New vehicle selection menu

Discussion in 'To be implemented' started by Tama, Jan 7, 2016.

  1. Tama

    Tama Developer Staff Member Web Developer

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    [​IMG]

    A big advantage of this design is that there is no more dragging of things into slots; checkboxes fill this purpose for the weapons (instead of e.g. 2x3 slots tanks simply have total slots, and each weapon costs some), and the highlight system (reflective and coolant shown) allows easy switching between armour types. In general, building the same tank as you did last time means pressing 'V' to open the menu and immediately clicking "Build Tank".

    If you had plain and there is now some other armour / engine, your loadout is switched automatically when opening the preset (when first opening the menu, or selecting a preset from the dropdown). This means you can still switch to plain, but you would have to do so explicitly for every tank if you wanted that.

    You no longer have to fill up on armour explicitly with this design; as you pick different weapons or engine the numbers on the left-hand side automatically change. It is also displayed on the armour type, so you can immediately see that, in this case, switching to plain would mean you get 12 plates of armour.

    If you click the lower part of a chassis button, you get the presets dropdown for that chassis. By default, your last built tank of each chassis type is saved. Clicking a preset sets all of the values, which can then be tweaked in the rest of the menu. When the commander saves a preset, it also appears in his teammembers' lists.

    Every block with armour, engine or weapon also has an info bubble on the top right which you can click to see all the stats (I think a seperate popup on top is the cleanest way). Note that items requiring further research are also listed, with dashes and "research required" text on them (first available items, then items that are too heavy / not enough available slots, then locked items, then unresearched items). In this case, the commander has locked Medium tanks and Reactive armour (this shall be done through the research menu).

    [​IMG]


    Clicking either of the configure buttons ("advanced"? both buttons do the same) opens the configuration screen, where you can spread the armour plates non-uniformly (or choose no armour at all!). By default, armour is split evenly with extra plates applied to the front, then the left, then the right side. I forgot to include the plate limitations per side, e.g. "4/6". The total tally is red if you can still add more plates.

    Similarly, you can choose a non-default weapon control mapping. By default, (1) missiles are grouped together, (2) Cannons prefer left mouse button, while missiles and MGs prefer right mouse button (since they are both aim-direct weapons rather than curved shots). (3) If there is one weapon, it is left mouse button; if there are two, they use left and right mouse button on one group, with missiles getting lmb before MGs. If you click one of those buttons with "Left", "Right" or "None" you get a little drop down to pick from those options. If a weapon has no binding in any groups, that whole row is highlighted red but you are allowed to build the tank.

    I want to also add an option "Custom" to the control bindings dropdown; this puts up a little popup: "Press any key", so that people can choose to bind middle mouse button or other buttons to weapons, for those who hate stateful interfaces or have too many mouse buttons.

    The main difference here is that I intend to design the control bindings area with just enough space to bind 4 weapons; if you have more you get a vertical scrollbar, and enough space for 3 groups (the left can be a bit smaller if we don't care too much about symmetry). I think a lot of the confusion about groups from new players stems from the fact that our current interface assumes you are going to need 6 groups. In this design, you add groups as needed and the default will be either 1 or 2 groups (if you have two weapons, this menu will come with only one group added, which makes it clearer to the player)

    The cost of the tank should be on the build button, so that it can be seen in both screens, and so that it is clear why you cannot build the tank when there is not enough resources. Vehicle weight, as far as I can tell, you never need to know; you only need to know how many plates of armour you can have with these particular weapons / engine.
     
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  2. Lazybum

    Lazybum :D Staff Member Moderator

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    My question is how do you select multiple weapons, like 6 std mls or 2 cannons? I can't tell from your pic, it just looks like you can select something once. Looks great otherwise.
     
  3. Sgt.Security

    Sgt.Security Member

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    TL;DR
    As long as we can have a new GUI, I really don't care what it looks like.

    Just make sure the GUI is intuitive for new players and we are very good to go.
    For example, add a description so that new players know what "weapon groups" means.
    It personally took me 5~6 years, 2000 top scoreboards to realize that you can switch weapons in a vehicle, back then I thought it's made to allow seat 2~6 player to use your weapons, this isn't even funny.
     
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  4. Ranger

    Ranger Member

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    It's nice, but I'm confusss. Will I be able to have 4 weapon groups or it's limited to 3? I've always had 2 buttons for shooting and I'm afraid if I have a button for each of my weapons I'll sometimes confuse commands. So I'd rather have 2 buttons and 4 groups I've made and I can switch quickly when I need.
     
  5. complete_

    complete_ lamer

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    it looks very well-thought out. any concerns i had seemed to be addressed by your explanations.

    since i dont have much to add besides that, i'll give some links to older vehicle gui discussions in case you hadn't seen them already (might give you extra ideas)
    https://forums.empiresmod.com/index...mization-menu-concept-pictures-included.6351/
    https://forums.empiresmod.com/index.php?threads/consolidate-the-vehicle-customization-screen.5862/
    https://forums.empiresmod.com/index.php?threads/vehicle-customization-gui-changes.8232/ (no.3 & 4)
     
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  6. Tama

    Tama Developer Staff Member Web Developer

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    The idiom of the little "i" symbol in the top-right of elements, I will expand to also address Sgt. Security's and Lazybum's issues;
    -the one for "Weapons" in the basic screen will say "Each chassis has a limited amount of missile (green), cannon (red), and MG (yellow) slots, which you fill by checking the checkboxes before the desired weapons."
    -the one for "Weapon controls" will say "When you're in this tank, pressing the number keys will select the numbered weapon groups, which sets the mouse bindings to the corresponding column as it is set in this menu. Add as many weapon groups as you want to control many weapons seperately."

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
  7. Beerdude26

    Beerdude26 OnThink(){ IsDownYet(); }

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  8. VulcanStorm

    VulcanStorm Developer Staff Member Moderator

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    I actually really like the existing drag and drop system for weapons, it seems intuitive and is easy to use for newer players. And I think that the colour coding and weapon slot size helped new users understand easily what can fit in which slot.

    So I honestly don't think the weapon selecting needs changing, the drag and drop system works nicely.

    But I agree with the layout of the firing groups needing changing. It's a bit clustered.
     
  9. Neoony

    Neoony Member

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    In that case, you shouldnt need to first remove the old weapon. Thats mostly the problem with the current one.
     
  10. flasche

    flasche Member Staff Member Moderator

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    the only good thing about the current vehicle gui is that you dont see that much variation per game (and actually per version). i barely ever have to change my complete loadout.

    but yeah, neoony is right, the worst thing about the current gui is that you cant replace the items. "slotting" stuff is well known from all sorts of games, and the color coding makes it easy to grasp like vulcanstorm pointed out. going through multiple pages isnt exactly convenient and armor distribution is less than ideal aswell - yet imo both are minor in comparison to new items not overriding slotted ones ...

    i really like tamas sketch though. similar stuff was proposed years back, im glad it seems to finally make it into the game.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2016
  11. Lazybum

    Lazybum :D Staff Member Moderator

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    I really wanted to shove everything on one screen, I think I got it pretty close.

    [​IMG]

    A few notes really fast. First off it's a rough draft, so sorry it doesn't look super shiny. Starting from the top it works just like tama's sketch, pick a chassis and it pops up with that list, though i left the description box on the bottom so I would assume any relevant info on a chassis would be displayed there. Because there isn't any switching submenus i had a little free space, so I stuck the weight and cost there.

    Weapons are exactly the same, I would just hope you can either double click something to slot it fast or drag it right on something to put it on,without having to drag something off first. Real quick though, you'll notice that there isn't any of the normal weapon slot icons. I felt that if the weapon grouping is on the page you can simply drag weapons right on there. There is a small catch in that I didn't quite put a way to have different small mls on there if you notice, I think the best way is to make it so if it's empty and you put a small ml it'll split and a second 1 slot will show up, along with that 2 slot ml being reduced to 1. If it was a 3 slot and it can hold up to 3 mls it would break down to a 1 and 2 slot, then further down into 3 1-slots. You should also notice a L and R, I would imagine you'd simply click with whatever mouse button you'd want to use for that grouping. To unassign simply click again with that mouse button, ie. if it's R then right click. There is a sad thing of only 4 groupings, but I struggle to think of why any one would need more then 4.

    Armor and engine selection work just like tama says, you select what you want and it highlights green. What I would like is some way to make it more obvious, like those little chasing lines in the green outline or maybe it just needs 2 tones? Something, I'm not sure. Regrettably, there's no way to really fit text of the engine or armor name. I don't think that's a terrible thing though, icons are different enough that people can simply look for them, I know it's what I do. I could probably push the armor distribution signs around a tad to free up a little room, but maybe there's a better way, I'm not sure. Still, all info pops up in the description box when you highlight them right?

    I'm not sure about if you can fit those nifty plates on the armor distribution, it might but it'll probably clutter it. I think that's a small thing though, I'm pretty sure most just look at the numbers.

    One last thing is most of this is actually stock icons, the only thing I adjusted was the tank views, and the little armor gauge on the armor distribution. That might help speed up things, I don't know though. If you guys can think of some better way to redistribute it go ahead and say it, the hard part of breaking all the elements into individual objects i can move and tweak is already done, so it's easy to make adjustments.
     
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  12. flasche

    flasche Member Staff Member Moderator

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    wow nice one lazy :thumbsup:

    but maybe make the icons a bit smaller so you have more space? memorizing armor and engines will be a bit of a task for new players, but whoever cannot remember 12 icons will have other issues with empires anyway ...
     
  13. Lazybum

    Lazybum :D Staff Member Moderator

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    I didn't want to fiddle with icons too much because I thought empires would resize them according to your resolution, but I was wrong apparently. I like the size though, hmmm. I do think I know a way to fit more info for armor and engines, but that's gonna take me a minute.

    Basically though I noticed that all the icons are up there, and when you really think about you see at most 3 in a normal game, even a longer match. So I could probably space them out, almost like removing every other one, and shove info right there. After all there's still a scroll bar for extra stuff. Still can't exactly fit the name though, but I might be able to do something. Oh, I can definitely fit names on the chassis, I forgot to add it though. Any other ideas would be swell.
     

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