I have to agree that these new icons/signs are terrible. This would be considered ugly even in some generic MMO, not to mention a serious-toned Star Trek franchise. I can't imagine the reasoning behind this change, even though I'm fully aware of the "need" of this sort of things for your standard MMO players, but do we really need these cartoon-ish ships etc? Especially considering that the previous signs were all OK?
Please Cryptic, go back to the old formula, or at least do something more trek-ish.
I actually really like the new holographic FX. When you take a look at how they 'pop' out from the wall they look very cool and I think Thomas did a beautiful job with the general effect (bow, scroll, transparency, etc.).
A = Admiral, Stateroom, Club 47, Sick Bay (I can understand keeping the name the same here for game purposes instead of changing to something more real world like 'infirmary' on a base -- good in RL/unnecessary distinction in game). These are all excellent and look great. If cocktail glass is a little 'toony' it makes real world sense because that's how lounge signs can be sometimes.
F = Shipyard. Incredibly horrible looking. This is may be the ugliest thing to ever appear in the game. That anything this sub-par ever went on even the test server is unbelievable
B = Exchange, Bank, Requisitions. As others have said, currency related stuff is tricky in this IP. The 'line graph' is as good an icon as I can think of. There is certainly nothing awful about it. Same with 'bank'. The phaser looks a bit cartoony and could stand a revision someday, but to be honest if not for the Shipyard debacle I would probably not have noticed/bothered to complain about any of these three.
I appreciate that Thomas put in a lot of long hours on this, but sometimes -- even with the best intentions -- going two weeks with little or no sleep impairs ones judgment and the project would be better served by someone going home to get a little rest.
The real problem with the new signs – the thing that is so immediately visually jarring and repulsive is the incredibly ham-fisted way in which they were slapped on the the walls of ESD. Like some others have said, even if this was a generic space MMO, the new signs have been implemented with a totally foreign design sensibility in relation to their surroundings and how they ‘attach’ (I use the term loosely) to their environment. The new approach does make navigation easier (while also decreasing opportunities for new players to ask for help and thus make friendships within the community, but that is a topic for another thread) and some of the icons are very well done. I’m sorry to have to say the current signs are simply embarrassing. I have been looking forward to inviting some of my friends and family to try the game after F2P – if the design team continues to make such poor decisions as this I will not even bother. How will I explain to them that such silly looking nonsense is the game I have been bragging about for over a year?
A few simple changes to the overall implementation of the new elements would make a world of difference. I’m sure with a chance to rest up from all his hard work and a fresh pot of coffee Thomas may have taken a different final approach. I confess I know far less about actual game design (coding and development process, etc) than I do about basic visual/art design. Here are some suggestions for what, barring programming difficulties, might be a quick (and effective) fix:
• Hang the new icons inside the frames from the old signs. The text and arrows can be displayed on the ‘monitor screens’ to help give the icons something to ‘pop’ away from.
• Use any sans serif font.
• Use an arrow instead of a triangle.
• Tone down the bright primary colors by using something more native to the games palette. (I used DSP Uni colors A12, C12, D12, and F12 adjusted to 100 LUM in MS Paint.)
• Reduce the overall size of the signage to a more comfortable ‘form factor’ for each signs location.
Here are some quick and dirty screen shots done with MS Paint. They are pretty sloppy themselves, but I think they still help illustrate my points about basic design issues.