Suggestions for improvements to making it easier to understand terrain

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Montgomery_Python
Posts: 9

Suggestions for improvements to making it easier to understand terrain

Post#1 » 01 Feb 2016, 00:13

I'm feeling that finding information about a hex's terrain could be made easier for the player, so I thought I'd share my suggestions. In a game such as this, understanding the terrain is crucial, so I feel that it should be made as easy as possible for the player to rapidly get the information needed.

1) One can click on the bottom of the screen to bring up the terrain chart. I feel it should also say in words what each terrain hex represents (e.g. "army base", "power station" etc), rather than using symbols alone.

2) By clicking on the MAP INFO tab one can overlay additional information layers, including resource yields and movement and combat values.

I feel an additional one would be useful which showed the hex's terrain's symbol as it appears in the terrain chart.

This would make it easier to see at a glance what all the different terrain hexes are. Some are obvious, like mountain, but the various "buildings" hexes (village, army base, power station, factory, radar, castle, city, mine and more) could be made easier to tell apart.

The game Unity of Command (and probably others) uses an overlay like this.

There could even potentially be a further overlay that combines the info from all the other overlays into a single overlay, thereby showing everything at once.

If the number of overlays grows too large, the obvious solution would be to, instead of having one big MAP INFO tab where one has to click multiple times to cycle through to the desired overlay layer, have a separate tab/button for each overlay that needs to be pressed once and another bigger button that shows the map without overlays.

3) Show what terrain a hex is instantly, without having to bring up the terrain chart and find which picture matches (which isn't always quick and easy with the "buildings" hexes again) or cycle through the MAP INFO overlays.

All the collected information for the hex you want to know about - that's under the mouse cursor - should be visible. So all the information from the overlays and the terrain chart (with the addition of a hex's terrain name, e.g. "army base", "power station" etc) should be collected in one place. Different ways to do this could be:

i) Instantly. There'd be a box at the edge of the screen that always showed info about whatever hex was under the mouse cursor.

ii) After a second or so. If the mouse cursor hovered over a hex, its info would appear.

iii) After a player's mouse click input. Perhaps right-clicking on a hex could bring up a box with all its info.

So then there'd be multiple ways of getting terrain information:

1) Finding out general information about all the terrain types in the game - use the terrain chart.
2) Find out terrain information (sorted by type, such as resources) about the map as a whole being played - use the MAP INFO overlays.
3) Find out all the collected information for a specific hex rapidly - terrain box tooltip or right-click or similar.

User avatar
Deathson
Site Admin
Posts: 7

Re: Suggestions for improvements to making it easier to understand terrain

Post#2 » 01 Feb 2016, 14:17

Hi and thank you for the suggestions!

1: We recently placed a new steam guide (http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/f ... =612909382) which has that same in-game combat mods reference with added terrain labels. I guess that's what you would like to see in-game? It will be quite easy to implement and you will probably see it very soon.

2: It's an interesting idea adding the map symbols as an additional info layer. I will discuss it with the development team and see what we can do for that. I guess we can avoid placing the symbol for plains and just overlay the symbols for the others, do you agree?

As for the other suggestions:

Having all information layers at the same time on the tile, or having separate information pop-up is something we had already tried with our previous title (Retaliation Path of War, which you can download freely, e.g. from http://sourceforge.net/projects/retalia ... t/download). During development of Enemy Mine, after getting feedback both from long time players of Path of War and new beta testers of Enemy Mine, we found it was much better to keep the interface as clean and uncluttered as possible.

Furthermore, the combat mods shown as one of those map info layers are dependent on the unit currently selected, as combat mods are different for each unit type. So trying to combine everything on a single tile becomes not only messy but actually impossible.

Another reason why we prefer not to use right-click, mouse hover tooltips or separate information pop up windows is because one of our key design principles is to keep the same UI for the desktop, mobile and console platforms.

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