About Tech Tree GUI

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Oberlus
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Re: About Tech Tree GUI

#16 Post by Oberlus » Mon May 06, 2019 4:52 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 4:22 pm
usually the player will pick only techs from say tiers n and (n+1), having tier (n-1) mostly or completely finished and tier (n+2) not unlocked yet. So displaying only 2-3 tiers at the same time should suffice.
Agree. Even if you are at tier 5 and 6 with unresearched apps from tiers 1 to 4, you probably skipped those for a reason, and revisiting them will be something you do very seldom. Plus with the buttons to highlight specific functions (say armours, research boosts, etc.), revisiting the lower tiers when you're looking for such specific functions should be fast and clean.
dragging with the mouse should do (which is the current method to move through the tech tree).
Indeed. At least for starters. I have no complaint regarding that on current tech tree, so in the new one I guess I'll be happier.

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Re: About Tech Tree GUI

#17 Post by Ophiuchus » Tue May 07, 2019 6:31 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 4:22 pm
Ophiuchus wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 9:06 pm
Left-right scrolling still is bad and will suck big time on some laptops. Could you mock up a version with the suggested six tiers on a single screen (in order to get a feel for the relative sizes)? And also a version where you show the scroll controls to see what exactly you envision?
I don't think there is a way to display six tiers next to each other. Is it necessary? I imagine usually the player will pick only techs from say tiers n and (n+1), having tier (n-1) mostly or completely finished and tier (n+2) not unlocked yet. So displaying only 2-3 tiers at the same time should suffice. There could be a button that hides finished and/or not yet unlockable tiers to reduce use of horizontal space.

It would be possible to add a horizontal scrollbar for each theme, although dragging with the mouse should do (which is the current method to move through the tech tree).
So if I read this correctly you mean scrolling horizontally per theme. I imagined a block structure where the tiers of different themes always align.

The current scrolling method is really not good on (some) laptops. Multiple scroll bars would not be better though. I guess cursor buttons would work reasonably well with that as we get rid of the tree. Up/down would move between themes, left/right opens the current theme if closed and moves the tier of the current theme down/up. Shift+left would cycle states to the left (semi-closed to closed, open to semi-closed, closed to open) and shift+right would cycle states to the right (close to semi-closed, semi-closed to open, and open to closed)

The view with three tiers will be probably good to answer the question "What are my short-term research options?".
The questions "Which techs did I research?" and "What is the big tech tree picture?" will not be answered well.

For vertical space savings..
The Silent One wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 4:22 pm
The drop-menu button could get three states: closed (don't show any techs), semi-open (show only researched tech like you suggested) and open (like the bio theme above).
So one UI state per theme basically. I think that would work well enough to try.

Also (maybe I mentioned this before) I would like to see how branches fit in.
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Re: About Tech Tree GUI

#18 Post by The Silent One » Wed May 08, 2019 3:15 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 6:31 pm
So if I read this correctly you mean scrolling horizontally per theme.
Yes, that's what I mean.
Ophiuchus wrote:I guess cursor buttons would work reasonably well with that as we get rid of the tree. Up/down would move between themes, left/right opens the current theme if closed and moves the tier of the current theme down/up. Shift+left would cycle states to the left (semi-closed to closed, open to semi-closed, closed to open) and shift+right would cycle states to the right (close to semi-closed, semi-closed to open, and open to closed)
Sounds good to me.
Ophiuchus wrote:The view with three tiers will be probably good to answer the question "What are my short-term research options?".
The questions "Which techs did I research?" and "What is the big tech tree picture?" will not be answered well.
The question "Which techs did I research?" will be answered by the "semi-open" view which would only show researched techs (it could possibly do without or with only small connecting arrows and show more tiers at the same time). "What is the big tech tree picture?" is answered reasonably well by "open" view, at least for the currently opened theme(s) - the player can see which tier he's at (and thus how far he has advanced and how much more tiers are left to unlock).
Ophiuchus wrote:Also (maybe I mentioned this before) I would like to see how branches fit in.
Indeed, they would require a more complicated UI design. Personally, I would rather go with side-themes than branches (side-themes would appear only when unlocked, e. g. by researching a certain tech).
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Re: About Tech Tree GUI

#19 Post by Ophiuchus » Tue May 14, 2019 1:17 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 3:15 pm
Ophiuchus wrote:The view with three tiers will be probably good to answer the question "What are my short-term research options?".
The questions "Which techs did I research?" and "What is the big tech tree picture?" will not be answered well.
The question "Which techs did I research?" will be answered by the "semi-open" view which would only show researched techs (it could possibly do without or with only small connecting arrows and show more tiers at the same time). "What is the big tech tree picture?" is answered reasonably well by "open" view, at least for the currently opened theme(s) - the player can see which tier he's at (and thus how far he has advanced and how much more tiers are left to unlock).
At the current state of discussion I would say this is not true - the questions are not answered by the design.
In the semi-open view if you are already on tier 6 you do not see see the first tiers. So those would be missing from "What techs did I research".

If you are on lower tiers you have to scroll through all the themes to get the big tech tree picture (as you need to know about the high level tiers).

Maybe there could be a condensed view for the out-of-view tiers? Or a mouse-over preview of the tiers you can't see; e.g. you hover the mouse on a left-side of a tier and it temporarily shows the lower tiers (or a condensed view including those tiers).

So I think it is possible to come up with additions to the basic UI to satisfy "What is the big tech tree picture?" well. About "What techs did I research" I am not completely convinced a good UI is possible on this scale, but probably good enough. Still I would like to have a very condensed view level showing all tiers (we could use abbreviated tech names if that helps).
The Silent One wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 3:15 pm
Ophiuchus wrote:Also (maybe I mentioned this before) I would like to see how branches fit in.
Indeed, they would require a more complicated UI design. Personally, I would rather go with side-themes than branches (side-themes would appear only when unlocked, e. g. by researching a certain tech).
Not sure if we are talking about the same thing. What I meant here with branches could also be called side-themes. What I was thinking about was linear dependent technologies/atomic "themes" (so you could write them left-to-right and can skip visualization for grouping and dependencies of tech), usually with a starting unlock. So I imagine there would be a block of those below the themes. You would scroll the block left-right, not single the branches. So I think the branches should be simpler in structure and UI than normal themes are.
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Re: About Tech Tree GUI

#20 Post by The Silent One » Wed May 15, 2019 7:23 pm

Some more work on the theme UI with focus on better use of vertical and horizontal space. Removed arrows between tiers with exception of the arrow between the last unlocked tier and the one currenly being unlocked. Filter buttons on opened theme bars for locked, researchable and researched techs. Mech tier demonstrates use of "only researched techs" filter button.
Ophiuchus wrote:Still I would like to have a very condensed view level showing all tiers (we could use abbreviated tech names if that helps).
We probably could have a button that scales tech width so that all tiers can be shown next to each other. The tech width in my concepts (naturally) isn't meant to be final, it could be reduced so that more tiers fit.
Ophiuchus wrote:What I was thinking about was linear dependent technologies/atomic "themes"
I see what you mean (now). I had imagined side-themes as actual, albeit smaller themes, that would be shown next to the other categories once their requirement had been met (in my concept pic that might be the "void" category). That way side-themes would not require a complete different UI component. The themes should be drag-droppable, enabling the player to arrange themes as he wants (likely placing the one he uses most at the top).
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Re: About Tech Tree GUI

#21 Post by em3 » Thu May 16, 2019 11:22 am

I really like the ideas.

I suggest using roman numerics for tiers. Also representing tier unlocking progress graphically (as dots or bars that change color from "researchable" to "done").

I'm not sure about indentation of refinements. I mean, will there be refinements of lower tier applications?

I'm also a bit irked by circular icons that are touching borders of round rectangle panels... it's probably subjective, though. Maybe adding rounded square backgrounds for icons would alleviate this.
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Re: About Tech Tree GUI

#22 Post by The Silent One » Thu May 16, 2019 12:18 pm

em3 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 11:22 am
I suggest using roman numerics for tiers.
Sounds good.
em3 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 11:22 am
Also representing tier unlocking progress graphically (as dots or bars that change color from "researchable" to "done").
Do you mean like using the unlock arrow like a progress bar? That sounds fun too.
em3 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 11:22 am
I'm not sure about indentation of refinements. I mean, will there be refinements of lower tier applications?
I don't think so. Refinements are for a specific tech/app. Later techs are new techs and may have their own refinements.
em3 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 11:22 am
I'm also a bit irked by circular icons that are touching borders of round rectangle panels... it's probably subjective, though. Maybe adding rounded square backgrounds for icons would alleviate this.
Sure.
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Re: About Tech Tree GUI

#23 Post by Ophiuchus » Thu May 16, 2019 12:23 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:23 pm
Some more work on the theme UI with focus on better use of vertical and horizontal space. Removed arrows between tiers with exception of the arrow between the last unlocked tier and the one currenly being unlocked.
Looks good :)
The Silent One wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:23 pm
Filter buttons on opened theme bars for locked, researchable and researched techs. Mech tier demonstrates use of "only researched techs" filter button.
The icons feel a bit like they are no buttons/hard to click. If we do not have condensed horizontal view, I think we only need three states instead of six (in this design this means two filter buttons instead of three). Locked techs tiers do not take up extra space, so they can always be shown.
The Silent One wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:23 pm
Ophiuchus wrote:Still I would like to have a very condensed view level showing all tiers (we could use abbreviated tech names if that helps).
We probably could have a button that scales tech width so that all tiers can be shown next to each other. The tech width in my concepts (naturally) isn't meant to be final, it could be reduced so that more tiers fit.
I was thinking along those lines. Not sure if one can still read the techs though / how that would look like if all six tiers are shown.
The Silent One wrote:
Wed May 15, 2019 7:23 pm
Ophiuchus wrote:What I was thinking about was linear dependent technologies/atomic "themes"
I see what you mean (now). I had imagined side-themes as actual, albeit smaller themes, that would be shown next to the other categories once their requirement had been met (in my concept pic that might be the "void" category). That way side-themes would not require a complete different UI component. The themes should be drag-droppable, enabling the player to arrange themes as he wants (likely placing the one he uses most at the top).
I was (maybe prematurely?) trying to save vertical space. The theme header rows take up the space of one and a half tech row currently. So if you had a side-theme with two options per tier you would almost double the space requirement. And I was also thinking of side-themes with only one option per tier.

For answering "What is the big tech picture" there has to be an option to show also the locked side-themes.

I like the drag'n'drop idea for (side-)themes.

I still think it might make sense for reducing side-theme UI complexity. Imagine we have twenty side-themes - we will probably be forced to do this. But this depends a lot on contents, so I am ok with taking the standard theme UI for sidethemes as starting point until much later. I sketch what i imagine it could develop into:
  • Side-theme header row gets merged with theme content. They are easily recognisable because each side-theme has a prerequisite icon
  • Themes are not drag'n'droppable - their order is fixed and functions as basic structure to drop in side-themes inbetween (via drag'n'drop).
  • Side-themes maybe do not have individual view filters but global buttons
  • No tier-unlock techs for side-themes
  • Maybe no specific min-count prerequisites for tier-unlock of side themes. Make it the same for all side themes. Could be one/all/two-thirds...
Also i would model refinements rather as side-themes or the roman number upgrades. At least until we know we need something different, I'd say lets get rid of the refinement-specific UI.
Last edited by Ophiuchus on Thu May 16, 2019 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: About Tech Tree GUI

#24 Post by em3 » Thu May 16, 2019 12:27 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 12:18 pm
em3 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 11:22 am
I'm not sure about indentation of refinements. I mean, will there be refinements of lower tier applications?
I don't think so. Refinements are for a specific tech/app. Later techs are new techs and may have their own refinements.
I meant, like, having a technology on Tier I with two refinements and a third refinement for this technology on Tier II.
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Re: About Tech Tree GUI

#25 Post by Vezzra » Fri May 17, 2019 1:54 pm

em3 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 12:27 pm
I meant, like, having a technology on Tier I with two refinements and a third refinement for this technology on Tier II.
That's not the idea, too complicated and confusing IMO. Take weapons for example: "Railguns" could be the weapon type on tier one (of whatever theme), with 3/5/10 refinements (whatever we deem reasonable). All these refinements would be on tier one, below the "Railguns" tech. On tier two we'd have "Mass Drivers", again with 3/5/10 refinements. But no more refinements of "Railguns" on tier two.

And so on.

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Re: About Tech Tree GUI

#26 Post by Oberlus » Fri May 17, 2019 7:22 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 1:54 pm
em3 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 12:27 pm
I meant, like, having a technology on Tier I with two refinements and a third refinement for this technology on Tier II.
That's not the idea, too complicated and confusing IMO. Take weapons for example: "Railguns" could be the weapon type on tier one (of whatever theme), with 3/5/10 refinements (whatever we deem reasonable). All these refinements would be on tier one, below the "Railguns" tech. On tier two we'd have "Mass Drivers", again with 3/5/10 refinements. But no more refinements of "Railguns" on tier two.

And so on.
Whenever we do want to put a later tier as a requirement for a refinement, we can just make a new app (with its refinements if it applies) in the later tier. Fluff is easy to give different flavour to each app, or to give the same flavour but with a justification on why it's in a later tier (say "mass drivers" tier 1, and "superconductor mass drivers / mass superdrivers" tier 3).

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Re: About Tech Tree GUI

#27 Post by The Silent One » Sun May 26, 2019 8:48 am

Added in the suggestions. @Oberlus, do you think we could proceed with the actual tech tree design, or maybe put up a vote on the structure? I'm eager to work on tier icons, but for that I need some tier names first.
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Re: About Tech Tree GUI

#28 Post by Oberlus » Mon May 27, 2019 4:58 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 8:48 am
@Oberlus, do you think we could proceed with the actual tech tree design, or maybe put up a vote on the structure? I'm eager to work on tier icons, but for that I need some tier names first.
I'm a sea of doubts.
I would wait for Geoff and Vezzra to have time to think on the two main choices (few macro themes vs many micro themes) before even putting up a vote. I forsee my own opinion can change after that.
But I can try and list some tier names that will be there for sure. For this the thread on micro-themes should be a source of inspiration. I'm just not in the good moment for that, I'm struggling to meet deadlines at my job.

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Re: About Tech Tree GUI

#29 Post by Vezzra » Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:37 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 4:58 pm
I would wait for Geoff and Vezzra to have time to think on the two main choices (few macro themes vs many micro themes) before even putting up a vote.
Well, I think I've made my preferences on the topic sufficiently clear - I still prefer more, but "smaller" trunks/themes to less but "larger" ones. However, I can also agree to an approach with a few "large" trunks (where each of this large ones encompass most of the esseantial stuff) plus a number of "side" themes/trunks, which are "smaller" and contain more specialized stuff (Psionics and Void themes would fit in here).

That said, I think at this point I'd defer the final decision to Geoff (as acting project and design lead) - Geoff? Don't know how closely you've been following all the discussions about the tech tree in the last weeks (months?), but at least knowing what your thoughts and preferences are would be somewhat important now...

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Re: About Tech Tree GUI

#30 Post by LienRag » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:33 pm

I'd just like to say that I really like (for irrational reasons maybe, not trying to criticize your work) the bushy aspect of current tech tree, and that your proposals seem quite cold to me (ditto, it's my gut speaking, I have no way to tell if other players will feel the same way).

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