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Author Topic: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization  (Read 38033 times)

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Offline townscape

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Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2009, 08:00:06 AM »
here you go tomkeus, if you would like icons for deeper menu's please tell me:
http://www.mediafire.com/file/jgymjtttiwf/for tomkeus.rar
also I reworked as much as I could of my interface and here you have it:

One with camera controls:


And one without:


Hope you like it.

@toberas: I like your mock-up on the beta forums and surely you can contribute to the project. If you would like to cooperate you can PM me and we will discuss. Anyway, help is always welcome.

EDIT: Made some minor changes to the images
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 10:03:55 AM by townscape »

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Offline tomkeus

Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2009, 10:20:34 AM »
I like those. UI is nonintrusive. Thanks for the icons. I didn't expect them so soon.
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Offline Atomius

Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2009, 01:34:05 PM »
My favourite UI was in Simcity 2000. I liked the simple draggable menu window it had, and the toolbar for other options. But i guess that game is a bit outdated so...

I like the idea of a 'lock' hotkey/button for the draggable features so you don't accidentally move them. That seems pretty handy. As to the circular near cursor menu system... I personally loathe the idea but I won't try to stand in the path of progress and if it is better then why not... I guess I just like to always have the menu, or the main buttons, visible, that's all.

In my game Virtucity I have a rather simple system using the limited view method so I have a permanent menu/UI area and a permanent city building area separated into two view panels.

But I reckon the way Simcity 4 did things wasn't too bad. I never liked the transparency or the menu design but the layout of the main block was nice.

However a point made earlier should be taken into consideration imo. That new players would find it confusing to see very little of the buttons at first. Also if you are using lots of tools at once, rather than only one or two, you would want quick access between them.

Another point is the map. In Virtucity I have a combined mini map/data map, and in Simcity 4 the mini map is always visible unless you minimize the whole UI. The way you could click on a part of the mini map and go to that place was useful.

Offline toberas

Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2009, 03:44:15 PM »

I made a quick mockup for a GUI layout if you don't mind. I find it easier to explain what i mean that way.

the menu from left to right
menu button    [all the options, save/load etc.]
active tool    [with spacebar or this button you open and close the radial menu, right mouse button closes too]
cityname + speed    [speaks for itself]
rci indicator    [does what it's name implies and on pressed shows a menu with all city statistics]
pop + budget    [on pressed shows a menu with all financial options and population options]
messagebox    [you can make it larger so you can scroll back to older messgaes and there's a button to toggle multiplayer messages]

radial menu
FASE 1: in the first fase you can choose between the main options like build, terraforming, roads, bulldozer etc.
FASE 2: in case of build this is where you choose between the type and density

The active tools button in the menu always shows your current tool, in this case the mouse cursor.

In Left 4 Dead they use radial menus for voice commands and I have to say that it works pretty good. It's very fast and you can group all options according to context. Maybe it could even be done so you have a 'favorites' to which you can add you most used tools. Combing this with hot-keys is another option. For example[SPACEBAR=radial menu], [1=build], [1=residential], [1=low density]. Then, SPACEBAR, 1, 1, 1 immediately gives you that tool.

So this type of structure would minimize screen clutter a lot and still be very functional because everything is in one manageable space. My personal opinion towards draggable menu's is that it's very useless. If you optimize your menu's to take as less screenspace as possible and keep everything in a well organized structure the clutter is the least possible. Maybe the windows could be draggable, but I wouldn't do it to something as the bottom bar or even the radial menu.

controls
I play fps too, so for me a WASD + MOUSE combo is a very natural way of navigating through a world. Combined with scrollwheel for zoom this a perfect solution. With every new game people will have to adjust to the controls and structure, but with WASD+MOUSE you are actually keeping this to a minimum because it's such a well known standard.

This is just an idea so maybe there are valid reasons against it, but wouldn't it be handy (when you use this system) not to use a minimap but to make the fartest zoom-out a topdown view. If then a menu would popup with the choices for overlays (fire safety, trash etc.) your map would be the 'mini'map.


$ 0,02

[edit] typo's
« Last Edit: November 07, 2009, 03:47:55 PM by toberas »

Offline Atomius

Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2009, 01:11:16 PM »
Hmm well whilst i'm never going to be reconciled with the radial menu idea if everybody thinks it is a good one I will not make further objections against it.


Offline Gringamuyloca

Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2009, 01:26:15 PM »
maybe it's my age showing... I'm not as keen on the radial either... but I am not so old that I can't learn new tricks!  ;D

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Offline Atomius

Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2009, 02:14:19 PM »
I guess the main reason i'd prefer a more traditional UI (think Simcity 2000) is because i haven't really played many video games, and Simcity 2000 was my favorite vg.

I guess it makes sense though...

Offline JoeST

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Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2009, 02:32:05 PM »
like I said, it shouldnt be hard to hack the client to make it look like what you want
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Offline townscape

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Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2009, 03:02:21 PM »
But if the original options are good, it won't be that much necessary.
Actually radial menu's are not that complicated, just different situation of icons.

If the radial menu's will appear too complicated, we can make it as an advanced option to clean the screen a little.

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Offline toberas

Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2009, 03:51:20 PM »
Well, I think there's a lot to say for both options. Maybe a test at an early stage (when the time is there for the GUI to be implemented of course) could determine what is the best choice. It would then be a choice based on experience instead of assumptions. I don't know yet if it would work better or worse than the traditional way.

Offline dragonshardz

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Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #30 on: November 08, 2009, 06:08:58 PM »
I rather like the radial menu, reminds me of Crysis and L4D.

Offline Commadner jao

Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #31 on: February 22, 2010, 03:35:26 AM »
I going to enter out of nowhere and say i like the radial dial menu too but the normal one without is very stylish but i think it would be better if it had the building icons above the news ticker but that might just be me ::)

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Offline croxis

Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #32 on: February 22, 2010, 09:35:10 AM »
My request is to remove the news "ticker" and replace it with a chat/terminal/news window.

Offline WC_EEND

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Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #33 on: February 22, 2010, 10:15:07 AM »
I like it the radial way, if it's made in a proper way the radial menu can become very easy and quick to operate.

I play fps too, so for me a WASD + MOUSE combo is a very natural way of navigating through a world. Combined with scrollwheel for zoom this a perfect solution. With every new game people will have to adjust to the controls and structure, but with WASD+MOUSE you are actually keeping this to a minimum because it's such a well known standard.

As long as these can be remapped (WASD becomes ZQSD on azerty keyboards) I like that idea as well.
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Offline dragonshardz

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Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2010, 04:59:44 PM »
What about DVORAK keyboards? Custom key-mapping is definitely going to be a must. Extrapolating off that, wouldn't it be interesting to play this with a USB game controller?

Offline croxis

Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #35 on: February 23, 2010, 10:01:22 AM »
Oh yes, user defined keymaps are definity going to be in. I think tomekeus and I both separately started on this.

Offline croxis

Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #36 on: February 23, 2010, 10:17:16 AM »
Four page article on UI designs from this years DICE. Talks about FPS but still interesting none the elss.: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/4286/game_ui_discoveries_what_players_.php
« Last Edit: February 23, 2010, 10:21:34 AM by croxis »

Offline mightygoose

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Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #37 on: February 23, 2010, 01:15:41 PM »
why not have a radial menu based on the edge of the screen, m screen...f circle at the centre of the top of the screen... rise of nations used a similar but simple & square based setup on many of its additional submenues.
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Offline croxis

Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #38 on: April 28, 2010, 02:19:51 PM »
Bump. I want to compare and contrast the user interface of Civilization4 and what we know of Civilization 5. Civilization is a turn based strategy game. Both TBS and simulations need to present players with a lot of options and information.

Civ 4


Note how the bottom half is busy and covers the lower quarter of the screen.


Civ 5

Note the simple all business top bar. Context aware action buttons pulled to the left side.


Offline Jonathan

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Re: The User Interface - Appearance and Organization
« Reply #39 on: April 28, 2010, 02:33:43 PM »
Well could you implement a UI similar to Sc4 in that it is customizeable, but not similar to SC4 that it is very customizeable. SC4 uses a system roughly based on XML in that it has elements/nodes with properties for the layout and uses PNGs for the visual stuff.
We can customize the SC4 UI quite a lot but not add new buttons or menus. So something like that would be great but I'd imagine it would be quite hard to implement.