• Civilization 7 has been announced. For more info please check the forum here .

In Depth UI Comparison, IV vs V

Zechnophobe

Strategy Lich
Joined
Sep 1, 2006
Messages
1,867
Location
Goleta, California
So, there has been some discussion about a lot of things about the two games. Some people argue about gameplay and mechanics, wanting things 'more like' civ 4, some think the new game is fine. These are all very subjective.

So instead, let's focus on the Functionality of the User Interface. A good User Interface has these properties:
  1. Easy to do things you want to do
  2. Easy to get info you want to get
  3. The more common a task, the easier it is to do
  4. Aesthetically good looking.

Now, we can't really talk about Aesthetics in an objective way, so let us just consider the first three. By "Easier" we mean that it takes less user time, and is harder to make mistakes on.

I have attached two screen shots, one from each game. Please open and look at each, and I will point out the big differences. I apologize for the Civ 5 shot, as I have neglected to turn on the upper left menu to show something, so we'll pretend its showing the default and oft reset to Tech view.

Both shots have the player 'mousing' over a city to get a tool tip. Without having to move the mouse even an inch, here's the information we see in the Civ 4 shot:

  1. The Hague's current food production, food bucket size, and progress towards next city level up.
  2. The Hague's current hammer production, build cost, progress towards finishing. We can even note that it must have some overflow as it is producing 20 per turn instead of 12.
  3. The Hagues current output of science, culture and gold
  4. Shows my cultural progress before expansion
  5. Every Building in the Hague
  6. The cost of the city in maintenance
  7. The city size
  8. THE NAME of the thing it is constructing
  9. The icon for the thing it is constructing.
  10. We can see which tiles the Hague is working.
  11. We can see what amsterdam is building
  12. We can see that amsterdam has the highest production of any of our cities
  13. We can see that Amsterdam is growing in 4 turns, and that it is growing fast (it is not just 4 turns away but been growing a long time)
  14. We can see which tiles Amsterdam is working.
  15. We can see the relative score of all players
  16. We can see what religions each player is
  17. We can see what pacts we have with each player.
  18. We can see who founded budhism.
  19. We can see my empire wide gold and science production.
  20. We can see what I am producing
  21. We can see the current time.

In the Civ 5 screenshot

  1. We can see what Paris is building
  2. We can see how many turns until Paris Grows
  3. We can see how many turns until Paris finishes its production
  4. We can see that Paris is the Capital
  5. We can see how many turns until Lyon Grows
  6. We can see how many turns until Lyon Finishes Production
  7. We can see an Icon for what Lyon is producing.
  8. We can see my empire wide gold, happiness, culture, science and golden age points.
  9. We can see my empire wide strategic resources
  10. We can see (should be able to) what i am currently researching and how much longer it takes to finish.
  11. We can see the city size

So there's our first look. You'll notice that there are a lot more things visible in the civ 4 UI than the civ 5 one. These are both being played at max resolution, and the Civ 5 UI is taking up a bit more of my screen (If it had the tech view out, which I again apologize for not showing). But the Civ 4 UI has more.

If I wanted the diplomacy screen to show up, it takes up nearly all of the right side of the screen... and is not transparent.

I will I think let this information speak for itself and comment no further for the moment.
 

Attachments

  • Civ4UI.jpg
    Civ4UI.jpg
    334.9 KB · Views: 979
  • CIV5UI.jpg
    CIV5UI.jpg
    398.7 KB · Views: 906
It seams to me that your neglecting the fact that statistics are so apparent in Civ5. The Civ4 interface was so congested because of the amount micromanaging. In Civ5 it feels like your more encouraged to actually go to the screens and investigate instead of getting a wall of info(like when you had lots of units in a stack).

Its easier to see what you want to do, I don't know about actually doing them.
 
One of my biggest pet peeves with the new UI is that the map looks like a christmass tree with tile yields turned on.

It's just one giant cluster**** of a mess with yields and resources turned on.

The city bar's are a stepbackwards as well. Hard to read the progress and dont show the useful icons like best prodcution, science etc. (atleast i haven't seen them yet)
 
It seams to me that your neglecting the fact that statistics are so apparent in Civ5. The Civ4 interface was so congested because of the amount micromanaging. In Civ5 it feels like your more encouraged to actually go to the screens and investigate instead of getting a wall of info(like when you had lots of units in a stack).

Its easier to see what you want to do, I don't know about actually doing them.

I couldn't disagree more. Statastics are much less apparent in Civ V vs. Civ IV. Otherwise, how is it we knew what the hell was going on with Unit cost and we have no indication whatsoever now? Trying to fine-tune your budget is just deleting random crap until you're not in a deficit.
 
It seams to me that your neglecting the fact that statistics are so apparent in Civ5. The Civ4 interface was so congested because of the amount micromanaging. In Civ5 it feels like your more encouraged to actually go to the screens and investigate instead of getting a wall of info(like when you had lots of units in a stack).

Its easier to see what you want to do, I don't know about actually doing them.

Can you give me examples of what you mean by statistics being so apparent? Also, what part of that screenshot do you find congested? The little words in the bottom left?

Lastly, and this is sort of a 'what type of player are you?' question, but do you ever set cities to auto build?
 
Thanks Cleistheses for your deep through analysis. You must just created your account today to share your enlightning dispaly of wisdom. Thank you you undertook this effort.
 
Sooo...you want to be able to do nothing and see everything? I'm confused. Are there two different camps of "Civ5 sucks" people out there or are you all the same? Cause you can't scream "It's too simple" and "It makes me move my mouse".

Your list for CivIV, anyway, shows your hand. We get it, you think CivIV as a refined product through years of patching and expansions is awesome. Go play it. Most of the things you list in CivIV is not even present in CivV. Half the stuff you list you can find through other methods since you don't NEED to know EVERY turn what tiles are being worked. I mean, really. You should have a pretty good idea what your top 3 production/research/gold/happiness producing cities are. You should not need to know who discovered a tech or who got a policy first.

I also notice a criticism of yours concerning Civ5 is that it doesn't spell out things but instead uses icons. However, you use Civ4's demonstration of icons (such as for foreign relations), as a positive.

Also, are any of you the slightest bit aware that you can scale down the UI?

Finally, stop making these threads. Someone be adventurous and make one thread listing all of your juvenile "I thought Santa existed" complaints about a 3 day old game (for the States). Thanks so much. Enjoy CivIV.

Moderator Action: Civility is an important part of CFC. If you cannot be civil, please stop posting. You post was fine up to the end where you crossed the line.
Please read the forum rules: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=422889
 
Thanks Zechnophobe for the comparison.

Apologies for double-posting but this is my reply in respect to the Civ V screenshot from another thread:

"The screenshot above is without any unit selected. When there is a unit selection the bottom left of the screen is obscured, as far as I can tell, for no good reason - for the data could simply be added to the mousover info. (And as far as I can tell there is no way to once again select no-unit.)

In fact the mini-map pictured displays the fundamental problem with the UI: lack of efficiency. Why the big blue bar when a button would do? Why the two side-buttons when there are slide-outs? And why not let us hide the mini-map to begin with?

The whole UI is in this style - needless cartoony images and wasted real estate. And on top of that it's not even friendly to use - takes more mouse clicks than needed to do the basics. "
 
Thanks GreyIago for your deep through analysis. You must just created your account today to share your enlightning dispaly of wisdom. Thank you you undertook this effort.
 
Thanks Zechnophobe for the comparison.

Apologies for double-posting but this is my reply in respect to the Civ V screenshot from another thread:

"The screenshot above is without any unit selected. When there is a unit selection the bottom left of the screen is obscured, as far as I can tell, for no good reason - for the data could simply be added to the mousover info. (And as far as I can tell there is no way to once again select no-unit.)

In fact the mini-map pictured displays the fundamental problem with the UI: lack of efficiency. Why the big blue bar when a button would do? Why the two side-buttons when there are slide-outs? And why not let us hide the mini-map to begin with?

The whole UI is in this style - needless cartoony images and wasted real estate. And on top of that it's not even friendly to use - takes more mouse clicks than needed to do the basics. "

What basics?

Thanks GreyIago for your deep through analysis. You must just created your account today to share your enlightning dispaly of wisdom. Thank you you undertook this effort.

I'm going to assume that you don't speak English as a primary language. That's cool.

I would also like to thank you for being fully ironic. And for hacking whoever's account that is to merely be so ironic. I, and the other posters, are flattered.
 
Sooo...you want to be able to do nothing and see everything? I'm confused. Are there two different camps of "Civ5 sucks" people out there or are you all the same? Cause you can't scream "It's too simple" and "It makes me move my mouse".


Listen, I just posted two shots and listed the stuff there. What exactly are you responding to?

Your list for CivIV, anyway, shows your hand. We get it, you think CivIV as a refined product through years of patching and expansions is awesome. Go play it. Most of the things you list in CivIV is not even present in CivV.

Actually, of possible UI elements, there aren't many. I think just religion from that list. (EDIT: And maintenance)

Half the stuff you list you can find through other methods since you don't NEED to know EVERY turn what tiles are being worked. I mean, really. You should have a pretty good idea what your top 3 production/research/gold/happiness producing cities are. You should not need to know who discovered a tech or who got a policy first.

I didn't request anything about tech's or Policies. I'm not even sure why you bring that up. The point is, that when I want to know what tiles are being worked, I don't want to have to click on the city. Is that any more unreasonable than wanting to skip the intro video?

If you are saying you can live with the poorer UI, that's fine. I'm not going to attack you for that. But saying that it is as good when it doesn't have as much information or usability, I will staunchly disagree.

I also notice a criticism of yours concerning Civ5 is that it doesn't spell out things but instead uses icons. However, you use Civ4's demonstration of icons (such as for foreign relations), as a positive.

I didn't list positive or negatives, just what does and does not exist. If any point is made there, it's just that civ 4 has icon and name, and civ 5 only has icon. There isn't any personal attack there or bias, it is simply what is shown in the UI.

Also, are any of you the slightest bit aware that you can scale down the UI?

That isn't horribly relevant, while I did make a side comment that the UI for Civ 4 is smaller, is was really to show that it was more efficient not that it was necessarily less intrusive.

Finally, stop making these threads. Someone be adventurous and make one thread listing all of your juvenile "I thought Santa existed" complaints about a 3 day old game (for the States). Thanks so much. Enjoy CivIV.

I mean, is this hostility really necessary? I feel like this is more of a 'someone comes in and points out civ 5 has problems and isn't perfect' and then a person like you comes with a really angry chip on their shoulder to show them what is up... generally by calling them names and being ridiculous.
 
Both shots have the player 'mousing' over a city to get a tool tip.

I think this is not exactly accurate. I think I remember getting different information when you mouseover what's being built vs mousing over the city name.

It's hard to tell from your screenshots exactly what you're mousing over in the Civ 5 screenshot, but you may want to see if more information shows up from mousing over the city's name.
 
I think this is not exactly accurate. I think I remember getting different information when you mouseover what's being built vs mousing over the city name.

It's hard to tell from your screenshots exactly what you're mousing over in the Civ 5 screenshot, but you may want to see if more information shows up from mousing over the city's name.

You are correct. If you mouse over the city name, you get no information whatsoever, just at tool-tip that says 'click to open city'.

I felt mousing over the build icon was a bit more of an honest comparison.
 
You are correct. If you mouse over the city name, you get no information whatsoever, just at tool-tip that says 'click to open city'.

I felt mousing over the build icon was a bit more of an honest comparison.

Haha, touche!
 
It's clear you have no clue or experience how to play the game at a reasonable level.
Half the stuff you list you can find through other methods since you don't NEED to know EVERY turn what tiles are being worked. I mean, really.

You should not need to know who discovered a tech or who got a policy first.

Statements like this are inexcusable. You would want this info in both civ4 and civ5.

Also, you are categorically incorrect about your criticism of arguments against civ5. Now, while the same goes if not more so for those civ5 fanboys (insisting the game is simpler and quicker so it must be better and a sentence later saying it is more complicated and time-consuming so must be better) a criticism of the UI isn't a criticism of gameplay. Civ5 could have simplified gameplay and an interface that makes you click more - while not necessarily saying this is proven so, they are not mutually exclusive possibilities.

Regardless of arguments about gameplay though, this thread is a good thing for people to read as the civ5 UI is just awful and needs to patched up comprehensively.
 
I don't think it's fair to label the UI as "good" or "bad" based on your own personal expectations of what should be displayed. When they designed the UI for Civ V, they obviously made quite a lot of design decisions around making it simple and clean and yet still containing the most useful information.

Like the big blue "End Turn" button. You cite that as a huge inefficiency, and yet I've lost track of the number of times in multiplayer we've been sat there waiting because someone forgot to end their turn because of the tiny little icon in Civ IV which is really easy to miss. So that's a plus for me, regardless of how much space (and really, it's not that much) it takes up.

In fact, generally, I'd take nice chunky graphics over teeny tiny little icons and a minute font any day. No I'm not a noob, and no I wasn't that keen on Civ Rev.

So my point being, half those positives you list concerning the amount of stuff on-screen I'd call negatives. I'd much rather have hover-popups and submenus than everything crammed onto one screen. Civ is a relaxing game to play - the extra few seconds to click a turn are irrelevant to me.

The OP has defined "easier" in terms of number of mouse-clicks. This is not how I define "easier". It's easier for me because it's all nice and chunky. Compare the specialist panel in both versions of Civ - the new one is chunky and simple, Civ IV's is tiny and fiddly. That, in a nutshell, is a microcosm of the entire UI.

I respect your attempt to contrast the two U.I.s objectively but I hope I show that even boiling it down to facts like you have, it's actually still subjective because we all have our own ideas of what constitutes the most important info, or how much info we need to see at once.
 
I don't think it's fair to label the UI as "good" or "bad" based on your own personal expectations of what should be displayed. When they designed the UI for Civ V, they obviously made quite a lot of design decisions around making it simple and clean and yet still containing the most useful information.

I did not label the UI in this manner. I simply listed the information shown on one, compared to the other. This isn't personnel expectations. I have not listed anything like that here. Just what is in one shot, and what is in another.

Like the big blue "End Turn" button. You cite that as a huge inefficiency, and yet I've lost track of the number of times in multiplayer we've been sat there waiting because someone forgot to end their turn because of the tiny little icon in Civ IV which is really easy to miss. So that's a plus for me, regardless of how much space (and really, it's not that much) it takes up.

I didn't cite the end of turn button like this. I referred to the entire hud as less space efficient, of which that is a minor item. Civ 4 also displays a message 'press enter to end turn' and both have options to not wait at end of turn. I feel this is not a UI problem.

In fact, generally, I'd take nice chunky graphics over teeny tiny little icons and a minute font any day. No I'm not a noob, and no I wasn't that keen on Civ Rev.

Functionally they are inferior. If you like the aesthetic of large buttons, I can't really disagree on that count.

So my point being, half those positives you list concerning the amount of stuff on-screen I'd call negatives. I'd much rather have hover-popups and submenus than everything crammed onto one screen. Civ is a relaxing game to play - the extra few seconds to click a turn are irrelevant to me.

Why not both? Look how much space that tooltip display from the C4 screenshot takes up. If you had something like that kicking it on the C5 view, it'd make me very happy, and wouldn't really touch anything else you have going on.

The OP has defined "easier" in terms of number of mouse-clicks. This is not how I define "easier". It's easier for me because it's all nice and chunky.

How is that easier? Do you require large buttons because your ability to make precise clicks is lacking? Mmm okay, maybe that comes off as a bit mean, but I'm leaving it there because I can honestly not figure out how larger buttons make things easier.

Compare the specialist panel in both versions of Civ - the new one is chunky and simple, Civ IV's is tiny and fiddly. That, in a nutshell, is a microcosm of the entire UI.

I have a hard time with this, since I honestly don't know what you mean by 'fiddly'. In Civ 4 you can assign specialists by clicking in the same spot a few times. In civ 5 you will have to scroll through a list of buildings.


I respect your attempt to contrast the two U.I.s objectively but I hope I show that even boiling it down to facts like you have, it's actually still subjective because we all have our own ideas of what constitutes the most important info, or how much info we need to see at once.

Well, no. The objective part is how much information is displayed. Right? That is completely objective. Whether or not you tolerate less information or not is subjective. And it sounds like you are more tolerant of these short comings in favor of aesthetic appeal. Appeal which you seem to label with the word 'simple' in the same way I have labeled the concept of efficiency at getting your data and commands and 'easy'.
 
The reason I said that it wasn't fair to label it "good" or "bad" was because the implication of what you were saying is that a better UI is one which displays more information.

Better for me, is to have that information available, but tidied neatly into various little sections. I don't mind having to click on a button to bring up the info - I would rather have this than have it all displayed at once.

My eyesight is not completely fabulous, so yes, those specialist icons in Civ IV were way too small. The new panel is colour coded, it has the building names with an icon, and the contrast makes it super easy to read and see what's going on.

I found the Civ IV interface to be a bit of a mess. It was an improvement to Civ III certainly, but Civ V is an improvement to Civ IV in my book. You won't convince me otherwise, just as I won't convince you. It's too subjective regardless of how much you try and quantify it.

That's not to say I don't think it could be improved, of course, but we're talking little tweaks not massive renovations.
 
Top Bottom