THE PREVIOUS DESIGN
War Screen for the conflict between the Allies and the Axis.
The focal point of Hearts of Iron 4 is to wage war against various nations and factions across the globe. For each war that involves two opposing countries or factions (eg the Allies and the Axis) a collection of information is gathered, like how many divisions each country have, how much each country have contributed to the conflict, how close each country is to surrender etc. In the prevous version of the interface the following information was available to the player:
By hovering over a country's Surrender Bar the player would get a tool tip on how close the country in question is to capitulate and what Major Countries need to be defeated before the conflict can end. Major Countries are nations that have a certain amount of Factories (capacity to mass produce military equipment) or that are classed as leader of a faction. Once all enemy Major Countries in a war have been defeated the war is over, regardless of how many Minor Countries are left.
Tool tip for United Kingdom. In this conflict only the United Kingdom is a Major Country.
WHAT WAS MISSING?
What valuable information was absent from the interface?
As informative as the previous War Screen interface was, it was still missing vital information. It did not summurize the total amount of losses or divisions each side of the conflict had, it did not enable the player to sort the list by each categories (Wargoal, War Participation etc) and it did not visualize the Major Countries enough. If a war with several Major Countries lasted for more than one year it was very hard to at a glance see which side had the most casualties.
The interface also didn't show how many Factories each country had, so the player could not see how much industrial capacity the enemy nations had.
In the German - Polish War the Axis faction has currently the upper hand. But which faction has lost most men, or has the bigger army in total?
Another unclear detail was capitulated nations. Once a nation had surrendered their Surrender Bar was fully red, but the rest of the country graphic was green. It would have been easier to see nations that had surrendered if they where marked in red.
What was added to the interface.
To improve upon this interface the following things were requested:
So for my sketching process I set out to include these pieces of information in the new expanded version of the interface.
War Screen sketch.
In my sketch I widened the screen to give room for the total amount of Manpower and casualties on each side of the war, as well as an extra category for Factories. Each category would be interactable, so if the player clicks on eg the War Participation icon the list would sort all the countries depending on their contribution in the war.
Major countries were given a thick yellow border around their flag and capitulated countries where given a small white flag icon over their flag. I also tried giving the background graphic a grey background, but this was eventually deemed to unclear and changed to red.
The end result of the sketches produced the following.
Like in the sketch the window has been made slightly wider to include the total amount of Manpower and casualties on each side of the war, as well as an extra category for Factories. All categories are sortable and Major/capitulated countries are better visualized, with a golden frame around the flag for Majors and a white flag over the flag of the capitulated country.
The added information/features to the interface made the war related information more informative and accessible. For competitive players it became more easy to see numerical superiority in army size and losses.