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Thread: Combat GUI Update (feedback please)

  1. #1
    Beloved Leader Chris's Avatar
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    Combat GUI Update (feedback please)

    We have a new coder joining the team shortly, and his role will be to implement some of the new weapons still to go in the game, and to put the new ground combat GUI in place for us. There's no guarantee that things will work out - even with the best of intentions, somewhere between half and two-thirds of the people that join the team don't stick around long enough to make a meaningful contribution. However, it means we need to have another look at the new combat GUI concept.

    The purpose of this thread is to help us finalise the layout and functionality of the ground combat GUI. It is not meant to provide a final visual appearence as we'll do another iteration with the finished art afterwards (though you can comment on that if you want). This GUI doesn't look very pretty at the moment and it's not meant to.

    If you've played the game and you have some comments about how we can make it easier to control the troops, please post them up here. A couple of suggestions like weapon reload buttons and access to grenades on the belt / backpack have been incorporated into the design, and if there are things I'm missing I'm happy to add them in too.

    Stylistically the final design is likely to a row of computer monitors along the bottom of a large wall-mounted screen in the Xenonaut base, from which the player is ordering his tactical team around. This should tie it into the new GUI style we're working on (as seen on the Main Menu).

    OK, so onto the concepts:
    http://www.xenonauts.com/devimages/CombatGUIV3_1.jpg
    http://www.xenonauts.com/devimages/CombatGUIV3_2.jpg

    The PSD file is available here for people who want to tweak the design themselves:
    http://www.xenonauts.com/devimages/CombatGUIV3.psd

    These are at minimum size. They would scale with the vertical width of the screen until they are about 25% larger, then the size would be capped and they'd just fill less of the screen width as the monitors grew larger.

    The planned functionality is as follows (from right to left):

    AP RESERVE:
    The AP Reserve slider selects the Reserve setting for the soldier selected. The selected setting will have the slider there and will be highlighted in orange. Settings where the soldier does not have enough AP to select will be shown in a darker grey. The number on the left represents the APs required to take a shot of that kind.

    WEAPON:
    As visible in the two screenshots, this box splits in two if a 1-handed weapon is equipped and is a single block if a 2-handed weapon is. The buttons in the bottom left represent single shot and burst fire mode, and the bottom right button allows the weapon to be reloaded without opening up the inventory. The top right number is the ammo level of the weapon.

    GRENADES:
    The two slots next to the weapon are for grenades. This displays up to two grenade types in the soldier's inventory (if more than two, the two which require the least AP to throw are displayed). Clicking on them brings up the fire cursor as if they were the selected weapon. The AP cost to fire includes the cost to unequip the current weapon and equip the grenade, then throw it. Not sure whether the soldier should automatically re-equip their weapon or just drop it on the floor afterwards?

    SOLDIER INFO:
    This is unchanged from before - the three bars show HP, AP and Morale. Colours yet to be determined.

    BACKPACK:
    This button will open the soldier inventory when clicked.

    SOLDIER SCROLL:
    These two buttons allow you to scroll to the next / previous soldier in the squad.

    END TURN:
    This is the red button. It ends the turn.

    MAP:
    This is the green button. It will open the battlefield map when one is implemented. Possibly just having a minimap would be more sensible? It'd take up more space though.

    CAMERA LEVELS:
    The up and down buttons here let you cycle through the battlefield view levels (ie. the levels of a building).

    SOLDIER SELECT:
    The row of soldier portraits along the top of the UI is there to make it easier to see the situation at a glance. All living soldiers will have their portrait in colour and dead / stunned ones will have it in grey. You can also see their available HP, TU and Morale at a glance. Clicking on a portrait would select the soldier, double clicking it would centre the screen on them.

    That's about it. Any questions or suggestions?
    Chris England - Xenonauts Project Lead
    chris@xenonauts.com
    @GoldhawkInt

  2. #2
    WishfullThinker Gorlom's Avatar
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    The camera levels are they the + and - buttons by the camera icon? Doesn't seem that intuitive compared to the last build. I guess it's more informative since it seems to tell you which elevation you are on atm.

    Instead of marking it with a camera could you mark it like the stacked boxes from the original xcom or something like that? I thought it was some kind of zoom function for close ups on female civilians or something? (since theres no femalesoldiers you couldnt be wanting to zoom in to ogle those =P)

    Edit: hmm wait... the camera thing seems to be in an old screenshot as well.. where is the elevation control in the updated gui?
    edit2: think i confused the next/previous soldier buttons in the old version for elevation control. I'm a bit confused as to what button does what right now =P


    And the portraits of your whole squad makes it look a bit cluttered imo. If you want to keep that in could you at least have a toggle for choosing between that and only showing their numbers?
    (for me atleast the whole squads portraits up there is going to take away a bit of the xcom feel and keep reminding me of some of the more horrible clones out there... somehow i just plain dont like it =( )
    Last edited by Gorlom; 01-03-2012 at 16:31.

  3. #3
    Great improvement I think. My two cents:

    - AP reserve: nice clear layout but is the setting going to be persistent between turns for each soldier? Generally when I switch it to a certain setting for a given soldier depending on their role, I want it to stay that way until I change it not have to reset it for each soldier each turn.

    - Grenades: agree that the AP cost should reflect switching away from main weapon, but think the weapon should be stowed rather than dropped. Too easy to walk away forgetting to manually pick it up otherwise - unless the picture of the weapon could be greyed out with an AP cost to get it out of the backpack again? This would have the advantage of taking less AP to throw subsequent grenades and giving a one click solution to switch back to main weapon.

    Soldier portraits: like them but they do clutter the screen a bit. Perhaps if they also gave info like which soldiers had eyes on an alien, generally physical state (how wounded rather than just greying out the unavailable ones) and panic the info available for the across the squad at a glance would be worth having them there all the time.

    Kneel button: missing in action? Or can I just not see it?

  4. #4
    Beloved Leader Chris's Avatar
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    Crap, I forgot the kneel buttons. Good point.

    For the soldier portraits, would people prefer it if I just put the number and the stat bars there, rather than all of portraits?
    Chris England - Xenonauts Project Lead
    chris@xenonauts.com
    @GoldhawkInt

  5. #5
    You could probably just have one kneel/stand up button if that helps streamline the look of the GUI.

    And don't get me wrong, I think the portraits are worth having on there if they just have a bit more info on them.

  6. #6
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    avec le fusil de sniper ne pourrait on pas choisir l endroit ou l on tire sur l alien avec un pourcentage de reussite suivant si cest le torse la tete les bras ou les jambes

  7. #7
    Commander Jean-Luc's Avatar
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    I like it. The only thing that comes to mind would be to make the "portrait bar" toggleable, there could be a small button in the bit of empty space to the right from the soldiers' rank/name. It's nice to be able to take in the scenery without something sticking out.

    Alternatively you could try to make use of the empty space on the sides like so:


    Right now the UI is a bit like a pyramid with the view being unobstructed in places where it doesn't matter much (the bottom corners) and then being encroached upon towards the middle of the screen which is prime real estate.

    PS: Maybe even auto-hide a la windows taskbar?
    Last edited by Jean-Luc; 01-03-2012 at 18:15.
    "This is a primitive culture. I am here to facilitate its incorporation"

  8. #8
    Captain Straker's Avatar
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    I like the AP Reserve slider as it also tells me how many APs I need for an action without having to mouse over a target. Does it automatically change the cost if you kneel (or is only accuracy affected)?
    "It's just lucky for her that an alien came through that door instead of her husband." - Cmdr. Ed Straker on UFO

  9. #9
    Captain Straker's Avatar
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    I forgot. One thing I don't like about the UI (old and new) is the soldier portrait does not show them with armour on. When I see the portrait I sometimes do a double-take and check to make sure I didn't forgot to armour them. As it is now, some are equipped with armour and some are not so its possible I may have forgotten someone.
    "It's just lucky for her that an alien came through that door instead of her husband." - Cmdr. Ed Straker on UFO

  10. #10
    WishfullThinker Gorlom's Avatar
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    For some reason jean-luc's solution to the squad portraits works alot better for me. If I have to have them onscreen I'd like to have them to the side like that.
    Though im struggeling to think of what you can have there instead if you (can) allow for the option to toggle them off? Just some kind of artist rendition of the xenonaut logo?)

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