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mazex

Proposal for UI (increase size of soldier panels)

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Hi,

Been around since the original X-COM (and before). I really like turn based tactical games but my daytime work as a Software Development Manager takes too much time so I did unfortunately not read about Xenonauts until the GOG giveaway. Love the game and have pledged in the Kickstarter for Xenonauts 2 now. Really looking forward to it!

Playing the Tech Demo (and yes I understand it is an alpha), I realized that the soldier panels are way too small for me at least (and thats only on 1920x1080). I was looking for a UI-scaling option with no luck. For me the vertical bars representing health / action points etc are too small. Especially the action points bar is very important when planning your moves.

Did some quick edits to show what I mean:

1 - The way it looks now in the tech demo:

0-original-small.thumb.png.ce99a6a8a471a33890a977f363bb55e4.png

2 - The easiest "fix" - Just scale up the soldier panels

1-bigger-small.thumb.png.a5961b85d974828f7a1a6b512709aa6a.png

3 - OR change them a bit putting the bars horizontal for more granularity. And for example add the name as you often want to select a specific soldier..

2-other_small.thumb.png.8ed0eaf1785a62195a33e969bd480735.png

4 - EDIT: Added another one with flags and "compressed". Maybe a bit bloated...

3-flags_small.thumb.png.cdf0e52fc946e5378fd71523f548f9a9.png

5 - EDIT: A final one after discussion in this thread with TU on top as that really is the most important one and soldier numbers for shortcuts. Did this one "mid turn". Ibra next in line ;)

5-numbers_small_B.thumb.png.fe82ce02cc5d08bd8a0ce7b7405027e5.png

6 - Final cut with background for the names and flags on the same row as the gun

6-RC2.png.6b820707aac514e506131f96f652f9f7.png

 

Good luck with the game!

 

Edited by mazex
Final option with flags on the same row as the guns
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Yeah, the problem here is that later on in the game you'll have more soldiers and ideally we want them all the soldier minitabs on a single row.

We're working on an update UI design at the moment and we've not got the ground combat yet, but when we do I imagine we may move away from the "thick border" approach to those little minitabs. There's a lot of unusable space for each because the border is so wide on all sides. Hopefully that will give us the extra size we need without actually filling more space.

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I concur that switching from horizontal bar to vertical bar will improve the display.  Not all three bars need to be horizontal; I think the TU bar is most important.

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57 minutes ago, Chris said:

Yeah, the problem here is that later on in the game you'll have more soldiers and ideally we want them all the soldier minitabs on a single row.

We're working on an update UI design at the moment and we've not got the ground combat yet, but when we do I imagine we may move away from the "thick border" approach to those little minitabs. There's a lot of unusable space for each because the border is so wide on all sides. Hopefully that will give us the extra size we need without actually filling more space.

Thanks for your reply. Did not know there would be more than 8 soldiers - that's nice.

Added another proposal in the original post just for fun with flags (like in another game - actually good to remember who is who). Also compressed it so that it takes less space than the current one actually.

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23 minutes ago, Sheepy said:

I concur that switching from horizontal bar to vertical bar will improve the display.  Not all three bars need to be horizontal; I think the TU bar is most important.

Agree - and thinking of what you said I did another edit with the TU fat on top... 

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The key piece of information currently missing from those minitabs is actually the soldier number, as that's also their hotkey. We had that in X1 and need to add it back in to the minitabs in X2 too.

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Yeah, been missing the numbers.

I'd love to have additional info when hovering cursor over minitabs. Something like this:

C9oAvWW.png

You could also add the nationality like in the community edition. I kinda liked that. There could also be status symbols like bleeding, stunned, mind controlled etc.

Edited by Skitso
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I think flags are a must next to the soldier name. It's a big improvement for immersion and making your soldiers more personable, while also needing very little artist or programmer time.

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2 hours ago, Chris said:

The key piece of information currently missing from those minitabs is actually the soldier number, as that's also their hotkey. We had that in X1 and need to add it back in to the minitabs in X2 too.

OK - squeezed that into my original post with another proposal :)

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Updated the last option (5) with a bit smaller bars and "mid turn" state that better shows what it would look like in the game. I feel that it would make playing the game a lot easier for me at least as it's all about keeping track of TU when playing.

Zoomed in below

Prop5zoom.png.984e2ac9d619b59a26ee80e2e5495f76.png

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Nice idea, but for me that looks way too busy. I'm really struggling to find a solution that looks clean but also displays all the relevant information. Better place for flag is next to the name in the main UI, it's a bit too much in the minitab I think.

 

Edited by Skitso

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Agree that it is really way to much information in that small box - and the flag is the "least" relevant. But I do think that it's nice for that "bond" with your soldiers (and the names can be a bit hard to remember but "Eeales from Ireland" helps the brain).

So another alternative below with the flag on the same row as the weapon image, getting more space for long names (or some other icon in the top right corner showing states like "supressed" or similar).

6-zoom.png.f92cfb1daa5b6dc32c937063873410c9.png

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How about this: the minitabs are minimalistic on default, and when mouse hovering, it displays more info?

h9NswE0.png

Minitab could also be removed while details are displayed so there's no duplicate information on screen.

avqoudw.png

Edited by Skitso
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5 minutes ago, Skitso said:

How about this: the minitabs are minimalistic on default, and when mouse hovering, it displays more info? Minitab could also be removed while details are displayed so there's no duplicate information on screen.

 

h9NswE0.png

Mmm - I definately like the hover info. The problem for me at least is that I just want to visually scan the row without moving the mouse over them to find "Zlatan" for example as I want him to lead. 

Therefore I would like to have the names in the mini panels. Otherwise with two snipers I need to hover over them to see who is my favorivte Ace. And then we do end up with "board game counter". But I do like those ;)

Did some more editing on my "crowded counters" and removed some box around the flag and added a background for the name... 

6-RC2.png.fe53ee92fa6b73ce1f25c47851caad46.png

 

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I'm not keen on putting the flag in the minitab; it's not critical information by any stretch of the imagination. I also don't consider the name important - and even if you do, the problem is the lack of space even if you're using a small font like in your attached image (and trust me here, people don't like tiny fonts!). The name "Ibrahimovic" might be 10 letters long but three are "I"s, which are much thinner than any other letter. I think you'd struggle with some of the longer Russian names etc in that setup.

I suspect something like Skitso's first image will be close to what we go with. It's usually pretty easy to remember which soldier is which from their number and weapon I think, and being able to hover through them to get additional info (like you could in X1) means you can find a precise soldier easily with only slightly more effort.

One that is worth noting from mazex's update design though is the way the TU bar is at the top and seperated out from the other bars. The remaining TU of a soldier is probably the single most important thing to display and right now we don't do a great job of that.

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Is there any reason the minitabs have to fit across in one horizontal row, or can they start another row above the first if there are too many soldiers for the horizontal space?

Support for mods that allowed absurd/realistic numbers of soldiers on certain types of mission would be great.

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I really like Mazex's design. When I play I don't think of my soldiers as weapons or numbers, I'm not moving a team consisting of shotgun, rifle and sniper into position, or numbers three, five, and eight. I usually think of their names first, then what weapon they're carrying. Typically I tie each name to a particular weapon, i.e, the same two people are always snipers. Having all the information, name, number and weapon on the screen in a single panel would make it so much easier to select and plan who goes where rather than having to hover my mouse over a weapon image. The flags are a really nice touch. I know its not information that can be considered critical to the game mechanics, or design, but it just makes it all a bit more real. It's a detail that contributes to the fantasy of an international team of soldiers. I find this hard to explain, in the first Xenonauts, by the end of the game, it was like I had a bond of some kind with the soldiers, I knew their names, strengths, weapons they used, when one of them died it was a a serious blow. They weren't just numbers on a keyboard. I played so carefully, I never saved the game to raise the emotional stakes. To have more information about them, even a country flag, I just think it would be really nice. It's like dungeons and dragons, we're choosing to enter a fantasy, the more real you can make the fantasy appear, the more details you can give us, the better it is.

Also when you start playing it's easier to remember who has what when you have a unique visual identifier that's more than just a weapon symbol, e.g I know Jackson from the U.S is my sniper, or Carter from Brazil has the shotgun, use her to storm that shack.

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13 hours ago, Chris said:

I'm not keen on putting the flag in the minitab; it's not critical information by any stretch of the imagination. I also don't consider the name important - and even if you do, the problem is the lack of space even if you're using a small font like in your attached image (and trust me here, people don't like tiny fonts!). The name "Ibrahimovic" might be 10 letters long but three are "I"s, which are much thinner than any other letter. I think you'd struggle with some of the longer Russian names etc in that setup.

I suspect something like Skitso's first image will be close to what we go with. It's usually pretty easy to remember which soldier is which from their number and weapon I think, and being able to hover through them to get additional info (like you could in X1) means you can find a precise soldier easily with only slightly more effort.

One that is worth noting from mazex's update design though is the way the TU bar is at the top and seperated out from the other bars. The remaining TU of a soldier is probably the single most important thing to display and right now we don't do a great job of that.

Well - I can agree that the flags are really not "relevant" - but I just finished playing through XCOM2 and in my head the soldiers are "Kobe - the sniper from Japan", "Jojjo - the heavy weapons guy from Sweden" etc. Having said that I agree that it can be in the soldier detail panel below when selected - but there it does make sense for many I think for that "bond" to the soldiers. When you look at some sniper the name "Aerts" may not connect - but with the flag from Belgium next to it you remember who it is... For me at least that works very well for adding immersion in some strange way.

But - I did another proposal for the sake of it. Don't want to get rid of the names as it just becomes a bunch of numbers otherwise. Zlatan, the sniper from Sweden will not get number 4 every time so with two snipers in the team they become very anonymous... Often in XCOM2 at least I always knew that Jojjo (the heavy weapons guy from Sweden) carried some special grenades etc - so you want to find him and not the other guy.

With the new proposal below I removed the M16 icon that takes way too much space. Just did some quick "icons" for infantry with chevrons, bullets for heavy, circle for shotgun (not happy with that) and crosshair for sniper. In 10 minutes so yes they are there for the idea ;) And with this proposal there is even less space for the name - but I would like the option that XCOM2 has with "nicknames / callsigns". That way you can have a nickname limited at 8 characters and call them "Jojjo" or similar (he had a longer real name I don't remember).

Edit - adding the way it looks right now in the Alpha below for comparison...

9.png.393a839cce798675b2555799a752b369.png

0-original-zoom.png.204519f7406067f617f3ed1d2326a298.png

 

Edited by mazex
EDIT... Had to do the "selected" soldier as well...
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The entire UI needs improving and modernising IMO. Some sort of floating slightly transparent windows with thin boarders(slightly spaced from each respective slot) and possibly segregating the portraits, weapons and end turn menus on different parts the screen. For eg the soldier portraits could be front and center at the bottom with all the associated info with a mix of skito and mazex's ideas(this will give you all the space you need), bottom left could be your weapons , secondary slot, grenades ect, and the bottom right could be end turn, open game menu and a few others clearly separated from the center point portraits. The current thick border and larger UI symbolizes a "theme" which is a little old school and will age very poorly. 

Horribly done example, but with the right alignment, windowing and sizing it would look good. Could even squeeze it in a bit so it doesn't take the entire bottom of the screen. Included is a the transparent window effect I was speaking about, but with obvious changes to feel like Xenonauts.

xenonauts-2-0117-03.jpg.fd06b3af9c1db9a28b20037f45675bd8.jpg

gfhnk.jpg

Edited by roxxed

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Mmm Roxed - your idea of moving away the stuff to the side seems like a good way to do it. I mainly want more information on the screen so that would make it possible. Looking at many other games it is a pretty common way of doing it.

Having said that I have no major problem with the X1 UI - and I like the retro feel of it that fits the game. I mainly want a bit more info without clicking / hovering over a unit. And as everyone (?) these days runs 1920x1080 or higher resolutions there is space for a bit bigger panels?

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13 hours ago, mazex said:

And as everyone (?) these days runs 1920x1080 or higher resolutions there is space for a bit bigger panels?

Higher resolution does not mean bigger screen estate for UI elements.  Screen size does.  All flagship smartphones has 3K or 4K resolutions, but that doesn't mean we can fit more buttons onto the the small screens.

Apart from shifting things to corners, I think we also need floating label above everyone.  I'm making a full UI mockup but it'll take a while to finish.

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When UI elements use fixed sizes then higher resolution definitely means more screen estate, unless you purposefully play at lower resolutions and upscale it of course. Though in general that's why unscalable fixed resolution UI assets are a terrible idea in the first place because there's plenty of weird situations where people might have super high resolution screens on a small size meaning the UI would be impossible to read because it's so small.

 

Honestly the best idea would be that the UI is modular and flexible so you can move things around as well as scale either the entire UI or specific pieces as you prefer, though likely going to be a bit more time consuming to create.

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Sorry, but why are the firemodes displayed in the UI the way it is?

image.png.313c53380257ed1cc3b43d73e7fe5104.png

I think the system it works is very similar to Jagged Alliance. Using TU will increase accuracy and so the chance to hit. Is it not enough to have just the TU number and hit chance shown above the enemy? If needed maybe with the description "snap, normal, aimed, ...) 

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Work in Progress. I'm shamelessly using my own inventory proposal (two weapons + gadget(s)) because the size fit quite well.

X2 UI

 

Edited by Sheepy
Fix some image details
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