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 Post subject: Re-Designing the User Interface
PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:52 am 
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So its come to the fun stage of UI design. Due to complications with the UI library assisting me, I am unable to adequately show off say more than about 60 units per tab. I know back in the day, I would regular have 100+ fighters at certain systems and what not so obviously the old way is unusable to me.

I need some ideas or thoughts on ways to redo the UI. Ive kept it pretty similar to the original Rebellion however this latest problem is a hard one to deal with. I could possibly go with a list box of each unit however will probably look pretty ugly and you still have to consider how you would go about transferring units between systems and fleets.

I am not interested in capping the number of units a player can have each so the old way is totally unusable to me. Ideas please?


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Designing the User Interface
PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 12:25 pm 
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Dark Lord of the Sith
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Personally I'd go with the SOASE approach - a fixed amount of fighters per ship.
Despite the games like X-Wing showing squadrons of unsupported fighters, most of military fighter squadrons relied on a carriers/base for support. It wasn't the loan "Rogue Squadron" that tore up Star Destroyers.

This hopefully will alleviate the mass fleets of fighters (rather silly if you think about the resources needed for every single ship).

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 Post subject: Re: Re-Designing the User Interface
PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2010 4:39 pm 
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Use a picture of the unit then followed by a number total. It is more compact to see and fit. But how to display those units in transit or under repair with damage seperately...


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Designing the User Interface
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:01 am 
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Being "old school" :lol: and not knowing about all of this new-fangled programming stuff, the best I can do is relate to things from the past. At the beginning of the movie TOP GUN, the radar screen shows 2 bogeys, but as they get closer the 2 become 4, and the 4 become 8. So, by analogy, just show the fighter unit "icon" but the "farther" away you are, just use fewer unit icons, and the closer you are use more unit icons. I hope that makes sense to you; and hope that might have been helpful. Just my two bits worth :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Re-Designing the User Interface
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:39 am 
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So rather than holding the fighters on planets as well, make them only attached to carriers?

The problem is still there for troops however. I tried a compromise though Im not sure how people will like it. The basic idea is that it the units are shown in a more general form than they were in Reb1. Its a stop gap measure at current however this is what it currently looks like. I know the units arent correct however I dont have any current troops to test with so I used some other units.

You can add these units to a transport to move between planets rather than individually. Once created and a destination chosen, a temporary fleet is created and you can watch it go on its merry way to its objective. This can be intercepted(or I have to allow it) and destroyed without adequate defence.

Bear in mind, this is still pre-Alpha work. There is limited artwork and units so dont judge it too harshly. Those red splotches are where the images of the troops will go.

http://img842.imageshack.us/f/designidea.jpg/

With regards to DarthTex's idea, if I was working on a SOASE approach, I would definately consider that approach however this is still like traditional Rebellion in a sense.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Designing the User Interface
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:04 pm 
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Dark Lord of the Sith
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Attach fighters to carriers and to fighter bases. And fighter bases would attach to the planet.
Seems like a good way to limit the amount of fighters to planet supply

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 Post subject: Re: Re-Designing the User Interface
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:45 pm 
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Hmm, certainly seems doable. Ill look into it. Makes more sense that fighters will at least be attached to starbases.

I also wanted to check on the wants of an encyclopedia... Is a fair bit more work for little to no reward which is at the wrong end of ease of code - reward scale.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Designing the User Interface
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:51 pm 
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One thing about troops there is no 'damaged' troops like there is for damaged fighter squadrons. If you could just toss out damaged fighter squadrons (either they die completely or instant healed) that would be a lot less individual fighter units you would have to display. Then you have those in hyperspace transit to planets or ships (and they can have damage). No damaged fighter units like troops (either fully alive or dead) means less hassle to display.

If a person is going to have over a hundred fighters at a planetary base, does it really make sense to have damaged squadrons healing? It would make sense if you only have a limited amount of squadrons because they are more precious, but if you are playing the huge numbers game then you may as well toss out those few damaged squadrons of fighters.

You want to be able to see the large macro picture, but yet be able to show the micro individual unit. The whole games biggest GUI difficulty seems to be able to show the large vs the small. SoSE does by using ZOOM in 3D sort of. Scroll Fest.

Reb1 did it by Windows layers of detail. Click Fest.

Yes as you said, having to build a planetary base helps limits fighters display and keeps them in order better.

small edit: attaching fighters/ troops to the carrier ship instead of the whole pool of the fleet, I understand that is to limit how many you must display at once? Fleet level vs ship level.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Designing the User Interface
PostPosted: Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:36 pm 
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That is the big thing Slocket. Converting to the way where you dont have individual control over units, will lower your visibility of these units. Not hard to keep track of their stats just without being able to view them. I dont think tossing out squadrons is the idea.

For now, I will stick with just showing a general view of the units, but keeping individual stats behind the scenes.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Designing the User Interface
PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 1:47 am 
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Under what circumstances would you want to see an individual unit?

The battle simulator didn't let you manage individual squadrons, only groups of squadrons. Combat calculations are based on the number of fighters, not the number of squadrons. You can safely replace "holds 3 fighter squadrons" with "holds 36 fighters" and it will make no difference during combat. Altering the combat and production calculations involve a simple divide or multiply by 12 to convert from squadron to fighter values.

If you were staying faithful to the SW:R battle sim, then you don't need to keep track of squadrons at all, simply the number of fighters. If you no longer need to keep track of squadrons, then you eliminate the damaged squadron. Without damaged squadrons, you have no reason not to use icon:number representation. However, if you are redesigning the battle sim, you have much more important things to worry about than damaged units. Just ditch them entirely. The undamaged units can all be represented in icon:number fashion

In the original SW:R, I can think of two instances when an individual unit mattered:
1. moving a specific unit elsewhere
2. targeting a specific unit for sabotage

A bit more detail:
move 1:x undamaged, stationary units
move 1:x damaged, stationary units
move 1:x non-stationary units is not possible
target a specific undamaged, stationary unit
target a specific damaged, stationary unit
target a specific non-stationary unit is not possible

Let's start with the sabotage targeting:
I've always hated having to choose specific troop to sabotage. If I could recode the game, I would let sabotage missions choose to sabotage any X-Wing squadron rather than a specific X-Wing squadron. In fact, I would rather let my saboteurs choose any fighter squadron, even at random, to target over having to choose a specific unit. Making this change eliminates the need to show specific units for targeted missions.

Moving units:
Undamaged units are commodities. One is as good as another. It doesn't matter which one you select, as long as you select one. It doesn't matter which 10 you select, as long as you select 10. Since they are commodities, stack them. Games that use stacks have the well known click, shift-click, and control-click mechanisms to select a variable number, all, or single item from a stack of items. As others have said, you could use the icon:number representation and the clicking mechanisms for selection. If you must include damaged units, then damaged units could have their own icon and treated separately, unstacked. For the most part, treating damaged units as a special case will allow you to continue to use damaged units while still reducing UI clutter. The major issue then is how to select some number of undamaged units and damaged units for the same move operation.

TL;DR version:
eliminate damaged fighter squadrons - either simply eliminate them or refactor everything to use fighters instead of squadrons
use icon:number representation in all UI views
use click, shift-click and control-click mechanisms for selecting some/all/one units in a stack of units
let sabotage missions try to sabotage a generic unit instead of a specific unit


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Designing the User Interface
PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:58 am 
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Brilliant.

I agree with your thoughts. Its time to remove the individuality of each unit and simply group them up.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Designing the User Interface
PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:43 am 
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With my minigame, I used only Planet and Fleet Panels.

This was my Planet panel.
Image

The buttons opened character, troop, fighter, production, trade goods. mission, and defense sub-panels from the same location.

So I reduced the # of windows to be stored aside by around 50%.

Might this idea be of any use ?


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Designing the User Interface
PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 6:54 am 
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Yep Im going to merge the two as well.

Mission I might keep seperate im not sure just yet. There are a few ideas in the other thread which I am looking into as well...

Finally I just picked up Sword of the Stars and checking out their UI see if that gives an idea on what to implement.


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 Post subject: Re: Re-Designing the User Interface
PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 8:43 am 
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Location: Death Stars are out at night, big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.
Although some might think it would be nice to see "individual" fighters flying around in a combat sim, I'm of the old saying "too much of a good thing, isn't good". That many "individual" fighters flying around would just distract the user, and be a tedious to keep track of; keep starfighters on a squadron basis. I don't know why they didn't do the same to the land combat units (not 12 squadrons, but maybe x number of squads/companies/battilions/etc for a ground unit).

Damaged units are easier to kill in combat, so "just getting rid of them" takes away some strategy aspect of the game (if at least only in my mind). If there were an option to "consolidate" damaged units that would be more realistic; but it comes with a "price": left over individual fighters would be "lost". For example, two damaged squadrons one with 5/12 fighters left and the other 8/12 fighters left. Consolidating them would get 13/12 fighters, but since squadrons are limited to 12 fighters, the "left over" fighter would be "lost". Two squadrons of 11/12 fighters would get you one full squadron and ten "lost" fighters, so that's why making it an option would be better.

goryani wrote:
Let's start with the sabotage targeting:
I've always hated having to choose specific troop to sabotage. If I could recode the game, I would let sabotage missions choose to sabotage any X-Wing squadron rather than a specific X-Wing squadron. In fact, I would rather let my saboteurs choose any fighter squadron, even at random, to target over having to choose a specific unit. Making this change eliminates the need to show specific units for targeted missions.

Sabotaging any squadron at random would be a good option, but deleting sabotaging a specific sqaudron is not the right answer. Maybe changing that to sabotaging a specific squadron "type" would be better. Depending on circumstances, sometimes I sabotage only certain types, say "bombers" because I want to reduce the damage of attacking/raiding enemy fleets. That would be hard to do if only "generic" fighters are destroyed (if the mission is successful).

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 Post subject: Re: Re-Designing the User Interface
PostPosted: Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:56 am 
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The real strategic redeeming value of damaged fighter squadrons was that fact they can heal for free. You can have a battle and have 50% fighter lost spread all over your squadrons, but then have them all heal up for free...that is the way it is now.

To a lesser extent, capital ships get damaged too, but take forever to repair.

Good ideas and reasons though what to do with the damaged fighters. I just know it adds a layer of complication for coding and displaying. I could live without the damaged fighters and just recombine the remaining ones as whole squads (Darth Tex). The only thing you lose is the the free healing of the squadron effect.

Sabotage. To keep the micro-management down, the default mission is just random general hell raising targets of opportunity with a high probability for success. Then you can specify category Troops, Ships, Buildings with lower chance for success, then furthermore into the UI individual class units such a fighter bombers for even lower chance for success.


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