Let's Talk About The Tsw2 User Interface Again, Part 2: The Route Selection Screen

Discussion in 'PC Discussion' started by Rudolf, Nov 16, 2021.

  1. Rudolf

    Rudolf Well-Known Member

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    In the first part of this series we had a good conversation on the star procedure of the game. This procedure ends in the route selection screen, where you need to make the sometimes hard decision which route you like to play today.

    20211115192007_1.jpg

    In its present form it shows the routes, where the latest route added is shown "on top". If you select the route for which you have the saved game, you can press it and continue this drive. This is an much appreciated addition, though by using a grey font colour it took me a while to notice this exists.

    If you press F this brings up a filter, showing all operating companies:

    20211115192007_1.jpg
    You now can select one and this will reduce the number of routes shown in the route selection screen.

    The screen has a number of functional issues (remember, I do not care if it looks beautiful or not and yes I am aware about a mod that "fixes" some issues.). :

    1. There are no key bindings for actually selecting a route (at least they are not shown). I would suggest at least two: E to continue play the selected route, and maybe S to play the saved game.
    2. I did not find keyboard keys to scroll through the list, you need to use the mouse scroll wheel.
    3. In the filter you need to select an operating company first, before you you can use the scroll wheel or arrow keys to scroll through the list. This is weird.
    4. You need to open a separate screen to select an operating company.
    5. The filter we really need is not there: typing a few characters, e.g. typing Ca should bring up Cane Creek and Cathcart Circle. A filter like this exists in the timetable selection screen (we will discuss that one later) and it works fine.
    6. I am not sure about the route ordering. Maybe it would be nice to be able to show the last played route on top.
    7. It would be good to be able to have a button here to switch profile. I never do it, but if you like to play multiple profiles, it would be nice to have it here.
    8. Finally, the main issue. You cannot scale the solution well. The number of routes is increasing fast, so more flexibility is needed.

    It is OK to have a selection screen for operating companies if that helps DTG to make it easier to get licenses, but it is almost useless to select routes.

    It may be worth the trouble to have a look at the way TS does route selection. It is far from perfect, but it works more or less and you have some alternatives, e.g. selecting a loco first.
     

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  2. Factor41

    Factor41 Well-Known Member

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    I honestly hadn't even spotted that was a thing, so yeah, brilliant piece of UI design! :D

    100% agree. Since routes from the same country often have a similar 'feel', I sometimes know I want to play a UK route, but they're all spaced out across this ridiculous timeline. Why can't we just have UK / Europe / North America filters on one-click buttons across the top. If we do eventually get different countries, adding in Asia or whatever would be simple enough. As it stands, it takes longer to filter than it does to scroll the tedious long list to the route you need.

    In addition to single-click country filters, it would also help if the tiles were smaller (maybe a grid, like the way games appear in the PS Store) and if we didn't have the slight pause for the pointless driver avatar to appear each step. Would anyone miss him if he were to disappear?!

    Rivet need to flip their 150 too (I haven't bought it, and it still bugs me). A little bit of consistency goes a long way!
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2021
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  3. OldVern

    OldVern Well-Known Member

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    One word sums up the current route selection screen:
    Awful.
     
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  4. stujoy

    stujoy Well-Known Member

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    Filters are the biggest issue as the current one is only useful for bringing up the DB routes. Imagine a shop site where you could only filter by manufacturer and not by price or sizes etc, but see my last point on that later in this post. Route selection is easy on console but can be tedious on the one big list without the filters. Nothing compared to how difficult it is on the service selection screen, where the 377 services on London Commuter takes a full day to scroll through for example. So out of all selection screens this first one isn’t the biggest problem. I think it looks okay apart from the pointless driver graphic. I don’t know if driver options come up if you have more than one profile which would then make it slightly useful if you used a different character for each profile. Other than for that possible function it just clogs up the screen and slows things down.

    I prefer this selection screen to the previous version with the controversial flags. Getting rid of those improved the forum too, so was a good step, and that probably goes some way to explaining why a country filter wasn’t included. I think a small group of people here argued that option out of the UI before it was released.
     
  5. Factor41

    Factor41 Well-Known Member

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    When people argue against a good idea because it's been badly implemented we all lose. How about we just use better country groups and don't bundle the Oakville in as 'Murica?! :) #blamecanada
     
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  6. ARuscoe

    ARuscoe Well-Known Member

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    I'd be just as happy with a vertical list similar to the timetable selection screen which listed route name and maybe had logos to the right. Then mousewheel scrolling would make some sense. Make is sortable alphabetically or by release date (I understand it's likely more people will play newer routes initially but as routes have been out longer I'm sure this effect fades)
     
  7. orb

    orb Member

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    The number of displayed on screen slides in standard is very low. It can be improved a little on PC by changing the application scale in Engine.ini, but this gives some other issues which need to be fixed in the game. If it can't be a list like in the past, maybe instead of slides, tiles similarly like in TS20xx would be better. If news and store which are accessible from the game can be 2 dimensional, why can't the route selection?

    About the filters, just look how extensive they are in already mentioned TS20xx. Additionally to extension of filters, I'd love to see a selectable sorting order, i.e. not only from newest to oldest releases, but for example by route title asc/desc, era (date of the default timetable included with the route) asc/desc, country or at least continent.
     
  8. Cameron's Gaming

    Cameron's Gaming Well-Known Member

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    I actually knocked this up a few moths ago when RH just came out:
    menu.png
    While not perfect, I feel this could've been a better solution. I refer it have pictures so I can easily identify the route without having to go and hover over it, rather than just a list of text
     
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  9. Trenomarcus

    Trenomarcus Well-Known Member

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    The new screen is just a collection of nonsense. Just restore the previous one with the addition of proper filters, like by country, services types, or so on.

    DTG if you feel lost, just look at https://smtimetables.herokuapp.com/ ;)
     
  10. Crosstie

    Crosstie Well-Known Member

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    What always gets my goat is that aspects of the game that have worked well for years in TS Classic ( the save function, various route and loco selection filters and screens, for instance ) have not been implemented in TSW.
    In some ways, the UI in TSW is rather primitive, a step or two backwards compared to MSTS and Railworks/TS.
     
  11. JZJ90

    JZJ90 Active Member

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    I agree that there definitely needs to be more filter options, and a table/list view.
    The one single redeeming feature about this route selection screen is that if I can't decide what route to drive I can unlock my scroll wheel on my mouse so it spins freely, then give it a spin and it'll just loop through the routes until the wheel stops spinning and whatever it lands on I'll play!
     
  12. Tanglebones

    Tanglebones Active Member

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    When I start TSW2, there are two questions predominantly in my mind - what route do I want to drive, and what train. So, expanding on that, I'd like to see options for both. Clicking the Train button shows all available loco DLC and, selecting one, takes you to the routes you can play it on. An option button for 'Off the Rails' would then open up all routes to play, in some sort of merge with scenario planner. I would also have no objection to not-yet-purchased DLC being available as a greyed-out option to buy, though would prefer it to be discrete rather than in-your-face. So, in the mood to drive the 313? All the available routes filter out down to ECW and BML. Click 'Off the Rails' and everything opens back up again.

    Similarly, at the start menu click the Route button and have the option to further narrow by *multiple* methods. Something easy to click, not death by dropdown boxes. i.e. filter by country, passenger/freight, etc. Perhaps even an option to select for how long you want to drive for - i.e. '30 minutes German freight' and the available options open accordingly.

    From my perspective, I can't imagine there are many people who open it up and think "What am I in the mood for? Ah yes, something Union Pacific or something MRCE..." That just doesn't seem very realistic to me, but of course I have no objection to keeping it as an available filter.

    Thoughts? If in favour, feel free to comment below. If against, feel free to remain silent. (lol, j/k).
     
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  13. Mat_Jam_Ca

    Mat_Jam_Ca Well-Known Member

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    Splitting the timetable into AM and PM or Morning (midnight to midday), Afternoon (midday to 6pm) and Evening (6pm to midnight) would be very useful. Particularly on London Commuter where the number of services goes on and on and on (in a good way).
     
  14. LastTrainToClarksville

    LastTrainToClarksville Well-Known Member

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    "2. I did not find keyboard keys to scroll through the list, you need to use the mouse scroll wheel."

    PC users can also use the left & right arrow keys to move through the routes emblems, which remind me a bit of the bubble gum "flip cards" I used to spend my allowance on as youngster.
     
  15. Rudolf

    Rudolf Well-Known Member

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    Thank you all for expressing your opinions. I think the general consensus is that we are not really happy with the Route Selection screen and better filtering is a must have. I play on PC and I have a decent keyboard. Some or maybe many console players do not have this luxury, so for them a more visual point and click selection/ordering would be very beneficial as well. There is more to say about the UI, so I will move on to part three of this series and I hope TrainSim-Matt will take a little bit of time to read this topic. I think in five minutes it should be possible to get the idea of what we need.
     
  16. hyperlord

    hyperlord Well-Known Member

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    Cameron's Gaming Is this view in your screenshot a mod or something? If so, where should I look because I like that :)
     
  17. Cameron's Gaming

    Cameron's Gaming Well-Known Member

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    No it was all done in paint.net. The background image (which I assume is what you're referring to) is just a normal screenshot but with a blur effect over it
    upload_2021-12-2_10-30-48.png

    the only mods I have installed are the FGW enabler, one that changes the diorama, one that changes the operator logo to include the route the train comes from and one that puts the BR101 on HMA.
     
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  18. hyperlord

    hyperlord Well-Known Member

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    Hehe to make it short: +1 for your UI suggestion
     

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