OpenTTD UI design

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LaChupacabra
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OpenTTD UI design

Post by LaChupacabra »

This topic was created by planetmaker by separating some of the posts related more to the UI layout from the topic A manual of style for OpenTTD created by mcbanhas.
I planned to create such a topic, but not then and not yet. Due to the extent of it I'm not able to present here all ideas in the way I wanted, so in the near future I plan to start a new thread. This one will no longer be developed.

I'm not quite sure what this discussion is about. Its more about orthography, or just the readability of the interface.
As for the first, I will not take a position, because English is not my native language. I will write here only briefly that in the Polish version the following words are written in lower case, as Mcbanhas infer. This is in line with Polish spelling, but is it clearer? Rather not and although I rarely use the English version of the menu, as a bystander I believe that the current version, especially for this breakneck, undivided finance window layout is a bit more readable.

By the way, when it comes to readability, consistency, intuitiveness and functionality of the interface, I think that changes should go a bit further.
This part of the post will be removed soon.
Last year I wanted to present a whole set of graphics along with detailed descriptions presenting improved versions of practically all interface windows. I admit that I probably wanted to do too much at once and I would rather publish the proposals separately - if they make sense at all ... I also admit that I was confused by the attention of jfs about the difficulty of adding a separating line on the list (e.g. saved games). I do not know if in this case further work is purposeful ...

Since the topic refers to several elements for which I had my suggestion, I will put here some preliminary graphics and ask you for an opinion whether it makes sense to continue working. I note in advance that I am not a coder and I cannot help in this field. The only thing I can do is to prepare a comprehensive solution proposal and possibly some necessary graphics.

Finance window

In my proposal, case sensitivity would no longer matter - a new arrangement would eliminate this dilemma. Optionally, other changes could be made.
[+] Spoiler
Finances window v1.2.png
Finances window v1.2.png (305.88 KiB) Viewed 688 times
Finances window v2.1.png
Finances window v2.1.png (217.8 KiB) Viewed 951 times
Finances window v3.1.png
Finances window v3.1.png (198.55 KiB) Viewed 951 times
Edit: corrected errors left in the first graphic, capitalization changed to lowercase
Last edited by LaChupacabra on 11 May 2020 21:37, edited 6 times in total.
I am sorry for may English. I know is bed.

LaChupacabra
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Re: A manual of style for OpenTTD

Post by LaChupacabra »


This post will be removed soon.
Orders and timetable window
Here, the changes I wanted to propose would be the biggest, it could be said that they would be revolutionary. But it is also the least legible and intuitive element to use, which in my opinion requires the biggest changes. First of all, the windows of orders and timetable would be combined into one, while the commands would be mostly in the form of icons and not text, and the change of orders would occur by clicking on the icons by LMB (next available order) or RMB (opening and selecting from the list).
The idea is not fully thought out yet, several functions currently available are missing, and I have several different, but similar versions.
[+] Spoiler
Orders and Timetable window v1.1.png
Orders and Timetable window v1.1.png (135.3 KiB) Viewed 948 times
Currently, orders must be set in two separate windows. In general, setting timetables and orders is now excessively time and click consuming. The readability of this text, regardless of the font used, leaves much to be desired.
[+] Spoiler
Orders and Timetable windows STD v2.png
Orders and Timetable windows STD v2.png (241.53 KiB) Viewed 948 times
Besides, I would have many other suggestions for the interface itself, but...
Is there any point in working / writing about it?
not all.png
(798.21 KiB) Not downloaded yet
Last edited by LaChupacabra on 18 Apr 2020 23:01, edited 1 time in total.
I am sorry for may English. I know is bed.

mcbanhas
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Re: A manual of style for OpenTTD

Post by mcbanhas »

My proposal is merely for fixing grammar, orthography, and text formatting. So nothing to do with UI redesigning/overhauling. I would say make a new thread about it, because it sure seems there's a lot to go about with it, especially if you have a way of improving time tabling in the works.

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orudge
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Re: A manual of style for OpenTTD

Post by orudge »

Just an aside, but my impression was that "Title Case" is typically an en-US thing, with "Sentence case" being much more common in en-GB. That's not to say it can't be applied to both, of course, but I think comparing en-US screenshots to en-GB is likely to lead to confusion.

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Re: A manual of style for OpenTTD

Post by mcbanhas »

orudge wrote:
13 Apr 2020 22:15
Just an aside, but my impression was that "Title Case" is typically an en-US thing, with "Sentence case" being much more common in en-GB. That's not to say it can't be applied to both, of course, but I think comparing en-US screenshots to en-GB is likely to lead to confusion.
I should make it clear that both EN-US and EN-UK are nearly identical on the original versions of the menus showcased (the word Quit being the only difference), and EN-UK original also uses Title Capitalization on buttons. The EN-UK screenshots displayed only show my edit.

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Re: A manual of style for OpenTTD

Post by Bigboss »

LaChupacabra wrote:
12 Apr 2020 17:47
Besides, I would have many other suggestions for the interface itself, but...
Is there any point in working / writing about it?
Hi,

Thank you for this work, I love it!
For what my mere opinion is worth, I would welcome this type of changes to an old-dated interface which is now becoming cramped with all the great additions that were brought to this game by so many contributors!
Maybe one comment on the finance windows: I would suggest a proper financial statements windows with the 3 separate statements:
- profit & loss: showing revenues, operating costs, depreciation of all assets, interests and taxes, net result
- cash flow: revenues, operating costs, new investments in assets and construction costs, interests, taxes, new loans, loan repayments
- balance sheet:
  • Assets: gross and net (post depreciation) value of vehicles, roads & tracks, stations etc, cash position
  • Liabilities: Net result from previous year, reserves accumulated, debt
The depreciation expense might be the tricky part.
- for vehicles, we have the vehicle life which will be the basis for depreciation. Ex: train life of 15 years, so annual depreciation expense is train purchase cost / 15. The game engine would need to check the age of each vehicle to know in a given year how many years of depreciation expense are left for this specific vehicle. I suppose this is doable without too much hassle, because the game already 'stores' the age of each vehicle.
- for tracks, roads and stations: as soon as you record a new investment cost in any given year, it must be depreciated over a certain period (say 20 years). But I suspect (without having any knowledge unfortunately) that it could be tricky for the calculations, because except for stations, there is no construction date stored for each piece of track or road as far as I know... The same constraint would apply to other investment costs like terraforming or bulldozing a tile.

Happy to discuss.

cheers

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Re: A manual of style for OpenTTD

Post by jfs »

Can we please keep this thread to the topic of the style of writing used in the interface?

Changes to the layout of the interface are not in scope here.
Neither are changes to the financial model of the game.

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Re: A manual of style for OpenTTD

Post by LaChupacabra »

Bigboss wrote:
18 Apr 2020 11:38
- profit & loss: showing revenues, operating costs, depreciation of all assets, interests and taxes, net result
- cash flow: revenues, operating costs, new investments in assets and construction costs, interests, taxes, new loans, loan repayments
- balance sheet:
  • Assets: gross and net (post depreciation) value of vehicles, roads & tracks, stations etc, cash position
  • Liabilities: Net result from previous year, reserves accumulated, debt

This part of the post will be removed soon
I will answer only briefly that I would not like to see such far-reaching changes. Sometimes I like playing financial optimization of the company and some additional data would be useful, but the division into liabilities, assets, depreciation costs is in my opinion far too much. Even hardly anyone will fully understand these terms. The more that in the game today some elements are incorrectly named and somehow nobody sees it(?). Excessive amount of data in my opinion could be overwhelming for many players.


jfs wrote:
18 Apr 2020 14:23
Can we please keep this thread to the topic of the style of writing used in the interface?

Changes to the layout of the interface are not in scope here.
Neither are changes to the financial model of the game.
I have posted these graphics here because I think they refer to the mcbanhas proposal. On the one hand, I think that it's sometimes worth keeping uppercase letters to improve readability. On the other hand, I think that to improve readability and functionality, major changes could be needed where the correct spelling would not spoil readability.
In order not to confuse this topic, I will try to set up a separate thread (s) and describe all of the proposed changes. Maybe someday these comments will be useful...



English is not my strong point, but when I creating graphics for these financial windows, I came across a certain English version error that is probably even from the beginning of the game.
Revenue called as Income.png
Revenue called as Income.png (18.25 KiB) Viewed 688 times
It's not income, it's revenue.
Revenue - Cost = Income (here is the explanation from Wikipedia)
I admit that in English it is not so unambiguous and even google translator does not distinguish between the concepts of revenue and income, recognizing both as the same. For this reason, I initially made the same mistake.
It should be changed, because it is a much more explicit error than words spelled with capital letters (which improve readability). Leaving this in this form would be teaching players, especially younger ones, to misname.
In the Polish language version it is correctly named, but someone made a mistake elsewhere, calling once the "operating profit chart" as "turnover chart". I wrote about it on the Polish forum, unfortunately everybody got used to it so much that they didn't see it as a major problem...
For someone who understands the difference between these terms, it looks really stupid.
Last edited by LaChupacabra on 18 Apr 2020 23:07, edited 1 time in total.
I am sorry for may English. I know is bed.

mcbanhas
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Re: A manual of style for OpenTTD

Post by mcbanhas »

Hello, please refrain from making any further discussion on UI design, like jfs just pointed out. You should make your own thread for that purpose and request a moderator to move your posts there.

As for the term "income", I think it makes very little difference. Maybe using the term revenue is a bit more precise, but income isn't incorrect either. I do not necessarily think it looks bad or that it's worth changing.

LaChupacabra
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Re: A manual of style for OpenTTD

Post by LaChupacabra »

Ok, I will soon delete some of the content of my posts that do not quite refer to your topic.

I can't clearly define it, but I have some doubts. I will just say that in Polish between the terms "revenue" and "income" there is a fundamental difference and they do not mean the same. However, many people do not distinguish it and use them interchangeably without knowing what they are talking about.
I am sorry for may English. I know is bed.

mcbanhas
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Re: OpenTTD UI design

Post by mcbanhas »

Hello,

Do remember that the OpenTTD UI is subject to a GUI Style guide. It is incomplete as of this date, but some rules are already pretty much put into place. Do consider them before proposing any modifications.

https://wiki.openttd.org/GUI_Style_Guide

Furthermore, if you would like to engage into further discussion, it might be a better idea to engage with the UI people directly via IRC. More development discussion happens there than in the forums.

LaChupacabra
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Re: OpenTTD UI design

Post by LaChupacabra »

mcbanhas wrote:
19 Apr 2020 23:03
Do remember that the OpenTTD UI is subject to a GUI Style guide. It is incomplete as of this date, but some rules are already pretty much put into place. Do consider them before proposing any modifications.
I would say this guide is very incomplete. It contains only very basic assumptions, which probably everyone knows. By reading this you can only find out that the sky is blue and the earth is brown. But for sure? Some assumptions are out of date, such as the fact that pressing RMB should display the help text. Currently, pressing RMB on an inactive part of window field closes it - by the way it is one of the best improvements that have been added in recent years. There are also archaic and even ridiculous assumptions like the fact that the Delete button should delete all unpinned windows. What if someone prefers a different keyboard layout? For example, I have a completely changed layout. Should the newer versions of the game be deprived of the possibility of freely setting keyboard shortcuts? With all due respect to the person (s) who wrote this page, but following this guide with the goal of game improvement is pointless. Probably the only important and true remarks are that the interface should maintain a consistent and classic look.

In general, my proposals in terms of style or layout are unlikely to bring anything revolutionary. I like the OTTD simple pixel style and would like it to stay that way. However, I would like to improve the readability and functionality of interface windows, which are not very good in this regard. The biggest changes would concern orders and timetable windows, which would be included in one window. In this case, one could speak of a revolution.
mcbanhas wrote:
19 Apr 2020 23:03
Furthermore, if you would like to engage into further discussion, it might be a better idea to engage with the UI people directly via IRC. More development discussion happens there than in the forums.
First of all, I would like to present these ideas along with a description of each solution. What happens next remains to be seen. If they interest someone, someone will want to implement them in the game, I will gladly help as much as I can.

Planetmaker hurried a bit to separate the thread.. I planned to present suggestions about all window in separate threads, but not today. However, I am currently working on something else and in the near future I will not have when to do it.
I am sorry for may English. I know is bed.

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