I will start out by saying that I love the way Sector Space looks and don't want to change it at all. The only problem I see is with the Area Maps for Sector Blocks and a missing element of control for setting courses. So, I have taken some time to create a Legend and a number of icons that could be used to more accurately let players know what is what on Sector Area Maps. In addition I have redesigned the look of these Area maps to make them more Trek-like and to give a more user friendly look and feel.
I hope you like my work and I hope that any devs that see this will take it into consideration.
You will see that I have made many different icons of different colors to represent different mission markers and locations in the game. Currently I don't think anyone knows what the different symbols we currently have mean, because they are used oft times for things that seem completely unrelated (the Briar Patch uses the same icon that Klingon Fleet Action locations use, but is not a Fleet Action / the Sierra Outpost II system uses the same icon that is used for some Fed side Fleet Actions, etc.). I think having a more detailed Map and a Legend to go with it will simplify things a bit and make it easier for players to tell what is what.
Note the Q icons. As in Sector Space these will appear if the player has a mission in the system in question unless the mission is PvP related.
Fleet Action icons could be color coded as well, if you need to specify a certain faction's Fleet Action within a Sector Block that could contain both factions missions. Currently there are no such missions, so I left it one color.
First I'd like you to notice the Adjustable Course Markers. These would slide along the area they mark to make it possible for players to set a course that does not necessarily go the exact same area every time. This also will come in useful with my idea for Advanced Course Settings further on.
Note the color coded sidebars also give you an idea of what kind of sector block you are heading into. Color coding and gradations of these sidebars is as per the Sector Block beyond.
Note also that the Starbase icon is not used on Starbase 24. This is because the Starbase icon represent a friendly environment and Starbase 24 is a Fleet Action, which will never be friendly.
First thing I'd like you to see here is how I've allowed the titles of the systems and their descriptions to stack. This goes a long way toward cleaning up the Klingon maps so it doesn't look like such a mess of text overlaying text.
Next I'd like you to note that I've used the Mobile Fleet Action icon for the IKS Karg. I'm not really sure if this is really a Fleet Action contact and I don't think it moves but it felt like it was the right icon to use. Let me know if it should be changed.
Notice I also removed the words Sector Block from the ends of the Exploration blocks along the bottom here, as it simply is not necessary and it isn't consistent with the Exploration blocks elsewhere in the game.
You'll notice that each of these maps connects to one another. My feeling is that if it looks like you should be able to fly a straight line from one point to another, then you should be able to. I should have to go back to Omega Leonis to go from the T'Ong Nebula to the D'kel Star Cluster when it's faster to set a direct route.
Note here that the Briar Patch is marked as a regular Unexplored System as it should be. There is no reason to have a special marker here, especially not when it's a marker that would otherwise designate a Fleet Action.
Noticed I've changed the Crystaline Entity into a Mobile Fleet Action icon in order to differentiate it from other enemy contacts. This will make locating the entity much easier as you won't have to fly aimlessly around the map clicking on each signal contact until you find it. Also, this is a Fleet Action, not a random event. It should be marked as such.
Also notice that I have removed the word System from the end of Sierra Outpost II and changed it's icon to that of a normal System icon. This is not a Fleet Action and should not be marked with an icon that usually represents Fleet Actions.
No more special notes. I'll just let you look at the maps from here on.
Advanced Course Settings would allow players to designate a course by using systems to mark a specific directional route. The Course window would appear when you selected a System icon, just as it does now. But instead of only asking if you would like to set a course to that System, it would also have an option to set an Advanced course. With this option you could select a number of Systems and designate whether you want to stop or continue when you reach them and then click Engage. If you elect to stop at any system along your course your ship will stop and hold position until you enter the mission or choose to Resume Course. If you opt to continue the Ship will continue immediately to the next System along your plotted course.
This kind of system would allow players to plot a course that goes to each of their currently active missions or to go to another Sector Block at a specific point so that they spawn on the end of the Block they want to. The sliding Adjustable Course Markers would help to designate a specific area to cross into another Sector Block with Advanced Courses. Also, this would simply feel more Trek-like than plotting a course that goes in a straight line to a single location.
Well, what do you think? Can we consider making such changes to the Sector Block Area Maps? I think it would go a long way to matching the feel of a Star Trek galaxy, while making the whole map system more user friendly for players' QoL.
The lines are iconic to Star Trek. I'm completely behind an idea like this - anything to make sector space more interesting would go a long way in having it make sense. Right now, sector space feels like a trip through 'Pinball Wizard.'
I could definitely get behind this... although I would make it so you could just right click on the map and tell it to add a waypoint, rather than having to go from planet to planet.... you tend to get caught on solar systems in this game.