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[Odyssey 1.1] Radial Menu + Drone + few other UI changes

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Author
Antoine Jordan
SUNDERING
Goonswarm Federation
#41 - 2013-08-12 20:32:18 UTC
Drone change is a decent stopgap measure but anything short of being able to drag drone groups onto module slots on the UI, and press the hotkeys for those slots to launch/recall those groups, is a subpar solution.
Balzac Legazou
Center for Advanced Studies
Gallente Federation
#42 - 2013-08-12 21:27:56 UTC  |  Edited by: Balzac Legazou
CCP karkur wrote:

Drone changes: [...]


While it's nice that you're improving the drone UI, what the drone UI needs isn't improving. It's re-doing. And, before that, re-thinking.

And I fear that adding polish to the current (fundamentally flawed / limited) drone UI will make CCP less likely to consider a full overhaul in the near future ("What, and waste all the time we spent polishing the old system?").

For example, the drone UI should allow players to:

  • Quickly and easily launch, recall and activate specific drone groups directly (using both keyboard shortcuts and on-screen icons).

  • Have a simple, unified "default action" shortcut (ex., pressing "F" should make mining drones mine).

  • Also allow players to assign keyboard shortcuts to specific drone actions (ex., create a shortcut to "repair target" that will not make your combat drones "attack target", or a shortcut to "salvage target" that won't make your combat drones destroy it, and so on).

  • Allow individual drones to belong to more than one group (ex., I might want a group with all my light drones, one with all my heavy drones, and one with all my thermal-damage drones, which includes drones from both of the first groups).

  • See drone HP while drones are docked.

  • Allow grouping of drones of different types (I know this is a problem with the current UI / command structure, but it wouldn't be if the other changes mentioned here were implemented).

  • Target-lock own drones instantly (they're in constant communication with my ship - that's the whole justification for "bandwidth" - I shouldn't have to wait 20 seconds to lock one before I can start repairing it).

  • Allow logistics drones to repair my own ship (yes, there are gameplay implications, but objectively only for logistics ships, and they can be dealt with by tweaking those ships; the idea that my repair drones can't repair my own ship is just nonsensical). Ex., telling logistics drones to "repair" with no target selected would make them repair the owner's ship (so there's no need to allow self-locking, which I guess would require too much debugging; alternatively, they automatically repair the parent when orbiting).

  • Etc...

I don't think the features listed above are particularly hard to implement (from a UI design point of view), but they might be incompatible with the way Eve does things internally (and they're certainly incompatible with the current UI design).

To implement these things, "drone groups" shouldn't be treated as containers, but rather "indices" (essentially presented as a "virtual drone", whose orders are then relayed to every member of the group), and there should be direct access to specific drone actions through icons in the drone UI (draggable to the module shortcuts), instead of making players go through sub-menus.

For example, next to each drone (and to each group), there would be small icons for:


  • Deployment button: Launch / Return to bay (ctrl+click to "disengage and orbit owner" instead of returning to bay, alt+click to "scoop drone", ctrl+alt+click to "abandon").

  • Action button: Engage (perform default action for that drone type). The icon would be different depending on the drone type (combat, logistics, salvage, etc.) and would be draggable to a target. Simply clicking it would perform it on the current target. On a mixed-type group, the icon would send a "perform default action" command to each drone in that group (or be a bit smarter and figure out which action the player is more likely to want, but the generic command would generally be fine).

  • Behavior button: Rules of engagement (click multiple times to cycle between "passive (orbit parent)", "guard (defend parent)", "assist (follow parent's attacks)", "aggressive (attack any enemy in range)"). This would also apply to drones assigned to someone else.

Each of these icons would be draggable to the "module" icons (right side of the HUD), and that would link it to the keyboard shortcut currently assigned to that slot (ex., if I drag the "engage" icon from group "MyDroneGroup" onto the first module icon, then pressing F1 would cause an "engage" command to be sent to the virtual "MyDroneGroup" drone, which would then relay that command to all drones in its index).

It sounds more complicated than it is (hard to explain just using text). The whole thing would take up the same amount of screen space as the current drone UI; the damage indicators would be smaller (circular, clock-style) and half the space would be used for the new direct-action / draggable icons.

I know this is unlikely to happen any time soon, I just urge you to not think of current UI "polish" as a long-term solution. The drone UI needs more fundamental changes to stop feeling like something out of the 1990s.
CCP karkur
C C P
C C P Alliance
#43 - 2013-08-12 21:37:27 UTC  |  Edited by: CCP karkur
Balzac Legazou wrote:
CCP karkur wrote:

Drone changes: [...]


While it's nice that you're improving the drone UI, what the drone UI needs isn't improving. It's re-doing. And, before that, re-thinking.

And I fear that adding polish to the current (fundamentally flawed / limited) drone UI will make CCP less likely to consider a full overhaul in the near future ("What, and waste all the time we spent polishing the old system?").

[...a lot of stuff....]

I know this is unlikely to happen any time soon, I just urge you to not think of current UI "polish" as a long-term solution. The drone UI needs more fundamental changes to stop feeling like something out of the 1990s.

I think we all agree that the drone UI needs to be redone.
I don't think those small tweaks will change anything about that, but they will hopefully make the drone UI just a little bit more usable until then (and I won't regret the time spent on it even if we would redo the whole drone UI in next expansion).

You do have a good point there, but you will see that those changes I've made are very simple and don't change the fundamentals.

Some people want a launch button in the HUD, where you can toggle launching/returning groups... then we are more getting to what you worry about as that would require a lot of design and testing and figuring out all sorts of edge cases.

CCP karkur | Programmer | Team Five 0 | @CCP_karkur

Beagle von Space
Doomheim
#44 - 2013-08-12 21:41:48 UTC
Is there any chance that drone groups could someday be assigned to module hotkeys?

By that I mean:

  • Drone group would show up in the active modules display next to the HUD
  • The hotkey to activate would launch that group
  • Activating them again would cause them to attack the currently selected targeted
  • The hotkey that would overheat a conventional module would cause the drones to return and orbit
  • "Overheating" the drones again would cause them to return to the bay.


Or is the current system, on some level, working as intended? I always figured that, because drones can engage targets semi-autonomously, that the reason there is no hotkey to launch them was that it makes it harder for bots to use them.
CCP karkur
C C P
C C P Alliance
#45 - 2013-08-12 21:48:07 UTC
Beagle von Space wrote:
Is there any chance that drone groups could someday be assigned to module hotkeys?

By that I mean:

  • Drone group would show up in the active modules display next to the HUD
  • The hotkey to activate would launch that group
  • Activating them again would cause them to attack the currently selected targeted
  • The hotkey that would overheat a conventional module would cause the drones to return and orbit
  • "Overheating" the drones again would cause them to return to the bay.


Or is the current system, on some level, working as intended? I always figured that, because drones can engage targets semi-autonomously, that the reason there is no hotkey to launch them was that it makes it harder for bots to use them.
The drone UI just needs a lot of love, and it really wants to be redone... so maybe when/if that happens Smile

CCP karkur | Programmer | Team Five 0 | @CCP_karkur

Greygal
Redemption Road
Affirmative.
#46 - 2013-08-12 21:54:59 UTC
Balzac Legazou wrote:


  • Allow logistics drones to repair my own ship (yes, there are gameplay implications, but objectively only for logistics ships, and they can be dealt with by tweaking those ships; the idea that my repair drones can't repair my own ship is just nonsensical). Ex., telling logistics drones to "repair" with no target selected would make them repair the owner's ship (so there's no need to allow self-locking, which I guess would require too much debugging; alternatively, they automatically repair the parent when orbiting).


  • This. I love this. Oh please, CCP Karkur, consider this! :)


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    Balzac Legazou
    Center for Advanced Studies
    Gallente Federation
    #47 - 2013-08-12 21:56:11 UTC  |  Edited by: Balzac Legazou
    CCP karkur wrote:
    I think we all agree that the drone UI needs to be redone.


    Well, I think we also all agree that Eve should have an option to reverse mouse wheel zoom, and yet we've been waiting for it for over 10 years. Blink

    I guess the department responsible for mouse wheel reversal ran out of funding after all the money was diverted to the "let's put a great big red WANTED sign covering half of every character's portrait" program. P

    CCP karkur wrote:
    You do have a good point there, but you will see that those changes I've made are very simple and don't change the fundamentals.


    Yes, I know. That's kind of the problem. Blink I'm just afraid that changes that rely in "not changing the fundamentals" might make it less likely that the fundamentals ever get changed.

    CCP karkur wrote:

    I don't think those small tweaks will change anything about that, but they will hopefully make the drone UI just a little bit more usable until then.


    When you say "change anything about that", do you mean about the fact that we all agree it needs to be changed, or do you mean there are actually some plans / commitment on CCP's part to re-do the whole drone UI at some point?

    Basically what I'm asking is:

    Do you have a "proper" drone UI / drone command structure up your sleeve (designed and waiting to be implemented, perhaps on the next major expansion) ? Or is that still at the stage were "we agree it needs to be changed, but we don't really know how or when (or if) we're actually going to change it" ?

    P.S. - Not related to drones specifically, but have you considered adding little icons and / or colour-coding the entries in the right-click context menus? I think most people can locate options much faster if they have a visual cue, instead of having to read a list of (often very similar) text entries. For example, making "dangerous" options (like "reprocess" or "abandon") red would make people less likely to click them by accident when trying to use the option directly above them (like "repackage"). I know there are confirmation dialog boxes for most of them, but still; making it easier to pick the correct option to begin with is a more elegant UI design solution.
    Lan Staz
    Sebiestor Tribe
    Minmatar Republic
    #48 - 2013-08-12 21:59:11 UTC
    CCP karkur wrote:

    Drone changes:
    • Drones and dronegroups can be dragged from "Drones in Bay" folder onto "Drones in Local Space" folder to be launched
    • Drones and dronegroups can be dragged from "Drones in Local Space" folder onto "Drones in Bay" folder to be pulled in
    • Drones can be dragged into groups (as long as they can be grouped with the ones that are there already)... if the drone and the group you dragged it on are not in the same place, the drone will be launched/picked up and moved to the group
    • Main drone groups ( "Drones in Bay" and "Drones in Local Space") will no longer randomly collapse
    • Opacity of sub groups has been reduced
    • Sorting of drones and drone groups has been changed... now first all the groupless drones are listed in alphabetical order, and then all the groups (instead of alphabetical order where groupless drones would land between groups).


    Super cool.

    How difficult would it be to be able to drag/drop drones onto a locked target to have them engage that target?
    CCP karkur
    C C P
    C C P Alliance
    #49 - 2013-08-12 22:09:12 UTC
    Balzac Legazou wrote:
    When you say "change anything about that", do you mean about the fact that we all agree it needs to be changed, or do you mean there are actually some plans / commitment on CCP's part to re-do the whole drone UI at some point?

    Basically what I'm asking is:

    Do you have a "proper" drone UI / drone command structure up your sleeve (designed and waiting to be implemented, perhaps on the next major expansion) ? Or is that still at the stage were "we agree it needs to be changed, but we don't really know how or when (or if) we're actually going to change it" ?

    Pretty much still at the "we agree it needs to be changed, but we don't really know how or when (or if) we're actually going to change it" stage although I know our UI designers have been experimenting a bit with it.

    By "change anything about that" I meant that no one is going to go "No, OMG, we can't redo the drone UI now, karkur just spent X time on adding drag/drop!!" Blink

    And color coding... I haven't really thought about it, but I think it would be more for our designers to decide on anyways P

    CCP karkur | Programmer | Team Five 0 | @CCP_karkur

    Balzac Legazou
    Center for Advanced Studies
    Gallente Federation
    #50 - 2013-08-12 22:22:44 UTC
    CCP karkur wrote:
    Pretty much still at the "we agree it needs to be changed, but we don't really know how or when (or if) we're actually going to change it" stage although I know our UI designers have been experimenting a bit with it.


    Meh. Feared as much. Sad

    CCP karkur wrote:
    And color coding... I haven't really thought about it, but I think it would be more for our designers to decide on anyways P


    They're too busy buffing their favourite ships. Blink

    Icons would be even better (like the little skull icon that appears when an option is restricted by security), but that would probably take time to do (Eve's current neocom / station icons are hard enough to interpret at full size, scaling them down would just turn them into blobs).

    Colour-coding should be pretty easy to do (a lot of players already do it for their overview tabs, for example, so I suspect the game engine does support colouring context-menu entries).

    Also, not sure if this is (just) a design issue or if it's due to the underlying code, but it's a bit confusing that there are two separate "Invite to..." options in context menus when clicking on a player (one to invite to fleet, the other to invite to chat channels). Has this been changed in Singularity (I vaguely remember reading something about it)? At least maybe rename "Invite to fleet" simply to "Fleet (invite)", so they're easier to distinguish.

    Zilero
    Aliastra
    Gallente Federation
    #51 - 2013-08-12 22:53:31 UTC
    I absolutely hate the radial menu. Please make an option so I can turn it off!
    Nicola Arman
    Deep Maw Salvage
    #52 - 2013-08-12 23:15:10 UTC
    CCP I fuckin love you!
    S1euth
    Last Rites.
    Villore Accords
    #53 - 2013-08-12 23:31:32 UTC
    CCP Karkur is a mind reader. Thanks for the updates!
    Vincent Athena
    Photosynth
    #54 - 2013-08-12 23:50:00 UTC
    CCP karkur wrote:
    Jaime Gomes wrote:
    am wondering if you guys could add another UI change reguarding drones.

    During fleets we normally have the whatchlist visible at all times. When we deploy drones, in order to assist, we have the alphabetical options avaiable tru a list. If you remember right click on deployed drones "assist" option.

    Could it be possible to implement the following: When selecting "assist" before the alphabetical list put the names of the dudes on the wl that so the assign can be quicker?

    This simple change would be cool.

    Makes sense to me P Can't promise anything though.
    Just a question... would dragging a drone to a guy in the WL to assign it to them be of any value? (not saying I'll do it, just wondering.

    Yes that would help. So would dragging the drone group to someone in the fleet window, or the fleet chat window. BUT drones can be assigned to "assist" and to "guard". We need some way to do both.

    As for controlling drones, I'm partial to the idea that there are three new hot keys: Go to next group, Go to previous group, and Launch current group.

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    Panhead4411
    Rothschild's Sewage and Septic Sucking Services
    The Possum Lodge
    #55 - 2013-08-13 00:03:02 UTC
    Okay, since it seems like the longest time one could set the radial menu to delay popping up still feels like its less than a second. Also, in the current build on SiSi i'm having trouble locating the option to make it slower/faster. I was able to find it on TQ right after you forced this p.o.s. on everyone, but can't find it now. (because, believe it or not, some ppl actually DON'T prefer to use it for everything that can otherwise be done with a single instant click)

    http://blog.beyondreality.se/shift-click-does-nothing    < Unified Inventory is NOT ready...

    Morwen Lagann
    Tyrathlion Interstellar
    #56 - 2013-08-13 00:08:48 UTC
    Playing with the drone UI a bit, and one thing I found missing was the ability to tell a group of drones to engage or return-and-orbit via radial menu. (Also, the ability to access the radial menu via the drone window at all.) Right now we have to order each drone individually to attack a target, which makes the radial menu mostly pointless for them when the vast majority of users are going to want all of their drones attacking the same target at once, and might as well just use the r-click menu or a keyboard shortcut instead.

    Which requires a couple things, namely the ability to use the radial menu via the drone window. Ideally, clicking on an individual drone gives the radial menu for that drone, and clicking on the group dropdown bar gives a radial menu that controls the entire group.

    Otherwise, drone UI definitely looks better than before. Love the drag-and-drop functionality - that's really helpful. :)

    Morwen Lagann

    CEO, Tyrathlion Interstellar

    Coordinator, Arataka Research Consortium

    Owner, The Golden Masque

    Caellach Marellus
    Stormcrows
    #57 - 2013-08-13 00:22:28 UTC
    Small suggestion, but if you're ever looking to find space to keybind drone group commands, there's an entire numberpad that the game doesn't use. Having 10 different drone group setups (per ship) should be enough for any pilot. You could then have each type merely launch drones based on your set up from your drone bay, rather than picking specific drones.

    For example group 1 could be 5 Hobgoblins, group 2 could be 2 Ogres, 2 Hammerheads and a Hobgoblin. You'd only need 5 hobs in your drone bay total, as the drone bay would be treated as a singular resource pool.

    While I appreciate the fact that the Drone UI will require a complete overhaul to bring it up to the 21st century, that the current iterations are band-aid fixes (and really useful ones too!) and there's no time set in the upcoming projects for such an overhaul; I can't stress enough how much I personally would love to see this become a priority.



    Though, to repeat myself, a standardised drone action key for mining/salvaging/attacking to replace the current attack key would be lovely if it can be implemented now.

    When your gut instincts tell you something is wrong, trust them. When your heart tells you something is right, ignore it, check with your brain first. Accept nothing, challenge everything.

    Mike AntHunt
    Collective Research Foundation
    #58 - 2013-08-13 00:35:25 UTC
    Would you guys mind terribly fixing the memory leak that was introduced in odyessey? This is very noticeable when running missions or plexes, salvaging or selling things on the item. The client starts off fine ( 1 client ) and after a while, you can very well notice degraded performance. The whole client becomes slow, nearly unresponsive and when I restart the client it works just fine. This has been very evident since radial menus and other ui changes were implemented. Before this, my client would run perfectly.

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    All graphics on low
    HDR disabled
    station environment loaded
    anti-aliasing as low as it can go.
    Salpun
    Global Telstar Federation Offices
    SLYCE Pirates
    #59 - 2013-08-13 00:57:17 UTC  |  Edited by: Salpun
    Drone naming of groups is not active in this build. Can't create sub groups like groups of 5 or a damaged drone hanger.

    edit: Fixed


    An option to have a third static header called a drone repair bay would be cool.

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    Bienator II
    madmen of the skies
    #60 - 2013-08-13 01:51:39 UTC
    the drone UI changes are very nice, looking forward to the patch!

    and btw whatever you did to the drone window.. awesome work. It is fast and doesn't do random things like collapsing stuff or disappearing for a few seconds.

    how to fix eve: 1) remove ECM 2) rename dampeners to ECM 3) add new anti-drone ewar for caldari 4) give offgrid boosters ongrid combat value