Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby mathturtle » Fri May 19, 2017 9:44 pm

I like the inventory/quickbar changes. The where does this item go if I shift-click thing has been bothering me for a while now (I filter my toolbar so when I shift-click I usually want to trash the item). I'm on the fence with what people have said about tabs... I'd have to try both and see which I like better. I tend to build lazy-bastard achievement style factories even though I don't hold strictly to that in the early game (it takes too long). But late game I never craft anything myself: I just request it. So I could just switch my default tab to logistics and that would work great.

But this part:
I never understood why all my weapons and ammo need to be shown on my screen all the time, when 95% of my time is spent building factories.


I agree that for the majority of the time it is in the way more than it is helpful. But when I need that info I need it NOW and seeing all the weapons at once is really helpful. Can you make this an option that we can turn on/off? Also, can you show the total ammo count rather than the current stack like you are doing with the new toolbar.

Thanks for all the great work!
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby DanGio » Fri May 19, 2017 9:45 pm

Being the bad guy = Putting odd numbers of undergound belts in screen captures, in order to disturb the sleep of the community
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby aober93 » Fri May 19, 2017 9:53 pm

If youre deleting the quickbar, consider blueprints and deconstruction planners. ATM they are used widely within a filtered quickbar with fixed slots. But that change is good.

I dont like the change with the tabs. Pressing "E" is pretty vital to the flow of the game, having then submenus or tabs or whatever is just not good. That section is so important, why bother if its in the center of your screen. Its "inventory, logistic and crafting" next to each other right? Why not add a button to minimize either of the 3. There is no shiftclick transfer issue if you remove the quickbar after all.


And speaking of annoying changes. Pressing E closes like ALL menus except the map view. This is kinda hard getting used to. So there you go, someone fd is up before you
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby Dr.J » Fri May 19, 2017 10:02 pm

The ideas about improving the GUI sound great! :P Please do it!

I'm always looking for the item I want to place in the inventory, that is sometimes annoying... :x
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby IronCartographer » Fri May 19, 2017 10:11 pm

aober93 wrote:If youre deleting the quickbar, consider blueprints and deconstruction planners. ATM they are used widely within a filtered quickbar with fixed slots. But that change is good.

Something like Picker Extended Mod's quick-blueprint/deconstruction planner grabbing hotkey would be a welcome addition.

aober93 wrote:There is no shiftclick transfer issue if you remove the quickbar after all.

...Shift-click being less ambiguous with the toolbelt's inventory removal is a very good point!
Last edited by IronCartographer on Fri May 19, 2017 10:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby super_aardvark » Fri May 19, 2017 10:11 pm

Regarding the proposed changes, I think they're great. By far the best thing is being able to place ghosts of items you don't have, but everything else proposed makes sense too. Even the one concrete drawback, losing the ability to transfer most of your inventory, but not your toolbar items, into a chest with one click, has a solution: make the same one click transfer all items that either (a) don't have a shortcut on the toolbar, (b) aren't in a filtered slot, or (c) both (and I think any of those choices would be sensible and useful).

As for Factorio's UI/UX generally, for the most part I've found it pretty good (I'm trying to think back to my early days playing the game...) I can think of a couple of sticking points:
  • The key mapping interface. I haven't looked at it in a bit, but my memory of it is that it's overwhelming and arcane, with lots of things I have no idea how to use or what they're for. Looking now, I understand what most of the functions are (though some I'm still not so sure about... how is "Fast entity transfer" different from "Inventory transfer"? What the heck is the Pipette Tool?) but it's badly organized. The Game tab is full with a scrollbar, and contains an absolute hodge-podge of functions, while the Crafting tab is almost empty -- and why is crafting not considered part of the game? Also, two of the buttons above the minimap have key bindings and the others don't.
  • The Campaign and Scenarios menus. The fact that the campaigns and scenarios are all prefixed with "base/" is weird. The base game shouldn't be treated as just another mod in the UI, even if it is treated that way under the hood. Also, the First Steps and New Hope campaigns are fundamentally different from Transport Belt Madness and Tight Spot. The first two feature core Factorio gameplay in a guided, story-driven setting -- exactly what you'd expect from a campaign. The latter two aren't really campaigns so much as separate game modes or puzzle challenges. It's also not at all clear how Campaigns are different from Scenarios, nor what each of the Scenarios does. And when I choose Scenarios from a menu that also contains a "New Game" button, it's confusing to then get a window that says "New game".
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby KatherineOfSky » Fri May 19, 2017 10:14 pm

I LOVE all the new changes! There are sooo many annoyances fixed with the proposed changes -- YES!

I do have one question: will this affect research in any way? Could you give players 2-4 toolbar rows right from the beginning? Since it no longer increases inventory, it would make sense if we were allowed to have all the space from the get-go to properly organize building.

Also, perhaps allow people to choose how many toolbars are visible at once? (People playing heavily modded may want 4-6, but for vanilla, I would LOVE 2 in mid-game, 3-4 in late-game). The purpose of choosing numbers of toolbars to show would affect how many times you have to toggle the order, etc. with X.
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby IronCartographer » Fri May 19, 2017 10:20 pm

KatherineOfSky wrote:Also, perhaps allow people to choose how many toolbars are visible at once? (People playing heavily modded may want 4-6, but for vanilla, I would LOVE 2 in mid-game, 3-4 in late-game). The purpose of choosing numbers of toolbars to show would affect how many times you have to toggle the order, etc. with X.


I would use a single visible toolbar, as long as "X" continued to cycle through them. UI minimalism is nice, and we no longer need to see all the slots if they're shortcuts instead of inventory. :D
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby Peter34 » Fri May 19, 2017 10:20 pm

I'm all in favour of this proposed change. But.

1. I think there should be 2x12 hotkeys, instead of only 2x10.

1b. Currently, the toolbar slots are accessed via the keys 1-5 and Shift 1-5, but I've always re-arranged these to be accessed via 1-0. The 2 extra slots would be accessed via the keys to the immediate right of the 0 key. On my Danish keyboard, that's +/? and `/´, but it varies from country to country. A 13th hotkey isn't so good, as on my keyboard (which I'm sure is similar to most) that's either the wide Backspace key, or else the key to the left of the 1 key, and on my keyboard that's used to open Console/Chat. However, I still think it'd be very nice to have more than 10.

1c. To change between the top and bottom bar (so that they switch places - you always access the bar that's at the top) you press the x key, or the similar-effect GUI button.

2. I think there should be three "unlock" Techs instead of just one. To begin with, 8 slots should be unlocked in the top hotkey bar. A cheap Tech, costing something like 10 Reds, then unlocks the remaining 4 slots. A 2nd Tech, costing something like 25 Red and 25 Green, unlocks the bottom 12 slots on the hotkey bar. A third Tech, costing 100 Red/Green or even 200 Red/Green, allows you to have a potentailly large number of bottom bars that you can rotate between. You now get the "create new tool bar" button, and if you click that, a new tool bar is added, and you can rotate between however many bottom tool bars you have, as well as name them (that is, assign a text label to each). The top tool bar should be called the "fixed tool bar", and the bottom rotatable tool bar called the "flexible tool bar". For instance, I might want to have one bottom tool bar named "Fluids" for Oil/Refining/Cracking, and another named "Rails" for trains and tracks.

3. I'd very much like for these to be saved from game to game, so that when I start a new game, I already have all my tool bars configured. Although of course only that which I've Tech-unlocked so far, in the current game, should be available to me. For this reason, one of the bottom tool bars needs to be designated as the "primary tool bar" as that's the one you unlock with the 2nd Tech.

4. Of course, this means there needs to be two keys to move between tool bars. x still causes the fixed tool bar and the flexible tool bar to trade places, and a new key, perhaps c, causes the flexible tool bar to rotate by +1 increment. Most players will have 3-5 different flexible tool bars at most, so there's no need to have a key to "rotate backwards", although there could be one EMERGENCY key press that rotates to and selects your "Military" or "It Hit the Fan"-tool bar, e.g. if you suddenly find yourself in combat. e for emergency would be good, but that one is already taken. By default, this emergency key needs to be close to the wasd keys, since it's for, well, urgent situations.
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby Peter34 » Fri May 19, 2017 10:24 pm

Inwoods wrote:These are all really fantastic.

As for F1 etc on laptops, people can rebind if desired.


Sure, but more and more people play on laptops these days, and Factorio's default keybindings should be such that the game is immediately playable. Notice for instance how all the important keys are close to the wasd ones, such as e to open inventory and f to picp up, or q which used to clear cursor or rotate weapon?

When a player first tries out a new game, if he encounters a UI that gives the impression of having been well-thought-out, that will cause the player to relax and trust in the design of the game he's about to play. Which is rather needed, given how complex Factorio is.

A couple of hours ago, I watched Scott Manley play Lacuna Passage or something, a Mars-based survival game, on YouTube. The inventory handling was ******* horrible! If I had paid $15 for that game, and rammed my head against that kind of inventory management, my confidence in the abilities and the thoughtfullness of the designers would be plummetting at 9.8 meters per second squared! Even if on Mars!

Factorio needs to be 100% playable out of the box on any kind of non-obscure setup, in order to stand out from the huge mass of incompetently crafted EA games, and "using a laptop" is not an obscure setup.
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby rkfg » Fri May 19, 2017 10:25 pm

I love these changes, please implement them. However, if you need some feedback about GUI, I'd complain about blueprints. It's truly a mess right now, it's functional but very counterintuitive compared to the previous UX. So, to create a blueprint (a basic and quite regular task) I have to press a hotkey (B, there's no way to do it with mouse), click New blueprint, then for some reason that Blueprint library UI isn't closed though 99% of time I don't need it anymore to start making a blueprint. So I close it manually with Esc, select an area, get a blueprint GUI where I can edit it (and most of the time I don't need it), confirming it to finish. Then it's not put into any book and usually I want to put it there, otherwise what's the purpose of the books. So I have to right click the book while holding the blueprint in hand (if not, then I drag it from the inventory) and finally it's in there.

The problems I see are:
1) for containers, factories, turrets (except the modular armor, maybe it's worth to ponder the same idea regarding it) the "open" action is LMB, except blueprints. To "open" a blueprint or a book you have to use RMB and to actually "use" it — LMB. That's kinda the opposite. A real bad guy would switch these bind, I feel it would be more natural for new players to open a book or a blueprint for editing with LMB and use it with RMB.
2) wow, that's a lot of actions to add a new blueprint to a book. I would love to have a real quick way to create a blueprint for a particular book (for now I only have one anyway). There should be a button in the book GUI to create a blueprint in it. Also, most of the time I don't need to edit the new blueprint so it would be convenient to leave it as is by default and allow to edit later if needed. Ideally, I expect this:
— open the book
— press "New blueprint" (a GUI button)
— select an area
— blueprint created, added to the book and selected automatically so I can spam that design all over the map

OR

— press a "New blueprint" keyboard shortcut or a GUI button in the current blueprint library
— select an area
— blueprint created but NOT added to any book (left as a separate entity in the inventory) and selected automatically

3) no confirmations on deleting books or blueprints, it's easy to lose anything valuable
4) I played 0.15 for several tens of hours and I still don't fully grasp the blueprint library GUI. So I have:
— just blueprints
— books in the inventory
— books of other players in the left side of the BL GUI
— game blueprints (wat? so what do you call other blueprints? what does that even mean?)
— I can put my books and blueprints to the right side of the BL and what does that do? I guess sharing with others but it's not explained anywhere and looks weird, the panels of export/import look the same and I don't feel I'm sharing by blueprints with others. I just put them on some panel without any feedback.
— once again, opening with RMB, selecting for usage with LMB; it would be better to implement classic drag'n'drop instead of sticking an object to cursor after clicking it, open with LMB and use with RMB

I think I'll use blueprints much more often with these changes. For now I only resort to them when it's worth it but for placing 5 or so factories I'd rather do it by hand, it's quicker.
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby Peter34 » Fri May 19, 2017 10:31 pm

tarou00 wrote:When I craft a nuclear reactor (or a anything that I build not so often), having it auto placed in the tool bar is very convenient. I don't have to open the full inventory to quickly place it. Also, I don't want to waste a slot in the bar by locking it to such a rare building.


Someone suggested an extra quickbar slot specifically for "last crafted item" outside of the 2x10 (or 2x12 as I'm hoping for) slots. I think that'd be a neat thing to have, for exactly the reason you describe.
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby factoriouzr » Fri May 19, 2017 10:34 pm

Jackalope wrote:These changes would definitely be welcome. Since we're talking about UI though, what about the assembler crafting UI? Especially on recipes with multiple outputs like oil refining, there is a gross problem where we don't actually get the names of the outputs if we hover over them within the UI itself. I proposed a change to this at viewtopic.php?f=6&t=45319 and https://www.reddit.com/r/factorio/comme ... ipes_with/ and hopefully something will be done about it.


I agree, I would love this fixed as well. I was annoyed by it so many times, especially with mods that add such recipes.
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby factoriouzr » Fri May 19, 2017 10:35 pm

BradleyUffner wrote:Does this mean we could get multiple toolbars that we could cycle through? I could have my default toolbar, and additionally have a "Train" set, or a "Fluid" set for when I am focusing on those things.


+1 would be really useful
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby Rythe » Fri May 19, 2017 10:36 pm

Since the toolbar would no longer be inventory space, you should extend it another column and use the extra two spots to display the last two item types that were hand crafted.

That'll make for a clean compromise to those who want immediate access to that last, odd, one-off thing they just put together for immediate use. Also probably a good idea in general.

The slightly more complicated solution would be to allow the user to designate X number of spots for crafting history. So if they want one spot in the 1 location, they can do that. If they want 6 spots over the last three columns to display a running history, they can do that too. And then default a column for that purpose for the vanilla UI setup. A pretty logical extension to a filter setup anywho.

And I'm too lazy to read up and find who else suggested this, so consider it a lengthy +1 to the idea.
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby saturn7 » Fri May 19, 2017 10:37 pm

As a long term player, I fully agree with the suggestions, and I'd like to have the new GUI rather now than later :) The suggestions make an already very polished GUI even better.

The only really quirky thing at the moments are blueprints. Among other things it's not possible to show the inventory and the blueprint library at the same time; maybe add the blueprint library as another inventory tab (F4), so you can drag and drop things around. Moving a blueprint to the hotbar would then allow access to it without the hassle of creating an extra item, which you need to get rid of afterwards.
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby Stede » Fri May 19, 2017 10:42 pm

Toolbar changes look awesome - please just give me the 20 extra inventory slots as default. The character tab is a bit shocking - to go from a full eagle-eye dashboard to a 1-at-a-time interface is going to take me some time to get used to.

I like being able to shift-click the things and know where they go. But I don't want to run off to build an outpost without any steel halfway through my last axe and not know it. So, there's some info I want on the standard UI - but I don't need that part to be interactive - i just need the HUD portion of it.

I do want to echo the comments about the Blueprint UI - I flounder with it all the time. Export, Import, Inventory, no go back in the big book - no not the one in inventory, the one I carry with me from game to game - etc, etc. I can't tell you guys how to fix it, bc I'm not good at that stuff, but I can tell you that of the entire UI, that part still feels kind of "Early Access".
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby factoriouzr » Fri May 19, 2017 10:42 pm

I like the ideas you presented and I have been playing for a long time. I probably have over 1000 hours on this game. The ideas you presented will fix a lot of annoyances, though the tabs have to be done right. The general direction of using tabs is good, though I have some concerns on how annoying it might get to switch tabs. The right default tab has to be selected and every time you open the inventory probably crafting should always become default, though then it's an extra click to get to logistics. Right now, these are the two most used tabs.

Also as part of these changes please also implement merging of the logistics request and trash slots into one so we don't have to set the same item twice every time (viewtopic.php?f=6&t=35511).

Also please add buttons for requester chests for "1x", "10x", "50x" "100x", "1 stack", "2 stacks" So that we can easily set how many items we want to request. This will simply multiply the current values by the factor, or set it to the number of stacks for each item. Also this would be useful for player requested items on a per item basis.
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby Snowmech » Fri May 19, 2017 10:44 pm

For a good part of these changes, I believe that game experience will improve. However, I can surmise that for the few disabled players, game experience will not improve and might become encumbered. My primary concern is removing items stored on the tool belt. For gamers with limited finger mobility, and/or utilize other input methods; facial controls as an example, completely taking away the tool-belt's storage capabilities might cause frustration.

There is no current way to organize the main inventory and utilize any type of auto sorting. No way to have the top x,y spaces be open to have the player place items where needed and the rest auto sorted. There is also no way to customize how items are entered into the inventory. Without the ability to store items in the tool-belt the main inventory will have to be opened every time. Then the inventory will have to be manually sorted and or searched every time. This is just one example of the difficulties that some may face.

While the majority of players are fully capable of using an entire keyboard and a mouse, not all players have that luxury. Some players use alternate interface, whereas changes may, or may not, completely make a game no longer playable. Is it possible to have an option, so as to provide some flexibility? The majority of players who like the changes can utilize them. Any players that dislike the changes can use aspects of the old Gui. Lastly any players, who regardless of opinion, but are bound not by a like or a dislike, but a can or Absolute can not, might still have an ability to play the game at their enjoyable level.
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Re: Friday Facts #191 - Gui improvements

Postby factoriouzr » Fri May 19, 2017 10:47 pm

saturn7 wrote:As a long term player, I fully agree with the suggestions, and I'd like to have the new GUI rather now than later :) The suggestions make an already very polished GUI even better.

The only really quirky thing at the moments are blueprints. Among other things it's not possible to show the inventory and the blueprint library at the same time; maybe add the blueprint library as another inventory tab (F4), so you can drag and drop things around. Moving a blueprint to the hotbar would then allow access to it without the hassle of creating an extra item, which you need to get rid of afterwards.



I agree, please implement things like auto synchronizing blueprints and books with the library: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=46706
I also suggested and would like to suggest again, to completely get rid of blueprints and blueprint books in the inventory. There is no need for them, you can just get it from the library (though the library will need a per game blueprint section (which it has now, though it's behaviour might need to change a bit) and a blueprint library section (has now). This would fit nicely with everything being a shortcut, so we can have shortcuts to the blueprint library. This would also help with synchronizing books automatically, though synchronization as explained in the issue above is still needed between per game blueprints and the blueprint library blueprints.
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