EVE Online Dev blog review – Tiptoe through the tooltips


EVE Online UI elements

Yesterday it was announced that one of the features which I was originally expecting to be shipped as part of Kronos was being shipped early as part of the final Rubicon point release. This series of UI improvements covered two core areas tooltips and predictive mouse movement for the right click menus.

Starting with the feature that’s already been widely well received the change to the right click menu. In the past the right click menu was more than a little clunky forcing you to snake through the menus as show by the red line in the image below.

right-click-menu-path

With the changes that have been made a more natural path can be taken through the menus which allows you to go outside the borders of the right click menu as long as your mouse is moving towards another part of the menu. This change is great for multiboxers in the past I’ve had more than  few issues relating to the right click menu disappearing mid navigation which have resulted in only 9 out of 10 oracles appearing on field or even worse one Abaddon getting a little bit lost and finding itself 4 jumps away from the rest of my fleet mid-wardeck.

It’s not just the multiboxers who win either I remember as a new player finding this extremely frustrating and was only reminded of this frustration when the change was announced. Every new player won’t have to go through that same annoying gripe which I hit when trying to navigate to my first stargate. This is one of those changes that just makes sense and I’m glad to see these core issues with UI addressed, if you’re wondering how it works here’s a picture of it in action.

EVE right click menu gif

The other set of changes made was to tool tips, this one is a little bit of a mixed bag. A lot of the core tool tips functionality is great more detailed tips when you hover over most things it only really starts to break down when you’re in situations with lots of brackets on screen that are overlapping.

I think most players, new players especially, will quite like the tool tips on the HUD and left hand menu. These tool tips give you a lot more contextual information about what things are and what they do and make it easier to avoid the right click menu if you’re trying to remember the stats of a certain item. Examples of both of these features are shown below.

EVE tool tips for left hand menu

EVE tool tips for HUD elements

When it comes to brackets and the scrolling tool tips however it starts to get a lot more messy. The example provided by CCP looks quite nice and it works reasonably well on a small scale however when you’ve got hundreds of brackets blobbed up if you scroll over them you’ll regret it for sure. In these situations CCP would be much better off adding settings at the same time as functionality, personally I would hide all of the in space tooltips and keep the others but other players may feel differently.

Overall it’s a good jump forwards for the UI and I hope that CCP continue to works on these changes up until the Kronos release improving on the issues raised by the community.