I consider myself a reasonable guy. Someone, who understands other peoples perspective and respects their feelings. Someone, who is willing to compromise. So, I'm going to offer what I think is reasonable solution:
All the icons, tabs, fonts and HUD elements can stay as they are. I just want the solid white and solid blue elements to be transparent, so that they do not obstruct the view of the playing field. This, of course, would require the text to be changed from black to a light color, but ultimately, you just need to change a few values with little to no coding or QA required. I don't think, that's too much to ask.
Why does it have to be two weeks? It can be 3. And, as the game progresses, 4. As the game progresses, it gets more complicated, and because there are more things to code, test and fix, the time needed to do that increases naturally. And if expanding the team is not an option, then expanding the period of time between updates might be.
Also , it doesn't even have to be more than 2 scales for the UI (aside changing the speed-charge-fuel-etc bar to look like the previous one, but with the new UI style), one for consoles or very large PPI ratio (i.e. 4k on a 15" laptop, or large screen further away), and another for screens with a significantly smaller PPI (Pixel-Per-Inch) ratio. This way, the time needed to test things out will not skyrocket.
I mean, what use is having the game if the game dies because people do not play it anymore because of the bad game-design choices which were made by the game's development team? Do I really need to list all the great games which ended up horrible because they did not listen to the advice of the people who liked the game enough to give feedback about what specifically is wrong with the game and possibly also how to most-effectively fix it?
This, of course, would require the text to be changed from black to a light color, but ultimately, you just need to change a few values with little to no coding or QA required. I don't think, that's too much to ask.
At most, it would require the text to have a oppositely-colored partially-transparent bar behind it. Like the youtube captions/subtitles, for example. 75 text opacity and 50% text-background opacity should be enough, and the box is not even needed anymore, as long as you have the icon/avatar of the faction (or user, if it is needed in some parts of the game I haven't seen yet) and subtitles to a side of it.
I understand the convenience of being able to resize and move the UI around. But from a QA point of view, I don't believe that adding these options and the resulting workload it adds is worth it if it holds up us adding other new content to the game, and ensuring existing content still works, because we don't have the time to be able to test it. I can see how you might think that once the change is in, that's the job done. But when making a game that has regular updates, QA's job is never quite done.
Skins for blocks require only 3 textures per corp while the UI require a new file for every element. There is probably around 30-40 textures related only to the UI.
Controlling the color and alpha my be even harder since evert element would have to be tweakable and so have it's own option ans to have an optimal coloring the base sprite needs to be white and so every UI element texture meeds to be white and then have his color changed. Same for the transparency.
That's why it's so hard.
Edit: Just extracted the assets and sorted them a bit an I found 166 files that are probably related to the new UI
I'd point out that the UI work is a parrallel track with one designer/'2D artist'/UI specialist having been plugging away at all these new things in the 1.3.4 update since June (when the tech manager interface came out, and I complained about it, naturally ). And the implementation may have only involved one coder, over this last dev cycle. At least, I'm sure it wasn't a whole code team effort (probably too difficult to split the work, for one thing).
An obvious sign that they should have already been listening to us a long time ago already, before burning up such an excessive amount of time on something awful from the start. I really don't think they listen to us unless it's a very minor tweak, or bug that interferes with how THEY want to flip-flop the game. Just... sitting back and analyzing this critically could have prevented this.
And from @Sdarks it sounds like there are a whole bunch of tedious manual steps to build the Unity "prefab" elements out of each of the png image file assets. But significantly, it shouldn't require any coding support to just change textures, colours, opacity, etc. Provided there's only this one, definitive, non-customisable UI layout.
Given that there are ongoing refinements and additions to UI, I can see how even having multiple simple colour varients would greatly increase the art team workload, each update cycle. (As well as code support to implement theme switching.) So it does make sense to have only the one theme for the time being.
I hear a rumour that Unity may be updating it's UI handling capabilities, to be more flexible, using "CSS". So UI reskins could be almost as straightforward as changing the block skin style sheets...? Has this future possibility been considered?
I'd assume that (whatever that involves) it would require a good amount of code reworking, again. The limiting factor on everything. But if it's going to save time in the long run, sooner may be better...
So @Matt, could you guys sneak us a screenshot peak of roughly what this is going to look like, please? (And what other elements are changing?) I mean, sooner than the unstable in 3 weeks or so, when there will likely be no time to take feedback and change anything before going to the *next* stable (and next year).
I'm not sure about that... I mean, a fresh coat of paint can go a long way in marketing. (This is literally a whitewash, heh.)
The new UI makes the least sense to us PC players, for sure. Bigger just means wasted space and further for our mouse pointer to travel. But on consoles and Switch (and in future, mobiles, who knows...?) I think navigation distance is irrelevant, as active selection will teleport across the screen, between menus, etc. And bigger will be a benefit to clarity on small and more distant screens.
And it's important for the studio to target these markets, where (I'm totally guessing) there is far more sales growth potential. Steam (and PC overall) is a fairly limited market that's pretty saturated with indie titles and players expect to be able to get games cheap. And it's already been on sale here for a good while, so sales might be slowing (again, no idea).
Obviously that's an issue for us players (and fans), if we want to see the game continue to be updated with new content. We'll need to continue to be patient and accept a significant amount of compromises.
That doesn't mean we shouldn't continue to give honest and detailed feedback about aspect we have troubles with, and push for things we'd like to see. But it's going to be important to recognise when and where there is potential for changes or compromise, to avoid creating a toxic environment, that makes it harder for nuance communication between us and the devs. (Don't want them to turn off from listening to us entirely.)
Here, I guess we should recognise that the producers (or at least Dave) have explicitly stated that they love the appearance of the new UI and are standing by that. And the art team (and other devs) will presumably have closely guided the creation of it's appearance. So, given that, and the practical issues limiting divergent UI options, its seems we're only going to be able to get minor design tweaks (for now)...
That being said, I might well be in this camp, too (including for making videos) crossing my fingers for sufficiently big tweaks soon...
To be fair, though. Going back to the old UI does feel a little more amateurish. The layered sub-menus in the tech loader certainly needed some re-consideration, for one thing. And I do appreciate the single 'clean' colour transition between sections, as opposed to white outline, that's more fussy. But there's no getting over how much easier it was on the eye, in terms of brightness (and sharp edges). A side-by-side:
I'm not sure that one would need to invert all the colours like that, for a dark theme. I noticed, in a YouTube video, that there are already some dark styled elements. This one seems to use the same text colours as the white mission bar:
I think the key is a *lower contrast* theme. A fully inverted dark theme might just be too dark (during the day)... Shades somewhere in the middle are going to be most widely compatible with world illumination (like the old UI's dark blue, though not necessarily that saturated).
There's also an existing example of the level of transparency I'd prefer for background areas of (e.g. pop-up) menus. This would probably be far too transparent for use on buttons, showing too much image contrast in from behind (unless a gaussian blur were applied, which might actually look pretty sweet...).
You can still see dark writing/symbols on this kind of 'smoked glass' shade, too. And a lower contrast between text and background is more comfortable to look at (for me). But then the high contrast 'pop' of bright white may be exactly what devs/players love about the new appearance... (Which takes us back to needing alternate themes. )
You may have a small team there, but there could be a ton of canary helpers if you let us. I understand that you can't just allow us to see everything, but if there are little bits here and there like a campaign playthrough or a need to test this block combination and you could use an extra player, just let me know and I'll see what I can do and I'm guessing that others would as well. Just help us to help you and it could ease some of your testers workload.
A little bit from each of us could add up pretty quick.
Have a good one [8D)
No, there would be one option for all the title background bars, one for all the message bars, one or two for the utility bar (fuel, speed, etc.), one for the background of the main window and one for the background of the side menus. No more than that.