[PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

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orbisvicis
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Re: [PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

#16 Post by orbisvicis »

Why not use something more abstract than a pictoral representation, such as a pie graph wherein each color represents a component and the relative size of each slice represents the presence of each component relative to others.
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Dilvish
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Re: [PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

#17 Post by Dilvish »

orbisvicis wrote:Why not use something more abstract than a pictoral representation, such as a pie graph wherein each color represents a component and the relative size of each slice represents the presence of each component relative to others.
I think I find it a little more emotionally gripping watching little starship-y icons flying around space than watching little pie charts flying around space. The starship icons probably activate some kind of bug/animal tracking module in my midbrain, whereas the pie charts are just too much forebrain-only.
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eleazar
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Re: [PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

#18 Post by eleazar »

Dilvish wrote:It seems to me that almost all of what makes the stacked icon "busy" relative to the current icons is the outline between various parts of the stacking -- I wasn't expecting that from the initial discussion.
If you removed the interior outlines, the effect would be less stroboscopic, but, some ships would completely hide others, and thus defeat the purpose.
cami wrote:The disagreement between "the most valuable" and "the most dangerous" already shows there is no consistent way to prioritize.
There may not be a way to prioritize that is optimal for all situation, I do not deny that. But consistency is easy, and not too hard for the human to learn something like my previous post.
cami wrote:Also note that the current icons are just a mockup, you probably agree there can be much better designs with intuitive look and much less clutter.
Probably the graphics could be altered to work better with your stacking method, but not "much" better. Not without turning the ships into abstract geometry that has no connection with their function nor resembles ships.
cami wrote:I really had the exact same concernsas you mention, and tried it out of curiosity, to my own surprise finding it helps a lot and doesnt hurt at all; that's just why I'm recommending you to test it in a realistic scenario before judging. Really try to defeat an opponent in a 200-300 turn game. You will notice it is very helpful when this information is not hidden, particularily when you do have many fleets, particularily moving fleets, on the window. In most cases, you will have at most two icons stacked, sometimes two plus weapons (which do barely change appearance), and you can quickly glance the situation much better than with generic icons or even completely overridden ones. This is partially also because our brain is trained to recognize objects partially hiding each other.
By all means people should try the patch for themselves, if they want. But i've been in illustration/graphic design long enough that i have a high degree of confidence in my assessment without doing that.

I completely agree with you that the hidden information is a problem-- just not a problem that this method solves in an adequate way. Also, I think it is probably that we may want to add other ship icon categories, such as perhaps, ships with special "super-weapons". Each additional type would tend to seriously degrade the usefully of the stack-everything-on-top method.


There are other possibilities to deal with the hidden information:
  • :arrow: It may be possible to design the icons so that a "pure" fleet looks different from a "mixed" fleet, while still only showing one prioritized icon. That small number of pixels is already pretty information dense, but that's something that might be possible.

    :arrow: Or perhaps the player doesn't see fleet grouping of other players, and each icon type of ship is displayed separately on the galaxy map.
orbisvicis wrote:Why not use something more abstract than a pictoral representation, such as a pie graph wherein each color represents a component and the relative size of each slice represents the presence of each component relative to others.
In addition to what Dilvish said, color is already used to indicate the ship's empire. A bunch of tiny pie-charts would be pretty annoying to decipher, even if multiple colors could be used.

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Dilvish
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Re: [PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

#19 Post by Dilvish »

eleazar wrote:If you removed the interior outlines, the effect would be less stroboscopic, but, some ships would completely hide others, and thus defeat the purpose.
It had looked to me like the only thing that would be overridden is that the outpost icon would be overridden by the colony icon; given how closely related those two are I think that's entirely acceptable.
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cami
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Re: [PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

#20 Post by cami »

Hmm, there is already some prioritization in SVN, I wouldn't want to go beyond that, for the reasons I mentioned. I'm open to better display methods than just stacking everthing on top of each other, which has been a mock-up from the beginning. I kind of like the idea of a single "mixed fleet" icon with some additional info (possibly only on med/large icons). The pie chart idea reminded me of simutrans, if you happen to know it, with its station fill bars. Unfortunately I'm completely unabe to find a good image :S Anyway a normal chart doesnt apply well to FO. You cannot compare colony modules with weapon modules by number, and not even weapon modules with each other. :(

Btw, there are no real large icons yet, theyre just a copy of the medium ones. Maybe it would already help if I would keep the icons at their original sizes and moved them in code; for the mockup icons I just shrank the current icons by 25% and moved them around within the transparent background. Displaying each type beside each other is problematic because it is hard to tell where the fleet is really at if too many are clustered around the same star. This is already a problem now when many empires (unarmed) scouts cuddle in one spot.Maybe there's an option between the two, allowing the fleet icons to partially overlap but not stack directly on top of each other. Might be even more confusing though.
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orbisvicis
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Re: [PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

#21 Post by orbisvicis »

This is probably too difficult (maybe not even possible on the current canvas) and most likely defeats the purpose of information-at-a-glance, but how about a magnifying-lens effect: when the pointer is within a certain max-min radius of the fleet position, the icons smoothly unstack and spread out, the amount depending on the precise mouse distance.
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Dilvish
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Re: [PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

#22 Post by Dilvish »

I just took some time to rebuild with this patch. Some of the stacked icon combinations will probably take a little getting used to so they no longer look funny :lol: but already after just a couple minutes I think I can recognize all the combinations, and my initial impression is that I am very glad to no longer having my warship icons getting overridden in favor of troop ship icons in a combined fleet, etc.
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Dilvish
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Re: [PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

#23 Post by Dilvish »

I'm partway through a game on a new machine, where I hadn't gotten around to applying this patch again yet, and I must say I certainly missed it. Without it too many fleets wind up getting the small scout icon. There's only been two downloads of the final version of this patch (in this post), and those were both me. I'd like to again ask that this be rolled out in a test build so we can get more reaction from players.
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Vezzra
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Re: [PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

#24 Post by Vezzra »

Dilvish wrote:I'd like to again ask that this be rolled out in a test build so we can get more reaction from players.
As in, commit the patch and see how well the whole thing works? Why not, it shouldn't be too hard to revert these changes if it doesn't work out... Geoff?

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MatGB
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Re: [PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

#25 Post by MatGB »

Please do, I'm still not used to remembering to check if that scout is actually an outposter that can kill my troop ships, etc., it's been half finished for ages.
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: [PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

#26 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Vezzra wrote:
Dilvish wrote:I'd like to again ask that this be rolled out in a test build so we can get more reaction from players.
As in, commit the patch and see how well the whole thing works? Why not, it shouldn't be too hard to revert these changes if it doesn't work out... Geoff?
http://sourceforge.net/p/freeorion/code/7150/

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Re: [PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

#27 Post by Vegavis »

I like this! It's much more intuitive than the old system.

Some of the composite icons with outposters look a little odd, but maybe I'm just not used to recognizing them yet.

Minor cosmetic problem: the large-fleet markers align properly with the fighter icon, but not with the troop or colony icons.

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Dilvish
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Re: [PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

#28 Post by Dilvish »

Vegavis wrote:Minor cosmetic problem: the large-fleet markers align properly with the fighter icon, but not with the troop or colony icons.
I'm not noticing that -- could you post a screenshot showing what you're referring to?
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Re: [PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

#29 Post by Vegavis »

Here. The bars at the bottom overlap the troopship icon instead of being below it, as they do for fighters.
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cami
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Re: [PATCH] FleetHeadIcon() for multiple fleets

#30 Post by cami »

That's kind of intentional. There is only so much space:
Image
But maybe shrinking the size-icons slightly as well (as the type icons are) would be a better option.
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