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Author Topic: Tactical interface is a bit of a mess  (Read 3811 times)

vorpal+5

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Tactical interface is a bit of a mess
« on: June 05, 2019, 09:23:30 PM »

Sorry to be negative, but the tactical display (when you press tab) just become a mess of green rectangles and red/orange arrows rapidly, when you fight big battles.

At the very least there should be an option to not display every single symbol, but only the ones of the selected ship. How do you guy manage that?

Also given we can zoom in enough, you can't see sometime the ship you have selected in this interface...
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vorpal+5

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Re: Tactical interface is a bit of a mess
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2019, 08:57:41 AM »

I mean that. Surely a quick and easy improvement would be to have a toggle where all squares and arrows indicators are removed except on the ship you have in selection, right?

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SafariJohn

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Re: Tactical interface is a bit of a mess
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2019, 09:16:05 AM »

Just looking at that screenshot, I can see that there's a lot of scaling issues going on with the sprites and diamonds/circles/squares. The sizes are just all over the place. If it were consistent, I believe it would be a lot easier to read what's going on.

On a side note, it might be a good idea to give wrecks and allies a different shape. Maybe an upside-down triangle for wrecks, since derelicts use that on the campaign map.
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Alex

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Re: Tactical interface is a bit of a mess
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2019, 09:44:28 AM »

Hmm - yeah, the diamond/circle indicator sizes are way too large here.

They're based off the collision radius or the dimensions of the sprite (whichever ends up being smaller, with some minor calculations involved). Given what I'm seeing here, it looks like both the sprites and the ship collision radii are too large for these ships. If you'll note, the only vanilla ships in the shot - the Centurions - have normal-looking indicators.

I'd bring this up in the thread of the mod that these ships came from - it does seem to be an issue, yeah, and the mod's author would probably like to know about it, especially since these things being too large is also bad for various performance reasons.
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SafariJohn

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Re: Tactical interface is a bit of a mess
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2019, 10:06:52 AM »

Before it slips my mind for the hundredth time, I think station markers are too small. For example, the one in that screenshot is only barely bigger than the Centurion's marker. Given their relative importance...
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Alex

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Re: Tactical interface is a bit of a mess
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2019, 10:37:00 AM »

I remember spending a while fine-tuning that. I think it's actually fairly accurate to its in-game size, which gets more important for larger things - ships need to be a bit bigger or they look too small on the map, but if something bigger is that much bigger again, you end up getting more overlap. I do see what you're saying, though.
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vorpal+5

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Re: Tactical interface is a bit of a mess
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2019, 12:29:37 PM »

But surely it's more about the size of the squares around the ships. Displaying too many things at once is not informative, it is confusing. There should be some alternate view modes where you see only the indicators of a single ship and perhaps various filters and overlays, you know like in 4X games like the Paradox ones, where you can color or highlight the map differently depending of what you want to see. Here everything is shown at once!
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Alex

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Re: Tactical interface is a bit of a mess
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2019, 12:31:26 PM »

But surely it's more about the size of the squares around the ships.

Right yes that's exactly what I'm talking about here with "diamond/circle".

Hmm - yeah, the diamond/circle indicator sizes are way too large here.

They're based off the collision radius or the dimensions of the sprite (whichever ends up being smaller, with some minor calculations involved). Given what I'm seeing here, it looks like both the sprites and the ship collision radii are too large for these ships. If you'll note, the only vanilla ships in the shot - the Centurions - have normal-looking indicators.

I'd bring this up in the thread of the mod that these ships came from - it does seem to be an issue, yeah, and the mod's author would probably like to know about it, especially since these things being too large is also bad for various performance reasons.


Edit: did you mean "about more than the size of..." rather than "more about the size of"? (If so, I think you might be underestimating just how much clutter the oversized diamonds are adding. I think it'd be drastically better if those were normal-sized.)

Edit #2: that's not to say there's not a suggestion worth discussing here, but the issues in this screenshot are overshadowing everything else to such a degree that might be going so much that it's not a good starting point for such a discussion. (I really would appreciate it if you could let the mod author know; this seems like a good thing information-wise to have spread... I don't know how prevalent it might or might not be. What mod are the ships from, btw?)
« Last Edit: June 07, 2019, 12:46:11 PM by Alex »
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SafariJohn

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Re: Tactical interface is a bit of a mess
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2019, 01:26:47 PM »

I believe they are from Steelclads.
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Alex

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Re: Tactical interface is a bit of a mess
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2019, 01:31:41 PM »

Ah, thank you.
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TrashMan

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Re: Tactical interface is a bit of a mess
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2019, 08:47:43 AM »

The collision spheres around the ships shouldn't be that big.
I'm checking right now.

Ships usually have 1/4 to 1/3 of their length wiggle room between heir front/back and the shield.

A few of the smaller ones have a big more than the ship in the below image

[attachment deleted by admin]
« Last Edit: June 08, 2019, 08:50:46 AM by TrashMan »
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Alex

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Re: Tactical interface is a bit of a mess
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2019, 09:16:54 AM »

The big one seemed mostly fine in the screenshot, it's the little ones that seem to have the problem.
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xenoargh

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Re: Tactical interface is a bit of a mess
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2019, 06:29:13 PM »

Hey, meant to get into this discussion a bit earlier, but I wasn't able to get this ready before then.

A couple of thoughts on how the battle UI works.  Filtering is one of the major issues of this UI. 

Here's a mockup, showing how I'd handle filtering and organize the whole a bit better.


Top left allows filtering Friendly Ships, Enemy Ships, Missiles (missiles would have visible trails to give origin data better) Fighters, Asteroids, Clouds, Hulks and Objectives / Planets / Something else.

Note the change to the orders; I really don't think orders should ever go over the main display and on most resolutions, we have room to burn there. 

I didn't include Groups (which I doubt 1 in 100 players even knows are a thing, let alone uses) and the one major feature I still wish this menu had: the ability to give a Group a Formation.


[EDIT]
A few other thoughts.

1.  It's not actually necessary to have the big selection-boxes around the ships, if the mouse isn't over one.  It just adds visual clutter.

2.  Honestly, I'd prefer to have 2 filter modes for ships: 

A.  Classic mode, but without the boxes- just the ship silhouettes in the friendly / enemy color.  Most players will eventually just see the silhouette and be like, "hey, that's a Condor".

B.  Symbolic mode, like the Navy actually uses; simple symbols for FR, DD, etc.

3.  I think that either mode should always show the bottom of the icon in the direction of travel.  It should be totally obvious what a ship's facing is, in this UI.

4.  I really want the missiles to leave a fading track on this UI.  Yes, it'll be a mess when it's all on, but it'd be soooo useful.  More often than not, I don't care (much) about some random rockets getting shot at my far-away Destroyer, but if a swarm of death-missiles come out of the LOS fog, I sure want to see where they were, visually, so that I can properly intercept the source.

5.  I think Groups should be explicitly shown to players, if it's going to remain a feature. 

6.  I would love to have a Patrol order, that takes 2 or more movement points as input.

7.  I still think the game needs tactical formations other than "vague delta" and "just blob".
« Last Edit: June 08, 2019, 06:55:43 PM by xenoargh »
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xenoargh

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Re: Tactical interface is a bit of a mess
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2019, 01:29:49 AM »

Here's the complete mockup, showing (roughly) how it'd look / feel.


Visually cleaner, easier to read, Groups are explicitly supported... and just to show how it'd look, I've put in display of simple formations for your Groups. 

The current UI is quite difficult to read, doesn't allow for filtering of data we don't want, doesn't show orientations of ships, makes no mention of the Groups feature, and doesn't have any support for patrol routes or formations, which are pretty fundamental ideas of tactics IRL as well as RTS-style combat games generally.  I know this area's basically feature-frozen at this point, but meh, maybe once the game's core hits 1.0 or something. 

I feel like this is definitely something where the game could get better with small steps that don't add a ton of work, since most of what's been added here is either turning off rendering tasks or hooking some mouse-clicks to Group selections.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2019, 01:36:21 AM by xenoargh »
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SafariJohn

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Re: Tactical interface is a bit of a mess
« Reply #14 on: June 09, 2019, 11:04:18 AM »

My main use for the tactical display as it is is to tell roughly where ships are. Basically anything else takes too long to read. Not to mention it doesn't even show flux, PPT remaining, overloads, flameouts, etc. It is not a good overview of the battle.
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