First, the UI is not done. We're shipping in 2016 and nobody at Mohawk considers the UI finished. We are still working on making it better.
The reason we changed to a different system is because the previous system had serious latency even on powerful systems. We could improve that latency by 30% at best, which was still unplayable to a large segment of players. So we changed the UI system. It has been a very tough transition and we're not happy about where we're at, but we're working hard to make the UI great. We want it to be much, much better than it was in all respects before the change. We recognize we're not there yet, but, again, the game's not done. We'll keep working.
1. The progress bar in auctions
I miss this as a visual representation of when an auction is going to end from the old UI (absent in the new UI). I've failed to bid on several auctions in beta 7 because I thought I had more time.
I don't like progress bars that go backwards. They look weird and don't make any sense. I agree it is less apparent with the new auction, but I don't want to use progress bar to reflect that. I am open to exploring other avenues of showing that information.
2. The fontQuick! Someone tell me if that's $90 or $98. This picture is zoomed in and enlarged. Now imagine having to figure it out quickly next to a bunch of different numbers.
We're using a mono-spaced font because it most directly shows the difference between one, two, and three digits numbers which is very important to reflect. This is the mono-spaced font that we're most happy with. I recognize that many people don't like the dot in the zero. We'll keep looking for a mono-spaced font that does what we need without the dot, but until we find it, this is the one that fits our criteria the best.
3. Extra decimal points
No explanation necessary.
I agree. I'm not sure why it's rounding like that. If you have repro steps that produce that, please let me know and I'll try to address it.
4. HQ upgrade popup3 issues here. First the spacing doesn't allow enough room to fit all the numbers in the same line so it throws your eye off visually. Second having the resource requirements separated by lines (as it was before) and having the header boxed in and colored breaks everything up visually and makes it quicker and easier to read and process all this information. Finally when you still need a particular resource to upgrade the font was white to call out what you were lacking. I think that was really important to have and would like to see that back in again.
We simply haven't had the polish time to fix this yet. I completely agree it's a mess. I know it's important. It will get fixed, but we have a lot to do and it hasn't been at the top of the list yet.
5. Black Market
The black market in the new UI is considerably smaller. That makes it harder to read, quickly distinguish what's on the market, and harder to read the prices. The new upgrade button is almost the size of 3 black market items. I miss being able to see the black market.
Currently I think the rules governing the black market are unwieldy and inconsistent. Different things come online at different times and there can be any number of things in the black market. Designing an interface that fits all these criteria is difficult and it's in such a state of flux that I don't want to dedicate resources to polishing up something that will likely change a lot in the future. I'm sorry it sucks right now, but I'm not going to fix it until the design is more consistent.
In the new UI you can fit the entire black market in 1/3 of the new upgrade panel (below is to scale). Which panel do you use more often?
The primary reason to make the upgrade and claims large and prominent is that if new players miss those components, they won't be able to progress in the game at all. I recognize and agree that expert players will see the space as used poorly and that they would prefer more information put in such a large space, but if the game isn't approachable to new players, we won't get new players and the game won't grow. We want players so that we have a rich and vibrant online community and lots of people playing online. I am willing with this bothering experienced players if it means that the online community is larger.
6. Building popupsThis is a zoomed in version and I still can't read how much power is being drawn from this building (because of both the size and the red font). Just about everything on this panel is hard to read during normal gameplay.
7. Chat screen is hard to read (particularly over top ice)
There used to be a shaded region behind all the text and some shadowing to make it easier to read everything. It's really hard to read the text right now even when it's not ice. I had to squint just to read my own writing earlier when talking with vievi during a game.
If you recall previous beta 7s in the past, we had some serious performance issues with the interface. The bad performance was mostly caused by. . . font shadows! So I had to go through and remove all the font shadows in the game so that the game would run at a fast clip. We're working on our own faster solution to font shadows so that it doesn't crash our framerate.
Re-adding font shadows would help a lot in making text readable, but we're trying to keep the performance good. I am very unhappy with how fonts look in the game currently and I don't consider it finished in any way. We will gradually be reintroducing font shadows to help text be more readable, but with Unity it is not without a cost. We have a lot of text on the screen and we must be very judicious even when we use the new solution.
I will try to make the font size larger and more legible where I can.
8. Font in the engineering lab is way too small to read
Notice how much larger and easier to read the numbers are. Also take note of how hard it is when you get to 4 digits for a resource. Very hard to read.
Agreed. The engineering lab screen needs a redesign. We have a lot more we want to show and it's not doing what we want yet.
9. Auction font is too small for high bidder and high bid
I mess up auctions because I can't tell if i'm the high bidder or what price the auction is going for because it's really small. Notice how big the font is to the right for comparison on the same screen.
I will try to make the high bidder and high bid larger. Auctions are very much like the black market. We're not happy how design has implemented much of it, so we're unwilling to invest a lot of resources in making it pretty because it will change.
10. HQ summary
I couldn't quite put my foot on what was wrong with the HQ summary until I went back to the old UI. It's basically the same issue I brought up in point #4. Separate some of the sections to make it easier to read so it's not just one massive blob of information that runs together. I look at the right image and it reminds me of people that don't use paragraphs when they type online. Your eyes glaze over and you end up understanding none of it.
I can add horizontal lines as the previous version has done, but I think they look bad. If we do display this information in the future, I'll probably roll a custom tooltip that lays this information out better. I recognize in the short term that the previous version looks better, but the game isn't finished yet. I don't want to ship with that tooltip.
One last issue that I still have is an issue with lag which i reported earlier. I've never had lag with betas 3-6 but beta 7 gives me lag issues when I found, upgrade, build buildings right after an upgrade, and when I build special buildings. I suspect others are still having this issue as well.
I've spent a number of weeks optimizing the UI and, from my profiling, those hitches are occurring either because large assets are being loaded into memory (headquarters or buildings that are not currently on the map) or the AI is doing some extremely expensive calculations. I recognize these are problems, but they are beyond the scope of the last few days of beta 7 to fix. We'll try to have a much better experience in beta 8.
I understand that the main focus for beta 7 was making it functional. That being said the combined aesthetic and performance issues above taken in cumulative make playing the game more of a chore for me and sucks all the fun out of it. It's too hard to process most of the information when you have to squint to read things and you can't make quick decisions.
These issues are really simple fixes but hadn't been addressed yet to this point. I hope this helps.
I'm sorry that it has made the game less fun for you. I have been very concerned about players rejecting the new UI and have been doing the best I can to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Most of what you're listing has been small things, but I have a task list multiple times longer than anyone else on the team. If you've noticed, we're a month late with this update and it's because we're trying to get all the functionality that was in the previous version and we ran into significant performance problems that took weeks to resolve. It seems we disagree on how I should have prioritized my time, but I agree with most of the problems you've mentioned and am planning on addressing most of them.
The game's not done yet and we're not done working on it. We want it to be a lot better. Please have faith in us that we will work hard to continue to make the game better.