With the advent of the Custom Loadouts system being applied to a huge variety of aircraft (both fixed-wing and rotary) in game, it is time the UI for the selection of loadouts be updated to take full advantage of this feature. This update can improve the polish of the game, and add an interesting level of intractability to the hangar UI. This UI improvement is twofold:
- Overhaul of the Secondary Loadouts screen
- Introduction of a Secondary Loadouts editing mode in hangar
Secondary Loadout Menu Overhaul
The first UI upgrade is on the classic Secondary Loadouts selection screen. Now that preset loadouts are essentially deprecated, it is time to scrap them and refresh the UI to fully emphasize custom loadout functionality. Using the Tornado IDS as an example, this is a representation of what the new Secondary Loadout screen could look like:
This new screen can contain the following information:
Plane View: A frontal view of the airplane which shows which pylons the preset slots correspond to. Meant to emulate armament scheme diagrams commonly used by air forces around the world. In addition, this space shows the total suspended weight, as well as weight carried by the right/left.
Armament scheme diagram example: MiG-21
Available Weapons: Lists all unlocked suspended equipment/weaponry the plane can carry. Selecting a specific slot on the preset diagram will list possible weapons that can fit on that slot.
Types of Secondary Weapons:
- Drop Tanks (Volume, Weight)
- Countermeasure Pod (Name, Caliber, Count)
- Targeting Pod (Name, Sensors, Zoom etc.)
- Gun Pod (Name, Gun type/caliber)
- Bomb [Free-fall/Retarded/GBU] (Name, Weight, TNT-equivalent)
- Missile [AAM/AGM] (Name, Guidance, TNT-equivalent for AGM)
Selected Preset: Currently selected preset
Pinned Preset: Presets pinned by user
Additional Preset: List of other presets created by user
Secondary Loadout Mode in Hangar
The second UI upgrade is directly in the hangar itself. What could potentially be an interesting piece of intractability with vehicles in game is the modification of the loadout while viewing the vehicle. A fourth display mode (after Default/XRay/Armor) can be added which enables the user to directly select a mounting point present on the plane itself to open a small menu that allows the user to install whichever secondary weapons are capable of being mounted in that pylon. Using the Tornado IDS as an example, this is a representation of what the new Hangar loadout editing UI could look like:
The User can mouse-over a piece of ordinance (such as, in this case, the Drop Tank mounted on pylon 10) and be prompted to click on this piece to edit what is loaded on the pylon. This is what the second menu would look like when the user clicks on a pylon or secondary weapon:
A small menu shows up which shows your currently loaded weapon, and weapons compatible with that specific pylon. On the Tornado IDS, pylons 2 and 10 (middle of the wing) can carry these four weapons: Drop Tank (1500 L.), Mk.83 bomb, Mk.83 AIM, and AS.34 Kormoran. I forgot to include it but there naturally would also be an option to remove any ordinance from that pylon.
These suggested changes are just to generate ideas, inspiration and/or discussion on updating the UI in a way that is sleek, modern, appreciated by and intuitive to the average user. Have a good time playing with your loadouts, dropping bombs, and firing missiles.