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Author Topic: New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency  (Read 14623 times)

Offline MCR

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New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency
« on: November 25, 2011, 11:48:15 am »
I have implemented a derivate of the Alternative HUD called Minimal HUD. You can activate the new HUD in the gameplay options in latest master.
It features transparency and some other fine enhancements.
It is fully working, but will nevertheless get improved in the near future as I have a few ideas already...

Please test it and comment here.

Offline MCR

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Re: New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2011, 11:54:16 am »
One question would be if we want the partially transparent backgrounds for our other HUDs (Normal/Alternative) also ?

Offline MCR

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Re: New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2011, 06:00:31 pm »
The most recent version adds several features like:

* 1. Prepared bar_right.png background panel for additional information and buttons
* 2. Added additional Real-Time TU bars under the actor's name inclusive tooltips
* 3. Maximized space for the actor's name to avoid truncation
* 4. Better tooltip explaining how to open the inventory/physical stats windows

AAAND

* Added possibility to show/hide the top/soldier/level panels to the Minimal HUD making the HUD deserve its name (see screenie)  8)

Offline Crystan

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Re: New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2011, 06:49:52 pm »
Nice Idea! I love a clean screen. Is there a chance you reduce the size of the soldier bar by removing the heads or add it as a additional option? :) I also would suggest to put the weapon bar in the right corner and move the level panel to the "option bar" in the right upper corner. And is there an way to remove the "metal grey" background so only the important things are shown like buttons, info etc. (take a look at the scnd screen)?
« Last Edit: November 25, 2011, 07:05:17 pm by Crystan »

Offline MCR

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Re: New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2011, 09:01:05 pm »
Is there a chance you reduce the size of the soldier bar by removing the heads or add it as a additional option? :)

Would be possible ofc. Currently you can just disable the whole soldier panel. I'll think about the best way to implement it.

I also would suggest to put the weapon bar in the right corner and move the level panel to the "option bar" in the right upper corner.

This sounds easy, but is a lot of work code-wise. I agree that the main panel (weapon) should end up at the bottom right position of the screen and it is planned to implement this.
The level panel might be moved to the lower left corner then as its height is the same like that of the soldiers panel.

And is there an way to remove the "metal grey" background so only the important things are shown like buttons, info etc. (take a look at the scnd screen)?

This would also be possible by using a second set of panel backgrounds. Seems like an idea worth to try. I'll think about a good implementation.

Offline MCR

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Re: New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2011, 01:34:15 pm »
Minimal HUD Upgrade making it even more minimalistic ;)

The player now is able to turn the whole deco on/off also for ultra-minimalistic experience. 8)

Offline Crystan

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Re: New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2011, 04:26:10 pm »
Love it.

Offline Gren

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Re: New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2011, 06:17:15 pm »
Minimal HUD Upgrade making it even more minimalistic ;)

The player now is able to turn the whole deco on/off also for ultra-minimalistic experience. 8)

You're working well MCR.. I just started using it today and it's shining - so much easier to use..  ;) :)

Offline MCR

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Re: New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2011, 12:18:55 pm »
Love it.
You're working well MCR.. I just started using it today and it's shining - so much easier to use..  ;) :)

Thanx.  8)

Another Upgrade:

* 1. changed font sizes for better readability
* 2. changed text shadow angles
* 3. Added new Show/Hide buttons for the Physical Data, Inventory, Radar and Help windows to be able to access all of those without knowledge of the key shortcuts
* 4. new positions for the show/hide panel buttons
* 5. Fixed/added some tooltips
* 6. Added disabled skeleton-code for future music control panel show/hide button
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 01:00:31 pm by MCR »

Offline Crystan

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Re: New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency
« Reply #9 on: November 27, 2011, 01:42:12 pm »
Again nice! Oh anyone tried to pronounce the name of Mr. Zwfwz? Wait... wears that alien a red jeans? :P

Offline homunculus

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Re: New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2011, 06:16:24 pm »
Tried out the hud and I got some comments, maybe you find something useful.
* 3. Added new Show/Hide buttons for the Physical Data, Inventory, Radar and Help windows to be able to access all of those without knowledge of the key shortcuts
Pressing 'i' did not seem to open the inventory screen, at least in the version I am using (the recent nightly build, I guess).
I usually find it more convenient to open inventory with mouse, though, just the 'inv' button being so small caused me to try out the keyboard.
Maybe the inventory button could be larger, because some players might want to lob grenades and use plasma blades quite often?

There is a big picture of the weapon in hand, maybe it could function as 'use weapon' button, and this way the crosshair button could be gotten rid of?
Or it could switch the weapon hand, or at least the button that switches the weapon hand does not need a direction (only two hands, you know, it's either one or the other, and some recycle button would be sufficient).

Though myself I would find it more convenient if both weapons were visible, but that is not exactly minimal anymore (and would be even more convenient not needing to open inventory screen for belt and holster items, and whatever).
The problem with two weapons not being visible is that when I lob a grenade or use a medkit on one soldier then I have to switch back on the primary hand on the next soldier to shoot the primary weapon.

The original hud crouch button is more obviously identifiable than the arrows button in the minimal hud.

There is already a tooltip at the numbers (health, morale, and time units), and the numbers have different color, so there should not be much trouble understanding what the numbers are for, without the picture behind the number.
The picture just makes the numbers harder to read, and the numbers over the picture makes the picture hard to see.

Maybe it would go well with the minimalism to put the panel with the 'end turn' button at the top of the soldier panel, so there would not be panels all over the place.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2011, 06:24:34 pm by homunculus »

Offline MCR

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Re: New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2011, 12:57:03 pm »
Pressing 'i' did not seem to open the inventory screen, at least in the version I am using (the recent nightly build, I guess).

You are right. This was not planned. I will investigate what is causing this and fix it.

I usually find it more convenient to open inventory with mouse, though, just the 'inv' button being so small caused me to try out the keyboard.
Maybe the inventory button could be larger, because some players might want to lob grenades and use plasma blades quite often?

You can open the inventory via LMB-click on the soldier's name also.

There is a big picture of the weapon in hand, maybe it could function as 'use weapon' button, and this way the crosshair button could be gotten rid of?
Or it could switch the weapon hand, or at least the button that switches the weapon hand does not need a direction (only two hands, you know, it's either one or the other, and some recycle button would be sufficient).

How about adding the possibility to switch the weapon hand via LMB/RMB click on the weapon ?

Though myself I would find it more convenient if both weapons were visible, but that is not exactly minimal anymore (and would be even more convenient not needing to open inventory screen for belt and holster items, and whatever).
The problem with two weapons not being visible is that when I lob a grenade or use a medkit on one soldier then I have to switch back on the primary hand on the next soldier to shoot the primary weapon.

Maybe I'll implement a feature to automagically switch to the right hand weapon when the player switches the soldier, or, even more advanced, implement a feature so the HUD will remember the recently used hand for each soldier to fix this problem...

The original hud crouch button is more obviously identifiable than the arrows button in the minimal hud.

Most of the button-gfx come straight from the Alternative HUD, maybe those buttons get some gfx-tuning in the future also...

There is already a tooltip at the numbers (health, morale, and time units), and the numbers have different color, so there should not be much trouble understanding what the numbers are for, without the picture behind the number.
The picture just makes the numbers harder to read, and the numbers over the picture makes the picture hard to see.

I am not satisfied with the look of that one either, readability of this one will be fixed soon also.

Maybe it would go well with the minimalism to put the panel with the 'end turn' button at the top of the soldier panel, so there would not be panels all over the place.

You can hide the whole panel and end the turn with "e" also.
Thanks for testing and the detailed review, I will implement the improvements soonish  8)

Offline homunculus

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Re: New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2011, 02:15:01 pm »
How about adding the possibility to switch the weapon hand via LMB/RMB click on the weapon ?
There are some pretty strong reasons to use one-handed weapons, people have done it before and will most probably be doing it in the future.
A somewhat unusual example might be grenade and knife as main weapons and pistol as sidearm (wrote the reasons in my recent post in tactics forum in favorite weapons).
So, how am I supposed to know which arrow button I am supposed to click to switch the visible hand?

I'll try to break it down a bit.
First, the player will have to learn which side is the right side and which is the left side, and that depends on the point of view (facing the player as in original HUD has it the other way round).
Second, if it is like sniper rifle in the main hand, and a grenade in the off-hand, then there is no confusion, but with one-handed weapons in both hands, how am I supposed to know if I need to switch to the left hand or to the right hand?
Third, the 'either one or the other hand' makes the two directional buttons perfectly superfluous.
All this hassle can be avoided by treating it as 'switch hands'.
If there is some principal reason why you want the player to learn which is the right side and which is the left side in your HUD, I think the better solution would be to only show the 'right' button when the left hand is showing and replace it by 'left' button when the right hand is showing (with the additional benefit of indicating which hand it is that is currently visible).
Maybe I'll implement a feature to automagically switch to the right hand weapon when the player switches the soldier, or, even more advanced, implement a feature so the HUD will remember the recently used hand for each soldier to fix this problem...
The extra click (which will very soon become a thousand extra clicks while playing) cannot be avoided if only one hand is shown, and I very much doubt that changing the current system would improve anything.
I was actually not trying to suggest that this minimal HUD should do something differently about this issue, just pointing out the general problem with showing only one hand.

As for the LMB and RMB, I would suggest to get rid of the 'inv' button if LMB on soldier name would duplicate it.
Because clicking on the soldier name is more convenient, and the presence of the 'inv' button does not force players to find that functionality (so the 'inv' button and the other duplicate buttons are hiding the more convenient functionality in a way).

More generally I think making GUI in C should be considered a fossil nowadays.
I am thinking like 'why such nonstandard semi-completely functional solutions and not some GUI framework?' all the time, but I understand such thing might be difficult for this game.

Also, nowadays mouses have wheels, you know : )
The most natural way to, say, switch weapon, would be mouse wheel in my opinion.
Also, scrolling through the list of soldiers could be done with mouse wheel on the soldier name panel, and changing the elevation level (I mean, which floor is shown) would be more natural as mouse wheel on the elevation button.

Ok, the weapon image.
Could be LMB to shoot, and RMB to switch hands.
But I would rather suggest it this way:
LMB = shoot
RMB = reload
wheel (no matter what direction) = switch hands
Also, instead of showing just total reserved TU, I would rather appreciate the name and TU of reaction fire.
And, as pointed out somewhere, there seems to be no reason to use 'one shot reaction fire', and therefore 'reaction fire' vs 'no reaction fire' would be sufficient.
Reaction fire could also be scrollable button (no reaction fire, firemode 1, firemode 2, etc.) somehow, but no idea how that might look like.

So, yeah, the minimal HUD in my mind would look like this:
1) Soldier name.
2) Weapon image (maybe with reaction fire toggle on top of it, say, in lower corner).
3) Crouch toggle.
4) IR-goggles button.
5) Elevation level button (just one, scrollable with mouse wheel, and LMB/RMB if you will).

Anyway, it seems I got like... interested, and made a mockup. Minimalism FTW.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2011, 03:14:10 pm by homunculus »

Offline MCR

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Re: New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2011, 12:56:13 am »
Pressing 'i' did not seem to open the inventory screen, at least in the version I am using (the recent nightly build, I guess).

This issue is now fixed in latest master version.

Several improvements and fixes have already been pushed to master also. Those include:

AltHUD & MiniHUD: only show the possible arrow for left/right hand switch,  implemented the possibility to switch the levels via mousewheel also, added possibility to reload the weapon via LMB click on the ammostring
MiniHUD: Removed the color and darkened the backgound symbols for better readability of the stat numbers, fixed soldier decoration display for less than 8 soldiers

Future improvements are already WIP. Those include getting completely rid of the seperate levelselector panel and the top right panel and integrating all of the functionality into the main panel.

homunculus, I've already fixed the weapon hand arrow issue, soonish there will be another additional possbility to switch hands easily added, the levelselector will soon be implemented the way you suggested (good idea btw.), you already can test the mousewheel ;)
You can reload now by LMB clicking the ammostring.
The reaction-fire code is currently under heavy development, so the HUD (& respective buttons) will be optimized, when the next version of RF is fully implemented.

homunculus, thanks for all the other ideas and suggestions also, you may find some of those implemented soonish also ;)

Offline homunculus

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Re: New, minimalistic battlescape HUD with transparency
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2011, 03:17:09 pm »
Well, I also have some thoughts about how people learn to click the HUD buttons more like 'clicking the blue thing somewhere over there' while their attention is on the main screen.
This already happens for the crouch button and the crosshair button in the minimal HUD, but not yet for something like the IR-goggles button.
I mean, I still need to look at the row of buttons and consciously identify the button with the goggles icon.

I am thinking like maybe the buttons would be easier to learn the 'somewhere over there' way if they were arranged not in a line but in a good arch, maybe like boobs?
I think I found the menus and nodes in the wiki.
Not decided yet, I might want to experiment with some HUDs also : )

If such experiment would be successful, the same principle might be suitable for other applications as well wherever there are heavy-duty toolbar buttons.
Not like text editors perhaps, but like graphics editors, like GIMP.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2011, 04:00:53 pm by homunculus »