So as to document user suggestions I thought I'd start a thread here..
Good idea -- thanks. That other thread on Quarter To Three is becoming really huge.
Good call on the different mini-map representations for resources, because I was often having to max zoom out, click on a blob just to see if it was a fleet of ships or a metal extractor. Is there also a possibility to make warp gates much more distinct at the mini-map view? When you stack a bunch of tractor beams, turrets, mines and what not at a warp gate, it starts to look similar to your large fleets.
Are you referring to wormholes? I'm assuming that's what you meant, but let me know if not. I think that I've made the wormholes as clear as I possibly can, the fact is that there are just a lot of things being shown at once sometimes. I've experimented around with this a lot in the past, and I don't have any more ideas on this one.
However, one other sideways idea that does occur to me is that it might be nice to just see resources and wormholes, or possibly even just military ships -- various other RTS games have this for their minimaps. I'll look at doing something similar here (kind of like the Disp button on the galaxy map sidebar, just for the minimap in this case).
GALACTIC MAP information
Another consideration, in the galactic map, when you hover over your recently discovered planetary systems, there is an information box that displays the contents of the system. Is it possible to configure this info as a vertical list rather than a comma delimited list, its much easier to visually detect key strategic structures and targets when scanning a vertical list of items than when reading a delimited line of text. Perhaps valuable structures such as Data Centers or Advanced Research stations could be displayed as an icon of some sort to immediately stand out? Perhaps use the icons from the main planetary display, and if they are recognisable enough it would behoove players to become familiar with them (as well as providing text for those who are not as familiar with them).
Hmm, the problem here is that there's just not enough vertical room. Especially when you also have allies, and it's late in the game, we're almost running out of room as it already is. One thing you may not have noticed is that the AI ships are sectioned, so that it shows their little mobile stuff first, then it shows their larger stuff (like Data Centers and Gates, etc).
I like the idea of doing something iconic in addition to what is already there, though. I'll look into adding a little row of icons that shows key structures of interest, since that would make it a lot easier to quickly analyze scouting intel for important data.
Automatic Priority processing of scouting information
I like the manual priority system you have provided for players to tag those systems that are important to them, but coupled with the more visual method for identifying these structures, there could be an auto-flag of systems with key structures? Perhaps fill in some check boxes denoting the structures you want your command CPU to search for, and then it tags those scouted systems with a Priority marker for attention? Not necessarily grading the priorities, like you do manually, but just bringing your attention to the planetary system... in an automated way. Justification wise, it would be part of your command consoles automatic scout and search mechanism to process the incoming information from your scouts.
Hmm, I guess if there are high-priority items at a planet, and the player has not set a priority level yet, I could make it so that it shows a star or something. I kind of like the aspect of players having to evaluate the intel on their own, though, seems like something is lost with that much hand-holding. With the icons in the intel summaries, seems like that evaluation will go even more quickly. What do you think? I'm going to hold off on this one for now, until I hear back from you.
Fleet formation pace
I've noticed that setting up a large fleet composed of many ship types, when I send them on a maneuovre, they move at different speeds, and often the speedier fighters will arrive at a different time to the bigger support ships. Is there a way to set up a hotkeyed fleet and have them move at the speed of the slowest ship, so they essentially stay together and can make assaults as a fleet, and not a disparate scrabble of ships coming in dependant upon their engine speed? For defensive situations perhaps this can be extended to ships in the fleet recieving a toggle command to remain in formation, or to fly under their own steam at their own engine pace? So its an option you choose when giving an order.
Ah, this one is already in there -- was added in 1.004. You want Group Move mode. There is a button at the bottom of your hud that lets you toggle it on so your selected of ships all move at the slowest speed together. Or you can just hold G while issuing a move order, and they will then do it for just that one time. They show up with a turquoise border when group moving.
Not sure whether this already exists, but I'd like to assign fleets a patrol path in a system, so they are on a Attack-Move command, but in a series of waypoints, in order to patrol multiple warp gates or defensive structures. At the moment I tend to end up with static fleets awaiting my attention in a system, and I have to hunt them out, to move them to a potential threat, it would be nice to have a patrolling fleet that might have a chance to intercept the problem. I'd be able to set up good defensive coverage with a couple of fleets on patrol as opposed to static groups awaiting direction.
Patrolling was something that I historically didn't really want to get into, but with some of the waypoint functionality that was added during beta, it is now a lot closer to being possible. One recent feature (in 1.004) that might negate the need for true patrols is the new Free-Roaming Defender mode, though. Hold V and right-click to put your ships into that mode (they will show as hot pink borders in far zoom). Ships in that mode will attack anything that comes into the system, which is great for a defensive force that's covering several wormholes. Let me know if you'd still like me too look more into patrols themselves, but I think that FRD mode is likely to be more effective most of the time.
Thanks for the great suggestions! I'll let you know when there is another prerelease out, which will include the minimap updates and the iconic represenations in intel summaries.