This thread is a general place to discuss rough edges in the interface, controls, menus, and other common parts of core gameplay. And optionally, a place to propose or discuss Quality of Life fixes for 'em.
I get the sense that the Dev Squad are mainly focused on adding new features, and getting everyone’s code working well together. All great, important stuff! But I think there’s plenty room for improving and standardizing stuff that already exists, particularly the controls and interface!
I’ve done some UX work, and know redesigning an existing, complex interface is both difficult, and not super exciting. But I’ve known a number of players who’ve raised issues about little things, rough edges, inconsistencies, and so on that make general gameplay frustrating. Things that could use some love, in between work on the more exciting shiny new features.
So, to kick things off, here’s a few QoL rough edges I’ve run into WRT inventory management, plus some ways one might address them!
There are so many inventory-like interfaces, with drastically different ways of interacting with them. I’d love to see more standardization across inventory management and item use UIs, and some tweaks to smooth them out a bit.
In general, I think all inventory management, trade, and equipment menus could have their controls, layout, and UI be unified, using the best features of each. Making them visually consistent, and reducing the need for nested menus as much as possible would be great (a mockup of a way to do this is below).
- It’d be great to standardize the placement, size, and controls used for interfaces; a central large interactive window for the main interface (optionally in 2 columns), and a left-hand sidebar for relatively static context-sensitive information. The above layout notes were made with Inventory and Equipment Management in mind, but I honestly think standardizing ANY interface more complex than a tiny simple interact or selector popups in this way, would be great. And the use of the Left Sidebar as a static context-sensitive info box, for whatever you’re selecting or doing, would be a great way to save navigating in submenus!
Reuse Hotkeys for Identical (or Similar) Functions:
- The UI should really use the same keys for identical functions across all menus. For example, [m] pops up a prompt to move only part of a stack in some menus (Advanced Inventory), while [#] followed by a number key (with no prompt) is used in others (Pick Up/Drop). NPC Trade always prompts for an amount to send with no default behavior (plus no feedback about the value of goods you’re offering, or what you’ve already offered), while the “Give NPC An Item To Hold” interface doesn’t have any way to send anything less than a full stack. These and other inconsistencies, where identical functions are missing or use entirely different keys in different menus, are weird and frustrating. There’s no good reason for this!
Standardize Inventory Menus As Much As Possible:
Reuse the controls, features, and interface style of the Advanced Inventory Manager and Pick Up menu as widely as possible in other inventory managers. Pick Up is by far the most intuitive, generally useful, and easy-to-use item menu. It’s easily my favorite; it lets me browse item descriptions and stats, select stuff to grab using letter keys OR arrows, queue up multiple items to grab before executing the action, and so on. It even lists the main hotkeys you can use for it, right there. My only complaint is that it’s also one of the smallest menus, crammed off to one side when it doesn’t need to be, with the item list stacked over a tiny description box (which it doesn’t say how to scroll through). It also doesn’t say how to pick up multiple items, and the “Hit [#], then a number” system doesn’t give any feedback, the way a prompt does. And it doesn’t list all the items you’ve designated to pick up so far either, like the Drop menu does for dropped items. Positioning the Pick Up menu in a big central data table popup, with a small sidebar on the left for Item Info, would be cleaner (like the above mockup).
The Drop menu is weirdly very different than the Pick Up menu. It’s way bigger, despite having far less information in it (it lacks descriptions for highlighted items). It has no on-screen prompts for it’s hotkeys beyond the filter key, like the Pick Up menu has. It’s help menu even says there’s a key to let you Favorite items, but it doesn’t work! (P.S. Please make Favoriting work in the drop menu! I keep wanting to favorite items so I can find them after I drop them in a pile, but it sucks to need to do it in a separate menu). In general, I think redesigning the Drop menu to be a large central window, with a left-hand sidebar containing info for the highlighted item (as in the mockup), would be a big improvement.
Add Multi-Select, Alphabet Hotkeys, Sorting, etc. to All Inventory Menus:
Redesign other inventory managing menus to support Multi-Select and Alphabetical Hotkey-based selection of items in a list, the way the Pick Up/Drop menus do. Enabling Multi-Select in the Unload interface would be a GODSEND (especially with the new nested inventories). Even in Reload, Equip, Take Off, Insert, and the Advanced Inventory Manager, multi-select would save a bunch of keystrokes and redundant menu navigation. Granted, this would require a redesign of some hotkeys to avoid using alphabetical keys in menus (like Advanced Inventory) so they could be reserved for selecting items, but it’d do so much to smooth out inventory management!
Reusing the Sort feature of the Advanced Inventory in other item lists would be a great addition too. Some menus (Drop, but weirdly not Pick Up) already do some barebones categorical grouping (only for held items, not worn ones), but other methods of sorting (sorting by damage when equipping armor from a pile, or picking what to repair, say) would be great for various situations!
Other QoL Improvements:
I would absolutely love a Sorting type for Density too (Mass-to-Volume ratio). So often when raiding, I want to pack the densest items into my vehicle’s trunk, and the least dense ones in my bag, to make the most efficient use of it’s heavy lifting power. Having to sort by Mass, and manually compare the Volume line-by-line each time, is really tedious. And it definitely isn’t as quick or accurate as a computer would be, sorting items by their Mass divided by their Volume!
When typing a filter into the Advanced Inventory, it updates the filter each time you add or remove a letter. if there are a lot of items to filter, this lags significantly, and does so with each keystroke. It would make way more sense to apply the filter after the player is done typing and hits enter, as with most other menus with filters.
Adding an Advanced Inventory management option for Giving/Taking from NPCs, similar to moving items to/from a Vehicle vs. the Ground, would be super nice. While we’re at it, add a new hotkey toggle to the top bar of the Advanced Inventory, to toggle whether you want to target a Vehicle Inventory, Terrain Tile, or NPC Inventory when moving items to/from a square!
Since Advanced Filters (filter by category, material, etc.) work in the Pick Up and Drop menus, I wish there was an on-screen reference for how to compose those, as there is in the Advanced Inventory. It’s hard to remember what letter does what.
Lastly, it’d be handy if the new nested inventories were laid out like directory trees (with contained items being indented slightly, and listed below their container). It’d make it easier to tell at a glance what’s stored where. A way to quickly move items between containers, like a more robust Sort Armor menu (maybe just rename it to Sort Items) would be great too. But, insofar as representing nested item trees in ASCII, maybe something like this?
a - || backpack with 3 items (2.1 / 15 L)
├ b - cellphone (73 / 150 battery)
├ c - multi-tool
└ d - plastic bag with 1 item (0.4 / 6 L)
…└ e - chocolate candies (fresh)
f - || labcoat with 1 item (0.5 / 5 L)
└ g - scalpel
h - || pair of socks
i - |\ boots