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BlueprintMenus

Blueprint Menus

This is a proposal for reworking the menu windows for wares, workers and buildings. Some proposals and discussion have already been made in the forum and the wiki. I want to turn the discussion more concrete (lists for all tribes, specific aspects of the different windows concerned) and complete (illustration, trading).

The menus for wares, workers and buildings are present in the following menus:

  • Wares: headquarter / warehouse / stock menu, ware statistics, in-game ware help, economy options, construction site box (some wares)
  • Workers: headquarter / warehouse / stock menu, probably in future: in-game help (like the ware help)
  • Buildings: action box (when choosing which building to be built), building statistics (here also the military buildings of other tribes are shown), probably in future: in-game help

There are three big things to think of: First, the sorting of the items in meaningful categories. Second, the illustration in the game which should make these categories understandable, make the items quickly findable, but should not make the windows too big. And third, the implementing of the sorting.

1. Categories

Wares + workers

I suggest 6 thematical categories: transport, construction, food, resources, tools, war. The items included in these categories for the different tribes are shown in the pdf Sorting wares and workers.

The categories itself are in order of appearance when playing widelands. The items are arranged from simple to complex, e.g. wheat before bread before ration.

This has been implemented.

Buildings

As in the action box we have to sort the buildings according to their size (small, medium, big building, mine), I suggest to do this also in the other boxes (present: building statistics, in future: in-game help). As second classification, I suggest the same thematical order as proposed for wares and workers. This gets the order shown in the pdf Sorting buildings.

This has been implemented.

2. Illustration

Wares + workers

This has been implemented.

Economy options window
The economy options window is currently a list in a much too big window (esp. too big in low resolutions). To make it smaller, we could design it similar to the stock menu.

This has been improved.

Buildings

For the buildings menus (action box and building statistics) we need two different illustrations, because of the different buildings shown (enhanced or foreign captured buildings) and the much more information shown in for each building in the building statistics.

Action box
For the action box, I suggest to let the present boxes and their tabs and just reassort the order of the buildings according to the six thematical categories. This is because a sorting in small, medium and big buildings is necessary and additional sorting according the thematical categories would make the box very large.

This has been implemented.

Building statistics
For the buildings statistics, I propose to make 4 tabs: small, medium, big buildings and mines. In these categories, I prefer to let the present list, because it provides enough place to show the information for each building (how many of the building type the player owns and how good their productivity is). I would rearrange the items in the list according to the thematical categories. The enhanced buildings could be shown indented after the original building to make it clear where they come from.

There are some newer ideas on how to improve the buildings statistics: Forum discussion and bug report on Launchpad

Trading

Another point to think of when changing the menus is the illustration of traded wares, because trading is one of the future projects. The traded wares may be the same as the ones from the own tribe (e.g. trunk) or others (e.g. gold yarn), which normally this tribe doesn't own but trades between two other players. Because the own wares cannot be seperated in original own and traded wares, I suggest to make a new tab in the ware statistics which shows the traded wares and the player with whom one is trading. In the headquarter / warehouse / stock menu, I'd add also the traded wares in a new tab, but here only the new wares (from a foreign tribe) because the others (e.g. trunk) are put together with the original own wares in the first tab.

3. Implementing

As the categories are a well defined set that matches all of the current tribes, it seems reasonable to hard code them into widelands. The mechanism to define the sorting inside the menus is yet to be determined. A simple and probably sane approach is to add to each conf file for each worker, ware and building of a tribe two new global option: category (a string value) and ordering_rank (a unsigned integer). After all loading is done, the internal array of description can than be ordered by categories and inside the categories by order rank. The current save game format would likely not need to be changed.

Conclusion

In the forum we discussed some details of the building statistics and the economy options window. The sorting in categories proposed in this blueprint have not been discussed, so I assume that they are widely accepted.