with zoom level. This is the "centra" coloured dot of the star, and is big enough to be seen when zoomed out far, but small enough that it's much smaller than the distances between stars when zoomed in. I suggest 4 by 4 square with the corners lopped off, like so:

Code: Select all

 XX
XXXX
XXXX
 XX
(each X is a coloured pixel)

In addition, there is a details / halo / blur image that is layered with the dot, which changes size and intensity with zoom level. At wide zoom, this would be too small to see, but at close zoom, it would be fairly large, making the star look more interseting / detailed. This imagine would be semitransparent, allowing the specific location of the centre of the star to still be discerned, making zooming in useful for something.

Whether something like this can actually produce decent looking stars (and black holes and perhaps planetary nebulae if they are included as a star type), I'm not sure, but it seems wroth considering...

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#14 Post by miu » Tue Aug 10, 2004 11:10 pm

Static-sized bright center sounds good - a good way to deal with the unclarity of high zoom-outs. With extra layers (those glows and animeted streaks) that change size accordingly to zoom level allow us to do all the detail we want to. Worth a try I see.

Fogs are done with separate pictures and zoom well as they are now - though I would love to see more size variety in fogs. Have to think how system you suggested could work with black holes/neutron stars/would this be neccessary.

About showing stars empire-colored instead of their natural color, sure in political/strategy map-mope that would be turned on by some key. What other features should this political-map mode have/show?
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#15 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Aug 11, 2004 12:49 am

Since a system has more than one planet, and those planets can have different races / empires owning them, perhaps the political map "overlay" could have a ring of dots around a small icon for the star. The dots would represent the habited planets, and would be coloured by empire, and sized by population. Something like this (but prettier, with shading)
Image

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