Help, please: I need an icon!

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Pi-C
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Help, please: I need an icon!

Post by Pi-C »

TLDR: I need an icon to use with buttons and on the shortcut bar. It must be simple so that it can be scaled down for shortcut.small_icon, but it should show what the button/shortcut is about.


Long version:
If character selector mode has been enabled, miniMAXIme can be used to switch between different characters on the fly. It also allows players to hide/unhide individual characters from their GUI (useful with mods that provide a lot of characters or in multiplayer mode). As I couldn't come up with a suitable icon for the toggle buttons of my GUIs, they just show a textual description, which is wasting a lot of space at the top of the screen:
minime-guis.png
minime-guis.png (1.62 MiB) Viewed 1209 times
I'm looking for a nice icon that I could use for the "Character selector" button (I guess I could move the "Available characters" button to my main GUI, so that it doesn't clutter up the button flow). The icon should make sense, i.e. it should convey that clicking the button will allow players to change what their character looks like. I think that using the icon of the default character for the button wouldn't really work as it could also be interpreted as "Use this button to change character properties like mining speed or color".

Ideally, it should be possible to use the icon both in the button flow and for shortcuts (the buttons at the bottom which you can click to toggle ALT mode, or to copy/cut/paste things etc.). The problem is that shortcuts also have small_icon which is used in the list of available shortcuts (the dropdown list at the bottom of the screenshot). Therefore, the icon must be simple enough that it can be recognized even if it's scaled down.

Apart from these requirements I have no idea what it should look like, so I'm pretty much open to anything you may come up with. :mrgreen: I'd be extremely glad if somebody would help me. Of course, you'll get full credit for your icon! :D
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Re: Help, please: I need an icon!

Post by mmmPI »

just an idea on how it could look like
changecharacter.png
changecharacter.png (6.28 KiB) Viewed 1169 times
Could you show an example of the expected end result ? like another finished icon, so it is easier to learn the spec size and definition expected ?

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Re: Help, please: I need an icon!

Post by Pi-C »

mmmPI wrote: ↑
Thu Mar 16, 2023 6:58 am
just an idea on how it could look like
changecharacter.png
Thanks, I like this! It's simple enough to be iconic, and it seems there's no detail that could get lost on downscaling.
Could you show an example of the expected end result ? like another finished icon, so it is easier to learn the spec size and definition expected ?
Not for this mod, but in Autodrive I have an icon for the remote control, which the Shortcuts mod by ickputzdirwech will downscale for the shortcut icons:
autodrive-shortcut.png
autodrive-shortcut.png (131.79 KiB) Viewed 1127 times
Of course, the result isn't optimal, it's hard to recognize the mini-icon (too blurry) and the icon on the shortcut bar could be bigger to provide more detail. But as the icons on the shortcut bar are quadratic, having a square icon would be great (so it can be scaled evenly in both directions).
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64x64
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Re: Help, please: I need an icon!

Post by mmmPI »

Thanks for the example, your wording made me realize i could just go and look at the games files to see how the original mini icons look like.

Then saw the tiny icon and thought i could use software Aseprite to reproduce similar output, found it to be quick and easy. However to display on the top left corner it may look pixelated as it won't be downscale ingame and it has no shadow or anti aliasing.

It was done quickly so it's not a "nice looking" icon, it is a 64x64 square and that's it :mrgreen: please don't credit me for this

I tried a version with outline and one without but really to make something that look better i would need to set up something to allow me to see ingame how it looks so i can improve over iterations.
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icontest2.png
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icontest1.png
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Re: Help, please: I need an icon!

Post by Pi-C »

Thank you!
mmmPI wrote: ↑
Sun Mar 19, 2023 2:36 am
Then saw the tiny icon and thought i could use software Aseprite to reproduce similar output, found it to be quick and easy. However to display on the top left corner it may look pixelated as it won't be downscale ingame and it has no shadow or anti aliasing.
There were some crashes with the stable version of Factorio that I had to fix, so I didn't have time yet to add the shortcuts. This is what the icon looks on the top button flow:
minime-toggle-button.png
minime-toggle-button.png (57.77 KiB) Viewed 961 times
It was done quickly so it's not a "nice looking" icon, it is a 64x64 square and that's it
As long as it's practical I don't care how nice it is! The icon button takes up just a fraction of the space the old button required, which addresses an issue several people have complained about. If anybody should start complaining now about the icon not being cute enough, they are welcome to provide an icon they like better. :-)
please don't credit me for this
Done! :-D
I tried a version with outline and one without but really to make something that look better i would need to set up something to allow me to see ingame how it looks so i can improve over iterations.
I'll keep you up to date. By the way, I wonder what's the best way to handle the button flow/shortcuts question: Should there be a setting that adds the shortcut (so both the toggle button and the shortcut would be available together), or should the shortcut replace the toggle button?
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Re: Help, please: I need an icon!

Post by mmmPI »

Pi-C wrote: ↑
Wed Mar 22, 2023 6:58 am
This is what the icon looks on the top button flow:
i thought :
"That's too much padding on each side compared to the other icons"
"the pointy end are not pointy enough"
so i changed it
icontest3.png
icontest3.png (896 Bytes) Viewed 921 times
It's still only 1 color or transparent i'm not sure about which space you refered to, it must be small in bits and is only 64x64 pixel which is 4 times as many pixels as 32x32 or 8 times more than 16x16 which would be the original pokemon character. Depending on the resolution of the interface, i suppose the image may be upscaled, which would make it look even worse. When it is larger it doesn't feel like a game of fitting pixels in a grid = fun to practice anymore.

The ingame files i found were the shortcut icons, they are not pixel icon, they have dozens of transparency level like blur . They are also 32 and 24 pixels i think , i'm sure they exist in 2 different sizes. I have no idea how the downscaling will be done from the 64x64 image i provided, i expect it to recreate to some extend that anti-aliasing, whereas for the top left icon, it wouldn't be the case. I suppose it must be possible to provide 3 differents images so there is no downscaling happening after the image is made, It would take longer to make the images but would give more control over the final result :)

Also i noticed i made a mistake, and i shoud have made it all back following the logic of the existing ones, as only those displayed on a background that is a special color are white. ( like on red ,green or blue background ). I can change that if it looks weird when next to the others.
Pi-C wrote: ↑
Wed Mar 22, 2023 6:58 am
I'll keep you up to date. By the way, I wonder what's the best way to handle the button flow/shortcuts question: Should there be a setting that adds the shortcut (so both the toggle button and the shortcut would be available together), or should the shortcut replace the toggle button?
I don't know if i can help there x), i think i changed twice the shortcut in my whole time playing , the first time and one when i was confused not to find the usual buttons when i changed computer and forgot i was not using default settings.

i think it's always good to have the option to hide the flow-icon-toggle-button on the top left because when mixing mods, it can happen that there is a conflict, and if all mods were done so you can hide/unhide, there wouldn't be, you could always access the one you want, went you want, be it with a bit more click. ideally for me a mod setting tickboxe "show button" yes/no because that's where i always go look when i install a new mod, or when i can't find something.

The shortcut in the toolbar to me is not obvious there could be addition by mods i needed to be told by mod 2 different mod author how to unlock something because it was done through such place and i didn't remember after the first one. I would pick Shrek with the top left button and try to hide the icon for the rest of the game i think, or i would pick it from the shortcut bar and then hide the button the same way. Maybe not the first game, the first game i would try all the characters, try to see if there is some match for some specific task, or just to see the animations if i can find the button :)

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Re: Help, please: I need an icon!

Post by Pi-C »

mmmPI wrote: ↑
Thu Mar 23, 2023 10:35 am
Pi-C wrote: ↑
Wed Mar 22, 2023 6:58 am
This is what the icon looks on the top button flow:
i thought :
"That's too much padding on each side compared to the other icons"
"the pointy end are not pointy enough"
so i changed it
Thanks!
It's still only 1 color or transparent i'm not sure about which space you refered to,
There used to be text on the buttons, and a button with "Character selector" on it takes up much more space than a button with an icon.
it must be small in bits and is only 64x64 pixel which is 4 times as many pixels as 32x32 or 8 times more than 16x16 which would be the original pokemon character. Depending on the resolution of the interface, i suppose the image may be upscaled, which would make it look even worse. When it is larger it doesn't feel like a game of fitting pixels in a grid = fun to practice anymore.
I didn't even reckon with different resolutions!
The ingame files i found were the shortcut icons, they are not pixel icon, they have dozens of transparency level like blur . They are also 32 and 24 pixels i think , i'm sure they exist in 2 different sizes.
Found them in data/base/graphics/icons/shortcut-toolbar/mip, with 2 versions included in each PNG file:

Code: Select all

$ for i in *; do pnginfo $i; done | grep "Image Width" | sort -u
  Image Width: 36 Image Length: 24
  Image Width: 48 Image Length: 32
So the first kind combines an image of 24x24 with 12x12, while the second kind combines 32x32 with 16x16.
I have no idea how the downscaling will be done from the 64x64 image i provided, i expect it to recreate to some extend that anti-aliasing, whereas for the top left icon, it wouldn't be the case. I suppose it must be possible to provide 3 differents images so there is no downscaling happening after the image is made, It would take longer to make the images but would give more control over the final result :)
Also i noticed i made a mistake, and i shoud have made it all back following the logic of the existing ones, as only those displayed on a background that is a special color are white. ( like on red ,green or blue background ). I can change that if it looks weird when next to the others.
This is what they look like now:
icons.png
icons.png (76.9 KiB) Viewed 903 times
Pi-C wrote: ↑
Wed Mar 22, 2023 6:58 am
I'll keep you up to date. By the way, I wonder what's the best way to handle the button flow/shortcuts question: Should there be a setting that adds the shortcut (so both the toggle button and the shortcut would be available together), or should the shortcut replace the toggle button?
I don't know if i can help there x), i think i changed twice the shortcut in my whole time playing , the first time and one when i was confused not to find the usual buttons when i changed computer and forgot i was not using default settings.

i think it's always good to have the option to hide the flow-icon-toggle-button on the top left because when mixing mods, it can happen that there is a conflict, and if all mods were done so you can hide/unhide, there wouldn't be, you could always access the one you want, went you want, be it with a bit more click. ideally for me a mod setting tickboxe "show button" yes/no because that's where i always go look when i install a new mod, or when i can't find something.
Somebody explicitly asked for a per-user-setting, so now I've made one that was supposed to toggle betwee toggle button and shortcut. If the user sets this to get the shortcut, the toggle button will be removed from the top of the screen, as expected. However, it doesn't work the other way: The shortcut will be disabled and can't be used, but there seems to be no way to hide it completely -- once the prototype exists, it will be displayed at least in the menu that pops up above the shortcut bar.

Using a startup setting was easier, as I wouldn't create the shortcut unless the setting required it. But this way, one setting would apply to all players, and changing it would require a restart. Not sure yet what to do about this.
The shortcut in the toolbar to me is not obvious there could be addition by mods i needed to be told by mod 2 different mod author how to unlock something because it was done through such place and i didn't remember after the first one.
Personally, I like the GUI button better because its bigger than the tiny icon in the shortcuts menu, so trying to find the right shortcut may be difficult if you have a ton of mods that provide new shortcuts. (Ooops, I just noticed that one can use CTRL+F to search for a shortcut by name!)

I wonder if this would make sense:
  • The shortcut is created depending on a startup setting, so if the setting has been turned off the shortcut won't clutter up the shortcut bar/menu.
  • The toggle button depends on a user-setting, so all users can turn their own toggle button on or off as needed.
  • There always is a custom-input (the key binding) to fall back on if neither toggle button nor shortcut are available. I've already added this in version 1.1.23, but as I couldn't come up with a reasonable default value, players must configure this themselves before they can use it. :-)
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Re: Help, please: I need an icon!

Post by FuryoftheStars »

Pi-C wrote: ↑
Thu Mar 23, 2023 2:58 pm
There used to be text on the buttons, and a button with "Character selector" on it takes up much more space than a button with an icon.
What if it were:

Code: Select all

Character
Selector
(With it being centered, of course)

:D


I can only speak for myself, but when you have a bunch of buttons that are just icons, it starts getting hard to remember which one is for which mod, etc.
My Mods: Classic Factorio Basic Oil Processing | Sulfur Production from Oils | Wood to Oil Processing | Infinite Resources - Normal Yield | Tree Saplings (Redux) | Alien Biomes Tweaked | Restrictions on Artificial Tiles

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Re: Help, please: I need an icon!

Post by Pi-C »

FuryoftheStars wrote: ↑
Thu Mar 23, 2023 3:53 pm
Pi-C wrote: ↑
Thu Mar 23, 2023 2:58 pm
There used to be text on the buttons, and a button with "Character selector" on it takes up much more space than a button with an icon.
What if it were:

Code: Select all

Character
Selector
(With it being centered, of course)
No, that wouldn't work! The string "Character selector" wasn't rendered as PNG, but is a localized text. Inserting a line break between the two words may work for English, but what about other languages that use more words? I guess the Chinese translation (hope it's displayed correctly: 皮肤选择器) would fit on line, in other languages 3 lines might be required. Also, given that an icon has a defined height, using more lines than just one would mean that you'd have to use a smaller font, which would making reading the text harder for some people.
I can only speak for myself, but when you have a bunch of buttons that are just icons, it starts getting hard to remember which one is for which mod, etc.
I definitely understand that, that's why I've added a tooltip that will be shown when you mouse over the button. It's also why I wasn't a big fan of adding shortcuts: It's even easier to miss the right one, because they are so tiny that one can't really recognize anything. For me, the real problem with user interfaces is not the coding involved, but designing things in a way that they make sense and can actually be used without trouble. :-)
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Re: Help, please: I need an icon!

Post by mmmPI »

Pi-C wrote: ↑
Thu Mar 23, 2023 2:58 pm
So the first kind combines an image of 24x24 with 12x12, while the second kind combines 32x32 with 16x16.
icon64-1-export.png
icon64-1-export.png (1017 Bytes) Viewed 863 times
icon32-1.png
icon32-1.png (870 Bytes) Viewed 863 times
icon24-1.png
icon24-1.png (796 Bytes) Viewed 863 times
I noticed the 64x64 image downscaled was making the side arrow touch the middle character. I made the different resolutions natively instead to try and avoid this happening i mimicked the original icons location and pairing on the images, i also used the color of the original game icon and 1 shade of transparency for anti aliasing. I think to really match the game's icon there would need to be a version with a lighter color for when the background is not the default gray but the darker gray as the icon changes color accordingly to keep visibility as the button become "greyed out"/disabled.

I have no idea how a modder sets the custom images though or if it help having the images similar to native format instead of 5 different squares :)
Pi-C wrote: ↑
Wed Mar 22, 2023 6:58 am
Somebody explicitly asked for a per-user-setting, so now I've made one that was supposed to toggle betwee toggle button and shortcut. If the user sets this to get the shortcut, the toggle button will be removed from the top of the screen, as expected. However, it doesn't work the other way: The shortcut will be disabled and can't be used, but there seems to be no way to hide it completely -- once the prototype exists, it will be displayed at least in the menu that pops up above the shortcut bar.

Using a startup setting was easier, as I wouldn't create the shortcut unless the setting required it. But this way, one setting would apply to all players, and changing it would require a restart. Not sure yet what to do about this.
Startup setting are the worst and should be avoided when not absolutly necessary is my personnal opinion :D because it forces you to reload the game. I think it has no downside if there is a unused shortcut that pop up in the list when you click because it is hidden from the screen by default. It won't conflict with any other mod, it would extend the list and make it slightly harder to find a shortcut but i never do that as a player so no downside for me personnaly :)

The per-user setting as you describe i think is great, because by default players would see the top left icon, they would not risk missing it like me when i missed the little shortcut icon not expecting a mod would add some. But then a player that is familiar with the mod , picks a favourite character, and keep it forever, no need to have an icon showing forever. It can then be disabled from the always visible screen, while still being accessible in the hidden shortcut list in case.
I wonder if this would make sense:
  • The shortcut is created depending on a startup setting, so if the setting has been turned off the shortcut won't clutter up the shortcut bar/menu.
  • The toggle button depends on a user-setting, so all users can turn their own toggle button on or off as needed.
  • There always is a custom-input (the key binding) to fall back on if neither toggle button nor shortcut are available. I've already added this in version 1.1.23, but as I couldn't come up with a reasonable default value, players must configure this themselves before they can use it. :-)
I think yes it make sense, this way for multiplayer server owner can configure the startup setting given their audience, if they expect many first timer, and don't use too many other mods adding other icon or other shortcut for clutter reason, it become a choice once and for all made by responsible people :)

then any player is free to hide the toggle button for his personnal preference and if the shortcut was hidden in the startup setting, any player is welcome to try and find a key that's not already bound to something to access change its skin :)

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Re: Help, please: I need an icon!

Post by Pi-C »

mmmPI wrote: ↑
Fri Mar 24, 2023 10:47 am
Pi-C wrote: ↑
Thu Mar 23, 2023 2:58 pm
So the first kind combines an image of 24x24 with 12x12, while the second kind combines 32x32 with 16x16.
icon64-1-export.pngicon32-1.pngicon24-1.png

I noticed the 64x64 image downscaled was making the side arrow touch the middle character. I made the different resolutions natively instead to try and avoid this happening i mimicked the original icons location and pairing on the images, i also used the color of the original game icon and 1 shade of transparency for anti aliasing. I think to really match the game's icon there would need to be a version with a lighter color for when the background is not the default gray but the darker gray as the icon changes color accordingly to keep visibility as the button become "greyed out"/disabled.
Thanks a lot! The dark version really looks better as there is more contrast now.
I have no idea how a modder sets the custom images though or if it help having the images similar to native format instead of 5 different squares :)
I've defined sprites which I then use as a sprite-button or as icon of the shortcut.
Startup setting are the worst and should be avoided when not absolutly necessary is my personnal opinion :D because it forces you to reload the game.
The required reload makes them easier to handle: There's just one setting to check (in on_init, on_configuration_changed and on_load) if you want to register event handlers only if they are needed. If you depend on per-player settings and one player disables the setting, you have to check the settings of all other players (worst case) to make sure nobody else needs that event handler. That's a bit more complex, so you're more likely to introduce bugs.
The per-user setting as you describe i think is great, because by default players would see the top left icon, they would not risk missing it like me when i missed the little shortcut icon not expecting a mod would add some. But then a player that is familiar with the mod , picks a favourite character, and keep it forever, no need to have an icon showing forever. It can then be disabled from the always visible screen, while still being accessible in the hidden shortcut list in case.
I already had most of that working before I realized that the shortcuts can't be hidden completely. So the new version (just uploaded it) will use this approach.
I wonder if this would make sense:
  • The shortcut is created depending on a startup setting, so if the setting has been turned off the shortcut won't clutter up the shortcut bar/menu.
  • The toggle button depends on a user-setting, so all users can turn their own toggle button on or off as needed.
  • There always is a custom-input (the key binding) to fall back on if neither toggle button nor shortcut are available. I've already added this in version 1.1.23, but as I couldn't come up with a reasonable default value, players must configure this themselves before they can use it. :-)
I think yes it make sense, this way for multiplayer server owner can configure the startup setting given their audience, if they expect many first timer, and don't use too many other mods adding other icon or other shortcut for clutter reason, it become a choice once and for all made by responsible people :)
Too bad I can't use both versions at once! :-D Anyway, I could still change to the method outlined above if people don't like the one currently used.
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Re: Help, please: I need an icon!

Post by mmmPI »

Pi-C wrote: ↑
Fri Mar 24, 2023 7:17 pm
I've defined sprites which I then use as a sprite-button or as icon of the shortcut.
Hey thank, i think the initial color was the one of the disabled_icon and disable_small_icon, which are optionnal and "when the shortcut is not usable", or a similar bright color. If you ever need them and for the sake of completness :
icon24-1w.png
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icon32-1w.png
icon32-1w.png (903 Bytes) Viewed 784 times
icon64-1w.png
icon64-1w.png (1.04 KiB) Viewed 784 times
Pi-C wrote: ↑
Fri Mar 24, 2023 7:17 pm
The required reload makes them easier to handle: There's just one setting to check (in on_init, on_configuration_changed and on_load)
[...]
Too bad I can't use both versions at once! :-D Anyway, I could still change to the method outlined above if people don't like the one currently used.
It's good that you could, if ever there is specific need ,like when you said the list of shortcut could be so long as to require CTRL F to find one, or for immersion, make it so that a player can further customize the mod to the point of hiding even this shorcut. It requiring it a reload of the game and being not the default option seems to me like it would go unnotice for everyone that doesn't plan/need to use the new possibility and still be a net positive for the others.

It could still force some reloading here and there due to setting missmatch but i suppose it would occur rarely compared to if it was required to change the visibility of the top left larger icon to hide the pixelated icon :D

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