I could send you my old slightly broken thrustmaster with the PC - PS3 switch, that could probably replicate it.
Thanks for the offer but I'm hoping that NuKnossos won't share the same issue (since it works completely differently). I'll get back to you if the issue reappears.
If it is not too difficult, I would use a animated icon, like in internet browsers. Users are used to having to wait when they see something like this. If it is a bad idea to close Knossos while background tasks are active, you could catch the window close event and display a warning that it is not advisable to close now.
An animated icon sounds like a good solution. I might remove it later if it proves too annoying but that seems unlikely. If you try to close Knossos while background tasks are still running, you'll get the same message you get now (with the addition of an option to cancel running tasks which isn't possible right now).
There might be some people wanting to customize everything - interesting idea to offer TCs the option to go the extra mile. From my point of view, there's not much need for customization as long as the default is using a dark theme. Just being clean and functional with a touch of scifi might be good enough.
The idea with TCs comes from way back before Knossos even was a thing. A few TCs wanted a nice installer and IIRC there even was a modified version of wxLauncher for Diaspora? Not sure, it's been too long.
Anyway, properly handling TCs in the UI is still a complicated problem for me because we don't want to make users believe that they need FS2 to play any TCs but on the other hand we want to tell them that there are so many more mods beyond just TCs which they can play once they buy FS2 (which is incredibly cheap considering what you get with FSO, mods, etc.).
But that's a problem for later. Knossos has to work first before I can spend time debating details like this.
Hot damn, it's really fantastic to see Knossos being worked on again. You're a godsend, ngld. So I figured I would sneak in a couple of my thoughts on the subject because I also have some ideas and feedback.
It's nice to be back again.
Firstly, about the Nebula moderators (or as I would prefer to call it, the Caretaker role): in my opinion, there should be at least two of such active users in the community, obviously trustworthy, with some level of access to all mods for housekeeping reasons. Updating old mods to higher dependancy versions based on player feedback (after determining that it's properly playable, of course) would be the obvious task to do, but I can also think of resolving duplicates (there are two "Rogues!" mods in Knossos at this point in time, for example), assigning tags, helping people manage their mods in general, or maybe removing things that are widely not accepted (that is, responding to possible troll action). There are a couple other things but that'd depend on what features nuKnossos would have.
I mostly agree. Depending on how things go we might end up having caretakers (for public mods) and moderators (which can also access private mods to resolve disputes if necessary or remove obvious abuse i.e. if someone starts uploading stuff that has nothing to do with FSO as a private mod).
Something that's been hard for me to decide is who should fulfill this role. First of all, we'd need volunteers who are trusted to handle the job. At first the logical solution seemed to be to ask forum or Discord mods but I'm not sure if they'd even want to do this. I think we'll need a public discussion to decide this. We'll see.
Secondly, the interface. From my perspective as a player, a big part of the interface telling me what mod I played recently is completely unnecessary, as when I sit at my computer, I know pretty well what I want to play And well, difficulty and campaign progress are player file specific, so getting that right might be quite difficult to do.
The idea reminded me of the way Steam shows your recent games as the default home screen. Showing the most recently played mod in some capacity might be useful since you're most likely to play that mod again unless you've finished it already.
Before anything, in my opinion a way to make the interface a bit more straightforward is to allow the users to hide modding resources in a similar way to how FSO builds are handled currently in Knossos. This has been a source of unnecessary clutter lately. I also think that the Explore tab (maybe Home too, depends) needs a little bit of categorising: modding resources could be fully hidden in Home tab but could get a separate category at the tail end of Explore. Total conversions should definitely get their own category too. As for the rest of Freespace content, I'm not too sure how to specifically categorise it... discuss?
My current plan is to use tags for this instead of rigid categories. Certain tags would be hidden by default (engine, mod resource, test mod, ...) but the user would be able to add or remove tags from that list to tweak which mods they see (or don't want to see). This could also handle other edge cases like Novachen's translations.
I'm not sure how grouping mods under certain headers would work since I want to keep this system fairly simple (filtering mods by tag is still fairly easy to implement) but this could work if you knew that only a few mods would show up under each heading (most people don't scroll to the end and would end up missing later groups if too many mods end up in one of the earlier groups). This might not be an issue with things like mod resources since those are most useful for people explicitly looking for them. In any case, I feel like a good filtering interface would work better than grouping mods under headers.
Another useful thing would obviously be sorting mods. For now I can think that current sorting methods are definitely fine, but I would suggest adding "download size (minimum packages)" and "download size (all packages)" to Explore tab sorting, I think it might be of use for people who at the point in time have no decent Internet connection but still want to download something new. Happens to me a lot.
Calculating those download sizes might be an interesting challenge since those should include dependencies (but ideally only dependencies that you don't have installed already). Other sorting methods I've thought of are most recently played, most recently updated
In my opinion, Knossos would benefit from a piece of interface that would act as a news outlet, so to say. I think it could be just a minimal several line long text box near the top that would report new events happening on Nebula (and possibly in the community forum), for example think of something like this:
[Update] Blue Planet Complete v1.2.3 now available!
[Update] Uncharted Territory v1.5.0 now available!
[Release] Dragon's Roar has been released!
[Forum] Screencap contest 04/2021: winner announced!
And it would be absolutely fantastic if it would have been linked to a similar active news box here in the forum. For me that could completely replace the "Last played" part of the interface, but I also thought that it's possible to have both.
This idea has been thrown around for old Knossos as well and was actually planned but never became a reality because it's not easy to implement and I was running out of free time by the time the other parts for Knossos were done. The update / release events themselves are fairly easy to implement. The hardest part for that is where they should appear on the UI but I think this fits nicely with your idea of the new Home tab in the next section.
The issue with the forum integration is that it either has to be very simple (i.e. just a list of recent highlights) or something someone has to maintain.
How about splitting the current Home tab into two, a Home tab and Library tab? The Home tab could host, for example: the entire "Last played" interface, a "suggested" list/box under it, displaying the tiles of several previously played mods or something, and then a more exhaustive list of news underneath. The Library tab would then just take over the current functionality of current Home tab, that is browsing through all installed mods.
The reason why I'm pushing the idea of an immediately visible news box is for attracting and keeping the attention of players. Seeing a bunch of news about updates, releases and activities happening every couple days around here pretty strongly tells newcomers one important thing: Things Are Constantly Happening Here. This game is the furthest away from "dead" since its release. There's a lot of content, and activity is constantly buzzing. And it doesn't come from the optional and rare visit to the forums, or the Discord - as soon as you launch the game, you get to know that there's lots of activity around it.
I fully agree on the idea of the news box. As I mentioned before, the main issue with that with old Knossos was that there wasn't an obvious place for it in the UI and that it wasn't trivial to implement.
Knossos is something a lot of players will see and showing them what's happening around here might help encourage some players to be more active in the forum or Discord (might be wishful thinking but it's worth a try).
I'm not sure about suggesting mods because that's a whole can of worms that I don't want to deal with right now. I think it'll inevitably lead to people complaining that some mods are recommended more often than others or that some mods might not be recommended at all. To avoid that the algorithm would have to be fair and that sounds like a lot of effort that I'd rather spend on core features (like mod installation) instead.
As for rating mods, I believe that was discussed back in the day and ended with a "no" both for technical and, well, interpersonal reasons. I think it's pretty understandable that it's hard to give someone a bad score without it feeling hurtful. I personally would be one for some short reviews/comments instead (obviously moderated by the Caretakers), possibly combined with star ratings if the users rating it would explain why they picked this specific score.
I definitely want to add an easy way to leave comments and feedback. Something like "Hey, you just finished this campaign / mod. Do you want to leave a comment for the author?". I'm not sure if that comment should stay on Nebula / Knossos or if it should be posted to the forum (release thread?) and/or Discord.
Besides this, I have a couple more ideas forming but for now let me just suggest a tiny detail: in Yasuo's suggested layout, the "up-to-date" box looks interactive, and I presume it isn't. How about changing it to just a green tick, without the box?
Not sure, I'll probably end up using one of the icons from an icon collection that's already used in Knossos, though, to stay consistent with the other icons. It'd also be easier than adding a new icon set just for that.
Thanks for the detailed feedback! There are a lot of things that should be discussed with a greater audience and I've been wondering if I should post a new thread for NuKnossos since I doubt that many people read long threads like this one. However, I feel like it's better to hold off on any kind of big announcement until we have an alpha with basic functionality.
Thankfully, we're getting closer. NuKnossos can already import mods from an old Knossos installation, launch mods and render most of the Details page and some settings that used to be on the FSO Settings screen. I still have to finish the new screens, make sure saving works as expected and finally mod installation, update, etc. and global FSO settings.
Here are some screenshots of the current UI. There's a lot of polishing left to do and I haven't applied any of the feedback from Yasuo, yet. However,this shoudl give you an impression of what is already there and what isn't.
I've moved the mod title and version selector out of the banner image which IMO looks a lot better. There are alos a few new tabs.
The dependencies tab adds an easy way to change dependencies. The flags tab just has a list of FSO flags like the one in old Knossos. However, since this is just a tab on the details page, you only have one scrollbar which should make it less confusing than the current dialog and the save button most likely won't be necessary which means you can't forget to click it.