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Xaen
Caldari
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2006.09.27 16:43:00 - [1]
 

Edited by: Xaen on 02/10/2006 00:25:17
I'm a software engineer and very picky when it comes to UI design. I've designed many UIs in the course of my career and I have many demands and only a truly excellent UI will meet all of them. So here's a (hopefully) constructive criticism on EVE's UI.

  1. We need more hotkeys. Lots of hotkeys. Hotkeys for virtually everything. Hotkeys are usually only used by semi-advanced users, but EVE has nothing if not a sizable base of experienced players.

    If we have a selection we should be able to perform actions on it without right click menu. Overburdening of a right click menu is a sign of either lazy UI design or strapped-for-time UI design. Either way, it's bad. Not to mention if things get really busy, the UI stops updating. For example, in Level 4 Guristas Extravaganza, the first time I went in I accidentally aggroed half the spawn. And in the chaos of my battleship being slowly pounded to death, there was so much going on that my UI became frozen and unresponsive. I couldn't warp out because the UI was locked, but it was still buffering (useless) clicks. If there had been a hotkey to say, "warp to selection", I could have mashed it and got out of there. Client UI performance should not cost anyone a ship. A hot key would be an easy way out. Give me a list of all the hot keys. All of them. I discovered ctrl+click by accident. Any feature that a new user has to stumble upon by accident might as well not exist.

    Here's a small list of things that could use a hotkey:

      1. Customizable "reorganize" hotkey (function/ability). I'm so tired of:
      2. Select all (but station containers)
      3. Right click.
      4. Repackage.
      5. Right click.
      6. Stack all.
      7. Right click.
      8. Sort by type.

      I do this sequence constantly.

    1. Target a selected thing

    2. Untarget a selected thing

    3. Open/close a selected loot can

    4. Accelerate/Deccelerate

    5. Sic deployed drones on target.

    6. Approach target

    7. Orbit at default/user specified range

    8. Maintain default/user specified range

    9. Launch drone group N. (Assign a group to a selection of drones and save it based on the drone type, not the specific instances of drones in the bay - so if my drones get wasted I can just drop more of the same type in and it resumes working)

    10. Recall all deployed drones to orbit (recall a specified group) For example: ctrl+shift+1 selects drone group 1, ctrl+shift+r recalls them to orbit/bay. I can imagine this being of incredible value to carriers.

    11. Recall all drones to bay (irrespective of distance from ship i.e. fix the scoop/return to problem)

    You get the idea. Give my freaking right click button a break. I have over 100 keys here at my fingertips guys, utilize them.


  2. Get rid of the modal dialogs involved in Science/Industry. All of them. And that one you're thinking of that you think is necessary - yeah, it needs to go too. The only thing more annoying in a UI is a modal dialog with nothing but an 'OK' button.

Xaen
Caldari
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2006.09.27 16:44:00 - [2]
 

Edited by: Xaen on 07/02/2007 17:44:08
Edited by: Xaen on 01/10/2006 23:24:17
List continued:

  1. For that matter, any dialog we're presented with should have buttons that say what they do, not yes/no or ok/cancel. Just because Microsoft uses them doesn't mean it's a good idea. How about, "Are you sure you want to proceed with this dangerous act?" [Activate Smartbomb] [Do Nothing] Make them clear at a glance. The worst one is when customs finds contraband in your hold and presents you with a dialog with buttons that are labelled yes/no, but the question isn't phrased so that yes/no make sense. A very scary moment when I realized that the wrong choice would get my ship exploded, the right one wouldn't, but I couldn't tell which was which.I just guessed and got lucky apparently.

    Give us an unobtrusive notification that goes away when clicked like a tooltip, or if it isn't clicked goes away after a user-configurable time period. Just say "No." to modal dialogs.

  2. Move the UI to a separate thread from the one that waits on server requests to come back. I realize this one is a royal pain in the ass to implement, but who isn't sick of waiting for the market window to update after they sell something?

  3. Let us move the combat notification out of the middle of the freaking screen. Let us put it whereever we want. Fix it so we can actually read some of the things it says instead of them disappearing after .001 seconds to be replaced by a new one. What's the point of displaying one on top of the other? Show fewer ones rather than replacing them faster if you have to. I can't figure out the rhyme or reason for the current implementation.

  4. Fix the drone bay hotkey so that it can close it too, not just open it. (So that it works like the open/close cargo bay hotkey).

  5. Allow me to specify a capactior amount at which a module should stop autoactivating - either a percentage or an absolute value. That way I can tell a module to run continuously, but don't wipe out my cap.


Here are some articles that apparently your UI guys need to read - that or they need the time to do the UI correctly. I'm programmer too, I understand sometimes what you want to do is not what you have time to do, so I'm not going to presume your UI guys suck...yet.

http://benroe.com/files/gui.html
http://www.ercb.com/feature/feature.0005.html

Note that this is being posted so I can include a link to it in my top 10 list, to be posted shortly.

Edit: I liked this one so much I stole it wholesale:
Originally by: Epitrope
There are a whole bunch of good ideas in this thread. I'd like to add a few of my thoughts.

The ship control panel has a few issues. First off, as someone mentioned already, show the module cycle time. A colored circle around the border would do this nicely.

Secondly, when you click on a module that is set to autorepeat to disable it, you can't interact with it again until its cycle completes and it disables - this is frustrating. You should be able to re-enable it, so that it'll continue to cycle on its current target, and you should be able to right-click on it as you can the rest of the time. Modules that are not set to autorepeat should stay active on their current target for another cycle when clicked, instead of giving an error. A different color for manual vs autorepeat active states would be good too.

Lastly, there should be some way to tell which target has which module on it. This is needed if, for example, you're target painting three ships. It would be nice to be able to hover over one of the target painters and have the icon next to the target be highlighted, or made larger, or something along those lines.


And that's about all I can include in the first two posts.

Valator Uel
Caldari
Mercenaries of Andosia
Northern Coalition.
Posted - 2006.09.27 18:45:00 - [3]
 

/signed ten times....

The current UI and gameplay could really do with more customisation. You should also be able to do everything a mouse does with a keyboard (in terms of clicking ofcourse) and vica versa.

That combat log thing is especially annoying; for one it partially blocks your view (if I really wanted text bam slam infront of my face I'd play MUD)... simply let us place it where we want or better, have it incorporated in a "chat-like" window (ie a window that looks like chat but displays your log and scrolls as new info is displayed).

Oh and give us the ability to stop mail from blinking (especially alliance mail).

Another thing would be to enable/disable various sounds. Although I don't mind the warping sound, some people hate it. Being able to reduce the volume or mute it would be cool (same with other sounds).

Customisation FTW!

Johnny Twoshoe
Oblivion.
Posted - 2006.09.27 20:16:00 - [4]
 

Signed. EVE definitely needs more customizability as far as hotkeys are concerned.

Caedicus
Minmatar
Kellogg's Corporation
Posted - 2006.09.27 20:51:00 - [5]
 

Yes!!!!

I definately want more hotkeys.

I definately want a better combat log that's seperate from the other logs. It should be customizable, AND it should always record every battle regardless if it's open or not.

I know this is very cliche, but there should be numbers of the damage you do to an enemy that pop up over the ships icon in your target list(or even on the ship itself). Make it so we can turn it off if we want.

And we need a status bar that lets us know what type of EW is being used upon us.

Maya Rkell
Third Grade Ergonomics
Posted - 2006.09.27 21:25:00 - [6]
 

Edited by: Maya Rkell on 27/09/2006 21:25:05
But Xaen, they have to get voice chat integration working (sarcasm? ME?)

0rlin
Posted - 2006.09.27 22:40:00 - [7]
 

More hot keys sounds great. However we have enough problems with the macro users now. Sorry to say it but I dont see many more hot keys being added. :(

Darksaber64x
Ecchi co.
Posted - 2006.09.27 23:33:00 - [8]
 

I totally agree. I do the same hangar ritual that you do all the time. Some more hot keys would be very nice.

But the whole "Mods turning off at a certain %" may be a bit much. I'd love this to be honest, but it would make it too easy.

But on a similar note:

Am I the ONLY one who thinks we should have a cap % readout somewhere? It gets annoying hovering the mouse over the cap to see, and/or guessing.

MKingery
Minmatar
Dark Knights of Deneb
Against ALL Authorities
Posted - 2006.09.28 01:47:00 - [9]
 

Edited by: MKingery on 28/09/2006 01:47:28
Originally by: 0rlin
More hot keys sounds great. However we have enough problems with the macro users now. Sorry to say it but I dont see many more hot keys being added. :(
how would official ccp hotkeys allowing things that would usually require the right click of lazyness effect macro users in any way?...

anyway, we also need a notification saying if your scrammed or not (this ties into how utterly useless the "black box of rapid blinking" is in every situation

give us more sound options... is it too much to ask wanting the music playing but no sound effects?

this is not only the most complex game i have ever played but also the only game i have ever played where my hand is NOT on the keyboard. having the tutorial saying "when in doubt right click" is not an excuse that merits the lathargic nature of navigating things.

give us a key that not only opens cans as suggested but also jumps through a stargate (and make it context sensitive)

fix the "warp to bug" that forces you to right click a buddy in gang window... just let us press the "warp" icon (or better yet, let us press "w" when clicked on a gang member/can and if it is 150+ away, for the love of god let us warp to it.

and while this isn't really ui related, another dinosaur that needs to be killed is packaged items in general... honestly... why?

when we "select all / repackage..." and something is damage, for the love of all that is holy don't say "this item is damaged and must be repaired first" freaking tell us what item it is and/or ask us if we want to rep it right than and there.

/rant

Zarch AlDain
GK inc.
Posted - 2006.09.28 09:07:00 - [10]
 

What I would _really_ like to see is a way to sell multiple items in the same way you can reprocess multiple items.

For each one it shows you the ammount per item, % below/above average, total amount and has a yes/no check box.

Would save me sooooo much clicking.

Other than that your suggestions sound good though.


Oh, and there is a way to turn off combat notification messages now, it's in the escape menu somewhere I think.

Viktor Fyretracker
Caldari
Emminent Terraforming
O.G.-Alliance
Posted - 2006.09.28 14:27:00 - [11]
 

well a debuff window like WoW or EQ would be nice, it could have each of the EW icons and a space for a number of how many of each are on you. then you would know how webbed you are, how badly scrammed you are, are you target painted or sensor damped. maybe even allow one to hover the mouse over the said icons and see who is doing what to them.

Hugh Ruka
Exploratio et Industria Morispatia
Posted - 2006.09.28 15:43:00 - [12]
 

ah don't get me started.

1. Create HORIZONTAL scrollbars !!! I hate to resize the windows always to read extra long lines that WON'T wrap in the text dialog.

2. Scrap modal dialogs/windows. They annoy like hell. Nothing worse than a modal dialog when you want to check something in the middle of setting up a manufacturing process and you are blocked by the stupid window.

3. If you are not creative enough COPY OUT GIULD WARS !!! I do not need to touch the mouse during the whole fight just use my 10 fingers on the keyboard to do all I need. Running the cursor from overview to switch targets to drone menu and modules is realy stupid.

4. Key layout switches ? I mean hey, Alt by defautl highlights all objects in an area. Pressing alt+f1 for some module like a ship scanner in a hurry when lots of ships are around in highsec get's you killed, because in 99% of the cases client only gets f1 (jesus have mercy on you if you have a weapon there). The client will recognise the alt+f1 AFTER it has finished processing the alt highlight operation. Not talking about lag.

5. Customisable UI elements ? Like I want the tagreted ships to appear right on top of my modules (lower part of the screen) so I do NOT have to travel up and down with the mouse or constantly switch my attention between modules/shield/armor/cap status in lower screen part and target status in upper screen part. Almost 90% of the MMOs out ther display the health bars on top of the object in the environment, why can't EVE ?

The UI is my worst experience in EVE from the start. Game environment is nice, all the game mechanics are working (or try to) but the UI makes sometimes for a very horrible experience.


Andreas Syneticus
Dark-Rising
Posted - 2006.09.28 16:04:00 - [13]
 

Edited by: Andreas Syneticus on 28/09/2006 16:04:16
Yes, UI needs much more improvement, especially keyboard hotkeys for the sole purpose of cutting down MENU LAG that sometimes creeps up.

Combat Notifications - what's up with that? I can never read what it's saying, and the real-time logging window is annoying.
How about, instead, there's 2 small windows (but out of the way, the center-screen thing is very obtrusive) one for damage the PLAYER is inflicting, the other the damage playing RECEIVING. usually I care much more about how much damage I am dealing, because my shields/armour/hull bars give me a pretty good indication how my tank(s) are holding up ;)

Iog Krugar
The Rising Stars
Cosmic Anomalies
Posted - 2006.09.29 12:39:00 - [14]
 


Sarf
Spacelane Logistics
Posted - 2006.09.29 14:00:00 - [15]
 

Edited by: Sarf on 29/09/2006 14:00:35
Another programmer signing that the UI needs more hot keys and work.

RTS like drone control would be nice also, CTRL-# to select group, shift-click select drones and Shift-Ctrl-# to assign to a group

Would like a buff / debuf icon window where you can see that you are warp jaming, have sensor booster running, or ARE warp jammed....

/SIGN

Viktor Fyretracker
Caldari
Emminent Terraforming
O.G.-Alliance
Posted - 2006.09.29 14:22:00 - [16]
 

an idea for warp jamming could be have the WCS icon on the HUD, a ship with no WCS would have a zero by that icon. if 1 point of scram was applied it would show a -1. however if you say had 1 WCS and got 1 scrammed it would show zero. 2 scrammed it would show -1 or however badly scrammed you are. then to push it even better clicking the icon would bring up a list of who was scramming you(clearly killing the scrammers is more important unless they are doing crappy damage).

Xaen
Caldari
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2006.09.29 21:02:00 - [17]
 

Originally by: Viktor Fyretracker
an idea for warp jamming could be have the WCS icon on the HUD, a ship with no WCS would have a zero by that icon. if 1 point of scram was applied it would show a -1. however if you say had 1 WCS and got 1 scrammed it would show zero. 2 scrammed it would show -1 or however badly scrammed you are. then to push it even better clicking the icon would bring up a list of who was scramming you(clearly killing the scrammers is more important unless they are doing crappy damage).

Just the integer by itself would be a vast improvment. Currently the only way to find out if your scrambled is to try and warp. And if you're in an agile ship, you DO warp, which may not be what you really wanted.

Rakeris
Brethren Empire
Hitchhiker's Alliance
Posted - 2006.10.01 20:34:00 - [18]
 

Edited by: Rakeris on 01/10/2006 20:35:59
I completely agree, the UI really needs more customization! Being so limited on hot keys is by far my biggest annoyance. There are many other problems, but that is the worst imo.

And for the people who think it will make macroing easier...does it look like macro users have any problems atm?

svarta
Posted - 2006.10.01 20:57:00 - [19]
 

Good post. I will jump on the hotkeys bandwagon, with full documentation too!

One other gripe is copying bookmarks, shift dragging them out of people and places doesn't seem to work very well, I can only drag accross a few at a time instead of doing them all in a oner. I'm a little baffled as to why its so slow? but maybe thats a server issue. Still the UI should recognize that I want to copy them all and queue up its requests to the server if need be.

Generally, I think the UI needs a little more asynchronicity in its communication with the server. For example, I warp to a gate in low sec, someone is there so I open their info tab to check them out, or maybe just happen to be trying to open the market or somewthing. The UI freezes at this point waiting for the server response, meanwhile they pod me. The request to the server should be asynchronous, the UI remaining live and unfrozen and brought up to date when the reply comes.

I know this sort of thing can be done and handled slickly because I've done a fair amount of this kind of optimization with UI's myself. Its similar to how AJAX is making web interfaces more slick. Of course, it isn't easy.

Nobody should be killed because their UI froze. If the server is lagging presumably at least the attacker is at a similar disadvantage. Hope someone is listening...


Trader Darin
Gallente
Tyumen To4ka Ru
United Legion
Posted - 2006.10.01 22:48:00 - [20]
 

/Signed

Moderators Pls pinn this thread :)

Xaen
Caldari
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2006.10.01 23:09:00 - [21]
 

Originally by: svarta
One other gripe is copying bookmarks, shift dragging them out of people and places doesn't seem to work very well, I can only drag accross a few at a time instead of doing them all in a oner. I'm a little baffled as to why its so slow? but maybe thats a server issue. Still the UI should recognize that I want to copy them all and queue up its requests to the server if need be.

Unfortunately bookmarks cause a LOT of lag apparently. They very recently changed it so you can only copy 5 at a time. Used to be 75.
Originally by: svarta
Generally, I think the UI needs a little more asynchronicity in its communication with the server. For example, I warp to a gate in low sec, someone is there so I open their info tab to check them out, or maybe just happen to be trying to open the market or somewthing. The UI freezes at this point waiting for the server response, meanwhile they pod me. The request to the server should be asynchronous, the UI remaining live and unfrozen and brought up to date when the reply comes.

I agree completely, but what I think you mean is they need to have the UI running in a separate thread so that the UI doesn't have to wait on things with slow responses.

An application where the UI is on a separate thread from the background heavy duty work is very rare. Only the best programs bother with this type of multithreading because it's such a pain in the ass. But if you ask me it's worth it.

I'm sick and tired of waiting for the dang market window to unfreeze after I sell something.

Very good point, I'll add it to the list up top.

Originally by: svarta
I know this sort of thing can be done and handled slickly because I've done a fair amount of this kind of optimization with UI's myself. Its similar to how AJAX is making web interfaces more slick. Of course, it isn't easy.

Nobody should be killed because their UI froze. If the server is lagging presumably at least the attacker is at a similar disadvantage. Hope someone is listening...

Zollaire
Posted - 2006.10.02 09:43:00 - [22]
 

Edited by: Zollaire on 02/10/2006 09:43:51

svarta
Posted - 2006.10.02 09:53:00 - [23]
 

Originally by: Xaen

I agree completely, but what I think you mean is they need to have the UI running in a separate thread so that the UI doesn't have to wait on things with slow responses.



Yes, that's exactly what I mean. A seperate thread waits for the slow response while the main thread keeps the 3d engine running.

Can't be too hard on CCP though, keeping the whole game world in synch accross many clients is a damned impressive feat IMHO. No idea how introducing background communication threads for the UI windows might interplay with that. For example, maybe the freezing is actually due to the client/server conversation for the 3d/combat/game world synch being interupted by a large chunk of market data coming over the wire? Or maybe background threads for that really would prevent the freezing. Only those that really understand the code can say...

Xaen
Caldari
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2006.10.03 15:07:00 - [24]
 

Originally by: svarta
Can't be too hard on CCP though, keeping the whole game world in synch accross many clients is a damned impressive feat IMHO. No idea how introducing background communication threads for the UI windows might interplay with that. For example, maybe the freezing is actually due to the client/server conversation for the 3d/combat/game world synch being interupted by a large chunk of market data coming over the wire? Or maybe background threads for that really would prevent the freezing. Only those that really understand the code can say...

The change would be client side only.

Something like
if (needToGetDataFromServer) {
// spawn new thread (or reuse)
// show busy status in gui window
if (dataNotAvailableYet) {
// continue UI processing
} else {
// display new data
}
}

Another advantage would be taking advantage of multiple CPUs and hyperthreading - resulting in better overall performance.

Drawing the UI itself is by far the slowest part of the client. If I hide all windows my framerate goes through the roof. Kinda sad really.

Erotic Irony
0bsession
Posted - 2006.10.03 22:03:00 - [25]
 

Quote:

Drawing the UI itself is by far the slowest part of the client. If I hide all windows my framerate goes through the roof. Kinda sad really.


As I'm away from my home PC I'm interested whether you can replicate this effect by turning translucency all the way up? Are their any other work-arounds to compensate for some of the frames lost because of the UI?


Skawl
Red Federation
Posted - 2006.10.04 00:04:00 - [26]
 

All great ideas, would love to see even some inplemented.

Xaen
Caldari
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2006.10.04 17:31:00 - [27]
 

Originally by: Erotic Irony
Quote:

Drawing the UI itself is by far the slowest part of the client. If I hide all windows my framerate goes through the roof. Kinda sad really.


As I'm away from my home PC I'm interested whether you can replicate this effect by turning translucency all the way up? Are their any other work-arounds to compensate for some of the frames lost because of the UI?



Typically drawing something transparent on top of something that isn't is harder because you have to draw the background, then draw the transparent foreground (with part of the background showing through) on top.

I don't really have a scientific way to test though.

Xaen
Caldari
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2006.10.08 18:21:00 - [28]
 

Does nobody else see this as important as I do?

You could improve the whole game experience for every player and you wouldn't be ****ing ANYONE off, unlike with a lot of new features/ideas. I don't see any downsides.

Acerus Malum
Encina Technologies
Posted - 2006.10.08 21:14:00 - [29]
 

The problem with good ideas is that you typically don't post in threads unless you have something to add or complain about. So your great thread ultimately drowns in a flood of flames/corrections directed at crappy threads.

But yes the UI is definitely the most pressing issue the game currently faces. When my laptop can run Half-Life 2 better than the inside of a station and miscellaneous windows there's clearly a problem.

If I had to pick one particular UI problem out of them all, I'd say the worst is how stray keystrokes end up in channel text boxes, even if they aren't visible at all. Whenever I do repeat calculations in the in-game calculator, at some point the calculator will lose focus for no reason and all my calculations go to some chat channel buried under a half dozen tabs.

Xaen
Caldari
Aperture Harmonics
K162
Posted - 2006.11.07 21:19:00 - [30]
 

Originally by: Acerus Malum
The problem with good ideas is that you typically don't post in threads unless you have something to add or complain about. So your great thread ultimately drowns in a flood of flames/corrections directed at crappy threads.

But yes the UI is definitely the most pressing issue the game currently faces. When my laptop can run Half-Life 2 better than the inside of a station and miscellaneous windows there's clearly a problem.

If I had to pick one particular UI problem out of them all, I'd say the worst is how stray keystrokes end up in channel text boxes, even if they aren't visible at all. Whenever I do repeat calculations in the in-game calculator, at some point the calculator will lose focus for no reason and all my calculations go to some chat channel buried under a half dozen tabs.

Like the millions of solutions to the bookmark problem? The majority of those seem to be from gatecampers, they just don't admit it.


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