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Interface and Front-End Discussion

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Here are previously posted comments that deal with this issue:

Mongrol:

quote:


New interface is very nice. A much needed improvement and much more modern looking. Thing is, it`s totally let down by the left click menu. Up pops this big blue 3d bas-relief thing with a massive font, but that`s not the worst thing about it. It`s when you don`t know what option your going for and try to click back up a level the submenu starts "crawling" towards your pointer, eventually forcing you to bail out the menu altogether and start again. The game looks good, but that menu is pure pants. Rip out that old code and shove in a new fangly nice menu that fits the style of the new interface. You know it makes sense.

(Objective replies only, sycophants not welcome).

Mongrol


Kush:

quote:


I'm sure redesigning the menu wouldn't be that hard, and would be a welcome change, but at this point a bit of a luxury.

Terrain engine and multiplayer are higher on my 'must see implimented list' right now.


Kurt Meyer:

quote:


I am running in 1024x768x32 and the interface to me is fine. Everything is easily accessible and easy to use. The popup information menus are quick and easy to read. I think the icons are ok (they dont bother me but they are rather large). Custom popup menu color customization and font size would kick ass.

Supreme Commander:

quote:


To tell you the truth, I don't like the Blue/White menu against the Gold background, either. The problem is, if you saw the early shots, they were color coded and didn't look right at some resolutions. I do have it in my todo list to come up with a different scheme at some point. Its just TOO low a priority for me.

As for the way the menu works, the Beta testers didn't complain about (believe me, they b*tch - a LOT - and I usually have to strongarm them into submission. ) it and I find that it works. If it works, why fix it? If you want to back out of the menu, move your mouse away. If you screw up the first selection - move your mouse away. I'm not going to invest time in something as trivial as that. I'm not developing a new OS interface.

In fact, unless you are new to BC, you'd notice that the Tacops menu system is color coded - because that was easy to do. Now, tell me if THAT color scheme would look good - globally. I don't think so. I had it there before and ripped it out.

ps: You are right that your discussion warrants a new topic - BUT - please be courteous and respectful to the people here who object because they don't understand your reasoning - ESPECIALLY - members of my Beta team (e.g. Jamont). Getting flippant and disrespectful will get you banned by a CAT member and I almost NEVER override their decisions. So, had you been overly rude, they'd have banned you by now and I wouldn't have been able to continue this conversion.

This is NOT a free-for-all forum, so, PLEASE keep it tame. Everyone is welcome here, as long as you honor our SOP.


dnoyeB!:

quote:


I agree, I dont like the menu system. It would be nice if it were simply like the default windows menus.

too big. fills whole screen some times. maybe just a reduction in the text size?


Epsilon 5:

quote:


I agree. The text and menus should be smaller. It wouldn't change much, but it would be some better.

Advil:

quote:


I think the menus are pretty good. If you can't change them at all from here they will work, but here's a few minor suggestions:

1) On the bridge, reduce the icon size of the pictures on the sides of the screen, and maybe put in a text indicator under the icon where appropriate. Example, have a smaller missile icon and a small text under it that says, "vagrant" or whatever you have selected. Do this for each of them where appropriate. Just a general size reduction wouldn't be bad. A little here, a little there...

2) On the bridge again, some of those blue menus really layer up bigtime, epcecially for ship orders. Maybe the previous menu should go transparent or disappear from view until you go back a layer?

3) I've gotten used to the auto select by moving the mouse over things, EXCEPT for on the screens with the small blue arrows. Like when trying to assign pilots/marines to ships. I'm constantly missing the tiny arrow i want and having to back out of the wrong person, or i accidentally select the one next to the one I intended, thereby screwing up my existing assignments. A plain click method on all the small blue arrows would be nice.

mostly minor stuff...


Supreme Commander:

quote:


heh, easier said than done. Nope, can't make those changes. What I have right now, works. And all I want to remain focused on finishing the game. If I finish on time (and pigs can fly), then I'll start looking into stuff like this.

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Works for me. This definately seems to qualify for "after release things to consider."

I'd definately rather see the game at 100% before tackling the aesthetics.

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I have to disagree. The new interface has a "theme" running through it that`s very modern and works well. My only gripe is with the menu that looks like its from some old dos game from 1993 ( wink.gif ). It shouldn`t be blue, it shouldn`t be bas-relief, and it should scale with your screen-res. This is a tool in the game that you use all the time and IMO detracts the player from the game. One minute your in a starship, the next, your using a little OS menu from a bygone era. Kinda ruins the atmosphere for us Newbies.

A point to SC. Betatesters do not complain about the interface. This is because they are seasoned players of BC, probably for years and have gotten used to it. Time moves on though, and design, in terms of accessability in gaming develops over years. Lessening the learning curve and making BCM more accessable to newbies (of which I am one) should be a priority.

Mongrol,

NewCommander.

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OK, this is going to be a mixed review -- the good + the bad. Of course, the bad is going to be lengthier since I want to explain why I thought it was bad, but on the whole I must say I like the redesign.

I would have to agree that the bridge menus should scale with screen resolution. They're too stinkin big! And one other point of contention: those resemble context menus in Windows, and so to my mind should behave and be controlled like them. Could they be made to pop up on a right-mouse click too? Or make that a configurable option? I realize that's likely a low-priority issue, but the redesign made them look so much like context menus that my brain "forgot" that BC was left-click and automatically started right-clicking again. Erk!

And now, for my favorite screeen: Perscan!

I like the new Perscan interface. Very cool looking, especially the personel graphics, too bad we don't have a graphic for intruders, oh well. Two points of complaint.

The first and most important: why is the Perscan comp being beat like the red-headed step-child and swept under the rug (no offense to you red-headed step-children out there cwm4.gif ) What I mean is that all major comp screens are accessible via the "roll-down" menu that you see from screens like the Navitron and Tactical. Why isn't Perscan in that list? It's in the big blue bridge menus. Actually, come to think of it TACOPS is missing from that roll-down menu too, and that is even more significant than Perscan. I might add that Perscan is not among the buttons available on the TACOPS screen (actually, I take it back, I think it was but the button doesn't work -- BUG?).

Also, minor cosmetic issue with Perscan: couldn't our flight engineers have a slightly different uniform than system engineers? Like a variation in color?

Tacops: like the redesign. Would suggest that Perscan button be looked into, and also putting back the "full zoom" button that zoomed you out all the way and oriented you in a top-down view of the grid. Wish list: have buttons that allow you to select a "mouse mode" for the grid (toggles for pan/rotate/zoom). I never have felt comfortable with the mouse control on that screen.

A couple times I selected a menu item but was informed that it wasn't available because "X was not on station." As a UI designer myself, I'd think that if one can tell at that point if its available, one could tell before that point as well. In general it is more helpful to disable unavailable commands in the first place ("ghost" it out or something) than to leave them available and honk at the user when they try to use it.

"Individualizationity-ification" of the shuttle/figher/missile controls on bridge. I like how you can clearly see everything you have in stock, and then with a second click eliminate the stock graphics and leave just the icon. Nice way of letting the user control clutter.

Preview mode for the Bridge comps -- yet another good idea.

Like the iconification of everything, somewhat easier to identify right out, though I'm still adjusting.

Oh, and your galaxy map pic that came with the demo ROCKS! Two thumbs up (more if I had extra smile.gif) to whoever drew that.

------------------

Cmdr Alan Mach

GCV Cavanagh

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Guest dnoyeB!

Perhaps a small view screen type of glass, translucent overlay window could slide out from the right containing a scrollable list of the selections. As a selection is made, the list is simply replaced with the new choices. This keeps it nice and small, plus its just 1 size, easy to manage. Of course this is a whole new batch of programming smile.gif Think of the ÔÇ£menuÔÇØ system in starcraft that changes as selections are made. I know its a static menu, and you have a dynamic one here, thatÔÇÖs why the scroll bars.

Maybe BCM v2, err GCO.

And IÔÇÖll stop riding the dead horse at this point.

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First of all, thanks for all the comments - but please refrain from posting wish list items. You'll just be wasting your time as they stand a 101% chance of being ignored. In time, your post will scroll and we'll all forget you ever wrote. I sure as hell will forget right after the first time I read it.

This game ships in a few months and NOTHING, outside of my current design/tasks, is going to change. NOTHING.

There. That should take care of that I think. I dunno who said that releasing a demo was a call for wishlist or design ideas - especially for a game that is supposed to be shipping by June.

Just to respond to some of the important stuff.

  1. Perscan is work in progress. The Tacops-like button bar is NYI. Had you actually READ the version control file, you'd have noticed the WIP letters in Red.

  2. Perscan and Tacops are part of the bridge primary sub-system (like NID/TACSCAN/CVD) and are in no way connected to the secondary sub-system (LOGISTIX/TACTICAL etc). So, they won't be in the drop-down menu. Has been this way since BC3K, back in 1996.

  3. I plan on reducing the size of the pop-up menu. Right now, it is one size so that it is still visible at any resolution. If you haven't played the game at 1280x1024, then you have no clue what am talking about. The default scale is for 640x480 as this is the default screen mode. At that size, it is still visible at higher resolutions, while looking large at the lower 640x480 resolution.

  4. Get your brain used to the menus being left-click. Don't plan on changing this. Ever.

  5. The 5 key on Tacops does a full zoom. Use it.

[This message has been edited by Supreme Cmdr (edited 03-20-2001).]

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quote:

Originally posted by Mongrol:

A point to SC. Betatesters do not complain about the interface. This is because they are seasoned players of BC, probably for years and have gotten used to it. Time moves on though, and design, in terms of accessability in gaming develops over years. Lessening the learning curve and making BCM more accessable to newbies (of which I am one) should be a priority.

To a certain degree, you are right. Actually, as the SC can tell you, we moan and groan about anything and everything that we don't like. cool.gif The real reason that we tend to ignore this issue is the same reason that the SC has put this on the back burner: It's a cosmetic fix. We're much more worried about things that actually break the game. It's not that the beta testers lean one way or another, we just don't really worry about it because it isn't really broke. When we get to the point where aesthetics becomes our biggest concern instead of helping Derek iron the wrinkles out, I'm sure you'll find a nice pot of flowers on the bridge of each command vessel and the lounge area of each starstation tastefully re-wallpapered. wink.gif

I should add that Derek really is concerned with the ability of the new commander to actually command. So even if your comments go unused, do not think that they go unconsidered.

------------------

Commander Tyrn Marcel

GCV Falcon, Wraith HQ (Lyrius)

Wing Leader - Wraith Fleet/S.O.G.

Hard, Fast, Furious... FIRST!

Official BCM Beta Tester Team-5 Co-Leader

[This message has been edited by Tyrn (edited 03-20-2001).]

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quote:


Had you actually READ the version control file, you'd have noticed the WIP letters in Red

Ah, yes...I do seem to recall reading that in the VC file. That's classic me, all the way -- I carefully read 100% of the docs and promptly forget 90%... cwm5.gif

quote:


Perscan and Tacops are part of the bridge primary sub-system (like NID/TACSCAN/CVD) and are in no way connected to the secondary sub-system (LOGISTIX/TACTICAL etc). So, they won't be in the drop-down menu. Has been this way since BC3K, back in 1996.

I knew there was probably a logical explanation. That "primary" vs. "secondary" explains it perfectly. Thanks for pointing out the distinction.

I look forward to the improved (smaller) menu visuals.

------------------

Cmdr Alan Mach

GCV Cavanagh

[This message has been edited by Joel Schultz (edited 03-20-2001).]

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quote:

So even if your comments go unused, do not think that they go unconsidered.


Don`t encourage me.

*Mongrol bends over, his back hissing, smoking, green bubbles arising... he lets out a gurgling throat clenching roar... oh no.. its the return of...

InterfaceCriticismMan

Gonna play with Tacops tonight.

Mongrol,

NewCommander,

InterfaceCriticismMan.

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quote:

Originally posted by Supreme Cmdr:

Tyrn is 100% right.

Oh good, I hear that the traders over on Centron Station have a huge selection of lounge wallpapers! wink.gif

------------------

Commander Tyrn Marcel

GCV Falcon, Wraith HQ (Lyrius)

Wing Leader - Wraith Fleet/S.O.G.

Hard, Fast, Furious... FIRST!

Official BCM Beta Tester Team-5 Co-Leader

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After spending a few hours with the demo last night I'm pretty excited about the context-sensitive mouse menus. It makes it feel like all the functionality is right there on the Bridge screen.

~Pio

------------------

Commander Pioneer

ICV-Striker, Spectre (Antis)

Spectre Fleet

"If you're thinking about losing, you're already dead."

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quote:

Originally posted by Mongrol:

A point to SC. Betatesters do not complain about the interface. This is because they are seasoned players of BC, probably for years and have gotten used to it.

Heh... That comment made me laugh... I'm still giggling while writing this. If you only knew... heh...

I believe that when the multiplayer comes down the pike, I'll be picked on more than just about any tester in the beta. What they don't know is that I've switched their regular brand of coffee with Foldger's Crystals. smile.gif

BTW: I am new to the BC universe and I complain constantly about interface and function. Once in a while something valid comes up, but it's rare. I'm sure Derek sees June bearing down on him so I'll cut him some slack. (Running away from the SC with hands covering head)

------------------

Guardian

Commander Greg Graham

UCV Devil's Advocate

External Beta Tester

Battlecruiser Millennium

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Guest

I for one liked the old interface better. But I'll survive. Sure hope for a choice of old interface/new interface on the final release. biggrin.gif

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