X4 Map Rework Proposition [WiP]

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Kairos le voyageur
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X4 Map Rework Proposition [WiP]

Post by Kairos le voyageur » Tue, 13. Aug 19, 23:18

Hi everyone, as a huge fan of space games since more than 10 years ,that was obvious for me to play X4-Foundation after 200 hours on the game i'll try to explain my journey trought the Egosoft's last production.

https://image.noelshack.com/fichiers/20 ... -steam.png

As you can see I got a lot of experience with space games, actually, I support each one the best I can, that's why as only as gamer I have some propositions for the dev's actually, the idea came when I tried to talk about this game to my friends and community, actually I was pretty surprised about the "Why" people sometimes buy the game but they don't play it at all. That's pretty sad because the work done by the little German team of Egosoft is really good actually. But the market is pretty rude and actually. the majority of non-fan tells me the same thing : "It looks actually unfinished", I was really surprised because as said before the features of this game are really hudge, then when I remebered the first day I played on it... Today I'm gonna try to list the major issues for players by listing them by theme as : Gameplay, Visual, Graphics, Sound, Immersion. Feel free to comment with respect please the idea is to make the game more enjoyable for everyone, then if your opinion is different it's pretty good to share it with people who can build proper and argued posts.

In this post well I'll talk about the map interface the idea is to give propositions with minimal dev work ( because of the developpement ressources )

*(English is not my first language I write this post to make it more open for everyone then i'm sorry for the translations errors) or the images in French Language

Interface

For some obvious reasons i'll try to start my post with the HUD/UI. the 3 first things witch were complicated for the players were : Tutorials, Complicated UI, No lore/mission introduction to the game. Actually for people who didn't notice the game have a scenario, to be honest I didn't saw it until I watched a youtube video. then the game turned to be something else than a generic space sandbox. actually the hud is pretty opressive for new players... Enought reading... here are some pictures to show the problem :

https://image.noelshack.com/fichiers/20 ... hargee.jpg

As you see the Map Hud Is pretty unclear and the Information Overload is breaking all the "readability" of the essential informations, actually I tryed to rework this to give more clean interface :

https://image.noelshack.com/fichiers/20 ... aillee.jpg

Imo the map interface should look more like with maximal informations opened I think it's "doable" with minimun effort to rework it ( Almost all the icons and menu are the same assets from the game ) especialy because this is a place where player spend a lot of time.

Next time i'll talk about some Immersion breaking assets witch can be easily reworked to give some little points to make this X4-Foundation look more polished. please drop some comments to give me different opinion of what could be better.


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Fazmaster
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Re: X4 Map Rework Proposition [WiP]

Post by Fazmaster » Wed, 14. Aug 19, 02:32

I think the first pitches of how the map screen should look like were pretty much like the one you suggested above. That is until someone at ego came up with the (imho) clever solution to dynamically group and layer these things on top of the map as they are now.

The reason is, that if you want to get an overview of wares and their supply and demand (general or specific) you don't want to click through each of the sectors to get these information shown in a seperate ui element somewhere else and even worse 'one by one'. This makes searching for good trade opportunities much more difficult while your eyes toggleing back and forth (map and info).

If the wares info is too much for the things you want to do on the map you can simply turn it off. You can also reduce the amount of wares displayed in each element or just search for specific wares.

Don't get me wrong. There are certainly ways to improve the visualisation, but I don't thing the mockup you provided guides into the right direction.

edit: The intention of the two buttons on the upper left is that one shows all (and only) your assets while the other one all assets in the current map view. Of course yours are shown as well if there are any (and luckily they're even grouped together and placed on top of the list!). You need to work with both views all the time as they serve different purposes and can't simply be merged.
Last edited by Fazmaster on Wed, 14. Aug 19, 03:10, edited 1 time in total.

Imperial Good
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Re: X4 Map Rework Proposition [WiP]

Post by Imperial Good » Wed, 14. Aug 19, 03:04

As should be obvious from your proposed changes, the text is not readable on low resolution displays.

X4 has to support resolutions below 1080p and text has a minimum pixel size requirement to be readable. Making text smaller only works on high DPI and high resolution displays.

For example with your proposed changes you want to reduce the size of the player property list to show just 9 items at a time. When one owns hundreds of ships or squads this is not usable. The ship order panel now eats up the space one could use for browsing the list of ships and the text on it is so small that reading is very difficult at 1080p. A large part of the screen area is now wasted showing the filter window, which before was used to display the map as one could toggle the visibility of the window. It also is no longer possible for one to zoom in close to a sector and see separate ware offers for each station.

What the map view really needs is the ability to turn off the actual map view and break it into a browse-able object list at the specified scope level. For example if you zoom out to see the entire universe one should be able to see a list of all stations and their trade wares which one can right click on with a ship selected to generate orders. When one zooms into a sector level then the list only shows objects in that sector. For macro management this is far more efficient as one might not care where an object is that one wants to interact with.

This is kind of like the local object list we already have. The key difference is that it replaces the map rather than the property list allowing one to browse through property while also browsing through lists of stations which can be used as order targets for selected ship. The extra screen space could be used for filters as well as additional target information such as detailed hull/shield numbers, approximate location, wares being traded as well as known current order. The list view would also automatically scope to an entire level of granularity such as universe, cluster or sector rather than what is currently in view.

Kairos le voyageur
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Re: X4 Map Rework Proposition [WiP]

Post by Kairos le voyageur » Wed, 14. Aug 19, 23:08

Ok after a little brainstorming I came back with something new : actually I noticed your comments about the size of the windows and the Ability to disable the map to have more market informations, actually I turned my self on EVE online Trade Window and tryed to adapt it for the X4 foundations, drop some comments below or some modified pictures to tell me what is missing or wrong to improve the basic idea.. i'd like to make a Megathread of what should be a Usefull and practical interface ( actually, i'm trying to find a better place for every functions maybe if the devs don't do it I was wondering on how to mod this with a little team.

As you can see the buttons on the top/bottom of each part of the screen are white or gray witch can tell witch information status you are looking for (note that i just forgot to add a scrolling bar on the left side of the first picture )

This Screen Should be the Entity's / ship management : https://image.noelshack.com/fichiers/2 ... ntites.jpg

This screen is for Market informations based on map locations witch can tell you were you can buy a little selection of wares ( The idea is to make the map move only in the square and the filter result on right reactive on what zoom level you actually are : https://image.noelshack.com/fichiers/20 ... -fast.jpeg

This last part is made to help you to knowledge about advanced maket information based on the selected ware ( Only one ware can be selected witch gives more complete informations on this ware ) : https://image.noelshack.com/fichiers/20 ... ilter.jpeg

If you have some idea to improve ( the functions of this screen tell me in the comments i'll work later on a visual overhaul.

See you later

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chew-ie
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Re: X4 Map Rework Proposition [WiP]

Post by chew-ie » Wed, 14. Aug 19, 23:43

Just a thought regarding the "minimum supported resolution". As a graphic card with 3 GB is required in order to run the game, 1080p should be possible. And there is also HUD scaling available if there really is the need to go below that.

Forcing a 3 column layout might be a step back as well - as you will end up with columns which are "too small" for longer information rows. At least that's my guess why the "dynamic" trade information display was chosen. (contrary to the common believe that egosoft is just randomly deciding & implementing things I'd say the guys have been there & done that already ...)

Image


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Kairos le voyageur
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Re: X4 Map Rework Proposition [WiP]

Post by Kairos le voyageur » Thu, 15. Aug 19, 01:37

Yeah i understand the point that maybe it's a step back but actually don't you think the direction taken by egosoft is pretty average in term of 'usufulness' the idéal of this post is to give propositions / idéas it's so easy to say ... this is not good, this has been done before without giving any diras... everybody can do this... are you everybody dude ? :)

I'm able to listen, do stuffs on m'y free time for the community... but i can't go anywere if people only say this is bad without sharing someting usefull but their opinion :)

chew-ie
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Re: X4 Map Rework Proposition [WiP]

Post by chew-ie » Thu, 15. Aug 19, 13:54

Kairos le voyageur wrote:
Thu, 15. Aug 19, 01:37
Yeah i understand the point that maybe it's a step back but actually don't you think the direction taken by egosoft is pretty average in term of 'usufulness' the idéal of this post is to give propositions / idéas it's so easy to say ... this is not good, this has been done before without giving any diras... everybody can do this... are you everybody dude ? :)

I'm able to listen, do stuffs on m'y free time for the community... but i can't go anywere if people only say this is bad without sharing someting usefull but their opinion :)
By all means - I didn't intend you to stop. :) I'm just the guy who has to remind everybody about the reality - so to speak. [it's my nature :oops:] Coming from software development myself I can imagine what already has been discussed & tried within the Egosoft team. Mostly you have to compromise a lot - killing / twisting the finest ideas of the team in the process. The needs to compromise come from a lot of factors "outsiders" of a project (=we) don't even know they exist, thus don't understand the reasons of the existing iteration.

Speaking about iterations - the main GUI (=map) already went trough some changes which is best seen in the xcon presentations - and is itself an iteration of the ones existing in the previous games. Looking at that development I'm quite happy with the current state.

Not sure if one can further reduce the visualization of the massive amount of information the game has by design. At the very least it is quite a challenge. My guess is that this is the reason for the existing auto grouping / auto zoom filter.

If it were up to me I'd just extend the existing UX/UI with minor widgets / additions - like
  • ...having programmable group/ship hokeys (shift+1... 10) on a global & local level (universe wide, on a ship with subordinates)
  • ...bringing the message log into the mapview
  • ...adding an alert widget which allows quick handling of critical events
  • ...saving filter settings (e.g. ship building resource filter; ship-by-name-search-filter etc.)
  • ...a separate widget for the current ship
  • ...a more centralised search widget or the possiblity to instantly focus it on hotkey (e.g. STRG+F)
  • ...tooltips on ship action icons for more detailed infos on the current order

Image


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