System map overhaul needed

And you have it already, just turn orbital lines on.
orbital lines only show for a body when looking at it, and even that is a bit whacky. that's not an orrery :D

i know you're joking around but you make a valid point. an orrery accomodating such large and small distances is indeed a challenging design.

yet considerably improving the usability of the system map isn't. it's nice looking (sort of), but the current layout scatters systems horizontally, forcing the user to navigate long distances to select far away items. this layout es even expanded by showing proportional sizes of bodies, and is aggravated by how slow and cumbersome cursor displacement is with controllers or hotas. and this anything but accessible 'planetscape' doesn't even convey any information at all about the topography, it just represents orbit hierarchy. it sacrifices usability for aesthetics (ymmv), ergo a student book example of bad user interface design.

the natural way (for left to right reading humans) to represent and navigate hierarchies is, as used everywhere else for this type of information, a vertical 'tree'. bodies could be represented with small thumbnails, optionally showing the full image of the selected body, along with information. a no brainer. it would be a breeze to navigate with current controls even for the most complex system ever discovered. heck, such a layout would even fit perfectly in the navigation panel where it is already partially done (pbbbrrrrrrlease! [knocked out]) with schematic icons (or even without them).
 
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Awesome thanks! I should have known this would be the case considering all the tools that are currently available.

This is really good. Why can't something like this be implemented in game?!?1? It gives you a great feel for how the system is laid out. A lot more intuitive...scratch that...it's incredibly more intuitive.

We need to continue to keep this idea alive and in-focus.
 
orbital lines only show for a body when looking at it, and even that is a bit whacky. that's not an orrery :D

i know you're joking around but you make a valid point. an orrery accomodating such large and small distances is indeed a challenging design.

yet considerably improving the usability of the system map isn't. it's nice looking (sort of), but the current layout scatters systems horizontally, forcing the user to navigate long distances to select far away items. this layout es even expanded by showing proportional sizes of bodies, and is aggravated by how slow and cumbersome cursor displacement is with controllers or hotas. and this anything but accessible 'planetscape' doesn't even convey any information at all about the topography, it just represents orbit hierarchy. it sacrifices usability for aesthetics (ymmv), ergo a student book example of bad user interface design.

the natural way (for left to right reading humans) to represent and navigate hierarchies is, as used everywhere else for this type of information, a vertical 'tree'. bodies could be represented with small thumbnails, optionally showing the full image of the selected body, along with information. a no brainer. it would be a breeze to navigate with current controls even for the most complex system ever discovered. heck, such a layout would even fit perfectly in the navigation panel (pbbbrrrrrrlease! [knocked out]) with schematic icons (or even without them).
There are lots of ways a map can be represented, they all offer advantages & disadvantages depending on what you want to be able to do with them. Consider a map of the Earth's surface, which as we can all appreciate is only ideally represented on the 3d surface of a globe, but in order to get sufficient detail to make it practical to use in every-day life the globe would be far too big to be practical, so instead for centuries we carried paper maps which distort the landscape in some way.

The ED system view needs to be able to represent any of billions of variations, including systems like Alpha Centauri where the true scale cannot practically be represented, so distance scales must be compressed. There is no useful purpose in viewing Hutton Orbital and Alpha Centauri A/B on a single orrery view, they are effectively two separate systems from a gameplay perspective. That they are gravitationally bound and considered a single system is just an inconvenience or feature depending on the players perspective.

But an orrery view would have to be able to represent it as a single system, just as the current sysmap does (easily).

DrewCarnegie compares it well to the London Underground map - it's a really clever solution to a problem that should not be underestimated.

With any map there will always be some compromise of scale or distortion of distance. Someone faced that dilemma at FDev and came up with the (imo) brilliant map we have instead of an orrery view or any number of other choices. The design language of that absolutely does not need to be updated or changed simply because we have had it for a while now & players want to see something different.
 
yep, that's a good example of how hard it is to get orreries right :D
Nah, just imagine that web map with the Frontier polish like the in game galaxy map has. I have full confidence that the devs could make an awesome orrery map if they chose to. It would be an excellent tool for the majority of the players.
 
With any map there will always be some compromise of scale or distortion of distance. Someone faced that dilemma at FDev and came up with the (imo) brilliant map we have instead of an orrery view or any number of other choices. The design language of that absolutely does not need to be updated or changed simply because we have had it for a while now & players want to see something different.
except it is interactive, meant to be used. this is user interface, not infographics :) top priority is easy and fast access to any element. from that perspective it is just a failure.
 
except it is interactive, meant to be used. this is user interface, not infographics :) top priority is easy and fast access to any element. from that perspective it is just a failure.
I think that's a matter of opinion. From a usability perspective I'd rather click on a bunch of planets in a line than try to select them from their locations on their orbit lines. Right now I can quickly look at (a real world example for me) the size of the closest landable moon to each of several gas giants in a system. An orrery view would be terrible for that.

As I said earlier in the thread
in 4,000hrs of play I've never thought to myself 'An orrery map would help here'.
 
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I think that's a matter of opinion. From a usability perspective I'd rather click on a bunch of planets in a line than try to select them from their locations on their orbit lines.
doesn't work in vr, and isn't suitable for hotas and controller. that's not a matter of opinion, but usability across all platforms and devices: user interface basics.

Right now I can quickly look at (a real world example for me) the size of the closest landable moon to each of several gas giants in a system. An orrery view would be terrible for that.
again, i wasn't proposing an orrery but a hierarchical list (e.g. the navigation panel).
 
I just wish the current map didnt take so dang long to pan through in VR. Why can't I look at a place and hit a to select. Instead I gotta zooooom all the way out. Scrooooooll right and occasionally down and hope to god it doesnt glitch out and actually lets me interact with the object I highlighted. Since the last major update more often than not its greyed out and stays that way until i leave the system map and go back in... and zoom and pan some more.
 
doesn't work in vr, and isn't suitable for hotas and controller. that's not a matter of opinion, but usability across all platforms and devices: user interface basics.



again, i wasn't proposing an orrery but a hierarchical list (e.g. the navigation panel).
I imagine with VR having the game go to a separate flat page would be jarring, but I don't see how that would be different with an orrery. The issue there is with the user interface, not the design language of the map. If the sysmap were presented as a panel (like the left & right panels, or the docking menu) it would help. I don't think VR is a factor for the map itself, only the way it is presented to the player.

If you want to put the current sysmap in the nav panel I wouldn't have a problem with that. This thread is about adding an orrery view in addition to our current map. My basic argument is that it would require an enormous amount of work. Nothing you say changes that.

btw I use a hotas, it doesn't present a problem for me at all (just scroll around, zoom in & out etc). The galmap is more difficult to use because you effectively 'fly' around in it. I can imagine an orrery would have more in common with the galmap user interface. Both just depend on your controller setup, again I don't think it helps the discussion either way.
 
I would be happy with the same 2d map with the ability to plot waypoints to all the bodies in the system that I want to visit. It seems like that would be much easier to implement and would actually be very useful. Visit the system map once. Plot your most efficient course. Explore.
 
I would be happy with the same 2d map with the ability to plot waypoints to all the bodies in the system that I want to visit. It seems like that would be much easier to implement and would actually be very useful. Visit the system map once. Plot your most efficient course. Explore.
I'd like to have my next body selected & ready to go while the current body scan completes, a similar requirement to yours. We already have route plotting & a 'resume course's system in place with the galmap.

That would be something where an orrery view would be helpful, possibly by zooming in on a system dot on the galmap. Again though, it would be a lot of work for a relatively minor benefit.
 
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I was a tad on the stompy side with those hopes and dreams wasn't I? So let me try to explain. There's a whole load of improvements that can be made to the current system, some additions, some refinement. This could happen in the next year of updates, so I won't say no on that. There's a lot of buzzing going on in the office as people are working hard the game. Loads being done across the game. We don't have unlimited funds, resources, and time so we have to be smart about what we do. What is being suggested and discussed in this thread (by some people) is going into the territory of a 3D orrery map with data points and contextual information accurately plotted. Essentially a to-scale replica of the system as an interactive (or at least a move/pan-able) entity.

Rebuilding the entire mapping system is an unlikely thing right now, which is what would probably be required (again, speaking from the perspective of a layman) for such a gargantuan task. Improvements and refinement, I could see that happening as you sometimes see in milestone updates. Rebuilding...? not for the foreseeable.
I know recources are limited. But this isn't really re-mapping everything.For all I care, you leave the uss-system in place because I understand that that is a system in and on itself, that you can't easily replace and have those USS's pop up in the system map at the flick of a switch. I don't want that. What do I want?
Just the Orrery map and nothing more! So I can actually see the trajectories of all bodies! I mean, the data is already there. Every planet has it's orbital period, inclination, and all that. You have the data. Is it really that difficult to transform that into an orrery view? (For all I know, it might! But then please tell us.)

And once again, for the record, just ignore all non-persistent parts of it (you know USS, conflict zones etc) but just the star, planets, moons. So basically, turn the system map into 3d. Pretty please, with sugar on top?
 
Dale, I think what is important that you *introduce* Orrery map and then take it from there. Nav points could be first thing to add to it. And we could take from there.

It is massive task, but all we ask from FD - and we are bunch of so nice gamers here :D - is to make this first step. Believe us, we would be like this massively happy.

Also check out my suggestions thread people added lot of good ideas there, but you can pick most obvious ones to start with.

https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/388279-Pitch-for-Orrery-map?p=6093435#post6093435
 
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This.

Dale: "We don't have unlimited funds, resources, and time so we have to be smart about what we do. "

Now, replacing a functioning system such as the system map (I know some people would like it differently) with a new system, when there are so many other things on the roadmap which can be done, its pretty obvious why it's unlikely to happen. There will probably always be something more important than re-engineering completely the system map again.
 
There's a lot of factors to consider with something like this. What does it really add?
It would greatly improve discovery, the best you can do at the minute to discover all planets is to zip back and forth targeting the nearest body. Knowing where the planets are in space would allow a more optimal route to be plotted.
it has to be easily usable. There's so much data to show, so many different aspects of the game that need to be/could be visualised to give a greater experience. This is a huge technical challenge not just from a "how do we display the stellar/planetary bodies" angle, but also you have to consider what data would be relevant to explorers
I don't believe it needs to show any more information than the current system map, or is technically challenging, it's been done before in Elite and I see Star Citizen now takes it to a whole other level. There's nothing wrong with the way the system currently displays information, it just needs to plot the planets in 3D space instead of flat, it's probably a few man days work to recode the current map, provided the object positional information is directly available.
what would be relevant to mission/passenger runners, combat pilots, system states, trading, and so on. There's so much data in the game, and it would be great to show it all.
If these are concerns the team are raising when the subject is raised, then the problem is probably being over thought. Compared the other things backers are requesting, I'd say this is possibly a quick win that doesn't involve many developers.
But each thing is a "cost" as far as development, querying the data, system resource, and also screen space.
If development cost is an issue, make the planetary database structure publicly available, with a test sample and let the community develop it. I'd wager Elite Dangerous was backed by a lot of developers who would love to add many of the things that were originally proposed but have yet to be developed.
 
I think that's a matter of opinion. From a usability perspective I'd rather click on a bunch of planets in a line than try to select them from their locations on their orbit lines. Right now I can quickly look at (a real world example for me) the size of the closest landable moon to each of several gas giants in a system. An orrery view would be terrible for that.
Dear gods, it's not an either / or situation but a user made choice of which one to look at. Elite Frontier two (90's), managed to offer both. Both maps are useful in their own fashion.

You're gonna be really upset when you find out about the London Underground 'map' ;)
You mean even tho it's not to scale it still shows where they are in relation to each other? Charing Cross takes you to Trafalger Square takes you to Leicester Square, or how Morden is totally south of the map and Seven Sisters is north correlating to their positions in the real world. Sheesh!
 
I was a tad on the stompy side with those hopes and dreams wasn't I? So let me try to explain. There's a whole load of improvements that can be made to the current system, some additions, some refinement. This could happen in the next year of updates, so I won't say no on that. There's a lot of buzzing going on in the office as people are working hard the game. Loads being done across the game. We don't have unlimited funds, resources, and time so we have to be smart about what we do. What is being suggested and discussed in this thread (by some people) is going into the territory of a 3D orrery map with data points and contextual information accurately plotted. Essentially a to-scale replica of the system as an interactive (or at least a move/pan-able) entity.

Rebuilding the entire mapping system is an unlikely thing right now, which is what would probably be required (again, speaking from the perspective of a layman) for such a gargantuan task. Improvements and refinement, I could see that happening as you sometimes see in milestone updates. Rebuilding...? not for the foreseeable.
I haven't read elsewhere in the thread to see if someone else suggested it yet, but a good interim step would be to let non-VR players rotate the system view around like VR players can, via mouse click-and-drag (rotating around the point that was clicked on or the current selection, similar to the Galaxy map view). You could even implement the data points & accurate plotting (by which I sorely hope you mean POIs and finding materials and the like) via this system until the full orrery comes to fruition.
 
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I would be happy with the same 2d map with the ability to plot waypoints to all the bodies in the system that I want to visit. It seems like that would be much easier to implement and would actually be very useful. Visit the system map once. Plot your most efficient course. Explore.
+1 rep. Precisely. And given that the data is available in-game, right now in the Nav panel, updated on the fly relative to your position in the system, I honestly don't get how that data can't be used to create a 2D representation of the system. And being able to plot a route to chart the most efficient course through a system just seems like a no-brainer to me.

Then again, maybe it's true what I've been told - "I just don't understand game development" ;)
 
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