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Author Topic: Pak set choice screen is ugly  (Read 3819 times)

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Offline Spike

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Pak set choice screen is ugly
« on: January 27, 2012, 01:00:08 AM »
Alright, this isn't quite as serious because I assume new players start with one set, but for those players who have more than one set installed this screen surely is not very inviting.

Simutrans will leave a very poor impression there. And we wonder why the program does not attract new players and other projects have bigger communities?

Offline Dwachs

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2012, 09:08:56 AM »
Any ideas & patches welcome :)

It would be nice if instead of the pakset name also an representative image is shown to get rid of the text-only start screen...

Offline Zeno

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2012, 09:14:21 AM »
Oh yes, a big button with image and/or pakset name would be great. That would limit considerably the amount of paksets displayable at same time, but I guess few people will install more than (let's say) 8 paksets at same time; so two rows of icon-buttons (2x4) or even three (3x3) could be a nice idea.

Offline ӔO

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2012, 09:23:22 AM »
since all paksets have their own splash screen, how about using that as a small, clickable icon?
I think there is enough room with the default screen size to have 3x3 or 1x7.

somewhat like the store page on the steam client.

Offline Zeno

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2012, 10:09:22 AM »
Not sure if the splash screen will be representative enough in all paksets... probably I wouldn't recognize them myself :P

Offline Spike

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2012, 10:18:10 AM »
A nice background image could help a lot as well. PNG/JPEG libraries are cheap to bundle with Simutrans today.

ActAirNeer

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2012, 10:56:29 AM »
Maybe a small image/screenshot showing some representative vehicles, buildings. I realize Paksets can vary greatly but maybe have a "similar" looking image (i.e. same composition, number of vehicles, size, etc.) which shows the visual difference between each set.

Offline IgorEliezer br

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2012, 02:42:51 PM »
I have to agree the way how Simutrans starts up is not friendly for new players at all. I had once said it.

Most games we can think of have another "start-up" routine:

1) Splashscreen with game's logo
2) Main menu
3) Select add-ons/graphic package/texture package
4) Select savegame
5) Play


Offline ojii

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2012, 03:10:51 PM »
I have to agree the way how Simutrans starts up is not friendly for new players at all. I had once said it.

Most games we can think of have another "start-up" routine:

1) Splashscreen with game's logo
2) Main menu
3) Select add-ons/graphic package/texture package
4) Select savegame
5) Play



On a related note, most games allow swapping of gamemode/addon/graphics-pack on runtime. Eg I would play pak128 for one hour with one savegame, stop playing that savegame, get back to the main menu and then play a game of pak64. right now i have to shut down simutrans and restart it, not very nice. Also if simutrans allowed swapping of paksets on runtime, the gameserver browser could be made smarter so whenever you connect to a server, it just selects the right pak.

Offline Ters

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2012, 04:38:27 PM »
Whatever is done, please don't take away the possibility to distinguish two revisions of the same pak set. That's easy now, since it's the name of the directory I put them in that is displayed.

Offline prissi

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2012, 08:00:10 PM »
The splash screen is displayed very early, before most of the other subsystems are fully there (necessarily, since so many stuff can be customized). Even graphic buttons may change by a pakset.

This I am open to suggestions; a smal icon would be fine too [but I would keep the text]. (NB: according the the numbers on SF, at least 10% click all the buttons in the installer and download all paksets, at least the one hosted on SF.)

The dialogue was added after we got beyond three paks. Before it was just a commandline option

Offline Zeno

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2012, 08:03:06 PM »
I agree some text should be visible even on a fully "iconized" menu; the folder name is still a good idea (below, next or on top, doesn't matter).
As Ters says, it's quite common for us people who contribute stuff to have different versions of same pakset in order to make our tests... and maybe also for other players.

About what prissi says, I still see coherence in the startup sequence: 1st of all is pakset, as long as most (visual) stuff after may be pak-dependant.

Offline Isaac.Eiland-Hall us

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2012, 01:43:33 AM »
I think a scroll-bar would be acceptable for those with lots of paks. So a decent-sized icon + text in a list would be good in my opinion.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2012, 04:30:03 PM »
I suspect that the best way of dealing with this (in light of Prissi's point about the subsystems, skins, etc.) is for the automated installers to create different shortcuts/icons for Simutrans with different paksets, bypassing the pak selector screen entirely.

Offline Yona-TYT ve

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2012, 05:08:46 PM »

talking about it
one of the things that limits me is that the change of Paks devo close and reopen the game

Offline Milko

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2012, 05:31:57 PM »
Hello

one of the things that limits me is that the change of Paks devo close and reopen the game

I approve, it is annoying having to restart when you want to change or reload pak.

Giuseppe

Offline Fabio

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #16 on: January 28, 2012, 07:15:06 PM »
Of it's not possible load/reload a pakset at runtime, could the game at least exit to pakset choice menu (a bit improved) in order to be able to load a new pakset without quitting completely?

Offline prissi

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2012, 07:55:14 PM »
No, this is not possible without very much work. And if, how would you exit the game? Another "Yes, I really want to quit" button ???

Offline Ashley

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2012, 10:51:11 AM »
I suspect that the best way of dealing with this (in light of Prissi's point about the subsystems, skins, etc.) is for the automated installers to create different shortcuts/icons for Simutrans with different paksets, bypassing the pak selector screen entirely.

I was considering the issue of distribution in light of developing a version of Simutrans for the Apple app store/iOS app store and thinking along similar lines (bundling the binaries along with a single pakset, and then extending the pakset branding). Given that most paksets run to dozens if not hundreds of MB and the binaries are fairly small it makes sense to simply duplicate the binaries for each pakset. This lets you simply put everything together into a single app bundle which is easy for users to manage. (E.g. you "buy" Simutrans-pak128, or Simutrans-pak64, each coming as a standalone application).

Offline missingpiece

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2012, 11:02:36 AM »
...create different shortcuts/icons for Simutrans with different paksets, bypassing the pak selector screen entirely.
Not quite the solution IMHO as you may want to retain the choice of loading the pakset with or without addons.

On that note : I vote for moving the "with addons"-option to the right of (or in the direction of reading "behind") the "without addons" option. I find it confusing now.

Offline Spike

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2012, 09:00:42 PM »
No, this is not possible without very much work. And if, how would you exit the game? Another "Yes, I really want to quit" button ???

Quickest way to exit currently seems to close the program window. This way changing the pak set only needs little time, it seems. Close window, start Simutrans again, choose set. Should be swift enough?

Offline isidoro

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Re: Pak set choice screen is ugly
« Reply #21 on: January 29, 2012, 11:19:22 PM »
And it benefits from a new fresh process with no leftovers from the previous run...