Changes Coming To Planetary Interaction With Into The Abyss
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Planetary Interaction was introduced back in the Tyrannis expansion in 2010. There have not been many changes made to the system since then but that is about to change. With the release of the Into the Abyss expansion we will be making several changes to the UI of Planetary Interaction (PI).
Most of the changes are aimed at making setup and maintenance of your colonies less painful, especially when it comes to all the clicking that is currently involved in setting up a colony. A rough count for setting up a single planet with Command Center, Launchpad, Extractor with 10 heads, 12 processors and links and routes for all the processors came out to around 300 clicks. 300! Let’s look at the changes we are introducing and where this number ends up.
First things first, do you want to play a little game of spot the difference?
- Build and Scan options were moved from the bottom of the menu to the top
- The Scan resource bars are now hatched to make them easier to read/compare
- 'Time to Depletion' is now changed to 'Time Remaining'
- Extractor range is always shown when extractor is selected
- Selected tab in PI windows is now highlighted
- Routes to and from structures are now shown when the structure is selected, previously this was only on hover
- The shipHUD is visible when doing PI
- 'Planet Mode' is renamed to 'Planetary Production'
- Show Info on Planets now includes a button to "View Planetary Production" and a tab with information about what resources can be extracted from the planet
- In the selected item window the button previously known as 'View in Planet Mode' has been moved away from the "Warp to Within x" button
- Red circles to indicate that something is not setup properly, in this case on the processors
These are some of the simpler changes. Now let’s dig into some of the bigger changes we have made.
In the current PI system, after each pin or link you deploy you need to reselect the pin from the build menu, then deploy, then reselect then deploy etc. We are changing this so that you will select the type of pin or link you want once and then be able to deploy as many of that type as your CPU and Power will allow.
So, you have messed up your pin placement. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a handy tool that would allow you to delete the pins without having to click into the pin and select decommission and then confirm that you really want to delete that pin. Introducing the new Decommission tool.
Hands up if you have setup a planet, gone away for a day or two thinking that your PI is happily processing away, then you come back to find out that you completely forgot to route the goods from your processor and you have produced nothing. Hopefully we can help you with that. We are changing it so that if a pin is not fully setup it will have a pulsing ring around it and the pin window should clearly state what is required to complete the setup. Once the setup is complete the pulsing ring will change color and display a brief animation to confirm that everything is complete.
We are improving the memory of the pins. Selecting pins of the same type will open the pin window at the same tab you previously had selected. The processor pins will now remember that last schematic you installed so selecting a new processor pin should open the window to the schematic tab with the last installed schematic already selected.
Planetary Production Information:
The current flow for learning what resources come from what planets and then what can be done with these resources needs some updates.
We are going to be adding tooltips in the PI windows when you hover resources or entries in the build menu. Build menu tooltips will show you what that pin is used for, how much it costs, and the power and CPU usage.
The resource tooltips will show what resources are required as inputs or outputs, the time it takes to create the resource and the volume of the resource. We are also taking this same approach to the Show Info window. You will no longer need to go through a resource to the schematic to the resource to the schematic until you gather all the information you require. A Planetary Production tab in the resource Show Info window should now show all the information you require.
We have also made the following changes:
- Simpler Build Menu - We are removing the current accordion menu and just show you all the items you can build in one simple menu, each with a tooltip explaining what they do, how much they cost and the CPU and Power required.
- Info panel remembers if you have Build or Scan selected - When switching between planets the menu will now remember if you had Build or Scan selected
- Improved pin placement regardless of camera position - This is a little tougher to explain but basically the pins are more accurately located under your cursor when placing
- Window Behavior - PI windows now behave like other windows and do not disappear behind every other window
- Holograms are hidden when creating routes - The holograms could often get in the way when creating routes, so now we hide them when in route creation mode
- Animated the hologram opening and closing
New Planetary Colonies Window:
We are also updating the Planetary Colonies window. The previous window did not tell you much more than the System the planet was in, the type of planet and the amount of installations. The update to the window will show you this and more.
With the new window, if you are extracting, we will show you what you are currently setup to extract. If you are producing, we will show you what you are producing. If you have storage on the planet, we will show you what is in that storage. On top of this, we are going to show you if the planet has stopped extracting. We are not going to allow you to reset your planets from here, but you should at least be able to know that they have stopped. Similarly, if something is not setup properly on the planet, we will show you that something on the planet is wrong.
The previous colonies window was empty if you opened it and did not have any planets setup. The new window is going to have 6 slots as this is the maximum number of planets any character can have with the Interplanetary Consolidation skill trained to V. If you do not have the skill trained to V we will show you what level you need to unlock each new slot. If you have the skill trained but are not currently using the planet then we will show you what you need to get setup on the planet.
The Warp To button will now warp you to the Customs Office instead of the planet. If you are not in the system with the Customs Office, this will be a Set Destination button.
The clicks, what about the CLICKS?!?!?
With all the above changes, where are we at with the clicks to setup the single planet with Command Center, Launchpad, Extractor with 10 heads, 12 processors and links and routes for all the processors. Another rough count has us down to roughly 185 clicks. There are possibly some other areas where we could reduce this number and we would love to hear your feedback on this.
The changes will be live on our test server Singularity soon and we appreciate any feedback or comments you have. If you discover any issues with PI that you believe to be a bug then please report them from within the client using the F12 menu.
Thanks for reading!