Needed suggestion for tech-screen UI

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Bastian-Bux
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#46 Post by Bastian-Bux » Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:10 am

Hmm, I don't know any game with a techtree (not a half educated tech-bush aehm, shrub ^^) that manages to display it on just one window. You always have to scroll. So SMAC style would also be ok, as it allowes for the greatest amount of tech-tree while also giving you easy access to the details.

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noelte
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#47 Post by noelte » Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:41 am

tzlaine wrote:The Tech tree area looks good as well, but I have a question. What makes the Applications line up the way they are? Why aren't the first four Apps all in one column?
learn is required for constr App and eco for prod. IMO, a good solution as it is.
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#48 Post by pd » Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:45 am

tzlaine wrote: What makes the Applications line up the way they are? Why aren't the first four Apps all in one column? Is it based on something like total RP cost?
no, the reason for this was to avoid connections having to go backwards.

edit: yep, just as noelte said :)
geoff wrote:What is the significance of the horizontal position of the applications? What if there are several applications of a certain tech level
one of the problems i mentioned in my first line...
geoff wrote:you've put all the theories on one page, so there's no vertical space to put applications / other theories in parallel...
well, it could be strechted vertically of course if more room is needed.
geoff wrote:hence I resuggest tabs for each category
how would you go about displaying connections between different categories then?

@breadmean: i like the possibility to expand and collapse but it needs to be worked out more.

also you have shown only fairly simple and pretty few connections. what if an orange theory in the top right leads to a app below one of the green theories in the bottom left?

@all: is it true that a theory always has a parent theory? i thought that an application and even a refinement can also lead to a new theory...

btw. it wasn't mentioned yet, maybe because it's obvious ... don't know. but we definitely should allow zooming in and out.


geoff: you seem to have pretty clear ideas how it could work, couldn't you make some mockups?

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Bastian-Bux
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#49 Post by Bastian-Bux » Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:52 am

pd wrote:
@all: is it true that a theory always has a parent theory? i thought that an application and even a refinement can also lead to a new theory...
Hmm, iirc we didn't decide that exactly. But logically i'd say yes, every application needs at least one theory as parent. Its the, well theoretical basement of that application :). That doesn't hinder an application to have severall theories, applications or even refinements as requirements.

i'd say the minimum requirement line is:

theory -> application -> refinement
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#50 Post by miu » Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:57 am

Werent there a idea that cross-categories dependencies would be quite rare. In per category shown tech tree, such dependancy could be shown with little icon and explanation. ("Requires nanomachinery theory from construction")
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#51 Post by BreadMan » Wed Dec 08, 2004 9:23 am

pd wrote: @breadmean: i like the possibility to expand and collapse but it needs to be worked out more.

also you have shown only fairly simple and pretty few connections. what if an orange theory in the top right leads to a app below one of the green theories in the bottom left?
Precisely. Its just going to get cluttered, so I've abandoned the idea of showing the whole tree at once. Only about half the techs in that mockup have dependencies, and only three of the five categories are present. With two more added there'll be lines everywhere, I just don't see it as feasible. Now I'm thinking of categories as tabs, expandable, with cross-category prereqs listed as hyper-links. I'll see if I can put something together before the end of the week.

Actually, just saw miu's post and yeah, actually, is it really necessary to go to all this trouble? Has it even been worked out yet what kind of techs will actually be in the tree, and what sort of dependencies to expect? If cross-category is rare, then I take it back, a full tree might be feasible. Where's the design team on this?
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#52 Post by Bastian-Bux » Wed Dec 08, 2004 9:31 am

We have worked out what categories we have, and we know that cross category requirements will occure. Not much more done yet, as the category moderators are just starting their discussions.
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#53 Post by utilae » Wed Dec 08, 2004 10:08 am

@BreadMan
I never expected anyone to manage to fit the entire tech tree on screen, so I would just assume that the tech tree won't fit and would be scrollable, etc etc.

I also think it would be a good move to put each category into a seperate tab.
miu wrote:Werent there a idea that cross-categories dependencies would be quite rare. In per category shown tech tree, such dependancy could be shown with little icon and explanation. ("Requires nanomachinery theory from construction")
Yeah, the "Requires nanomachinery theory from construction" part would be easy to follow. You could easily go to the construction tab, and look for nanomachinery theory. I would rather do it that way then follow lines through a web of techs.


Maybe we could also have a 'ruler' style guide along the top line of the window that shows the levels. Each tech would corespond to a level, so if you were looking for level 50 tech, you could just scroll quickly along til you see level 50 on the 'ruler' and then go down and find the tech.

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Geoff the Medio
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#54 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Dec 08, 2004 10:20 am

pd wrote:
geoff wrote:hence I resuggest tabs for each category
how would you go about displaying connections between different categories then?
I'm now partial to BreadMan's mockup with all techs on one page: no tabs. However, were there tabs, the inter-category prerequisites (and optionally unlocked techs in other categories) could be shown as "stubs". You'd have specially indicated / coloured boxes on the tree in each category to represent the prerequisite/unlocked techs from another categories, that you could click on to zoom to that tab / tech.
also you have shown only fairly simple and pretty few connections. what if an orange theory in the top right leads to a app below one of the green theories in the bottom left?
It could be required that prerequisites are always left of things they unlock when both are visible... and the expand / collapse tree thing would make this workable. Though we'd also want to generally have techs only have prerequisites back a few "tech levels", so as to avoid stringing things out too much. What qualifies as a "tech level" is hard to say... I don't expect it will be a strongly defined concept... more likely it would be just an approximation based on whereabout in the tree a particular tech lies. How much of a problem it will be to show all the interconnections seems difficult to judge without trying it out. The category topologies may need to be designed with this limitation in mind...
geoff: you seem to have pretty clear ideas how it could work, couldn't you make some mockups?
Technically, I'm in the midst of exams at the moment... and while the current one is so incredibly stupid and boring and pointless that I can't go 30 min without taking a break, such as to post here, actually making a mockup would be a bit too time consuming. Luckily BreadMan has produced one that I like, aside from the few modifications I've suggested for hiding prerequisites and such.

That said, it looks like BreadMan and I have swapped views?
BreadMan wrote:...I've abandoned the idea of showing the whole tree at once.
[...]
With two more added there'll be lines everywhere, I just don't see it as feasible. Now I'm thinking of categories as tabs, expandable, with cross-category prereqs listed as hyper-links.
Though this issue is why I've suggested the hidden prerequisites for not-visible techs. If that specifically is what you wanted a new mockup of... maybe in a few days I could make up a quick one, but not now. I tried to explain it thoroughly, though...
@all: is it true that a theory always has a parent theory? i thought that an application and even a refinement can also lead to a new theory...
I don't believe any restrictions on prerequisites for theories were made explicitly...
BreadMan wrote:Has it even been worked out yet what kind of techs will actually be in the tree, and what sort of dependencies to expect? If cross-category is rare, then I take it back, a full tree might be feasible. Where's the design team on this?
Some people were very keen on having the various categories be independent... so you could completely ignore one to focus on another exclusively. However, in discussing what sorts of categories to have, the argument was made that a theories in one tech could unlock other theories or applications in unrelated categories... so I think the mostly independent categories people are overruled. IMO it'll be necessary to have a moderate or high number of intercategory links in order to work with the theory/application system as planned. See the categories design thread for more details of why...

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#55 Post by pd » Wed Dec 08, 2004 1:22 pm

geoff wrote:actually making a mockup would be a bit too time consuming.
take a pencil and do it on paper. could be done in 10 mins ;)

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#56 Post by BreadMan » Wed Dec 08, 2004 7:10 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote: Technically, I'm in the midst of exams at the moment... and while the current one is so incredibly stupid and boring and pointless that I can't go 30 min without taking a break, such as to post here, actually making a mockup would be a bit too time consuming.
Hahahaha my exams are suffering because of this thread :P
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#57 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Dec 08, 2004 9:46 pm

pd wrote:
geoff wrote:actually making a mockup would be a bit too time consuming.
take a pencil and do it on paper. could be done in 10 mins ;)
Shall I mail it to you then?

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#58 Post by pd » Wed Dec 08, 2004 10:23 pm

definitely!

-> epost(at)optisch-edel.de

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#59 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Dec 08, 2004 11:03 pm

pd wrote:definitely!

-> epost(at)optisch-edel.de
There's a subtle flaw in this plan... relating to the effectiveness of email for sending paper.

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#60 Post by pd » Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:42 am

what about this one:


Image

it's only one category atm, i'll add more tomorrow, together with some more complex and crossing realtions.

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