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Why was the interface not developed further?


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I expect two threads to appear within 24 hours of the demo's release.

The first will complain about the new UI and how features that were so useful CMBN have been taken out and the game has been ruined/made much harder. The second will complain that the game is ruined/made much harder because the UI isn't good enough and why don't BF use an "industry standard" set of commands just like the posters' favourite games from another genre.

Anyone want to bet I am wrong?

Nope, but I would like a cut of your winnings because with a bet like that you can't lose :D

Frankly, I don't mind much what BF do as long as I am not expected to learn to use hot keys (sorry, Other Means). I can't be doing with that sort of thing at my time of life and the mouse works perfectly well for me (I have never had anyone bail out by mistake for a start).

Other Means' excellent Hotkey mod is a very good case in point. Some people love it and it improves their game experience greatly. Others absolutely hate it. Depends on the individual. We try to give players multiple ways of doing things as much as we can, and in turn this means tightening up x feature to conform to y standard can often times run into problems.

Steve

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The three classes with which I am most familiar all have more, and more complex (e.g. conditional on prior action, resource availability or 'proc'), options than CM at any given instant. For sure, CM's simple command set spread over many individual game pieces produce more complex emergent behaviours. But that's not really something an interface can address. As I mentioned before, in another thread, I have, and use, more than 90 keybinds in my main character's main role (and another 30 or so functions on some of the same keybinds in its subsidiary roles). CM doesn't have that many commands in its gameplay.

I would love to hear your argument in more detail. As it applies to the use of the HMI.

Actually, the use of those commands spread over a functionally infinite set of actors and spaces IS something the interface has to address, which an MMO does not. What MMO class commands selectable actors, in large numbers, and can deploy them over large areas using any more than a single-tier command set? None? Right.

My MMO characters have toggles, attacks, and reactive abilities, controlling one solitary mobile who only needs to see and respond to his immediate surroundings. All of THAT is interface.

I've said already that I know (personally) that the interface isn't perfect. I often advocate for UI change simply because I DO play and have played a lot of games apart from CM, and there are things we can (and will do) better. But you're kind of losing me here - although partly, I have to admit, because saying "if UI change is that hard your programmers must not be very good" isn't a great way to keep me interested in talking to you.

Your list of concrete suggestions is much appreciated, however.

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Camera movement stops too soon beyond the map edges? Really? You're really going to complain about that?

Who elected you as the "what we can or can't complain about cop"?

No game is perfect, no development team is either, but the folks who buy and play the games still have every right to voice their issues, no matter how trivial they may seem to other people.

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"its darn frustrating that the camera stops at the edge of the map".

Hey GaJ

Maybe I miss understand but I have had no problems with this.... unless I am zoomed (x key) in 3 or 4 times... then I have to zoom out (z key)... but the camera goes way past map edge... see pics of level 3 4 and 5... level 3 was taken with double screen, CM:BN on wide screen, this thread on regulard screen...

Level 3

level3.jpg

Level 4

level4.jpg

Level 5

level-5.jpg

Oh and before I forget, Thank you for adding a section to Combat Mission Mods Warehouse for CM:BN... next time I am there I will hit the Donate button :)

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I'm very happy to hear that there will be a mayor UI overhaul. I'll wait for that.

My wish for that update would be a better indication of C2. I've read a lot of tips here but still have a hard time figuring it out.

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I'm a new to playing to the series. AND after initial control resistance, they work well IMO. blankets statements about all new players are false. The statement should start with "I am having". that projection on everyone is indicative of being young or immature. Before the rash of recent post i assumed the core audience of this game would be older. And thus be more patient and understand of the scope of this shop and the capabilities. Or maybe the "core" just don't bother to post, and just lurk, laugh and shake their heads. I forgot the percentage, but i remember reading way more people complain than compliment. So that might be it too.

There are tweaks with the gui, that need to be done, like a buttoned up or closed indicator, the scaling of the gui on smaller monitors. But the fundamental way how mouse clicks work isn't one of em. If they do to change they should just add alternate settings. kind of how Men of War does.

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So, I've heard some general admissions from KD and Steve that the UI "needs improvement" or "isn't perfect," along with a lot of reasons why many of the customer suggested improvements are silly/unworkable/etc.

I'd be curious to hear from BF folks - what are the issues you guys feel need improvement/what are you working on improving?

My apologies if that's been addressed in this thread and I missed it - I've only been skimming the last few pages...

Edit: Oops, that was sort of addressed on p. 7, I and I did miss it...

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Battlefront,

I for one think you did a terrific job with what you had to work with (people + resources). Try not to be bothered by one person with a very strident opinion. There are also things that I do not like about the UI

*no command lines

*lack of non-numeric visual ques (green/Red/Blue identifiers)

*Dead people disappearing so I do not know how many men I have lost (except for vehicles and crew served weapons which is helpful)

but nothing to get hot under the collar about. It believe it will come when you have time/resources to apply to these problems as you are not blind to the limitations. Allowing users to Mod certain areas (and monitoring the # of downloads) may give you a better idea of how to deploy your resources. I know I have already downloaded multiple mods (Marco's CMx1 vehicle info, Veins stuff). Not because I hate the game but because it can always be made better and some people have time to devote to improving it for some people.

I must say the game is addictive and I have never liked to play the Americans (though I have played them numerous times so far). My wife will hate you when the OstFront comes out. I may need a place to live in your backwoods. I come with my own snowblower (or skidsteer)

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Hey GaJ

Maybe I miss understand but I have had no problems with this.... unless I am zoomed (x key) in 3 or 4 times... then I have to zoom out (z key)... but the camera goes way past map edge... see pics of level 3 4 and 5... level 3 was taken with double screen, CM:BN on wide screen, this thread on regulard screen...

G'day Fredrock, here are a couple of screenies that show why I would wish to be able to move the camera back a bit more.

This is as far back as it will go and completely unzoomed.

Map-Cam-1.jpg

Map-Cam-2.jpg

As you can see the bottom section of the map cannot be seen in the first screenshot, it doesn't need much but being able to move the cam back a little more would be nice.

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I'd be curious to hear from BF folks - what are the issues you guys feel need improvement/what are you working on improving?

It was sorta addressed, but here are the three primary areas that will be improved:

1. "Strategic" information. Ways to get a better sense of the totality of what is going on with your forces. This includes, but is not limited to, better aids for knowing about C2, which units are broken, which ones are engaged in fighting, etc.

2. Improved interaction with existing UI concepts. The way Commands are issued/managed will change, for example, but there are some other things planned that will make existing features more accessible.

3. More low level unit information. While we're not going to go back to spreadsheet like charts as we had in CMx1, we will present more detailed information to players about what a particular unit is capable of.

Note that we are not going to shoehorn in CMx1 concepts into CMx2 any more than we're going to attempt to force inapplicable RTS conventions into the game. This sort of thinking is alien to us because it means putting a lot of effort into something we know isn't right for CM.

Think about Quick Battles. We invented a unique QB system for CMBO which people generally liked, though it had a couple of significant sources of complaint. CMBB introduced Rarity to help fix some of those problems, and it did. But some big problems remained, including new problems that came with Rarity. We tried something new with CM:SF and it fell short of what people wanted. Instead of crawling back to a "comfortable" system, which we knew people had big problems with, we went ahead with a new system that combined the best elements of both. The skeptics said we would fail, but we did it anyway. We now have a QB system that seems to be generally acknowledged as better than what any previous CM game had. Not perfect, but significantly better. We just needed some time to implement it.

Steve

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Hey GaJ

Oh and before I forget, Thank you for adding a section to Combat Mission Mods Warehouse for CM:BN...

My pleasure :)

Thanks for the pictures showing what you can do. I think the more recent poster showed what I find myself bumping into all the time. I'm almost accustomed to it now, and have "coping mechansims" :)

I need to get fraps installed into this silly Win7 machine I'm on now, then maybe I can post some further examples of why its a pain...

GaJ

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My pleasure :)

Thanks for the pictures showing what you can do. I think the more recent poster showed what I find myself bumping into all the time. I'm almost accustomed to it now, and have "coping mechansims" :)

I need to get fraps installed into this silly Win7 machine I'm on now, then maybe I can post some further examples of why its a pain...

GaJ

Is it limited to small maps, or is it just more noticeable with small maps?

Steve

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The way Commands are issued/managed will change...

After reissuing shoot and scoot commands to five AFVs over several turns in the same spot, one thing I would like if it were at all possible is a 'replay last' command string button.

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I am not heated up about this UI issue--I play WEGO, and a few extra clicks is not a big deal.

But I am going to make a proposal for the Battlefront team to look at--an opinion.

Let me start by saying that nothing I suggest should interfere with what I think is an elegant system of moving around the map with the mouse. It seems great not to have the "WASD" to deal with.

And I don't write code, so I don't know what is exactly possible.

(This is also different than the "left click choose unit, right click action"--so completely just an opinion.)

Proposal:

After left clicking to choose a unit, left clicking again on the ground creates a movement line (default...probably Hunt). Or left clicking on an enemy unit "targets".

With a unit or waypoint selected, right clicking pops up menu with all the orders on it--so one does not have to remember if an order, say, is administrative or something else. Left click on the order. If it is movement, your movement line changes color if the order is not Hunt. The order menu also disappears, and one can add more waypoints.

If it is an action, like facing or cover arc, again the order pop-up disappears, and one can do the appropriate left clicking on the map.

Right clicking brings you back to the menu.

Deselect by can either be an Order, clicking he mouse wheel, clicking on the unit, or something like that.

The result is this: left click selects units, and selects the actions. Right click brings the Orders menu up, or makes it disappear.

Practically: One is not looking down at the bar at the bottom of the screen (the pop up Orders would be near the center of one's visual field), one does not have to sift through 4 different types of orders to find the right one--("Bail" is...which tab?), all the potential orders for a unit are can be seen with a right click.

Bonus improvement: click on the unit at the bottom of the screen, and details of that unit pop-up. This means one does not have to cram ever more tiny info into those boxes at the bottom.

Of course this requires "pop-up" boxes to be possible. Tell me that "tool-tips" are also possible, and one could put even more information at the gamer's fingertips.

From a selfish stand-point, I actually would rate having an Armor Cover Arc as more pressing concern. The UI stuff is mostly to try to make CM2 more mainstream in its feel--and I don't think it is the info quantity which is the issue here, but smoothness in orders with the mouse.

Oh, and adjusting what you see about the trees and such, click on a bar or button--and get rid of the "alt" stuff, which just seems dated.

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I actually had the same issue with the camera not going far enough back when I tried the CMSF demo (gearing up for the release of CMBN). One of the demo missions starts the Americans in one corner of the map and they have to assault a town with a walled courtyard in the center. If you raise the camera up very far, you can't see your own units without panning quite a bit downward. So you either see your units OR you see the distant parts of the map, but not both. I've noticed it in CMBN as well, but not as much yet (but I've only played three scenarios so far).

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It was sorta addressed, but here are the three primary areas that will be improved:

1. "Strategic" information. Ways to get a better sense of the totality of what is going on with your forces. This includes, but is not limited to, better aids for knowing about C2, which units are broken, which ones are engaged in fighting, etc.

2. Improved interaction with existing UI concepts. The way Commands are issued/managed will change, for example, but there are some other things planned that will make existing features more accessible.

3. More low level unit information. While we're not going to go back to spreadsheet like charts as we had in CMx1, we will present more detailed information to players about what a particular unit is capable of.

Note that we are not going to shoehorn in CMx1 concepts into CMx2 any more than we're going to attempt to force inapplicable RTS conventions into the game. This sort of thinking is alien to us because it means putting a lot of effort into something we know isn't right for CM.

Think about Quick Battles. We invented a unique QB system for CMBO which people generally liked, though it had a couple of significant sources of complaint. CMBB introduced Rarity to help fix some of those problems, and it did. But some big problems remained, including new problems that came with Rarity. We tried something new with CM:SF and it fell short of what people wanted. Instead of crawling back to a "comfortable" system, which we knew people had big problems with, we went ahead with a new system that combined the best elements of both. The skeptics said we would fail, but we did it anyway. We now have a QB system that seems to be generally acknowledged as better than what any previous CM game had. Not perfect, but significantly better. We just needed some time to implement it.

Steve

Thanks for the insight Steve, that all sounds like steps in a good direction especially in giving more at a glance info to better judge the entire situation more quickly.

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Best game since Steel Panthers!

- Next unit key doesn't work on finnish keyboards.

- Put next unit + lock view as an option into options menu so that we can see units in lock mode while pressing next and previous unit buttons.

- Unit information database in purchase screen would be nice.

Agree with all these points. I love to play from the soldier eye level using just the next and last unit hotkey to move from unit to unit. Having to fiddle with camera every time so I can double click the unit's icon is a bit of a pain. "Jump to selected unit" hotkey (which I think existed previously) would be a nice addition.

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Is it limited to small maps, or is it just more noticeable with small maps?

Steve

Steve

I get it on larger maps to, though it is more noticable on the smaller maps I think as it is a greater percentage of the map that is obscured.

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some the areas looking to be improved seems like reducing the "fog of war effect". At least that's what I interpreted the lack of info as before now. No commander knows what everyone one is doing in battle. I think it should be tied to difficultly level, like basic training. And be tied strictly to C2. out of C2, no info relayed. no one hears your screams out of C2.

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And opinion plays no part in this?

Of course it does. It's disingenuous to suggest that the because it's an opinion it doesn't have any basis.

We are still faced with the problem that CM isn't like any other game out there.

It's like a lot of games. It has a lot of the same things to give users a way of doing.

I consider combinations of UI, designed to produce a different result, as being a unique element. But yeah, "100s" is not the right way to put it. Let's just say there's "more" ways to interact with CM's game than most games out there.

I can agree that 'more than most' is true, especially in this age of titles built for console markets. Ifni forfend CM ever goes down that route. :)

Agree to a point, but disagree if the overall impact is a net negative for the game. Most people interested in playing a game like CM will put in far more time into CM than into any other single game on your harddrive. Learning a few new habits shouldn't be that much to expect of players if it is in the best interests of the game itself.

A few habits, yes. However, the game doesn't make it easy to learn those habits because it doesn't make them habits. The difference between moving on from a unit that's last been ordered a waypoint, and from one which was given any other sort of order means that the user has to learn not to use something that works, even when it would.

[qutoe]Which gets back to my point about it being so easy to criticize a UI if the thought process stops with "make it work like the other game I've played".

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90? Really? I used to raid in WoW and that seems like a crazy number of keybinds.

Yes and he probably uses a N52 and more that likely uses the addon that puts conditional checks and then activates a bind key..ex.

button 1-===If I dodged then special attack 1, if I block then special attack 2, regualar attack 1. In this way the player hits button "1" and one of three attacks will happen without him thinking about which attack in particular will happen.

That was a simple example, many player...especially PvP ones have If..Then chains with 5 to 8 different actions all keyed off one button push....each action calls for a specifical keybind..so when he says he has 90 keybinds, its not like all 90 are on the screen at once or he has to hit them one at a time.

-------------------

the biggest problem I see is that the UI has to function for RT and WeGO...each has differing requirements for accessiblity. the "three" clicks is acceptable for WeGo but not for RT and that is where the rub is.

Frankly, I'm a happy camper that I don't have to develop a solution, cause I'm sure I'd screw it up.

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