Legal column on Market screen

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phkb
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Legal column on Market screen

Post by phkb »

Currently on the F8 Market screen there is a column labelled "Legal". I believe there has been discussion about this before, but I think the current solution is not intuitive to someone looking at the screen for the first time. It all seems a bit backwards.

The current logic is that the title means "Legal", and if a good is illegal to export from that station, but it is legal to import, it is shown as "Im". If a good is illegal to import, but it is legal to export, is shown as "Ex".

The problem with this logic is that all goods that aren't impacted by any import/export restrictions are legal to import, so technically they all should have "Im" next to their name.

I'd like to suggest that the title of this column be changed to something like "Ban" or "Restr" (Restrictions), or even "Prohib", and the codes be changed to "Ex" for illegal exports, "Im" for illegal imports, and "IE" or "Bth" for illegal import and export. What do you think?

This is all possible via OXP, so it can be corrected on an individual basis, but is it worth changing the core?

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Re: Legal column on Market screen

Post by Cody »

phkb wrote:I believe there has been discussion about this before...
Yeah, there has been. It's a tricky thing to get right, as I understand it - not straightforward.

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Re: Legal column on Market screen

Post by phkb »

I guess when I look at that column I don't think I should have to invert the code in my head to work out what's illegal to import or export. If it says "Im" I expect that to mean illegal to import. It seems counter-intuitive to interpret that as "illegal to export". Also, as a trader, I don't care so much about what is legal to import. That's the easy stuff. I want to know what I'm going to get in trouble for! So having a column that's telling me what it's OK to do isn't as helpful as a column that's telling what it's not OK to do.

It's not a big deal, and as I said, it's really easy to override it for those that want it to be different. The reason this is any issue at all is that the OXP I'm working on is changing the import/export conditions and I was really confused when a commodity I set to be illegal to import was showing up as "Ex". I hadn't really noticed before because there was only ever 3 illegal goods and they were always illegal to export and I didn't pay a lot of attention to what the code was actually saying. And if I was getting confused I suspect there will be others.

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Re: Legal column on Market screen

Post by Diziet Sma »

I agree that it's confusing, particularly for newcomers. I'm in favour of anything that clarifies matters, and your suggestion works for me.
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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Re: Legal column on Market screen

Post by Norby »

Diziet Sma wrote:your suggestion works for me.
Me too.

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Re: Legal column on Market screen

Post by spara »

That has puzzled me too. I think that intuitively the legal column is interpreted as a warning, hence if it says Im, it's seen as import is limited. I also remember the debate of which the result was to change the heading to Legal. Which is correct of course, but does not actually help with the intuitive part at all.

So I'm wholeheartedly with the suggestion that the meaning of the column should be turned around and the information would be about restrictions rather than what's legal.

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Re: Legal column on Market screen

Post by Disembodied »

It might be clearer (if there's room) to have two columns, under a general heading of "LEGALITY": one labelled BUY, the other SELL - and goods can be marked appropriately with a green tick or a red cross. So, in a main station in the basic game, Slaves, Narcotics and Firearms would have a red cross in the BUY column and a green tick in the SELL column. For greater clarity, any goods with any legal restrictions pertaining to them could be highlighted in orange.

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Re: Legal column on Market screen

Post by Lone_Wolf »

It seems to me that the confusion is caused by people not reading a text as-is, but reading what they THINK should be there.

As long as the heading and the content flags match, they're fine for me.
(Many friends of mine had to get used to me reacting on what they SAY, not what they meant. It triggered them to think about what they say before they say it and overall clarity of conversation in that group has improved over time.)

I do like the suggestion by disembodied.
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Re: Legal column on Market screen

Post by spara »

Lone_Wolf wrote:It seems to me that the confusion is caused by people not reading a text as-is, but reading what they THINK should be there.
Exactly. A good UI is intuitive. If not, then I think it's worth doing something to make it more intuitive.

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Re: Legal column on Market screen

Post by phkb »

Disembodied wrote:one labelled BUY, the other SELL
One issue with that is the legality of buying and selling is immaterial - I can buy and sell anything once I'm docked without anything happening. The issue is what I bring on to the station (the import amount), or what I take off the station (the export amount). The legal issues are around the import and export processes, not the buying and selling.
Lone_Wolf wrote:As long as the heading and the content flags match, they're fine for me.
I guess what I'm saying is that it's unclear what the heading is saying. If it's short for "What is legal for the player to do?", then why aren't Food and Computers labelled as being legal to import? If it's short for "What are the legal issues with this commodity?", then the "Im" and "Ex" are backwards (at least in my mind).

For me (and this might just be me but I don't think it is), regardless of the various readings for what the heading "Legal" means, it comes down to the usefulness of the information being provided. I don't need to know what is legal to import if (as in the core game) all commodities are legal to import. I want to know what's going to get me into trouble and why.

In an ideal world there should be two versions of the screen, one for inflight, which highlights things that are illegal to import (which is the state you're in during flight), and one for docked, which highlights things that are illegal to export from that station. Using this methodology in the core game, if you were to look at the market screen during flight nothing should be flagged - everything is legal to import. If you look at the screen when docked, then three things should be highlighted, Slaves, Narcotics and Firearms.

Anyway, here's my take on how it could look, without going into the more complicated two-screen thing: LegalColumnTweak.oxz
This little OXP just relabels the "Legal" column to "Ban", and makes illegal exports show as "Ex", illegal imports show as "Im", and illegal import and export show as "IE".

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Re: Legal column on Market screen

Post by Diziet Sma »

<OT>
Lone_Wolf wrote:(Many friends of mine had to get used to me reacting on what they SAY, not what they meant. It triggered them to think about what they say before they say it and overall clarity of conversation in that group has improved over time.).
I wish you luck taking that approach with the women in your life! :lol:

Women seldom say exactly what they mean, and up to 95% of their communication is in nuance and non-verbal sub-communication. Which men don't generally catch. Which is why they think men are little better than Neanderthals when it comes to communication. Your approach forces them to use what they regard as a vastly inferior means of communication, and probably frustrates them immensely. :mrgreen:

</OT>
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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Re: Legal column on Market screen

Post by Disembodied »

phkb wrote:
Disembodied wrote:one labelled BUY, the other SELL
One issue with that is the legality of buying and selling is immaterial - I can buy and sell anything once I'm docked without anything happening. The issue is what I bring on to the station (the import amount), or what I take off the station (the export amount). The legal issues are around the import and export processes, not the buying and selling.
Fair enough - I was just going for short words. The columns could be labelled "Import" and "Export", instead. It's not immediately and intuitively obvious - to me, anyway, what "Im" and "Ex" mean: I'd go for the whole word (especially with a sans-serif font, where "Im" can be misread as "lm": "'lm'? What the hell is that? Limited?"). Or even, if space is short, something like "IN" and "OUT".
phkb wrote:In an ideal world there should be two versions of the screen, one for inflight, which highlights things that are illegal to import (which is the state you're in during flight), and one for docked, which highlights things that are illegal to export from that station. Using this methodology in the core game, if you were to look at the market screen during flight nothing should be flagged - everything is legal to import. If you look at the screen when docked, then three things should be highlighted, Slaves, Narcotics and Firearms.
That's an idea, but unless the difference is highlighted clearly, it's going to confuse people: if they don't know that the all-but-identical screens, activated from the same key, are actually different, then all they'll see is a sudden and inexplicable change between the information they received outside the station, and the information they receive inside.

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Re: Legal column on Market screen

Post by phkb »

Disembodied wrote:That's an idea, but unless the difference is highlighted clearly, it's going to confuse people
Very true.

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Re: Legal column on Market screen

Post by spara »

How about a little warning sign in the market screen and explanation in the detail screen.

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Re: Legal column on Market screen

Post by Diziet Sma »

Disembodied wrote:Fair enough - I was just going for short words. The columns could be labelled "Import" and "Export", instead. It's not immediately and intuitively obvious - to me, anyway, what "Im" and "Ex" mean: I'd go for the whole word (especially with a sans-serif font, where "Im" can be misread as "lm": "'lm'? What the hell is that? Limited?"). Or even, if space is short, something like "IN" and "OUT".
How about "Imp" and "Exp"? Ought to be clear enough.
Most games have some sort of paddling-pool-and-water-wings beginning to ease you in: Oolite takes the rather more Darwinian approach of heaving you straight into the ocean, often with a brick or two in your pockets for luck. ~ Disembodied

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