Shannon V. OKeets
From: Honolulu, Hawaii
I don't know if any of these ideas would be useful or applicable for designing MWiF, but here goes. I don't have CWiF, so forgive me if these features are already in it.
1. How about a context-sensitive Inspector pallete window (like what you can find in Adobe applications such as Photoshop CS2 and in Apple's Keynote and Pages applications) which will display information about counters/units that you select with your mouse. It can also display all the different units that are present in a stack and the order in which they are stacked too from top to bottom. The Inspector window could also have different tabs to show different kinds of information on the unit, eg. supply status. This could be a way of quickly giving players as much information as they want about any unit. You can also toggle from the Menu bar whether to display the Inspector window or not. You could also limit the amount of information available to you if you click on an enemy unit, which might be a way of introducing a limited amount of fog of war into the game.
2. Clicking on a unit will visually display (by lightly changing the color) all the possible hexes that the unit can move into during its movement phase. This will allow the player to quickly decide where to move the unit instead counting how many available movement points will be expended if they move to a particular hex. Moving a unit through enemy territory will also change the color of the hexes moved through to indicate that those hexes are now controlled by your side, which can then help you determine how to trace supply lines as well as zones of control.
3. During a combat phase, selecting a unit or groups of units on the map or in the Inspector pallete window will then change the appearance of the mouse arrow to a bullseye or cross when you move it over a potential enemy target. Clicking on a target then initiates combat and its resolution with appropriate sound and visual effects.
There are a lot of people who haven't seen CWIF and I apologize for referring to it so often. When I make comments about it you don't understand, please complain so I can clarify it for you and all the other people reading the post who also don't understand. Indeed, if I become incoherent in any way, let me know. The only reason I am writing this stuff is to communicate with 'you' and if I don't succeed - well wouldn't that be a waste of time. Just yell, it won't hurt my feelings.
As to your points:
(1) CWIF presents the top unit in each stack just as you would see it as a cardboard counter on a paper map. When there is more than 1 unit in a hex they are stacked with a very tiny shadowing effect to denote that there is a stack. Of more use to the player is that a small number appears over the stack indicating the number of units in the stack. Typically this is 2, 3 or 4 but it can be very large (e.g., 22) for naval units in a major port.
The topmost unit has 6 small squares as part of its top border. The squares are color coded to indicate the unit's status: available to move during this phase, has already moved during this phase (and therefore could have its move undone), cannot move during this phase, is disrupted, has been committed to an attack, is out of supply, and so on. Chris covered all the bases with those 6 little squares and while I might argue about choice of colors in some cases, I was unable to find any aspect of a unit's status that he missed.
It is extremely easy to leaf through the units in a stack. Every mouse click moves the top unit to the bottom. In addition, a separate window display at the bottom of the screen shows all the units in the stack spread out side by side. That window is quite large and can show more than 20 units easily. You can select units from the bottom window display to put together a group for attacking, overrunning, or whatever.
I am thinking of having the bottom window be optional. Why optional? Well, in this thread someone suggested having a 'flyout' display of the units. There is a picture of what I mean by a flyout display in one of the above posts. Essentially, it puts the units side by side right where the cursor is. Though it might seem trivial, not having to move your eyes to the bottom of the screen makes a big difference. I am also planning on displaying 4 full units within each hex when you have zoomed in to the 3 highest zoom factors. For more on this idea see the thread on Maps where I did an embarrassingly crude mock up of what it would look like.
One last thought on your first point, as part of the window at the bottom of the screen, CWIF maintains a set of about 12 characteristics for the hex the cursor is over. These include the total offensive strength, defensive strength, air-to-air factors, tactical factors, etc. for the hex.
(2) Showing feasible moves is a good idea. It should include an indicator when moving into a hex would cause the unit to become disrupted. CWIF includes the option of displaying (at the bottom of every hex) a national flag that indicates who controls the hex. When this display option is on, you know exactly who controls what. Similar options let you know the current weather for the hex and the weather zone it is in.
(3) In CWIF selecting units for combat changes the cursor when they are over a target hex. This is most useful for choosing bombing targets. Because combat is a separate phase in WIF, the player has to announce all his combats first, before any of them are resolved. Combat resolution is done in a separate window. You should probably download the PDF file Patrice set up for us
It shows the combat resolution screens (land, naval, and air) from CWIF and a whole lot of other stuff (what the map and units look like, for example).
Thanks for the ideas. Any more?
Perfection is an elusive goal.