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IDProjectCategoryLast Update
0025125AI War 2SuggestionJul 20, 2021 12:20 am
ReporterApthorpe Assigned ToNRSirLimbo  
Status assignedResolutionopen 
Product Version3.005 Radeon Returns 
Summary0025125: Make more use of iconography in unit tooltips
DescriptionEarlier today I made a suggestion concerning icons for experimental flagships, but I've been thinking about further applications of iconography that would benefit the game more generally. Unit tooltips seem like the prime candidate. The UI in AIW2 has come a long way and I love how informative the unit tooltips tend to be, so that it's rare for you to be unable to access whatever you want to know about a unit, but unfortunately these descriptions are not always the most readable at a glance, even for the brief versions. Much of this is due to redundant information--e.g. currently the tooltip for every cruiser gives a full briefing on the cruiser category--which may be better kept hidden unless access is 'requested' with further mouseover. It is also b/c the text doesn't always feature line breaks, which saves on space but reduces readability as contents under different keywords run together. Using icons in place of such text is a solution worth considering. Perhaps the icons would normally be positioned in the top-right corner of the unit tooltip. Weapon tooltips would go on the first or second line of the weapon itself. All of these icons would have tooltips themselves for inspecting their info, and in this way no info would be lost compared to the original system.

-More readily readable.
-Reduces redundancy.
-Alleviates the problem of unit tooltips becoming bloated.
-Flexible. Certain info can still be restricted to text in the tooltip.

-Initially more work than simply loading the text into the description.
-Would require a partial rework of how descriptions show up to enable mousing over the icons within. Currently you have to be mousing over the unit for the description to appear, and it disappears if you move the mouse away. But under the proposed system you would need the ability to mouse over the icons within the description to bring up the icons' tooltips. While the description temporarily showing up via mouseover should be retained for its convenience, clicking a unit would allow the description to stay even when you're no longer mousing over it, and deselecting would cause the description to go away.
-Requires an additional step for certain info to be viewable, instead of it all being viewable on one page. Sometimes this could be mitigated by including the relevant info in the icon itself, like featuring an embedded number if the icon corresponds to some value.

Some suggested icons:
-Causes AIP on death. Mousing over shows the AIP amount. Perhaps the value could even be embedded in the icon.
-Costs AIP to claim. Again, mousing over shows the amount.
-Cruiser. Mousing over this would show the info for the cruiser category.
-Experimental strikecraft.
-Cloaking. Mousing over would show the current cloaking points and max cloaking points. There could be different icons to indicate whether cloaking is currently active.
-Decloaker. Mousing over would show the strength and albedo maximum.
-Zombifier. Mousing over this could show the target conditions for inflicting zombification to be possible.
-Zombification damage. Would only show up if the unit is zombifiable and has some zombification damage. Mousing over this would show how much zombification damage the unit currently has as well as how much is needed for zombification to trigger on death. There could even be a difference between the zombification damage icons to indicate whether zombification is currently imminent when the unit dies.
-Electrotoxic hull. Could feature the percent value embedded in the icon.

There are some additional possibilities for ways these icons could be useful, but I will only outline a few here to hint at their further potential.
-The tooltip for a flagship could show each of the fleet's units at the top-right according to categorical icon. So you could readily see, 'Ah, this fleet has 6 strikecraft and 4 frigates,' or 'Okay, this fleet has a cruiser already', etc.
-In the fleets sidebar, each fleet list item (i.e., not the tooltip) could show tiny versions of its unit icons. In this way you could read the ship category dedications & balances at a glance. If this wouldn't fit, they could be shrunk down or just cut off.
TagsNo tags attached.



May 29, 2021 11:49 pm

reporter   ~0061901

I really agree with this and the tooltips are perhaps the most troubling part of the UI, and having them separated into brief, moderate, and full isn't such a good plan, particularly as more content is added to the game and more types of content as well. A pretty good example of how this can be done even with a larger amount of modifiers than AIW2 has for units is the Dominions series of games.

Although for a first-time player or even veterans up to a point many of the icons describing a unit can be vague, it gives you immediate information at a glance faster than words can provide. For Dominions specifically, this unit is blessed, regenerates health, is fully amphibious, causes fear, resistant to lightning, ice, and poison, and so on. The resistances and how it causes fear, plus a few other icons I didn't mention, have numeric modifiers that you do have to hover over with the mouse and then it'll explain, which is something AIW2 could improve upon, or simply take as it isn't perfect but works. Now imagine if that amount of info had to be expressed with words, and how much more space that would take up. It absolutely increases the learning curve but I think the value in how readable it becomes is well worth it.


Jun 4, 2021 4:30 pm

manager   ~0061957

I think there are some improvements in this area from chris coming soon


Jul 16, 2021 12:58 pm

administrator   ~0062448

I'm not sure -- are there any items left?


Jul 17, 2021 6:29 pm

developer   ~0062493

Personally I'm not really a fan of having to mouse-over a certain part of the tooltip to see more information - I think that's what lower-level tooltip information could be for though.
More icons are easy to implement, the logic for them is in and a few unused icons like for Damage as well, but over all to really "tooltiperize" everything a lot more would be needed. We should probably make a list of all the attributes ships and ship systems can have at some point.

The biggest item right now is probably weapons. They really bloat tooltips at higher detail levels if they have a good number of modifiers on. At the very least icons for range, reload time and damage modifiers (incoming/outgoing x damage bonus/penalty) would be required to reasonably "iconize" that part - but also effects (paralysis, weapon reload and engine slow), death effects, knockback, etc, etc would be very reasonable to be put into icons instead of text only.

Also, I think a section in the tutorial for the player to be required to go to full tooltips once is in order, since afaik the default settings are lowest-level tooltips, but a lot of important information and the stats that hide behind icons are hidden in full tooltips, which may very well be confusing for a new player.


Jul 20, 2021 12:20 am

reporter   ~0062521

The standard tends to be to have tooltips be really minimalistic, using a lot of icons. They serve as reminders.

A. You have a separate details view that you can open in a window which repeats the same icons with extra details, and there, you can hover over every icon and concept to get a tooltip explaining them.
B. Some games take it further with "tooltip-ception" where each successive layer of info is a persistent window, in which you can click stuff to open yet another window, and so on. Very effective but leads to clutter.
Others adopt a more web-browsing style where you can navigate from one topic to the other by clicking stuff (think Civilopedia or Morrowind dialogue), the topic you clicked replacing the current view - but with a button (and mouse "back" button) to go back just like in your web browser.

I think either of those would work great with AI War 2 as well. The current brief/medium/detailed system is unweildly, both in the code and in having to pick one default density of info which is always too much or too little, or having to hold down a bunch of modifiers. Especially the medium/detailed ones have so much text that you need to pause to read even if you're looking for a specific small bit of info, so there's no much point in them being tooltips. There'd be no downside to having that info in a dialog (similar to what the C-click view offers but more organized), and the upside would be the ability to look up things that appear in the dialog.

There's potential also for navigating to other parts of the UI, not only to display info. Prime candidates for clickable elements would be hacks: open the details view for a hackable unit, and possible hacks are listed somewhere at the bottom. Click any of them to go to the appropriate Hack panel.
Similar idea with techs: when you see "Upgradeable by Subterfuge", you'd be able to click Subterfuge to go straight to the corresponding tech panel.

Issue History

Date Modified Username Field Change
May 29, 2021 11:24 pm Apthorpe New Issue
May 29, 2021 11:49 pm borisgrebenshchikov Note Added: 0061901
Jun 4, 2021 4:30 pm BadgerBadger Assigned To => x4000Bughunter
Jun 4, 2021 4:30 pm BadgerBadger Status new => assigned
Jun 4, 2021 4:30 pm BadgerBadger Note Added: 0061957
Jul 16, 2021 12:57 pm x4000Bughunter Assigned To x4000Bughunter => NRSirLimbo
Jul 16, 2021 12:58 pm x4000Bughunter Note Added: 0062448
Jul 17, 2021 6:29 pm NRSirLimbo Note Added: 0062493
Jul 20, 2021 12:20 am Asteroid Note Added: 0062521