// Quick action wheel

Here I ask your opinion and feedback on specific aspect of the game, or feature I am working on.
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Sun Oct 29, 2017 12:45 pm

So instead of simply making that "Pick Block" function (default mapping of middle mouse button), I was thinking of adding a quick action wheel as we actually have a lot of low frequency actions / interactions.
Instead of having many different key or combinations they could all be united under this wheel.

You would simply look at a block, hold MMB, and then a 2D UI wheel with various actions will pop-up:
  • Pick Block
  • Pick Color
  • Delete block (convenient if I do the Tool change)
  • Input label for button or systems
  • Setting for systems
  • Align to geometry (instead of that crappy double crouch :twisted: )
  • We could add more over time! This solution is easily extendable.
I am not at all satisfied with the holo interaction with button, so this would completely replace it. Have a 3D gui look sexy on paper but at the end it is a bit fiddly to use, hitbox is small and difficult to apprehend.

Now dont hesitate to tell me your opinion on that, and whether you know any game that have a good action wheel (or a bad one for that matter) so I can see any possible attention points. Or even if you see any more action that could fit in that.

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:26 pm

Rust has got a great action wheel. You just hold down the activation button, then move your mouse in the direction of the action you want to do, then release the button. This allows for high-speed interactions, as experienced players can do things in under half a second of opening the wheel! Inexperienced players (like me at first) also pick it up quite fast, able to do what they want real quick, too.
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Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:30 pm

While Starmade has made me predisposed to hate radial menus, the fact that this is a radial OPTION, not all the vital menus being accessed from a wheel.

It being tied to the middle mouse key than a keyboard key is a lot better.

Middle mouse can also extend to while INSIDE control of a ship/hover/mech/(tank, Trains, cars) for additional things like activating logic sets, or even using ship-borne systems like for example, future refineries.
(Of course there should be alternate ways to access these if someone is on a laptop, or otherwise lacks a MMB)
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Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:52 pm

Ark's interaction wheel is an example of a bad implementation. In ark it is possible that buttons switch places or move around to other locations. Not to mention that the navigation is multi level deep which makes it very slow and cumbersome to navigate and you can't see all the options immediately.

A wheel design should be quick and accurate. To make it quick the actions need to be in specific locations. As an example: reset should always be straight down. If for some odd reason suddenly delete is straight down this will cause issues.

If you make things not move around this will result in the system becoming less extendable and thus careful thought should be taken on what functionality goes where.

Another thing to keep an eye on is mouse motion accuracy. With this I mean that most people are not super accurate in their directional motions. Therefor you can't really add too many "pies" to your wheel menu. I personally think any wheel menu with over 8 directions is too much.

The size and direction of each wheel section should be static. rather than dynamically sizing all parts you should settle on a specific size and if there are less wheel parts than just don't render those parts but don't scale the other wheel parts.

In the above image you see from left to right the wheel with 1 option through 8 options.

If you want more than 8 options in your wheel menu or want multi level wheel menus then ... make a proper gui instead.

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:15 pm

The idea of a quick access wheel sounds good. I like having an alternative to pressing a button to use a cockpit or to access a machine.

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:48 pm

The quick-wheel makes a lot of sense, especially once more systems in the game are added, and middle-click-to-copy-block will seem like a limited use-case for an important key.

It would be good if the quick-wheel also tied to tools you had (but didn't necessarily have in your hotbar) to speed that interaction up as well.

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:06 pm

Full disclosure: I have never gotten "Pick Block" to work. Not once. I've heard stories of it, but it has never worked for me. I'll double-check my bindings in case it somehow got unbound...

I like the idea of a radial menu for special actions. I don't want Delete to be in this menu for the same reason as I don't want delete to be on a tool. It's simply too critical of an action in the flow of the game to be tucked into a menu or locked to a specific hotbar slot.

Making it a "block settings menu" would be good, the current shift-RMB method is fine but potentially overlaps with block placement and deletion actions. I do like the idea of supporting "expansions" to the menu depending on the block's purpose and such. I could see modders adding to it in the far future too.

If you're suggesting doing something similar for the HoloMap, that's great and I fully support any improvements to the way the holomap works!

IMO, Halo Wars had a great UI built around radial menus. The actions were consistent for each unit / building type, and gave you additional information on the current selection in the middle. The fact that Halo Wars was an RTS built for console players, and it worked flow-wise, impressed me a lot.

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:22 pm

The action wheel sounds good to me.

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:31 pm

I absolutely despise UI/action "wheels" in games.
90% of the time they are due to being bad PC ports of console games, 9% are implemented poorly, and the remaining 1% are okay.
I find them hard to read and use.
The only game that uses a wheel in a way I'm ok with is Hellion, and that wheel is purely inventory, not actions.

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Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:40 pm

I personally don't mind either way. I think more actions in general would be great whether its a wheel, list, or something other form of GUI I think would depend more on what actions we want to have access too. I agree with the others that there are many bad implementations, so be careful with what ends up being designed.

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