System window view, full screen or small window?

I’ve tried out two different schemes for the system view: A small separate system window with evenly spaced planets like in MOO2, and a fullscreen version with more realistic full solar systems. I promise that I would put up a video of both to collect feedback, so below is a video with examples of each:

Small system window: This setup has the advantage that it doesn’t take up a lot of screen space,  so you can open it quickly while doing other things on the main galaxy map.  It’s limited to a maximum of about 6 planets/asteroid fields/gas giants, and would use the same kind of random distribution as Master of Orion II. The window can be used to quickly show information like fleets stationed in the system. I could easily make the window resizable, and there’s a possibility of having more than one open at a time.

Full-screen system window: This setup allows for more realistic solar systems, with up to 9 rocky planets, one massive asteroid field and up to two gas giants. The gas giants would orbit the system mostly outside the screen, and if gas giants are present an asteroid field can exist between the rocky planets and gas giants. Unfortunately, to get this kind of realistic planet distribution and still allow the user to click on planets this view has to take up the entire screen, meaning you could only have one open at a time and couldn’t have it open while watching other things on the main screen. It could allow for gameplay like exploring individual segments of an asteroid belt or moving fleets within a solar system, but it would also make it so gas giants couldn’t be used in any gameplay and would increase habitable planet density to up to 9 per solar system, which might be too much for large maps.


After testing both systems for a while, I’m still leaning toward the small system window. I’ve got a lot of positive feedback on it already and I don’t think the full-screen version brings enough to the table. I’m all for making the game look good and having more realistic solar systems, but I don’t want to do that at the cost of usability. Most of the game will be played on the galaxy map, and covering that whole screen up just to see what’s going on in a solar system or click on a planet might end up being a nuisance.

About Brendan Drain

Director @ Brain and Nerd
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