UI mod guide for the improving player

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@Blackheart I just don't have the mental capacity it seems. If I want to know what a clump of units is then I'll zoom in, regardless of what icons I'm using.

As for keeping track of mex upgrades without a visual indicator? How do you remember how long it's been since you asked for the upgrade , taking into account any stalls along the way? As well as doing all the other things you need to do to manage your army? I can't believe that the icons don't make it easier for anybody.

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I use Supreme Economy just to quickly glance at sudden income sucks in order to rectify misplays faster. I don’t really use it for the mex UI at all. I upgrade mexes when I have the mass income to do it without stalling and I don’t feel like additional tanks will provide much utility in the next few minutes.

Actually don’t think I even understand the mex ui, like why are there 3 different columns for mexes?

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While I agree that the standard Advanced Strategic Icons mod is pretty cluttered and generally not pleasant to look at, I think with some changes, it looks far better. What I did was use all default icons except for mex, structures related to missiles (for example tml), and intel structures.
iconexample.png

I feel these modifications I have made greatly reduce the clutter while still allowing one to gather more information in a single glance than with default icons.

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Radar is decent as is sml/tml, but mexes still look totally obnoxious and I can't tell when something is ringed or not. I'd rather get tmd with obnoxious icon.

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@Wainan: "If I want to know what a clump of units is then I'll zoom in, regardless of what icons I'm using." - that habit alone will stop you improving. 100% guaranteed.

"How do you remember how long it's been since you asked for the upgrade , taking into account any stalls along the way? As well as doing all the other things you need to do to manage your army?" - the point is to get a feeling for the eco, its (at some point) easy to tell just from the way your mass income behaves how your upgrades/eco is progressing. There is no strict formula (except if your senton air slot or something) when to upgrade/how to spend your stuff - you must develop a sense on how much you can afford, how long it takes, what the impact is like after some minutes. Anything that hinders this is bad for improvement. Imagine learning chess and using an opening book to look up all the moves every game - you will grow dependent on it and wont commit the moves to memory properly because you arent forced to.

@Box: While this is better than the original mod, the mex icons are, as Ftx also said, still horrendously bad. There is zero point to highlight mexes that much, because they always are in the same position (due to no random map gen unexplored games). Just stops you from seeing whats close to them -> bad. As I said already, stuff like SML/SMD highlighted is acceptable but any common structure should not have some bizarre icon priority like this.

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@blackheart it's all approximations with units though isn't it? I can judge that that group of T1 units is going to beat that other group of units without needing to know the exact composition of each group, and I can't believe that the top players are able to make specific counts of specific units on both sides before engaging. Even if you've got the mental capacity to do that it would be energy better spent elsewhere.

I was wrong about zooming in, I don't really go more than 50% at any time unless I'm positioning some fiddly buildings.

What I do do is use lasso select all the time and select the specific units I want from the bar at the bottom. This is partly why I find Supreme Economy so essential because finding and clicking individual mexes is not easy for me.

The three levels on SupEco don't quite make sense. It's meant to show unringed, ringed and upgrading for each tech level and I'm not convinced it works 100%. But double click the unupgraded icon, choose which of those mexes is in the safest place to upgrade, and get back to what you were doing. So much easier than have to devote time to finding the damn things and clicking in just the right place.

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@Wainan No. Instantly being able to tell that you have 5 tanks vs 4 or 10 vs 8 is essential. If you have your own opinion on that matter thats fine, though as I wrote im fully convinced this is extremely detrimental to improvement. I dont think there is value in discussing this further (what I dont understand is the following logic: No top player uses this mod -> they must all be wrong. Are you also telling Magnus Carlsen that his opening choices are bad because you prefer the Bongcloud opening? Just food for thought.)

For finding and clicking individual mexes use select nearest idle mex hotkey.

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@Blackheart Of course I'm not saying they're wrong, in fact I'm trying to learn what I could do differently to be better by understanding the methods they use to solve problems. For my way of playing (which obviously is not optimal), these mods solve more problems than they cause.

I had completely forgotten that there's a closest mex hotkey. I don't use closest engineer either, I just double click all and then manually select the one closest to what I need. I think I need to try using those keys.

A related thing that I would love to learn about but I've found too overwhelming is the vast number of additional hotkeys that are available under F1. If you or anyone else would be willing to make some kind of guide to that that's easy to follow and understand (particularly including reasoning behind choices) that would be very gratefully received. Particularly the hotbuild stuff: at the moment I click for everything I want to build, and when I've looked at the hotbuild options it both removes some of the keys I'm used to and fries my brain because I can't follow the logic of it.

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@Blackheart

Advanced strategic icons are actually 3 entirely different set of icons in different sizes. The middle and bigger setting lead to overlapping symbols.

The mex symbol gets overriden in my case by the EcoManager (which i only use for the mex symbols, no other funcitonality), so i dont get to see the mex icons from the icon mod.

I have a video here but its only campaign gameplay, not even trying to play competitive here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xCMVlqNtGg

In general i dont think that small strategic icons are too bad. It not gonna become a better player by swicthing to default icons. I will just die more often to nukes or defences i wanst able to see because default icons look all the same.

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@Blackheart Fair point, I guess since I am primarily a setons player, how many t3 mex my opponent has is of utmost importance (lol). I always have found it annoying to look at the white dots for mex to see its tech, since the white dots on mass storage blend in, so this is just my personal change. I will also reiterate that the mod is really good once you personalize it to your liking, even if to change 2 icons (smd, sml) like you mention.

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I use eco manager for only for mex overlay. That's very useful.

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@Blackheart said in UI mod guide for the improving player:

Selection Cost UI: Not relevant.

I use this when I'm watching replays. It's nice to be able to do things like quickly find out the cost of a particular unit, or to select my army and see how much it cost, and compare that to my opponent's army. I can then quickly tell if his army is 20% more expensive than mine, or something like that.

I made a simple edit to the mod so it only shows up when I'm watching a replay or if I'm an observer, because I don't want it while I'm playing a game.

If you're interested, the edit is described here:
https://forum.faforever.com/topic/1122/selection-cost-v-7-ui/4

Also, I made a mod that adds a sound notification for some chat messages (not global messages, not messages you send, only messages to allies or direct messages, and at most it makes a noise about once per second, even if people are spamming the chat). It's in the vault as "ChatBeepLite." Do you think that would be useful for the developing player?

I often miss chat messages while I play. I notice them for the first time when I'm watching a replay. And then I think "it would have been better if I noticed that while I was playing." Like when @harzer99 told me 3 times to finish making a 90%-done T3 pgen in our TMM game. I guess not everyone overlooks chat messages. But is this a mod that you would recommend to developing players?

Or let me ask a different way: even if YOU don't want to use this mod, do you want the people playing with you to use it?

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@arma473 cost of stuff might be nice to know for satisfactory purposes, but it doesnt matter much for analysis purposes. What you need to know is the relation of unit costs (e.g. brick ~percy, tank = tank, ...) for which this is not very useful.

Chat notification sound: 1) My post was concerned with 1v1 improvement. For 1v1 a team chat notification sound obviously isnt relevant.
2) I personally would hate the mod, since i generally ignore my team. Thats the reason I also wouldnt care if any of my team members do have that mod - if I think its worth communicating with them, I ask them to go on voice. My recommendation to someone trying to become good in teamgames would be finding a fixed teammate and playing with that person on voice chat. If for some reason you have voice chat phobia, I probably still wouldnt recommend that mod. You should try to get to a state where you can read the game yourself and dont rely on ally analysis. If you need it, you can ask ingame and then you pay attention to the answer. Generally the advice given by your team is useless and should be ignored in favor of your own analysis - if your analysis happens to be wrong, at least you learned why it doesnt work (this is for your own improvement, not for optimal game results).

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Advanced Strategic Icons mod enjoyers get coal and hellfire for christmas.

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I think they come with age and the inability to see tiny monochromatic icons without developing eye strain

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I find idle engineers really useful - e.g. if I need engineers in an area to build pd in an emergency,and I have a mix of T1 and T2 engis, I can find the T2 faster with idle engineers; while the right hand default UI for idle engineers is it only (I think) allows all idle engineers across the map to be selected by tier, not idle engineers only in your screen

I also find advanced strategic icons REALLY useful for detecting TML and SML at a glance (and every second counts if you don't have defences up), as well as enemy radar.

Then again, I'm nowhere near 2000 1v1 rating (but I've found my performance notably better with these two UI mods.

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I think what plenty people get wrong with "my performance is better with those mods" is that while maybe for their current state the mods add, lets say +100 rating, they hinder long term improvement. And that is the point here. They hinder the development of game sense, they hinder the adaption in your brain that is necessary to read an entire map from icons alone, etc. When you learn to ride a bike, eventually the training wheels have to come off - there is no way around it. As another example you could perfectly learn Sentons only, air slot only, seraphim only, perfect 15 min build order, strat rush only, and jump easily to probably around 1700 rating (or even more). That would have the same problem: You dont develop the skills and adaptive abilities necessary to perform in ladder/tourney settings (where different maps are enforced, faction bans, people will know your replays, etc).

Maybe I should write a guide on how to improve in games in general.

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@Blackheart said in UI mod guide for the improving player:

Maybe I should write a guide on how to improve in games in general.

I'd read it!

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I have seen many high rated players whose pop up a sentence on bottom screen which warns the completion of a t2 mex upgrade, for instance. Is it a mod that allows it?

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I think it's a part of UI party.