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Interface Design suggestions wanted

PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:29 pm
by Terl Obar
Okay, so I'm looking for some suggestions here on how to implement weapon and target selection in the tactical game. Here's a screen shot of the current situation:


For those of you who haven't played around with this part of the game yet, the top panel is the battle map just like you were playing it on your table top. The bottom panel is the display panel where various information is shown. The red and blue buttons allow you to zoom the map in or out respectively. When you click on a ship counter the name and information about the ship (ADF, MR, speed, heading, weapons, etc) shows up in the right half of the bottom panel.

In this particular image, the Sathar have just moved and it is now the UPF's defensive fire phase (although the discussion applies to any combat phase of the game). The path taken by the Sathar ships is shown by the gray lines trailing them. I've already decided that these either need to be a different color or I need to get rid of the numbers in the hexes (both of which would be easy to do). Any preferences on that?

My main question is the following: You are the UPF and it's your shot. How would you like to interact with the game to select
  1. The ship that will shoot - (this is probably the easiest, just click on it :) )
  2. Which weapon on that ship you would like to fire.
  3. What your target will be.

By far and away the simplest to implement would be a) click on your ship. b) that brings up a list of weapons on the bottom panel and you click on the weapon you want to fire and c) you click on your target. This may be what I do for my first pass but I'm looking for other suggestions. If there is a good one that's just as easy I may do that as well. Eventually I'd like to implement everyone's suggestions so you can interact with the game in any manner. In any case, I'll keep all the suggestions in mind as I'm implementing whatever the first version is so that it is easy to extend in the future.

Re: Interface Design suggestions wanted

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 4:19 pm
by Will
I can't improve on simplicity,Tom. I'd go with a), then b), then c) as you've outlined, with one extra suggestion if possible:

Make it so Shift+left click(or Shift+right click, if the former's already taken)selects all the player's ships, allowing them to select weapons on each ship and then their target(s).

Maybe even right-click allows you to cycle through your available ships/weapons. :idea:

Hmmm, I'd say changing the trail color(green, maybe) and removing the hex numbers would be the way to go on the other issue you're having.

Re: Interface Design suggestions wanted

PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:06 pm
by BD Cerridwen
I vote for the right click to cycle through ships and weapons option. That's what would seem the most natural for me to do.

Re: Interface Design suggestions wanted

PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:18 am
by simplymenotu
+1 to right-click

after all its the right way to do things.

Re: Interface Design suggestions wanted

PostPosted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:26 pm
by Terl Obar
I'm kind of leaning that way myself.
1) left click on the ship stack to select the ship you want (multiple clicks cycle through the ships in the stack)
2) once you have your ship selected, right click brings up a menu to select that ship's weapon that you want to fire
3) once you've selected your weapon, right click on the target ship stack to brings up a menu that let's you select a ship from the stack you can fire at.

My plan is to highlight the hexes the weapons can fire at once you select it so you can see which ships are in range or passed through your field of fire.

My main concern is bundling weapons. What makes the most sense for selecting multiple weapons to fire at the same target. How to display potential target areas, etc. Maybe for the first go around at this, I'll just make it one weapon at a time. It might get kind of tedious with lots of ships and lots of weapons but it will definitely work.

Re: Interface Design suggestions wanted

PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 7:47 am
by BD Cerridwen
I just had a new thought. Maybe right clicking on a stack could bring up a sort of split window listing all the ships and their weapons from that stack on one side, and it would be initially blank on the other. Then selecting a weapon will trigger a display of all possible targets and the range to each in the second half. Then you could select a target and move on the next ship / weapon. This would allow for a quick series of clicks to select the targets. Later on in the advanced game, a right click on the target ship will allow selective targeting of various ship's systems.

Re: Interface Design suggestions wanted

PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:57 am
by Will
Any of those ideas would work.

Re: Interface Design suggestions wanted

PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:35 pm
by Aethelwulffe

I'd like something like this.

Clickable diagram that lets you target individual weapons, get a hit probability before you shoot, and show status of systems in color. Since you would only need one or two dozen sprites/objects total to represent all the ship systems and weapons, you could just mix them in configurations according to the object class (by ship type) or perhaps even by global variables that each individual ship in the two fleets use (There are a few reinforcement ships, but not really so many total).

In process: You click a stack and a large image of a single hex pops up from the location you clicked (or a zoom happens) and you now see the individual ships in that hex. You click the ship you want to command. A diagram and status screen of the ship pops up. You turn on screens by clicking the icons on the ship. You click the DCR icon and click the item to work on. You click a laser battery, then either click on another ship in the zoomed hex, or click outside the hex to minimize it (assuming that the window is too small to have everything at once). You then click on the target ship to see targeting info, then click the FIRE icon (or right click, or use the shortcut key,or whatever).

Re: Interface Design suggestions wanted

PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 9:02 pm
by Terl Obar
Okay, here is what I settled on for now:


When you select one of your ships, you get the display in the bottom panel listing the ship's statistics including weapons (actually you get this for any ship you click on but the weapons are only active if you own it). The weapons are color coded based on their status:

White - Intact but unable to fire (i.e. MPO weapons on defensive fire round or any weapon on your enemy's ships when you are looking at them)
Red - Weapon damaged
Yellow - Active weapon with no target
Green - Active weapon with target assigned

When you click on a green or yellow highlighted weapon, the weapon's field of fire is highlighted on the map in red. In the case of FF weapons, the hexes with the +10 head on shot bonus is highlighted in blue. In this particular example I've selected the Frigate's Laser Cannon. Once you've selected a weapon clicking on an enemy ship in the highlighted field of fire region will assign that ship as the selected weapon's target. The name of the selected ship appears in the box in the upper left (when no target is selected is says None for current target) and the weapon color changes to green if it was yellow. If more than one target is in a give hex, clicking repeatedly on the hex cycles through the available targets. You can move back and fourth between the various ships assigning and/or changing targets until you are satisfied with the assignments at which point you click the "Defensive Fire Done' button to take the shots.

Eventually this will all get upgraded to a really spiffy display but for now, it works and lets you select targets. It's almost all implemented. I just realized while writing this, that I forgot to have it check to make sure the selected target is actually inside the field of fire (or passed through it during the turn). Doh.

When you are selecting weapons/target as the moving player, I intend to have it highlight everywhere you can shoot along your path. Once that is done I'll implement the basic game (i.e. HP only) damage system and you should be able to actually play out this little battle.

Re: Interface Design suggestions wanted

PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 12:56 am
by Aethelwulffe
Sweet! I have been waiting for this for a while you know... This will be really cool to have.

Re: Interface Design suggestions wanted

PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:03 pm
by Terl Obar
I've almost got it to the point where you can play a little mini pre-set battle with basic (hull damage only) rules. I'm hoping to have it out by the 8th.

Re: Interface Design suggestions wanted

PostPosted: Sun Jun 06, 2010 1:19 pm
by cliff
I just downloaded your 0.0.12 version and the on thing I noticed in the battle sim game is when the command prompt should read "The non-moving player may now select defensive fire..." it actually says "The non-moving player may now select offensive fire..." I've placed this here only because your section for game hic-ups doesn't seem to be working.

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