Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

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Moriarty
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Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by Moriarty »

I realise this could probably go into the suggestions forum, but as it's just a graphical thing I decided to put it here.

At present it's possible to hold down the mouse over certain gui-toolbar buttons to get a drop-down menu of options (i.e., holding down over the rail button gives a choice of rail types to build with). But graphically, there's no way to know this functionality exists or even which buttons have it. They all look identical and it's just trial and error, which I believe is generally a no-no for UI design.

So my suggestion - do something like this (or whatever - something to differentiate them):
Clipboard02.png
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Note the little arrow next to the railway icon (nabbed straight from Open Office ;-) ). It doesn't have to be that, that just seems to be the norm these days. And of course, I'm sure the folks in this forum can do better anyway.
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by Batti5 »

Its an excellent idea, i hope the devs think that as well.
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by cmoiromain »

I don't find it that useful. Even when not knowing there is a menu underneath that button, when you briefly click it you have enough time to see the whole list appear. Then you'll click it again to see what that was, and that's it, you know you can choose different rail/road types.
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casperofthehobb
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by casperofthehobb »

on the other hand, there may be some multiple menu's behind buttons which you never use.
if you're used to play the normal version of ttd, not the patch or open, you may not use some of the options which now have multiple things
for instance: road now might have trams, but if you don't use roads, you don't know this
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by JapyDooge »

My vote is a yes! I've spend hours introducing new players into OpenTTD and this is one of the most anoying things to explain.

Please do, please do, please do

My design idea:
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Menu drop down idea
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FooBar
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by FooBar »

It shouldn't be too hard to incorporate, because the down-arrow-thingy is already available in the game. In the most simple form one could code a patch that draws the arrow on top of the button (in the lower right corner or something).
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by JapyDooge »

FooBar wrote:It shouldn't be too hard to incorporate, because the down-arrow-thingy is already available in the game. In the most simple form one could code a patch that draws the arrow on top of the button (in the lower right corner or something).
Is'nt it easyer then to just edit the graphics? Except when these are used at more places in the game offcourse but as far as i know they don't.
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DJ Nekkid
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by DJ Nekkid »

FooBar wrote:It shouldn't be too hard to incorporate, because the down-arrow-thingy is already available in the game. In the most simple form one could code a patch that draws the arrow on top of the button (in the lower right corner or something).
it can even be done with newgrf ...

perhaps add it to the opengfx?
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by planetmaker »

DJ Nekkid wrote:it can even be done with newgrf ...

perhaps add it to the opengfx?
That actually doesn't sound too bad.
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by FooBar »

Editing the original graphics results into copyright issues. Adding the arrows to OpenGFX shouldn't be too much of an issue though...

BUT, since every button but the start/pause, fast-forward and zoom buttons have a submenu I share cmoiromain's opinion in this.

Still, an arrow overlay coded into the game is the better solution. Having an arrow pointing if there's only one option available is a bit silly, so I think it's best to only draw an arrow if the submenu has more than one option. In case of like the company button, one can't add the arrow to the button image itself because in case of one player there shouldn't be no arrow, but in case of multiple players, there should be one. And in case it's coded into the game, it could be made optional for people like me or cmoiromain who don't need an arrow on the buttons.
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by bob27 »

Na I believe this is one of those things that doesn't have to be optional. This kind of thing doesn't take up much room and turning it off isn't going to make the game any easier (or harder.) I believe that if this is implemented, it should be standard, no on/off option is necessary.

@FooBar I understand that many of us do not need the arrows, (like me too) but if you think about it all of the menus in your "All Programs" section of your start menu have arrows, and since you're used to them it doesn't matter if they are there or not but nobody complains...
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by FooBar »

I don't have an 'All Programs' thingy, because I use the proper Start menu ;)

But anyhoe, those arrows there serve a purpose: indicating that there's a sub menu (regardless of how many options in the particular sub menu). In case of OpenTTD, all but four buttons have a sub menu with one or more options, which would mean that every single button (except four) would need an arrow on it.

Due to copyright issues this arrow has to be an overlay on top of the button image. If one implements such a feature, it's just as easy to make it optional, not?


EDIT: How about an OpenGFX toolbar /with/ arrows? There's a new OpenGFX release due for Christmas, so I could make one optional toolbar just to see how it looks...
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by Moriarty »

cmoiromain wrote:I don't find it that useful. Even when not knowing there is a menu underneath that button, when you briefly click it you have enough time to see the whole list appear. Then you'll click it again to see what that was, and that's it, you know you can choose different rail/road types.
But that's poor interface design. It should be visually clear to the user what they are doing and how to get to places. They shouldn't have to play around with stuff to find hidden menus.

FooBar wrote:BUT, since every button but the start/pause, fast-forward and zoom buttons have a submenu...
In case of OpenTTD, all but four buttons have a sub menu with one or more options, which would mean that every single button (except four) would need an arrow on it.
Why would you count a single option as being a "submenu"? There's no non-technical reason for such a menu (they're a bug I suspect), those buttons wouldn't need a drop-down arrow. So that's 9 that wouldn't need an arrow - that's a full 1/3rd of the 27 buttons which have no such functionality.
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by FooBar »

I agree that the buttons with only one option don't need a sub menu, but since the game does show a submenu with exactly one option [1], it should also show an arrow in those cases [2].

If those one-option sub menus were to be removed, one still can't draw the arrows directly on the button sprite, because there are certain menu options of which the number of options in the submenu depend on the number of players. In case of one player there's only one option (thus no submenu and no arrow). In case of more players there is a sub menu and should be an arrow.

But don't get me wrong, I'm not against your suggestion, not at all, but it's just that I don't need those arrows personally and I fear them to be distracting or space-occupying and therefore would like them optional...


[1] Those one-item submenus have been there ever since plain old TTD, so I don't think it's a but. It might be something that could be improved though.

[2] Compare with attached screenshot from my Windows programs menu. There's an arrow in place although there's only one option in the submenu. That doesn't mean one could leave that arrow out.
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Moriarty
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by Moriarty »

FooBar wrote:I agree that the buttons with only one option don't need a sub menu, but since the game does show a submenu with exactly one option [1], it should also show an arrow in those cases [2].
No, it should be reported as a bug and fixed such that there are no drop downs for things that have less than two sub-menus or the option thereof. Yes they've always been there, but that doesn't mean they're a good idea. We're just used to them being there.
I should point out I don't need the arrows either, but new players do, hence the suggestion.

A drop-down arrow isn't unprecidented. The game already has one on the "replace train / send to depot / send for servicing" drop down menu.

As to the screenshot - That's more apples to oranges. Following the analogy, in ottd the "folder" wouldn't exist, it'd just be a direct link saying "google sketchup".
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by FooBar »

Moriarty wrote:No, it should be reported as a bug and fixed ....
Well, what keeps you from doing so? Reporting it as bug is the best way to get a developers point-of-view.
Moriarty wrote:A drop-down arrow isn't unprecidented. The game already has one on the "replace train / send to depot / send for servicing" drop down menu.
I think that one is a bit big. One could better draw the bottom scrollbar arrow on top of the toolbar, since it's a bit smaller and would not be blocking the complete toolbar icon.
Moriarty wrote:As to the screenshot - That's more apples to oranges. Following the analogy, in ottd the "folder" wouldn't exist, it'd just be a direct link saying "google sketchup".
The only thing I wanted to illustrate with that was "even when there's only one sub menu option, there's still an arrow". Therefore the submenu in OTTD should be removed if no arrow is drawn.

On a sidenote: removing those submenus also removes the ability to easily see what a button does. It takes ages for new players to figure out what the right mouse button does.
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Re: Improvement for GUI toolbar suggestion

Post by Moriarty »

FooBar wrote:
Moriarty wrote:No, it should be reported as a bug and fixed ....
Well, what keeps you from doing so? Reporting it as bug is the best way to get a developers point-of-view.
Laziness. Though I have recently reported a bunch of other bugs. 8)
On a sidenote: removing those submenus also removes the ability to easily see what a button does. It takes ages for new players to figure out what the right mouse button does.
Agreed, there really needs to be some tutorial function, but I've never seen a decent one proposed now can I concieve of one. But that's a topic for another thread.
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