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Chris

New Combat UI Discussion & Feedback

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new_ui.png

We've introduced a new UI to the ground combat missions, which you can see in the above image. This thread is where you can give us feedback on it and suggest further improvements - we're unlikely change the layout too much, but I'm sure there's quite a few little usability changes and fixes that could be made. I'm predominantly interested in feedback from people who have played the game and used it here, as theorycrafting isn't that useful when it comes to interface design.

Two things to note - first, you can right-click on a fire mode button to reserve TU for it. Secondly, the End Turn button hasn't been styled yet because it only moved down to the bottom right of the screen yesterday, so that'll get a visual update in the next major build.

Overall we'd like to hear what people think this new UI makes easier to manage, and if there's anything you can't figure out how to do or that is frustrating about it (or just doesn't work properly). It won't be perfect right away but hopefully after a few iterations everyone will find it an improvement over what we had before!

 

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Posted (edited)

Cant really comment on the gameplay(as I dont have access), but visually loving the clean look with sharp pin stripe modern edges yet still maintaining the X1 vibe. I think adding a little transparency here and there(in the gun and medi box, and the red target/grenades boxes)could smooth it out a bit although I could be alone on this.

Edited by roxxed

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Tried it out, just some short notes:

  • the buttons in the upper right are not really self explenatory, I actually clicked them to find out what they do. (For example, I somehow assciated the +/- buttons with time speed from other games, then thought does not make sense because it is turn based and clicked them to find out that it changes the layer of the level to move/shoot to, so it is the same that only mouse wheel did before). At least nothing bad happens if you click them without knowing what they do. (For example, the abort mission button opens the popup first). I think there should be some mouseover popups that explain that the button does.
  • other than that, I think the game needs thes buttons because otherways some players may not even find out that some option like turning the view exists or that they do have a ways to get out of a mission without winning or loosing all the troops.
  • A clear advantage over the old UI is that it is possible to see all the actions a soldier can do and the associated TU cost immediately without having cycle through grenades for example to find out. First seconds I launched ground mission I was confused where to find the buttons, but then I found them and immediately started using them intuitively.
  • I did not really use the new preview of TU left by mouse over an action, yet. But this is probably just because I am just too used to selecting an action, mousing over map and guessing/calculating in my head if TU are enough to do another action after that. (Because playing X1 and the closed betas before). Ideally someone who never played Xenonauts should maybe test this...

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As I said, this thread is intended for people who have used the new UI to comment on how it could be improved. This is a place to discuss if any functionality from the old UI has been lost and could be replaced, or whether we could make usability tweaks to what we now have in order to make things easier for a player to understand or use.

This isn't a place to suggest we throw away the entire UI and interaction model and replace it with something else, or adding functionality that requires a whole bunch of extra features to properly support. We don't have the development budget to do that even if we wanted to (which we don't).

I'm going to hide off-topic posts in this thread (sorry TrashMan and Wulf) because this is an important thread for us to gather feedback that I'm going to be linking to in various news updates and I don't want it to get derailed.

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I'm not suggesting that. I'm not saying "change UI to JA2"

I'm saying "this element of JA2 UI (fire modes selection) could mesh well with what you have". Basically, remove the fire mode options above the gun and implement them into the crosshair, as it frees more screen space. But it's a non-issue, as long as the UI is usable and visible. Basically, it's a "nice to have, but not needed" thing. Certainly not worth wasting dev times and resources if you have more impactful things on your to-do list.

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5 minutes ago, TrashMan said:

I'm not suggesting that. I'm not saying "change UI to JA2"

I'm saying "this element of JA2 UI (fire modes selection) could mesh well with what you have". Basically, remove the fire mode options above the gun and implement them into the crosshair, as it frees more screen space. But it's a non-issue, as long as the UI is usable and visible. Basically, it's a "nice to have, but not needed" thing. Certainly not worth wasting dev times and resources if you have more impactful things on your to-do list.

Maybe you just did not notice that the firemode already is implemented in crosshair. Just right click while crosshair is shown. The buttons at the bottom in the new UI are just an additional way to select fire mode on top. (If you dont know or want to use this functionality)

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Well actually I did notice one functionality that has gone missing somehow: It is not longer possible to select secondary weapon for reaction fire. Previously this was done by clicking the secondary weapon and ESC out of force fire mode (which was a little awkward), but no I am completely unable to find a way to put the secondary weapon in the soldiers hands. Clicking the secondary weapon (rather than the buttons above it) has some graphical effect (change of brightness), like it is supposed to do something. But there seems to be no functionality behind that.

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4 hours ago, TrashMan said:

I'm not suggesting that. I'm not saying "change UI to JA2"

I'm saying "this element of JA2 UI (fire modes selection) could mesh well with what you have". Basically, remove the fire mode options above the gun and implement them into the crosshair, as it frees more screen space. But it's a non-issue, as long as the UI is usable and visible. Basically, it's a "nice to have, but not needed" thing. Certainly not worth wasting dev times and resources if you have more impactful things on your to-do list.

Ah. Then I think the confusion comes from the fact that I believe this is implemented already - although I'm guessing you've not played the build, so it's a bit hard to establish a common understanding about whether what we already have in place is what you'd like or not. Hence why I'd prefer people didn't post their thoughts unless they'd actually used the new interface, as it just gets confusing for everyone.

Anyway, you can still cycle through all the fire modes via the crosshair and RMB like you can in X1 and the cursor updates accordingly, it's just they're also now visually displayed to the player above the UI as well. The idea is that the TU cost numbers is valuable information to all players, but for new players it's much easier to understand the concept of fire modes when they see them all laid out above the corresponding weapon (and lighting up and cycling accordingly when you press RMB).

3 hours ago, wulf 21 said:

Well actually I did notice one functionality that has gone missing somehow: It is not longer possible to select secondary weapon for reaction fire. Previously this was done by clicking the secondary weapon and ESC out of force fire mode (which was a little awkward), but no I am completely unable to find a way to put the secondary weapon in the soldiers hands. Clicking the secondary weapon (rather than the buttons above it) has some graphical effect (change of brightness), like it is supposed to do something. But there seems to be no functionality behind that.

So this functionality isn't yet fully implemented, but this is controlled by the overwatch toggle icons for each weapon. If you want to reaction fire with the secondary weapon the idea is that you just disable reaction fire on the primary weapon for that soldier.

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Just to re-emphasize what Chris has written in the original post:

 

Quote

I'm predominantly interested in feedback from people who have played the game and used it here, as theorycrafting isn't that useful when it comes to interface design.

Please could people first try out the new build then make their opinions known on the new UI, as your opinions on the UI are of more value when they are informed by your experience of it. 

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After trying out one mission, it seems like the combat UI is fully useable. I rather like how TUs and their use are right below the gun, but it took me a bit to figure out where my soldier's health was. It wasn't initially clear how to use medpacks, but that's more because I tried to use them like in X1 rather than noticing the abilities next to the grenades. The only 'major' issue I had was when I went to end my turn: the number one thing I care about checking there is how many TUs people have left and the squad information for that is so far away from the End Turn button in the screen space that my eyes tended to wander all over the screen before I was satisfied. 

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Posted (edited)
On 5/17/2019 at 1:54 PM, Chris said:

So this functionality isn't yet fully implemented, but this is controlled by the overwatch toggle icons for each weapon. If you want to reaction fire with the secondary weapon the idea is that you just disable reaction fire on the primary weapon for that soldier.

So I take it that it is not currently working like this? Because I just had an instance where I disabled overwatch via icon for sniper and left the SMG enabled. But the soldier reaction fired (and missed) with sniper anyway. (shot subtracted from sniper ammo) - so he was using the weapon that was currently in his hands.

 

Additionally I found something where the new UI produces a different result than what I would expect from intuition: Previously to load different ammo type in weapon, it was necessary to change magazines via inventory window (which is still possible but somewhat bugged - see the bug report https://www.goldhawkinteractive.com/forums/index.php?/topic/19858-v21-v5-ground-combat-reloading-for-freelow-tu-crashes/). In this case you got to keep the not empty magazine with the current ammo type (if you do not throw it to the ground).

I expected that reloading another ammo type like HEVY smoke rounds with new UI would do that, too. But it deletes the non empty magazine just like the old reload function. It should be somewhat more unified, so reloading with the new UI button and with inventory window works the same (preferably so non-empty magazines never get deleted, maybe the 2 options you have in inventory screen - throw to ground or put to belt (swap) could be somehow integrated into new UI so throw to ground is the option with lower TU cost).

 

Edited by wulf 21

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The medic bag caught me off guard, I assumed it functioned akin to X1 and it took me a bit to notice the smaller medical icon on the HUD.

Having a full upper body image of my selected soldier felt a bit off putting but that's just personal preference, the UI nonetheless felt functional and informative, seeing a very clear usage of TU's on the HUD based on my selected actions prior to doing them did prove helpful

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I thought the UI has some merit, but as you move the mouse courser over the screen it can change the active soldier, so when you try the crouch it may not be the soldier you think is active.

So you have to re-click that soldier to make sure it is the one you actually want to crouch, it might be one the courser has changed with out you knowing!!

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Posted (edited)

For some reason, even after a new upload I have the same, old UI. and not this one. I picked the game up from Xsolla this month. Does that make a difference?

 

Nev er mind. Just read the issue with Xsolla. Return now to your regularly scheduled critique.

Edited by Challenge

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So a recurring theme here and in the error reports is that it's not intuitive how to use medpacks. I think there's an easy fix for this, as currently clicking on a weapon image has no effect and to be honest even I find myself doing it a lot still. If we just set this is activate that weapon (using the last selected fire mode) then that problem should go away, as the old X1-style interaction would then be supported too.

Second, the issue that Ruggerman brings up I think is caused by a bug that we're planning to fix soon. You shouldn't ever actually change selected soldier unless you click your mouse or press a button, but in some circumstances that is incorrectly happening in the current build.

Wulf - no, that functionality doesn't yet work. Regarding the ammo, it's probably possible to swap the partially-full clip into the belt slot vacated by the fresh clip rather than discarding it. Problem is that it'll appear as a fresh clip in the UI tho, so you'll think you have a reload available but that clip might actually only hold 1 bullet. Not necessarily a big problem tho.

ApolloZani - hmm, personally I find the TU / HP much easier to read than before now, so it's interesting you think differently. Regarding the soldier health, I must admit I've been wondering if using green for the health rather than the previous red was a mistake and makes it harder to identify which bar is which. It's easy to update so I might consider changing it.

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Posted (edited)

just a visual thing: for at least my 27" monitor, everything seems a bit too large and clunky. People love immersive, unobtrusive UI's nowadays so maybe consider making things a bit smaller, transparent and "out of the way". I'd love to be able to switch on/off things and scale things in options. I don't use and need visible visible buttons for map rotation, elevation changes or menus. Please make them an optional thing. Visible enemies on the right side edge are way, wayyy too big. Also, all the buttons that are above the main UI (fire modes, grenades and stuff) seem visually somehow out of place. Can't quite put my finger on it, but I'll play around with it and post an alternative look later.

Cheers! Game's looking amazing otherwise! :)

Edited by Skitso
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Skitso said:

just a visual thing: for at least my 27" monitor, everything seems a bit too large and clunky. People love immersive, unobtrusive UI's nowadays so maybe consider making things a bit smaller, transparent and "out of the way". I'd love to be able to switch on/off things and scale things in options. I don't use and need visible visible buttons for map rotation, elevation changes or menus. Please make them an optional thing. Visible enemies on the right side edge are way, wayyy too big. Also, all the buttons that are above the main UI (fire modes, grenades and stuff) seem visually somehow out of place. Can't quite put my finger on it, but I'll play around with it and post an alternative look later.

Cheers! Game's looking amazing otherwise! :)

I think your right regarding the general scaling but on your other notes it depends on what Chris and the X2 team are looking for. They are not looking to re design it completely and giving options to turn things off might be a little steep, but simple rules here of subtraction(boxless icons, transparency/floating icons) could work in its favor without needing to rewrite a whole lot. I can see the head portrait box being up front and center, then the rest follows softly outward with smaller elements like the fire modes and menu UI being pushed back into the picture although it depends on how well they can be seen against certain backgrounds. 

Its difficult recommending too many things when the devs have their vision and are generally after gameplay feedback.

Edited by roxxed

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Posted (edited)
Quote

So a recurring theme here and in the error reports is that it's not intuitive how to use medpacks. I think there's an easy fix for this, as currently clicking on a weapon image has no effect and to be honest even I find myself doing it a lot still.

I think that's viewing the new UI with the lens of having used the old one. I don't think that people that are new to the game or X2 will have that if you make the weapon non-interactive.
I would find it very weird and confusing to have both the weapon clicking AND the icon clicking.

If you make the weapon non-interactive then you can do something else on hover: maybe display weapon information.

Edited by SebilliansWrath

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Here's a really quick photoshop of what I was thinking with a cleaner look. I didn't have access to any official assets, so pardon the ugliness of fast clone brushing :). I also didn't redraw any assets, but I would reconsider the button icons as they are maybe not all perfectly intuitive.

SkitsoUI.jpg

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3 hours ago, Skitso said:

Here's a really quick photoshop of what I was thinking with a cleaner look. I didn't have access to any official assets, so pardon the ugliness of fast clone brushing :). I also didn't redraw any assets, but I would reconsider the button icons as they are maybe not all perfectly intuitive.

SkitsoUI.jpg

To me this leads to more confusion as the buttons that don't have anything to do with the Medpack are very much linked to it so I don't consider it an improvement.
You mention that the button are not intuitive. What do you not find intuitive? That you can click on them, how to use them, or?

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Having played this for a bit, I found that the character portraits up at the top were less useful than the previous weapon indicators. I found the previous design had more value, because I could know what a solider currently had in their hands.

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19 hours ago, SebilliansWrath said:

I think that's viewing the new UI with the lens of having used the old one. I don't think that people that are new to the game or X2 will have that if you make the weapon non-interactive.
I would find it very weird and confusing to have both the weapon clicking AND the icon clicking.

If you make the weapon non-interactive then you can do something else on hover: maybe display weapon information.

Those two things aren't mutually exclusive though, you could still display the weapon info with a tooltip on hover. Thing is, I seem to recall original X-Com had fire functionality tied to clicking on the weapon image directly so it seems like there's no reason not to add it in. The UI does work without it, but it seems like it'd work better with it.

20 minutes ago, Max_Caine said:

Having played this for a bit, I found that the character portraits up at the top were less useful than the previous weapon indicators. I found the previous design had more value, because I could know what a solider currently had in their hands.

Thanks. So a weapon image on the portrait would be a big improvement for you?

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Quote

Those two things aren't mutually exclusive though, you could still display the weapon info with a tooltip on hover. Thing is, I seem to recall original X-Com had fire functionality tied to clicking on the weapon image directly so it seems like there's no reason not to add it in. The UI does work without it, but it seems like it'd work better with it.

OG Xcom's fire functionality is to click the weapon which then gives you the options for the fire modes / actions you can take with the weapon. 
I find it nice that I can finally directly select the action I want without having to go through the weapon again. 

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4 hours ago, Skitso said:

Here's a really quick photoshop of what I was thinking with a cleaner look. I didn't have access to any official assets, so pardon the ugliness of fast clone brushing :). I also didn't redraw any assets, but I would reconsider the button icons as they are maybe not all perfectly intuitive.

Thanks for the concept. I agree with you on some points - we are going to revisit the button icons, for example, and maybe the alien visible icons are too large.

However I don't think moving the menu to the bottom right is a good idea (as it results in a tiny End Turn button that would be easy to misclick, and will probably give scaling issues on narrow 16:10 screens). I also don't see any reason to collapse the fire icon buttons into the weapon panel themselves - the point of the new UI is to make it more obvious what fire modes are available, and that multiple fire modes exist. Hiding them away means you don't get those benefits. It also means there's no way to reserve TU, because for example with the Rifle in your image there's not enough space to show all the available fire modes ... so there's no way to click on the specific one you want to reserve TU for.

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40 minutes ago, SebilliansWrath said:

OG Xcom's fire functionality is to click the weapon which then gives you the options for the fire modes / actions you can take with the weapon. 
I find it nice that I can finally directly select the action I want without having to go through the weapon again. 

That's true, but that functionality wouldn't be taken away from you either - clicking the weapon would have the same effect as pressing Ctrl currently does. Clicking a fire mode button would do the same thing but activate that specific fire mode on that weapon while doing so.

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