Suggest - Features and Improvements

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Arioch
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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby Arioch » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:29 pm

luciderous wrote:LMB-panning works great! Yet there is default cursor visible when panning - forcing the default game cursor to work everywhere would do the trick.

The cursors are placeholders at the moment. It's appropriate that the cursor change when dragging, and it does that.

luciderous wrote:RMB doesn’t close the top layer anymore and that’s great! However, it would be nice to be able to close the system view by simply LMB-clicking on the starmap anywhere

The bottom panel probably needs its own "close panel" edge.

luciderous wrote:It would be nice to be able to dismiss popup notifications by simply RMB-clicking on the relevant icons in the notifications queue

Yes, this functionality is coming.

luciderous wrote:I’d very much prefer using ESC to F10 for bringing up the game menu. Much more intuitive, I guess.

ESC now dismisses the bottom panel. I agree that ESC should bring up the menu in the case when the bottom panel is already dismissed. There is also now a gear icon on the top bar that will bring up the game menu when clicked.

luciderous wrote:Science points symbol in text windows is placed too close the actual number - a single space between them would make things look better

I agree, the science glyph whitespace needs to be wider.

luciderous wrote:Hypertext links are underlined - that looks more like a webpage.

Why is this undesirable? It is essentially a webpage.

luciderous wrote:Planetary Report panel has a great “close panel” edge. Would be nice to have the same one uniformly used for other screens

Most of the UI should move to this model as we revamp each screen.

luciderous wrote:Something like a “cloud of war” for unexplored space on the strategic map would be nice, so that the player doesn’t see what’s happening everywhere in the galaxy right away. For example: on the game start - you can only see your own star system with planets rotating. Other systems are only visible as stars (no planets visible, no names for systems, no ships orbiting) until scouted.

This is already how the game works -- you don't see the system name, planets, or any ships in a system until it is explored.

Make sure you have the "omniscient developer" feature turned off in Options.

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby luciderous » Fri Mar 06, 2015 7:02 pm

Arioch wrote:Why is this undesirable? It is essentially a webpage.

It's not undesirable per se. It's just that it feels a bit retro. I mean - have a look at Wikipedia, for example. All the hyperlinks on the page are simply colored in blue, and the underscore pops visible only on mouseover. In SiS, however, the underscore is always there - and that makes the text feel a bit heavy.

Arioch wrote:Make sure you have the "omniscient developer" feature turned off in Options.

My bad. Got that option somehow turned on :roll:

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby sven » Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:31 pm

luciderous wrote:
Arioch wrote:Make sure you have the "omniscient developer" feature turned off in Options.

My bad. Got that option somehow turned on :roll:


There's actually 2 toggles that beta testers are currently seeing in the Options Pane that probably shouldn't be showing up there: "omniscient developer" and "visual studio dev hooks". based on the error logs you've uploaded, i suspect you've had the second option turned on, as well as the first :) it's a good reminder that i should probably bury these options a little deeper before the beta gets any broader. Arioch and I need access to them -- as will any aspiring modders, but, they should probably be switched on by editing a local text file or something -- not playing around in the options pane.

edited: these options (and a couple others) are now being hidden. if you want to really hack around with your build, and turn on things like 'omniscient developer', create a file in your root install dir called "show_hidden_options.bool". (what's in the file doesn't matter.)

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby sven » Mon Mar 09, 2015 4:57 pm

Arioch wrote:
luciderous wrote:I’d very much prefer using ESC to F10 for bringing up the game menu. Much more intuitive, I guess.

ESC now dismisses the bottom panel. I agree that ESC should bring up the menu in the case when the bottom panel is already dismissed.


Ok. From a design perspective, having ESC do so many different things depending on context feels a bit confusing, but, I just enabled an 'ESC opens the main menu if everything else is closed' behavior on 'dev', and it feels fine to me. Not sure we still need the F10 menu open hook.... But, it's probably not hurting anything to leave it in.

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby sven » Mon Mar 09, 2015 7:13 pm

luciderous wrote:
  • There is no windowed/fullscreen mode toggle, at least none that I could find easily. Having one would be nice, especially for those who for some reason prefer to play in window mode


Ok -- a windowed/fullscreen toggle is now included in the options pane. Also, if you exited in windowed/fullscreen mode, the game should now remember which mode you were last in, and default to it on startup. There's more we could in theory be doing here, specifically, we could try to remember the size and location of the game window, along with the fullscreen state. That logic gets a bit treacherous though, as if people are changing their monitor settings between runs, you can end up in awkward situations where the game is opening in a window that's no longer visible. Writing safe ways of handling such cases is possible, of course. But, I don't think it's a priority atm.

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby luciderous » Mon Mar 16, 2015 4:28 pm

Module compatibility highlighting in ship designer is unintuitive. Suggesting 'reversal'

Currently, when you click-and-hold some module in the right-pane (where available modules are listed) the compatible hardpoints in the left pane (the ship) are highligted as ‘bright’, whereas incompatible are ‘dimmed’. However, given the ‘default’ visual representation, when no modules are selected, it would be more visually consistent to ‘dim’ compatible hardpoints instead.

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby luciderous » Mon Mar 16, 2015 4:30 pm

‘Natural scrolling’ and panning mechanics

An option to reverse the direction of panning relative to cursor move would be nice, so that you ‘drag’ the map itself, not the viewport over it (this will also help in the long run, when you port the game to tablets, where this type of motion prevails).

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby sven » Mon Mar 16, 2015 4:38 pm

luciderous wrote:‘Natural scrolling’ and panning mechanics

An option to reverse the direction of panning relative to cursor move would be nice, so that you ‘drag’ the map itself, not the viewport over it (this will also help in the long run, when you port the game to tablets, where this type of motion prevails).


If you go into the options pane, and select "hide pan cursor", this inversion should happen. I'm still not certain which semantic is more natural -- but exposing the switch in an options does seem sensible.

That said, I should probably change the name of this option :) Maybe call it "invert drag-panning"?

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Re: Report - Current Bugs and Issues

Postby sven » Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:19 pm

luciderous wrote:// * When processing tactical move commands, ships will now move to a nearby valid location, if the tile directly underneath the cursor implies an invalid move.
- It doesn’t seem to work as intended, RMB-clicking on the outside of allowed movement zone doesn’t trigger a legal move


can you be more specific? if you're far enough from the edge of the legal move area, the transparent move-preview ship should disapear, and RMB-clicks will have no effect. i'm not certain this is the best possible behavior -- and the range at which legal move-clamping occurs can be adjusted.... but, the current behavior feels reasonable enough to me atm.

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Re: Report - Current Bugs and Issues

Postby luciderous » Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:26 pm

sven wrote:can you be more specific? if you're far enough from the edge of the legal move area, the transparent move-preview ship should disapear, and RMB-clicks will have no effect. i'm not certain this is the best possible behavior -- and the range at which legal move-clamping occurs can be adjusted.... but, the current behavior feels reasonable enough to me atm.

As Arioch previously suggested, I might have confused your original release notes text on this change. You wrote: "...if the tile directly underneath the cursor implies an invalid move", and I gathered that you mean ANY tile outside the movement range, so that, for example, if I right-click on any portion of the combat map, my selected ship(s) will fly in that direction as far as its/their movement range permits.

This brings up a related concern with tactical combat that has been bugging me lately - ship movement area representation. I have checked with MoO2, and it looks almost identical to its implementation, with some small differences:
- SiS doesn't have an option to hide 'legal movement hints'
- MoO2's tactical grid is drawn with its smallest-sized cells, and SiS's grid is based on a lot larger cells
- MoO2 has a cursor change from a 'ship-like' (movement) to 'N/A' symbol when you move it outside the legal movement range, so that you know precisely that right-clicking there won't do anything useful.

The problem with this layout in SiS is that it serves no seemingly practical purpose and yet the ragged 'legal movement area' is difficult on the eyes. I noticed this only because in MoO2 I had tactical grid hidden by default, and therefore this raggedness didn't bother me back then. Perhaps trying some other movement mechanics (hex-based) or at least introducing more MoO2-like control options/guides (mentioned earlier) would help?

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby luciderous » Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:38 pm

sven wrote:Ok. From a design perspective, having ESC do so many different things depending on context feels a bit confusing, but, I just enabled an 'ESC opens the main menu if everything else is closed' behavior on 'dev', and it feels fine to me. Not sure we still need the F10 menu open hook.... But, it's probably not hurting anything to leave it in.

ESC for closing windows and opening the menu works naturally, I believe there is no more need for feature duplication with F10, but its your call, of course

sven wrote:That said, I should probably change the name of this option :) Maybe call it "invert drag-panning"?

Yes, changing name would be great, so that it become more clear what this option does. Perhaps "Invert map panning" will do?

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby icekatze » Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:40 pm

hi hi

Here are some random suggestions.

Splitting up fleets, especially large fleets:
It would be nice to have some sort of displayed information, possibly pop-up information, for when the player mouses over a ship. Either the ship's name or some kind of identifiable stat for the ship. (The ship's name is displayed in the production window, although there is no immediate way to tell what the ships capabilities are.) I ran into some trouble with this when I was trying to refit a large fleet of ships that all had the same hull. I would refit one of them, and then I would have to click on every ship in my fleet until I found the one that had the refit name.

Simplifying lists of equipment in the ship design menu:
Instead of dragging and dropping items from a huge list, I suspect it would be easier to click once on the space you want to fill, then click from a list of items that can be used in that slot. Should reduce the amount of scrolling too.

Tactical combat UI:
While the tactical combat UI isn't bad, per se, it can become cumbersome, especially when large fleets are involved, and when engaging at missile ranges. The number of clicks it takes to complete an action can actually get quite high. (Click on map or scroll to find friendly ship. Click attack. Click on map or scroll to find hostile ship. Click to confirm. Repeat.) I don't know exactly the best way to fix that, but I have some ideas. Most of them at least involve being able to switch targets without the target being on the map. Not all of these ideas will work together.

- Take a page from MMOs. Stars in Shadow already has each system broken down into a predetermined hard point group. So you could relatively easily assign each usable item group to a button, one through nine. Possibly with little mini graphics aligned in a row. That way people can keep focused on the enemy fleet, press a few buttons with their cursor hovered over their target, and maybe tab or something to switch to the next ship in their fleet. No clicking on enemy ships required.

- Separate selection groups into two or three categories. Friendly selection, hostile selection, and maybe defensive selection. (If defensive abilities, like point defense or shield rechargers, require having a target selected.) By doing this, someone can select a hostile target, then just hit attack as they cycle through their own fleet, until they've fired enough weapons and want to switch targets. Or conversely, they can focus on their ships, and tab their way through the enemy fleet as each ship gets destroyed.

- Have a list of ship minis, similar to the planet production pane, where the player can select their ships without having to scroll.

- Putting the hotkey in the UI, so people don't have to look things up until they have it memorized. For example. (M)ove, (A)ttack, (B)oard, (R)etreat, etc. Or: (1) Move, (2) Attack, (3) Board, (4) Retreat, etc.

Multi-racial colony population caps:
While I have figured out that mixing the races present on colonies can increase the population cap, I still have no idea how exactly that mechanic works. I would recommend having some sort of indicator that tells the player how much unused space on the planet there is, and of what might be able to fill that. At least, it would be nice to know without trial and error of finding a planet with a certain population, and dragging that population over the colony to see how much it would increase. Also, how this interacts with terraforming is not entirely clear.

Outposts:
Consider giving outposts a single point defense weapon, or putting a limit on the number of turns combat can take without anyone firing a weapon. It is really disheartening to have to self destruct an outpost when the computer sends an unarmed scout cruiser to attack it.

Ship design menu:
Please consider making the "X" icon take the player back to the ship design screen, instead of all the way back to the galaxy overview screen. When I get a new technology and want to upgrade several hull types, it is a bit frustrating to go all the way back out each time I am done, or I select the wrong ship and want to switch which one I am editing.

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby Arioch » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:46 pm

Many of the interfaces are in need of overhaul, so we appreciate the feedback. In particular, many of the existing functions are hidden, and are in need of more intuitive telltales for the player. We also need to add tooltips and hints throughout the UI, though this will mostly have to wait until the interfaces themselves have been updated (since otherwise they will have to be redone). But in the meantime, here are a few tips on using functionality that is already in the game:

In tactical combat, you shouldn't have to click Move or Attack; you can move to any valid destination or attack any target in range just by right-clicking on the target. You should only need to left-click on the ship display at bottom if you want to do something unusual, like boarding or only firing a portion of weapons of a certain type. Fighters, missiles, offensive and defensive direct-fire weapons are already divided into separate groups, each of which can be fired with a right-click on the target. Defensive weapons fire last, so be sure to save them if the enemy still has missiles or fighters left.

A fleet report pane is already in the works. You can see the empty frame if you click on the fleet icon on the top bar.

The most efficient way to use the Ship Designer is to enter it through the production menu, rather than the main menu. You can left-click "New Design" to create a new design, or Shift-left-click on an existing class to update it. In both of these cases, clicking X to exit the Ship Designer will return you to the production menu rather than the map.

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby sven » Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:31 pm

icekatze wrote:Simplifying lists of equipment in the ship design menu:
Instead of dragging and dropping items from a huge list, I suspect it would be easier to click once on the space you want to fill, then click from a list of items that can be used in that slot. Should reduce the amount of scrolling too.


This is a feature I've been thinking about putting in for a while now. In the early game, the current interface works well enough -- but, by late game, I think a UI more like Freelancer's ship outfit screen (where selecting a slot to fill on the left-list automatically populates the right list with all possible options) is probably a cleaner way of handling things.

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Re: Suggest - Features and Improvements

Postby sven » Sat Mar 28, 2015 11:35 pm

icekatze wrote:Consider giving outposts a single point defense weapon, or putting a limit on the number of turns combat can take without anyone firing a weapon. It is really disheartening to have to self destruct an outpost when the computer sends an unarmed scout cruiser to attack it.


Better stalemate handling is certainly on the list of things to do. Customizations for outposts (including but not limited to weapons) are also something we're mulling over, though there are a number of complications there, and it's an idea we may not have time to really explore until the first expansion.

That said, in the current build, you don't actually need to self-destruct your outpost -- closing the battle (using esc->close), then hitting Next Turn while the battle is still unresolved, should force the AI to work out that the battle is a stalemate, and resolve it appropriately.


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