For a long time after I first discovered them, I was your average Advanced Strategic Icons fan.
After some fairly recent discussion, see https://forum.faforever.com/topic/2543/downsides-of-the-advanced-strategic-icons-mod?_=1655984915629 I returned to using the stock icons.
Now having giving the comments and suggestions from much better players than me some thought, I am a Subtle Strategic Icons enjoyer.
The ideas for this mod have come from a few directions, one being the mantis bot icon change which led me to consider the other icon changes faf has made to base Supcom FA. In several ways this mod builds on the unit icon changes that have already been made by this community.
So this mod adds the 'armored' symbol to more units than just the brick and percie: in tier 2 we currently have tanks sharing the same icon, so the obsidian, rhino and pillar now have the 'armored' cross icon to represent the slower but tankier unit in their tier (for pillar it is hp/mass anyway). In response to this the fire beetle and mercy have a more 'hollow' cross icon to differentiate them.
This is extended to tier 1 so the mantis retains its bot icon but now has the cross symbol.
At this point looking at the models, I added the bot icon for those which are obviously so, being the mole, fire beetle, Seraphim t1 mobile anti air and Seraphim t3 mobile artillery. Bots will be bots in this mod, in a game of tanks vs giant stompy robots.
The next step was highlights for the most important structures that you want to notice on first glance if possible, so now intel, TMD, SMD, SML have bi-colored outlines to catch your attention regardless of player color, and the ACU and TMD have white outlines.
The last, most subtle change was to the size of icons, the idea is to again draw your attention to impactful units you want to recognize such as t2 combat air, t2 tanks, t2 subs. Higher tier engineers also become easier to pick out of your swarm of t1 engies. The t3 armored bots are also a little wider to fit their larger symbol.
As part of the progression all T3 units have larger icons, and also all Factory HQ's to help you know when you are behind ! Finally, Experimentals have a larger icon but also a small cross symbol to help catch the eye instead of being just a blank space.
So ultimately the aim of this mod is to provide the maximum amount of game-relevant information in the clearest way possible. In that spirit, some changes are added to third level hives to give them the t3 icon so you know if any are not fully upgraded. Also kennel drones, since they have no blueprints and are just raw buildpower, now have a tierless engineer icon, and the sACU drone has a t3 engineer icon.
I have included some screenshots per faction of the relevant units in-game:
Don't care for the fat strats or the thicc bricks? Not keen on the icon shape or symbol changes? I have added a lite edition of the mod with just the intel, sml/tml, smd/tmd, and the ACU highlight changes. If you are not currently using any icon mod I think this can help your game.