BETA: Interface improvements


#1

These are my thoughts after five minutes of playing around in the menus:

  1. It is near impossible to tell whether an options button in grey indicates on or off, until you check the status of full screen relative to what you’re playing in. These should be something much clearer, like crosses or ticks.

  2. The highlight colour on the menu is also counter-intuitive. It’s called HIGHLIGHT :wink: On my screen with only two resolution options my instinct was to believe 1024x768 was selected, even though my brain knew this not to be the case as I was playing widescreen.

  3. Serial key box should have a “Paste from clipboard” function to prevent alt-tab tests of memory, or ctrl-v should work. The paperless game and all that.

  4. Components should be sortable by parameters such as name, cost, etc.

  5. Name sorting of components should not result in the following order “Fusion Engine II – Fusion Engine III – Fusion Engine”

  6. The additional stats window should be closed as well as opened using the graph button, as there is nothing to do with that window except close it there is no reason for the additional mouse movement necessary to do so.

  7. The ship design “Load” list should provide some kind of summary of the ship, hull size and cost would be a start. This would also allow for the ordering of the ships according to what you need at that time. Filtering would be an added bonus “Show me all my fighter designs”. Without this it will become difficult to maintain a large number of designs.

  8. You only have four races, they should all fit on a single screen without a scroll bar. Failing that it should be a vertical scrolling list to allow the mouse wheel to be used rather than the additional movement a horizontal scrollbar requires. I would personally suggest dropping the flavour text and hiding it behind an “Info” button for each race, thus allowing you to put them all on one screen as a grid using pictures and names.

  9. “Don’t blame me, blame Microsoft and Video card companies”. I’d point out that it should be a lower case v, but all-in-all I’d recommend just dropping this entire section because it’s invariably setting you up for a fall.

  10. You have tooltips for everything, but none explaining the options. Which will make a big performance difference? When is motion blur used? etc.

  11. Might I suggest a benchmark button should performance be a real concern? Your trailer has an exciting battle, just take that and put it behind a benchmark so I can test my settings.

Now I’ll give the gameplay a try :wink:


#2

I like this idea.


#3
  1. You press ESC in a battle and it takes you to “Your fleet” yet I can’t only find a button to get to the main menu from here. If there’s a way back to the main battle it’s carefully hidden.

  2. Options don’t appear to be accessible from a battle, yet that’s the only time you’re going to see which graphical options you do and don’t want.

  3. No edge scrolling.

  4. Zoom in and zoom out is inverted compared to every other PC game on the market, I can’t think of one which does zoom the way this game does. Really, REALLY needs an option to invert the current behaviour.

  5. I should be able to access more detailed information about a component from the components icon when I’ve selected a ship in battle mode.

  6. Difficulty naming scheme on the race screen doesn’t match up with the one used on the battle screen.

  7. The tutorial information for orders (and another I forget) pops up if you spend too long looking at another tutorial dialogue, yet the button it’s pointing to is hidden by the existing dialogue.


#4

The text entry fields really don’t get along with Microsoft Handicapped Accessibility / Ease of Access Center on Vista 64. Not just not recognizing that the shift / ctrl / alt keys have been toggled on with a double-press or whatnot, but setting the repeat speed way, WAY too high by default – to the point that I can’t even put in lower-case terms without having duplicated letters, and I’m a better-than-average typist, for all the “one key at a time” limitations.

I know this isn’t a bug that affects a lot of people, but for we folk who need the assistive technology stuff, it’s a big deal.


#5
  1. Hull designs are selected via an arrow system. There are 11 hulls, this is crying out for a drop-down list. Galactic Civilisations 2 set-up screen was a fine example of why this design is a bad idea, a drop-down was made for this sort of thing.

  2. Hulls aren’t in any meaningful order I can tell, they should be in cost order.

  3. I need to click an item in the design view to get its description, yet I can’t see any reason for this. Why doesn’t appear in the panel when I mouse over the item? This would make browsing components more efficient for zero functionality loss.

  4. Target painters need to state specifically whether missiles really does mean missiles or extends to torpedoes.

  5. Where’s my “Clear default deployment” option?


#6

I just tried out the Beta and came directly here (after a crash) to say exactly what Quitch has.
Adding a couple points.

A) When adding modules under a heading with many modules (showing all modules, most likely), and scrolling through the list, the way the modules re-appear (grow) every time you scroll down a notch is very annoying. Plus there’s no mousewheel support for scrolling.

B) The mouse feels very awkward without any sort of “acceleration” where the speed of the pointer is much slower when moving the mouse slowly and much faster when fast. It makes going for a button on the other side of the screen difficult.

C) When setting a ship to the escort rule, it’s annoying having the escort options window on the far right of the screen when all my other options are on the left. This might not be as much of a problem if the mouse behaved more reasonably.

D) When naming a ship, why do I have to right click on it when the name is in big bold letters on the left? Can’t I just click on that?

E) When selecting a race, the scroll bar does not work, only the left/right buttons do. Although, as Quitch said, scrolling should be vertical if there is to be scrolling at all. (I assume the scrolling is there to allow addition of multiple races)

Thanks. Other than a lot of little annoyances, this looks like a great game so far.

Edit:
Another point
F) I feel the hull selection should be sorted quite differently. As Quitch, there currently is no order at all, but as well, there’s no way to compare the hulls without incessantly flipping between them. We should be able to view all of each type (fighter, frigate, cruiser) or all at once in a vertical scrolling menu with a summary of stats beside each one. That way I would be able to directly compare one ship to another.

Edit:
G) Mark I modules (usually) come after mark II and mark III modules.


#7

H) I should be able to delete ships (and any other management of ships) from the fleet design menu.

I) I should be able to copy (or clone) a deployed ship with all it’s orders on the ship deployment screen. Say by right-clicking and clicking on a “copy” option or, even better, holding Shift while dragging the ship into a new position. This one would help me so much.

J) I can get more detailed information about a deployed ship by hovering over it’s rendered image in the lower left, such as the shields, armor, and hull, but I should be able to see the speed as well. This is important if I don’t want to slow ships down too much when escorting.

K) I should also be able to see all the detailed information (shields, armor, hull and speed) when hovering over a unit in the deployment menu that I have not deployed yet.

Thanks!


#8

I second all the suggestions in this thread. For a game (and what a great game it is!), where most of the “playing time” is spent in menu screens, interface is vital. Especially things like copying and pasting ships in the deployment screen, sorting components and hulls easily etc.

L) when naming a ship in the constructor, I am not able to move the cursor and change only a small part of the name, i.e. if I have “federation missile corvette” and want to make a ship called “federation laser corvette”, I need to delete and retype “corvette” to change its prefix

M) if possible: when building a ship, make the hull behave like a component, so that when I have say a frigate with 10 specific modules and I want to see how they fare if plugged onto another hull, I can do that without having to rebuild the ship from the ground up (one option to do this could be to make a “hull” tab that behaves like the “weapons” tab. Any modules that don´t fit, have to be deleted but it´s definitely a big difference to replace 1 module or to replace 10 of them)


#9

I think pretty much all of the suggestions made here are golden advice!

Now that the mousewheel thing is configurable, the hull selection/comparision is by FAR the biggest annoyance to me (not that this means much, I think the game as a whole is incredible!).

My suggestion is to take this one step further:

19.1 Instead of a hull selection button/menu, instead put in a drop down menu where you can select type (fighter, frigate, cruiser…)
Reasoning: I seriously doubt somebody is making a fighter and suddenly thinks: “damn, I have no room left to place this last additional module, let’s scroll to next hull - a frigate - where I can have more space”. If you scroll from fighter to frigate, it’s an entirely different show… all the modules are different, all the stats are different, deployment is different, it’s an entirely different building game. So I think it’s unnecessary to be able to scroll through all the hulls for all types in a single window. When you set about creating a ship, you always go in to create a specific type (either a fighter, or a frigate, or a cruiser). The type should be a dropdown menu that the player can “set” and stick with, just as race is.

19.2 Have two arrows on the hull component placement area that let you scroll through the hulls for each type.
Reasoning: At least in the current interface, there is simply no point in opening an entirely new window to select a different hull. Might as well allow players to scroll through the hulls from the original building window with a couple of simple arrows. If the hull selection window had any advantages (like, allowing you to see all of the different hulls and their stats at the same time), it would be different. As it is, I think the hull selection window is simply unnecessary and should be killed entirely.


#10

Oh, another improvement idea.

I think it’s a big waste of time (not to mention confusing) that we’re asked to provide a name to the ship we’re building, and then we’re asked to provide a name (that can be entirely different) for the file it will be saved as. Pretty much 100% of the time the player will want the filename to be the same as the shipname, otherwise he’ll get confused when he’s searching for it, having two different names to remember for a single ship. Each ship has a name already, I don’t see why we have to give the file a name too… in this day and age, the game interface should be easier to deal with and have us take less steps to do something.

So my suggestion would be:
GSB should save the files however it wants (obviously it should ask the player before overwritting any existing design) when the player saves a ship. And then when the player wants to load a ship, GSB should present him with shipnames instead of filenames.


#11

I was thinking about this one too. There’s no reason to have them all clumped together.

Awesome idea. Agreed.


#12

Yeah, replace my 19 with this, a vertical scrolling list of hulls by category (Fighter…All) with stat summaries next to them sortable by each stat, or at least by cost.

  1. Patching process should say it’s patching, display a percentage complete, time remaining and current download speed.

  2. Once patching is complete there should be an option to view the change log.