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Author Topic: Improvement of the basic station window  (Read 495 times)

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Offline Freahk

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Improvement of the basic station window
« on: October 28, 2020, 05:30:22 PM »
This one is a follow-up of https://forum.simutrans.com/index.php/topic,19069.0.html which raised a lot of thoughts about the basic station window due to its relation.

It is not easy to draw a line bewteen the station details and the basic station window. Thus, I first thought about which information should be displayed in which window.
As ranran already mentioned, standard simply merged both into the same window using tabs, but I agree with him, I'm not sure if that's a good idea in extended because there is much more information to be shown and even in that case, there should be an overview tab, so considerations remain the same.

In the other thread, Ranran mentioned it is hard to tell which information belongs where, relating to some informations shown in the overview being statistics, whilst others are live stats or static.
I would not try to split the contents by this!
I'd rather split it by relevance. The most relevant informations should be shown in the station window, whilst moving less important details to the tabs of the detail window.
That means when opening stations main window, the most frequently used informations should be shown as well as further informations in the least detailled way possible to still clearly indicate that a player might want to check the details in rather rare, but important cases.

In the other thread, I specifically said I'd rather expect the transfer times to be located in the basic window.
I'm not sure about this anymore. There are two cases where this information matters. 1st, when designing the station and 2nd, when the station is overcrowded, thus transfer times exceed the designed times. The first doesn't need any indication in the main window, in the latter case, an overcrowded station is a clear indication that the transfer time is raised, so the player can have a look into the details if he cares, so I gues it's fine to leave it as-is.


So, let's go on and have a look at the basic station window from top to the bottom:
1. Menu bar inclding the close button, name and koord. Leave it as is.
2. Name input box. I tend to leave it as-is, but I'm not 100% sure. Might be better to stick it to the left colum so the image can be moved upwards a little.
3. Stop state and transport types: We might want to add the line numbers, which we know from the details window, but I'm not sure here as well.
4. Owner. Clearly leave as-is.
5. Capacities. leave the arrangement as-is, but introduce an "type available, but not served" and "served, but not avilable" variant of those three icons (leading to 9 icons summed up)
6. This months success stats. I tend to leave it as-is, but it might be better to display previous months stats or the sum of the latest two half-monthly stats, because it's currently entirely useless after the month switched.
7. Charts, departure board, Details and the goods waiting/transfering list. This should get a redesign.


About 7, this section basically consists of 4 things, which I want to handle each on its own:
1. Departure board
2. Statistics
3. The Details button
4. Passenger Waiting/Transfering information


Departure board:
I am not sure if we really want the departure board to be part of the basic station window. I am not even sure if the data provided there currently is of any use. It's nice to know when the next vehicle will arrive, but the guess placed there is much too unreliable for any decision making.
It's kind of a fancy feature without an actual use and doesn't belong into the overview window.

Anyways, if we could get this feature to be a little more reliable, this would be very useful for schedule decision making.
I am aware, we cannot reliably calculate the future, at least not withot very huge coding efforts, effectively always simmulating vehicle moevements a few minutes ahead, assuming the network doesn't change in the meantime, which is not only a huge coding effort, but also likely rather computationally demanding.
What we can do quite easily, however, is to show arrivals and departures of the past. This would be extremely useful in decision making.
Additional informations like the actual loading time, might also be quite useful.


Statistics:
It's fine, but I am not sure if it belongs there. it might better be located in a tab in the details window. A key modifier, for example shift or alt, might be used to open the detail window of an object immediately, instead of opening the base window, when clicking on that object.
Some new statistics might be wolcome and others might be adjusted, but that's a discussion on it's own I don't want to start here.


The Details button:
It's fine. It needs to be somewhere in here.


Passenger Waiting/Transfering information:
This one really deserves a reoganisation including some kind of visualisation.
I had mistakenly mixed it up with comments about the station detail window here https://forum.simutrans.com/index.php/topic,19069.msg190797.html#msg190797

Except from these thoughts, it would be awesome to have a tree like organisation, which could replace the differet detail variants, like via (details).
Passengers: |___|__|___| 115+40 / 599
  In station:
  + 50 via King's cross
    + 42 > station 1
      40 to football stadium (1,1)
      2 to some house (1,2)
    - 8 > station 2
  - 48 via Waterloo
 ...

The informations to show this should be there, the difficult thing about it is the GUI part, but it would be MUCH better to use than those current fixed lists e.g. via, via details, amount, amount (details) and so on.
An option to group by wealth or not and a sorting (by amount, by name) should be enought to cover all the current cases, except from the origin case in a much more clearer way.
I am quite sure the latter can also be covered with some considerations.


Don't take this thread as a feature request, it's just my thoughts which might or might not help when reconsidering this window.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2020, 07:10:27 PM by Freahk »

Offline Ranran

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Re: Improvement of the basic station window
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2020, 09:12:24 AM »
Certainly accessibility is an important factor to consider.
It may be possible to place a separate button in the list that directly accesses to detail.

Offline Freahk

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Re: Improvement of the basic station window
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2020, 01:35:50 PM »
Just to make sure I understand your worries correct:
Do you think it's too difficult to click on a line in that list?

Well that might be true for some users. I see a potential accessibility issue for tablet users or people with bad eyes.
Allowing larger fonts should fix both to some degree, but especially in the latter case, that issue is just the same as without a tree organisation.


Anyways, an expand-all and collapse-all button might be a good option. Taking via (details) as an example, something like
70 via A
  - 42 to A
  - 13 to Long name
  - 7 to B
...

Is still much clearer then the current two seperate lists:
Via (amount)
70 via A
...

Via (details)
42 > A
13 > long name via A
7 > B via A
...

This does not only make things clearer, it does also save space in width at cost of a few more lines in the list.
That space in width could be used to add transfer in/transfer out informations to the same list.
That will make things even clearer and will save space in width and height compared to the current solution.
Thus, it should rather increase accessibility, instead of decreasing it.
If the accessibility concerns are about clicking on a line, we could drop this interactivity and use a fixed tree view on the current different view modes.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2020, 04:13:06 AM by Freahk »

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Improvement of the basic station window
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2020, 02:10:12 PM »
In relation to the departure board: the data displayed to the player in this setting are the same data used for passenger decisions as to which convoy to board to get them to their next destination, so these data do need to be displayed prominently to the player. The exact method of organising these data and displaying them to the player is another matter, but it is important to continue to display this.

Offline Freahk

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Re: Improvement of the basic station window
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2020, 02:46:36 PM »
I am wondering if anyone knew this and use it that way?
Due to their very unreliable departure time prediction, I didn't use these stats for ages.
Anyways, it might be worth a tab either in the basic or the overview window.

For decision making on schedules, I think past departure stats might be a much more useful addition, as actual departure times seem to be much more reliable than the departure prediction.

Don't get me wrong, I am aware predicting this reliably is really not easy and it's totally fine that it's not quite reliable and there might be some use of these stats that I was not aware of.
Anyways, recorded, actual departure times are much more an aid in creating schedules, especially when most parts of the network already are scheduled, so these times will already be rather reliable.
Such departure and arrival stats might also be used to improve the prediction itself.

Offline Vladki

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Re: Improvement of the basic station window
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2020, 08:11:53 PM »
In relation to the departure board: the data displayed to the player in this setting are the same data used for passenger decisions as to which convoy to board to get them to their next destination, so these data do need to be displayed prominently to the player. The exact method of organising these data and displaying them to the player is another matter, but it is important to continue to display this.
If that is so, then it should be used first to debug and tune the passenger routing. I was watching the display for a while on a station, and some trains (or whole lines) are not displayed at all, or randomly dissapear. It didn't show those trains even when they were in the station loading passengers and reversing.  On the other hand duplicate entries or trains that did not arrive at all have been shown sometimes.  If this information is used to route passengers, then there is something really wrong...

Offline Freahk

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Re: Improvement of the basic station window
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2020, 04:47:25 PM »
Yes, that's what I meant by very unreliable.
It actually sems more like gambling numbers than a prediction.

Offline jamespetts

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Re: Improvement of the basic station window
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2020, 02:28:25 PM »
Displaying times of previous departures would require storing all these data, which would be a substantial amount of work and is not a priority for me at present. If people would find this helpful and if it can be done in a way that does not overly clutter the UI or take excessive memory bandwidth (and is reliable), I should be happy to integrate anyone else's patch to do this.