Concerning X4

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Ketraar
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Post by Ketraar » Thu, 30. Mar 17, 16:34

Général Grievous wrote:The best way i think is to make a tree (like Nexus: The jupiter incident), on the left side of your screen
A strategical map, like we can find on Homeworld or on the new "Avorion" game could be a very good thing too.
I understand where you are coming from and I agree for those games, the UI was pretty good. But for the love of Nopileus, please dont!

The UI in a space game should be immersive and I would like to have the notion of being the pilot of a space ship, not a GoD entity that controls things from afar.

For RTS style games, like the ones mentioned, sure it make sense, but unless its in a nested menu, or some sort of "VR control room", I would like my cockpit view to stay as clean as possible and any functionality would need to be integrated into it and not feel like its just floating about. I know its a game, but I dont need to be reminded of it all the time by the Cockpit UI.

MFG

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Post by mr.WHO » Thu, 30. Mar 17, 18:28

@linolafett
Can you also keep in mind the combat when designing the GUI?
I mean some way to quickly issue commands when in dogfight.
I threw some ideas at ideas forum:

http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=387732


Also an idea to improve/expand Combat HUD without the need to redesign every single cokpit model:
http://forum.egosoft.com/viewtopic.php?t=389072

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Post by Caldazar » Thu, 30. Mar 17, 20:12

Thanks for the response, lino.

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Post by matveich[EG] » Thu, 30. Mar 17, 20:18

@linolafett
It is good to know that you are looking into improving UI for X series. Every X game I have played has problems in providing convenient access to data hierarchies. While people suggest other games as examples for UI improvements, I propose to have a closer look at a desktop app you use daily: file explorer. Specifically:

- General goto is to have no more than 3-4 clicks to get to any place in hierarchy. If it takes more it might be a problem of UI not providing quick access to data or data organization itself. Sometimes, instead of having long hierarchies it is better to organize all data on one level and group it depending on some property. Think about sorting files in a folder based on file extension as one way of grouping data on the same hierarchy level.

- Mass select with a mouse is a must. Having 3 clicks is no good if I have to do it for every asset. Drag&Select and Shift&Select should be supported by UI. Best case example that new UI should improve is changing DO behaviour for multiple ships at the same time. Once I select all ships, changing that property must be the same as changing property for one ship in terms of clicks.

- RMB mouse. Consider using RMB to draw a small context-based sub-menu for selected entries. To me managing ships/stations is no different from managing files/folders on my hard drive. Once I select some files I can press RMB to call a menu where I can chose to issue a command for all files like copy/delete or chose to adjust their similar properties, which is essentially going one level below in data hierarchy(file->property) and applying changes to multiple entries. Again, example with DO behaviour, select multiple ships and select properties to adjust DO stance.

- User shortcuts. If it is not possible to have short hierarchies then provide user with shortcuts to navigate to any level quickly. Example, home folder shortcut in file browser. Why not let user customize RMB sub-menu to quickly navigate to turret properties of a ship?

- Address bar. In a file browser address bar quickly tells user on which level of hierarchy he is now and lets him navigate to any level above. Same idea can be applied to UI in X4. Instead of remembering how many times I need to hit esc to go above, there should be a ribbon which tells me that location in data hierarchy and allows me to navigate it.

This is regarding player assets management UI. As for RTS-like management of ships, a lot of ideas and examples have been provided already. All I can add is that RMB sub-menu and mass select points can be applied to this UI layer as well.

I hope my ideas prove to be of any use.

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Post by birdtable » Fri, 31. Mar 17, 05:17

Best of luck Linolafett ,, you need to be a cross between a rhinoceros and a tuberous bushcricket ... :)

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Post by linolafett » Fri, 31. Mar 17, 09:15

@misterWho: There wasnt much work done on squad behaviour so far, i'll ask around if this is still on the plate.

matveich[EG] wrote: - General goto is to have no more than 3-4 clicks to get to any place in hierarchy.
I try to have a ui which is relying on tabs. In these i organize certain sets of features.
matveich[EG] wrote:- Mass select with a mouse is a must.
Multiple selection of items in the map (drag a rectangle selection) and in the object list is now possible (shift+lmb).
matveich[EG] wrote:- RMB mouse. Consider using RMB to draw a small context-based sub-menu for selected entries.
So far also implemented in the map. We try to get context menus also in other areas of the game (e.g. hud).

matveich[EG] wrote:- User shortcuts.
Again, cant really say anything for shortcuts and shortcut management.
matveich[EG] wrote:- Address bar.

Not planned.
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Post by BigBANGtheory » Fri, 31. Mar 17, 10:14

linolafett wrote:@misterWho: There wasnt much work done on squad behaviour so far, i'll ask around if this is still on the plate.

matveich[EG] wrote: - General goto is to have no more than 3-4 clicks to get to any place in hierarchy.
I try to have a ui which is relying on tabs. In these i organize certain sets of features.
matveich[EG] wrote:- Mass select with a mouse is a must.
Multiple selection of items in the map (drag a rectangle selection) and in the object list is now possible (shift+lmb).
matveich[EG] wrote:- RMB mouse. Consider using RMB to draw a small context-based sub-menu for selected entries.
So far also implemented in the map. We try to get context menus also in other areas of the game (e.g. hud).
I think Hadel said it best in the Messiah : Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Halleloooojah!

...and to Ketraar's point yes you are right you don't want your cockpit UI cluttered with non-essential monitors and graphical displays they need to be split in much the same way can't be a Roslin, Cmdr Adama and a Starbuck at the same time but you can switch between those roles.

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Post by linolafett » Fri, 31. Mar 17, 10:21

BigBANGtheory wrote:
I think Hadel said it best in the Messiah : Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Halleloooojah!
Please dont get your expectations too high. I do not want to dissapoint any of you guys.
We are going in the right direction, but are still by far not perfect.
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Post by BigBANGtheory » Fri, 31. Mar 17, 13:56

ok understood, I look forward to seeing it when you're ready or if you want feedback under devnet/NDA I'd be happy to do that for you too.

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Post by Ketraar » Fri, 31. Mar 17, 15:03

linolafett wrote:Please dont get your expectations too high. I do not want to dissapoint any of you guys.
We are going in the right direction, but are still by far not perfect.
You must understand that BBT has been poking at this UI thing for years. No wonder he's shouting to the heavens. :mrgreen:

MFG

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Post by mr.WHO » Fri, 31. Mar 17, 15:21

linolafett wrote:@misterWho: There wasnt much work done on squad behaviour so far, i'll ask around if this is still on the plate.

matveich[EG] wrote:- Mass select with a mouse is a must.
Multiple selection of items in the map (drag a rectangle selection) and in the object list is now possible (shift+lmb).
matveich[EG] wrote:- RMB mouse. Consider using RMB to draw a small context-based sub-menu for selected entries.
So far also implemented in the map. We try to get context menus also in other areas of the game (e.g. hud).
The fact that you're active on the forum and respond to feedback makes me much more positive towards X4. Looking forward to fruits of your work.

Regarding the combat commands and GUI - I highly recomend playing old space-sim "Descent: Freespace" and "Freespace 2".
These two were the apex of simple yet effective GUI and combat commands. In that game I could effectively issue commands to entire squadron of fighters while dogfighting with hostile fighters, tracking incoming bombers and track the status of my squadron as well as the capship I was to protect. It was very fast, effective, natural yet simple (both from GUI and keybinding and key chain)


As for mass-mouse select and right-click menu in X4 - YAAAAAAY it was worth waiting over 15 years for that :)

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Post by UniTrader » Fri, 31. Mar 17, 15:57

mr.WHO wrote:These two were the apex of simple yet effective GUI and combat commands. In that game I could effectively issue commands to entire squadron of fighters while dogfighting with hostile fighters, tracking incoming bombers and track the status of my squadron as well as the capship I was to protect. It was very fast, effective, natural yet simple (both from GUI and keybinding and key chain)
if it werent for the fact that the dialogue menu disables mouse flight input the dialogue menu could very well be used for this purpose, too...and might even work for joysticks/gamepads (just bind the select key to something unused in combat)
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Post by mr.WHO » Fri, 31. Mar 17, 17:33

I think the X3 menu would be more like Freespace if not that the entire menu obscured the entire view and to make any effective command you had to make like 10-15 "moves".

In Freespace it was like that:
step 1 - press "C" for combat commands
step 2 - select recipent group from 1-3 list in where:
1 - select particular single ship (sub list of 1-9, where 9 is "next" button if there is more than 8 items and then 1 act as "previous" when in next page)
2 - select pre-defined wing (e.g. Alpha, Beta, Gamma wing)
3 - select capship.

step 3 - issue command:
some commands were general (non target speficic):
- form on my wing (leave anything you do and form on my wing, passive stance)
- attack everything in range
- hold fire
- jump out of the combat area (basically retreat)
- protect me (form on my wing and attack anyone who attack me)

some other were target spefic (apply to you currently selected target):
- attack my target (hostile or neutral)
- protect my target (friendly or neutral, also protect command automaticaly attack priority incoming bomber torpedos then bombers, then other targets)
- disarm my target (apply to targeted capship turrets)
- disable my target (apply to capship engines, jumpdrives)
- destroy subsystem (attack currently selected capship subsystem)
- ignore my target (very handy for boarding missions where you have to capture fragile targets)



I think that ALL of this could be possible in X4, but the cherry on top would be that player should (in property screen) be able to create/name/manage the "combat groups" for this quick commands (e.g. fighter squad 1, fighters squad 2, bomber squad 1, destroyer group 1).
Last edited by mr.WHO on Fri, 31. Mar 17, 20:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by mr.WHO » Fri, 31. Mar 17, 17:43

Also regarding Freespace GUI there was neat feature that really helped you grasp if you're in deep shit or the combat is doing OK.

Basically in side of the HUD there was a small box with all the ship under your command displayed as small dots and grouped by squads, e.g:
Alpha then 4 dots - this mean alpha had 4 ships.
The color of the dot indicate the ship status:
green dot - all ok
yellow dot - light dammage
red dot - heavy dammage
red cirle - ship destroyed

Additionally slightly below there is another box with the hull status of priority targets (both friendly like escorted ships and hostile like the capship you need to destroy)

Tha way player can track the status of highlighet target in split-second while still be 99% focused on combat.

This is really amazing system and I'm in despair that such-system wasn't replicated (well shortly after Freespace 2 there was downfall of space-sim genre untill the hype triggered by Star Citizen).

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Post by BigBANGtheory » Fri, 31. Mar 17, 19:05

Ketraar wrote:
linolafett wrote:Please dont get your expectations too high. I do not want to dissapoint any of you guys.
We are going in the right direction, but are still by far not perfect.
You must understand that BBT has been poking at this UI thing for years. No wonder he's shouting to the heavens. :mrgreen:
I shall dedicate a new pizza reciepe in honour of the news (and share photos) :)

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