Proposal: UI update - Hide select map buttons until appropriate game type has been selected

  • Admin

    I'm looking for some feedback before I get too far down the path described below. There are a number of code constraints, but given those and the problems we have, I think we can get a good bang for our buck with some relatively straight forward updates.

    First, introducing our humble and familiar welcome screen:


    Summary of Recommendations

    I'll detail the problems we are seeing, in short I recommend we make the following updates:

    • avoid disabled controls
    • have controls appear when they are useful, otherwise hide them completely
    • avoid showing unnecessary information or buttons unrelated to the task at hand
    • do not allow user input for it to be lost on the next button click

    What issues are we seeing?

    If we ever lose our map selection, then some of the buttons are no longer enabled!

    Maybe not a big deal, but it does get worse

    We see that some buttons are for certain actions, and other buttons are for other actions. If you start selecting a map, you would expect for that work not to be lost by the next button click. Below we see that is what happens when you click on 'play online', the map selection goes away:

    Let's look a bit deeper at how the buttons relate

    There are 14 buttons total including 'play' and 'quit'. A nuymber do their own thing, though a number are related to each (6 of them), they are marked out below:


    Okay, what does that say about how we can/should change things?

    We can readily identify which buttons have independent actions of their own, so-called 'control' buttons:


    With the above recommendations and problems, I suggest we:

    • Move 'download' maps with the main button group, hide the buttons on the remaining buttons on the left until an appropriate control button has been clicked.
    • Keep all buttons enabled and fix anywhere where the 'no map selected case' is not handled well.

    What would that look like?

    Very roughly something like this:

    If all buttons are enabled, what happens when no map is selected??

    Turns out the existing code handles that pretty well. Let's say you have no map selected and click 'start local game'. Before you could not do that, now you can, and the existing code actually handles it pretty well:

    We can potentially fix that up more, but all in all it is good news.

    What next?

    Review the screen video again in 'What would that look like?' and please provide your considered feedback. I hope to be starting on the updates pretty soon, with luck they will not take too long to finish.

  • Admin

    @LaFayette Agree with the general direction here. I think I was taking a slightly different approach of trying to move more of the info on the start screen to the 'player selection' window (starting with resource modifier properties but eventually wanted to move 'map options' into that screen as well). Hadn't really considered select map and open save game yet but could do that as well.

    You seem to be taking a similar approach just a different angle of separating the start screen into 2 and then have the player selection open by default on the 2nd screen. In the end, I think it actually ends up going towards the same concept of having 1 menu around selecting 'what you want to do' and a 2nd screen containing 'all game info'.

    Edit: one other thing I'd like to consider is increasing the height/width of the 'player selection' window or whatever we end up calling that 2nd screen as the current default seems like it was made for 800x600 resolution 10 years ago.

  • Moderators Admin

    Agree that something needs to change. Especially annoying when a player disconnects from con prob or no map and everything has to be reset.

  • I would remove the exclamation point! at the end of "No game selected"

  • Moderators

    @LaFayette Looks good. Having a simplified main screen and drawing up options once a choice has been made is much more logical.

    Thumbs up

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