UI refresh and improvement

The UI of aoe3de is still not at the level it was in the old game. in old game, all the windows were available in one ESO screen. Looking at lobbies did not cancel quicksearch and friend list showed actual status (online/in game/disconnected etc.) rather than the green dot we got which is only for steam friends. After the last big UI thread 2 years ago, here’s a fresh attempt at imagining the game’s UI which is inspired from all the games in the series. I am sure actual devs will be able to do a much better job, I just did this on an evening.

Even an update which only focuses on improving UI and UX would be great.

Important features which legacy game had:

  • In game chat without joining lobby
  • Friends list with status for all
  • Switching to different sections without cancelling match queue
  • All options in a single page
  • Rank names like legacy
  • Visit a players homecity and see decks (from friends list and in lobby)
  • Random historical facts about civs

Good to have features from other aoe games

  • A match history
  • Map bans
  • Detailed unit stats like the unit description mod
  • A better spectator/casting mode with player and team stats
  • Maybe an ingame voicechat
  • More Ingame resources/ links to learn playing different civs/strategies

some ideas for it below

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Great layouts! But if there isn’t even a paid DLC, I highly doubt that a high quality change like this will happen

Typically when I see things like this, it’s a lot of complaining, but you’ve done something really cool here. Putting together this mock-up of what a new UI might look like and what features might be present is very helpful. First, it helps those of us who are visual see what you’re thinking and be able to give constructive feedback, and second, it helps the devs evaluate internally if they could do something similar and then hook-up the back-end functionality with a reasonable amount of developer time and effort.

I know the devs are being pulled right now to help with AoM:Retold, at least that’s the gossip, so we may not see this anytime soon, but it’s certainly the kind of thing that would really help.

It has been years since I played RTS MP, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt, but here are some initial thoughts:

  • I really like the new left hand sidebar. Changing “Skirmish” to “Single player” clarifies what the game mode actually is.
  • I would list “Learn to Play” above “Art of War” (which is effectively ‘Improve your play’) simply because you have to learn first.
  • I might also retitle “Learn to Play” as “Tutorial” and “Art of War” to something that tells you it helps you learn the details. “Master the Mechanics”, perhaps? I honestly like the sound of “Art of War”, but it’s not descriptive.
  • I’d like to see an option for “Home City” to customize it and easily change explorer skins. Optimally, there’d be an option to select explorer skins at the same screen you select your civ.
  • The overall design of your home screen is clean and looks fantastic!
  • Re: the Friends/Chat window, they need to have tooltips on mouseover for those icons. It’s a major pet peeve of mine that modern developers simply use icons and assume people know what they are without telling people.

On your second image:

  • I really like how you pull the explorer model forward and let the player see the high-res image.
  • As with the home screen, this is clean and looks great!

On your last image:

  • I’d have preferred wood instead of stone as the background evoking the root focus of the game on the colonial period. 90% of the game focuses on fighting out in the wilderness rather than in fully maxed out pitched battles. I’d have used a different filigree that looks less modern.
  • I’d reserve those dragons on the load bar for China. They look out of place with Sioux and Dutch. Something more universal might be a better choice. A stylized flag for 1v1 would work. For team games… Something that complements the background, historical setting, and isn’t specific to any one region of the globe.
  • Otherwise, I like the layout, with the bans and the selected map info prominently shown.
  • For ranked games, I’d add the MMR/ELO/ranking next to each player. Especially for tournaments, you’re going to want to see who’s favored.
  • Re: tournaments, it might be helpful to consider observer slots in the UI, even if they never get added. It’s a common feature and one that really should be there to promote the MP scene.

Great work! I’d love to hear your thoughts even if you think I’m full of it =D

4 Likes

I don’t like having to do extra clicks to get into Skirmish and campaigns that is what I love about current main menu layout and hate about AoE II and AoE IV main menu.

I also don’t like the home city covered up so much with stuff especially multiplayer stuff which should be in the multiplayer menu. I also hate icons for buttons like we see at the bottom right just have buttons that simply says what it is.

I doubt any new civs are coming. and doing a UI update will be cheaper i guess. One can only hope

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Thanks, these are great suggestions.

Yeah,I was thinking about this. This would be the ideal situation.

Or a more descriptive icon rather than a simple green dot red dot. Old game had srossed swords to denote a player was in a match.

I used mostly in game assets, this stone image comes up in the credits i think. I guess wooden background will be better for the theme.

Completely agree!

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I think it will be same number of clicks to get there. Of course I am not a UI designer, devs can do a better job at this. I just liked the old aoe3 UI and took some ideas from aoe2 and aoe4.

Bro this looks great.

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Dude, this looks awesome
If I knew how to mod, I’d make this UI part of the game (consider it an invitation to modders to tackle this one)

I wonder if It would be easier if the game was compatible with steam-workshop, games like “the binding of isaac” got major overhauls from mods alone, and they all use that…

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Adding modding capabilities to UI elements would be great! It will ensure the game lives on even after it is abandoned.

Even with limited capabilities, people were able to make this UI for game observing.

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With actual modding and API support we may get something like this

I can only dream… :stuck_out_tongue:

3 Likes

just add button prompts like these and it’s good for consoles

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This seems hard for an RTS game, but should include this if they ever try to make a cansole friendly version like aoe4 and aoe3.

Great thread, great ideas! I really hope they will look into this and focus a bit less on balance for a couple of months. A proper UI is, along in-game balance, also part of the game. They should not forget that.

1 Like