Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appearance

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Eleazar
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Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appearance

Post by Eleazar » April 19th, 2010, 11:42 pm

Well, i recently got the urge to play Wesnoth again. I'm impressed with some of the changes over the last couple years, and somewhat surprised at some of the things that haven't changed. Lots of new animations, new music, a few new really nice terrains... It certainly loads much faster than i remember.

So, i'm here to highlight some things that could be enhanced in the GUI department. There never was a subforum quite right for this sort of thing, but i'll put it here, since i want mostly coders to see this and get inspired to do something, rather than in an art forum, since none of these things involve actually doing art for the game, beyond mockups. And as usual, i don't know how hard any of these things might be to code. Hopefully some of these will be easy.

Load Dialog
There's a few relatively simple changes that could make this a lot nicer:
1) Use the minimap at full size for the thumbnail. The file size goes up a little, but the a save is more identifiable.
2) Include the unit dots in the thumbnail as in the minimap-- this make the thumbnail much more useful
3) Left align the thumbnail. There's no reason to right align just this one item.
Load.png

Opening Screen Glitch
I noticed italic type gets cut off on the hints screen:
glitch.png
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Terrain Type Readout
I'm surprised this one hasn't been fixed yet. In the upper right corner there's a readout that tells you what kind of terrain the mouse is over. Unfortunately it gives you the name of the specific terrain variation first and then if there's any room left, gives you the name of the basic terrain type-- what i called terrain archetypes, but i don't know if that stuck. Terrain archetypes are the currently 16 basic types listed with each unit as "terrain modifiers".

I'm proposing that the display in the upper right only list the terrain archetype(s) of a given hex and skip the verbose name of the specific terrain:

* The archetype(s) of a hex are more important to know than the label given to a variation. Archetypes have gameplay effects. Variants are just eye-candy.
* The terrain art is good, and the player isn't stupid. He can tell the difference between pine trees and deciduous just by looking at them. The terrain art is good enough that it is obvious what specifically most of the things are supposed to be. At best telling the player that a hex is "summer deciduous forest" is pointless.
* A lot of the specific variant names are duplicates and/or redundant anyway, so for instance you have several "Village (Village, Hills)" All the player needs is, "Village, Hills".
* At worst the player will get confused about which variants have different defense values, or simply be unable to see the archetype(s)' name because it is cut off.
cut-off.jpg
cut-off.jpg (31.8 KiB) Viewed 6870 times

More when i manage to get some good screenshots...
Feel free to PM me if you start a new terrain oriented thread. It's easy for me to miss them among all the other art threads.
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Jetrel
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Re: Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appearance

Post by Jetrel » April 20th, 2010, 1:14 am

Thanks, please continue posting this stuff, I agree with and second all of it. These should really get fixed.
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Re: Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appearance

Post by silene » April 20th, 2010, 5:26 am

Eleazar wrote:I noticed italic type gets cut off on the hints screen:
Not for me. You should report this bug upstream, e.g. to the Pango developers.

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Re: Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appearance

Post by zookeeper » April 20th, 2010, 6:33 am

Eleazar wrote:Terrain Type Readout
I'm surprised this one hasn't been fixed yet. In the upper right corner there's a readout that tells you what kind of terrain the mouse is over. Unfortunately it gives you the name of the specific terrain variation first and then if there's any room left, gives you the name of the basic terrain type-- what i called terrain archetypes, but i don't know if that stuck. Terrain archetypes are the currently 16 basic types listed with each unit as "terrain modifiers".

I'm proposing that the display in the upper right only list the terrain archetype(s) of a given hex and skip the verbose name of the specific terrain:

* The archetype(s) of a hex are more important to know than the label given to a variation. Archetypes have gameplay effects. Variants are just eye-candy.
* The terrain art is good, and the player isn't stupid. He can tell the difference between pine trees and deciduous just by looking at them. The terrain art is good enough that it is obvious what specifically most of the things are supposed to be. At best telling the player that a hex is "summer deciduous forest" is pointless.
* A lot of the specific variant names are duplicates and/or redundant anyway, so for instance you have several "Village (Village, Hills)" All the player needs is, "Village, Hills".
* At worst the player will get confused about which variants have different defense values, or simply be unable to see the archetype(s)' name because it is cut off.
I'll add a bit to this: the terrain readout should somehow also show how the defense and movement are determined for mixed terrains. Currently there's no indication whatsoever and you have to select a unit and hover over that terrain and figure it out from there.

However, I don't have any particularly good ideas about how to do it given the very limited space we have there. :hmm: I was thinking some small shield and foot icons to put next to the component terrain names, but those would only work well for terrains which have "defense of X, movement of Y", not for terrains which have for example "defense of (best of X,Y), movement of (worst of X,Y)". If this part of the panel could be extended one row down, then that'd give plenty of space (movement details on one line, defense details on the other), but on a single horizontal line it seems rather hard to do.

Any clever ideas?

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Re: Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appearance

Post by Eleazar » April 20th, 2010, 12:55 pm

Hullo again, Jetryl and Zookeeper!
zookeeper wrote: I'll add a bit to this: the terrain readout should somehow also show how the defense and movement are determined for mixed terrains. Currently there's no indication whatsoever and you have to select a unit and hover over that terrain and figure it out from there.
....
Any clever ideas?
I agree that's a problem. I don't quite remember how the terrain effect combinations all work, so i can't suggest a fix. My vague memory suggests, that i objected to the current rules of terrain combination because they were too complicated to easily show what's going on in the GUI, but the situation may not be quite the same.

Anyway, lets not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We (as in coders) can easily improve this bit of the BfW by taking out the bit of code that displays the terrain variant name and the parenthesis. If somebody figures out how to show how mixed terrain mov/def works, that can be added in when that occurs
Feel free to PM me if you start a new terrain oriented thread. It's easy for me to miss them among all the other art threads.
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Re: Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appeara

Post by Eleazar » April 20th, 2010, 7:38 pm

Trait Listing
Most units get two random traits— which is fine. But while a "Dexterous, Intelligent" unit is the same as an "Intelligent, Dexterous" unit, you can find them listed both ways which almost implies there is a difference, and makes it more difficult to mentally sort through your unit looking for certain traits. It also makes sorting by the "trait" column in the Recall dialog less useful than it could be.

Proposal: Units traits should always be listed in the same order. Either Alphabetical, the order defined in "traits.cfg", or some other order, it doesn't matter as much as always presenting a unit with the same two traits in the same way.
no-difference.jpg
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In scenario Dialog
FIXED 1.9.x
This bit of the game is vastly improved since i was last active here. However, there's a couple things that could take the quality to the next level.

1) At the bottom you have an awkward, distracting little gap. The overlay should go straight down to the bottom of the screen instead.

2) The overlay isn't opaque enough as it is now to sufficiently separate the text from a busy, light background. However, adding that cool blurry effect seen in other dialogs would do the trick.

talking.png
Feel free to PM me if you start a new terrain oriented thread. It's easy for me to miss them among all the other art threads.
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Re: Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appearance

Post by AI » April 20th, 2010, 9:11 pm

Eleazar wrote:Trait Listing
Most units get two random traits— which is fine. But while a "Dexterous, Intelligent" unit is the same as an "Intelligent, Dexterous" unit, you can find them listed both ways which almost implies there is a difference, and makes it more difficult to mentally sort through your unit looking for certain traits. It also makes sorting by the "trait" column in the Recall dialog less useful than it could be.

Proposal: Units traits should always be listed in the same order. Either Alphabetical, the order defined in "traits.cfg", or some other order, it doesn't matter as much as always presenting a unit with the same two traits in the same way.
Thing is, with combinations of quick, strong and resilient, the order of the traits does make a difference and IIRC, this is deliberate. (greater variety or something)

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Re: Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appearance

Post by Eleazar » April 20th, 2010, 9:49 pm

AI wrote:
Eleazar wrote:Trait Listing
...
Proposal: Units traits should always be listed in the same order. Either Alphabetical, the order defined in "traits.cfg", or some other order, it doesn't matter as much as always presenting a unit with the same two traits in the same way.
Thing is, with combinations of quick, strong and resilient, the order of the traits does make a difference and IIRC, this is deliberate. (greater variety or something)
I see. "Quick" modifies HP by a percentage, and several other traits modify HP as well. It seems like in most cases the difference would be almost negligible.

However, even if this difference is deemed to be of vital strategic important, that's still no reason why the a standard listing order shouldn't be used whenever the trait order doesn't matter.
Feel free to PM me if you start a new terrain oriented thread. It's easy for me to miss them among all the other art threads.
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Re: Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appearance

Post by Eleazar » May 3rd, 2010, 9:35 pm

After watching the logo and the loading progress bar for a few seconds, the main screen appears, and the Wesnoth logo is revealed again fading in from left to right. While that logo is being revealed, the you can't do anything. I know it doesn't take very long, but it's annoying, to keep waiting on that flourish when you are testing and must continually restart the game.

Dramatically it doesn't make any sense anyway since that logo was just on the screen moments before.

Solutions:

1) make it so any click aborts the gradual revelation of the wesnoth logo. IIRC this is what used to happen.

2) Get rid of this effect entirely. Plop the logo on the screen and be done with it.

3) Gradually reveal the logo as before, but don't wait for it. Put the rest of the interface up there as soon as possible, and make it work.
Feel free to PM me if you start a new terrain oriented thread. It's easy for me to miss them among all the other art threads.
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Re: Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appearance

Post by beetlenaut » May 5th, 2010, 2:03 am

Eleazar wrote:I know it doesn't take very long, but it's annoying,
You can already turn it off in the advanced preferences menu. (I agree that it's annoying, so I was glad to see that option appear.)
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Eleazar
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Re: Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appearance

Post by Eleazar » May 5th, 2010, 3:05 am

beetlenaut, thanks! That at least solves my problem.
Feel free to PM me if you start a new terrain oriented thread. It's easy for me to miss them among all the other art threads.
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Re: Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appearance

Post by Zerovirus » May 6th, 2010, 9:17 pm

Sorry for a semi-jack, but these suggestions are related and I didn't feel the need to create a new thread with essentially the same topic idea.

Anyways, I was playing against Caphriel on 1.8.1, and I noticed an annoying fact.
Gray Border Errors.PNG
Why does the border stop at the hexes that are nonexistent? This makes little sense, and looks bad to anyone who notices. It looks unpolished and crude, and I believe it should be changed so that the faded brown bar extends all the way around the whole map.

And now for the second one, admittedly very very minor.
Drake Flare Error.PNG
There's a transparency hole. Barely noticeable, and I'm not even sure it's worth the time to dig out and fix, but at least it's made known now...

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Re: Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appearance

Post by thespaceinvader » May 6th, 2010, 9:19 pm

I'll fix it when I animate, for the flare. It's not dramatically awful, though.
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Re: Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appearance

Post by krotop » May 7th, 2010, 9:19 am

Zerovirus wrote:Why does the border stop at the hexes that are nonexistent? This makes little sense, and looks bad to anyone who notices. It looks unpolished and crude, and I believe it should be changed so that the faded brown bar extends all the way around the whole map.
I used off_user terrain for the black part. If it is replaced with Void, then the faded brown bar will extend through the black area. However, it's not a perfect solution IMHO, because these black parts are supposed to mean "you're out of the boundaries of the map", and when you put your mouse over this area you're not supposed to see "you're in Void, impassable terrain, coordinates 3,34".
As far as I'm concerned, the ideal would be to have that border feature apply over off_user terrain.
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Re: Some Suggestions for Improving the GUI & General Appearance

Post by AI » May 8th, 2010, 3:43 pm

I've fixed the map border over _off^_usr in [rev]42530[/rev].

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