From: metro Chicago, Illinois, USA
To some in this player community.
After the fact.
The new toolbar was widely advertised in
Coder Diary #9 -- Revamped Toolbar
Tool Bar Buttons?
Many screenshots in the public forum.
Every step of the way, we here in the private forum have discussed the toolbar at great length.
AFAIK, nobody -- nobody! -- expressed concern or objection to
the number of toolbar icons
their small size
that they run together, presenting a confusing display
Coder Diary #9 -- Revamped Toolbar was posted 8/22/2013 -- six months ago! A few weeks before, Tool Bar Buttons was posted 7/30/2013 -- more than six months ago! Why do you all think I go to the trouble of posting Coder Diaries? Among other things, to solicit player feedback of work-in-progress. For instance, feedback about toolbar icons, their size etc. -- of which there was little offered, and none of it critical.
Look here, at this screenshot from the Tool Bar Buttons thread, posted 8/16/2003:
Look familiar? It's a screenshot from one of John Tiller's Squad Battles. See the toolbar icons? Are they small? Did anybody say so? Did anybody say: Please don't make the JTCS toolbar buttons as small as they are in Squad Battles! Don't think so.
Another John Tiller game, Campaign Peninsula, superimposed on East Front 2.00:
I hang out at JT Civil War Battles fora. A lot. You know what? Nobody in that series' player community ever complains about the toolbar size, or the size of the toolbar buttons!
Another more recent John Tiller game, Musket & Pike Renaissance, superimposed on West Front 2.00:
Have I ever read any complaint about the Renaissance toolbar and the size of its buttons? Nope!
Man, you want small UI controls? I'll give you small UI controls! Look at the toolbars, and tiny map icons -- every one of which opens up a UI dialog -- in this screenshot from War in the Pacific: Admiral's Edition:
I hang out at the WITP:AE forum. A lot. You know what? Have I ever read any angry rants about the size of WITP:AE's UI controls? Nope!
What is it about the JTCS community that, despite fair warning, intentions revealed long in advance, now sees fit to raise a ruckus about 2.00's toolbar and button sizes? What makes us so special? Some of us, anyway.
I'm not getting any younger myself. I had to get reading glasses ~five years ago. (Although I'm not so dependent yet that I couldn't do without them.)
But maybe it's just me. I'm okay with the smaller icons. Especially because when you mouse over a toolbar icon
the Status Bar indicates in text what the icon is for
if the mouse lingers long enough, a tooltip does the same, additionally indicating the hot key for that icon
There is a logic to the grouping and the ordering of the icons. Players will learn to adapt to it. There is now a nice symmetry between the width of the window Title Bar, the Toolbar, and the Status Bar. We have more map space! (An issue, because otherwise why did earlier versions allow one to reclaim map area by toggling off the main menu?)
A peeve of mine: Games, especially recent games, where the UI is too intrusive and takes up too much screen real estate! I like my UIs to be small, unobtrusive. I think the uncluttered, business-like UI of this game is fine and dandy. So shoot me!
I so much hope everybody commits to learning the hot keys! Not just because I'm a lefty, I really think the game plays much better if we can make use of the otherwise idle left hand. With three ways to access major game functions -- toolbar, menu, hot keys -- what's not to like?
You know what? I predict that, soon enough, players will get used to the new arrangement, and the whole controversy will blow over. Not to say we don't implement the new, larger toolbar -- when Mike has time for it -- and offer it in the next patch (also in Middle East etc.). But by then, I predict that the issue will largely be moot.
But I could be wrong.