HUD and UI ideas - mockups

Skydive
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:17 pm

Re: HUD and UI ideas - mockups

Post by Skydive » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:56 pm

Hi Developer of Pioneer,

I'd like to propose few ideas for future HUD and UI development.

The main principle to base it on the MFDs that most of the modern aircraft have. Having played Falcon 4 Sim for quite some time I am amazed by the MFD functionality and versatility, which also leaves plenty of room for future development, where a new module could relatively easy be integrated into the game via adding MFD pages (as it is done in ORBITER space sim).

So I fired up my photoshop and started playing around with some ideas. The initial concept based of the F-16 cockpit did not come out too good, however one has to start from something right?

Image

Too flat and not futuristic enough.

Then I looked at the cockpit of the Elite Dangerous, one of the most appraised space games nowadays, but I am afraid this is asking a bit too much, plus it is their baby, so let them have it. But I liked the idea of the projectors that project various elements of the cockpit , so I combined the MFDs and projectors for them.

So here's my little concept drawing (it is still WIP)

Image

The basic layout is pretty straight forward and can be found in most of the space games, including Pioneer to some extent, which should potentially make it easier to code:

3 MFD projectors at the bottom (same MFD just switched to different pages), 2 small projectors at the top (comms and contacts), HUD in the center, Master Mode round buttons (to switch between various GUI mods: CAMERA, MAP, INFO and COMMS), horizontal square buttons to navigate the MFD (for example, MENU, NEXT PAGE, PREVIOUS PAGE, SELECT), vertical square buttons activate various controls specific to the selected page (For example REFUEL and JETTISON on cargo manifest page and MANUAL mode activation on the autopilot, or MISSILE selection on the weapons page page etc.). ON/OFF buttons to turn individual MFDs on and off, Brightness buttons to change color of an individual MFD or the whole HUD all together if Master brightness button was used.

Image Image

SWAP buttons to swap bigger central MFD between either right or left smaller MFDS

Image

That is pretty much it so far.

nozmajner
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Re: HUD and UI ideas - mockups

Post by nozmajner » Sat Jan 10, 2015 12:43 am

These look nice, but they are quite cluttered for my taste.
And I feel there are some redundancy, like having a big navball, and a smaller artificial horizon, which are essentially the same. And the artif horizon also has a simplified orbit display, but you have a full blown orbit plot there too.
Another thing is that there are quite a few elements that are either feel like something physical, like a dashboard (not just on the first image), and there are a bunch of stuff, that seem purely decorative. Like the frames, or the lines around the reticule.
And if you compare your mockup with mine, it's a lot less cluttered (I'm not being defensive, I just like thinking about and discussing UI :) ) :
Image
My main aim with it is simple and clean UI, which doesn't get in the way of looking out from your ship more than needed. (There will be cockpits for that, especially if you have an OPLI ship :) )
It does miss some things like gauges for hull and stuff. It's a partial rework of earlier mockups, which had them:
Image

There were some talk on IRC a while ago about MFD-s. I was a bit partial about those, and I still am. They are a working solution for sure, but they aren't feel particularly elegant. On the other side, they doesn't feel like UI for me, but more like a physical thing. A lot of information could be conveyed in a more elegant and unobtrusive way (check the way I did the simplified orbit display on my mockup).
Only the things that can't be shown in that manner should go into an mfd in my opinion.
Another nitpicking: those gauges for hull and stuff feel a bit odd with those separated dashes. They are too far from the gauge to give a meaningful point of reference, but they do clutter up the UI. Same goes for the concentric ellipses below the scanner, which doesn't seem to hold any purpose.
And the scanner itself feels quite flattened, especially if you consider that it compresses distances a lot right in the direction you are facing, making distance eyeballing harder.

Also there was some discussion about cockpits in the past (I still work on them, model-wise, but slowly). And I did modeled mdf-s for them. I feel that they are much more home there than in a HUD UI.

Skydive
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:17 pm

Re: HUD and UI ideas - mockups

Post by Skydive » Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:15 pm

Hi Nozmajner,

Thank you for your feedback.

However I am afraid you misunderstood me, those are not the proposed graphics for the HUD and UI, so don't get fixated on them, these are just some quick drawing to illustrate the intended functionality, in fact for final graphic I'd prefer something you have in your layout. The key features would be the ability to switch MFDs to various locations on the screen (left, right and center) so the use could customize the layout to something of this liking. For example one could have a Scanner page on the central MFD , navball on the right and, let's say, ship status info (or target info) on the right.

Let's take your RCS thruster controls I assume (the instrument that looks like a cross and a snake around it on the left side of your hud), I find it's position quite awkward to my liking as I am right-handed, therefore the default parking for my mouse cursor is somewhere on the right side of the screen and if I needed to press a button there I would have to move all there, at the same time there's a navball on the right side of your image that is just a display instrument which would require no mouse click I suspect. So for my setup I'd prefer to switch them around, however there are may be some people how would prefer the way you placed them which may be more handy to them.

Same goes for the color mode, I personally prefer prefer a single color scheme, with about 90% of the elements being single color with and some minor elements such as (threat and direction indicators, some warning lights, etc, with a bit of color variation), but that's just me. If somebody like their HUD like a Christmas tree, it should offer some functionality for that, I don't know, for example yellow HUD, blue scanner, green message box and white ship info, etc. I'll post once I have the graphics closer to what I' like to see.

nozmajner
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Re: HUD and UI ideas - mockups

Post by nozmajner » Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:28 pm

The multicolored one is an earlier iteration, the monochromatic is the fresher. On that the navball is integrated into the scanner ball. (I'm curious of how functional that would be, but I think it could work though.)

Those are RCS feedback displays, not clickable, only would show the translation and rotation thrusts. Clickable controls don't make much sense in this case in my opinion, since you can only click on one at a time anyway.

The sides of the layout follow this logic:
*Left side is about what's inside your ship. Like the RCS feedback, and eventually I put those propellant, ammo, heat etc readouts into the mockup too. (Although time isn't really in your ship :) ,but
let's use the saying, "Time is subjective" for now).
*Right side is for things outside your ship like target info, contacts, and so on.
*Center is for flight information, speed, deltaV, etc.

My main argument against mfds that they feel like the lazy way to do UI. "Let's put a box there with info, and then the user will do the customization to turn it into something serviceable." And completely not ergonomic in a HUD UI context if you ask me. A lot of information can be conveyed in more elegant, compact and more intuitive way. And in more fitting ways for the given information (check my apses or deltaV display)

And if you think about it, MFD is just a more physical and restricted version of a tabbed window, with buttons around it and so on. Are those buttons really needed? Let's have windows or frames instead, where you can put the buttons and other needed functionality, and show it only when needed. Onyl show the given window, if the player wants to see it.
I can't really think of too many parts of the UI that would need a full blown mfd with metaforical buttons around it. One example could be an engineering screen if there would such functionality in Pioneer, but that would warrant a full tab in the infoview or something, and a compact area in the HUD for essential stuff. Same for any map.

Check out Orbiter's UI for example. You can switch between a virtual 3D cockpit with physical buttons and stuff. It's not really ergonomic in a mouse input setting, but kinda immersive if done right.
Or a flat 2D dashboard which can use up all screen space sometimes, and you move it around with the arrow keys to access some parts of it. It has a couple of mfds.
Or you can have a more HUD-like interface where you still have your two MFD,s which is kinda limited if you want to put up more than two things at once. And it still uses up a lot of screen space. Not that we need that much information most of the time, two mfds could cover the needs most of the time.
But mfds also have one strong plus side that it provides a well confined area if somebody want to implement some new kind of instrument. But that's almost similarly true to a window-like approach, with added setup work, but more freedom I'd guess.
If you ask me, the proper place for an mfd in most cases is the cockpit.

Skydive
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:17 pm

Re: HUD and UI ideas - mockups

Post by Skydive » Sun Jan 11, 2015 11:10 pm

Hi there,

I had another go at it. I think these explains more what I had in mind, please bare in mind I haven't touched the actual F1-F8 controls and they are still work in progress, it is more of about the MFD concept, BTW it doesn't have to look like an actual square box MFD, it is more like a content menu that controls which part of the screen displays what, obviously if you can make it in a more fancy way, a context menu would pop up and you select another item, as it is done in some other games have.

Image Image

The left MFD is on the MENU Page, the Central MFD has Scanner page selected (Backlight is off) and the Right MFD has a Sip info page selected (Backlight is on)

Something along those lines.

On a side note, Nozmajner, having copied your graphics for illustration purposes, I looked closer at your "Scanner" concept, personally I find it way too small for such an instrument filled with info, there's to much text cramped into a confined space (it is almost the same size as a HUD circle with way much info on it, making it very hard to read. That kind of size would be OK for for a compact view with the text off, for the full view it needs to be bigger and more spaced out.
Last edited by Skydive on Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

impaktor
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Re: HUD and UI ideas - mockups

Post by impaktor » Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:22 am

@Skydive That looks really nice/cool.

Skydive
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Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:17 pm

Re: HUD and UI ideas - mockups

Post by Skydive » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:46 pm

I re-worked the concept a bit more. The previous version had too many MFD on/off switches all over the screen, So I've added them to the MFD menu, that way they could only be visible if MFD menu was on. Also worked a bit on the control panel layout: time management controls to the left, next ship status indicators, F1-F8 controls , warning indicator, weapons management to the right, narrow bar on the top for text indicators (current system, distance to targeted system, hyperdrive target system, selected target, something like this).

Image

Still not quite happy with the layout, but slowly getting closer.

DraQ
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Re: HUD and UI ideas - mockups

Post by DraQ » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:15 pm

One thing Pioneer could definitely use is some sort of zoom function because even though combat in Pioneer occurs effectively at melee ranges as far as space is concerned (by design) you rarely actually see the other ship.

It could be implemented either in main view, as toggle, or as an inset viewport presenting, zoomed in real-time view of currently selected craft or object with some overlaid data like targeted subsystem or actual aiming point.

clausimu
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Re: HUD and UI ideas - mockups

Post by clausimu » Fri Jan 16, 2015 5:55 pm

A zoom function would be awesome!!!

Marcel
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Re: HUD and UI ideas - mockups

Post by Marcel » Mon Jan 19, 2015 2:18 am

Skydive, I've tried out your cpanel icons from Jan 6. I know it's just for practice but I must say I like it. It's legible and functional and matches the UI fairly well. One quibble, the glow or reflection at the top of the scanner area makes the distance and speed information harder to read. I think that the real control panel is going to be awesome!

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