0.3 Production Screen

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: 0.3 Production Screen

#106 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:21 pm

Craigy wrote:I used a screenshot from the list view as a starting point, because it has items grouped by effect type. If the techs can have effects in-line like this, why not production items?
This wasn't done on the production screen for a variety of reasons. We don't have a huge number of buildings, and not a lot of thought has gone into what buildings we do have, so there's never been motivation to group them by a category like is done with techs or (even more so) ship parts on their respectively screens.

The production screen also deals with both buildings and ships, which don't have obvious mutually-applicable categorizations. We could have a "farming" category, but likely no ships would fall into it. Similarly, there could be an "attack" category, but this would likely include almost all armed ships, and probably very few buildings. Would a generic "Ships" category include a shipyard or related addons? We could remove "Ships" and "Buildings" as filters, and just use "Farming" to implicitly mean "Farming Buildings" and "Attack" to mean "Attack Ships", but this is probably too restrictive for the few border cases where a building would legitimately fall into "Attack" or a ship would fall into "Farming".
I think perhaps only one of the Buildings, Orbitals, or Ships buttons should be active at one time.
Not necessary. You can already choose any combination of options, including just one if so inclined, but being able to compare all at once is useful. Imaging deciding between producing a ship and a building... ranking them by cost would be useful.

Also, orbitals are going away. Anything that could be considered an orbital will be treated as a building. The only use for orbitals was the one thing in the category - defense bases - which were added for v0.3 only and aren't in the v0.4 design as a buildable item.
I have removed the galaxy view, and put a view of all colonized systems in the side panel.
This is not going to happen. It would require a huge rewrite of sidepanel code, is inconsistent with the map screen sidepanel UI, and removes any ability to show ranges on the galaxy map while in production view (which we don't do yet, but should eventually). It also makes it a lot harder to switch between systems while in the production view, since players primarily see systems laid out on the galaxy map, so know their spatial layout at least as well as their names.
[The filter buttons] should probably be organized and grouped into separated windows.
You mean separate the filters from the list, or have multiple windows of filters? Rather than wasting the extra border space required to make a separate window for the filters as on the research screen, it might be better to keep them attached to the only list they're relevant to, like the design screen. Keeping the filter buttons attached to the list makes it a bit clearer that the buttons are filtering the list, and not anything else on the screen. Research is a bit different, in that the filter floats over the tree view (and currently the list, but the list should be given its own window eventually), and the same filter is used for both the list and the tree, so it makes sense to give it its own window in that case. It might also work on the production screen thoguh, as it would be more flexible for setting up the production screen window layout...

The sidepanel can be improved by adding filters to alter what it shows, including just colonized planets, just planets where a selected building can be placed, just the player's planets, etc.

The buildable items list can and should be significantly improved, with rows that look more like those of the tech list. This just hasn't been done yet.

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Re: 0.3 Production Screen

#107 Post by Craigy » Sun Jul 06, 2008 11:29 am

Thanks for the reply Geoff. You have helped me clear up a few things.
We don't have a huge number of buildings, and not a lot of thought has gone into what buildings we do have, so there's never been motivation to group them by a category like is done with techs or (even more so) ship parts on their respectively screens.
Would it be helpful if I started working on this?
The production screen also deals with both buildings and ships, which don't have obvious mutually-applicable categorizations.
This was something that I pointed out in my brainstorming post. It does make things more complicated by grouping them both together but:
being able to compare all [types of production] at once is useful. Imaging deciding between producing a ship and a building... ranking them by cost would be useful.
Good point. This is probably useful enough to warrant keeping buildings and ships together.
Also, orbitals are going away. Anything that could be considered an orbital will be treated as a building. The only use for orbitals was the one thing in the category - defense bases - which were added for v0.3 only and aren't in the v0.4 design as a buildable item.
That's good news, as orbitals are very similar to buildings. Now the player will not have to weigh buildings against orbitals.
This is not going to happen. It would require a huge rewrite of sidepanel code, is inconsistent with the map screen sidepanel UI, and removes any ability to show ranges on the galaxy map while in production view (which we don't do yet, but should eventually). It also makes it a lot harder to switch between systems while in the production view, since players primarily see systems laid out on the galaxy map, so know their spatial layout at least as well as their names.
I agree with you, it is better being able to see the galaxy map. The only reason I did that in my mockup was to alleviate some space for the production list. The production screen is more spatially cramped than the design or research windows. However, you are right that removing the galaxy view would be unconscionable. Count that as one of my crazy ideas! :wink:
You mean separate the filters from the list, or have multiple windows of filters? Rather than wasting the extra border space required to make a separate window for the filters as on the research screen, it might be better to keep them attached to the only list they're relevant to, like the design screen. Keeping the filter buttons attached to the list makes it a bit clearer that the buttons are filtering the list, and not anything else on the screen. Research is a bit different, in that the filter floats over the tree view (and currently the list, but the list should be given its own window eventually), and the same filter is used for both the list and the tree, so it makes sense to give it its own window in that case. It might also work on the production screen though, as it would be more flexible for setting up the production screen window layout...
I was thinking separate them from each other somehow, for instance to separated ship filters from building effect filters. When you say "keep them attached to the only list they're relevant to" do you mean have a different list for buildings and ships? You know better than me that the production window is quite cramped, which unfortunately limits our options. Perhaps the queue window can be shrunk vertically, and the list extend below it.
The sidepanel can be improved by adding filters to alter what it shows, including just colonized planets, just planets where a selected building can be placed, just the player's planets, etc.
That would be quite handy.
The buildable items list can and should be significantly improved, with rows that look more like those of the tech list. This just hasn't been done yet.
If this is done, it will greatly improve 'productivity' in the production screen.

Thanks for putting up with my wild ideas, I think I have a better idea of where the design is going now.

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Re: 0.3 Production Screen

#108 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Jul 08, 2008 2:16 am

Craigy wrote:
We don't have a huge number of buildings, and not a lot of thought has gone into what buildings we do have, so there's never been motivation to group them by a category like is done with techs or (even more so) ship parts on their respectively screens.
Would it be helpful if I started working on this?
Yes.

We likely need to have an overall plan or scheme for how buildings, tech, ship parts and such are laid out and what sorts of strategies are to be possible. Each building type and tech should be notable and (hopefully) interesting, and strategically significant. Individual refinements can be a bit, but not much, more generic... (perhaps like Civ4 unit upgrades). This thread isn't the place to have such a discussion, though.
When you say "keep them attached to the only list they're relevant to" do you mean have a different list for buildings and ships?
I meant keeping the buttons on the same window as the (single) list of items, like on the design screen. As opposed to having a separate movable window of buttons to control the list, like on the tech screen.

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Re: 0.3 Production Screen

#109 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:55 pm

The items on the production queue are currently missing an important piece of information: where they're being produced. As, I'd like to add it, and take the opportunity to update the production queue a bit, which I think is a bit drab looking.

I'd like some artist input on a new look for queue panels. Shading, layout, how to indicate which items are getting funding, size of the whole thing and the parts.

Attached is roughly what I have in mind...

At the left are a few items on the current queue.

To the right top is a resource meter tooltip, the layout of which I think looks much nicer than the queue panel. This style of tooltip is a reasonable approximation of what pd suggested.

At the bottom right is a new queue item panel, modelled after the look of the tooltip. This adds the needed location indicator text, and has a bigger icon. The font in the mockup is wrong, but I would expect to keep the same text font and size as in the tooltip.

Note that the first item on the queue is getting PP this turn, but the others are not, which is why the first item is brighter coloured. We'd need to do something similar to highlight which items are getting funding for the new panels. How best to do this I'm not sure.

Another possibility to consider is putting the progress bar (with a new look) behind the name text, freeing up the extra space, allowing the whole thing to be less tall, which will let more items fit on the visible queue without scrollbars.

Comments?
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ProductionQueueUpdate.png
mockup for new production queue panel
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Re: 0.3 Production Screen

#110 Post by eleazar » Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:59 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:Attached is roughly what I have in mind...
Your mock-ups are a lot nicer than they used to be. And the concept is good. I'll suggest/post some refinements later today.
Geoff the Medio wrote:Note that the first item on the queue is getting PP this turn, but the others are not, which is why the first item is brighter coloured. We'd need to do something similar to highlight which items are getting funding for the new panels. How best to do this I'm not sure.
I haven't ever gotten FO to install on my "new" intel mac that i've had 1 1/2 years, so i'm a little foggy on some aspects of how the UI functions. How is that highlight different from the appearance when the item is selected?

Geoff the Medio wrote:Another possibility to consider is putting the progress bar (with a new look) behind the name text, freeing up the extra space, allowing the whole thing to be less tall, which will let more items fit on the visible queue without scrollbars.
Yeah, i thought of that too, but the problem is that the little divisions that break up the progress bar into the max amounts that can be done in a single turn are very unlikely to nicely coexist with text on top. I believe that information is pretty important.

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Re: 0.3 Production Screen

#111 Post by eleazar » Sat Jan 17, 2009 7:42 pm

OK, here's the main thing i think needs to be changed. I need to think/play more with some other ideas.
queue.jpg
queue.jpg (31.29 KiB) Viewed 2583 times
I've added color to the bar, and in particular emphasized the portion of the bar that would get done this turn. I.E. projects that aren't currently getting any PP, would not have the a bright blue segment at the end of the progress bar.

This makes it easy to see where your effort is going, and how much good it is doing on any given turn.

These changes are equally valid for tech queues.

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Re: 0.3 Production Screen

#112 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:37 pm

eleazar wrote:How is that highlight different from the appearance when the item is selected?
You can't select items on the production or research queues. (Really you can, but it does nothing useful and practically isn't indicated in the UI...)

You may be thinking of tech panels on the tech tree, which look quite similar and which can be highlighted at different levels to show that they are unavailable, available or have already been research, and which show selection using the same style of highlighting. I would like to change that as well, so that showing availability and selection is independent. That probably should go on the research screen thread, though.

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Re: 0.3 Production Screen

#113 Post by eleazar » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:52 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:How is that highlight different from the appearance when the item is selected?
You can't select items on the production or research queues. (Really you can, but it does nothing useful and practically isn't indicated in the UI...)
When you grab an item to drag it to reorder your queue, ideally the item should visually change to let you know you've got it. Anyway since selection is clearly needed in the tech queue/tree, i've included it.
queue.jpg
queue.jpg (68.02 KiB) Viewed 2553 times
The selection graphic includes a 2 pix 50% opacity shadow all the way around the colored selection, which is only slightly visible in this context.

Note that the inactive queue items are duller, all bright colors are darker and all dark colors are brighter. The effect can be created by placing a 55% opaque square over the item of the same color as the box behind "project name". Don't know if doing that is simpler in GG or not.

Geoff the Medio wrote:You may be thinking of tech panels on the tech tree, which look quite similar and which can be highlighted at different levels to show that they are unavailable, available or have already been research, and which show selection using the same style of highlighting. I would like to change that as well, so that showing availability and selection is independent. That probably should go on the research screen thread, though.
Do i remember correctly that the tech tree needs to be totally redone anyway to get rid of an undesirable dependancy? Or is that already done?

Full screenshots of the current production (and tech screens in the appropriate thread) with items i the queue would be helpful.

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Re: 0.3 Production Screen

#114 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:22 am

eleazar wrote:When you grab an item to drag it to reorder your queue, ideally the item should visually change to let you know you've got it.
Dragging is shown by moving the panel along with the mouse cursor. I don't see why we need to colour a panel that's being dragged differently...
Note that the inactive queue items are duller, all bright colors are darker and all dark colors are brighter. The effect can be created by placing a 55% opaque square over the item of the same color as the box behind "project name". Don't know if doing that is simpler in GG or not.
Simpler or simple?

I don't think putting a semi-transparent rectangle of colour over a panel would be difficult.
Do i remember correctly that the tech tree needs to be totally redone anyway to get rid of an undesirable dependancy? Or is that already done?
It would be nice to get rid of graphviz, but it's not a necessity, and wouldn't involve changing the visual design of the UI. (Graphviz does the layout of the items on the tree and decides where the lines connecting them go.)
Full screenshots of the current production (and tech screens in the appropriate thread) with items i the queue would be helpful.
Production screenshot attached.
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FreeOrion_v0.3.11_Production_Screen.png
v0.3.11 Production Screen
FreeOrion_v0.3.11_Production_Screen.png (202.9 KiB) Viewed 2538 times
TechQueueDrag.png
tech on queue being dragged. mouse cursor is shown in-game, but is invisible in screenshot. looks the same when dragging production queue items.
TechQueueDrag.png (41.27 KiB) Viewed 2542 times

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Re: 0.3 Production Screen

#115 Post by eleazar » Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:47 am

I started a new thread for the posts that followed the previous one because they really weren't about the production screen in particular, but the GUI in general.

See here for the General GUI re-stylization thread

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