Server browser UI

Request new features or present your ideas.
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Server browser UI

Postby Asvarox » Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:22 pm UTC

I think we can all agree that current in-game server browser does it job in relatively poor quality. There are countless things that can be improved. It's also a quite important part of the GUI for (at least) two reasons:
  • Everybody sees it every time they run the game (almost)
  • It's one of first screens that new players see. It has it's value in player's first impression.
Now that being said, I'd like to start a brainstorm thing about what could be improved and, most importantly, how. I'd like to note, that TremFusion had their plans (that didn't make it into completed state though) for server browser. The wiki post can be found here.

Here are main ideas (many probably quite obvious):
  • Internet as default source. I have no idea if it's already here or not, but always good to point that out.
  • Drop the whole "source" press-me-until-you-find-what-you-want thing. I believe that tabs (like we have in browser) over the server list would be much more handy.
  • Drop "get server list" and "refresh" buttons or at least make them smaller or something. Both of these things should be done in the background (fetching the server list on server browser's run, and refreshing the servers while the user browses through the list).
  • Find friend is fine, though I believe many people are unaware of that option. Also, a friendlist would be really neat if servers where they are online were marked in the browser.
  • Password. This should go away, user should be asked for password once trying to connect to a password protected server.
  • Since we are at it, marking the password protected servers with a lock would be cool.
  • And another marking icon! Server that require the player to download something (like a map, or anything) should also be marked.
  • Also, adding a "game status" column in the browser that would show on what progress current game is. Maybe not specifically in time as it is on TF's mock-up, but as labels "early", "developed", "SD" that would depend on time or teams' stage progress.
  • "View Empty" and "View Full". These are cool and can stay, but I'd put them into "quick filters" section along with the button "advanced filters" which would show up a window with more advanced filters. These would include player count range, max ping, FF, building FF and such. It would probably be visited only by more experienced players, nonetheless should be kept as user-friendly as possible (I remember the Half-Life "advanced filters" window scared the crap out of me when I was younger).
  • Thats some more of future plans, but some kind of match-making thing like it is in many commercial games would be cool too.
  • No specific but probably most important - keep it clean, and keep it stupid simple. Make sure new players don't get lost! Localization support is much helpful here.
There they are. Probably missed a few. Please discuss
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Re: Server browser UI

Postby Qrntz » Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:34 am UTC

There's going to be an external one, using Qt, with a first (preview) release really soon™.
I am pretty sure we could give the in-game server browser an overhaul, but I don't know when will it happen and/or if that'll be any soon.
Answer to the immediate question «Why external?»:
  • C++/Qt is easier to develop and test, and is specifically suited to UI design, therefore does the job well
  • You don't always want to launch a game just to see if one specific person is online, do you?
  • Localization in Qt is a whole load of hell easier than in the engine at the current state of affairs. That said, I'll get to committing that ported UTF-8 patch to the engine soon™
That said, I don't have anything against beautifying the in-game browser.
In the meantime, I'll take your ideas into account, thanks.
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Re: Server browser UI

Postby Ishq » Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:29 pm UTC

We're definitely going to overhaul the UI in Unvanquished. Those concepts are good ideas, we'll see what we can do with those.

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