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
Bookmark the permalink.
4 comments
Lonnie George
Lonnie George

Came across your game while researching available 4x games. It is looking good so far. I like that you are taking an original approach to solving 4x problems rather than going for the standard look. The small system windows work well. Since the whole point of the game becomes eventual empire management what I would want is a way to quick view multiple individual systems while still having a grasp of the full map. Well done.

Doug Cooper
Doug Cooper

Just found out about this game so my comment is probably a little late but I like the 3D galaxy map and the smaller windows for the system view. It lets you see detail about the system while still seeing the galaxy map itself. Just lets you see where everything fits in together. Plus, I think having any more than 5 or 6 planets in each system, you'd get bogged down in each system for too long before expanding to the next one. Everything looks great so far. Thanks.

Adam Solo
Adam Solo

One more vote for small window here. As you said it doesn't take as much space, which allows you to contextualize the system into the galaxy's "big picture". Therefore it gives you more information, which helps analyse the situations better, especially when making expansion decisions: "should I colonize this system or that one?". With a full system window I don't think you can do this sort of analysis so easily. Keep up posting whenever you have doubts and need feedback! It's a lot of fun to help! :)

Thomas
Thomas

I think the windowed one looks the best. Keep up the good work, we need more 4x game :P