The SSC desperatly needs more Quality of Life.

Lukas04

Learned-to-sprint endo
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
21
#1
At the moment the SSC (Space Ship Creator) is at the same time one of my favorite but also least favorite parts of the game.
I really like creating ships in Starbase, but there is one thing keeping it from having a good flow and being as much fun as it could be.

That issue is the editor itself.
The editor feels more like a 3D-Modeling software than what you may expect and i don't think its necessarily a bad thing.
It gives you a lot of power over what you do with your designs that way.
The issue here being how clunky it feels. In this Thread i want to talk a little more about those elements and how i think they could be improved.

1. Hotbar
Currently there is a hotbar in game, but its not available in the editor.
The issue here being, that whenever you need to select another part, you have to take a new look at the asset browser and find the required object.
In many games that wouldn't be as bad, but due to the complex nature you need a lot of different parts for a ship.
Especially the beaming has you often cycle between dozens of different types of beams. Plating has similar issues here.
Being able to save an item within a Hotbar, and place it by selecting it through the bar through number-hotkeys would go a long way.
This would cause an overlap, as currently the tool menu also uses the number keys for quick selection.
An easy fix for this would be to require shift/ctrl to be hold + the corrosponding number for a tool to be selected, without the shift/ctrl hold it will select something from your hotbar then.
Now, you may say that on a hotbar that for example has ten slots, placing just some of the dozens of beams on it still wouldn't improve the situation a lot, but that is what i will discuss in my next point.

2. Quick Part-Switching
Continuing from where left of at the first suggestion, in this category i want to discuss using hotkey's to further improve the flow of building things.
To start, i want to propose the ability to switch between an items type by scrolling with a mouse's Scrollwheel. To not conflict with the Hotbar scroll, this would also be on
a sequence of buttons (shift/ctrl + mousehweel, etc).
This means you would be able to select any size of a straight beam, and by using this hotkey you could swap between any of the available sizes of a straight beam.

To put it in to perspective for someone who has not played Starbase yet, at the moment whenever you need to place a beam of a different size, you will have to look at the object browser, find the correct size and then select it. You then place it, and probably have to repeat the process on the next part of the Structure.
This also applies to intersection, corner, angled and special beams. This is incredibly tidious and could very simpy be prevented with those hotkeys

if you were to apply this concept together with the hotbar, you would only require a setup like this:
Slot 1: Straight beam
Slot 2: Corner beam
Slot 3: Intersection beam
Slot 4. Angled beam
Slot 5: Special beam


Here you could simply drag those four beams in to your hotbar (if you didnt before), press your "1" key and then quickly change the beams type through the CTRL/Shift + Mousewheel hotkey. This results in barely any attention to the asset browser, resulting in more of your time being spend at designing the ship.
This is something the game desperately needs, considering how there are 31 beam types in the game at the moment wich you have to look for through the menus, with this number likely increasing over time.

The same concept could be applied to a wide variety of objects within the SSC. It could let you switch between weapon parts, between the small, medium and large varieties of tanks and different plate sizes. It can additioaly be used to switch between tiers of objects, like the different tiers of FCUs, Yolol chips and Enhancers.
All in all it greatly increases the flow and makes experimenting with different parts a lot quicker.


I hope i made the frustration's i have with the editor clear.
I dont want to make people think i dislike the editor completly, i do not.
There are a few things that are executed well, but on average those are overshadowed by other issues present in the flow of designing ships.
Besides the issues listed here, there are of course other issues aswell that greatly lessen the user's experience of the editor, like there still not being a mirroring mode, though in this post i wanted to focus entirely on my issues on selecting assets themself.
 
Last edited:

TGess

Well-known endo
Joined
Feb 1, 2020
Messages
52
#2
tbh I see big issue in auto bolting being trash and cabling/piping taking too long. That takes up most of my time.

Given QoL, I would like to see an option to connected devices with a link tool to remove the need to copy-paste stuff many many times
 

Lukas04

Learned-to-sprint endo
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
21
#3
tbh I see big issue in auto bolting being trash and cabling/piping taking too long. That takes up most of my time.

Given QoL, I would like to see an option to connected devices with a link tool to remove the need to copy-paste stuff many many times
As i said there for sure are issues with the editor besides what i mentioned, things mentioned on this tread focus on the design of the editor itself, not what it has to fullfill on the tech side or how Starbase requires devices to be build.

I personaly think cables and pipes should be merged in to one object for example, but thats another topic on itself.
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2021
Messages
18
#5
Nice post. great suggestions!
I live in CAD programs and would never find commands without the grouping of like commands. I have yet to get into Alpha so I have not used the program yet, but one thing that stood out was the smoothness of the program. From the videos I have watched, I am amazed at how well it works. I am so excited about this game I have been using SoldWorks to get my future designs, as a head start. My PC has been crawling due to all the parts, mirrors, and relations, and Solidworks is a very nice CAD program.
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2020
Messages
17
#6
I made a similar post a year ago about hotbars. The SSC is basically the same as it was back then with the same frustrations. The developers seem aware of these issues and have commented on them on the Discord. Specifically swapping parts in and out for beams and such have been brought up a lot and is on their radar. There are so many UI/UX polishing things they seem to be aware of on their backlog. "Ship Designer Improvements" with mirroring and such are in their Q4 items on the roadmap for reference. I suspect this might be related to their UI framework limitations or something as they've made very few UI changes during alpha.
 

Cavilier210

Master endo
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Messages
495
#7
My understanding is that in general UI is the last thing to get all the polish in game development.
 

Lukas04

Learned-to-sprint endo
Joined
Feb 9, 2020
Messages
21
#8
My understanding is that in general UI is the last thing to get all the polish in game development.
In normal development for sure, but this is close to early access. I dont want perfect UI for a game that is in early access, but a good UI will change a lot on how the game ends up feeling for the player.
 

Cavilier210

Master endo
Joined
Nov 12, 2019
Messages
495
#9
Naval Action still has its Alpha UI and has been in EA for a few years now. Its all up to the devs honestly.
 
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