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Unsure how to represent many objects on a screen

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Hi, I've got a bit of an organisation and representation problem - input would be greatly appreciated. Assume two players - player A and player B. Player A has 5 object types named A to E and player B has 5 object types named F to J. Each player can have an unlimited number of objects with each object a certain object type. Each object can be placed on the "map", which is comprised of many interconnected circles. How can I show in a simple manner that a single circle may have: Player A: 50x object A's. Player A: 50x object B's. Player A: 759x object E's. Player B: 25x object H's. etc. I can't show a graphical representation on the circle because there may well be more object types than the circle could comfortably show. Also, is there a generic way of showing this information so that more players and objects could be added? I look forward to your input. Thank you.

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Just an idea based on what I've seen done in the past, for example in turn based strategy games.

Firstly render a number of images/objects to give the player a rough idea of the group size, for example:

  • 1 image represents a group of 1 to 100 objects

  • 2 images represent a group of 101 to 500 objects

  • 3 images represent a group of 500+ objects


To identify the type of object simply use a different image for each type, or possibly different images for different categories of objects (lets say infantry are represented by one image, ships by another and so on).

Finally to identify the owner of a group of objects, assign colours to each player and render the objects using those colours. Failing that, render a small shape around the base of the group of objects using the player colour.

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another group of ideas...

a) just place a marker on the circle for each player that has objects on that circle. If you click on a player marker you can see what kind of objects it has, in another window (a popup), or in another area of the current window (like many games do when you multi select several units).

b) If that doesnt work for you (mainly because its more important the type of unit than the player who has it), you can assign colors to each player, and lay down obj per groups in the circle (as InsaneBoarder234 suggested, or simply by having just one image per type and glue the total amount to the image, e.g. a Image for objA with a 50 writen in a corner).


It all depends on several factors: circles sizes, variable or fixed size circles, max amount of unit types, but I think the most important thing is to know what you want the player to perceive when he looks at the screen: who controls what? the arrangement of obj types?


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Thanks for the suggestions! InsaneBoarder234: I quite like the idea of using different symbols for the number of objects, perhaps that's the way forward. Thank you! :)

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