[1.3.3.1] UI feedback (detailed)

ZeroGravitas

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#1
[Edit: don't worry about reading everything before replying with your thoughts. Also, please give praise and contradict criticisms where appropriate.;)]

I've made this thread separate to @Matt's main 1.3.3.1 feedback thread, so we can go into more detail about the UI specifically (without getting tangled up in talk of the race missions, etc).

I previously critiqued the new UI style in this thread (based on block painting interface and co-op player manager) where I criticised the aesthetic, but most seemed to like it. I'm keeping that majority perspective in mind when writing this.:)

Cropper2019-11-06-17-07-00-5323500.jpg

@Saelem Black already posted specifically about the fuel and energy UI elements on this thread.


2019-11-05 New UI 1.jpg

(1) Too bright! - This is the main problem with the new UI. And a deal breaker for me - it hurts my eyes always and is intolerably distracting during game nights. Also, when taking screenshots or making video thumbnails, these white high contrast features are going to dominate the image. Solutions:

(a) 'Dark theme' - Seems like many others are saying it's too bright, too, so naturally suggesting something along this line, as with Discord and many popular websites these days. Including this forum - I *can't* use the default/bright theme, so use dark (although this too is not idea for my eyes).

(b) UI skins - Maybe the devs have something like this in mind already, like the block skins. An extension of a dark scheme option. But I think something needs doing immediately, and something more involved might get kicked into the long grass. It also might not give any skin options which look alright throughout the day/night cycle. They'd all have a similarly hard and sharp contrast at their edges anyway (something I find unpleasant).

(c) Auto-dimming - other have suggested this too, that the UI brightness could adjust dynamically with world illumination. Certainly that would help with the above example. But for me it would still be too bright during the days. It might be difficult to implement and also distracting - I suspect that peripheral vision might be triggered by even fairly smooth transitions.

(d) Transparency - I can see there is already some very slight transparency to many of the UI's background areas. Exaggerating this, and including a "UI transparency" slider in graphics settings, might go a long way to solving most of this issue. Probably my preferred brightness solution, provided that entirely opaque UI elements are shaded a more gentle grey, too (full white UI or text is never acceptable to my eyes).



2019-11-05 New UI 2.jpg

(2) Too big! - much of the UI elements and menus seem unnecessarily big and clunky (for PC :confused:). Perhaps the biggest complaint on the other thread, getting in the way far too much (especially when windowed or on smaller screens?).

(a) Maybe a 10-15% reduction overall would do it, mostly (more reduced speedometer size, etc). Providing a UI scaling slider in options would (I suspect) probably be hard to implement and very hard to verify as working well in all instances and all languages.

(b) The big, blank areas make the brightness issue worst, too. For example, on the above menu I would
• Make the baby blue title bar a few shades deeper blue (and scale it down a few sizes).
• Background about 50% transparent (letting players see behind makes it feel less overwhelming).
• Main areas (e.g. bindings for "Lift", etc) from pure white to grey (like the "Apply & exit" button).
• I still hate that random cartoon aeroplane illustration.


(3) Specific details to tweak - writing up in my next post on this thread (maybe today, maybe tomorrow). Please "Watch" thread to be notified....
 
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#2
Here's my thoughts:

1. The radar is not transparent anymore. I do not like that!
At the very least, let us set a radar-background-opacity percentage. I would set the opacity to 0%, so I can get back the old radar.

2. Lots of things are unnecessarily big, and there are some irrelevant illustrations.
A simple yet effective way to fix that would be to allow people to select a text-scale an ui-graphics-scale to act as multipliers for in-game graphics and text. That, and removing a few of the unnecessary graphics from the game, or at least making a "slim mode".

3. Having both dark and bright/light themes would allow people to have the best experience they can, for the lighting in the room they are in.
Having a third and fourth themes based on the two light&dark themes but with added auto-dimming / auto-brightening depending on the in-game daytime/nighttime would also make the game feel more alive. Though some will definitely not like those third and fourth themes.

4. UI Themes.
Honestly, letting people use some sort of styling language to change the appearance of the UI, and allowing some in-game graphics to be replaced with the themes' graphics (i.e. the fuel and power gauges).

5. I personally liked more the old bottom row, with the speed, altitude, control mode, energy and fuel gauges. Things did not take up as much of the screen. It feels like the new update is robbing precious screen space from me. Even more damage is done for people who play on small screens.

6. Why not let us zoom more in and zoom more out? Maybe even let us have a ghost-build mode, in which the blocks you right click become ghost like, having their opacity set to 5% and have them become click-through, so we could place or change blocks from inside our tech without having to systematically dismantle our tech to change a single block, and to more easily troubleshoot techs which have harvesting, hoarding, crafting, scrapping and manufacturing capabilities.
 
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harpo99999

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#5
I AGREE with epic, the new hud IS HUGGGGGLY, as in I want to throw it into the incinerator it is too OPAQUE, TOO WHITE, too ANGULAR (and looks like it was created by a 5 year old that hated computer games and wanted to create the most jaring irritating and useless display style EVER,


but the good points are that it has a EXTREMELY HIGH contrast(suitalbe for colour blind players,
 
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#7
I just hate The new HUD. I suggest adding a “classic hud” option to revert it back to the old hud
it is too OPAQUE, TOO WHITE, too ANGULAR (and looks like it was created by a 5 year old that hated computer games and
Woah, steady there gamers! Remember this feedback will probably be seen by the UI designer (Nadeem?) and other devs.

Although, of course I agree on the essence of you criticism, regarding the style - it feels, from a player perspective, a little like this is a solution looking for a problem that wasn't there. I mean, I don't recall anyone ever complaining about the old UI's appearance or function. Just the devs saying it's inconsistent (so maybe difficult to work with?).

But it's here now. And I'm pretty sure there's not going to be an option to revert to the old style. Adriano said (on Twitch stream this evening) that he'd be against that (as head QA) because that would double up testing requirements. It would also double up implementation requirements, with making future changes to it. And negate any benefits of the overhaul, assuming it simplifies/unifies how it works, behind the scenes.

Anyway, Lathrix does say he loves it, too (but then he basically says that about everything added to the game, heh :D).
 
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#8
Oh, in terms of the brightness contrast between Ui and world - I noticed that the pillars biome ambient illumination seems to be brighter than before (something different there), maybe? Perhaps the dessert too...? So anyway, got me wondering if the devs are already thinking of making the world illumination brighter at all times?

That wouldn't be a complete solution to the UI brightness, but would also help with night time visibility for buildings, that's long been a major accessibility issue (especially for those without R&D.

Anyway, specific details suggested to tweak/fix/finish/ignore....


2019-11-05 New UI 4 (annotated).jpg

(3) (A) You can't purposefully click on to leave the licence levels open (i've seen players talk previously about wanting to keep these open when they are shut by looking in trade stations, I think). But wizzing your mouse over them all (vertically) quickly will leave some of them expanded.


(B) I guess it's a little quicker to get to the inventory button if it's up there (most of the time). But it looks kind of alone, there's a keyboard shortcut for it anyway (I use Tab) and it pops open with build beam, too.

Plus, it gets hidden by the load techs menu, so if it were down the bottom, instead, it would be quicker and easier to switch back to block inventory (if it were down the bottom, too), not needing to first close the tech loader. I hit this a surprising number of times in testing.


(C) That message pop up is ugly huge, bright and opaque (if very readable and stylish). This style makes the unavoidable "Press B to turn tech upright." messages even more annoying. It also seemed like these lingered around longer than usual after flipping the tech upright (without using build beam, maybe).


(D) My neighbours now now how fast I'm driving, could this be reduced a little in vertical size?


(E) The white icons for SCU, mission objectives and invaders were already tricky to differentiate. The white radar area makes this worst. But I guess that's a parallel thing to the part of the UI that's being redesigned, here? Still needs attention please.



[More in a later post....]
 
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#9
2019-11-05 New UI 5.png


(4) Tech Loading Menu:

(A) This single column ribbon or snapshot thumbnails is very stylish, but it puts the most commonly looked at and accessed elements way up in the top left corner. I find this starts to get tiring on the eyes (human vision evolved more to scan the horizon) and adds extra mouse shuffles in (again horizontal movements are far easier here).

Moving the close arrow to the bottom (F), or a second one, would save mousing up there at all. Although I guess that's redundant when you can close the menu by re-clicking the load icon, eh. So never mind (ignore F)...


(B) There's currently no expanded snapshot preview (like there used to be). I think it'd still be handy to have, especially for those who don't take great shots and need to inspect them more closely to decide if it's the right one.

Having this in the top left corner (instead of sticking way out) would also negate the need to mouse up as far (2 birds in one). The search/information/favourite/etc buttons would probably then sit under the larger preview.

This would cut down the number of thumbnail previews, if it remained a single column, so any chance of squeezing in 2 columns...? (I'd guess not.)

Perhaps simplest option would be for it to appear as a pop-up over the top of the current layout, only when mousing over a specific thumbnail...?


(C) Click dragging the snapshot thumbnails (or missing blocks) has no scroll inertia, unlike the block inventory, which does. Is this going to be added? To be honest, I don't think I ever use this, preferring the scroll bar (faster and more precise). So I'd prefer a few extra pixel width on that, to make grabbing it a little easier.


(D) Not a UI issue, really; @Django was working on this workshop snapshot importing processing bottleneck. It's still a really pain in the neck for anyone with more than half a dozen subscribed items (easy to do). It'd be really handy if this snapshots tab didn't do a (full) refresh each time you go back to local snapshots and return. So, a seperate refresh button? And/or drag the column of thumnails down to refresh (like Titter feed on android, etc)?


(E) Sorry I've not highlighted the stylish and intuitive graphical elements, and positive aspects (always the critic...).


(G) There's only used to be 12 missing blocks visibile on the old interface, now just 4 at a time. Very cramped and bad for persons like myself with poor working memory, trying to get an overview of what's needed.

I don't know if any of my previous feedback has fed into your considerations, but I've asked if it would be possible to make the missing blocks list visible while the Fabricator (block crafting) menu is open...? This would be very handy, as I (and others) have had to make a lot of back and forth clicks, here.


(H) All the right angled corners on the UI elements really catch my eyes (not in a good way). Especially when there's a button just inside of them with a rounded corner. I'd guess this particular element is a work in progress...? Please, please, bevel as many corners as possible! :)
 
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#11
2019-11-05 New UI 6.jpg

(5) Save snapshot pop-up:

(A) The design on these (i) is nice - they weren't obvious before. And the information in there is simple and helpful.


(B) I think this is part of the "too big" complaint. Although it doesn't matter so much when it's the on UI on screen, with the game paused, what about in mutli-player modes...?


(C) Stylish for super-casual players, this feels like a step in the wrong direction in relation to the changes I've asked for with snapshotting for workshop, etc.


(D) As part of those, it would be helpful for the workshop to see a 16:9 crop preview of the snapshot (to save uploading and deleting a bunch of test shots each time). Given that the thumbnail previews are all that fixed aspect ratio, too, it makes even more sense.


(E) I accidentally Tweeted a tech and didn't notice until someone else liked it... Will probably catch a few others out, too. But it's fine. Makes sense to do it in one step. (Maybe a confirmation dialogue though...?)


(F) I know the old Steam workshop interface had similarly cramped tag selection, but there's a huge amount of spare screen space here, why not use some of it...? (I spend a lot of time scrolling through and re-clicking tags, particularly given the lack of 16:9 crop preview and repeated upload attempt because of that.


2019-11-05 New UI 7.jpg
 
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#12
2019-11-05 New UI 8.jpg

(6) Inventory and Block Painting menus:

(A) Again, it seems unnecessarily tiring to make players commute all the way up to the top left corner of the screen for the first (and so most used) blocks.

How about moving the additional block information side-bit up there instead. It would give more world access down low, on the ground, where players click more, too.

I think having the option to see 1, 2, or 3 columns of inventory block icons shown in this menu would be utterly fantastic then, too. An actual, undeniable improvement of interface capability, to be able to see more stuff than before. :)


(B) Tool tip has never fully explained how to fully deselect current block. (Also, this little pointer arrow looks weirdly out of place on its own up there, currently, are more things coming to keep it company?)


(C) (D) Minor bugs?


(E) Many times I've wanted to select (or change) the colour of the block I'm place from inventory and opening the block painting menu to do this closes the inventory, which I have to go back and open again. 2 to 3 mouse trips across the entire damn width of the screen...

Come to mention it, why is the button to open the block painting menu on the opposite side of the screen, still? (J)


(F) The little delay before this right side menu animates closed feels like a game hang, or at least frustratingly unresponsive. Can you cut it out?


(G) Minor omission of "X" in the centre of the tech actions radial menu.

But also, I'm thinking this might be a great opportunity to fix a long standing minor problem - you can't send anchored Fabricator (and Component Factory) blocks to inventory because right clicking opens their crafting pop-up menu. So how about having this standard radial pop up so instead you have the central (default) option be to open the crafting menu, but allow click-hold to select send to inventory/rename/etc? :)

Potentially the same deal for conveyors, filters, pacemaker, control blocks and focus camera on block (in build beam).... But it would probably make most of those feel too complex and finicky.


(H) There's an almost 50/50 blend of old and new UI styles now. What's going to happen to the style of these little tool tips, crafting system indicator 'toasts', etc, etc...? (Not to mention options screens, main menu and pause menu....)


(I) It took me a good while to fully comprehend what's going on with the radar mini-map when the painting menu pops up... I think it's fine? But it looks very weird to start with.
 
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#13
(7) Tech Manager - I already made a suggestion post about this here:



I'm still not much of a fan of the new style, but we established that most forum users are - new UI feedback thread. So anyway, a bunch more little suggestions:


(1) Mostly I'm hoping that this screen hogging menu is going to be converted into a (left hand) side menu (in the same way the new tech loader migrated over there). It takes up too much prime screen area, given that you are still able to interact with the world behind it.


(2) Show an entry at the top for your current tech. To bring it all together, letting you snapshot and rename *all* techs from the same menu. [Edit: especially as the manager's snapshot mechanism creates nicely auto-cropped images with clean looking transparency.:)]


(3) Allow tech switching from this menu. Double click on the thumbnail, I guess.


(4) AI state toggle (guard/follow) as another button. Including set all either way (extra row of options at the top/bottom of the list).


(5) "Send all to inventory" for e.g. when you've split a load of drones off your tech (or cab counter-measures, etc). The existing options are already handy to be able to more quickly send all the creative/R&D mode starter techs away (and banish the distracting UI markers).


(6) "Lock tech" option to prevent accidental send to inventory. This is an especially big problem for any techs with crafting blocks, which will drop resources, etc even if undoing the mistake. (I saw this as a concern from one of the Japanese players on twitter, but lost the tweet.)


(7) Make the scroll bar wider, if it's going to be clickable, it might be nice to wider than a couple pixels. (I know this is a contemporary UI style trend and you can click drag anywhere on the list of mouse wheel on PC. So whatever, I guess.)

(A) It's great that the send to inventory button is now instantaneous. Much slicker.:)

But it would be great if we could send enemy techs (in creative/R&D) directly to inventory, without having to laboriously convert them over to be player allied first.


(B)
Speaking of - the "Player"/"Enemy" highlight selection still looks and feel confusingly bacwards to me (despite many weeks of using it). The option being selected should look brighter.


(C) I'd like a bunch of things related to this to be unified between all the modes (e.g. [T] + click to switch enemy status everywhere). But that's the topic for a separate thread...
 

Rafs

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#15
I don't like how the block icons in inventory are huge now, it doesn't really have to be, or make it optional. And as ZG said, the option to have more columns would be great.
So a combination of being able to resize UI in general, and being able to expand parts of it with more columns like the inventory or the snapshot loader seems to be the optimal solution.

Also I'd love to be able to change UI colors like we do with block skins. I'd integrate that to the game as in having progress in a save game in campaign unlocking themed corporation skins for the UI, I really like games where they tie cosmetics with progression (but this is optional, having more "UI skins" is the more urgent feature).

I miss transparency a little but I think this will be fine if I can change UI scale (as I said it's too big), like in other games such as Stellaris, this is a good thing to do in modern games and worth the time spent implementing it.

I agree with all points made by ZG and I hope these are being looked at and fixed in the next unstables.
Also, some of these points were made long ago in another UI feedback from the Tech Loader and it seems many of them were ignored (like things being too big and too bright), and now look what happened. This time it better be different, right? Community Driven Development ;)
 
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reaperx1

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#16
One thing that I thought might be cool for the new ui would be if the bottom row of buttons info except for the radar would minimize to the bottom of the screen automatically. That way you could hover your mouse over a tab that would be there to have it pop up or click on it to have it stay up. Maybe even a hot key for it.
Other than that I would say there is too much white and please flip the block menu on the side so we can scroll the lists down to what we want by putting our mouse in the bottom left corner.
It's still new so I'm pretty sure by the time things are all said and done the Dev's will have made it truly awesome with all of our help of course ;)!
Have a good one [8D)
 
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#17
This update seems to make the game the game of 2008 - the UI is not transparent, too bright
That was exactly my impression seeing the earlier bits of new UI.

But actually, I think it absolutely is a contemporary style, in the same view as Windows 10. Microsoft ditched eye friendly rounded corners and partial transparency of the 'Aero' style. The only reason for this I could figure (other than a change of style for the sake of arbitrary fashion) is that partial transparencies (with blur) come with a processing overhead that's not negligible on mobile devices. And they are trying to unify the interface across device types and pivot more to mobile (and ultra-light laptops).

So I'm wondering if the devs did the same with a performance profile and found that things would run a little faster without more pleasant looking blurred transparencies (potentially important to squeeze FPS from Switch, in particular)...? [Edit: apparently not.]
 
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#18
I agree with all points made by ZG
:oops:

Also, some of these points were made long ago in another UI feedback from the Tech Loader and it seems many of them were ignored
The thing is, it seemed, then, that I was in a small minority, disliking the style. So hard to argue for a change of direction. But it seems like many more players are now understanding the implications, maybe. More than the 2 others who voted with me, back then.

I don't like how the block icons in inventory are huge now, it doesn't really have to be
Yeah, mostly these could be made smaller, on PC, without any issue. Particularly the "missing blocks" list. But some blocks (like the various BF curved pieces) are very hard to identify from thumbnail, so it can sometimes be helpful, even then.

UI scaling sounds like a QA nightmare (making sure the text always fits in, on every scaling on every game resolution). But sure, customisation would be cool (also maybe not in line with TT's simplicity approach).

'd integrate that to the game as in having progress in a save game in campaign unlocking themed corporation skins for the UI
This does sound really cool and fun! Unlocking cosmetics like that can be surprisingly motivating for game play.

But of course I don't want to have to progress through campaign to access a UI colour scheme that doesn't hurt my head (and make me need to stop playing).
 
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#19
please flip the block menu on the side so we can scroll the lists down to what we want by putting our mouse in the bottom left corner.
Not certain I understand you correctly, but that could be a fairly clever and simple idea, to vertically invert the order of the inventory, so the blocks start at the bottom and save having to travel so far up the screen to access them.

It's still new so I'm pretty sure by the time things are all said and done the Dev's will have made it truly awesome with all of our help of course ;)!
I'd like to think so. But I'm sceptical anything significant at all will change here (which worries me greatly - that I might not be able to play the game comfortably, or at all). I mean, of the detailed feedback I've provided, even with overwhelming community support, nothing much seems to have been changed. (E.g. with the changed style of the BF radar fairing.) What we see in the unstables is already finalised and headed out to all players,. Then no desire to go back and spend dev resources rehashing anything unless it's extremely broken or there's an unprecedented backlash (which there never is - most players are casual and not very invested).