Note: I'm still editing this, but I have to come back to it later. I'm submitting it now so I don't lose anything I want to keep.
I made a list of UI suggestions back in the day that would improve the gameplay, and now I'm updating that list for LH 1.3b. I am NOT making any balance suggestions, or requesting any new spells, units, equipment, whatever. These are all very specific and generally very small changes. These are not listed in any order, however I have categorized them.
- When selecting something to build, show the resource change next to the number of current resources instead of replacing it. Currently you have to select something else that doesn't provide that resource in order to see what it is now, and then select what you want to build in order to see what the change will be. For example: If I select an Inn and it would raise my growth from 2 to 3, currently it just shows "Growth 3", but it should show "Growth 2 > 3", with the "> 3" being green, and > being a proper triangle graphic.
- Add a hotkey to cycle between cities that have empty queues, similar to what Tab does for units. Add a loading screen tip for it so people will know it exists (also mention Tab in that tip).
- Show an Unrest subtotal in the tooltip which will show a negative number. This way I can judge if it's okay to remove Oppression or increase the tax rate. Currently it bottoms out at 0, so I have to do the math manually.
- (Modal Window) - Allow mouseover tooltips on the main map area when the city build/train menus are up. Currently when you bring up build or train, you can no longer get mouseover tooltips for things on the map, but sometimes you need those to make your decision, so you have to close the build/train menus, get the tooltip, then go back to the build/train menu.
- Show the amount of production required to make something. This is useful when determining changes to a city such as enchants.
- Add Resource Improvements (such as Mines and Shards) to the Build menu of the city they're tied to. Also their upgrades.
- Add Outpost Upgrades (such as Stables and High Tower) to the Build menu of the city they're tied to.
- Speed up the death and knockdown animations, or allow the next turn in combat to proceed before the animation finishes. These animations often take too long, and knockdown almost always takes too long (it's actually when they're getting back up, not getting knocked down, that takes so long). Shouldn't exceed 1 second of wait time.
- Have the game remember the last zoom level and camera angle used in combat, using that as the default for the next combat.
- Extend the action bar. Add more action buttons.
- Allow the removal of enchantments in the unit detail window. I know it can be done through the Ledger, but this would both add convenience and would be more intuitive for new players.
- Show the Current XP/Required XP numerically in the unit detail window. It's currently only displayed in the tooltip in the selection window when mousing over the Level bar.
- Larger font for the text on stat tooltips (both for units and cities). Never use the smaller font for anything useful. Smaller fonts are for flavor text.
- In Unit Details, put CurrentHP/MaxHP like it is in the selection window.
- The City Detail window should also show stationed units. Currently they're only displayed in the Selection Window, and that disappears when you open the detail window. Or just keep the selection window displayed when the detail window is up, which might be a better solution.
- (Modal Window) Allow the city detail window to be brought up without disabling access to the build/train menus and other elements of the game.
- Show the equipment slot an item would occupy when mousing over it in text form (or at least make the slot icon bigger so we can tell what it is without squinting). For instance, a helmet should say "Head" in the tooltip somewhere when mousing over it. I don't think there's currently a way to tell what slot an item occupies short of personal judgment.
- Show what equipment slots a champion has available. Not all champions have the same equipment slots, and there's currently no way to determine what kinds of equipment they can use other than trial and error.
- In the City Detail window, add a mouse-over tooltip to Population that tells what it's for. It's the only stat in there that doesn't have a tooltip.
- In City Details, add a background for enchantment icons instead of the transparency. Because the background is very dark there (nearly black), and some parts of some icons are black (like the hammer in Enchanted Hammers), this causes the icon to become partially invisible. Adding a static background for each icon would remedy this problem.
- When cycling through units of an army in the detail view, and you have Equipment selected, keep it on "Equipment" view. Currently, if you cycle through a regular unit between champions, it switches to "Details" view, and you have to manually switch it back to "Equipment" view. Just gray everything out when on a regular unit, and add a tooltip that explains that only champions and sovereigns can change equipment there (or maybe add the upgrade options there, allowing for upgrading of specific pieces of equipment in addition to the whole batch).
- In the Event List, when it tells you there are enemies in your territory, show small portraits of each enemy army that's in your territory with it. That makes it easier to see what's in your territory without clicking through it every turn. When one is added, make the ring around the portrait pulse glow. It would also be nice if the portraits of the enemies that leave faded out over 3 seconds at the beginning of the turn before disappearing (to make it more noticeable).
- When there are new enemies in your territory (enemies that weren't in your territory last turn), make the notification in the Event List pulse glow, or something different to make it noticeable that there are new enemies in your territory.
Sometimes there's one weak guy walking around your territory for a while, and you just don't have troops to go get him. He can't hurt you so you leave him. However, you'll get notified that he's there every turn. You start ignoring the notification for a while, then suddenly some random other monster's razing one of your towns. If only I'd have know, I could have done something about it. I'm not going to cycle through the enemies in my territory every turn. That's tedious.
- Extend the Event List horizontally, and shrink some of the icons so we can get slimmer items, resulting in more events visible at a time. We have the horizontal space, even on 4:3 monitors.
- Have two columns. The left column would be for units that have already moved, and cities that still have something in the construction queue. The right column would be for units that still have movement left, and cities that are idle. I'm not particular about which column quests go into, although I suppose it would make sense for them to fall under the right column. These columns would be right next to each other.
- Highlight (or use some other indicator) the currently selected unit/city on the Empire Tree. When selecting a unit/city, if the Empire Tree has a scrollbar, scroll to that unit/city in the tree upon selection. Maybe have a little green triangle on the left side of whatever is selected, or the highlight box like when selecting a unit in tactical combat.
- Increase the size of the zZZ, Produce Growth, Produce Research, and Produce Wealth icons in the Empire Tree. And/or make them opaque (except for zZZ which pulses between opaque and transparent). They are not obvious enough, especially when over a busy background.
- Any numbers that have decimal places should be shown with one decimal place everywhere (except in the Resource List at the top of the screen). It doesn't make sense when I select something to build and the affected stat number increases from 1 to 1 (I was using Growth as this example before, but that is no longer a valid example).
- Add more loading screen tips (here, I made you some: https://forums.elementalgame.com/447335/ ).
- Tab is missing from the list of hotkeys in the instruction manual. It does the same thing as U. U and Tab should be listed separately from Home and End. While both cycle through units, Home/End cycles through all units, while U/Tab only cycle through units that haven't moved and don't have destinations yet.
- In the character selection window, the Sovereign's profession should be listed in their abilities, rather than as a category header. People don't think to mouseover the header to find out what it does.
- Quicksave should give some indication that it saved the game when it's done.
- Modal Windows - Some windows that come up block access to information needed to make a decision, such as level-up windows. When a city or unit levels up (particularly city), you are blocked from accessing information outside of that window, information that you might need to make the choice in that window. These windows should either be changed from modal windows, or they should have an option to come back to them later.
Making choices about leveling up do not need to be made at that moment. They can be made at any point during the turn. Even if you end the turn without leveling that unit/city, it's still something you can do the next turn, and not making the decision right away isn't going to give you any advantage (although you won't gain the benefits of having leveld up). For those level ups that have been skipped, an indication of a pending level up should be made on the Empire Tree (similar to the Zzz for idle cities).
- If a city's garrison is full, and you have a unit selected, the mouse cursor should change to red letters "NO SPACE" when mousing over that city, so you know immediately why you can't move your unit there. The sound effect when you try to move a unit into the city is subtle, and generally unnoticeable when you're listening to heavy metal (I do keep my music volume down so I can hear the game sounds, but even then...).
- Don't hide information on the screen when opening windows like the Govern window. For instance, I want to see the power graph in the upper-right when I open then Govern window. Currently it disappears when I open Govern.
- Allow champions stationed in the same city to trade items with each other without being selected first. Currently you have to select all the champions that will trade before clicking Trade.
- An indication of the start of your turn. The program allows you to interact with it between turns, but doing so can cause the game to lock up, crash, or just do some bizarre in-game stuff. I'd rather my controls were locked out until it was actually my turn, but barring that, at least some indication, like a sound or a graphic letting me know that it's now my turn, would be helpful.
- Have an option to set your default starting tax rate (I always change mine to None on turn 1).
- When sorting the Ledger, you should have the option to sort all the cities together, rather than just within their separate categories.
- Add columns for Materials, Population, and Food to the Ledger.
- Add buttons for Foreign Relations, Kingdom Report, and Ledger to the main view. You can have them go outside the minimap box. Keep the govern window the same, just add those buttons. This makes it more convenient to get into the view you want.
- Show the tooltip explaining the benefits of a treaty when mousing over it in the Foreign Relations window, and also in the window when another faction proposes a treaty. Currently you can only see the tooltip when you are proposing a treaty to someone, and only at the time of proposal.
- (TeeWeeHerman): Make a summary diplomacy page where all treaties I'm involved in are shown. Currently, I have to go through all the remaining factions, to get this information. This could be added as a tab button to the Foreign Relations page (like Kingdom Report and Ledger have).
- Kingdom Report doesn't have enough room for 5 traits, only 4. Can't see the fifth. You can have up to 7 because of the two 0-point armor-related ones. Maybe just add a scrollbar if you have more than 4?
- Don't auto-play videos in the Hiergamenon. It's distracting. At least let me stop the audio for it without closing the Hiergamenon.
- Alphabetize the Game Concepts.
- Provide a full explanation of Spell of Making in the Hiergamenon, including the prequisite for casting it (you have to build the towers, something you would only know if you read the description for Forge of the Overlord, and I think you have to have one of each shard). Also explain that the casting sovereign cannot move during casting.
- Provide an explanation of an Economic Treaty. It currently only has a very vague description, and I don't really know what it does. Also add it to the manual, as it seems to be missing from the list of treaties.
- Add a list of hotkeys. I know there's one in the manual, but having it in-game is much more convenient than opening a PDF. Make sure it has Tab.
- Expand information on improvements. The descriptions should at least contain the information that's in the mouseover tooltip, instead of the vague descriptions they currently have. Also include pre-requisites, as I don't recognize all of those improvements listed, and I'm sure some of them are quest-related. If it's a city level-up improvement, state it.
- The Economy article should explain that the tax rate is the only way to get money from anything in a city. However much gildar they produce per season, you only get a percentage of that equal to your tax rate. That's not explained anywhere, and it's rather confusing for new players when they make a building that says it gives them 2 gildar per season, and their income doesn't increase by 2. It took me a while to figure out what was going on there.
- When a unit is moving in the strategical view, areas should be revealed as if I had moved that unit square-by-square. Currently, it only reveals at the location the unit stops moving.
- Area revealed as a unit passes through it should remain revealed until the end of turn. There is no reason to bring the fog back after you've passed by. Nothing's going to change until my turn is over unless I change it.
- (TeeWeeHerman): Allow square-by-square movement of the selected unit through use of the Numpad. This would be both convenient, and allow a workaround for a few movement-related shortcomings in the current interface (for instance, moving onto a tile that has only a caravan for another faction on it; you currently can only do it by selecting a destination beyond that tile and hoping your unit stops on the way).
- Add a way to effectively re-enter the current tile without moving (like "Search current tile"). Currently, if you enter a tile without triggering whatever's in it, you have to move out of the tile and then back in to trigger it. You need something to trigger it without moving out and back in. Sometimes this situation is caused by a bug, but sometimes it's just caused by setting a destination beyond the tile in question, and your army just happened to run out of movement when passing through that square, and you noticed it before ending the next turn.
- When units leave a city either because they finished training, settled the first city, or because I hit the V key, the units should appear on top of a city square. This way I can choose which direction they leave the city from. If not this, then at least don't use one of their movement points when they leave the city, or allow me to set an exit tile.
- Do not tell me that only champions and sovereigns may visit points of interest when a unit spawns on one. That's confusing. I didn't send that unit there. It's also annoying because it will happen every time that city trains a new unit.
- Add the ability to move one army into a target square with another army without automatically merging the two. You can't rely on the pathfinding to make the right choices, but when two armies merge it will often cost one of them movement points, and separating them is generally annoying.
- In the Research selection window, color code the borders around the icons under each technology. For instance, red for units, green for buildings, yellow for equipment, blue for spells, black for passives (aside from black, my example colors fit with colors already used in-game).
- In the New Technology Researched window, add tooltips to when you mouse over items in the list of Unlocks. It currently does this for some things, but not all the things.
- In the research selection window, the amount of research required for each technology should be displayed in the tooltip (the number of seasons is a better indicator to use, but sometimes it helps to know exactly how much research is needed).
- When settling a new city, a large area of resource yields disappear from the map, but it's hard to tell that area before it's too late. Show that area when mousing over the Settle button. This can be done either by drawing a box on the map, or by hiding the resource yields that will disappear (except for the one on the square you'd be settling).
- Option to show Food, Population (without mousing over the level), Unrest, and Mana in a city's Selection Window.
- Add options to show additional stats such as Initiative and Level when mousing-over a unit (in both Strategical and Tactical views), and also for the selection window in Tactical view.
- Add an icon to the Selection Window that shows unit type (Beast/Human/Twisted/etc), so I don't have to go into the detail view of each unit to see what unit type it is. This would mainly be useful for Beastmasters.
- Add an option to automatically open the Build/Train menu when selecting a city.
- Add an option to have both Build and Train menus come up at the same time, side by side. Either button would bring up both, or you could replace them with a single button.
- When a resource improvement can be built, add the construction duration either to the selection window, or to the mouseover tooltip for the Build button.
- Add the city that a resource is currently tied to to its selection window, especially if it doesn't already have an improvement built on it (so I can tell what city would build on it).
- The Build button on a Gold Deposit should give the tooltip for Gold Mine, so we'll know exactly what it does.
- Change the tooltips of the shard icons in the top-right of the screen to NOT say they produce shards per turn. It currently sounds like it's a collectible resource, like iron or crystal, which it's not.
- Have the selection window update every time something happens that would affect its numbers. For instance, when you have a city selected and you enchant it with Inspiration, you should see the research increase without having to reselect it. Or if you cast Destiny's Insight on the selected champion, you should see their experience bar increase without reselecting them.
- Add "One-handed" to the tooltip for one-handed weapons. It's there for two-handed weapons. It would be helpful to newer players who don't know how that system works yet.
- Have an option to keep the city HUDs on the cloth map. Currently when you zoom out to cloth map level, they disappear.
- Option to add/remove information on the city HUDs, such as production, growth, stationed units, etc.
- In the cloth map, make resource yields appear over units. Currently you have to come out of the cloth map view to see the yields of the tile your Pioneer is currently on, because the Pioneer is blocking the icons for the yields.
- Have the game remember the last zoom level and camera angle used when saving the game, so when you load the game it has that same zoom level and camera angle.
- Add an option to put a small banner on each unit for the faction they belong to, like it is for cities only smaller. This will help identify which faction a unit belongs to. If they don't belong to a faction, then use that "Monsters and Ruffians" banner icon that you can see in the selection window.
- Make it so city HUDs don't cover up resource icons. Sometimes you don't even know there's iron in the tile next to your city until you accidentally zoom out into the cloth map (and if city HUDs get added to the cloth map, that might not help anymore), because the city HUD was covering it up. To fix it, you could program in the icons to shift position so they're not overlapping. That could actually be a lot of work to implement, so maybe some other method.
- Add an option to keep all HUD icons at all zoom levels.
- Option to keep tile yield icons the same size at all zoom levels, like the HUD icons.
- There should be a visual representation of units stationed in a city on the city HUD. It doesn't have to represent the units that are stationed there, just that there are units stationed there. You would still need to click the city to see what's stationed there. I know there's a + on the Empire Tree, but I want something visible on the map (and for enemy cities).
- Swamps should be more obvious.
- Add a hotkey for "Cast last Strategic spell".
- Add a button/hotkey to select all stationed units in the currently selected city.
- Larger text for Trait descriptions. Make it the same as the text for Equipment.