Some UI Issues

The first big problem I have with the UI is that there is no way to check what a model of car actually has access to so that you know it will be built with the features you want to include.
Right now you may have done the research and set the model to be built but if you missed 1 upgrade that you are able to purchase it doesn’t inform you of this. It would be nice if the game highlighted the stations in question and gave you an easy way to upgrade all the things you need to make that model happen.
The thing that I found really annoying was trying to figure out what stations I needed to upgrade and when I did upgrade them, the UI would show a pop up and remove the window so that if I had to purchase multiple upgrades it would require me to find that station again and upgrade things 1 at a time.

The second big problem is the way things are organized into groups. For instance with the slots, I would think that tires would be under fit accessories and not fit engine. The main issue here is the research window requiring you to go from one tab to another to progress down a single line of tech. I think this is not a good way of doing it and should be grouped so that its more linear but separated by category instead. Again wheels being under engine specialization research is kind of confusing.
I would suggest going about it like Hearts of Iron 4 and have a single linear tech tree for each category of parts, the first tab being the one that allows you to unlock the other tabs. I feel like this is more intuitive way of doing it and is a lot less confusing and going back and forth to complete a set of research. So each category like accessories, body, engine, chassis, paint would all be under their own tab and at the bottom of the tech tree in that tab would be a way to unlock technology relevant to that category. This means that, while there may be a lot of tabs, you should be able to fit everything onto 1 screen so that everything that is possible is visible immediately. A lot of time is spent on the research screen and currently its my least favorite part of the game because you have to hunt for things to get anything done, and I find myself dreading having to restart a new game to go through it again.

Maybe include a factory management tab somewhere where you can manage things like upgrades, research, design, power and fire the employees or hire them back as needed if you are low on money.

Wow it’s like you were in my head. I wrote some of the exact same things just a few hours ago (edited for grammar just now). Bolded to express parts that need most attention:

I offered some suggestions for the bolded. A right click or ctrl click to take us from the research item direct into the slot would help. Also a pop up message when you try to equip a car with something you can’t actually produce would save a lot of frustration as all too often I’ve produced 25 cars only to find out the item I thought I was adding and manufacturing is still some distant point deep in the slot tree.

I don’t think that taking you directly to the slot is the solution, because if you have multiple stations it should actually highlight all of them or give you a button to buy all the pending upgrades.

I almost think that the game needs like a model upgrade task manager so that no matter how you build your factory it can visually guide you through the production line that model is on and tell you what stations are not equipped to produce that model along that line.

Oh also there are some little things…

In the car design window you cannot use the delete key on the name of the car model and the scroll resets after you name it, making it more annoying as the game progresses. It would be nice if the tabs fit to the characters so that it doesn’t take so long to scroll. The same thing goes for the production schedule UI.

The names are also inconsistent. In the design studio the Offroad is called a 4x4 but not in the car design window.

What would be even better though is to have a tab for each model of car and then a tab for all the variations of that model. Yes, its a lot of tabs, but its better than putting them on a single file list that takes ages to go through. It would probably be best if the entire design window was full screen like the research is, because as soon as you add more things to this list the problem gets worse.

I think I may have said this before a long time ago…

I really don’t like research pop ups, I would rather it be a notification that I have the option to click on rather than something that jars me away from whatever I am doing and demanding my attention.

I would have it automatically open the tree with the slot item highlighted. Not sure if you thought that was my suggestion or not.

Any chance we could get the UI to stop requiring an exact click on the + and allow a click on the whole button instead? And can we make those buttons 2X the size so we have a large click area. If I’m honest I’d rather the current slot UI was done away with and a more intuitive rotary UI or better categorized UI existed.

The thing I frequently have to do is scroll up to the top to get conveyors. Conveyors button should be located in the middle so it never requires scrolling. Maybe make a customizable dock-able UI which you could put buttons on. Or make a special button for conveyors and overhead stocking.

I just dont like the current build UI or how cumbersome it is.

I do not think we have the same suggestion at all. I think you need to more clearly define what you mean.
sorry for the misunderstanding, I think I somehow read between the lines.

Here I am talking about a way to highlight stations without needing to go to a UI except for mass upgrades. How does your idea differ? It seems like you are talking about going from the research to the slots? Why would that even be useful? I really don’t get what you are saying.

To me your suggestion avoids the root cause being that the research/slot UI is poorly organized. There is no need to add a function so that you have a way to avoid the ui entirely, just fix the ui.

I agree with you. I think that the top down list doesn’t work for the slot UI in its current form.
I think a way to make it better is to instead of expanding the list downwards you could expand it to the right of the screen. So that you have less problems scrolling to a relevant category, but at the same time all the things building up to a specific station are visible where you are. Maybe permanently dock the most used common things to the top of the list, like conveyors, importer belts, stockpiles, demolition. If the text is too large, reduce the UI to icons only, with mouse over tooltips. That should make it way more compact and mod friendly for the future. Or do a combination where you only show the text of the selected station, and reduce the others to icons.

Exactly, no more scrolling, and a permanent dock customizable or not, which contains the most frequently used items like conveyers and overhead material delivery rails.

This, at least, has now been done in recent builds, it should be much more flexible where you click now.

I agree with many of the points made here regarding the clumsiness of the GUI, and do intend to address them in due course. Currently I’m working on hybrid/electric engines, but after that I will be in full-on GUI improvement mode to make the interface a lot more user friendly. I definitely agree that there are some places where the UI should link more intelligently, for example from greyed out slots options to the applicable research,. and so-on.

yay! thats great, I’m looking forward to it. patches that make the game more user friendly are the best <3

The 1.36 Build has a very snappy UI. Not sure I like the destroy tool as implemented with a timer for destroy but it works. Game is really coming together.

cliffski bumping this thread for you now that you are looking at the research screen

please consider the OP

research screen would look better organized into category tabs like this

after watching the latest dev blog video, I thought I’d log in and bump this thread again.

please consider this @cliffski

Thanks, this is a really interesting point, and I think this ultimately may be a solution, although frankly one of the main problems is that the large number of items, even if we split into more categories, requires us to have the vertical scrollbar, and even if we introduce more categories, an individual element can still have enough nested items that they end up going too far to the right, which runs into the same problem.

I may have to brainstorm a few different layouts because I definitely don’t like the current one :frowning:

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it sort of depends on how many unique icons you want to put on the screen I guess / how much text you put into tooltips instead, but yeah scrolling will probably still be a thing (the tech tree is massive), but it will still take tons less time just due to the already organized categories, finding the thing you want will be much simpler to do.

currently you have to memorize the entire tech tree to know where something is, and that is not a good thing for starting a new game. while I have been keeping up with the updates, the tech tree is honestly why I have dropped the game for the last few months.

I guess another solution would be to allow the player to drag the icons around to organize them ourselves in a way that we prefer and allow us to make our own tabs, almost like an item inventory. maybe that would be the most ideal solution

I keep trying to come up with a nicer split than the current ‘car tech vs production tech’ categories but still have not hit on any real obvious splits :frowning:

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not sure if you caught my earlier suggestions…? well here is some more ideas anyway

for one make the boxes on the research screen smaller than they currently are, probably half the size or even less than that.
second, make the icons more obvious even if they are not unlocked currently.

for example performance features can be a sub category within the technology research tree with its own icon will take you directly to the research associated with it.

rough draft-
similar to a task bar the focus bar has icons, and if clicked will focus on that section of the tech tree.
this should be visible at all times when on the research screen
splits between categories should have some visual indicator to break up the monotony
change the research cost text so its directly below the descriptive text so that boxes do not have to be so unnecessarily large
within each sub category, adjust the width of columns based on the longest string in that column ( not uniform but better defines each category and will make it much more obvious when entering a new section of the tech tree)

no doubt some other things that escape me atm

Very interesting. The trouble is I do need space on the boxes for those AI research icons, although only for technology, not processes…

Also, I just got click and drag scrolling in both axes working yesterday, and thats really helpful for this.

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