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#1 JakeDrake

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 01:03 AM

I'll be reading more about interfaces maybe in the next month, but until then I can give some advice that the members may or may not be considering.

The part of the screen that are the most important to the eyes of the player are the corners, primarily the bottom left corner. This is the part that the eye is going to notice changes at first. Now considering the team probably wants to retain feel of the orginal, anything on the left side is out. But when setting up the button layout on the right side of the planetview, think about is the most important info to be conveyed and what buttons are going to be used the most.

Theres only one type of info to be displayed in the interface: time. This is moving at a speed set by the user so its interest to the player is of a mediocre value, the clock isn't going to throw any surprises their way. So the position of the clock is not so important, it could probably be anywhere, middle right in the original.

Therefore we must think about the most useful buttons and which are going to be accessed quickly when a change in the system arises. This is obvious...intercept.

There is a reason why the xcom developers put intercept in the top right corner of the screen, the same reason why there is a red X on most of your browsers right now. Its very quick to access. As I remember of the alpha released, the intercept button is in the middle with the others.

This is all wrong.

Choose a corner and put intercept there, its simply going to make things much easier for the player. Imagine discovering a new UFO who is moving fast away from your base. You don't have time to look over at the side of the screen middle in order to make sure you don't accidetnally click "base info". You need to slap that cursor up to the top right corner of the screen and click intercept without having to think about it.

The less the user has to think about the interface the better it is.

I hope whoever is designing the interface layout keeps things like these in mind. I'll post some other considerations later maybe, especially considering the fact that no real information is displayed on the planetview.

let me know what ya think.
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#2 Qonfused

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 06:55 AM

How aboout a intercept button in the "UFO detected" pop-up.
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#3 Snakeman

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 08:06 AM

Seems feasible Qonfused and I like that approach, however I also know there are times where one might cancel that intercept in favor of something with a slightly higher priority.

Consider for a moment how things functioned in the original...

When multiple intercepts came on the scene, you were presented with that UFO type's appearance via a popup (good idea to put an intercept option here) and options to cancel the popup or center on on the craft. Centering helped great here, and I hadn't given it too much thought until now. Assuming I had 3 intercepts, with the first being a battleship i.e. high priority because it was retaliating or something, followed by 2 small scouts on patrol i.e. low priority. If I centered on the first, but cancelled the other two UFO popups, it would center on the one I wanted which was great.

However after dealing with that, I still had to rotate the map a bit to find the others then deploy my ships. In this respect, it was still good to have that intercept button (though I find that more often than not, I'm clicking on the nearest base, then its ships to deploy if they're close to target).

So already the game boasts a couple of ways to intercept the target, but I think your right that perhaps the UFO radar popups should probably have one as well or instead of one of the others. Agree that button placement as well is important, but perhaps those popups could have some functionality to them. For instance: 1) Manufacturing popups (when somethings finished being built), or 2) delivery popups (soldiers or equipment which include transfer popups).

1) Manufacturing popup: I can think of a couple off the top of my head, one could be for going right to the building screen to setup your next order, and one to give you the option to go to sell what was just built.

2) Equipment/Soldier delivery popups: With equipment deliveries, could be a similar approach, a button for going right to your ship equip screen or if a soldier delivery, go to that screen to analyse what they came with when you decide who your going to weed out.

This isn't to knock what came before, the layout worked well for me but there are those few areas I can think of that could use a modification, another button or just some rearranging.

#4 Qonfused

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 01:53 PM

And the abillity to rename you crafts, i hated pressing the intersept button and going; "what intersepter was in base 1, was it interseptor 4 or -7."
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#5 Snakeman

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 11:09 PM

Yeah, I remember that topic as well, and fits here too so its not entirely off topic since its dealing with the interception subject with regard to button's/screen's functionality as a whole.

I'm in the middle of a ground battle at the moment so I'm going to go back to it to see if I can spot some more things I can add while its fresh, cause while on the subject of buttons, I want to go back and analyse the layouts some more. The only other sticking point I had then was not being able to quit a game right from the battlescape (with a confirm quit just like you have a "confirm abort" but that's just for that mission. I'm talking after a save there then just being able to quit from there without waiting on geoscape to load, then quitting).

Mostly though, its little things like this I'm finding. Little bits that could probably be streamlined just a wee bit while not necessarily taking away how things previously functioned.

Edited by Snakeman, 15 November 2004 - 11:10 PM.