Toggle Flags and Toggle Highlight Movable Units Updates


  • Admin

    @redrum said in Toggle Flags and Toggle Highlight Movable Units Updates:

    So I agree we have too many 'hidden' hotkey functions but I think the 2 buttons you've initially chosen aren't even close to the most used functions and I'm concerned with putting more things into the bottom bar.

    For highlight, I disagree. It is used all the time, at least personally for sure. On many maps it's how I learn the map as well. For example LOTR and even 270BC, it was not clear which units even belonged to which empires and took a while to even find where to start moving units. I'm of a very strong opinion there.

    I think the 2 buttons you've initially chosen aren't even close to the most used functions and I'm concerned with putting more things into the bottom bar.

    I don't think we have any many other magic hotkeys for map display. Zoom is the only thing I can think of that we're missing. The rest of the hotkeys are territory specific and not appropriate for a bottom bar (likely those would be good to have from a right click menu).


  • Admin

    @LaFayette I think highlight unit function should belong with the new unit cycling functions.

    The most used functions besides unit selection/movement, I would say are the battle calc, zoom, map search should become more used, show history, and highlight unit (potentially the new cycling).


  • Admin

    @redrum said in Toggle Flags and Toggle Highlight Movable Units Updates:

    I would rather at this point put buttons along the right side of the top bar (lots of unused space there that also doesn't vary by map).
    And yeah, as you can see if you are playing with a lower resolution width then you start to have issues if we add more things to the bottom bar. That space you point to is where movement validation messages appear.

    Top bar? Where is that exactly? The menu? AFAIK icons cannot be placed on it.

    In the screenshot posted, there is a good bit of space to the right of 'blitz'. I'd agree there is not much more room, so more controls would not be good, but stating there is not 80px to spare I don't see.

    I think we're over-indexing on flags, which seems to be a hated feature here. There's a reason nobody knows the feature exists and what the hotkey is, because it's hidden. Maybe we should reconsider that feature.

    The highlight unit feature is significant though, forcing players to learn the hotkey for it is very poor, particularly how/where that information is located (it's the same place that describes the L key, not knowing that key makes it likely to not know the other; so again we have a hidden magic feature that players have trouble discovering).

    Beyond that, we really don't have that many other magic hotkeys for controlling map display.

    Even if a long-term vision is presented, 2 buttons is not worthwhile to add a lot of new UI components. I don't think we'd get to that long-term vision in one step either. Requiring we have a full architecture of Rome before we lay the first street is not appropriate for our dev capacity and desire to avoid large changes.


  • Admin

    @LaFayette Another screenshot with longer movement error:
    2b9d6d65-f1ef-4768-9276-d52547f2c89c-image.png

    The flag feature isn't bad, its just a setting that should be based on the map. Its really useful for maps with many nations where colors are similar (WaW, etc) but you would just turn it on once.


  • Admin

    @redrum said in Toggle Flags and Toggle Highlight Movable Units Updates:

    @LaFayette I think highlight unit function should belong with the new unit cycling functions.

    The problem there is that highlight is available when the cycling is not visible.

    The most used functions besides unit selection/movement, I would say are the battle calc, zoom, map search should become more used, show history, and highlight unit (potentially the new cycling).

    This is a good list. Calc has a button for it already, the territory tab seems okay.

    Zoom, map search having UI controls/icons would be good. Those could belong together.


  • Admin

    @redrum There is too much space dedicated to the territory, 80px is available there. The message being that long is a problem. Placing it in the bottom bar might not have been a good original choice.

    The flag feature isn't bad, its just a setting that should be based on the map. Its really useful for maps with many nations where colors are similar (WaW, etc) but you would just turn it on once.

    Interesting, this is argument for the feature and an icon for it. The game settings menu I think is best for options that are global to all maps. A player digs through it once and sets it up how they like, and then it is left alone.

    It is common for players to switch between maps.. A setting on the map itself seems to be presumptious and overrides a players decision. It would be odd for a setting to be turned off on a given map for an insistent player to then always need to go turn the setting on.


  • Admin

    @LaFayette You can have fairly long territory names and multiple territory effects so actually isn't much space there either.

    So there are already a number of per map settings which the map creator can then set defaults for and the player can override. An example of this is unit size and this setting is very similar to show unit flags. The map creator should be able to specify a good default while the player can override (Unit Size):
    d27acff6-904b-45a8-b82c-8cc83dbf4639-image.png


  • Admin

    Playing around with the UX on middle earth:

    • The 'C' key is crucial! The highlight units is really helpful and even then flags is also helpful as I have trouble telling the nations apart. Being able to cycle through the flags easily is really helpful for comparing how things look, and eventually I'd probably want to turn flags off or make flags small.

    We could place all those buttons with the unit scroller, but we're back to the problem where then have hotkeys that are still active but the button mapping to that hotkey disappears.

    I don't see the space issue as that significant. Maps that run out of space could benefit from other fixes and already have issues, the 80px is not adding to that problem in a significant way.

    I think the choice is whether:
    (1) we want to group the icons with the unit scroller at the cost of:

    • adding extra controls to the scroller, we're making it really busy and 'overloading' it with similar but not cohesive controls.
    • again, we have problem of disappearing controls when the hotkey is active.

    (2) Live with the buttons on the bottom bar for now until we have more iterations and more controls enabled through icons

    I don't see any other good places to put the buttons that would not be worse than the bottom bar, the tabs are decent choice, but at a cost that I really don't see outweighing having two small buttons on the bottom bar.

    So there are already a number of per map settings which the map creator can then set defaults for and the player can override. An example of this is unit size and this setting is very similar to show unit flags. The map creator should be able to specify a good default while the player can override (Unit Size):

    Good call out. I think flags is so personal preference that it is a bit different. It's more useful for players new to a map, and even then they may find they want to turn it off after some time. Other players may hate how it looks and never want it on at all. Either way the map override setting is going to eventually badly conflict with the wishes of a player.


  • Admin

    @LaFayette I'd like to go with option 1 for now and not do any unit flag button (leave that in its current menu, you can remove its hotkey if you want). I also think that unit scrolling and highlighting is really only relevant during movement phases. That would indicate that really those should be buttons in the action tab and only available during those phases (I don't think I'd ever want to unit scroll/highlight during purchase/battle/place/etc.

    So the user's override for map default settings already saves per map. So for example, I load up dragon war and the default unit size is 100%. I decide I want them smaller so change it to 75%. Close and start a new dragon war game then it saved my preference of 75% (and this also has no impact on other maps). This is how it should work and really how unit flags should have been implemented.


  • Admin

    Option 1 is okay. I do hate the idea of cluttering and dirtying up a new feature with inconsistent controls that work differently. I also do not like that we have existing problems with the bottom bar, but so be it.

    The flag option is much better behind an icon. Have you play tested it on middle earth or other maps where it is useful? Seriously, I recommend giving it a try to help get over the initial abstract reaction. It really is night and day to be able to toggle through the flag options easily. That is reason for a hotkey, and with the hotkey we need an icon.

    Getting more controls out of the menus and onto icons IMO is good, but it can't be done all at once, have to start somewhere. I started with the options that had hotkeys, the others do not. It's most important for the options that have hotkeys, bad UX to have magic hotkeys (it'd be like a keyboard with no labels on the keys).

    The flag and highlight are actually pretty similar in their use (both answer the question of, "which units are mine?"). As mentioned, on middle earth, without center and highlight (and then flags helps), it's actually a guessing game which units can be moved. I had that same problem in 270bc.

    TL:DR; option 1 is fine enough for now. Play test it and then let me know if you really think the flag icon is bad. The extra control there, given it's similar to highlight in purpose, is really not the end of the world and adds a lot of utility. Notably if the highlight and center are not enough, then the flag is a heavy handed way to tell which units belong to whom (so the 3 controls, center, highlight, flags, are related in a way).


  • Admin

    Hmm, another concern, looking at the code updates - once the controls are moved I'd be afraid they would live with the unit scroller forever. It's an inertia that will build up, and future devs will be unlikely to want to change it, beyond the fact that users will get used to it and generate more inertia against moving it.. We do need that cohesive vision. Without that; we're going to be stuck with the problems we have grown accustomed to and the game just wont' be what it could be.


  • Moderators Admin

    I sometimes used the highlight all years ago, but eventually stopped using it completely, as cycling units (that also specifically highlight) is just better, also since identifying units by highlighting them is not that great, if you want to be sure to spot them all. Just letting you know that those buttons are virtually useless to me, but, aside from not having a use for it as it is, I like the idea of having a switch for units flags, but it would need to be refined from the current raw and general state. I guess I can open a feature request about that, to be clearer.


  • Admin

    @Cernel I often used the highlight all to help avoid forgetting units to move. I agree it's more useful when learning maps and eventually does not get used as much. That is in part why there are hotkeys. It's analogous to a keyboard, at first you are looking for a key and then pressing it. Eventually you learn where it is and you no longer look for it, you just press the right key without looking. Same thing for hotkeys and buttons. A new user will not know about the hotkey, they hover and learn that "Oh, 'F' will highlight all". They then stop using the button and instead use the hotkey. Flags having a hotkey is perhaps overkill, but play testing it, it does complement highlight-all.

    @Cernel for a feature request, recommend waiting a few days for the new buttons to land and the updated flag behavior to be available in the prerelease. Please give it a try, and I'd be really happy to see any suggestions there.


  • Moderators Admin

    A lot going on here. Some feverish back a fourth!

    I do not have a strong opinion either way since I feel like the entire UI could use an overhaul to allow the player the ability to expose much more map and expand and reduce windows when they want to. That being said... the discussion is very good and everything has to start somewhere.

    So here is some food for thought about how some of what we are talking about is actually displayed on the game screen. I am just throwing some stuff out there as I have no idea what is feasible.

    Current display

    Unit center existing.png

    Highlight All

    Highlight all proposed2.png

    Center on Units

    Unit center proposed.png

    So again just some mock ups related to what you guys are talking about.


  • Moderators Admin

    @Hepps As far as the initial request...

    Flag & Move buttons example.png


  • Moderators Admin

    @Hepps Good idea about the foot. Not sure if it is the best pick, but certainly much better of whatever the current thing is (I don't even understand).


  • Moderators Admin

    Lots of options...

    Flag & move buttons.png

    The only recommendation I would make is that whatever it is we want in these short cut icons is something our players universally need all the time.


  • Admin

    Third option is a lantern, that's the same as the current icon : )
    That's what I thought made sense for highlight, an analogy of something that adds light.

    The white flag, I initially had one and it just looked like "surrender" to me. Hence the stylized flag, looks a bit less plain and less like surrender. I think once you get the surrender idea in your head, it's hard to shake.

    The only recommendation I would make is that whatever it is we want in these short cut icons is something our players universally need all the time.

    Generally agree. Should highlight units function during an opponents turn to highlight their units? If so, then it's a functionality that is available all the time.


  • Moderators Admin

    Really not important in practice, but TripleA lacks a "surrender" button. While the savegame proves that you won a game by reaching the victory conditions, there is no proof that you won any games by surrender.


  • Moderators Admin

    @LaFayette Lantern... almost like I picked up on that. 😉

    Yes I was not trying to say what is already suggested might not be considered universally helpful... but rather that it should be. Since I haven't used many of the functions available... I am not well versed at how helpful they might be to both novice as well as vetran players.


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