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wulf 21

UI Reload function design

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I wanted to answer in UI discussion thread, but I ended up writing a longer paragraph and see it deviating from the main topic, so I decided to put the answer into a new general discussion thread:

11 hours ago, Chris said:

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.

Good point. In Operation Flashpoint it worked like this and you were supposed to remember that one of your magazines was not longer full (as just the info how many bullets in current magazine and number of magazines left were displayed), but then you were only directly controlling one soldier on the battlefield in this game (even if you could edit the whole squad equipment before mission), it is porbably not practical to remember this for whole squad.

If a magazin on belt is not full, maybe there could directly on magazine icon appear some info, for example red number in upper right corner or maybe some "progress bar" integrated into the magazine icon, for example the upper part of a magazine could become half transparent the transparant part getting bigger if magazine is more empty. The same info should be availabe in inventory window as well as reload button if the next magazine to be reloaded is not full.

Speaking of next magazine to be reloaded: If there are more magazines on the belt of same type, some of them partly empty this introduces some design choice, which one should be reloaded by the reload button. I see several options here:
1. some cycling logic, ie. the most recent unloaded magazine will always be the last in queue to be loaded again (this is how it worked in Operation Flashpoint)
2. always load the fullest magazine
3. split the buttons on UI, so only completely identical magazines get stacked into one button and a magazine with different number of bullets gets displayed as a seperate button

The last one of course has the theoretical issue that it could clutter the UI with up to 5 buttons if someone decides to carry 5 magazines into battle and empties them differently. (I do not know why anyone should play like this, but of course all cases that can happen need to be considerd). Oherwise I would think option 3 the best.

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Yeah, so I suspect we'll definitely want to swap the partially-full magazine into the belt slot vacated by the fresh magazine like I suggested in my original post. What happens afterwards is a bit more complicated.

The easiest solution is just to have the UI ignore the partially-full magazines. They'll still exist in the inventory and can be manually reloaded, but this will prevent confusion and UI clutter and would be by far the easiest solution to implement. To be honest, I'm thinking we might go down this route.

The alternative is to create a new UI button for each partially-full magazine, with the remaining number of bullets written in red on the button - and clicking this would load it into the weapon instead of a fresh clip. You could also consolidate multiple of these buttons into a single stack, with the most full of the magazines placed at the top. Or maybe only make the partially-full mags appear in the UI when there are no more empty clips. Or just treat them like any other magazine, but put them at the bottom of the stack so they are always loaded in last - but this means the number of mags a soldier is carrying won't visually change in the UI if you reload a weapon that isn't empty.

Problem, none of those methods are perfect - you either get a lot of UI clutter, or you have to accept the player won't easily be able to distinguish between a full magazine or a partially-full one. Which means I might just save the developer time and simply not display the partially-full magazines in the UI. It's pretty rare for a player to be in a position where they need to load a partially-empty clip into a weapon, so requiring the player to access the inventory in that situation probably isn't the end of the world.

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Certainly don't make each magazine its own button in the UI... but having the list of all magazines expand when desired, and show each of them along with the number of rounds present would be a nice touch.

 

As would having weapons with internal magazines rather than detachable ones; most modern shotguns don't have detachable magazines, but instead are reloaded one shell at a time into an internal magazine, or a shell can be chambered directly. (Useful for niche applications like loading and firing a breaching shell)

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If you do it like operation flashpoint, you'd just have the one reload ui element but it will take full magazines first, when you're out of full magazines it will go for the most full and so forth

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Is there going to be a backpack in X2?  How does any of this work with its total storage/back-end UI ammo integration to the front plus carrying other weapons and ammo(if applicable)?

 

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17 minutes ago, roxxed said:

Is there going to be a backpack in X2?  How does any of this work with its total storage/back-end UI ammo integration to the front plus carrying other weapons and ammo(if applicable)?

 

Yes, there is a backpack. That part is actually simple: You only can directly perform actions (grenade throwing, reloading, shooting) with everything that is equipped either on a belt slot or in the primary/secondary weapon slot. In order to use an item that is carried in backpack, it is always necessary to access the inventory window and drag the item to the slot from where it can be used (if slot is occupied, the item that is there needs to be moved to backpack, that part is automatically done when swapping items, ie. move from backpack to occupied slot, or dropped to ground).

So the front UI in no way shows any items that are carried in backpack and you need to open the inventory window to see whats inside.

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2 hours ago, wulf 21 said:

Yes, there is a backpack. That part is actually simple: You only can directly perform actions (grenade throwing, reloading, shooting) with everything that is equipped either on a belt slot or in the primary/secondary weapon slot. In order to use an item that is carried in backpack, it is always necessary to access the inventory window and drag the item to the slot from where it can be used (if slot is occupied, the item that is there needs to be moved to backpack, that part is automatically done when swapping items, ie. move from backpack to occupied slot, or dropped to ground).

So the front UI in no way shows any items that are carried in backpack and you need to open the inventory window to see whats inside.

I'm a little confused as I dont have access to the beta. So the backpack is now simplified with no associated tool belt or weapon slots(like the first X1) that mirror onto the front end? How do the icons get created from new items picked up when the area to drag them to doesn't exist?

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1 minute ago, roxxed said:

I'm a little confused as I dont have access to the beta. So the backpack is now simplified with no associated tool belt or weapon slots(like the first X1) that mirror onto the front end? How do the icons get created from new items picked up when the area to drag them to doesn't exist?

The areas to drag items to do still exist in the inventory menu (the belt and the primary/secondary weapon slot). Actually, this window is pretty similar to what it was in X1.

However you can access every action you can do directly via a button without submenuing now (for example every grenade type that can be thrown right now has directly a button on the front end without the small grenade type submenu from X1). These buttons only get created from the primary/secondary weapon slot and belt slots.

That is different from X1 where you could directly throw a grenade from backpack without dragging it to belt first or reload directly from backpack. I think using an item from backpack added some extra TU cost in X1 but other than than that the belt and backpack were not very distinct at all. Players therfor often basically treated the backpack and belt the same, I even saw an ironman insane playthrough on youtube where I kept wondering why the heck he puts everything in backpack without fully using all belt slots first. This is now much clearer.

The other main difference to X1: In X1 the concept of primary/secondary weapon was basically identical to left/right hand of the soldier. So a 2-handed weapon would occupy both slots and you needed always to submenu to change the weapon. This was even necessary for medpacks. The only time when there was a primary and secondary weapon different was shield if there was one hand + pistol in the other hand.

In X2 the concept is changed, so you can have for example a sniper as primary + SMG as secondary, both 2-handed weapons. Or a medpack or C4 as secondary. So, no more going to inventory window in these cases, but just directly use the secondary weapon.

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Ahh I understand now. Thanks for clearing that up. So I imagine X amount of tool belt slots in the inventory and if you move something from the backpack to the tool belt then the icon will appear on the front end. The other things you've mentioned help clear the interface up and make it more streamlined.

It comes back to my first question regarding how these 2 connect and I believe Chris mentioned something about it already. Rather than create a single stack tool belt UI , have an icon beside the ammo count under the weapon model so it can be clicked and dragged to the backpack when its open. The ammo icon in the backpack could then show its remaining ammo in red so 9/20 or whatever and it could be dragged directly back on the weapon model for reloading when needed. I guess this could work for interchangeable ammo types(HE, AP etc) for the same weapon if it exists and it could benefit from a higher TU cost of moving then reloading as your skipping the queue for a better magazine. 

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