Author Topic: Factory Production UI  (Read 952 times)

Offline leeor_net

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2057
    • LairWorks Entertainment
Factory Production UI
« on: May 02, 2018, 08:14:31 PM »
havkyp produced this mockup of a factory interface that we all thought was pretty good:



I'm shooting to have this part of the UI developed and functional in Milestone v0.7.9.

Something about this UI panel feels unfinished to me though that could just be that this is a mockup and not a screenshot. I'm eager to get this implemented and see how it feels/works.



SIDE NOTE:

How do we exit this screen? Right-click? Escape key? Exit button? All of the above?

I'm leaning toward right click and escape key.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2018, 08:57:14 PM by leeor_net »
- Leeor
LairWorks Entertainment

Titanum UFO's

Offline Hooman

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4605
Re: Factory Production UI
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2018, 05:17:31 AM »
I like it.

Beach balls?  :P

Maybe it needs an X in the top right corner, or a left arrow in the top left corner like a lot of cell phone apps.

Offline leeor_net

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2057
    • LairWorks Entertainment
Re: Factory Production UI
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2018, 02:26:09 PM »
Beach balls was one of the ridiculous products your underground factories could produce in the original game (in addition to 8-track tapes, neuromancer games, wax lips, fuzzy dice and whoopee cushions among other silliness).

Not keen on an 'X' but a back button might work? Something like this?


Different sizes for comparison, would choose one and stick with it.
« Last Edit: May 04, 2018, 02:30:50 PM by leeor_net »
- Leeor
LairWorks Entertainment

Titanum UFO's

Offline Goof

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 54
Re: Factory Production UI
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2018, 02:26:15 AM »
Here's my thought.

There is no need to remind how the structure look in full size.
The name seems enough and filters can ease the choices of which structures are displayed.
If there is a need of a "visual" information, just a small pictogral of the structure should be enough.

Many others things doesn't need to be in full size/explained
A green/yellow/red/grey indicator to display the status of the structure.
A button to open the current factory should be enough if we need to change something special.
A combo that enable to change the current product of a factory and a button to validate that change. (to avoid to loose 2 turns made on a handling error)
Display remaining turns to completion of the current task. (not in the picture)
Pictogram for needed workers/supply instead of each detailed.

here's an quick sketch I made :

Offline FallTime

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 33
    • http://www.borkovec.com/falltime/
Re: Factory Production UI
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2018, 08:31:00 AM »
Goof, sure, that's a lot more minimalist. But what's the purpose? It isn't any clearer, it certainly isn't prettier or more ergonomic, and there's no need to save on screen estate. As a bonus, the original design fits touch devices perfectly, while yours is way too compact for comfortable touch use. Showing more information in smaller space is something you should avoid unless necessary, and the same goes double for active elements like buttons. There's no need for the detailed information on a list of factories - you don't care why specifically the factories aren't running; you only really care about 1) are all factories running? 2) if one or two are failing, then why? 3) If a lot of factories are failing, ooooops. When would you ever need all those details in the list?

You say there's no need to remind people how the structure looks, but that's silly. Reading the name is certainly less comfortable than seeing a picture. It also reinforces the connection between the name and the image (which you see a lot more often). And while filters are certainly useful, you might be surprised to learn they're kind of an advanced feature - they're too complicated for most users, especially presented the way you have them in your mock-up.

What does your design do better? Exit button in top right is great. It's more compact, and it shows a lot of information in a relatively small space, but I don't think that's really a good thing in a case like this. This  There's a reason why programmer UIs look the way they do - programmers aren't typical users. They like textual information a lot more than normal users. They expect they should spend effort to learn a new UI, and that it's worthwhile. Normal users don't. Sometimes you can't avoid presenting complex things in a complex way. But presenting simple things in a complicated way is just horrible UX.
Sorry for my English. I like penguins. I'm neutral 'bout Linux.
------------------------------------------------
Don't judge people of their look

Offline Goof

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 54
Re: Factory Production UI
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2018, 05:49:41 PM »
As titled it's a production summary.
A summary should have a high density of informations.
And I do hate tactile layouts for non mobile software.

On the Visual part, I could conceive it.
Mainly because when there will be different tech levels for the structures, the tech level should be displayed somehow, and a small/medium one could be great for that, not the full size one.

A filter by production type with a combo box seems mandatory and could be filled with only type of good currently produced over all the facilities.
As I remember in the the original game these screens were made with awkward tree views styles filters. (not so awkward back in these days.)

I know that user interface should in some way be nearly intuitive but I do prefer efficiency with a small learning effort.
But it may be a professional deformation, as I write software for industry purpose where efficiency is mandatory.

Offline leeor_net

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2057
    • LairWorks Entertainment
Re: Factory Production UI
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2018, 08:24:54 PM »
... As a bonus, the original design fits touch devices perfectly, while yours is way too compact for comfortable touch use.

This is irrelevant -- this game is not intended for use with touch interfaces. I suppose it could be adapted to that but ultimately the design is entirely designed for desktop PC use.

That stated, I agree with some of your points, namely that in general UI design the average user will find it easier to use visual recognition versus reading. So I do actually like the idea of having the icons.

Goof, I think that would be useful as a summary view (as stated), just not sure how it would be accessed? Is it really necessary?

With all that stated, I've revised havkyp's design with some of the elements from yours:



Note here that there are three 'color scheme's in use. 'Idle' or 'No Production' items are in grey (though this could just be done with a lower alpha value though that may not be obvious enough. Factories in an operational state are full colored. Disabled are in red.

We will need to give some consideration for colorblindness. I am partially color blind myself though I can still see red and green. However, some shades of red and green are difficult for me to distinguish from other colors... for example, bright green (0, 255, 0) is indistinguishable from yellow (255, 255, 0) for me. You can see in the mockup that I use a somewhat darker green (somewhere around rgb(0, 155, 0)) to provide hue cues which makes it a lot easier for me to distinguish from yellows (side note, darker yellows and greens I can distinguish much more easily).

Source file attached.



Side note: This was designed with a 1280x720 resolution in mind. I intend/expect for this to be dynamically resized between 800x600 to 1920x1080 (and possibly larger). So suffice it to say this is going to take some effort to do well. :)
- Leeor
LairWorks Entertainment

Titanum UFO's

Offline JetMech1999

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 90
Re: Factory Production UI
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2018, 06:32:21 PM »
Leeor,

I like the aspects of both what you've brought up and Goof as well.  In particular, Goof's also shows how many people are employed at a given facility.  Could that be added to what you've presented, in order to give a good all-around description of what's going on?  I'm still undecided about the big graphic of the facility.  The smaller ones in the listing give a good, quick representation of whether it's a surface or underground structure.

Another thought that I had is on those factories that are idle.  Can the reason for the idling (lack of a particular resource for example) be highlighted in a contrasting color so that it draws our attention to the factory's needs?

What you've shown here makes for an informative status report.  And by just going down the list, we avoid having to go highlight each individual facility.  As the graphic shows labs, mines, etc., am I correct in presuming that this would be the format for all of the structures that have a particular function (CHAP, SPEW, Power Generation, etc.), or would it be limited to just a few items?

While the green and red make for quick, readily recognizable symbology (Go, No Go), I like that you're also trying to consider those with vision impairments.  While I don't have any known color blindness, the inclusion will go far for those whom it does affect.  Bravo!

May I also presume that the factories will be producing "useful" materials in addition to the robot workers and road materials (clothing, appliances, electronics)?  I get that Sierra was trying to be funny with gag products, but honestly I thought it took something away from what I was looking at as more like a simulation and less as a game.


Offline Goof

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 54
Re: Factory Production UI
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2018, 05:26:14 PM »
May I also presume that the factories will be producing "useful" materials in addition to the robot workers and road materials (clothing, appliances, electronics)?  I get that Sierra was trying to be funny with gag products, but honestly I thought it took something away from what I was looking at as more like a simulation and less as a game.
In fact these resources should be consume by Commercial or Health facilities.
The goal was that Health facility get a bonus in moral impact if they can use goods to get people healthy.
And that Commercial facilities could give a bonus in morale if they can sell goods to people.
In fact morale is a key features in Outpost, it could change the fate of a colony.
So it's not as trivial as it may appear.

Offline JetMech1999

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 90
Re: Factory Production UI
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2018, 05:43:41 PM »
I see your point.  Doesn't really matter what the factory is producing, rather it's to produce something and get them used.  I also have to remember that when Outpost first came out, 8-track tapes hadn't been obsolete all that long.  The items produced were whimsical, but the point was to produce them and have the populace use them, thereby boosting morale.  I guess I sit around too much thinking about what's practical and what's just a filler.

Offline Goof

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 54
Re: Factory Production UI
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2018, 02:36:33 AM »
I agree that the generic goods list could be updated rather than just use the old ones.
But it' easier to stick to this list within sketches.

Offline leeor_net

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2057
    • LairWorks Entertainment
Re: Factory Production UI
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2018, 10:34:20 AM »
Yes and no. At the moment I have Clothing and Medicine. Clothing is considered a 'luxury product' and is consumed by commercial. Medicine is unused but takes up space in warehouses.

Ultimately I have no desire to have UG factories produce a bunch of, frankly, stupid items that are all used for the same thing. I'd like to see a slightly more involved economy where the needs of colonists need to be besides just luxury. Clothing, for instance, is something that all colonists will need -- I'm thinking it's something like food where it's consumed at 1 unit per 10 colonists per turn.

I'm figuring the economic stuff can be sorted out later, at this point I'm more concerned about the interface itself.
- Leeor
LairWorks Entertainment

Titanum UFO's

Offline JetMech1999

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 90
Re: Factory Production UI
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2018, 05:12:38 PM »
I like the consumable goods idea.  I hadn't considered something like Medicine just taking up warehouse space.  Wow, now there's a rabbit trail to go down.  Something to put on the back burner until OutpostHD is up and running as a fully fleshed-out product.
  The rabbit trail I'm referring to is the medicine or, more specifically, life-limited goods.  Medicine and food come to mind with this.  We're going to build medical and agricultural facilities as part of our colonies.  We have to, people get hurt, people get hungry.  So, instead of letting the medicines build up, why not put in a means of a random injury rate.  Someone gets hurt, they go to Medical, medicine is consumed and the quantity is reduced by that amount.  Same with food. You've already established something that says, "this many people consume this much food per turn" and use that as a consumption rate.  And if you don't have enough meds or food, population starts dropping, then goes morale, until you get to the point of a ghost town.  I've played Planetbase a few times and while I have a problem with their AI, the part that sticks with me is that you have to assign people to manage food production, materials manufacturing, as well as other durable and perishable goods, medicine being one of those.  I don't want to see OutpostHD get into that kind of minutiae, just that if you're going to make goods, have a means to use them.  If they are perishable, then give them a shelf life.  I know that I've focused on the Medicine aspect, but it could apply to any number of products produced.
  As I said, this is something to look at later, not necessarily during development, as that just creates another branch of work that gets in the way of a finished product.

Offline leeor_net

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2057
    • LairWorks Entertainment
Re: Factory Production UI
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2018, 06:00:45 PM »
What you're suggesting has a lot to do with what I want to do to make the economic development of a colony much more interesting. At the moment it's kind of a stub set of functions to simulate raw resource consumption and production/storage/use of products. It's simple but does the job and lays the groundwork for further development.

But as you said, it's something that needs to be considered (a separate thread would be good for this).
- Leeor
LairWorks Entertainment

Titanum UFO's