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GUI user feedback

Started by sdog, February 01, 2013, 02:42:40 AM

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At our g+ site a user who hasn't played simutrans in a while gave some detailed feedback. This is quite interesting, since he can provide some insight how someone new at the game might see it. He seemed to have some difficulties and frustration with some GUI concepts. Here's what he wrote:

I have been trying simutrans for the first time in a long while. But I notice that it is pretty hard to get into the game when you are not used to the way things are set up, the way the gui is handled it is not always clear what you are doing or more importantly what todo to get your truck on the road.

The gui could probably use some improvements in useability, to get people sucked into the game more easily.

His reply to my request for more detailed information:
For one simple advice in the depot gui, I would change the order of the fields in such a way that you work the fields from the top to the bottom, so the line selection would actually be the last field before the start vehicle, if I remember the fields correctly. I would put the vehicle status display button at the bottom of the depot gui.

Also the line selection could perhaps use some smart way to choose the possible lines automatically (any of the way points of the line within an amount of tiles or something like that)

In the line edit gui I had a hard time figuring out how to edit remove positions, I would suggest that rightclicking would have an effect on them, perhaps delete or perhaps the line edit box could use the way it works openttd with a waypoint selected by default, pressing the delete or del key would then remove the line. At the moment I had to select a waypoint press delete and then select and delete again.

Also another thing I would like personally would be for the zooming, instead of zooming on the center of the screen, zoom in on position of the mouse pointer, this makes it very easy to navigate from one position on the map to another without scrolling the map a lot.

There is probably more, but I read in a topic that you were having a discussion on gui changes, I think making categories for each item and/or more gui help, maybe extended tool-tips would help picking the right item. At one point I wasn't paying attention and I placed parking lots everywhere instead of busstops. I felt silly when I found that out. Shortly after that I stopped playing maybe because partly the gui hindered the gameplay, but otherwise I might have been tired.

You might be able to read this directly at the source, without having a g+ acocunt. Here's the link:



I would like  consider  "zoom in on position of the mouse pointer"

That would be helpful :idea:
You can also apply the same principle to the minimap


I still fell unsure about how to remove waypoints at times. One good thing with how it is now is that it is difficult to remove a waypoint by mistake (one can of course click on the wrong one), which is necessary as schedule editing can't be aborted. Right clicking might be safe enough, but that button might have a special purpose in Simutrans.


Personally, I think waypoints can be improved upon.

The tiles are highlighted, which is good, but they can also be numbered to give them context in relation to the schedule. This would reduce user error in deleting the wrong waypoint or adding a new one in the wrong order.
My Sketchup open project sources
various projects rolled up:

Colour safe chart:


The discussion went a bit further and Wouter specified a few aspects after i commented on his posting. Numbering for paragraphs of the initial comment have been introduced. First my text, then his:

(1) this was changed recently, and it happens all the time that i select a line, then a bus then have to go back to line selection. thought it was only me being used to the old way. But what you said makes a lot of sense.

(2) this seems a bit more difficult, considering different play styles (eg only one central depot for maps) worth to discuss though.

(3) i'm not certain i understood you here, you can delete empty lines olny with a single press of delete. lines with vehicles can't be deleted as a precaution to prevent the vehicles to become line-less.

(4) makes a lot of sense. how is this done in other games. i have to say i do this so automatically i cant remember how i did this anywhere.

(5) I shall forward this. doing this in a good way could be beneficial, but invoves perhaps more than a little work. it would be interesting if others also had difficulties with confusing objects/tools. Saying this since i personally never had any difficulties with that and can't really retrace it. But that is of course highly possible. (I always stumble over dragging tracks, starting some where after the tile i want, where others don't seem to have any problems.)

Wouter's reply
(1) perhaps it might also be the way the line selection is displayed (size/position) that it is not really the first thing you wish. My thoughts were I want a bus, not considering the lines at all. And after I got the line created and selected (I did not have a line while trying to create my first bus) I was searching for the button to get the vehicle running, that tells me that the position of the start button either isn't the logical next step. or the button is not in the right position.

(2) My suggestion would not mean you could not select any other lines only that the most obvious choice (as I said in some smart way) would be selected.

(3) I meant the way points within a line, not the line itself.

(4) I'm not sure what games have this, but I tried doing this in Simutrans and it didn't feel natural that it zoomed on the center instead of the mouse pointer. I'm not sure if this would be hard to implement.

(5) No problem, I like open source games a lot, Perhaps the easy stuff should be taken over and over time with a lot of small patches gui actions could be made more simple, less mousemovements/keystrokes/clicks to achieve an action.


Wonderful!  It's always nice to get feedback from a starting player before they get used to the game/GUI and not notice these things anymore.
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