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  • Graphical Interfaces

    Here's a very rough sketch of what I think could be the basis of an eyecandyful (?!) graphical interface for the main screen of the game, based on the current layout.

    the topsection is for buttons... (but could also be for units to show how many you've got when stacked) but I'm not entirely sure how many buttons and pages there are supposed to be... (do let me know anyone)

    i think having lots of windows is messy, and something with tabs and scrolling is more desirable for tidiness and userfriendlyness.

    I think also it's desireable to have the least amount of text, and replace it where possible with visual data and symbols where possible so that language is not a barrier.

    i also like graphs for my data - there may be times when knowing the exact figures for things is useful, but I want to see trends over long and short periods without having to jot down or remember figures for growth etc...

    i've put a sketch of the econ page with commodity boxes and general graph side - I actually think it'd be better to have an icon for each commodity and sector (there'd be a lot more), with a graph and key, and if you want specific data you click on the commodity or sector icon to open up a subscreen where the graph was.

    I also have ideas for a simple radar-style battle screen (likw wht you get in sports games] - i think it'd be a drastic improvment on traditional unit on unit action, and make battle tactics more doable - i don't like the text idea - it's like archaic soccer games.. but then i'm more visually inclined..

    Jack

    [IMG]http://[/IMG]

    I'm going to have to e-mail the gif to mark, because I can't rememebr what my webpage is, and i don't think i've got the uploading stuff set up on this pc!!!
    click below for work in progress Clash graphics...
    clicaibh sios airson tairgnain neo-chriochnaichte dhe Clash...
    http://jackmcneill.tripod.com/

  • #2
    ...there is a criticism that Clash is just a spreadsheet game... i think it's important to look for ways to counter that with more visual (and eventually sonic?!) ways of expressing data, actions and events... so perhaps this thread should be a general graphics thread where ideas to make the next demo more colourful and sensory-friendly!
    click below for work in progress Clash graphics...
    clicaibh sios airson tairgnain neo-chriochnaichte dhe Clash...
    http://jackmcneill.tripod.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      Yellowdaddy sent me a graphic to post. Here it is.

      It is important to realize that many of the decisions that have been made in the Clash game have been the result of extensive discussion, and are not the result of an arbitrary fiat by a coder.

      The layout currently used is designed to be completely flexible. This was introduced at least partly because Mark and I were unable to agree where on the screen various things should be put. By providing flexibility we could both have our way.

      I do, however, strongly agree on the use of tabs to cover different display areas. At present the icons across the top serve the same purpose.

      Cheers
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • #4
        the current layout is reminiscent of Civ2 : Test of Time.

        I understand the flexibility argument, and there seems no reason why a marriage between windows for those who love them, and a fixed display for those who don't couldn't be an option on the game paramaters screen.

        I personally like a game to look more like a game, and less like an application (if you know what I mean). it irritates me to have piles of little windows which i have to sort through to get at the info i'm looking for. I'd like less boxes/windows for a start, and preferably in fixed positions. (thought I suppose there could be a little optioanl rearrangement.

        this layout is purely an instictive one (i.e. I haven't thought too deeply about why I've put things where).
        But on reflection, I think it might be worth sacrificing a larger visible "map" screen for the benefit of having easy/visible access to data.
        In Civ3 you get popups not just for events but for city management.
        I'm just thinking you might like to use the main map screen to display the data you're looking at (eg. were your units are, you roads are, resources...) while the tab box contains the graphs and figures.

        imagine a war, where you have to monitor multiple units and fronts, it strikes me as more efficiant to have the main map screen usuable at the same time as the tabs box (in Civ 3, you get popups and whole screens blocking the main map, and apparently stopping play which may not be the best way of doing it).

        (I still don't know how many buttons and screens there need to be!)

        I hope we'll get some comments (at least ayes or nays) on the layot so we can get to work on making a pretty one...
        click below for work in progress Clash graphics...
        clicaibh sios airson tairgnain neo-chriochnaichte dhe Clash...
        http://jackmcneill.tripod.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Aye! I like it. Reduces clutter - and not all the boxes we currently have fit, so we have the "fishing" to find things and what not... So I give my support to this new one, with the fancy tabs and what not.

          Comment


          • #6
            Jack, thanks for trying to push the graphical design forward. As Gary said there has already been very significant discussion on the topic. I don't want to start all over again from square one. To that end, I will give some links to previous discussions.

            First of all, there is the Interfaces Page on the web site. It hasn't been updated recently, but has links to some thoughts of a previous team member, and some of the older discussions.

            The latest organized discussion on GUI stuff is here.

            Then there is the new Economy GUI thread. This gives the planning for what one of the important sub-screens of the GUI would look like.

            I just found the threads by paging back through the forum. Took just a few minutes. If you do start a thread about a big topic, please look for the previous discussion threads (at least in the last 3-4 pages) and link them in. That way people won't have to look for them themselves. Or even worse, spend a lot of time to recapitulate the old discussions. And I don't want to have to make my smarmy points all over again.

            Now, on to your stuff. . .

            Your interface suggestion looks basically decent to me. The tabbed info screen at the bottom seems worthwhile and functional yet attractive (within the limitations of the sketch). As Gary said, he and I had a difference in our prefered screen locations, and the current GUI handles that well. If I can have that flexibility with the sort of thing you're looking for then I'd be happy. Also, you need to keep in mind things like that lots of players Hate graphs, so I don't think they have a place in the main interface.
            Project Lead for The Clash of Civilizations
            A Unique civ-like game that will feature low micromanagement, great AI, and a Detailed Government model including internal power struggles. Demo 8 available Now! (go to D8 thread at top of forum).
            Check it out at the Clash Web Site and Forum right here at Apolyton!

            Comment


            • #7
              Smarmy?!

              ok, I hear you.

              I want to make a start on something, but I don't want to rile people by pushing ahead with something that a significant number of people don't want.

              so I'm looking for swift agreement on as much as possible, so i can get on with it.

              I like graphs, you don't. I don't know how many people are for or against, but I also like text/figures sometimes too; my proposal includes both - you have the list of icons for commodities units cities whatever and clicking on the icon would switch between a graph and text/figures.
              I think that's a plausible and equitable solution.

              Are you proposing having graphs on seperate area subpages?
              i.e.: you click on an Economics page and get all you national data which you can have displayed in figures or graphs?

              The interface I'm proposing is about not having loads of pages to click to.

              I have thought that, it might be an idea to make this interface a tab in itself - the main game page being without the three boxes to the right, right bottom, and bottom, and with the map filling the screen and just the basic top row of data and buttons, and the events ticker tape thing along the bottom?

              much like this suggestion:
              Simon Loverix
              Tongeren, Belgium
              21.01.03 16:25
              Heroes of might and magic 2 had both a full-screen mode and a windowed mode (which was identical, but with a window around it); practical.

              (AND THIS WAS USEFUL TOO):

              Simon Loverix
              Tongeren, Belgium
              27.01.03 16:41
              Laurent:
              Imperialism did the permanent message bar. They showed a graphical representation of goods and moving the cursor over it would make the exact quantity appear over there. Very practical.


              as were Bruns' thoughts on popups
              that was a year ago - what happened to Vovan's gfx?

              What are your personal requirements for the interface?
              My personal attitude is to just keep amending the sketch and posting it until everyone in the team is happy, and then make it pretty.
              Laurent's e-mail didn't seem to work, and i think his input is needed as well to proceed.

              I will absorb that stuff over time - I have difficulties reading, so bear with me (i'm off to the optometrists in a couple of weeks!)

              I wouldn't mind some kind of tree or map or flowchart or list of buttons and tabs and pages that are required...
              at least tell me how many buttons? or do i just make as many as I like?

              ------------------------------------------------------

              New topic: tiles: I know this has been brought up before, but i'm looking for permission to redo them...

              I think the tiles are:
              a. too small.
              b. not entirely uniform in style.
              c. not enough of them.

              a. I think 48 x 48 is much more attractive. If we go for the revised interface proposal - where you can have the map filling the whole screen, and switch to the boxes and smaller map, then I think you definitly need bigger tiles. But I think you need bigger tiles anyway.

              b. Basic stuff like horses and men are varying sizes, point different directions, and don't seem to have a unifrom style or pallette.

              c. not really a complaint, but how many units are required?
              Until I see gary's map, I've no idea what to do about units and terrain. What city tiles might look like or any others for that matter, so I wait with baited breath...
              click below for work in progress Clash graphics...
              clicaibh sios airson tairgnain neo-chriochnaichte dhe Clash...
              http://jackmcneill.tripod.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                Laurent's e-mail didn't seem to work
                What did you use? Tried laurent.di.cesare@wanadoo.fr ? If this doesn't work, PM me, I'll try to give you another e-mail address.

                I think the most important thing about graphics now is to have something more uniform in the various panels (econ, military, government...), in particular whether they are frames/windows/panes...
                I don't like graphs much, but those in galciv work well enough to show every civ's power (though you get it for free instead of spending on intelligence, which I think is bad, but has been done to make it easy for the ai).
                Clash of Civilization team member
                (a civ-like game whose goal is low micromanagement and good AI)
                web site http://clash.apolyton.net/frame/index.shtml and forum here on apolyton)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by yellowdaddy
                  so I'm looking for swift agreement on as much as possible, so i can get on with it.
                  I'm with Laurent, at least what I think he's saying, that we should work on the sub-menus first. Making them functional and having the code standardized is IMO Much more important than re-doing the main interface. At least from my point of view, you can go ahead with your explorations. . . But I fear you'll get frustrated because this isn't near the top priority. That said, some of your ideas, like the tabbed panel might be coded as a frame and put into the main GUI in a reasonable amount of time if we as a group decide that's the way we want to go. Another factor to be considered is effort to make the changes you are promoting. Easy-to-code things can of course be tried with much less agreement and forethought than hard-to-code ones. Laurent and Gary's evaluations will be key here.

                  I like graphs, you don't.
                  Actually, I personally like graphs a Lot! Just wanted to register something that I think is true about the civving community. I certainly could be completely wrong in this assumption.

                  Are you proposing having graphs on seperate area subpages?
                  i.e.: you click on an Economics page and get all you national data which you can have displayed in figures or graphs?
                  Graphs should be used on the popup screens like econ etc. as needed IMO.

                  The interface I'm proposing is about not having loads of pages to click to.
                  I don't think that approach is practical at all for a game that is as data-rich and player-decision-rich as Clash. At least looking at your example I don't see how you can possibly get all the critical econ info into one of those little tabbed pains you have. Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. . .

                  I have thought that, it might be an idea to make this interface a tab in itself - the main game page being without the three boxes to the right, right bottom, and bottom, and with the map filling the screen and just the basic top row of data and buttons, and the events ticker tape thing along the bottom?

                  that was a year ago - what happened to Vovan's gfx?
                  No idea. Presumably the web site they were posted on got shut down.

                  What are your personal requirements for the interface?
                  Its in very large amounts of detail in those threads. Like I said I haven't much time to work on Clash right now, so I am not interested in generating new posts to say things I've already said in those prior threads.

                  My personal attitude is to just keep amending the sketch and posting it until everyone in the team is happy, and then make it pretty.
                  Well, making everyone happy is going to be tough! See Gary's comment on why the current interface is flexible.

                  I wouldn't mind some kind of tree or map or flowchart or list of buttons and tabs and pages that are required...
                  at least tell me how many buttons? or do i just make as many as I like?
                  Trying to make a final interface design right now is really futile. Only playtesting will tell what really needs to be in the top interface IMO. I'm not trying to be difficult, but coding a bit and then trying things is what has worked best in this project. So my suggestion is to just make an interface based on what you see currently in the game and leaving a bit of room.

                  New topic: tiles: I know this has been brought up before, but i'm looking for permission to redo them...
                  This whole part of the post should go in the terrain graphics thread, or a new one should be started. If lots of different big things get discussed in one thread it becomes a real nightmare to have a coherent discussion and to link back to with future threads.

                  Sorry I'm being such a pain, just becoming more curmudgionly with age I guess.
                  Project Lead for The Clash of Civilizations
                  A Unique civ-like game that will feature low micromanagement, great AI, and a Detailed Government model including internal power struggles. Demo 8 available Now! (go to D8 thread at top of forum).
                  Check it out at the Clash Web Site and Forum right here at Apolyton!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Mark and Co.

                    I'm splitting my reply in sections, for no particular reason.
                    ----------------------

                    missed quote response section:

                    I think you meant to quote me on this para' and respond to it, am I right?

                    I have thought that, it might be an idea to make this interface a tab in itself - the main game page being without the three boxes to the right, right bottom, and bottom, and with the map filling the screen and just the basic top row of data and buttons, and the events ticker tape thing along the bottom?
                    ---------------------
                    discussion retort section:

                    I take your point about not wanting to go over stuff again and again, but i'm not sure whether some of the questions i'm asking have been answered in a way that I can make sense of, unless my questions aren't phrased well.
                    I can't read all that stuff that quickly (I have a reading disability) , I would really like it boiled down into a "home assembly kit" or Lego instructions. in short, less words please!

                    going ahead with the interface as a "conceptual" one, will keep me ticking over, and help me arrive at an overall style for boxes and things. So I do regard it as entirely futile from a graphics perspective. I just want to have a visual reference for what kind of direction to go in with the graphical style.

                    So far, Gary's asked me for a couple of things, an ancient transport ship unit is one - but on looking at the other units, my first thought was they were too small and not uniform... (self-snip!)
                    ...So I'll take it as an OK to proceed.
                    -----------
                    little afterthought section:

                    I thought it might be tidier to tackle my graphics queries ad hoc on this thread - it works for me anyway because I don't have to trawl through loads of old posts and try an interpret them or ask regurgitative questions.

                    ---------------

                    instructions section:

                    So submenus, what do you want? (specifically please)

                    I don't think that approach is practical at all for a game that is as data-rich and player-decision-rich as Clash. At least looking at your example I don't see how you can possibly get all the critical econ info into one of those little tabbed pains you have. Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. . .
                    I'll take it that we're going to have whole pages then, unless there's a way of fitting the data on the panel.
                    Is the main page going to be a map screen like in Civ or a Government screen with access to the other pages or something else?
                    --------------------

                    Waffle section!

                    Graphs.
                    I would like to see graphs mainly in the economy and social screen. a bit more than the old demographics screen.
                    I would like to see Graphs used for the following:
                    growth rates:
                    economic, (national, sector, balance of trade)
                    population,
                    law and order,
                    I'm not sure whether you really need them for anything else... perhaps resource/commodity prices

                    I actually don't see the point in a "power graph", especially when playing the game - isn't in more tense to not be entirely sure how powerful other Nations are, and more realistic?
                    -------------------------
                    click below for work in progress Clash graphics...
                    clicaibh sios airson tairgnain neo-chriochnaichte dhe Clash...
                    http://jackmcneill.tripod.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by yellowdaddy
                      I think you meant to quote me on this para' and respond to it, am I right?
                      No, not really. I dislike the idea, but felt no need to comment.

                      I take your point about not wanting to go over stuff again and again, but i'm not sure whether some of the questions i'm asking have been answered in a way that I can make sense of, unless my questions aren't phrased well.
                      I can't read all that stuff that quickly (I have a reading disability) , I would really like it boiled down into a "home assembly kit" or Lego instructions. in short, less words please!
                      Well, I understand your limitations now that you state them. But I have no desire to spend hours of my own time condensing things for you. So we're at an impasse on this one. I suggest you read the starting bits I put up FE in the thread on econ design. That'll at least give you some idea what I had in mind.

                      I thought it might be tidier to tackle my graphics queries ad hoc on this thread - it works for me anyway because I don't have to trawl through loads of old posts and try an interpret them or ask regurgitative questions.
                      You don't need to read all the old posts in a thread, just put your questions/ideas on the end. Threads like this with tons of different ideas on different facets of the game tend to get ignored once active discussion is over. And then we have to answer the same questions and discuss the same ideas when the next new person comes on the project. Well, I don't have the time or desire to do that.

                      You can do whatever you want and post where you will, of course. But the purpose of this forum is to allow for current discussion of topics and also preserve those discussions in an organized fashion. I'm going to be reluctant to spend time on things that don't fulfill that second function. You see, people join and leave the team all the time, and most just waste time in forum discussions and never do anything. Until it is shown that you're not in that category (and nothing personal, I'm just going with the odds) I'm not going to spend a lot of time discussing. . .

                      Why don't you do some of those little projects Gary suggested first, and "earn your spurs"? You can try different styles and sizes for images, and we can see what you can do with graphics.

                      So submenus, what do you want? (specifically please)
                      See my first post in the econ sub-menu discussion. You could start with your take on what that should be. But IMO supporting the coders with what they need right now is much more important. In many cases we will probably try three or four interface possibilities for a sub-menu before it's finalized.
                      Project Lead for The Clash of Civilizations
                      A Unique civ-like game that will feature low micromanagement, great AI, and a Detailed Government model including internal power struggles. Demo 8 available Now! (go to D8 thread at top of forum).
                      Check it out at the Clash Web Site and Forum right here at Apolyton!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        About submenus:
                        Click on every button we have on the top. Almost none of them does anything consistently:
                        From left to right:
                        Exit: Well, it just quits the game. Can't really have anything like the other buttons.
                        Econ: Opens a small popup telling you which econ window you want. The next window can be closed or iconified, and is called back and put in front if the button/popup is clicked again. The window has little or no border and is plain text, can be adjusted horizontally but there's no horizontal adjustement if you increase the size of the window.
                        Tech: A full-fledged window, with a much bigger button to close it than the econ one. Can't be iconified.
                        Mili: Same as main econ window(not sure you have this one unless you have the most up-to-date code).
                        Ruler: Same as mili.
                        Diplo: Same as mili. Except this one does nothing, off course.
                        View: Opens a popup menu in the middle of nowhere. Econ opened the popup near the button, but I get this one very far from it.
                        Bulletins: Can do nothing (if there haven't been any bulletins). Otherwise, opens a popup menu, which tehn opens bulletins like the tech window.
                        Move: Switches to End move if you selected a unit. And vice-versa.
                        Road: As move, except title is End build.
                        Wall: A mix of econ (popup menu) and Move (End build). In this case, the popup is near the button, but often sports a single choice. If no wall's available, I don't remember what happens.
                        Next TF: Causes selection to change.
                        End Turn: Opens an Events panel, which can be closed, can't be iconified, can be made to fill the whole window. In order to call back the event, you must go through the very intuitive options-display events-view events.

                        This 'options' thing lets me introduce the menu bar. We have both buttons and a menu bar.
                        Files is here for Exit.
                        Views is for Econ/Mili/Tech/Views/Bulletins. I really wonder what's the point of doing Options/Views/Views/(click the good one) instead of picking the iconified window.
                        Action: Provides the rest of the buttons.
                        Options: Introduces Reset Layout, which sounds right there, and Display Events, which doesn't really cut it.
                        Help is the usual unhelpful about that Windows has had us used to.

                        You may see now what I mean in terms of things needing unification. There are windows that can be reduced, others which can't.
                        There are other buttons which, sometimes after a selection in a list, require you to select a target square.

                        And then we have all the contextual menus, on the main map and in the units window.

                        So coming with a plan to have something more ergonomic would be nice. That's not as much graphics as it is ergonomics, but it's more important than mere graphics. The end-of-turn messages could in fact be helped by graphs for tech/econ/pop growth. But thinking about how to check pop growth by square vs. by province vs. by civ is also important.
                        Clash of Civilization team member
                        (a civ-like game whose goal is low micromanagement and good AI)
                        web site http://clash.apolyton.net/frame/index.shtml and forum here on apolyton)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ok Mark, I'll do my best.
                          I'll try and direct my queries to Laurent and Gary as you suggested and try and do what I can to supply the gfx they need.

                          merci Laurent pour votre input!

                          (in addition to Gary's specific requests) shall I treat the map screen as having a map which fills most of the area

                          (basically like a web browser I suppose - or a bit like Sim City 1 which had little vertical colour bars up the lefthand side to show population levels in the 3 types of zones)

                          and then do tabs along the bottom (or top) for the other pages which currently use the buttons: econ, mil, rule etc...

                          on the side (which i suppose could also be switchable to left or right like the pagetabs could be from top to bottom) i could do tabs which make a minimap flip out (or it could scroll out over a small corner of the main map), and for a databox in the top right (but relocatable) with its own minitabs inside it, which could act like a popup displaying things like:
                          1. a character face - eg: your ruler, an opposing ruler, one of your ministers reporting something (with accompanying summarised data below), perhaps and
                          2. event slide (like and image of famine, or military victory...),
                          3. perhaps a mini growth trend graph at the start of each turn
                          4. Unit managment - with squashed arrows for (mulitdirectional) rotating through units, locations etc...

                          This circumlocated tabs approach keeps the main map clear, and allows the player to choose what data they want on screen with the map, and within certain limits where they want these little panels (the panels being fixed to the edge of the screen, not annoying floaty boxes - it's not photoshop, it's a game!). And this screen treated as a large tabbed page, allows for fullscreen pages for the other things like the research/tech page, economics page and whatever else.

                          I could also then put a space for a national flag:
                          I think this could be a useful way of identifiying units freeing up colours that might otherwise be used for nationalities and put constraints on the number of nations and vassals possible in the game (i.e.: identifiable).
                          It'd also be nice for historical scenarios.
                          I think a little flag designer, with a small palette, and small set range of flag designs would be feasible in the options page.
                          Until/unless it's coded, the box can display a Clash logo.
                          With larger 48x48 px units, a little flag overlay of say 12x20 in the top corner seems doable. (though the US flag might have to have only 5 or 6 stripes! and oceanian flags might be a bit fiddly!)

                          a strip of space along the top for displaying contents of stacked units, a little panel of buttons (move, build etc..) along the bottom with a ticker-tape bulletin with date, as before.

                          as for the point about graphs - how about when graphs is selected on the datapanel minitabs, the player could just click on the map: a right click menu asking you to select unit, square, province or nation? (this could apply to other things too perhaps?)

                          I'll work to all the specs i can find, and then mail things it to Laurent and Gary if i can before posting them on the forum.

                          bon?

                          Last edited by yellowdaddy; February 8, 2004, 10:01.
                          click below for work in progress Clash graphics...
                          clicaibh sios airson tairgnain neo-chriochnaichte dhe Clash...
                          http://jackmcneill.tripod.com/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi yellowdaddy:

                            Originally posted by yellowdaddy
                            shall I treat the map screen as having a map which fills most of the area
                            I don't think this is practical with the game as it works now. Having the Units box always visible is basically critical for moving units, which is the primary thing one does on the main map. Therefore without substantial redesign I do not believe a map which fills most of the top gui area is feasible. Perhaps I'm wrong about this, since its just based on my thoughts of how it would work. Se'll see what others think.

                            As for the other ideas in your post, they seem reasonable to me.

                            I'll work to all the specs i can find, and then mail things it to Laurent and Gary if i can before posting them on the forum.
                            For things like graphics it would be best if you got yourself a web site and then posted your work straight to a relevant thread in the forum. That will reduce the workload on Laurent and Gary, and let others see and comment on what you're doing.
                            Project Lead for The Clash of Civilizations
                            A Unique civ-like game that will feature low micromanagement, great AI, and a Detailed Government model including internal power struggles. Demo 8 available Now! (go to D8 thread at top of forum).
                            Check it out at the Clash Web Site and Forum right here at Apolyton!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              fair enough,

                              but I'd like to post gfx to someone/where else for backup purposes as much as anything...


                              re units box,
                              in that case I'll treat the two tabs I call "datapanel" and "minimap panel" as fixed features as in the sketch above, but try and make the map as big as possible while keeping the y dimension no longer than the x, unless suggested otherwise. each panel about an eighth of the screen, and portrait shaped.
                              So essentially, just removing the landscape-shaped panel below the map, while retaining the tabs which will serve as the buttons on the current demo. (more or less).

                              (feel free to delete the sketch at your convenience)

                              but not the ones here please, which i think are worth retaining for reference...

                              http://apolyton.net/forums/showthrea...threadid=82813
                              Last edited by yellowdaddy; February 8, 2004, 12:32.
                              click below for work in progress Clash graphics...
                              clicaibh sios airson tairgnain neo-chriochnaichte dhe Clash...
                              http://jackmcneill.tripod.com/

                              Comment

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