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Offline Twyla

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NAM Menu Development Thread
« on: May 20, 2011, 02:19:59 PM »
Apologies for the extra thread here, but the subject of menu organization came up in the TuLEP thread and - with so much AWESOME content available - it's tricky to try to discuss it without getting into other NAM offerings.

In particular, the discussion of menu/organization logistics is an area where we really need public feedback in order to proceed with TuLEPs Advanced (including any OWR-based content). 
[...]
If you've got ideas on how we can order the menus (including buttons, TAB Loop and Home/End Rotation arrangements) and file architecture for TuLEPs Advanced and other future TuLEPs content, by all means, share your thoughts, ideas, diagrams, etc. here. 
[...]
-Alex

Obviously, we'll all have our own ideas and opinions concerning potential menu organization - and, doubtless, there are those who can be quite... 'passionate' about it - but let's try to stay constructive, shall we?

Of course, this is also as good a place as any to bring up "wish list" aspects.  This is not so much to nag, but as a way of identifying potential insertions - thus offering an indication of where a little extra 'breathing room' might should be considered.


Just to get the ball rolling....


Ground Networks:
  • Maxis Roads
  • Maxis One-Way Roads
  • Maxis Avenues
  • Maxis Streets
  • Pedestrian Mall Tiles
  • NWM Starters
  • SAM Starters & Diagonal Street Helpers
  • Rural Road Puzzle Pieces
  • Road-Type TuLEPs
  • OWR-Type TuLEPs (when available)
  • Avenue-Type TuLEPs
  • Expanded TuLEPs (for triple-tile NWM network, when available)
  • TuLEP Intersections
  • Avenue Roundabouts (including TuLEPs, when available)
  • Road/OWR Wide-Radius/FAR Pieces
  • Avenue Wide-Radius/FAR Pieces (when available)
  • NWM Wide-Radius/FAR Pieces
  • NWM Transition Pieces
  • Elevated Road Pieces (including Overpasses)
  • Elevated OWR Pieces (including Overpasses)
  • Elevated Avenue Pieces (including Overpasses)
  • Elevated Street Pieces (if ever available)
  • Elevated NWM Pieces (including Overpasses, when available)
  • Road-over-RHW Puzzle Pieces (also Overpasses, if available)
  • OWR-over-RHW Puzzle Pieces (also Overpasses, if available)
  • Avenue-over-RHW Puzzle Pieces (also Overpasses, if available)
  • Street-over-RHW Puzzle Pieces (if ever available)
  • NWM-over-RHW Puzzle Pieces (when available)
  • Frontage Road/MIS Interchanges and Starters (if ever available)
  • FlUPs (including NWM, when available)
  • Underground Puzzle Pieces
  • NWM Neighbor Connectors

With this arrangement, I'm trying to generally adhere to the long-familiar 'vanilla' Road>OWR>Ave>Street progression.  Apart from that, I'm generally trying to keep certain 'classes' (such as TuLEPs, 'Intersections', Elevated Ground networks, etc) grouped, and more or less organized by how frequently they see use.

Concerning the Overpasses...  While their functionality can be duplicated by their Puzzle Piece counterparts, the Overpasses themselves are more compact.  As such, I feel they should be retained - at the bottom Tab Rings of their counterparts.  This still provides easy access (via Shift-Tab) while freeing up a bit of room for the expanding TuLEPs and avoiding a bit of clutter.

The Diagonal Street Helpers could likewise be included under the SAM button, as they (like SAM) are primarily cosmetic.

I'd considered the possibility of consolidating the Elevated networks with their RHW counterparts but - given the number of RHW variants, in addition to the variety of differing networks in general - this would prove far too unwieldy.  I feel this separation should remain.

As to the TuLEPs themselves...  I'd like to see the different variants in Tab-Rings relative to their respective base networks, with the Slip Lane options being in the Rotation Rings.  The stand-alone Slip Lanes would be the last Tab-Ring of the TuLEP Intersections set, providing easy access (via Shift-Tab), with potential variations being in its Rotation Ring.


Highway Networks:
  • Base RHW Drag-able
  • RHW Starters & Fillers
  • Single-Lane (MIS) Ramps
  • Dual-Lane (RHW-4) Ramps
  • RHW Ground Transitions
  • RHW Elevated Transitions (when available)
  • Ground/Elevated Transitions
  • ERHW-over-TuLEP Pieces (if ever available)
  • RHW Interchanges (if ever available)
  • Flat Wide-Radius Pieces
  • Transitional Wide-Radius Pieces (when available)
  • FAR Pieces
  • Cosmetic Pieces
  • RHW Diagonal Puzzle Pieces
  • RHW Multi-Level Puzzle Pieces (when available)
  • RHW FlUPs
  • RHW Underground Puzzle Pieces
  • RHW Neighbor Connections
  • MHW - Ground
  • MHW - Elevated
  • MHW Cloverleaf Interchanges
  • MHW T-Interchanges
  • MHW Custom Interchanges
  • Dual Perpendicular Ramps
  • Dual Parallel Ramps
  • Single Perpendicular Ramps
  • Single Parallel Ramps

Even with the limited ERHW functionality, some of the Tab Rings are a bit cluttered - a situation that will only get worse as ERHW capabilities expand.  This is my primary logic concerning the splits I'm suggesting.

With the Ramps, I'd like to see them organized with the A and C variants in a Tab Ring, with the B and D variants being in their respective Rotation Rings.  Elevated variants (as they come to pass) could also be part of their respective Rotation Rings. 

The logic in this instance is that you pretty much know you want X number of exit lanes coming off a Y-type RHW with Z through-lanes.  For instance, you want a single dedicated lane (MIS) coming off an elevated 8C (continuing as a 6C/7C).  Tab to the 8C-Type C and rotate to the Elevated C (or D) - as opposed to tabbing through ground and elevated A-D variants of every other ramp.

The flat Ground and Elevated Transitions - due to both quantity and function - should be separated.  So far as I know, they can't automatically conform between Ground and Elevated - and not every transition is available in both configurations.  Also, with ERHW expanding, transitions between Ground and Elevated (in addition to On-Slope transitions) will be multiplying like rabbits and will need their own Tab Ring to avoid clutter.

The Cosmetic Pieces, by contrast (and to the best of my limited knowledge), are merely texture overrides; so they should function the same on both RHW and ERHW and won't need separation.

Most of the rest should be self-explanatory.



There are, of course, various NAM offerings for other networks (Rail, etc), but I don't use them frequently enough to have an opinion regarding their organization - so this is as good a place as any for me to shut up (for now).

Offline GDO29Anagram

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Re: NAM Menu Development Thread
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2011, 05:39:37 PM »
Well, remember that these things are subdivided into four Transportation Tools: Roads (All AVEs, TLAs, MAVEs, Streets and SAMs, OWRs, and other various puzzle pieces), Highways (Primarily RHW and MHW), Rail (Monorail/HSR and STR and RAM), and Miscellaneous Transit (GLR and CAN-AM). Clumping it all under Ground Networks and Highway Networks is kinda befuddling... ()what()

Also,... This is how I would technically classify the following:

Quote
Maxis Roads
Maxis One-Way Roads
Maxis Avenues
Maxis Streets

MAVE-2, OWR-2, AVE-4, and just Street. It makes perfect sense that way instead of calling them Maxis "whatever", unless its the highways.

Street Diagonal pieces shouldn't be put under the SAM button, because the Diagonal Helpers are for creating diagonal streets on uneven terrain, and for making something like an AVE-4 crossing with a diagonal street. You can't do that using the draggable way. Besides, putting THAT with the SAM forces people to have to download the SAM, and its up-to-date version is only on the LEX, if I can remember correctly.

NWM FLUPs just require the NWM entrances and the FLUP under NWM pieces.

Nego and Maarten had done a good job on what to propose on organising the TuLEPs, and your idea follows what everyone else is thinking, but I'd go on to separate MAVE TuLEPs. One more button wouldn't hurt anyway. Here is what I would say is ideal, combining their ideas with yours (Roundabout button) and mine (MAVE Isolation):

Road TuLEPs
AVE4/TLA5 TuLEPs
TuLEPs for Triple-Tilers (AVE6 and so on)
MAVE TuLEPs (MAVE4, MAVE6, and MAVE8 if it's ever considered)
SIPs (The Intersection Pieces)
Miscellaneous, such as Slip Lanes
RaBETs (These are the Roundabout-related items)

Everything else is more or less OK.

Now for the highways,... I'll just focus on the RHW items; The MHWs are OK the way they are.

Quote
Base RHW Drag-able
RHW Starters & Fillers
Single-Lane (MIS) Ramps
Dual-Lane (RHW-4) Ramps
RHW Ground Transitions
RHW Elevated Transitions (when available)
Ground/Elevated Transitions
ERHW-over-TuLEP Pieces (if ever available)
RHW Interchanges (if ever available)
Flat Wide-Radius Pieces
Transitional Wide-Radius Pieces (when available)
FAR Pieces
Cosmetic Pieces
RHW Diagonal Puzzle Pieces
RHW Multi-Level Puzzle Pieces (when available)
RHW FlUPs
RHW Underground Puzzle Pieces
RHW Neighbor Connections

This is rather befuddling to me at first, but under closer examination, it begins to make sense. The current organisation is this:

 - RHW2
 - RHW Starters and Fillers
 - RHW Ramps
 - Transitions
 - Wide-Radius Curves
 - Fractional-Angle RHW
 - Cosmetic Pieces
 - Overpass Pieces
 - Neighbor Connectors

With other items, such as Road/OWR/AVE/Rail-over-RHW pieces and FLUPs scattered in the Rail and Road menus. Actually, I once requested RHW FLUPs to have their own menu button. Now for everything else:

 - Probably not good to segregate diagonal starters and orthogonal starters under their own buttons; We could just add more entries to the Rotation Rings, so when you rotate an ortho starter enough times, it "magically" becomes diagonal.

 - If there's anything that needs serious reorganisation, in my opinion, it's the ramps, period. All I can say is that there were private discussions about that, but they stopped some time ago, and I've been wanting to ask the RHW community if the current ramp organisation/nomenclature needs revision ever since.

 - I even made various charts for organising RHW Ramps. Sooner or later, I'll show them...

 - Probably a good idea to segregate two-level overpass pieces and multi-level pieces. I'd imagine that Overpass button would be an absolute mess with the advent of Multi-Height RHWs.

 - I believe I know what you mean by ERHW over TuLEP, and I would personally consider it, but they would be like Jondor's Rail-TuLEP crossings.

 - Better to clump together the Ground Transitions and Elevated Transitions, on the off-chance that elevated transitions get made; More entries can be added to the Rotation Rings; Rotate an RHW4-6S transition enough times and it cycles between L1 and L2.

 - Good idea to also separate GTE (Ground to Elevated) transitions as well. Isolate height-based transitions and width-based transitions, for extra consistency.

 - Curved transitions, like the MIS to L2 TransCurve? (Transition-Curve) They could use their own button, but there aren't much at the moment...

 - The items that are closest to prefab are the SPUI and DDI, and they're only for AVE4, and, if you're really resourceful, TLA5 and MAVE4. If more get made for AVE6/TLA7/MAVE6 and AVE8/TLA9/MAVE8, they would probably need a dedicated menu button. Then consider that the current pieces

 - It should be quite obvious that there will never be any prefab items for RHW, that's why I crossed out RHW Interchanges.

 - It's the FARHW that gets to me; It contains FA Pieces, FA Curves, and then FARHW Ramps!!! "I want all the ramps organised under one button" would be my complaint for that, especially when you start adding more items there, and that's already happening...

 - I think FLUPs and UPPs (Underground Puzzle Pieces) are pretty much the same thing, besides, that would just be FLUP entrances only. Making dedicated UPPs would be redundant, since the current FLUPs already take care of that.

 - You also brought up Frontage Road Ramps. Useful, I would say. Remember that there are also AVE4-MIS ramps in development, too.

All in all, it goes from this:

Quote
- RHW2
 - RHW Starters and Fillers
 - RHW Ramps
 - Transitions
 - Wide-Radius Curves
 - Fractional-Angle RHW
 - Cosmetic Pieces
 - Overpass Pieces
 - Neighbor Connectors

to this:

 - RHW2
 - RHW Starters and Fillers
 - RHW-MIS Ramps (Ramps that split off MIS)
 - RHW-RHW4 Ramps (Splits off RHW-4)
 - RHW-RHW6S Ramps (Splits off RHW-6S)
 - Other Ramps (Ramps that don't really follow the mainstream pattern)
 - Width Transitions
 - Height Transitions
 - GTE Transitions
 - Wide-Radius Curves
 - Flyover and WAVERide Pieces (Such as the current L2 FlexFly and the FlexTransCurves I proposed)
 - Fractional-Angle RHW (NO RAMPS ALLOWED!!!)
 - Cosmetic Pieces
 - Overpass Pieces
 - Neighbor Connectors
- RHW FLUP Entrances

The only concern with this is button overload.
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Offline jacksunny

Re: NAM Menu Development Thread
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2011, 06:11:22 PM »
Well the main problem when trying to organize the menus is with all this new content becoming available, you have to try to find a way to organize it in a way that people can find what they are looking for while keeping a small number of icons in the menus.

Here are my ideas for the Roads Menu:

Maxis Roads
Road TuLEP's
Road FAR Pieces
Elevated Road Pieces
Road over RHW

Maxis One-Way Roads
OWR TuLEP's
OWR FAR Pieces
Elevated OWR Pieces
OWR over RHW

Maxis Avenues
Avenue TuLEP'S
Avenue Roundabouts ,other Intersections, RaBET's
Elevated Avenue Pieces
Avenue over RHW

Maxis Streets
SAM Starters
Diagonal Street Helpers
Elevated Street Pieces
Street Over RHW

TuLEP Intersections

NWM Starters
NWM TuLEP'S
NWM FAR Peices
Elevated NWM Peices
NWM Transition Peices
NWM Neighbour Connections
NWM over RHW Pieces

PED Mall Tiles
PED Footbridges(Includes Start/End Peice)

Underground Puzzle Pieces

I have put spaces in between each of the "categories" (marked in bold). The purpose of this layout is to keep things where people can easily find them. For example, all of the road related things are listed underneath the Maxis Roads icon. When the user reaches the Maxis One-Way Roads Icon, they know that they aren't going to find any more road related things in the menu.

Another thing that is probably a good idea to do is to position the most used things in good spots in the tab ring so they can be tabbed to easily or Shift-Tabbed to easily as Twyla said.

Offline Tarkus

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Re: NAM Menu Development Thread
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2011, 07:20:02 PM »
Thanks for starting this up, Twyla--I think it could prove a useful thread, as there's ongoing menu discussions related to several projects.

On the RHW end, it's also useful to consider that there's been a lot of consideration toward switching it from the existing "by-type" setup to a "by-network" setup, where all RHW-4 pieces, RHW-6S pieces, etc. are placed under one button.  Having seen some of GDO29Anagram's diagrams on ramp interfaces first-hand, I think a lot of the ideas there would tie into a "by-network" scheme quite nicely.  It would also (hopefully) minimize the need to switch between buttons regularly, which has been a sticking point for some users. 

Additionally, fewer buttons would be required, with a more even number of items under them (ramp interfaces have been expanding exponentially--there's around 50 separate TAB entries under that button in the current build for the next RHW release, and cosmetic pieces are not far behind).

There has also been some initial discussion about incorporating a DAMN system for the NAM, though it hasn't gotten off the ground really because of the fact that it would require making an icon for every single puzzle piece currently available--a Herculean task.  (It is possible as long as the puzzle piece RotationRing for a given piece, as defined in RUL 0x10000000, contains a 4-digit HID for one rotation.)

-Alex

Offline Twyla

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Re: NAM Menu Development Thread
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2011, 07:50:54 PM »
RE: GDO

I always found it incongruous that the Road Menu is named so when it contains Streets, Avenues, and so much more than just Roads.  I suppose it's just my background showing in calling it Ground Networks as - in my experience - the term refers to pretty much anything you can drive a car on that isn't limited-access (as freeways/expressways are).

Probably a regional thing, from the sounds of it.


And many wise men have often said "never say never" - there's enough interest in pre-fab RHW Interchanges that SOMEONE is going to wind up making some, even if NAM never does.  Best to account for it happening.


Personally, I was debating the the RHW starters quite a bit...  Seeing as most every ramp and transition piece thus far includes starters, it's redundant to have separate pieces that are nothing but starters.  Then again, they do have their uses.  I certainly wouldn't be inclined to separate them, particularly as Diagonal (and Elevated) Starters can easily be in the Rotation Ring with the base ortho.


And a solid point regarding the width transitions (re: Rotation Rings).  So solid that I'm ashamed at having overlooked it.  ;)

As to the 'Flat Wide-Radius Pieces' vs 'Transitional Wide-Radius Pieces', I was trying to make a distinction between those which remain consistent in elevation (as most of the current ones do) and those which change in elevation (the 90 MIS/EMIS is the only one in the current release, though I hope for quite a few more in the future).

I see your point about combining the FlUPs and UPPs, but remain of the opinion that the variety (at least for the UPPs) is so vast that - even putting Under-Rail in the Rail Menu, Under-RHW in the Highways Menu, etc - the Tab Rings get unwieldy.


RE: jack

Not ignoring you - just that I don't really feel justified in commenting one way or the other.  Thanks for the kudos, though. :D


RE: Alex

I haven't worked with DAMN, but nested sub-menus would be awesome - particularly if they were self-sufficient.

The "by-network" approach has it's appeal, but I'm pretty partial to the existing system (for the most part).  And I still haven't forgiven Bonnie Tyler for her accursed remix of "Faster Than the Speed of Night" - there are some things you just shouldn't change.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2011, 07:59:57 PM by Twyla »

Offline GDO29Anagram

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Re: NAM Menu Development Thread
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2011, 08:25:16 PM »
@Alex and Alex: I guess it'd be OK to show the charts in question, as I've been wanting to do so for some time...

@Twyla: Ehh It's OK; There's also "Controlled-Access Highway" and "Surface Street"... I'm just a bit more specific when it comes to NAM networks, due to function and aesthetics. Concerning the fact that almost every RHW piece has a starter, even the starters, I've been thinking about de-starterfication about these pieces, but that would require intensive RUL editing, something that's pretty big for me with very little RUL editing experience. I hate the extraneous starters, and they can get in the way in certain areas, but I found a way to remove some of these without RUL-editing...

Now for the charts. Myself and others once discussed about reorganising the ramps, and pretty much everything else. I just drew up some ramp charts.

By-Branch/Network Setup
 - Includes EVERY possible ramp there is, and every theoretical one as well.
 - A-F are well-defined, and several letters were rearranged for consistency. (C/D becomes D/E, and E becomes C)
 - Provides an elegant Periodic Table, too. ;)
 - Compatible with By-Network item organisation.
 - Chart also doubles as a really nifty checklist. "$Deal"$


And this is what would happen if the current logic (RHW4 C-Ramp staying an RHW4 ramp, even though it has 6S, and so on) were expanded. Ironically, I once considered this... :P

By-Stem Setup
 - Retains current logic, except for some renaming in letters.
 - Attempts to include every ramp, but results in having several declassified (Which I forgot to color-code)
 - Works best up to A1/B1/C1 ramps.
 - The Table looks terrible... ()sick()
 - The offsets in naming (RHW4 C-Ramp has 6S, so it's under 6S) results in several inconsistencies if a By-Network organisation for all pieces were implemented.
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Offline Twyla

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Re: NAM Menu Development Thread
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2011, 12:02:42 PM »
Been holding off on replying (to avoid 'dominating' the conversation), but there's been a distinct lack of activity.   %confuso

The charts illustrate the ramps excellently - nice work, GDO - and I better see what you mean about the "By-Network" arrangement.  And, yes, I've found the RHW-4 Type C/D identifier incongruous as the source is RHW-6S.

Taking that into consideration, I'd say have the A/B/Cs in one Rotation Ring, then D/E/Fs in the next, and so on.  L0s and L2s could share a Tab Ring for the time being but, when the other Ls come into play, should probably be separated so each Level has its own button - one way or the other.

Though I'm still not sold on the idea of an RHW-3.  If RHW had RCI access, it might be worth considering - but it doesn't, so I don't feel it is.  For RCI access, you'd have to drop to Road - which already has ARD-3 and TLA-3 - making RHW-3 pretty much useless in that regard.

Not to mention that it would need the capability to transition with RHW-4 as well as with RHW-2 and, on that score, you'd essentially wind up with MIS alongside one side of RHW-4 - which you can already do with the current RHW release.  Additionally, the only real justification I've seen offered for it has been to use as a Crawler Lane (for trucks on steep grades), though undivided highways with Crawler Lanes are pretty rare birds in my experience.  And while the few I've seen have had crossroads, I don't recall ever seeing one with actual ramps - terrain that warrants an RHW-3 rarely (if ever) affords the space needed for a ramp.


~ PS ~

One liability to what jacksunny proposes (IMHO) is the fact that SAM, NWM, etc all rely on the base network drag-ables (Road, Street, etc) due to their nature as overrides.  As such, the base networks need to retain their dominant positions at the very top of their respective menus.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2011, 12:06:58 PM by Twyla »

Offline MandelSoft

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Re: NAM Menu Development Thread
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2011, 01:14:41 PM »
The RHW-3 is ment to be a 'cheap-motorway'. It should improve traffic flow by allowing safe take-overs while keeping the profile and the costs limited. Germany, Denmark, Luxemburg (check the B7!) and Sweden have a lot of these roads. I've actually build a few in my region Schellingen. So it's not that useless ;)
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Re: NAM Menu Development Thread
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2011, 02:56:03 PM »
And remember that despite the North American default textures, we aren't simply here to represent only situations common in that region.  There have been plenty of pictures posted in this thread and elsewhere showing RHW-3 or 2+1 roads with ramps are quite common in other parts of the world and they are certainly not completely unheard of here either.
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