Author Topic: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions  (Read 36509 times)

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Offline The E

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PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
As you may know, I agreed to redo the PCS2 UI. There are a few things that I know pissed me off whenever I used it, and I'm going to correct those. But what do YOU think it could do better? What are YOUR annoyances?

Note that I probably won't be able to accommodate everyone's wishes, but I will take it into consideration nonetheless.
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Offline Bobboau

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
what are you changing?
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Offline The E

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
The main things I want to change are
1) The GLCanvas grabbing focus whenever the mouse is over it
2) The Splash screen being on top of everything
3) A few additions to the texture editor (such as incorporating a texture preview function)
4) Better handling for the path lists (right now, if the model paths are updated, the treeview and the path editor get out of sync to easily)
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Offline Bobboau

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
as for the textures, a UV editor is planned, though I suppose a texture preview wouldn't adversely effect that.

the canvas focus grabbing was to fix some other issues, though if you are going to tackle that you will run into them and have to fix them yourself.
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Offline The E

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
Like....? You know, it would really help if you explained that. Haven't found comments in the code that would do that yet, so anything you'd like to share would be appreciated.
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Offline Bobboau

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
I believe it was to ensure that the display would stay up to date as the GUI controls are all designed to automatically update when ever they lose focus.
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Offline Spoon

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
Quote
The main things I want to change are
1) The GLCanvas grabbing focus whenever the mouse is over it
This, a thousand times this.

One thing I would like to see is being able to select multiple subobjects (turrets) at once for easy editing. (Manually having to select the Movement type and Axis from a drop down menu for 20+ turrets gets old rather fast)

*edit: stupid typo
« Last Edit: May 24, 2010, 10:13:07 am by Spoon »
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Offline zookeeper

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
Here's a few of mine:

1. The model view doesn't work right with really big models: if I have for example a huge planet model which is just a simple sphere, I can't actually make it visible in the window.

2. You can't pan the view, so it's hard to get to see some parts of some models. Sure there's the hideous auto-centering panel, but it's a really bad way to do it (if it even works; I'm not sure).

3. The object tree hierarchy view thingy on the left collapses the trees on its own from time to time. For example: expand the subobjects tree so you see all the subobjects listed, then go to the textures panel and change some texture - bam, the subobjects tree collapsed, so I have to go manually expand it again. Very annoying when you need to jump back and forth between two places copying or checking something and have to constantly re-expand some trees.

4. The little drop-down menu next to the subobject properties box has a bunch of non-functional ones (at least $detail_sphere).

5. When saving a model without having the MOI calculated, please pop up a dialog asking whether you want it auto-generated. I can't count the number of times I've forgotten to do it and only found out when I actually run the game and try to use the ship.

6. Viewing turrets, thrusters, special points, paths etc doesn't work on at least some older graphics cards. I'd guess due to some missing/unsupported OpenGL extension that's used in drawing the orbs.

I left out the lack of proper error messages (which is pretty much the biggest problem with PCS2) since I suppose those are not an UI issue as such.

 

Offline Bobboau

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
most of those odd errors are related to some unexpected error, an error happened at somewhere I didn't think an error could happen. they usualy have as much information in them as I could get from the situation, like OGL returned some sort of error, or an array went out of bounds.
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Offline Vasudan Admiral

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
Oooh excitement! :D

General:
1) I'd love to see some checkboxes up on the main menu to define whether or not you want PCS2 to rebuild the BSP cache (but be sure to call it "Collision Data") upon saving, as I think that would be quicker and easier to remember than the Data->Purge option.
2) With the default colours, could the wireframe overlay colour for subobjects be set to bright red or something other than the same white that the wireframe view uses? That way you can tell what you've selected!
3) A 'recent files' list in the file menu
4) Some definable 'quick jump to folder' options in opening/saving, since currently it just remembers the folder you were last in
5) A default save name - currently even if you've opened an existing pof, when you go to save it you will have to type in the name of or select that same pof to give it a name, since that field is blank by default. The number of times I've overwritten the wrong model by mistake cos of that.... :\
6) Might be pretty tricky, but having a centre of rotation for the camera that moves only when the camera is panned. (Panning is Shift + Left Click + drag for anyone who was wondering) Currently if you zoom in and then pan to focus on a subobject, as soon as you rotate the view, you're left staring at empty space or some other random bit of your model, as the view is rotating around the ship's centre.
7) Slowing the panning speed down too would be good!
8) Clearer button icons - since it's always struck me as a bit pointless to try and differentiate movement constraint planes on a cube. :p It really needs to be a nice neat ship outline. A ship with a clear front and back, top and bottom so you can instantly tell if the plane you want to activate is the right one. Something even newbs will recognise would be great, like an X-wing or hercules.
9) Buttons to switch to the directional views (including reset) that are currently accessed from the view menu.
10) A "Do you want to save the changes you have made?" message box when you try and close the program.
11) A "Quicksave to PMF" button on the main bar, since PMF is a lot more stable than POF during the saving process. It would save a PMF to a tempoary directory in PCS2's installation folder.


Tree Menu thing on the left:
It's very cool and definitely a huge help, but a few tweaks I would love to see:
1) Better memory of its last state, as after any edit of a low level item such as a drag and drop will cause it to reset the area you're working on as well as the position of the vertical scrollbar if you're working on some area down the bottom. For deeper edits such as subobjects or paths this gets to be very frustrating.
2) It would also be cool if it could redraw faster or not completely redraw every time there's a change.


Subobjects:
Yeah selecting multiple subobjects to edit at once would be very handy, but if that's not possible:
1) Switching the 'Movement type' and 'Axis' options to be radio buttons would make them a lot faster to use
2) Not sure if it still does, but at some stage PCS2 imported subobject data and attributes based on their subobject number rather than name, so if you reconverted a model and that threw out the order, everything would get soooo mixed up.
3) A few auto-generate data buttons would be very handy such as:
"Turret" which would enter:

$special=subsystem
$fov=180
$name=Turret

and "Radar" which would enter:

$special=subsystem
$fov=360
$name=Radar Dish
$rotate=3


Turrets:
DEFINITELY change the "Parent" and "Physical" labels to "Turret Base" and "Turret Arm" respectively!!!

This might be better in the subobjects area or both, but an auto-gen feature to intelligently set up turrets. What I'd imagine it would do:
1) Clear all existing turrets in the turrets list
2) Look through the subobjects list, pick out 'turret' in the subobject names or subobjects that have been given turret subobject properties already.
3) Add the default turret data to those subobjects (not their arms) that need it.
4) In the turrets section, create a turret for each turret subobject it found, and set them up with their arms as well if necessary.
5) Have a guess as to what direction the turret is pointing in based on the parent subobjects position relative to the centre of the model and set that direction as the normal. (Just the basic 6 directions would be fine - I can write a series of rules to follow if needed)
6) Plonk a single firepoint at the origin of the turret or turret arm. If you wanted to be really snazzy you could place it at the extreme of the bounding box (ie, so a turret arm pointing up you'd pick the middle of the highest plane of the bounding box) but its usually safer to just use the origin.


Paths:
1) Could we possibly get little floating number labels for each path point of the selected path, and a note reminding users of which end to start at and go to. I keep forgetting! Point 1 is furthest away, point<last> is closest to the final destination/objective.
2) The ability to select a path point by clicking on it.
3) Maybe make a drag and drop control to change the radii of the currently selected path point. Ctrl + Middle Mouse + drag might work best. Towards the points origin would shrink, away would expand.


Eyepoints:
It would be good to change the default colour of the selected eyepoint to bright red so it's more easily spotted!
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Offline Nuke

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
-make it possible to move the right side panel to the bottom. this would look better on non-wide screen monitors.
-add a density setting to moi/mass calculation
-allow editing of submodel bounding box and radius
-lock rotation when using left/right/top/bottom/front/back views, use non-shifted mouse downs to control camera translation instead while using these views
-flythrough camera mode, camera may be controlled with wasd + mouse (please add invert y and speed options!), useful for looking at tight places on large capitol ships
-add new subobject properties to quick insert menu
-separate save and save as
-autogen support for collision meshes


thats all i can think about right now.

as for the textures, a UV editor is planned, though I suppose a texture preview wouldn't adversely effect that.

seems like the preview code could also be used with the uv editor, so you could overlay uv mapping on top of the texture to make editing a lot easier.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2010, 11:34:42 am by Nuke »
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Offline Trivial Psychic

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
In another thread, there was a suggestion of allowing the program to access VPs for textures.  First of all, it would be useful if, unlike MODview, it gives you the option to check for textures in the FS2 default VPs, or asks you to select which VPs (outside the FS2 directory) to look in, for example if you're working on a TBP model.  On a similar but possibly less feasible level, if the model opened has been accessed directly out of a .zip, .7zip, or .rar file, the program should look there first for the textures.  Now, that last one is probably more trouble than its worth, and possibly not possible due to licensing issues, but I thought I'd bring it up anyway, should someone come up with a brilliant solution.
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Offline chief1983

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
In another thread, there was a suggestion of allowing the program to access VPs for textures.  First of all, it would be useful if, unlike MODview, it gives you the option to check for textures in the FS2 default VPs, or asks you to select which VPs (outside the FS2 directory) to look in, for example if you're working on a TBP model.  On a similar but possibly less feasible level, if the model opened has been accessed directly out of a .zip, .7zip, or .rar file, the program should look there first for the textures.  Now, that last one is probably more trouble than its worth, and possibly not possible due to licensing issues, but I thought I'd bring it up anyway, should someone come up with a brilliant solution.

You can specify a full list of paths to check for textures in PCS2.  You could specify FS2, TBP, whatever folders you want, and you can even put ../../ as the first path or ./ so it always checks in the model's mod folder first.  The list even has customizable priority.  I'm not sure what you're asking for that can't already be done.

Zip programs don't work that way.  If you open a zip and doubleclick the model file, the zip program extracts it to a temp folder and opens that.  PCS2 has no way of knowing that the textures are in a zip file or where that zip file is, and they're not extracted with the model.  So that just can't happen I don't think.  Opening a zip file containing a model with textures via PCS2 is a possibility but would require archive support to be added to PCS2.  It's not a licensing issue, there's GPL'd archive handlers all over the place.
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Offline The E

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
Yeah, I think editing/opening files straight from a non-VP archive is too much work to be worth it.
If I'm just aching this can't go on
I came from chasing dreams to feel alone
There must be changes, miss to feel strong
I really need lifе to touch me
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Offline Bobboau

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
Kaz already has the code for opening files from a VP, it might be a lot easier than you might think it would be.

seems like the preview code could also be used with the uv editor, so you could overlay uv mapping on top of the texture to make editing a lot easier.

I'd need OGL to draw the polygons, so... maybe, depends, but it's not like that would be colossally difficult code to write if his implementation turns out to not be extensible for this application.


P.S. I'm not going to hold my breath on any of this until I see the code in GIT and a commit of any sort made.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2010, 02:56:59 pm by Bobboau »
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Offline x3110

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
PCS2 messes up the submobels when saving and then reloading POF->COB->POF (For rescaling)
(Try to export mjolnair (beamsaber.pof) to cob and then opening the cob,the grind02a submodel gets messed up)
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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
Apart from the things listed, a feature to browse through VP files (like Modelview has) would be handy too.

 

Offline Kazan

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
Kaz already has the code for opening files from a VP, it might be a lot easier than you might think it would be.

which is being rewritten btw
..


and STICKY PLEASE :D

adding this to the important threads.
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Offline Kazan

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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
PCS2 messes up the submobels when saving and then reloading POF->COB->POF (For rescaling)
(Try to export mjolnair (beamsaber.pof) to cob and then opening the cob,the grind02a submodel gets messed up)

this is probably a relic from the way the cob format is a pain in the arse
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Re: PCS2 UI revamp -- Now looking for suggestions
Well, if DAE support becomes "official", people shouldn't need COB anymore...