Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 Sector Space UI
02-23-2011, 09:31 AM
Would you like to see sector space get its own UI, distinct (and more compact) than the ship combat/system space UI?

What I think we need are a speed scaler, a dropdown menu for autopilot (to avoid having to pull up the map every time) with a single "Engage" button, a dropdown menu for available transwarps with a single "Transwarp" button, the minimap, and the XP bar. In turn, a dropdown list of shuttle pets with a "Deploy Shuttle" command. And a dropdown list for holoemitters with an "Engage Holo-emitter" command.

Maybe with a miniature, preset bar that has diplomatic immunity and quantum slipstream on it (whether or not you have them yet, with instructions on how to get them if you haven't unlocked them) and a button for toggling astrometrics on this prefab, non-customizable bar.

All of it streamlined to take up less space and show less superfluous information. And the overall layout might tend to have the choices cling more to the left and right borders. This would resemble LCARS more and leaving the bottom of the screen clear would add to the feeling of being suspended in space.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
02-23-2011, 09:53 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan99
Would you like to see sector space get its own UI, distinct (and more compact) than the ship combat/system space UI?
I'll see your excellent Sector Space UI suggestions, and raise you "moving the 'system info' box off to one side so it doesn't obscure the player's ship."

(And anyone who suggests moving the box AND the context activity button together shall be mocked for lack of functional aesthetics.)
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
02-23-2011, 09:56 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeathenStorm View Post
I'll see your excellent Sector Space UI suggestions, and raise you "moving the 'system info' box off to one side so it doesn't obscure the player's ship."
Uh... you can rearrange your HUD you know.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
02-23-2011, 10:28 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyHappyJoyJoy View Post
Uh... you can rearrange your HUD you know.
Three minutes, that's a new record.

So let's start the 'why you shouldn't merge a context activity button and a secondary info panel' lesson in User Interface design. Again.

When navigating sector space, the best feedback available is looking at the ship avatar. This shows the direction of movement, and the warp effect gives a rough indication of speed.

Below that, in the default UI, we have the warp speed indicator, giving better feedback.

In the pre-Season 3 UI, there was a context activity button wedged between the two. By looking at your ship and the warp speed indicator, you could tell where you were, where you were going, and what to do from a game perspective when you got there. (i.e. Use the Transwarp, Enter System, etc.) The location of the button between the ship and the warp speed indicator was perfect.

The first UI faux pas of Season 3 was moving the default location of this button to directly obscure the ship. This causes problems with navigation, especially when leaving a system.

Case in point: Reset the UI to default positions, and warp out of a busy system such as the Featured Episode locations. Then try manually pointing your ship in the direction you want to go next. Without being able to see your ship, combined with the lack of visual feedback from the new Astrometrics/Sector Space changes, you'll find your progress slowed and have to resort to navigating from the map.

This is why many players have changed the default location of this button back to where it used to be, so it returns to the mid point between the ship and the speed. If everyone has to change the default, it's a bad default.

This triad of useful gameplay elements (Ship, Context Activity, Speed) is now broken by a non-gameplay essential element: The "System Information" panel. The panel provides no help at all in getting from A to B, and is thus a secondary source of information. Fluff is good, people like fluff. But it is not essential to navigation. Attaching it to the context activity button forces it into the centre of the player's view, obscuring their ship and causing loss of control. (Such as when passing by a system with a lot of ships by it, and getting stuck because you can't see where you're going.)

Yes, it can be minimized, (using a non-standard UI element), but this is an either/or situation. Some players may prefer to read the System Info. It's very well written in most cases. But the UI for this information should be off to one side, or relegated to the System Map.

The Context Activity button can also be moved elsewhere, taking the info panel with it. But how many Klingon players have forgotten to Jam Communications in Pi Canis because the button to do so was out of the central field of view? The location of the button in the triad is perfect.

Do we really want a new player's first experience of Sector Space navigation to be shooting past the S.S. Azura because of temporary loss of control?

My suggestion is to separate the active button from the passive panel, and allow the player to move either to wherever they like. This way, everybody wins.

And yes, I provided this much feedback when it was on Tribble, for what good it did.

Any questions?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
02-23-2011, 10:57 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeathenStorm View Post
Three minutes, that's a new record.
My point is that you can decide exactly where you want any particular HUD option and find someplace where it works for you.

The "context activity button" need not be centre-bottom (and if you want it paired with another UI element, you can move that too).

Over to the right you have where lists of interactive objects pop up, and also where your UI power tray is. To the right is also where your minimap is (showing direction of movement, as well as current point on the map, and locations of nearby enemies, objectives and points of interest). Making this position important to keep track of, and just as functional a spot for the info/action element (if nor more so) then "centre-bottom."

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeathenStorm View Post
The Context Activity button can also be moved elsewhere, taking the info panel with it. But how many Klingon players have forgotten to Jam Communications in Pi Canis because the button to do so was out of the central field of view?
I actually haven't. When there are multiple options for interaction, by default, the list pops up to the right anyway, and not to the centre, so it's best to train yourself away from focusing your attention so intently on the centre of the screen since if you do and are in the neighbourhood of an interactive object when the jam option appears, it won't show up at centre-bottom.

Also, do you miss ships that aren't in the centre of your screen? Probably not. Just because something isn't front-and-centre doesn't mean it will (or at least should) be missed.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
02-23-2011, 10:58 AM
I just think Sector Space UI being shared with System Space UI gives us unnecessary information, could present information better and shouldn't require going to the map for autopilot since people keep missing that AP exists.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
02-23-2011, 11:06 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyHappyJoyJoy View Post
My point is that you can decide exactly where you want any particular HUD option and find someplace where it works for you.
Except in this case you cannot, because the two separate elements are connected for no functional reason.

As you rightly state, UI elements can be moved around as needed.

Do you feel that the UI would be better or worse by allowing the System Info panel to be moved to a different location than the context button?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 8
02-23-2011, 11:07 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leviathan99
I just think Sector Space UI being shared with System Space UI gives us unnecessary information, could present information better and shouldn't require going to the map for autopilot since people keep missing that AP exists.
I tend to concur, and think it's messy.

The question becomes whether divorcing the standard system space UI from sector space is something that would be worth the time and effort, and will ultimately boil down to how economical doing it would be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeathenStorm View Post
Do you feel that the UI would be better or worse by allowing the System Info panel to be moved to a different location than the context button?
Personally I think the game could do without the system information being a native part of the UI entirely.

I'd just as soon have some type of accessible database in the ship interior that you could use to review the information on the different planets. I find it being placed in the UI entirely superfluous.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 9
02-23-2011, 11:20 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyHappyJoyJoy View Post
Personally I think the game could do without the system information being a native part of the UI entirely.

I'd just as soon have some type of accessible database in the ship interior that you could use to review the information on the different planets. I find it being placed in the UI entirely superfluous.
I'm glad we agree!

Ok, here's an idea. What if we moved Transwarp and System Info to the map? Let the Galaxy map act as a top level navigation tool. You could select Transwarp and pick your target sector or starbase from there. Your current sector block will be highlighted on the galaxy map, but you can zoom into any block.

The sector block map will be more or less as it is now, with the addition of Information icons on all the points of interest. These will pop up the current Info text without interrupting gameplay.

Additionally, Quest locations can be clearly marked on both Galaxy and Sector maps. Non-quest systems can be hidden from this UI if the player wishes, to avoid information overload.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 10
02-23-2011, 11:34 AM
this is a very good idea. There are many simple things that can be done with the sector space GUI that would enhance it and make it cooler

and please less blue, why is everything in sto blue and laced with a blue hue? Even the lcars on bridges lack the diverse colors....mostly blue
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