Author Topic: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign  (Read 15103 times)

Offline havkyp

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #75 on: July 29, 2017, 05:14:21 PM »
Just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to you for developing OutpostHD!!! I signed up for this forum specifically to express this. :D

I played the original Outpost 1.5 to death back in the day trying to find all of those missing features thinking they were there somewhere... :p

I'm especially glad that you're making OutpostHD fully open source, this is essential for ensuring its historical heritage and for others to learn from and build on it. BTW what's its license? GPLv3?

Anyway, in addition to the huge thank you, what are some ways to support OutpostHD's development? Unfortunately I'm not a programmer. Do you accept donations or have other ways to help? Let's make this work. Thanks!!

Offline leeor_net

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #76 on: July 29, 2017, 06:14:41 PM »
Just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to you for developing OutpostHD!!! I signed up for this forum specifically to express this. :D

Thanks for stopping by! It's good to know people are as excited about this project as I and the other developers are. :)

I'm especially glad that you're making OutpostHD fully open source, this is essential for ensuring its historical heritage and for others to learn from and build on it. BTW what's its license? GPLv3?

No, no no no! I do not like the GPL! I have it under a much more permissive BSD 3-Clause license. See LICENSE.txt in the distributions.

And that's why I made it open source. I could have kept it closed source but the only projects along these lines that seem to survive and progress into anything (OpenTTD, CorsixTH, Caesaria and many others) are all open source. The closed source ones seem to fizzle out and die over time.

Anyway, in addition to the huge thank you, what are some ways to support OutpostHD's development? Unfortunately I'm not a programmer. Do you accept donations or have other ways to help? Let's make this work. Thanks!!

Donations would be nice but I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable accepting them as I'm not the only developer.

Non-programmers can be extremely helpful. On the first post I have this section:

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User Interface
Iím terrible at UI design. I can do the programming but the design itself is not my strong suit. I really need help designing a good UI thatís functional, looks good and is intuitive. Any help here would be much appreciated.

Effectively what I need are UI mockups with details about how the different elements work. The basic UI in the game right now is functional but pretty bare.

If you're up for some wireframing I'd be grateful. I'm just genuinely bad when it comes to UI design -- the few windows you see in game are mostly my doing though Goof and others have helped in developing other parts of the UI (e.g., the bottom ribbon). So any thoughts there are most welcome -- though in a separate thread! :D

Other ways to help:

Play the releases, find issues, spread the word.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2017, 07:02:39 PM by leeor_net »
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Offline Hooman

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #77 on: July 30, 2017, 10:03:05 PM »
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Donations would be nice but I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable accepting them as I'm not the only developer.

Leeor, you're too nice.

He could probably use a donation :p

Offline havkyp

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #78 on: July 31, 2017, 11:38:56 AM »
No, no no no! I do not like the GPL! I have it under a much more permissive BSD 3-Clause license. See LICENSE.txt in the distributions.

Great!! BSD license is good, too. Sorry I didn't see the LICENSE.txt during my initial short look.

And that's why I made it open source. I could have kept it closed source but the only projects along these lines that seem to survive and progress into anything (OpenTTD, CorsixTH, Caesaria and many others) are all open source. The closed source ones seem to fizzle out and die over time.

I agree. For the sake of history and continuation of culture I strongly believe efforts like this should be free (as in freedom). And even if one wanted to make money, it is still possible with open source anyway.

Donations would be nice but I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable accepting them as I'm not the only developer.

I agree with @Hooman that you should still get some donations. So let me know if and how I can donate, and I'll be happy to donate to other developers, too if that will mean the game getting to 1.0 sooner! :)

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User Interface
Iím terrible at UI design. I can do the programming but the design itself is not my strong suit. I really need help designing a good UI thatís functional, looks good and is intuitive. Any help here would be much appreciated.

Effectively what I need are UI mockups with details about how the different elements work. The basic UI in the game right now is functional but pretty bare.

If you're up for some wireframing I'd be grateful. I'm just genuinely bad when it comes to UI design -- the few windows you see in game are mostly my doing though Goof and others have helped in developing other parts of the UI (e.g., the bottom ribbon). So any thoughts there are most welcome -- though in a separate thread! :D

Good point. I'll download and try to play around a bit more. I already have some thoughts on UI so will make a list and let you know with suggestions! And I'll do my best to mock up some things though I only know Inkscape and not professional wireframing... Is that still useful????

Thanks a lot again for making this game. I'll do my best to give constructive feedback, and please keep up the amazing work!! :D

Offline leeor_net

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #79 on: July 31, 2017, 08:07:59 PM »
Good point. I'll download and try to play around a bit more. I already have some thoughts on UI so will make a list and let you know with suggestions! And I'll do my best to mock up some things though I only know Inkscape and not professional wireframing... Is that still useful????

Inkscape drawings would be very useful. There are free online tools that can be used as well including Moqups and draw.io. Draw.io tends to be more suited toward flowchart design but it can be used for wireframing as well... plus it has excellent integration with Google Docs which means easy sharing of documents.

Moqups is tailored specifically toward UI wireframing but it's technically not free. It has a 'trial' mode but I don't know exactly what the limitations are. Something along the lines of 1 project, 300 layouts and 5mbs of storage or some such. I've used it without signing in, coming up with whatever and then saving an image. With a free account you can save but I don't know where else it goes from there.

There may be other good online wireframing tools as well but these are the two I've actually used and have had good experiences with.

Thanks a lot again for making this game. I'll do my best to give constructive feedback, and please keep up the amazing work!! :D

Thanks for your feedback! Knowing that end users are finding and getting excited about this project helps me to continue development.
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Offline Hooman

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #80 on: August 03, 2017, 02:13:43 AM »
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Good point. I'll download and try to play around a bit more. I already have some thoughts on UI so will make a list and let you know with suggestions! And I'll do my best to mock up some things though I only know Inkscape and not professional wireframing... Is that still useful?

There are many times where I wished I had some Inkscape skills. Those sorts of tools could be very useful.

Offline Goof

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #81 on: August 03, 2017, 04:55:58 AM »
I do use Inkscape a lot for technical stuffs.
I'm not an artist, so i use it basicly at work to re/make clients logos, some layout, sketches, ....
But as SVG is basically XML files I used that to generate raffle tickets with a small program to add the counter on the SVG base file and print them.

Last time it was for the Slider control skin for OPHD.
I figured out how to make Inkscape Slice a picture like in Photoshop.
(one file for each part of the skin, named directly out of Inkscape).
It's a very easy in fact but you have to know the trick.

Offline havkyp

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #82 on: August 06, 2017, 01:16:20 PM »
Hello,

I basically went in blind (other than having played the original!) and jotted down some of my observations and thoughts on OutpostHD. I admit I haven't read through all the other past posts on this forum yet, so excuse me if some of the points below have already been addressed.

Here are some initial thoughts/reactions to playing the latest Windows build (I'd like to try it on Linux next):

  • I suggest visually representing resources as bronze, silver, gold icons to indicate rarity. In other words, the icons for the different rarities remain the same except for the color..
  • I don't know what most of the icons on the top bar mean, need tool tips!
  • I suggest having tool tips for everything, and have extended tool tips with simple explanations that can be turned on/off in the game options screen. Since this is not a programming task I'm happy to help with this if you can help me learn what everything means!
  • Bug? I couldn't place agridomes anywhere... but then realised (upon right-clicking on the tile) that the dome is there but it shows up as bulldozed land. Looks like there are some errors in OPHD.log. Here is what I think the relevant part is:
    Quote
    ...
    File 'fonts.dat' does not exist as specified.
    File 'maps.dat' does not exist as specified.
    File 'planets.dat' does not exist as specified.
    File 'robots.dat' does not exist as specified.
    File 'sfx.dat' does not exist as specified.
    File 'structures.dat' does not exist as specified.
    File 'sys.dat' does not exist as specified.
    File 'ui.dat' does not exist as specified.
    Loading 'maps/mars_04'... finished!
    Sprite file 'structures/agridome.sprite' doesn't exist.
    Named action 'construction' is not defined in 'structures/agridome.sprite'.
    Named action 'operational' is not defined in 'structures/agridome.sprite'.
    ...
  • Another problem is that my colony *always* dies after two dozen turns or so and I have no idea why! I think it would be good to have a clear indication/overview of fundamental metrics like life support (CHAP) capacity, power, resources, food, residential %, etc.
  • What does the icon just above the next turn icon mean? It shades some tiles green but what else? And does the green tiles mean ones that are bulldozed *and* have tube connection to the CHAP? Does the green shading just mean the tile is occupied? Or connected to CHAP?
  • Is the circle in the minimap the communications range? If I have a communication satellite, does that mean the circle will disappear because I now have global coverage?
  • Does the top "mountains" icon toggle between "visual" view and "terrain roughness" view?
  • Looks like satellites haven't been implemented yet, but in the future I suggest showing a list of satellites I have in orbit and show their status, i.e. functional/disabled, need repair, etc.
  • I really like using Page Up/Down to move between levels, very intuitive for me!
  • Make UI elements like construction panel, minimap, etc. so that you can hide/minimise them to the side.
  • https://opengameart.org/ might be a good place to look for useful assets?
  • Make the game moddable so that not only can a modder change stats, but also replace artwork or add buildings, planet types, satellites, etc.
  • A big bonus for this level of moddability is that non-programmers can help tweak the default values so they are well balanced, help develop artwork, etc.
  • I actually like the current UI toolkit. Is the UI developed as a front end to the backend game mechanics? If so then there's the possibility of different kinds of UIs like a fancy 3D rendered UI or even a curses based one!
  • I actually like using sprites instead of 3D renders for graphics. Has this been decided on?
  • Add ability to cancel a robot's current task such as digging or dozing.
  • Allow using right-click to exit dialogues and windows. This is so much faster than moving the cursor to the close window button. For example, the 4X game Endless Space does this really well.
  • For actions that can't be done because of insufficient resources, indicate what's missing.
  • For research, I'd love a research panel or window where you see a list of all labs. Each lab will have information on whether they are functional (or missing staff/resources) and let's you easily assign research from this master list.
  • I like assigning research to individual labs because I can have many projects going slowly, or concentrate all the labs to research one topic quicker, etc.
  • Can the research tree be slightly randomised like in Sword of the Stars?? Having slightly randomised items outside a "base" tree makes a game much more replyable and exciting! If the research tree is moddable, it would be great to indicate in configuration files whether a particular research item is definitely in every game versus random.
  • I also like a resources view where I can see a list of all the mines and smelters with their status and maybe a summary of trucks and resource storage.
  • Same thing for factories where I can see all the factories and what they are producing.
  • For the above research, mining/resources, and factories views have them all have the same interface so that they are easier to learn and use.
  • I like @vomov's suggestion of having a generic but dynamic tube item rather than multiple options.
  • Have you posted this game at the FreeGameDev forums(https://forum.freegamedev.net/)? It might be a good place to get help with development. Or http://moddb.com/?

Sorry about the wall of text, hopefully some of these points are helpful for development.

As for Inkscape, I hope I didn't give the impression that I can do professional wireframing with it!!! But I can try to use it to do a sketch of what a labs/mines/factories UI might look like... (or maybe just sketch on paper and scan it in... :) )

Offline leeor_net

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #83 on: August 06, 2017, 06:53:38 PM »
Whee, you got a lot going on here so I'll take the time to respond to everything.

First and foremost, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to provide your insights. As a developer of the game it's easy to overlook basic usability issues / features from the point of the player. This kind of constructive feedback helps to produce a much better game.

A lot of the things you mentioned are in fact planned features in the future. For now I wanted to get the core gameplay mechanics in place and then polish everything. So you'll see great usability enhancements toward the end of the development.

All that stated, let's go one by one and address your points.

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1. I suggest visually representing resources as bronze, silver, gold icons to indicate rarity. In other words, the icons for the different rarities remain the same except for the color..

The base resources in the game are Common Metals, Rare Metals, Common Minerals, Rare Minerals. As they aren't all metals it's hard to represent visually. I didn't want to spend too much time on this when it can be easily replaced later. But definitely I agree, a better visual representation is needed.

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2. I don't know what most of the icons on the top bar mean, need tool tips!
Completely agreed. This is something that will be implemented as the core mechanics are more or less completed.

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3. I suggest having tool tips for everything, and have extended tool tips with simple explanations that can be turned on/off in the game options screen.

Agreed.

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4. I couldn't place agridomes anywhere... but then realised (upon right-clicking on the tile) that the dome is there but it shows up as bulldozed land

Seems I somehow forgot to include the agridome sprite sheet. I'll update the download package.

As for the missing .dat files, I have the game atm looking for the archives -- I haven't decided if I'm going to leave the data as-is or if I'm going to pack them up into archives. The archives would be ZIP's if I did so anybody would be able to unpack them to do whatever.

Side note -- most of the external definitions like .sprite are actually XML files. Open one up in a text editor and you'll be able to modify it at will. There may be a need for some explanation for non-programmers but that's the subject of a different topic.

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5. Another problem is that my colony *always* dies after two dozen turns or so and I have no idea why!

The sudden game over screen? Yeah, it confused me at first too when I was play testing it last night. It happens because critical resources end up drained to 0 then critical structures go offline which leaves the colony with no power, air or food and all the colonists die.

I have a plan for this in a future update: http://redmine.outpostuniverse.org/issues/155

For now, keep a close eye on those resources. And build a Smelter as soon as you can, the SEED Smelter is extremely inefficient (by design).

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6. What does the icon just above the next turn icon mean?

Connectedness. It shows you which tiles are connected to the Command Center. It's more of a debug aid but it can also be a useful tool for players when disasters are implemented so I figured I'd leave it in.

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7. Is the circle in the minimap the communications range?
Exactly. You can't place robots outside of that (I don't remember if we implemented that in 0.7.1) or structures. The next release will include Comm Towers to extend comm range with robots (structures will still be required to be built within 15 tiles of the CC).

Later on the comm ranges will become moot when you're able to launch comm satellites. The main circle will remain to indicate where you can place structures.

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8. Does the top "mountains" icon toggle between "visual" view and "terrain roughness" view?
Yes.

Quote
9. Looks like satellites haven't been implemented yet, but in the future I suggest showing a list of satellites I have in orbit and show their status, i.e. functional/disabled, need repair, etc.
That's the plan.

Quote
11. Make UI elements like construction panel, minimap, etc. so that you can hide/minimise them to the side.
The construction panel doesn't need to be hidden due to the diamond nature of the map. Plus it was an intentional design decision as a sort of throw back to the original game.

However, I could be persuaded with a good case.

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12. https://opengameart.org/ might be a good place to look for useful assets?
Some of the assets have come from OGA (mostly UI stuff). Everything else is either borrowed from Outpost or created by me and other contributors. White Claw has been doing a lot of work lately creating new visuals to replace the structure graphics[url=http://.


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13. Make the game moddable so that not only can a modder change stats, but also replace artwork or add buildings, planet types, satellites, etc.
This is already possible for many cases. The structure, robot and planet graphics are all replaceable and the animation states are defined via XML files (saved as .sprite). As this is an open-source game anybody will be able to make changes to the game.

As for planets and tilesets and such, that will be part of the later development efforts. At the moment the 'three planets' to choose from are superficially different with just different depth levels, tilesets and landing sites... otherwise the behave the same way. It's more for debugging purposes than anything else.

The plan is to allow for a wide selection of visually interesting and distinct planets and landing sites. Planet/Star types will also change a variety of factors including radiation levels, day/night cycle, light exposure, surface tempuratures, etc. all of which will have effects on the game. This will be implemented after research is put in place (sometime between 0.9 and 1.0 releases... see the Roadmap].


Quote
13. Make the game moddable so that not only can a modder change stats, but also replace artwork or add buildings, planet types, satellites, etc.
This is already possible for many cases. The structure, robot and planet graphics are all replaceable and the animation states are defined via XML files (saved as .sprite). As this is an open-source game anybody will be able to make changes to the game.

As for planets and tilesets and such, that will be part of the later development efforts. At the moment the 'three planets' to choose from are superficially different with just different depth levels, tilesets and landing sites... otherwise the behave the same way. It's more for debugging purposes than anything else.

The plan is to allow for a wide selection of visually interesting and distinct planets and landing sites. Planet/Star types will also change a variety of factors including radiation levels, day/night cycle, light exposure, surface tempuratures, etc. all of which will have effects on the game. This will be implemented after research is put in place (sometime between 0.9 and 1.0 releases... see the Roadmap).

Quote
15. I actually like the current UI toolkit. Is the UI developed as a front end to the backend game mechanics? If so then there's the possibility of different kinds of UIs like a fancy 3D rendered UI or even a curses based one!
Thank you! A lot of effort has been put in to make this work and it's ever expanding.

It is a 'sort of' front end in that it ties into the back end, but to implement a Curses UI would take considerable effort. The UI code is built into the code base -- it's a custom GUI package that I originally built for an RPG many years ago but have since adapted for my own games and applications based on the NAS2D middleware.

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16. I actually like using sprites instead of 3D renders for graphics. Has this been decided on?
Yes.

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17. Add ability to cancel a robot's current task such as digging or dozing.
I like that idea but it raises the question of what happens to the tile if you recall the robot? How would the terrain be modified, if at all?

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18. Allow using right-click to exit dialogues and windows.
That's not a bad idea but at the moment the RMB is used to inspect tiles/structures. This could be changed to the LMB and repurpose the RMB but I'd have to see how it feels and guage a response from the other developers.

In the mean time, the Escape key serves the same purpose.

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19. For actions that can't be done because of insufficient resources, indicate what's missing.
Agreed. This will be implemented in a future update.

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20. For research, I'd love a research panel or window where you see a list of all labs. Each lab will have information on whether they are functional (or missing staff/resources) and let's you easily assign research from this master list.

21. I like assigning research to individual labs because I can have many projects going slowly, or concentrate all the labs to research one topic quicker, etc.
Working on it. :)

Quote
22. Can the research tree be slightly randomised like in Sword of the Stars??
Perhaps? I've never seen a research tree like that. But I have to admit I haven't played a lot of games that offer research trees.

OutpostHD's research tree is something that's still being talked about and hasn't been settled on yet. By all means provide your input -- I would suggest opening up a new thread to discuss it.

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23. I also like a resources view where I can see a list of all the mines and smelters with their status and maybe a summary of trucks and resource storage.
Like the research interface, working on it! :D This is where I could use some help with wireframing because I have a vague idea in mind but I have no idea what to really do with it yet.

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24. Same thing for factories where I can see all the factories and what they are producing.
See above.

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26. I like @vomov's suggestion of having a generic but dynamic tube item rather than multiple options.
I've considered this but I'm not yet convinced.

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27. Have you posted this game at the FreeGameDev forums(https://forum.freegamedev.net/)? It might be a good place to get help with development. Or http://moddb.com/?
I haven't thought of this. Moddb I never liked (still don't) but I have nothing against freegamedev.net. I figured when the game was in a more playable and complete state that I'd start trying to 'spread the word' so to speak.

Quote
As for Inkscape, I hope I didn't give the impression that I can do professional wireframing with it!!! But I can try to use it to do a sketch of what a labs/mines/factories UI might look like... (or maybe just sketch on paper and scan it in... :) )
Hand sketches scanned in are extremely helpful. I don't need 'professional' wireframes, just something to give me an idea of what exactly to tell the GUI to go do with itself. ATM I'm sort of slapping the UI's together as I need them (e.g., the structure inspector... it's a debugging aid and as you can see provides very little information of value to the end user).
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Offline havkyp

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #84 on: August 07, 2017, 01:25:06 PM »
Thanks so much leeor_net for your very extensive reply!!

1. Let me know if/how I can help with the tool tips.

2. Resource graphics. I can try to roughly sketch out some ideas I have for them. Should I post them in the graphics thread?

3. Thanks for the tip about colony death from lack of resources, I'll try again with that in mind!

4. For the things like comm range, connectedness, sat vs roughness view, etc. I guess explanations for them can be built into the tool tips as well.

5. Thanks for the link to the roadmap. For the upcoming landing site/planet selection, IMHO the game would be more fun if I don't know exactly what I'm getting into (which also goes well with the Outpost story's theme of last-minute escape from Earth). Would some randomness be hard to implement? Or maybe where your colony starts can be affected by the pre-game customization screen (see my other thread post)? Just a thought...

6. Regarding cancelling a robot's orders, I suggest upping the stakes by simply reverting the tile to its original state pre-robot-action. I know this might not be realistic, but I don't really have other ideas on how to implement this...

7. Thanks for your responses regarding the research tree.

Finally, regarding wireframing/sketching I'll try to whip up a labs/factories/mines/satellites interface once I get a break from "real life (TM)" probably this coming weekend. Hope that's OK with y'all!

Thanks again for your detailed/thoughtful responses!!! :D

Offline leeor_net

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #85 on: August 07, 2017, 04:39:16 PM »
2. Resource graphics. I can try to roughly sketch out some ideas I have for them. Should I post them in the graphics thread?
Separate thread, yes.

4. For the things like comm range, connectedness, sat vs roughness view, etc. I guess explanations for them can be built into the tool tips as well.
Yup. There's also something to be said for old-school style manuals. I plan to release a PDF version. Maybe offer a print version later on for some amount. Will have to think about that and if there's enough demand.

5. Thanks for the link to the roadmap. For the upcoming landing site/planet selection, IMHO the game would be more fun if I don't know exactly what I'm getting into (which also goes well with the Outpost story's theme of last-minute escape from Earth). Would some randomness be hard to implement? Or maybe where your colony starts can be affected by the pre-game customization screen (see my other thread post)? Just a thought...
My thinking for planet selection is something along the lines of Choose a Star -> Choose a Planet -> Choose a Landing Site.

Some planets will have many landing sites to choose from (each with randonly generated mine locations), really harsh ones may only have a single landing site.

Randomness is fairly straight forward to implement, it's just a matter of deciding what factors should have some sort of a random modifier applied.

6. Regarding cancelling a robot's orders, I suggest upping the stakes by simply reverting the tile to its original state pre-robot-action. I know this might not be realistic, but I don't really have other ideas on how to implement this...
That's what I had in mind. Since the terrain doesn't actually change until the robot completes its task, we can leave it like that. Sure, it's not 'realistic' but in terms of gameplay mechanics it punishes the player for 'making a mistake' through lost effort and time.

Finally, regarding wireframing/sketching I'll try to whip up a labs/factories/mines/satellites interface once I get a break from "real life (TM)" probably this coming weekend. Hope that's OK with y'all!
I know "Real Life TM" only all too well. It just so happens that I recently lost my job and haven't been able to find anything else (yet) so I have plenty of time to put into ... well just about anything I feel like.

Anyway, some sketches of those interfaces would be very very helpful. They don't have to be windowed either -- as much as I like windows (they work really well for very simple tasks like inspecting a particular structure, announcements, etc.), a full-screen UI may be more appropriate for managing groups of labs, factories, etc. Don't be afraid to provide several options. It's an iterative process where often times a simpler version is put in place and then built upon until the final version is produced.

Plus with a few different options we can prototype some of them to see which has the best flow. Sometimes what you think is least effective is actually the best option.
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Offline havkyp

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #86 on: August 12, 2017, 01:29:22 PM »
Anyway, some sketches of those interfaces would be very very helpful. They don't have to be windowed either -- as much as I like windows (they work really well for very simple tasks like inspecting a particular structure, announcements, etc.), a full-screen UI may be more appropriate for managing groups of labs, factories, etc. Don't be afraid to provide several options. It's an iterative process where often times a simpler version is put in place and then built upon until the final version is produced.

Plus with a few different options we can prototype some of them to see which has the best flow. Sometimes what you think is least effective is actually the best option.

Hello,

I've had a brief moment away from Real LifeTM :p, and discovered the Pencil wireframing program and quickly whipped up this research view concept:



A few points:

1. Its supposed to be a full screen view.

2. I didn't focus on colors at all, in fact I'd prefer a dark color theme instead of this bright/white one.

3. This is actually just one tab in a conceptual master facilities view. You can see the other tabs on the top.

4. The top half shows information on your selection from the bottom half (which is a scrollable list).

5. If there is more than one building (in this case, lab) selected, then much of the information in the top half will be empty/greyed out. The exception would be the middle research topic tree. Once you selected a research topic in the tree, you can click on the "Change" button to change to it for all of the selected labs. This should produce a confirmation dialog box.

6. There should be enough space to add an "estimated completion date" to the information.

7. There is a "View" box where you see the selected building in context. (I know this is an underground lab, I just couldn't find an appropriate screenshot in time to crop!)

8. For the inactive hot lab, selecting it will show you what's still missing for it to be operational.

9. If damage/tear-and-wear is implemented, information about that can be added as well.

Is this the kind of sketch that would help development??? Thanks in advance for your critique!

Offline leeor_net

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #87 on: August 12, 2017, 04:27:35 PM »
1. Its supposed to be a full screen view.

2. I didn't focus on colors at all, in fact I'd prefer a dark color theme instead of this bright/white one.

Cool and cool. I was hoping for a full screen view for something like this. It just sort of makes sense, you know?

As for the color scheme, I figured we'd use the current GUI skin with the green highlights that you see in the file dialog. Green was kind of the color for the original game so I opted to use it for a bit of a throw back.

3. This is actually just one tab in a conceptual master facilities view. You can see the other tabs on the top.

I like your thinking on this one.

Is this the kind of sketch that would help development??? Thanks in advance for your critique!

This is exactly what I was looking for / needing. Sketches like these are extremely useful.



Couple of notes:

Adding the 'view' you suggested would be difficult with the way the code is set up now. Not impossible. But it also seems somewhat redundant. We could have a 'take me to it' type of button that center the play view on that particular structure.

For the Research Topic tree view section, Goof has been working on a TreeView GUI control and it looks very much like that.

The scroll-able list of structures is also very doable. Going to have to give some thought on how to implement it well but most of the GUI framework is already laid out to make this happen.

For the left-most image of the lab, I figured we'd use a larger render of the lab structure like this one:



As White Claw gets the structures built we'll replace the graphics. In the mean time I'll use non-commercial placeholder images until we get original in place.

Thanks for taking the time to do this! These kinds of sketches really help to lighten the load in terms of development effort.
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Offline White Claw

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #88 on: August 13, 2017, 11:58:01 AM »
(As with all my comments, please take my inputs as consideration and not "do it this way.")

This is looking pretty great. It's very similar to something I sketched out with paper/pencil a couple weeks ago for a master facility UI (though certainly not as clean looking). I also included a list of master tabs across the top and a similar list of facilities. I wish I knew about pencil then, because it would have helped out a ton. But I've downloaded it now, so thanks for the point out! :D


My original concept was more compacted, as opposed to something full screen. I would say if the desire is for a larger, full screen sort of view, then I would break it down slightly differently. I think all the same major elements are there, but here's an alternate arrangement. The key thing I was aiming for when sketching earlier ideas was compacted information and direct access to building control. OP1 had a habit of burying individual control when viewing from the facility list, causing excessive user actions to make and execute macro level decisions. (i.e. This block of labs are going to research topic X, this block of factories will produce Y.)

One of the things I will also note is that I'm personally a big fan of consistency in UI design. The more consistent everything is, the more intuitive and easier for the user to stay immersed. So in my head, the design for the factories tab should look very similar to the design for the laboratories tab (and probably space ports, etc.).


(Please forgive some of the stretching, etc. I wanted to use what was already created and don't yet know enough about Pencil to recreate it so quickly.)


Facilities List Pane (left side):
- Conceptual: (macro level info/selection) The facilities list gives at-a-glance information for health and status of facilities, giving the user broad sweeping controls to categorize facilities (based on naming convention, idle/active status, research/production, facility type, etc.)
-- Recommend compacting the information (name, topic, status, etc). The purpose of the information is to give the player knowledge, so compacting it increases information taken in per look space, rather than having to trace across the line for all the info.
-- Recommend making the facility list longer. The purpose of the list is for the user to gain macro-level information about multiple facilities. Being able to see more than three at a time increases the user's ability to pick through the list.

Facility Status Pane (top right):
- Conceptual: (micro level info/control) This block is an exploded view of a facility's individual line in the facilities list and allows for status view AND control of the facility.
-- Recommend including a block for control of the structure (buttons to idle, activate, "go to" for map view, etc.)
-- Includes a block for the building status itself (name, status, resources, etc.)
-- Recommend including a block for the research or production underway (what's being produced/researched, at what rate, etc.) in that facility
- This pane should look extremely similar (if not exactly the same) as the facility's individual "control" window (i.e. when accessing directly from the map).

"Library" Pane (bottom right):
- Conceptual: (macro level info/control) This block allows for macro control of the facilities sorted/selected in the facilities list. Also allows for the user to explore options/paths through the research/production list for strategic planning.
-- Split into two sections: Research/Manufacture list & detailed info
-- Recommend making the research/manufacture list taller, since the research list is vast, and there are a lot of topics that show up in here
-- Library pane can be converted into what makes sense for the facility tab (i.e. for mines, show a list of historical production)

Offline havkyp

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #89 on: August 13, 2017, 01:33:33 PM »
One of the things I will also note is that I'm personally a big fan of consistency in UI design. The more consistent everything is, the more intuitive and easier for the user to stay immersed. So in my head, the design for the factories tab should look very similar to the design for the laboratories tab (and probably space ports, etc.).

Totally agree, I think the other labs should look as identical to the lab view as possible. :)

-- Recommend compacting the information (name, topic, status, etc). The purpose of the information is to give the player knowledge, so compacting it increases information taken in per look space, rather than having to trace across the line for all the info.
-- Recommend making the facility list longer. The purpose of the list is for the user to gain macro-level information about multiple facilities. Being able to see more than three at a time increases the user's ability to pick through the list.

Ha I was thinking of the same points! Another thing that can be made more compact is to make the name of the facility itself green or red instead of having a separate operational/inactive section in the list item. Of course this applies to the other tabs, too.

Facilities List Pane (left side)

...

Facility Status Pane (top right)

...

"Library" Pane (bottom right)

I like these names, I suggest we go with these three terms going forward?

BTW I'm attaching a zip file containing my Pencil sketch files in case it helps.

Thanks for the feedback!
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 05:56:24 PM by leeor_net »

Offline havkyp

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #90 on: August 13, 2017, 02:07:12 PM »
Sorry about multiple posts.

Have to go back to Real Life soon, but I quickly prototyped a factory view taking into account White Claw's great suggestions:



And I'm attaching an updated Pencil file in case that's helpful. Thanks!

Offline leeor_net

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #91 on: August 13, 2017, 05:55:28 PM »
Really love this full-screen UI. It's exactly the sort of thing I've been hoping to see.

I'll take a look at Pencil soon-ish. It looks like a promising tool.

I would make the suggestion of removing the "Sort By" drop down combo and replace it with two check boxes for Show Underground and Show Surface. List is updated based on that.

This would really only work for Lab/Factory UI's.

As for accessing this panel, we can add a button next to the MiniMap -- there's plenty of space there for two more buttons.
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Offline havkyp

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #92 on: August 14, 2017, 02:57:30 PM »
Thanks leeor_net, glad the mockups have been useful so far.

Since I had a brief moment, I quickly made this suggested addition to the main view:



You can see some circular indicators on the right side. The green circles indicate the number of facilities that need the player's attention. For example, there's one satellite and two factories that need intervention. The reasons might be they are idle, need repair, or inactive because of missing resources.

The red circle indicates a critical issue, in this case a shortage of a life support resource (the water drop icon is a placeholder). These critical issues would be ones that risk the destruction of the colony, so might be a lack of life support resources, disaster, too-low-morale, something causing mass death, etc.

I was inspired by 4X games in the Endless series which have these notification circles. Once you click on a circle, a small dialogue box appears with a list of the facilities/issues in question and lets you click on the items that take you directly to the relevant UI to resolve them. The circles can be set to not disappear until the player explicitly close them.

I've found this feature to greatly improve quality of life for me in games so I'm suggesting them for OutpostHD!!

Offline leeor_net

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #93 on: August 22, 2017, 07:25:02 PM »
This suggestion ties in really well to the Redmine task about providing alerts to the user. I wasn't sure how to handle it and I'm not sure why this never occurred to me. It's a very effective  way to get the users attention without annoying them with popups and warning boxes, etc. I only did the one as I was kind of rushed at the time but I want to think about all of the other notifications that the user will need to get and also how to handle getting many of them... if, for instance, all resources are critical, the population is defecting, morale is terrible, the people hate you commander, 14 structures are disabled, power levels are critical, food storage is diminishing, incoming meteor detected and so on... There would only be room for so many notifications... I guess they would just stack up and as you read individual notifications they would clear but that's something we have to think about.

Also, when the user does click on a notification, how would it be presented?

I always enjoyed the idea of an AI voice letting you know about things that needed immediate attention. Outpost 2 did a nice job of that... "Morale is terrible". "Warning! Food shortage!". "Power levels optimal." and so on. Between the antagnostic attitude of the OP1 AI and the helpfulness of the OP2 Savant computers, I wanted to have a sort of mix in there. I'm thinking for super critical notifications that an AI voice alert will let the player know about them for immediate actions to be taken. The question becomes should the voice notification be something like "Critical alert" or should it be specific?

Lots to think about.  :-\
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Offline lhark

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #94 on: August 22, 2017, 08:43:33 PM »
Another simple and maybe less intrusive solution could be using color coding on the different resource meters. Maybe throw in a bit of blinking when things really get critical.
That is obviously assuming that we keep the resource bar at the top.

AI voice notification would be nice too, but seeing as OP1 is a turn based game, they would tend to get stacked up at the beginning of a turn.

Maybe for map based alerts, a marker could be added to the map, something that draws your attention to it, like this for example : https://i.imgur.com/HirT4lv.gif

Offline Hooman

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #95 on: August 22, 2017, 10:02:24 PM »
Quote
It's a very effective  way to get the users attention without annoying them with popups and warning boxes, etc.
+1

If icons get stacked, or hidden under a sub-menu, the top icon could have a count overlay displaying the number of alerts.

Offline JetMech1999

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #96 on: October 15, 2017, 03:45:13 PM »
I was looking through the posts for the answers to my questions, but couldn't find anything.  So, if I'm bringing these items up that have already been addressed, my apologies.

1. Multiple colonies on the same planet.  Is this something that will be put into the new rendition?  That would really kind of make the "Trade" idea work.

2. Upon development of a space program, will the launch of a colony ship end the game?  Or will it continue?  Any chance of multiple interplanetary colonies?  As if trying to manage one colony wasn't enough, managing colonies on other planets would make life really interesting.  Since the initial research would have been accomplished on the first colony, research on other colonies would primarily focus on making their new home more habitable.  Or maybe have another "rebel" group make off with some people and equipment and have to start from scratch themselves.

3.  Would research move into theoretical physics, such as Faster-than-light travel (I'm a Star Trek geek, too!)?

4. What about extraterrestrial visitors(invaders)?

I know that some of these are going WAY beyond the original thoughts for Outpost.  It's just that, in addition to the less-than-polished design of the game, it always struck me as an unfinished product. It would be great to see this game done the way it should have been done from the beginning.  I'd also love to see it move forward, be the jumping-off point into a bigger universe!  I know that every game has to have an end-game point.  It just seems to me that this could be carried forward so much further...

Offline leeor_net

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #97 on: October 17, 2017, 06:46:11 PM »
Hello and welcome!

To answer your questions:

  • I've thought about it and I think it makes sense... so yes, at some point you'll be able to build more colonies and probably at different site maps as well instead of just the one landing site.
  • No. I'm not sure about doing it the same way as OP1 did it with launching another colony ship.
  • No.
  • No. At least, not sentient life. Sentient could be in a future game but I don't want to make any promises. :)
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Offline JetMech1999

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #98 on: October 19, 2017, 05:17:24 PM »
That's cool.  That gives me more of an idea where this version of Outpost is headed.  Still sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun.  I knew some of what I put was really out there.

Offline leeor_net

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Re: OutpostHD - An Outpost Redesign
« Reply #99 on: October 19, 2017, 07:59:05 PM »
It's all about discussion. That's the only way to make a game fun if you ask me. :)

Also, forgive my curtness. I've been dealing with flu this week on top of work and a load of other stuff. I'm usually more articulate.
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