More about the Interface
I'm afraid my last post was quickly buried, and I wanted to reiterate and explain the design decisions made for future products.
My operating concept for the interface redesign is expanding on Seiji's Calendar as the basis for an all-encompassing Menu Window. The smaller windows with the lists of commands would go away entirely. It's a lot cleaner. It also lends itself well to customization, if the concept appeals to people.
Everything will be divided into sub-menus, which will have at most nine commands available. Sub-menus will be activated with mouse-overs, not clicking. This will make them faster.
Commands will be activated with a single-click.
One goal I have is that any window that does not require an "answer" (meaning you're not fiddling with settings, just looking at information) will be non-modal. Non-modal means you can leave it open and return to the game.
FOF is not full-screen. I made that decision way back in 1998 and I think the reasoning is still solid today. FOF is your "workspace." You have many directions you can move toward. Opening up the interface with non-modal windows takes full advantage of that concept. There's a consistency throughout the concept that wasn't there before. If you look at the underlying code in Microsoft's support for its Foundation Classes, you'll see that there really isn't any such thing as a modal window. A modal window is simply a normal window that has been altered to take over the application entirely.
When screens were relatively tiny, that wasn't a major problem. But now that we have wider screens, bigger screens, two screens... why not use that space to have one or two information windows that are useful to the task at hand?
So the only windows that behave modally are the Simulation Window, settings windows, windows like New Game where the game needs to wait for your input. Training Camp (probably going away altogether), Base Free Agency, the Drafts, maybe a handful of others.
Today's device games are full screen. I think FOF is best in a less controlled environment. You decide what you want in your workspace and where to put it.
The Player Window is part of what of makes this a little more complex. FOF Windows are large, almost as a rule. Numbers have more meaning in context, and FOF is what it is because it presents a huge statistical universe.
The Player Window needs an area to display player statistics. Right now, that controls the size of the window. However, the idea of making the Player Window small with "pages," so you can have three or four of them up on the screen at once and compare ratings, for example, is an appealing idea.
How do you accomplish that without losing the ability to present player statistics properly, in context? Your player's identity with your franchise is that vast database of the numbers he produced for you. It's difficult to immerse yourself in that identity without that large statistics page.
This is the one sticking point in my conceptual redesign. I know the Player Window is clunky with that "page," but losing that large statistics page makes it very "un-FOF," in my opinion.