UI Suggestions

By on January 26, 2013 11:55:27 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Darxim

Join Date 01/2013
+13

I made a list of UI suggestions, most that should be easy to implement (most could probably be modded in; I don't know how to mod), and would improve the gameplay. I am NOT making any balance suggestions, or requesting any new spells, units, equipment, whatever. These are all very specific and generally very small changes. These are not lised in any order, however I have categorized them.

These were written when playing version 1.2.


Build Window:

- When selecting something to build, show the resource change next to the number of current resources instead of replacing it. Currently you have to select something else that doesn't provide that resource in order to see what it is now, and then select what you want to build in order to see what the change will be. For example: If I select an Inn and it would raise my growth from 2 to 3, currently it just shows "Growth 3", but it should show "Growth 2 > 3", with the "> 3" being green, and > being a proper triangle graphic.

- Option to automatically bring up each city that finishes its production queue, city by city, at the beginning of the turn, like it does in Civilization.

- I'd like to see an Unrest subtotal in the tooltip which will show a negative number (perhaps in the tooltip).  This way I can judge if it's okay to remove Oppression or increase the tax rate.  Currently it bottoms out at 0, so I have to do the math manually.

- (Modal Window) - Allow mouseover tooltips on the main map area when the city build/train menus are up. Currently when you bring up build or train, you can no longer get mouseover tooltips for things on the map, but sometimes you need those to make your decision, so you have to close the build/train menus, get the tooltip, then go back to the build/train menu.




Combat:

- Speed up the death and knockdown animations, or allow the next turn in combat to proceed before the animation finishes. Some deaths take too long, and knockdown almost always takes too long (it's actually when they're getting back up, not getting knocked down, that takes so long). Shouldn't exceed 1 second of wait time.

- Have the game remember the last zoom level and camera angle used in combat, using that as the default for the next combat.

- Extend the action bar. Add more action buttons.  



Detail Windows:

- Allow the removal of enchantments in the unit detail window. I know it can be done through the Ledger, but this would both add convenience and would be more intuitive for new players.

- Show the Current XP/Required XP numerically in the unit detail window. It's currently only displayed in the tooltip in the selection window when mousing over the Level bar.

- Larger font for the text on stat tooltips (both for units and cities).  Really, never use that smaller font for anything useful.  Smaller fonts are for flavor text.

- In Unit Details, put CurrentHP/MaxHP like it is in the selection window.

- The City Detail window should also show stationed units.  Currently they're only displayed in the Selection Window, and that disappears when you open the detail window.  Or just keep the selection window displayed when the detail window is up, which might be a better solution.

- (Modal Window) Allow the city details window to be brought up without disabling access to the build/train menus and other elements of the game.

- Show the equipment slot an item would occupy when mousing over it.  For instance, a helmet should say "Head" in the tooltip somewhere when mousing over it.  I don't think there's currently a way to tell what slot an item occupies short of personal judgment.

- In the City Detail window, add a mouse-over tooltip to Population that tells what it's for.  It's the only stat in there that doesn't have a tooltip.

- In City Details, add a background for the enchantment icons instead of the transparency.  Because the background is very dark (nearly black) there, and some parts of some icons are black (like the hammer in Enchanted Hammers), this causes the icon to become partially invisible.  Adding a static background for each icon would remedy this problem.

- When cycling through units of an army in the detail view, and you have Equipment selected, keep it on "Equipment" view. Currently, if you cycle through a regular unit between champions, it switches to "Details" view, and you have to manually switch it back to "Equipment" view.

- In the Encumbrance tooltip, show the weight numbers for each level of encumbrance. For instance, a unit with a max Encumbrance of 50 would show Light as 0-19, Medium as 20-40, and Heavy as 41-50.  Really you could just show Medium's, because with that info it's really easy to figure out the others.  You'd only show Light and Heavy so people with OCD wouldn't freak out.

 


Event List:

- In the Event List, when it tells you there are enemies in your territory, show the small portraits of each army that's in your territory with it.  That makes it easier to see what's in your territory without clicking through it every turn.  When one is added, make the ring around the portrait pulse glow.  It would also be nice if the portraits of the enemies that leave faded out over 3 seconds at the beginning of the turn before disappearing (to make it more noticeable).

- When there are new enemies in your territory (enemies that weren't in your territory last turn), make the notification in the Event List pulse glow, or something different to make it noticeable that there are new enemies in your territory.  
   Sometimes there's one weak guy walking around your territory for a while, and you just don't have troops to go get him. He can't hurt you so you leave him.  However, you'll get notified that he's there every turn.  You start ignoring the notification for a while, then suddenly some random other monster's razing one of your towns.  If only I'd have know, I could have done something about it.  I'm not going to cycle through the enemies in my territory every turn.  That's tedious.

 


Empire Tree:

- Have two columns. The left column would be for units that have already moved, and cities that still have something in the construction queue. The right column would be for units that still have movement left, and cities that are idle. I'm not particular about which column quests go into, although I suppose it would make sense for them to fall under the right column. These columns would be right next to each other.

- Highlight (or use some other indicator) the currently selected unit/city on the Empire Tree.  When selecting a unit/city, if the Empire Tree has a scrollbar, scroll to that unit/city in the tree upon selection. Maybe have a little green triangle on the left side of whatever is selected, or the highlight box like when selecting a unit in tactical combat.

- The bar under each city icon in the Empire Tree should disappear when it's not producing anything, and then reappear when it is. Also, it should be darker so it stands out more when it's empty. Maybe not black, but darker.

- Increase the size of the zZZ, Produce Growth, Produce Research, and Produce Wealth icons in the Empire Tree.  And/or make them opaque (except for zZZ which pulses between opaque and transparent).  They are not obvious enough, especially when over a busy background.

 


General:

- Any numbers that have decimal places should be shown with one decimal place everywhere (except in the Resource List at the top of the screen). It doesn't make sense when I select something to build and the affected stat number increases from 1 to 1 (I was using Growth as this example before, but that is no longer a valid example).

- In the loading screen's Mana tip, it should mention that mana is a shared resource. I say this because shared mana is counter-intuitive to most RPG players.

- Tab is missing from the list of hotkeys in the instruction manual.  It does the same thing as U.  U and Tab should be listed separately from Home and End.  While both cycle through units, Home/End cycles through all units, while U/Tab only cycle through units that haven't moved and don't have destinations yet.  

- The Sovereign's profession should be listed in their abilities, rather than as a category header. People don't think to mouseover the header to find out what it does.

(TeeWeeHerman): When you have popup messages (like when a monster says something when it's standing next to you), add a "Go to event" button so I can actually see what is triggering this event.

- Quicksave should note that it saved the game when it's done.

- Modal Windows - Some windows that come up block access to information needed to make a decision, such as level-up windows. When a city or unit levels up (particularly city), you are blocked from accessing information outside of that window, information that you might need to make the choice in that window. These windows should either be changed from modal windows, or they should have an option to come back to them later.
  Making choices about leveling up do not need to be made at that moment. They can be made at any point during the turn. Even if you end the turn without leveling that unit/city, it's still something you can do the next turn, and not making the decision right away isn't going to give you any advantage (although you won't gain the benefits of having leveld up). For those level ups that have been skipped, an indication of a pending level up should be made on the Empire Tree (similar to the Zzz for idle cities).

- Assign static positions to the level up choices of a city. There's no reason to keep rearranging them like that. For instance, Town, Conclave and Fortress should always be in that order (or another order, I don't care as long as it's the same order every time).

- If a city's garrison is full, and you have a unit selected, the mouse cursor should change to red letters "NO SPACE" when mousing over that city, so you know immediately why you can't move your unit there.  The sound effect when you try to move a unit into the city is subtle, and generally unnoticeable when you're listening to heavy metal (I do keep my music volume down so I can hear the game sounds, but even then...).

- When someone is under attack, it should scroll to them. Currently, it scrolls to something else. I'm not sure what reasoning is behind what it does scroll to, but it seems like it's usually a city that just finished making something.

- Don't hide information on the screen when opening windows like the Govern window.  For instance, I want to see the power graph in the upper-right when I open then Govern window.  Currently it disappears when I open Govern.

 


Govern:

- Have an option to set your default starting tax rate (I always change mine to None on turn 1). 

- When sorting the Ledger, you should have the option to sort all the cities together, rather than just within their separate categories.

- Add columns for Materials, Population, and Food to the Ledger.

- Add buttons for Foreign Relations, Kingdom Report, and Ledger to the main view. You can have them go outside the minimap box. Keep the govern window the same, just add those buttons. This makes it more convenient to get into the view you want. 

- Show the tooltip explaining the benefits of a treaty when mousing over it in the Foreign Relations window, and also in the window when another faction proposes a treaty.  Currently you can only see the tooltip when you are proposing a treaty to someone, and only at the time of proposal.

(TeeWeeHerman): Make a summary diplomacy page where all the treaties I'm involved in are shown. Currently, I have to go through all the remaining factions, to get this information.  This could be added as a tab button to the Foreign Relations page (like Kingdom Report and Ledger have).

- Kingdom Report doesn't have enough room for 5 traits, only 4. Can't see the fifth.  You can have up to 7 because of the two 0-point armor-related ones.  Maybe just add a scrollbar if you have more than 4?



Hiergamenon:

- Don't auto-play videos in the Hiergamenon. It's distracting. At least let me stop the audio for it without closing the Hiergamenon.

- Alphabetize the Game Concepts.

- Provide a full explanation of Spell of Making in the Hiergamenon, including the prequisite for casting it (you have to build the towers, something you would only know if you read the description for Forge of the Overlord, and I think you have to have one of each shard). Also explain how to win by casting it (I finished casting it but I haven't won yet, and I don't know what to do), and that the casting unit cannot move during casting.

- Provide an explanation of an Economic Treaty.  It currently only has a very vague description, and I have no idea what it actually does.  Also add it to the manual, as it seems to be missing from the list of treaties.

- Add a list of hotkeys.  I know there's one in the manual, but having it in-game is much more convenient than opening a PDF.

- Expand information on improvements. The descriptions should at least contain the information that's in the mouseover tooltip, instead of the vague descriptions they currently have.  Also include pre-requisites, as I don't recognize all of those improvements listed, and I'm sure some of them are quest-related.

- The Economy article should explain that the tax rate is the only way to get money from anything in a city. However much gildar they produce per season, you only get a percentage of that equal to your tax rate. That's not explained anywhere, and it's rather confusing for new players when they make a building that says it gives them 2 gildar per season, and their income doesn't increase by 2. It took me a while to figure out what was going on there.

 

 

Movement:

- When a unit is moving in the strategical view, areas should be revealed as if I had moved that unit square-by-square. Currently, it only reveals at the location the unit stops moving.

- Area that is revealed as a unit passes through it should remain revealed until the end of turn. There is no reason to bring the fog back after you've passed by. Nothing's going to change until my turn is over unless I change it.

- (TeeWeeHerman): Allow square-by-square movement of the selected unit through use of the Numpad.  This would be both convenient, and allow a workaround for a few movement-related shortcomings in the current interface (for instance, moving onto a tile that has only a caravan for another faction on it; you currently can only do it by selecting a destination beyond that tile and hoping your unit stops on the way).

- Add a way to effectively re-enter the current tile without moving. Currently, if you enter a tile without triggering whatever's in it, you have to move out of the tile and then back in to trigger it. You need something to trigger it without moving out and back in.  Sometimes this situation is caused by a bug, but sometimes it's just caused by setting a destination beyond the tile in question, and your army just happened to run out of movement when passing through that square, and you noticed it before ending the next turn.  If the bug where your army automatically moves into the tile for combat so it doesn't trigger whatever's in it (usually the goodie bag), then this probably won't be worth implementing anymore, as the other situation is fairly rare.

- When units leave a town either because they finished training, settled the first city, or because I hit the V key, the units should appear on top of a city square. This way I can choose which direction they leave the city from. If not this, then at least don't use one of their movement points when they leave the city, or allow me to set an exit tile.  (Note: I'm not sure if it's supposed to do the latter already, and it's just bugged where it doesn't always work.)

- Do not tell me that only champions and sovereigns may visit points of interest when a unit spawns on one. That's confusing.  I didn't send that unit there.  It's also annoying because it will happen every time that city trains a new unit.

 

Research:

- In the Research selection window, color code the borders around the icons under each technology.  For instance, red for units, green for buildings, yellow for equipment, blue for spells, black for passives (aside from black, my example colors fit with colors already used in-game). 

- In the New Technology Researched window, add tooltips to when you mouse over items in the list of Unlocks. It currently does this for some things, but not all things.

- In the research selection window, the amount of research required for each technology should be displayed in the mouseover tooltip (the number of seasons is a better indicator to use, but sometimes it helps to know exactly how much research is needed).

 

 

Selection/Tooltip Window:

- When settling a new city, a large area of resource yields disappear from the map, but it's hard to tell that area before it's too late. Show that area when mousing over the Settle button. This can be done either by drawing a box on the map, or by hiding the resource yields that will disappear (except for the one on the square you'd be settling).

- Option to show Food, Population (without mousing over the level), Unrest, and Mana in a city's Selection Window.

- Add options to show additional stats such as Initiative and Level when mousing-over a unit (in both Strategical and Tactical views), and also for the selection window in Tactical view.

- Add an icon to the Selection Window that shows unit type, so I don't have to go into the detail view of each unit to see what unit type it is.

- Add an option to automatically open the Build/Train menu when selecting a city.

- Add an option to have both Build and Train menus come up at the same time, side by side. Either button would bring up both, or you could replace them with a single button.

- When a resource improvement can be built, add the construction duration either to the selection window, or to the mouseover tooltip for the Build button.

- The build button on a Gold Deposit should give the mouseover tooltip for Gold Mine, so we'll know exactly what it does.

- Change the tooltips of the shard icons in the top-right of the screen to NOT say they produce shards per turn. It currently sounds like it's a collectible resource, like iron or crystal, which it's not.

- Have the selection window update every time something happens that would affect its numbers. For instance, when you have a city selected and you enchant it with Inspiration, you should see the research increase without having to reselect it. Or if you cast Destiny's Insight on the selected champion, you should see their experience bar increase without reselecting them.




Strategic View:

- Have an option to keep the city HUDs on the cloth map. Currently when you zoom out to cloth map level, they disappear.

- Option to add information to the city HUDs, such as production, growth, unused food, stationed units, etc.

- In the cloth map, make resource yields appear over units. Currently you have to come out of the cloth map view to see the yields of the tile your Pioneer is currently on, because the Pioneer is blocking the icons for the yields.

- Have the game remember the last zoom level and camera angle used when saving the game, so when you load the game it has that same zoom level and camera angle.

- Put a small banner on each unit for the faction they belong to, like it is for cities only smaller.  This will help identify which faction a unit belongs to.  If they don't belong to a faction, then use that "Monsters and Ruffians" banner icon that you can see in the selection window.

- Make it so city HUDs don't cover up resource icons.  Sometimes you don't even know there's iron in the tile next to your city until you accidentally zoom out into the cloth map (and if city HUDs get added to the cloth map, that might not help anymore), because the city HUD was covering it up.  To fix it, you could program in the icons to shift position so they're not overlapping.  That could actually be a lot of work to implement, so maybe some other method.

- Add an option to keep all HUD icons at all zoom levels.

- Option to keep tile yield icons the same size at all zoom levels, like the HUD icons.

- When selecting a resource you can build on, indicate which city would be building it.  Basically, draw the dotted line before the first improvement is built on it. (This has since been improved to at least show which city is building it currently, even if it hasn't yet started production, so at least there is a way to determine it now; I just would like it without the extra step).

- There should be a visual representation of units stationed in a city on the city HUD. It doesn't have to represent the units that are stationed there, just that there are units stationed there. You would still need to click the city to see what's stationed there. I know there's a + on the Empire Tree, but I want something visible on the map.

- Swamps should be more obvious.

 

 

Unit Design:


- Larger text for Trait descriptions. Make it the same as the text for Equipment.

- In Unit Design, show what level of encumbrance the unit is currently at (light/medium/heavy) so we can tell what their initiative penalty is and design accordingly. Also show their maximum encumbrance.

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January 27, 2013 9:35:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Kongdej approves of this message...

All in all very good pointers, and I have been almost crying about the current UI implementations, lack of buttons, and vague information shown to the player, so thanks!
So many game concepts that I don't quite agree with, I can ignore if the UI is awesome.

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

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January 27, 2013 1:53:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

This is a great list of UI suggestions. They would go a long way into making the interface and gameplay more enjoyable!

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January 27, 2013 3:25:37 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

A large majority of these items would be quite useful in the game.  One has to wonder why the original devs left so many of them out (couldn't see the forest through the trees?).  Hope the GalCiv devs will be able to implement the majority of these items.

They should probably devote an entire upgrade just to the UI. 

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January 27, 2013 3:43:31 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Ambermonk,
They should probably devote an entire upgrade just to the UI.

I vote yes!

~ K

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January 27, 2013 4:50:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

An excellent post. Well thought out and clear.

One small question for you though... Can't you remove city enchants (your own at least) in the city details window by just clicking on the tiny X at the top of the essence circles each city enchantment icon is contained inside though? I don't mean to detract from your list in any way, however. And I honestly don't know how a player would know if any particular city has been cursed, because the AI doesn't seem far enough along to use such spells in my games. Or perhaps it has done so, but I failed to see any indicator.

The UI going as far back as WoM Beta has always been a very fuzzy thing without as much clarity as Civilization, Warlock Master of the Arcane, or other comparable strategic games. Which is ironic in a way because Stardock does clean desktop skins as their other business!

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January 27, 2013 4:52:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The current UI is quite an annoying mess at times. If there are development resources left for the game I'd allocate first priority to fixing the UI. I know, I know, everyone at the forums thinks it's balance or fixing gameplay paths or such thats most needed.. but no. It's just the power gamers that want that, the casual gamer needs first a good UI before they even can know of the game under it is any good.

 

Good starting post overall. Especially for the empire tree any fix is welcome, at the moment it advocates towards 5 armies 5 cities gameplay..

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January 27, 2013 5:10:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@TBS Gamer:  You are correct.  I guess I'd just assumed that since you couldn't do it in the Unit Detail window, you couldn't do it in the City Detail window, either.  I'll update my post.

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January 28, 2013 8:50:59 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Adding two new ones.  It occurred to me that new posts will help keep track of what's been added to the list.  I'm still going to update the OP.

- The "Who are you?" selection screen should have four categories for specification: Sovereign, Race, Faction, and Unique Equipment. Sovereign would be just the traits that the sovereign has. Race would be traits for your sovereign and produced units. Faction would be the traits that apply to everything yours. Unique Equipment would be the same as it is now. This will clear up confusion about what bonuses apply to what during selection.

- In the research selection window, the amount of research required for each technology should be displayed in the mouseover tooltip (the number of seasons is a better indicator to use, but sometimes it helps to know exactly how much research is needed).

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January 28, 2013 9:40:45 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There is some really good suggestions in this lot, nice post Darxim.

Hoping the lads at Stardock will have a good look at this.

I like Ambermonks suggestion about devoting a patch just to UI stuff, not a bad idea that.

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January 28, 2013 10:52:29 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

 ad infinitum to the idea of a UI focused patch.

I keep looking back to this game with each patch to see if the UI changes I want are in, and am always disappointed.

The current UI of this game is holding me back from really diving in.

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January 30, 2013 3:32:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Adding 3 more.

- Add an option to automatically open the Build/Train menu when selecting a city.

- Add an option to have both Build and Train menus come up at the same time, side by side. Either button would bring up both, or you could replace them with a single button.

- Add an option to keep HUD icons at all zoom levels.

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February 1, 2013 2:00:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Added a few things today:

- Larger font for the description text on stat mouseover tooltips (both for units and cities).  Really, never use that smaller font for anything useful.  Smaller fonts are for flavor text.

- In Unit Deatils, put CurrentHP/MaxHP like it is in the selection window.

- Expand Hiergamenon information on improvements. The descriptions should at least contain the information that's in the mouseover tooltip, instead of the vague descriptions they currently have.

- Add Hiergamenon articles for Influence and Prestige to Game Concepts. Explain how to get them and what they're used for.
Searching around for this information is a pain. At best it should include a list of each way to get it, and each thing you can use it for.

- I'd like to see an Unrest subtotal on my cities, which will show a negative number (perhaps in the tooltip). This way I can judge if it's okay to remove Oppression or increase the tax rate.

- Add Food to the Ledger.

In City Details, the background color of the enchantment icons is black instead of their normal color. This causes some to appear different, such as the hammer for Enchanted Hammers becoming invisible.  They should retain their normal background color that you see elsewhere.

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February 1, 2013 2:15:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Would you mind me suggesting a few things that should be fixed?

Keyboard movement: I would love to be able to use the NumKeyPad to move units

Make modal windows not modal: I want to access some information screens before I make decisions.

When you have popup messages (like when a monster says something when it's standing next to you), add a "Go to event" button so I can actually see what is triggering this event

I'd prefer separate "Gildar" and "Research" production items (like in Civ4); this way, I can easily see the difference between an idle city and a city I've set to make Research from the bar on the left. You can have the city default to making Research or Guildar for a single turn (for a Conclave or a Town / Fortress) so as to not penalize a player too much if he forgets about it anyway.

Make keyboard shortcuts for all ledger pages

Make a summary diplomacy page where all the treaties I'm involved in, are summed up. Now, I have to go through all the remaining factions, to get this information.

Make the owner of a ZoC-tile visible from the tile info-widget (bottom right of the default screen).

Recolour the factions: Ythril - Resoln and to a lesser extent Pariden look too much alike. Same goes for Umber and Kraxis; Magnar and Capitar. Also, some of the wildland-factions also look like a faction if you're not careful.

Improve the Hiergamenon. Make more links, for example from the resource to the improvement. Also, make more links from other places to the Hiergamenon, for example, from the research pages to relevant items. Take inspiration from Civ4 here.

 

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February 1, 2013 2:21:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting TeeWeeHerman,
Recolour the factions: Ythril - Resoln and to a lesser extent Pariden look too much alike. Same goes for Umber and Kraxis; Magnar and Capitar. Also, some of the wildland-factions also look like a faction if you're not careful.

Shameless promotion, check out this mod:

http://forums.elementalgame.com/436151

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February 1, 2013 3:04:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@TeeWeeHerman:  I added some of your suggestions.  I paraphrased some of them to be clearer.  The others I have questions about before I add them.  

Can you elaborate on the modal window issue?  

In regards to the Gildar/Research suggestion, are you simply suggesting that you can set a Conclave+ city to research so that it doesn't appear idle in the Empire Tree (that's what they call the bar on the left) while you're purposefully using it for research?  What's that bit about the Gildar?  I haven't played through all the various city levels, so I don't know all that's there.  If you're suggesting anything that actually changes gameplay, it would need to go into another thread, as this one is only for adjusting the interface.

I'm still trying to think of how to word the recoloring suggestion, but I will add it.  mqpiffle's mod is nice, though.

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February 1, 2013 3:05:30 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Also, I don't know why it decided to make your name a link (apparently to nowhere) in the OP.  I didn't set it that way, it just did it on its own.

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February 1, 2013 3:55:56 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Boogeytroll,
The current UI is quite an annoying mess at times. If there are development resources left for the game I'd allocate first priority to fixing the UI. I know, I know, everyone at the forums thinks it's balance or fixing gameplay paths or such thats most needed.. but no. It's just the power gamers that want that, the casual gamer needs first a good UI before they even can know of the game under it is any good.

Let's also note that the 'casual' gamer is where the money is at.  Casual gamers are not going to buy a game that has a frustrating UI and frequently crashes.  Turn-based games are not as profitable as other types of games to start with so Stardock already has one strike against them - so, here is my suggestion to the new (and improved) dev team...

PRIORITY ONE: Clean up the UI and the crashes!

 

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February 1, 2013 4:15:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Darxim,
@TeeWeeHerman:  I added some of your suggestions.  I paraphrased some of them to be clearer.  The others I have questions about before I add them.  

Can you elaborate on the modal window issue?  

In regards to the Gildar/Research suggestion, are you simply suggesting that you can set a Conclave+ city to research so that it doesn't appear idle in the Empire Tree (that's what they call the bar on the left) while you're purposefully using it for research?  What's that bit about the Gildar?  I haven't played through all the various city levels, so I don't know all that's there.  If you're suggesting anything that actually changes gameplay, it would need to go into another thread, as this one is only for adjusting the interface.

I'm still trying to think of how to word the recoloring suggestion, but I will add it.  mqpiffle's mod is nice, though.

Correct on Conclave -> adding research bonus when idle. And indeed, the main point is not to have them show up idle in the Empire Tree. I sort of remembered something about towns doing the same for money, but that may've been a brain fart. I was not suggesting a new gameplay mechanic.

Modal windows: dialogs you must complete before you can do anything else. Most eyecatching is the city levelling window. I sometimes don't remember which city is which just from the name, so I want to scroll to see it on the map / open the city detail window. I cannot do either, I must choose the levelling-option before I can do anything else. Same goes for the hero-levelling screen. I'm not sure if there are other modal windows in the game: these annoy me the most so they get noticed.

 

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February 1, 2013 7:35:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Towns might do that, but if they do, it's undocumented (as far as I've seen), although a lot of things in the game are undocumented, so that wouldn't be a surprise.  If they do work like that, then it's only with the tax rate up (mine is set to None most of the time, and apparently you don't get money from anything when it's set to that, regardless of what it says).  Part of the reason I was asking was because there's a lot about the game I don't know yet, which is the secondary reason I haven't made a thread for balance/gameplay suggestions (the main being I'd rather see bugs and UI issues fixed first).

Ah, I know what you're talking about with the modal windows now.  Yeah, that really bugs me, too.  I'm surprised I haven't added that to my list, yet.  Thanks for bringing it up.

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February 1, 2013 8:08:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Personally, I don't like "Modal Windows", items I have to deal with NOW, not the way its implemented in FE anyways, hero levelups should be minimize-able so I can check whatever, or just do something else first, same with city-levelup screens.

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

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February 1, 2013 8:34:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What other modal windows are there so I can point them out?

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February 1, 2013 9:10:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@TeeWeeHerman:  I figured out what you were talking about with the gildar.  Building a Tax Office in a town gives you a bonus to gildar when the city is idle.  The Tax Office does require a Town to be built.  The Treasury Vault, too (although you can only build one of those).

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February 2, 2013 5:17:32 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm glad I'm not growing senile and you've figured out the Tax Office -> Gildar thing. I've only had one town-heavy game where I had more than 1 town that had Tax Offices.

The modal windows I know about are:

  • City levelling
  • Hero levelling
  • Messages from monsters
  • Diplomatic offers

Maybe others; I'll take a note when I play the game next.

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February 2, 2013 8:06:54 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Darxim,
What other modal windows are there so I can point them out?

Was thinking about Combat windows.

It all depends and all that, I just don't like them (I can live with the combat ones though )

Some are less important like monster messages, and wildland popups so you can just click quickly past them though, still a bad idea
Just expressing my hate for these items.

Sincerely
~ Kongdej

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February 4, 2013 12:39:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I've been keeping a list in notepad.  I wanted to go back through and edit them before posting, but now that I'm in the work week, I figured I'd just post them here, and then I can edit them and update the OP while I'm at work later (I work nights).

 

- The bar under each city icon in the Empire Tree should disappear when it's not producing anything, and then reappear when it is. Also, it should be darker so it stands out more when it's empty. Maybe not black, but darker.

- Quicksave should note that it saved the game when it's done.

- Some windows that come up block access to information needed to make a decision, such as level-up windows. When a city or unit levels up (particularly city), you are blocked from accessing information outside of that window, information that you might need to make the choice in that window. These windows should either be changed from modal windows, or they should have an option to come back to them later. Making choices about leveling up do not need to be made at that moment. They can be made at any point during the turn. Even if you end the turn without leveling that unit/city, it's still something you can do the next turn, and not making the decision right away isn't going to give you any advantage. For those level ups that have been skipped, an indication of a pending level up should be made on the Empire Tree (similar to the Zzz for idle cities).

- When designing UI elements, keep in mind that most (if not all) of us have widescreen monitors. We've got lots more space on the sides than at the top and bottom. This is a top-down game, basically, so the sides should really be utilized more.

- Allow the city details window to be brought up without disabling access to the build/train menus and other elements of the game.

- Allow mouseover tooltips on the main map area when the city build/train menus are up. Currently when you bring up build or train, you can no longer get mouseover tooltips for things on the map, but sometimes you need those to make your decision, so you have to close the build/train menus, get the tooltip, then go back to the build/train menu.

- The Economy article should explain that the tax rate is the only way to get money from anything in a city. However much gildar they produce per season, you only get a percentage of that equal to your tax rate. That's not explained anywhere, and it's rather confusing for new players when they make a building that says it gives them 2 gildar per season, and their income doesn't increase by 2. It took me a while to figure out what was going on there.

- When a resource improvement can be built, add the construction duration either to the selection window, or to the mouseover tooltip for the Build button.

- When cycling through units of an army in the detail view, and you have Equipment selected, keep it on "Equipment" view. Currently, if you cycle through a regular unit between champions, it switches to "Details" view, and you have to manually switch it back to "Equipment" view.

- The build button on a Gold Deposit should give the mouseover tooltip for Gold Mine, so we'll know exactly what it does.

- When selecting a resource you can build on, indicate which city would be building it.  Basically, draw the dotted line before the first improvement is built on it.

- Assign static positions to the level up choices of a city. There's no reason to keep rearranging them like that.  For instance, Town, Conclave and Fortress should always be in that order (or another order, I don't care as long as it's the same order every time).

- Have the option to set a city to idle productively if it has a Tax Office or upgraded to Conclave. This option would change the "Zzz" on the Empire Tree to something else. Add a faded coins icon for towns, and leave the research icon for conclaves, just hide the Zzz when the option is set. This way you won't confuse them with cities that you actually want building stuff, but you can still see that they're idle (albeit productively).

- Change the descriptions of the shard improvements to NOT say they produce shards per season. It currently sounds like it's a collectible resource, like iron or crystal, which it's not.

- There should be a visual representation of units stationed in a city. It doesn't have to represent the units that are stationed there, just that there are units stationed there. You would still need to click the city to see what's stationed there. I know there's a + on the Empire Tree, but I want something visible on the map.

- Add a way to effectively re-enter the current tile without moving. Currently, if you enter a tile without triggering whatever's in it, you have to move out of the tile and then back in to trigger it. You need something to trigger it without moving out and back in.

- When units leave a town either because they finished training, settled the first city, or because I hit the V key, the units should appear on top of a city square. This way I can choose which direction they leave the city from. If not this, then at least don't use one of their movement points when they leave the city.

- Have the selection window update every time something happens that would affect its numbers. For instance, when you have a city selected and you enchant it with Inspiration, you should see the research increase without having to reselect it. Or if you cast Destiny's Insight on the selected champion, you should see their experience bar increase without reselecting them.

- If a city's garrison is full, and you have a unit selected, the mouse cursor should change to red letters "NO SPACE" when mousing over that city, so you know immediately why you can't move your unit there.

- When someone is under attack, it should scroll to them. Currently, it scrolls to something else. I'm not sure what reasoning is behind what it does scroll to, but it seems like it's usually a city that just finished making something.

- In Unit Design, show what level of encumbrance the unit is currently at (light/medium/heavy) so we can tell what their initiative penalty is and design accordingly. Also show their maximum encumbrance.

- There are three different buildings in the game called "Monument". Change two of them, and make sure to change each to an unused name.

- Knowledge is both a tradeable resource and a technology, however the two are unrelated to each other. One should be renamed. Barely anyone knows about the tradeable resource, so I would change that. Maybe call it Information, or Researched Data.

- Swamps should be more obvious.

- Sometimes a tile says it's one terrain type, but it looks like another. This is particularly a problem when you see a plains, but it's really a forest or swamp.

- Kingdom Report doesn't have enough room for 5 traits, only 4. Can't see the fifth.  You can have up to 7 because of the two 0-point armor-related ones.  Maybe just add a scrollbar if you have more than 4?

- Add a better indication of which unit/city is currently sellected in the Empire Tree. Maybe have a little green triangle on the left side of whatever is selected. That would be subtle but noticeable, and there's nothing currently in that margin, anyway.

- Do not tell me that only champions and sovereigns may visit points of interest when a unit spawns on one. That's confusing.  I didn't send that unit there.  It's also annoying because it will happen every time that city trains a new unit.

- Add the Casting Time and Cooldown to the spell descriptions, tooltips, and the PDF with all the spells in it.

 

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