Redesign of some of the UI-elements in the Mass Effect 3 weapon loadout scene
THE EXISTING DESIGN
In the weapon loadout scene of Mass Effect 3 the following information and graphical elements are displayed:
I'll focus on the UI in the yellow area (weapon info).
The weapon info displays things like damage out put, accuracy, fire rate, weapon mods etc.
There are five classes of weapons:
All weapons are suited for different situations, one assault rifle may be intended to be used as a "bullet shower" while another as a semi-automatic sniper.
Depending on what weapon the character has, when the player is cycling through the weapons, small indicators in yellow are displayed to show how the current weapon's stats differ from the other weapons that are currently available (eg more damage but less accuracy).
So that was a run-through of the equipment screen.
Onto the elements that could be improved.
The way you compare weapons is to equip one and then cycle through all the others in that class. But you can only display one weapon at a time, which means that you have to cycle back and forth if you find two weapons that you can't decide on which is better to replace the one you have. This opens up to scenarios like this:
Click Click Click*
Yes, looks like it did.
Click Click Click*
Ok, it did have more than the M-76.
Click Click Click*
Umm, maybe? (Remember, the player can only see one weapon at a time)
So while the player is comparing two weapons that are gonna replace the one that the character currently has, he/she has to remember if a certain stat on one weapon is better than the other. After a while the line of whether or not one weapon is better than the other starts to get blurry, due to the information the player has to keep in his/her head.
Unless the player equips one of them and then goes to the other, to compare the stats via the yellow markers (the stats of the current weapon).
But how do you compare the stats of two weapons that are not the same class? Well you just have to remember all of the stats, as you go through about 30 different weapons ("just").
So, what to do?
In order to hinder this I suggest that a spreadsheet is put into use. This spreadsheet should be offered as an expanded view of the inventory and would be accessible via a button close to the "Modify" and "Back" buttons.
Because the space occupied by "Modify" and "Back" is fairly empty "Expand" would fit in there pretty well. Another reason for this is that "Modify" has a function related to the player's weapons and "Expand" also does something related to the player's weapons.
Once "Expand" has been pressed the following comes into view. To hide the feeling of going into a completely different window the spreadsheet would just smoothly expand the weapon screen and remain in the same scene.
In the spreadsheet the player can:
As the player will have a more clear overview of all the weapons in a class it is gonna be easier to compare the stats of all the weapons. Granted if a class contain more than 10 weapons then they can't all be displayed. The player would have to scroll down, but it is still an easier task to go through a spreadsheet rather than scrolling through a single lane list, one object at a time (like how it originally is in the game).
But what about comparing stats of weapons that are not of the same class? How do I compare the stats of my pistol with my SMG? Well, you do it like this:
You arrange all of the weapons in the spreadsheet under a section called "Arsenal", have them all arranged so that each weapon class is listed in a horizontal fashion and each weapon within those classes in a vertical fashion (that can be individually scrolled through). That way the player can align one weapon from each class and compare them with each other.
With this weapon overview the player would no longer have to remember as much weapon stats info while comparing multiple weapons with each other and would also be able to scroll through them much faster than before.