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I wish radar icons were easier to discern from eachother.

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USrankShadowWolfTJC
54 days ago
From a distance, most of them look so similar to others that you'd need to squint in order to tell them apart. I mostly blame their lack of clear light-dark contrast, and would wish that they were mostly dark with color-coded highlights instead.

Still, even with such a change, the radar symbols look so abstract that, unless you learn about them, you wouldn't even be able to accurately guess what they'd mean from a glance. "Oh? An "X" marks an anti-swarm riot unit you say?" "What does that diamond symbol mean? Oh? An assault unit that wears down base defenses through attrition you say?" "That radar icon that looks like a person is a commander, right? Oh wait, it could also be a Detriment or an Ultimatum you say?"

With this in mind, what if the radar icons were made more clearly-defined, like, say, the various stat boosts that you'd collect in a game of Smash Run from Super Smash Bros 4?
[Spoiler]

Here are some examples of how various roles could be made more clear:
- Commander: Flag
- Constructors: Hammer
- Scouts (including Puppy and Owl): Eye
- Most raiders: Boot/foot with speed streaks
- Normal skirmishers: Bow and arrow
- AoE Riots (such as Outlaws, Rippers, Claymores, Venoms, Corsairs, and Scallops): Shotgun spread
- Rapid-fire Riots (such as Reavers, Felons, Archers, Recluses, Maces, Nimbus, and Dante): Front part of a gatling gun barrel
- Assaults (including Sirens and Detriments): Sword
- Precision artillery (such as Slings, Impalers, and Emissaries): Catapult with visible arcing trail
- Saturation artillery (such as Badgers, Firewalkers, Tremors, Merlins, and Shoguns): Hwacha firing off volleys of arrows, or MLRS/Katyusha rocket artillery firing off multiple missiles
- Anti-air: Upwards-pointing dual-barreled anti-aircraft gun
- Suicide unit: Cherry bomb or dynamite stick
- Anti-heavy skirmisher/artillery (such as Phantoms, Racketeers, Lances, and Paladins): Crosshairs
- Heavy gun-equipped siege unit (such as Grizzly, Crab, or Cyclops): A cartoonishly-short and fat cannon with treads/legs
- Transport: Hook and cable
- Drone: Top-down view of a quad-copter
- Drone carrier: Runway

Special cases:
- Scythe/Widow/Ultimatum: Bloody knife
- Iris: Curtain
- Dirtbag: Garbage bag
- Aspis: Shield
- Dominatrix: Heart
- Claymore (alternate symbol): Sea mine
- Djinn: Side-facing portals
- Placeholder: Vortex
- Jugglenaut: Minimalized, miniaturized Jugglenaut with raised leg, as if it's about to stomp on something
- Kodachi: Flame symbol
- Seawolf: Submarine (just as it is now)
- Swift: Boot/foot with speed streaks
- Raptor: Front part of a gatling gun barrel
- Raven: Crosshair
- Phoenix: A series of bombs
- Likho: A mushroom cloud
- Thunderbird: A storm cloud with lightning bolts poking out from underneath
- Gnat: Lightning bolt
- Zeus: Sword with lightning bolt overlay
- Blitz: Boot/foot with lightning bolt overlay
- Venom: Shotgun spread with lightning bolts replacing pellets
- Athena: Hammer overlaying a star
- Dante (alternate symbol): Head with devil horns
- Paladin (alternate symbol): Holy cross
- Detriment (alternate symbol): Skull
- Scorpion: Scorpion
- Scylla: Submarine with missile launching out of back

Finally, here are some ideas for images to apply as overlays for units of different factories:
- Cloakbots: Cape
- Shieldbots: Armored chestplate
- Jumpbots: Jets on the sides
- Amphbots: Air tanks on the sides
- Rovers: Wheels on the bottom
- Tanks: Tank treads on the bottom
- Hovercraft: Hover cushion on the bottom, and air-fans on the sides
- Spiders: Spider head and legs on bottom
- Ships: Sailboat
- Gunships: Helicopter blade on top, and helicopter pontoons on bottom
- Planes: Bird/plane when viewed from below
- Bipedal striders: Person
- Chickens: Zerg-like spike and mandible protrusions
+1 / -0



PLrankAdminSprung
54 days ago
(edited 54 days ago)

quote:
Finally, here are some ideas for images to apply as overlays for units of different factories:
- Shieldbots: Armored chestplate
- Jumpbots: Jets on the sides
- Rovers: Wheels on the bottom
- Hovercraft: Hover cushion on the bottom
- Spiders: Spider legs on bottom
- Planes: Bird/plane when viewed from below
- Chickens: Zerg-like spike and mandible protrusions

These exist, look closer at the units.
+0 / -0



AUrankAdminAquanim
53 days ago
As for the others, there is something to be said for simple and abstract icons. Even if their meaning isn't immediately obvious on first glance they yield less screen clutter in the long run.
+0 / -0


FIrankVermind
53 days ago
Most games focus on the unit class more than identifying exact units:

http://supcom.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_strategic_icons

When there are a lot of units, it should be easy to tell apart unit classes.
In real life, icons have also attachments on all sides to signify number of units at a place, special weapons, etc. https://www.militaryfactory.com/military_map_symbols.asp
+0 / -0



EErankAdminAnarchid
53 days ago
Evolution RTS uses a set of icons similar to what you are describing. Assaults are represented with a hammer, riots with a fist, skirmishers are three bullets, etc. This results in thin, non-solid shapes, and doesn't really make units easier to recognize. I much prefer ZK's minimalist simple shapes.
+8 / -0

ZArankAstran
53 days ago
I've never had a problem with the icons. Even the ones that look similar-ish, are typically same unit classes from different facs and can be broadly dealt with in similar ways.
+4 / -0



AUrankAdminGoogleFrog
53 days ago
You are free to make an icon set, or convince someone else to. I am fairly sure that you can use custom icons by adding some files locally to your install. We also have the ability to make alternate icons sets that can be selected ingame.

Here are some principals of the Zero-K icons that your suggestions tend to violate:
  • Icons should be fairly solid and blobby. This is to give a better idea of the position of the unit and where to click to select it. It also makes crowds look neater.
  • Everything (except constructors) should have a unique icon. When you make all the raiders boots with speed likes I don't see how you distinguish the 15 different raiders.
  • Icons should be about the same size as their unit. Some of your suggestions seem too detailed to satisfy this.
Perhaps these principals are too limiting. Again, try out your scheme and test it out.

Since the Supcom icons were linked, I'll say that I think they are terrible because they have too many identical silhouettes. The roles of the units of a particular move type are distinguished by a few black or coloured pixels right in the center of the box.
+3 / -1



GBrank[GBC]1v0ry_k1ng
53 days ago
I completely disagree with this, I think the icon scheme in ZK is fantastic. I can tell every unit apart at a glance and run replays at 20x speed from zoomed out view and know whats going on.
+10 / -0

USrankShadowWolfTJC
53 days ago
(edited 53 days ago)

Well, I just started work on some conceptual sprites that are mostly black with white highlights that would be recolorable depending on player color. Note that the black won't be transparent, as I'd like some good contrast between light and dark. Moreover, the reason why the sprites are mostly black instead of white is because I believe it's easier to spot light colors on dark backgrounds than the other way around. (Imagine trying to spot a fly in front of a floodlight, as compared to spotting a star in the night sky.)

So far, I'm covering most of the general unit roles.
[Spoiler]
The idea behind these 32x32 designs is that they would be inserted into bigger 48x48 or 64x64 designs, so that the unit's role is emphasized in the center, while the unit's type comes 2nd, as it's displayed on the border regions surrounding the role. So basically, it's kinda what we already do now.
+0 / -0



EErankAdminAnarchid
53 days ago
(edited 53 days ago)

I just realised there is perhaps an entirely different and valid problem with discerning ZK unit icons: namely, Starlight, Zenith, and Disco Rave Party all have exactly the same icon (with proviso that Starlight sometimes has the Glint icon to distinguish it).

The icon seems to most closely match Zenith, so if these are to be different, DRP could have a new icon. Perhaps there could be some thematic "chassis" element to describe all three as similar.

Perhaps like this?


+9 / -0

USrankShadowWolfTJC
53 days ago
(edited 53 days ago)

And here are the 64x64 icons for the various unit types, in which the icon for the unit's role will replace the big white square in the middle.
[Spoiler]
By the way, AUrankAdminGoogleFrog, how do I add my own custom radar icons in-game?
+0 / -0

DErank1a
53 days ago
How to enable radar icons?
+0 / -0

{redacted}
53 days ago
(edited 53 days ago)

Oh gosh I remember when Mex and Storage had the same icon. And Pylon and Windgens. Good thing I changed them! \o/

For what it's worth, I always considered Zero-K to have relatively good and useful radar icons. Definitely far better than SupCom's (I couldn't tell any unit icons apart in supcom without looking really close and even then it was hard). They're also neater than S44's - for some reason I really didn't like those.

But I do remember that there was room for improvement. Some icons are still shared (how about comm icons, are they still all the same?) and some details are lost (jumpjet symbols were a bit small or lacked contrast iirc). I agree that sometimes the light-dark contrast wasn't perfect, USrankShadowWolfTJC. A complete overhaul would be the wrong way to go though, imo. And if it were to happen, then please make sure that they don't look worse and more important that no information gets lost!

DErank1a zoom out until you see them.
[Spoiler]
+1 / -0



CZrankAdminLicho
53 days ago
Lots of thought went into icons, and they were originally generated using sets of rules (like chassis + role + size). Yes they require learning but after short time you start noticing patterns and you will understanding it's meaning .. long before you actually learn each unit's icon.
+2 / -0

FRrankThornEel
53 days ago
On that subject, is there a setting for having the icons permanently displayed (instead of disappearing when the camera is close enough) with the unit model itself still drawn when close?
+0 / -0


CHrankAdminDeinFreund
53 days ago
(edited 52 days ago)

In-game you can use `/disticon [number]` to set the distance at which icons appear. Set this to a very small number if you want the icons to be always visible. You can also do this easier using the menu as shown below:
+0 / -0



AUrankAdminGoogleFrog
52 days ago
Use this slider instead of following random outdated advice.

+3 / -0

FRrankThornEel
52 days ago
The problem with this slider is that the unit model isn't displayed when the icon is drawn. At best, I can activate outlines, but it isn't the same thing.
Is there a way to change the model drawing distance independently from the icon drawing distance? Also, is there a way to decrease slightly the maximum icon size, so it doesn't cover as much of the model?
+0 / -0

USrankShadowWolfTJC
39 days ago
I wish to bump this, because I'm still interested in making the radar icons a bit easier for me to distinguish from one-another, even if, for now, I'd be satisfied with inverting the brightness values (so that they're mostly light markings on mostly black backgrounds, which I'd be able to tell better than the mostly dark markings on mostly bright backgrounds). However, I STILL don't know how I can overwrite any of Zero-K's graphics files with some custom ones of my own.
+0 / -0



AUrankAdminGoogleFrog
39 days ago
I fed the wiki since then https://zero-k.info/mediawiki/index.php?title=Mod_Creation#Cosmetic_and_UI_changes
+1 / -0
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