In my opinion, ATG's conception shines on larger\largest maps, where the logistical half of the game almost dominates the combat one. Unfortunately, ATG interface is lacking in the logistical department, and over the years I've found myself struggling with interface as much as with the enemy. It is especially true on larger maps, and sometimes I wage war on two fronts - against the enemy, and against the boredom.
Below are some of my thoughts on streamlining the interface. It would be great if the changes will be made in ATG, but I'll be delighted if they will be useful for the next installment of the series.
Wishlist (sorry if someone already posted some of it):
1. Creating, editing saving\loading templates for units. It gets tiresome to create standardized units in big scenarios. Especially if those units are similar. If players could create\edit, say, "Standard Tank Unit (2 light tanks, 7 rifles, 3 mortars)" template and then load it into new unit, it would be great.
Creation\editing must be available during the game - the game is very fluid and it's difficult to anticipate your needs beforehand (i.e. in scenario editor).
1.1. "Reinforce to template" button. Expansion of the previous. It gets VERY dull to reinforce several hundred units. Especially if most of these units need only 2-3 subunits to get to full-strength. It would also be great if there was some kind of "Reinforce all units of this HQ to their templates" button :)
2. Graphic representation of unit hierarchy. With colored lines, like in WiTE. Sure, colored bars on units' icons are very useful, but "WiTE-style" is much more informative on the grand scale. Note, that there's no need to remove colored sidebars. Both these graphic tools will compliment each other.
2.1. Graphic representation of "city-HQ" subordination. It's very difficult to fine-tune logistical subordination of industrial centres. Players must go back and forth between Production Overview and Logistical Overlay - it's OK when you've got up to ten cities (usually, players know them by names :) ), but not when there are dozens of them. Again, colored lines (as in WiTE) should do fine, and there's no need to remove colored bars on cities' icons.
3. Several display filters. After several turns on large maps players get disorientated with the sheer number of units present. Some units are "lost", some tasks are forgotten etc. It would be great to implement filter tools, which can turn on\off display of infantry\artillery\aircraft\engineer\etc. units.
It's wonderfully implemented in Airborne Assault\Command Ops series. In ATG it would be great to have checkable list of unit types. So, for example, you may "check" artillery, aircraft and HQ, and all other units will be "hidden" from view.
4. Hotkeys. It's a pain in you-know-where to maintain a large army. To ease the strain on players' wrists (and reduce risk of carpal tunnel), we need AT LEAST these:
- "do transfer", to transfer selected unit subtype to selected unit;
- "do transfer 10X", which sends 10 selected subunits to selected unit;
- "select next\previous subunit to transfer"
- "create new unit";
- "select next\previous unit in the selected hex";
These are so obvious, that they may be implemented already. If so, please point me to the hotkey list. I haven't found one :(
5. "Movement tasks", which span several turns. Again - it's very difficult to return to the saved game after a couple of days. "Where should these go?", "Why I've sent this one there?". Writing it on a sheet of paper doesn't help - there's just too many units (several hundreds of them!)
So, we need "movement tasks" - automated movement orders, that players can program for several turns. The best implementation I've seen was in Heroes of Might and Magic series. I could just point my units across the maps, and see their exact path and how many turns it would take them to get there. And in the end of the turn, they would go to their destination automatically.
Of course, it's inadvisable to use "movement tasks" in the vicinity of enemy units. So, to avoid accidental use of this feature, there may be some sort of "plotter" view, to specifically tell player, that he's plotting movement for several turns.
- more functional "Strategic Map". With filters, colored units (different colors for different HQs), graphic "city-HQ" hierarchy etc.
- ability to control for how much time will arty fire. Sometimes spending all 100 APs is overkill.
- increased scrolling speed or "scroll whole screen up\left\down\right" hotkey.
That's all for now. And thanks for a lovely game, Vic - it's wonderful that you keep on supporting it over the years!
< Message edited by Konrad_Novak -- 4/20/2013 3:32:32 PM >