Screen centering/cycling around map UI idea
Black_Elk last edited by Black_Elk
It would be really helpful if there was a way to cycle around the map centering on all territories/sz that are occupied by your units. For example maybe hitting a Right/Left arrow key on the keyboard would then cycle between a players units in various territories, re-centering the map each time?
Something like this already exists in most maps to the center the screen on the capital when a new player-nation comes up in the turn order, so this is just kind of carrying that same idea to the next level.
The basic idea is to provide the player with a simple way to double check whether they have moved/used all their units during a given turn and to prevent players from forgetting stuff especially during the combat/non-combat phases. Frequently it happens that a player might overlook units in far flung regions of a map (the southern hemisphere usually) or if they have positioned units in places where they might not normally be.
Anyhow, just an idea. Not sure how challenging it would be to implement but I think it would prove pretty useful if it existed.
I guess the analogy would be to other strategy games where the user is given a way to cycle between settlements or armies/fleets on a simple click rotation. I think it would be particularly helpful on larger maps where you often have to do a lot of scrolling, or where it is difficult to assess everything at a glance.
I hacked in a feature called "unit chooser" that cycled through available units. A problem encountered was a bug in the game where the hotkey focus was lost and you'd have to click on the map to re-activate it.
I'll be MIA for about 6 weeks, when I get back there are one or two projects to work on, I hope I can dig that work out, polish it off and perhaps get it added. Next release is going to be 2.0, with luck this will then be in 2.1, the following release.
I really still hope for the long awaited buttons that that could make you cycle through "previous", "skip" and "next" unmoved unit to show up in the right side of the screen. Maybe below the mini-map, in the top of the action tab or in the bottom right of the screen.
That would be a great and user friendly feature to implement.
Okay, I resurrected the 'unit scroller' code I had from some time ago and it's going pretty well. I think I can get the kinks worked out in the next few days or week and have it included in the next release.
Here is what it looks like so far:
- The "n" key will currently center and highlight the "next" unit. The right arrow in the 'unit scroller' will do the same thing as hitting the "n" key. It's good now that we no longer have just a magic hotkey but a UI control to match. The hover text on the button will let a user know they can also hit the "n" key
- I added a mapping to the "m" key for previous unit
- Space bar will be to sleep or skip for the current phase
- "c" key will be to "center" on the current unit, same thing as clicking the cross-hairs like button above the unit image.
I've also been wondering a bit about the "center" icon above the unit image. I think we could also make the unit image clickable and do the same thing, but I don't necessarily like that since it won't be obvious that the image is clickable.
Also, if there are multiple unit types, the "unit avatar" picture will have them be stacked (max of up to 3 or 4 unique unit types will be displayed), eg:
So, I said this a number of times, but it really doesn't make sense to use the moon/night symbol to mean you do nothing. Beside the fact that in almost all TripleA maps 1 turn is more than 1 day, night doesn't mean no military actions or movements; for example, the Japanese were fighting and moving mostly during night time (and sleeping during day time), and also the Russians used often to prefer the night to fight and launch offensives. And, of course, you can have space or whatever maps where it would just not fit.
I recommend using a "X" symbol (or maybe a checkmark) to signify the unit is meant not to move. Or anyways something purely abstract (that a moon is not).
Moon = night = sleep; The idea is you are sleeping the unit during the turn phase. 'X' is potentially more like delete and could be visually similar to the crosshairs. I'm not sure if it matters really that much, it does not seem that important as long as it becomes clear enough soon enough to users.
@LaFayette That's exactly where the issue is for me. There is no equation that night = sleep. That's totally arbitrary. In my mind it can totally be day = sleep or none of the two options in particular. For the Japanese during WW2 it was largely day = sleep, as said.
If a soldier of the Japanese Army of 1942 would play TripleA, a moon button would probably mean attack to him.
Also, maybe 1 day there will be a feature for deciding if to attack (or bombing raid) during the day or during the night, and that would be confusing.
If not the X or the check mark. Also the media symbols of stop or pause may do.
There is no equation that night = sleep. That's totally arbitrary.
Most people do sleep at night, most animals do as well. Yes there exceptions, but it's not that far fetched. I don't think finding exceptions to general true'isms is a good way to say that a given symbol does not make sense.
In part the terminology and functionality is being borrowed from Civ, which TripleA does a good bit. Civ also sets many standards for turn based games, that at least some precedent before we borrow from a different kind of analogy.
If you can provide a really reasonable alternative (with image), then I'd be open to considering it. Otherwise perhaps we are getting hung up on less important details.
@Cernel I think it's between an X and the current moon. Stop and pause do not quite make sense as it implies motion. When scrolling between units, the idea is the units have not moved yet and are not in motion, so those two suggestions do not make as much as sense.
If you can help someone to line up to make a good 'X' icon, I'd be happy to use it. The image is 40x40.
Some additional notable behaviors:
- The 'f' key which highlights all moveable units is being updated to not highlight skipped units.
I also think it makes sense to print the territory name in the scroller to add more context of where the units are. Here is a latest example:
@LaFayette Well, that is very easy to do, though I can do it with the bars more horizontal or more vertical, if preferred.
@Cernel Thanks, though the image should match the existing buttons, background color and foreground.
I'm thinking, not for right now, but as a follow up, it may be really good to classify the look and feels as "dark" or "light" and switch to a "dark" button image when using a "light" L&F. The white button text can be a bit difficult to make out. For now though the buttons should just match.
While looking/thinking about the image, the padding from the edge of the image to the icon is probably the last ingredient for the image to match the existing set.
I uploaded the current button images here: https://github.com/triplea-game/assets/tree/master/images/unit_scroller
If it's of any help, I can get you @Cernel the existing image files in 'xcf' format.
Of note, the vertical bar in the right hand arrow image should be removed too.
The file in xcf format I can't see how it can help. If those images where shrunk from bigger raster ones, it would help some getting closer having the original dimensions. Unless this is already good enough:
And for the vertical bar removal (I was wondering about that), I just flipped the left arrow (that, btw, it is not 40x40 pixels, but 25x39):
There are any number of options...
I can't fathom how anybody could misinterpret a crescent moon as anything other than rest or skip... but either way... the X is far less clear as an icon.
Here are some others just to muddy up the water further.
@Hepps I like the "zzz" even less than the moon. I like the stop about as much as the X.
@Cernel Well the idea here is just to make suggestions...
And since an "X" button is pretty much universally accepted as a "close" button it is really the least appealing option of anything.
@Hepps Well, as I said, if not the "X", my preference would, then, go to the open hand symbol meaning alt (that has this meaning since at least ancient Roman times).
I would also like just a "OK" or "Skip" writing (or, as said, a check mark).
How about the standby symbol?