In general, BB3 combat interface was more effective at supplying the necessary information and looking good at the same time. The current interface looks more like a first iteration design proposal that I would have expected in BB1, rather than now.
Lose the grayish semi-transparent frames.
Enhance the color contrast of the interface elements, make the edges and borders of icons and artwork more significant, so that it stands out from the pale background.
Bring back the colored icons and artwork for soldiers, weapon and item selection, skills, menu items.
Bring back the tiled frames for health, willpower, armor, both on the tactical map over the soldier/enemy and on the bottom, left along side the soldier artwork, just with the number value attached to a side.
Bring back the left single column for soldier selection (with attached level number to each if needed). Most importantly: freeze the soldier positions to how they are sorted before the mission. It seems on each new mission, the selection order changes randomly, so I lose track of who’s who.
Increase the levels of zoom in/out function (there’s only 4 zoom levels) and make it in finer increments, just like the free camera (why is this only for camera rotation and not zoom ?).
Separate items into different category tabs for: weapons, ammo, grenades, armor, utility etc. Having separate tabs is quicker than just adding filters that you constantly have to toggle on/off. Or have both: tabs for base item categories, plus filters on top for special selections.
Bring back the possibility to equip 2 primary weapons in the ready slots. Right now I can only equip 1 primary weapon and a pistol (not sure if intended or bug). Having the possibility to quickly switch between 2 primary weapons for different situations is crucial for multi-classing.
Either add the list of available soldiers visible in the inventory/training screens, or make it fast and easy to go back and forth between the squad roster and inventory screens. Using the back and forward arrows to cycle between soldiers gets tedious after a while.
Fix the position of items in soldier inventory tiles. For example, right now, if I replace the weapon in the Ready tab, slot 1, with another one from inventory, it shifts slots 2 and 3 on top and moves the replaced weapon in slot 3. It seems the inventory tabs function like push/pop lists that constantly rearrange the items. If I place an item in a certain slot, I want it to stay in that slot, not automatically move on the last open slot the next time I open the inventory.
Allow sorting of squad roster based on various filters (class, status, condition, location etc)
Consider adding the common soldier actions menu (inventory, training, transfer) at the bottom, in a fixed position, rather than always opening it on the side of the selected soldier (keyboard shortcuts would also speed things up).
The class icons, especially for multi-classing, aren’t very clear and intuitive. Long War mod for example, was pretty good at coming up with intuitive class icons for each of it’s multitude of classes.
Overall I support you feedback with some small exceptions.
I would not mess the screen with artorks too much.
I would suggest them to follow idea of this gentleman
Of couse number value is a must, but I even like that solid rectangle bars, they just can have different length, for longer bars to represent higher values.
Check ‘T’ and ‘G’ keys. Those 4 levels you are talking about are floor levels changed with mouse wheel or ‘Z’ / ‘C’ keys. Check also zoom by pressing middle mouse button.
That WAS a bug. Now it is correctly implemented. Soldier can’t be ready with Assault Rifle, Grenade Launcher and Flamethrower at the same time. Those 3 ‘ready’ items represent what you have in your hands and attached to your belt. Everything else must be in ‘backpack’ and you need some time (action points) to take it out and prepare such weapon. Btw didn’t you saw in all different videos how overpowered was that single element of design? “Oh I see an enemy there far away. So sniper shot! It is closer, so I will pepper it with some bullets from my assault rifle… Oh it is still standing! So maybe backup grenade from big gun will help put it to sleep.” Soldiers are not giant mechs which have 5 super weapons ready to fire simultaneously.
That is frustrating! I don’t know how they designed it, but it really sucks. Currently I will need to swap all items in ready slots in correct order to maintain order on UI which I want. So in your case I would replace weapon in slot 1, move item from slot 2 to intentory and back again into second slot, move item from slot 3 to inventory and back again into third slot. That is annoying.
The bug with two primary weapons equipt, could be done in a very limited way if Assault rifles can have a single shot grenade launcher or a small capacity pump action shotgun type weapon mounted on them.
Generally, I would agree with you, since in most games, I too dislike interfaces that are too cluttered with artworks that take away too much of the screen and interface functionality. But in this case, I feel like BB3 was almost perfect in representing the required information (it just needed numerical values) while also looking really good and the artworks not taking too much space. For example I preferred the weapon colored icon in the bottom-right corner with the ammo count tiled bar right below it, instead of the current large grayish frame with the weapon name. The same for the bottom-left, the soldier portrait wasn’t too big and the health and will bars were already overlaid over the portrait so that wasn’t taking space unnecessarily.
Damn, that’s a very comprehensive list. I’ll check it in detail later tonight and come back if I find anything else to add. Thanks for pointing it out.
What irks me right now about these bars is that grayish semi-transparent background frame and lack of defined edges and contrast. To me, they look like some of the simplistic UI designs I used to do a lot of years ago in my uni days for various projects. Not that I’m against simplistic designs, since I consider simplistic as the best design, but that background…just irks me.
Thanks for pointing it out. I guess I’m just too used to the scroll wheel for zooming (in XCOM-EU I used to switch the ‘T’ & ‘G’ keys to floor selection and mouse wheel to zoom). However, the ‘T’ & ‘G’ zooming still feels clunky. It seems there’s only 8 levels and fixed increments and you can’t keep the keys pressed to quickly move to max or min zoom. I would really like a more free-form zoom with much finer increments, since I have a habit of moving and zooming the camera a lot, to find the best positions and check all angles. I’m assuming there will also be options to change the control scheme on release rather than fixed keys.
I am aware of the overpowered nature of quickly being able to switch from one weapon to another with no cost, but I was thinking more from an interface accessibility point. If we’re having multi-classing, that means each soldier has the option to carry and use at least 2 weapons for various situations. Having to constantly go in the inventory to switch a weapon into your hands, can become tiresome soon. I was thinking more from the perspective of having the 1st ready slot being what you hold in your hands and can immediately use, 2nd slot being the secondary weapon on your back (if you don’t have a mounted weapon), 3rd slot being your belt item. Or, actually, use the back slot (mounted weapon slot) for secondary weapons also (except handguns, which go on belt) and have it cost 25% AP when you switch to and from it.
I freely admit to not knowing the time frame of a turn, but in real terms switching from a rifle to a handgun can be done in 1 or 2 seconds. The rifle is on a sling, let go and draw pistol from belt or body mounted holster. I think the three ready slots should have no or little penalty to switch between.
Mounted additional weapons for different squad types would be nice.
Another route you could go down to provide for this would be to say that an assault at some point should be able to get their hands on an assault rifle that includes a grenade launcher, and that a small capacity pump action shotgun could possibly be a secondary weapon option for all troops (as could anything else that might fit in a waist holster)
No, I’m referring to the semi-transparent gray background frames for various interface elements.
The skill bar for example can become hard to differentiate when moving the camera over certain other map elements. The skills feel like they just meld into each other and it’s harder to spot which is which.
Then compare to the BB3 interface, where each individual element was more clearly defined by it’s borders and color contrast and had no semi-transparent background. (picture taken from CristopherOdds youtube video, as I no longer have BB3 installed)
About the secondary weapon mechanic:
My issue is mostly with the accessibility of the interface for switching between weapons, not the mechanics or the cost of the action. I’m fine with an AP cost for switching weapons. But what I want to avoid is situations where I constantly have to toggle between inventory and action bars. For example, let’s say my assault gets rushed by a crabman while he’s got his rifle equipped. I want to use the shotgun to deal with it, so I open inventory, select the shotgun, move it to ready slot 1, close the inventory, shoot the crabman. Then, on next turn, open inventory, select the rifle, move it back to ready slot 1, close the inventory, shoot at another crabman 2 blocks away. Next turn, another enemy rushes him, repeat the previous operation. Instead I could have had access to the shotgun directly on the interface, by using the slot for mounted weapons, just with an AP cost. So I would like to be able to hang secondary weapons on a soldier’s back and easily access them without having to go through the whole inventory opening, switching, closing routine.