0.3 Technology screen and Tech Graphics

Development of artwork, requests, suggestions, samples, or if you have artwork to offer. Primarily for the artists.
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noelte
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#61 Post by noelte » Fri Apr 29, 2005 7:21 am

Tyreth wrote:Noelte, if you use a program like the gimp, you can use the colour picker tool in it to get the RGB values. That might be easier for you:
http://www.gimp.org/windows/
Or just guess and put all the values in a config file so they can be easily changed later...
Why should i use some tool or guess when i have the creator(s) at hand? The artist give it much thoughts, surely also about the colors used!

I was thinking about a config file too, but i'm not sure if it is worth the effort yet.
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#62 Post by pd » Fri Apr 29, 2005 2:42 pm

just wanted to say that i won't be able to finish the mockup :(
i won't have inet access over the weekend.
will be back on sunday afternoon, possibly i'll be able to work it out then.

sorry

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#63 Post by noelte » Fri Apr 29, 2005 2:59 pm

It's ok, geoff already gave me something to do. :-)
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#64 Post by pd » Fri May 06, 2005 4:47 pm

Image

changed some stuff and provided the rgb values.

geoff, you were talking about some sorting buttons. i have still enough room to add them, but i was wondering how this should work. could you please go into details?

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Geoff the Medio
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#65 Post by Geoff the Medio » Fri May 06, 2005 7:48 pm

The unavailable techs' names and other text might be a bit hard to read... can it be the same shade as the available ones?

The "Finished Tech" won't actually have "Finished" in its name... so it might be a bit unclear that this is meant by the colouring / shading alone. Could we put "COMPLETE" or "RESEARCHED" or "FINISHED" or somesuch in the middle section of the tech box, rather than the cost / time?

We should probably have a "Description" / "Effects" toggle button, to switch between a lengthy full explanation of the effects, and the lengthy descriptive text... The three word summary is useful on the tech box on the tree / queue, but we should probably have a full sentence description of what the tech does not in point form also available. This could be put just below the fluff description, but that would be annoying if you just wanted to click on techs and read their effects description without having to scroll down for each one... hence the toggle button.

How about a brighter outline for the selected / on category buttons?

Rather than the + 100% - thing for zooming at the bottom right, perhaps we should figure out if we'll even have zoom levels (I hope so) and if so what they'll look like and how they'll be smaller before putting it in. I suspect we'll end up with just two or three zoom levels, so that having a % zoom level shown would be silly. We'd probabaly be better with just a button for each zoom level... unless there are four or more, which seems unlikely.

re: sorting buttons, I seem to have said:
Geoff the Medio wrote:Also, some sorting buttons might be good... ie. a combo / drop down list box / start menu-like thing that has options to sort the techs on the queue by time to finish or total cost, cost remaining, total research time, or to reorder the queue to prioritize a particular tech (ala the above setting a far-off goal).
Right, so the buttons would sort the techs on your queue according to some criteria. Clicking one would be an instant one-shot result, and would sort your queue at that moment... it wouldn't be "on / off" or automatically do something each turn.

One button would sort all the techs on the queue according to turns left to be completed (if fully funded)... so that the fasteset tech would be at the top, and so on down.

Another button would sort according to the RP left to be completed on the techs, so that the tech with the least RP left is at the top of the queue, and so on down.

Another could reorder the queue to minimize the time to research a particular goal tech (and all prerequisites it requires). This would put that tech and all its prerequisites on the queue, and then sort the queue such that the goal tech is finished at the earliest possible time, by finding the best possible prioritization of the prerequisites and the tech itself. Actually, this particular button would function best as an on/off persistant toggle that reupdates your ordering each turn automatically, so maybe should be implemented as such, unlike the other buttons... or not at all, since it'd be rather complex, computationally expensive and difficult to implement. It would be nice as a feature in some far off nebulous future where we have nothing better to work on...

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#66 Post by drek » Fri May 06, 2005 9:34 pm

Looks good to me pd.

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#67 Post by pd » Sat May 07, 2005 8:36 am

The unavailable techs' names and other text might be a bit hard to read... can it be the same shade as the available ones?
it's intended to be darker than the other text. but possibly a bit too much?
i can still read everything fine though. please make sure your monitor is set up right and your environment isn't lit too much.

an easy way to check this is to look at the following pic:
Image
all shades and numbers need to be seen.
The "Finished Tech" won't actually have "Finished" in its name... so it might be a bit unclear that this is meant by the colouring / shading alone. Could we put "COMPLETE" or "RESEARCHED" or "FINISHED" or somesuch in the middle section of the tech box, rather than the cost / time?
i refuse against adding COMPLETED or something in the middle section.
since the finished techs are the only ones which receive coloring and the middle section is additionally removed(because it's info is no longer required), i think the finished items are distinct enough.
keep in mind that this is just a static presentation - in-game the player is able to interact and will easily find out everything. we don't need to tell him everything. in fact this would be even annoying/boring, especially to experienced players. when the screen is opened the first time we could also give a short introduction to clear obscurities.
We should probably have a "Description" / "Effects" toggle button, to switch between a lengthy full explanation of the effects, and the lengthy descriptive text...
i've had this in my prior mockup, but removed it because i thought it would be needless now. do we really need a longer description of the effects? isn't it the purpose of the effects to be short and summarize what effect the tech has? otherwise we could put it in the description itself.
How about a brighter outline for the selected / on category buttons?
brighter the pure white? :)
again, keep in mind that this is static. and in this case the selection is applied to the brightes boxes around - so it's missing some contrast.
when the player clicks on an item, i'm sure he will notice the white border line which suddently appears.
Rather than the + 100% - thing for zooming at the bottom right, perhaps we should figure out if we'll even have zoom levels (I hope so) and if so what they'll look like and how they'll be smaller before putting it in. I suspect we'll end up with just two or three zoom levels, so that having a % zoom level shown would be silly. We'd probabaly be better with just a button for each zoom level... unless there are four or more, which seems unlikely.
i'm aiming for zoom levels too and i've also thought about 3-4. after all, i have proposed this. displaying percentages is the common way to visualize zooming and not at all silly. in our case we could use 100%, 50% and 25% for example.
personally i would like to see zooming implemented first(can't we just grab the code from the starmap and tweak it?). we can then decide what zoom levels to chose(via xml?) and then how to display the boxes at those levels.

thanks for your info on sorting, it makes sense now. i'll put it in next time.

note to the coders: is it possible to change all colors(i really mean all: texts, lines, box backgrounds, etc) via an xml file?
this would simplify tweaking and it's also needed when we'll aply a shiny skin.

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#68 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat May 07, 2005 9:29 am

pd wrote:
The unavailable techs' names and other text might be a bit hard to read... can it be the same shade as the available ones?
it's intended to be darker than the other text. but possibly a bit too much?
i can still read everything fine though. please make sure your monitor is set up right and your environment isn't lit too much.
My monitor is fine and I can read it if I need to... My complaint is that the unavailable techs are just a bit too hard to read... and unnecessarily so. The text could be made whiter while still leaving lots of contrast between the light / dark backgrounds and outline of the available / unavailable techs' boxes. The issue is only with the text... which should be as easy to read as possible. As they are now, it could lead to some eye strain, especially for the "Building" and "RPs" text on the darker "yet unavailable Tech". It *can* be read as it is, but it could be read much more easily with brighter text, without losing the obvious visible contrast in tech status...

oh, and "RPs" should be just "RP". When using unit abbreviations, one shouldn't indicate plurality. (eg. it's km, min, sec, not kms, mins, secs)
i refuse against adding COMPLETED or something in the middle section.
since the finished techs are the only ones which receive coloring and the middle section is additionally removed(because it's info is no longer required), i think the finished items are distinct enough.
If the preceeding was an "it is decreed" statement, then ignore the following:

I agree that the finished items are distinct, but it's not immediately clear what their distinction signifies, which is the real problem. The lack of time and cost on a tech could conceivably mean they don't have a time / cost, or that they aren't available yet so that info is hidden, just as it could mean the tech is done. The colouring conveys no obvious meaning, other than perhaps category (was that intended?)... There's no obvious reason why finished techs would be coloured and others would not, to me. The colouring is fine... but it's not enough on its own.
keep in mind that this is just a static presentation - in-game the player is able to interact and will easily find out everything. we don't need to tell him everything. in fact this would be even annoying/boring, especially to experienced players. when the screen is opened the first time we could also give a short introduction to clear obscurities.
As above, ignore if decreed:

Why would putting "COMPLETED" be annoying / boring...? It's essentially the same as colouring, but easier to understand and see for new or (especially) colourblind players. I also also don't see how being able to interact with it helps... shouldn't the player be able to tell without having to click on something to check what the colourations mean? Yes, they'll eventually figure it out, but why not make it obvious from the start, so they don't have to?
We should probably have a "Description" / "Effects" toggle button, to switch between a lengthy full explanation of the effects, and the lengthy descriptive text...
i've had this in my prior mockup, but removed it because i thought it would be needless now. do we really need a longer description of the effects? isn't it the purpose of the effects to be short and summarize what effect the tech has? otherwise we could put it in the description itself.
We do need a longer description for effects. The three or four word version is only a "bullet point" version that can fit on tech boxes on the tree or queue. The full description would be much clearer and easier to understand and more accurate than is possible in three words. Consider an effect like "Gives +3 to farming on primary farming focus worlds and +1 to farming on secondary farming focused worlds and +1 to farming on primary balanced focused worlds in your empire or empires with which you are allied" ... can you summarize that in 3 words? If so, I can make a more complicated and still plausible one that you couldn't, I imagine.
How about a brighter outline for the selected / on category buttons?
brighter the pure white? :)
The button outlines are not pure white. A zoomed in view:
Image
The Learning button is active, but is still outlined in grey. The RGB colour box over top of it does appear to be in white, or at least something a lot brighter.
again, keep in mind that this is static. and in this case the selection is applied to the brightes boxes around - so it's missing some contrast.
... I don't know what you meant by that...
when the player clicks on an item, i'm sure he will notice the white border line which suddently appears.
The player should be able to easily tell which category buttons are activated without clicking them on / off to check. Having whiter outlines for the active ones would help with this. The difference is just a bit too subtle right now, I think... this isn't a huge issue, and it would be ok as it is, but I just think it could be a bit better.
i'm aiming for zoom levels too and i've also thought about 3-4. after all, i have proposed this. displaying percentages is the common way to visualize zooming and not at all silly. in our case we could use 100%, 50% and 25% for example.
personally i would like to see zooming implemented first(can't we just grab the code from the starmap and tweak it?). we can then decide what zoom levels to chose(via xml?) and then how to display the boxes at those levels.
I wasn't thinking of zooming in terms of actually zooming the image in and out like on the starmap. This wouldn't really work because the text on the tech view is already pretty small, and would be unreadable if the the whole thing was zoomed out. Instead, I figured the more zoomed out levels would have just tech names in smaller boxes closer together, coloured to incidate complete/available/unavailable/etc. These wouldn't be the same shape as the fully zoomed in boxes, so it's not really like a % zoom... it's just "zoomed" or "not zoomed"... or maybe it should be called something other than "zoom" if that makes you think of scaling the image like the starmap... "detail" and "compact" views maybe?

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#69 Post by noelte » Sat May 07, 2005 10:54 am

note to the coders: is it possible to change all colors(i really mean all: texts, lines, box backgrounds, etc) via an xml file?
this would simplify tweaking and it's also needed when we'll aply a shiny skin.
Everything is possible. But i would like to know which parts exactly are of interest and which colors are always meant to be the same. I could load a config file on startup...
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#70 Post by Obiwan » Sat May 07, 2005 10:58 am

Great work on the interface, real style. This is why I have faith in FO.

I cant have too much input in this, cause I lack talant in this area.

but have you considered the ZBrush method of showing extra info. Hover the mouse over something and use ctrl to display a semi transparent tool tip.

It is best if on hovering a small 1 or 3 word tooltip appears. This lets you know there is a 'possibility' of more info with CTRL.
eg.
Image

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#71 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat May 07, 2005 5:51 pm

noelte wrote:But i would like to know which parts exactly are of interest and which colors are always meant to be the same. I could load a config file on startup...
Do you mean which colours never change, or which things on the screen use the same colour as which other things? That is, which things would never be coloured differently, even if the one colour used by both can change?

I think he said which parts are of interest: "...all colors (i really mean all: texts, lines, box backgrounds, etc)"

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#72 Post by noelte » Mon May 09, 2005 7:28 am

Do you mean which colours never change, or which things on the screen use the same colour as which other things? That is, which things would never be coloured differently, even if the one colour used by both can change?
Yes, that's what i was trying to say.
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#73 Post by pd » Mon May 09, 2005 10:45 am

i'll provide a list of all items i want to be able to change the color of, soon.

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#74 Post by noelte » Tue May 24, 2005 3:47 pm

Nothing has happend since two weeks. I expect it is no risk to begin implementation!?

@Zach: I know it's your baby ... If i doesn't hear something i would go for it after i had fixed that DeleteFleet issue. (Won't happend until weekend)
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#75 Post by pd » Tue May 24, 2005 4:19 pm

go-ahead from my side.

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