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City screen building icon clarity

Discussion in 'Civ4Col - We The People' started by FlaviusBelisarius, May 13, 2020.

?

How do you like the change?

  1. Yes please.

    8 vote(s)
    47.1%
  2. The buttons were just fine.

    5 vote(s)
    29.4%
  3. I would like to see all applicable building buttons having the resource icons.

    4 vote(s)
    23.5%
  1. FlaviusBelisarius

    FlaviusBelisarius Chieftain

    Joined:
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    Finland
    Hello all!

    -- optionally skip this part to move to the topic of the headline -->
    I am new to the forum so short introduction is in place: I am a long time colonization fan and have spent probably thousands of hours in my childhood alone playing the original Colonization Amiga version. While plain civ4col was a disappointment, the mods have been great and I have been following their development from time to time. But now I have finally decided to step in to do and share modding work of my own.

    I am a professional software developer and I work with python. I am comfortable with C++ too and just got the developer tools set up and managed to compile the game dll for the first time. Nevertheless, I am very unfamiliar with the colonization / WtP mod codebase and I would greatly benefit from some basic guidance. I have loads of my own ideas to implement but I can work with community given ideas if I get motivated by them enough. In my mind, WtP is moving in general into a good direction but I might be tempted to do modmodding instead if my visions diverge too much from the established development team. And of course, I have limited resources to invest here so realistically I will do a small feature or improvement every now and then and that is it.

    -- skip here -->
    I have been playing WtP for quite a long time but still I am having painful time looking at the building button (icons): the different workshop designs are not easy to match to their function. So I end up hovering for the tooltip info and wasting time looking for a particular building.

    So I added resource icons to the buttons that directly depict what the building does (for most buildings). What do you think? (see the screenshot crop)

    I can share the work if desired.

    -belisarius
     

    Attached Files:

  2. lethiel

    lethiel Streaming Col at https://www.twitch.tv/lethiel01

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Messages:
    129
    Location:
    Denmark
    Hi belisarius
    I like the look of your icons. Personally I know what the buildings do by now but its not unlikely that some people would find them useful. So my vote would be a 'that's cool by me'.
     
  3. Nightinggale

    Nightinggale Deity

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2009
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    I like this. It's so simple from a GUI perspective (maybe not coding, I haven't seen the code yet), yet it adds a lot, particularly to inexperienced players. Nice work.
     
  4. FlaviusBelisarius

    FlaviusBelisarius Chieftain

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    This is a purely photo-editing modification. Free to use or to adopt to any mod.

    Extract the attached zip file to WtP mod assets folder and it should overwrite two dds files. For some reason, the files got a lot smaller after saving with the Photoshop dds editing plugin I used but it seems to be working fine for me at least. Make backups of the original files to be safe.

    The files edited:
    [Documents]\My Games\Civilization IV Colonization\MODS\WtP28\Assets\Art\colonization_atlas_buildings.dds
    [Documents]\My Games\Civilization IV Colonization\MODS\WtP28\Assets\Art\interface\buttons\Unit_Resource_Colonization_Atlas.dds
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Lord Chambers

    Lord Chambers Emperor

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2001
    Messages:
    1,004
    Did you include the third poll option, "I would like to see all applicable building buttons having the resource icons" because you figure some people can't decide between option 1 and option 2 without more examples?

    I voted "Yes, please" because these bubbles help me filter those industry buildings and see the buildings I'm most likely to build.

    I think this is an improvement, but a bandaid on a bigger problem: too many goods. There aren't meaningful gameplay decisions to make where you settle based on terrain, and the consequence of every terrain producing 3-4 viable resources is that, I guess because tobacco has to become cigars, there has to be a corresponding industry building for every raw good. 20 buildings inhibit visual recognition on the build screen. It also inhibits recognition in the Civilopedia, where a player will find himself trying to sort through all the corresponding experts and their non-uniform naming conventions. I'm not sure what modders were thinking by increasing the good count. "Only 20 options...Ah, now there are 40. Now this is an economic simulation premised on political independence!"

    Settle the deserts, and having memorized which expert doubles, refine their salt into salt2 using a visually identifiable building. Thanks for helping make the building identifiable without a tooltip. I hope someone comes along and makes sugar, salt, and silver look different someday.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
  6. XSamatan

    XSamatan Chieftain

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2013
    Messages:
    40
    The icons are neatly done, especially those from the multi-producing buildings.

    I still voted against the the idea, the buildings are distinct as they are now, IMO there is no need to clutter the building screen with additional content.

    Maybe the devs could include them in the mod as an optional add-on?

    Regards
    XSamatan
     
  7. Nightinggale

    Nightinggale Deity

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    I will not rule out the ability to create an ingame switch to turn them on/off without having to mess with the files. The question is if that will be too much work to maintain as it will require two sets of building graphics and they should stay in sync.
     
  8. FlaviusBelisarius

    FlaviusBelisarius Chieftain

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    I put the third option if some people prefer consistency over the present partial changed one. I personally feel that the version I shared above solves the issue for me - I can more easily separate trade good buildings and pick the right one. Blacksmith, church etc are very clear looking to me - unlike some of the generic shacks and huts. And I just prefer to optimize ergonomics. If an improvement to visuals grants me a second less time spent to find a button every time, it adds up.

    I also feel it would be great to figure out some particular reason of existence for all goods in the game. Now they are too generic and perhaps even too "balanced" in my opinion. Historically, different crops / goods had quite different roles and significance.
     
  9. Tugboatspotter

    Tugboatspotter Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2019
    Messages:
    186
    I understand the problem since I have never become adept at identifying the buildings.

    This helps a lot. I really like it.
     
    FlaviusBelisarius likes this.

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