Hmmm… well, there are 126 policies/simulation objects and 34 situations (so 160 total) in an unmodded game. Not all of those are going to appear at the same time (especially not the situations) but it sounds like the maximum number of new objects would be about 14-21, distributed between the 7 different policy sections (so a maximum of 2-3 new objects for each policy section).
Cliff mentioned this as a possibility in this thread.
That was back in January, however, and now Cliff is working on Kudos 2, so we might have to wait for Democracy 3. It would be a nice feature, though.
I’ve been thinking about other ways to remove (or at least extend) the cap on the amount of objects the GUI can display.
I’ve come up with two possibilities:
Option 1) Include a debug-screen which allows the player to hide and display GUI objects with check-boxes.
This would completely removes the cap on object numbers, and be (relatively) easy to implement from a coding point of view. On the other hand, it would also be very hacky and not very user-friendly.
Option 2) Add four buttons at the top of the GUI which let the player display a) only policies, b) only simulation objects, c) only situations or d) everything.
In each of the three exclusive view modes (policy only, situation only or simulation only) if the player hovers the cursor over an object to see its influences, then anything influencing or influenced by it would move onto the screen until the player stopped hovering the cursor. The buttons could also have numbers on them, displaying the number of objects in that view mode (so the player could tell how many situations there were, for example, without changing screens).
I wonder, however, if this might break the game by making things too complicated. It would certainly need a bit of play-testing. What do people think?
Option 3) Like option 2, but there would only be three buttons at the top of the screen. Toggling the buttons off/on would hide/display the three object groups (policy/simulation/situation) depending on which button was toggled. If the player hovered the cursor over an object to see its influences, any connected objects would unhide.
Option 4) Hovering the cursor over an object would hide all objects on the GUI apart from objects influencing or influenced by that object. Furthermore, the remaining objects would then spread out across the whole screen (disregarding the lines separating policy areas) so that there was sufficient space between them to see the connections. De-hovering the cursor would cause all objects to be displayed again, and would snap everything back into its original place.
Some of these options are very interesting indeed. If I had 48 hours in the day, I’d be doing this right now.
I’d love to see a system in place that allowed modders to really go crazy with the complexity.
Hey all, long time democracy player, first time poster.
Option 5: I’d suggest a variation of the ideas mentioned, and similar to the system currently used. When you hang your cursor over a wedge it increases the size of that wedge while decreasing the size of all the others, akin to pie chart visualisation. I assume the wedges are already separate things, each controlling the policies contained within. In which case the hardest part of implementing the idea would just be to get the locations to scale correctly, and the influence lines to calculate after the resizing. Critically, the wedge size will increase but the icon size will not - the idea is to see the influences in more detail, not the icon images!
Besides my option 5, I love the option 4 idea too.
I think the policy wedge “lines” are superimposed onto a bmp image showing the seven different pictures. So I’m not sure how easy it would be to chop that image up and enlarge different parts.
But I’m leaning towards something along those lines - the most important thing is to be able to clearly see the different lines of influence between objects. If the GUI is too cluttered, then it’s difficult to tell what is being influenced by what. My vote (so far) would probably go to option 4.
In the mean time, modders can minimize the clutter by using the HIDDEN attribute (see _Terrorism). Anything and everything that real politicians have a difficult time seeing should be a candidate for hiding. Real lawmakers rarely anticipate (or acknowledge) the unintended secondary and tertiary effects of their short-sighted, brute-force policies, so why should D2 players?
In the future, D3 (with some other method for filtering) might offer multiple levels of visibility, like layers of an onion. While some items would still be hidden deeply, others would merely be hidden by default. New players should start with the default “fog of war” obscuring many relationships. After seeing their favorite policies lead to immense popularity but economic wrack and ruin, they can then peel back layers one at a time to learn why (and then start modding).