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Starsector 0.9.1a is out! (05/10/19); Blog post: Personal Contacts (08/13/20)

Author Topic: Naval Market: Returning to the Era of the Obvious Ship Catalogue  (Read 839 times)

Piemanlives

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For a few versions now the ship and goods market have been rolled into the same planetary interaction option. This is, quite frankly, absolutely fine. Condensing similar menu options in order to make way for more diverse interactions isn't a bad idea. However with the recent influx of new players and users this has revealed an unintentional flaw in how it's handled.

A very noticeable number of new players don't actually realize there's a market for buying and selling ships.

For those of us who have played the game long enough we're familiar with and used to using the hotkeys for navigating the planetary menus while going about our business. New players do not have that familiarity with the UI and standard menu hotkeys. The ship market currently isn't advertised in any way, shape or form and that needs to change. Somehow. I'm no master of UI design so someone else can come up with that.
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SCC

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Re: Naval Market: Returning to the Era of the Obvious Ship Catalogue
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2019, 01:00:42 PM »

There's the assortment of hotkeys shown next to the trading option, and one of them is for fleet, but, uh... I included this in my signature for a reason. Alex got too used to using hotkeys.
Another visibility-related thing I'd like to mention is that you can completely skip the combat tutorial in the main menu without any kind of warning or anything.

Alex

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Re: Naval Market: Returning to the Era of the Obvious Ship Catalogue
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2019, 01:16:47 PM »

In the dev version, the option reads "Trade goods or hire crew, buy or sell ships, or refit [I, F, R]". I *think* that's not what it is in 0.9.1a, right? So I'm hopeful that this will help with the issue.

Hmm, if I could also do something custom to distribute the hotkeys along the line... i.e. something like:
"Trade goods or hire crew [I], buy or sell ships [F], or refit [R]"

Would have to totally hardcode that, though. Let me make a note.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2019, 01:52:34 PM by Alex »
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SCC

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Re: Naval Market: Returning to the Era of the Obvious Ship Catalogue
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2019, 01:46:48 PM »

It might help, but the only foolproof way to do this is to split two most important functions (trading items, trading ships) into 2 dialogue options again. Not everyone is inquisitive enough to try out hotkeys there, instead relying on numerical keys.

Zalpha

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Re: Naval Market: Returning to the Era of the Obvious Ship Catalogue
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2019, 02:29:15 PM »

Maybe a good way to solve the new players not know what to do or what they can do is to do a tutorial of navigating the menus, purchasing a ship and equipping and kitting it out.

It could maybe start off at the main station menu and then you hire a new captain, then move down to in the cargo shopping menu and make a purchase of a ship hull mod and learn it. Then head down to the shipyard and buy a ship with d-mod, and point it out the difference between ships with them and without them. Then it could move to the equip menu. It could make use of newb friendly features, like "Okay, now autofit it", keeping it simple and maybe letting them know things they can do like removing a d-mod (I had to search the net to find the answer to that problem). Then add the captain they just purchased and once they have the ship, run a simulation with it. All of this in hopes of teaching them and showing what they should know to help get deeper into the game.
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Megas

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Re: Naval Market: Returning to the Era of the Obvious Ship Catalogue
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2019, 03:35:26 PM »

While we are at it, return of sort-by-class tabs similar to items as featured during pre-0.6 Starfarer.  Currently, I scroll a long way to get to frigates or even destroyers if I store a bunch of ships at one place.
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SafariJohn

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Re: Naval Market: Returning to the Era of the Obvious Ship Catalogue
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2019, 05:12:07 PM »

Even if a new user does hit F, there's a decent chance they won't notice the market buttons at the top of the screen since it's so similar to the normal fleet screen.

Another complaint due to the current screen is you can't undo buying/selling ships.

Brainstorming: maybe put all the colony info at the top like the trade screen, but replace the Colony Info button with "Ship Market"? The ship market screen would be about identical to the trade screen, except using a new medium-sized tile.

While I'm thinking about it, the M shortcut should probably go to the colony info screen from any screen, instead of switching between colony info and trade.
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xenoargh

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Re: Naval Market: Returning to the Era of the Obvious Ship Catalogue
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2019, 05:57:53 PM »

Using a hotkey for any major game function is a major mistake in UX design.

Frankly, that UI needs rebuilt, with explicit buttons to take the player to the major interaction areas.  But this is something that can probably wait until nearer to 1.0.
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Plantissue

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Re: Naval Market: Returning to the Era of the Obvious Ship Catalogue
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2019, 05:53:38 AM »

I agree. Right now in order to buy a ship, you need to either press F, which isn't obvious or click on the button or press "3", "I" or "R" and then click on fleet at the bottom of the screen.

It isn't obvious that "F" hotkey passes you to the fleet screen to buy and sell ships in the planet screen. Could be better explained with: Trade goods or Hire crew(I), buy or sell ships (F), or refit(R).


For me the option reads "Trade goods or hire crew, buy or sell ships, or refit [I, F, R]" in 0.9.1a-RC8.

The fleet button is tiny and at the bottom. Normally that would be fine on the normal view, but it disappears on the planet screen and only reappears when you move to other screens.

On the fleet screen, the Open Market and Black Market are the most highlighted, taking away attention with "sell" and "buy" being rather muted and unnoticeable. "Buy" in particular is hard to read on the Black Market, being red on red. I suspect most people click on "Black market" and then cannot see "Buy".

And then there is Store button, with the buttons on the ship so generally similar to buy and sell, that it is possible to mix them up.

I think that instead of a fleet screen there needs to be a Fleet buy/sell screen, rather like the inventory screen, but for fleets.
Trade goods or hire crew, Buy and sell ships and Refit screen should be 3 different options on the planet screen.
I guess an argument can be made it will look like too many options, but it will aid clarity.
 
It's not a bad thing if there is more than one way to get to a screen.

« Last Edit: August 18, 2019, 05:58:12 AM by Plantissue »
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Alex

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Re: Naval Market: Returning to the Era of the Obvious Ship Catalogue
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2019, 12:34:09 PM »

Since it'll help out a bit regardless of whether it's ideal or not:

https://imgur.com/a/IOecgRl

Maybe a good way to solve the new players not know what to do or what they can do is to do a tutorial of navigating the menus, purchasing a ship and equipping and kitting it out.

It could maybe start off at the main station menu and then you hire a new captain, then move down to in the cargo shopping menu and make a purchase of a ship hull mod and learn it. Then head down to the shipyard and buy a ship with d-mod, and point it out the difference between ships with them and without them. Then it could move to the equip menu. It could make use of newb friendly features, like "Okay, now autofit it", keeping it simple and maybe letting them know things they can do like removing a d-mod (I had to search the net to find the answer to that problem). Then add the captain they just purchased and once they have the ship, run a simulation with it. All of this in hopes of teaching them and showing what they should know to help get deeper into the game.

Hmm, not a bad idea! It's also kind of a lot for the player to do, so I'm hesitant to just cram that into the main tutorial. I wonder if just placing the Mudskipper you get during the tutorial into storage - instead of into the player's fleet - and directing the player to take it from there themselves - might not be an easier way to point them in the right direction. Not as complete, but also a lot faster for the player to do.
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Plantissue

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Re: Naval Market: Returning to the Era of the Obvious Ship Catalogue
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2019, 08:42:38 AM »

Yes, I think that would help out a lot.
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