This is a compilation of suggestionson how to make the UI more useful. I hope some these will be considered for implementation into an upcoming patch or mini-addon.
Please bear in mind that the space issue is greatly dependend on your screen resolution. I use 1280x800.
The empire tree (I call it ET from here on) becomes very full thus less useful very fast. I find that it cannot be both useful (ability to micro) and small (only one screen hight, so you don't have to scroll) at the same time. The basic problem is that you want to micro some items (which therefore shouldn't be stacked) but lots of items should be stacked because they just eat up space. For example mines: Somehow (hardcoded I assume) they are stacked all the time without the option to unstack them. Why? Because the developers probably thought that there is no way anyone would need to select each mine individually from the ET. Exactly! This thought applies to other items as well: strikecraft squads, all logistic structurs (apart from the Advent tradeport, when you can micro between trade and resource focus), most of the tactical structures as well.
- The 'MaxEmpireWindowStackSize' in the user.settings file solves some of these problems, but how many people know about it? I suggest adding this to the user interface option so even I-don't-edit-game-files users can benefit from it.
- Selective (un-)stacking: Make the (un-)stack button only work for selected items (or add an extra button for this). I think it could work like this: normally a player would have the ET stacked all the time. If micro is needed he/she selects these items and presses the un-stack button -> micro possible while the ET doesn't bloat up like it does now. Together with the suggestion above this could eliminate the problem of SCs using so much space while they aren't micro'ed.
- Keep the ET focused on the selected items when (un-)stacking (e.g. it should auto-scroll).
- Make [TAB]-subselecting possible within a stack (e.g. liberate subselecting from wether the ET is stacked or not). As a visual indication the currently subselectet item could hop to the top of the stack (OK, that would only be visible if the items in a stack are differently damaged)
- Bonus: Add an option/shortcut to remove items from the ET. This is allready possible with allies: you can select them in the gravwell but they won't appear in the ET. Having the same option to toggle for your own items would make the ET freely customizable! Esp. late game lots of non-combat stuff isn't needed in the ET anymore, so it would be cool to remove it.
- Since the mine-stacks are allready hardcoded (I assume) could you maybe make them independend from the other stuff alltogether and force them into 1 stack?
- To return to the default settings double or tripple clicking the stack-button could do the job.
Together these suggestions can (I'm confident about that) make the empire tree much more useful and customizable while also preventing it from using too much space.
Some other suggestions:
- Add a global select option for super weapons to the menu just like the ones for capships, SBs etc.
- Updated: More info in the info card of stacks. Since they are made of only one ship/structure type it would be nice to add the fixed values like the icon, damage stats, refinery count (for extractors), experience points reward (for enemy items) and such. It's not brilliant to have only the number and type of items in a stack show in the info card.
- Updated: show extractor and refinery income in a planet's info card just like tax income (idea from "Bobucles"). This would also circumvent the problem described here https://forums.sinsofasolarempire.com/348809, if the sum would be displayed at the top.
Please feel free to comment, critize and add your own ideas! Thanks!