Interface survey: Good interface examples for turn based tactical games like X-com

So I’m trying to find good examples to look at for ‘low-level’ turn based strategy games. By Low-level, I mean that you are moving individual units around, as opposted to platoons, battalions or squads as a chit on a hex. X-com was a great game for its time, but its interface is quite dated now, and I’m wondering if there are more modern examples out there to look at.

So, what’s the last turn based tactical game you played, and what did you like (or not like) about its interface?

I recall Silent Storm’s interface being fairly decent.

You can investigate Brigade E5 / 7.62mm, but its not really TBS.

My personal favorite system that I recall was in Fallout: Tactics, but that was a real-time system, not turn-based. I loved that system though, in the multiplayer demo at least.

Fallout Tactics had a turn based mode, also.

Perhaps not necessarily an example of a good interface, but a comparison between the seemingly faster and more immediate interfaces of Heroes of Might & Magic II and III versus the slow, cluttered, clunkiness of Heroes V might yield a few good lessons.

It’s pretty hard to do better than Nintendo really. Intelligent Systems Advance Wars and Fire Emblem have great tactical interfaces on the cramped GBA screen, using only a few buttons. They’re almost perfectly designed in that regard. You should definitely look that way even if you’re going for a mouse based interface.

Just make sure the interface/functions is built up with LUA or something similar, and open it up, that way the gameplayers can customize it to their liking. I believe Supreme Commander did this, and it spawned a lot of useful little mods.

Silent Storm had a nice UI if I remember correctly.

Thanks for the feedback guys. Silent Storm is something I should look into, I passed over it during the time of its release due to it being beyond my system reqs =) Now it might be tough to get it to run, if I can find it, is it on GoG?

I might have to resort to youtube for Fire Emblem or Advance Wars, unless they have newer versions, maybe a wii download or is there a Fire Emblem for the Wii?

In the long run, dragging portions of the game out to allow for scripting or xml editing would be nice, but I need a better default UI either way, and this is just a one-man show hobby project.

Of course, I might get sucked into one of these games and be forced to play it. The hazards of game research =)

There is a Fire Emblem on the Wii, although I don’t know if it’s as good as the GBA ones. It’s the follow-up to the Gamecube one, which I didn’t like all that much. I guess the basic interface is the same, only a bit more complicated.

There is a Fire Emblems on the DS (it’s a remake of the first), and two Advance Wars. Well, both series are very long, they date back from the NES days.

The Age of Wonders games have good information on the tactical screen, showing color-coded movement indicators to show how far you can move, and whether or not you can use abilities after doing so. However, the AoW games do not take directional facing or unit stances into account, which greatly simplifies things.

Jagged Alliance 2 does a good job showing unit pathing and action point costs. A line-of-sight indicator was added in one of the later patches, but it is still a bit clunky to use.

I do not care for the Silent Storm UI, although some of that may be due to the iconography.

Aside from inventory management, the Fallout Tactics UI is pretty decent for moving units around.

Speaking of the DS, some of the tactical RPGs (Final Fantasy Tactics A2, Disgaea DS, that isometric Shin Megami Tensei one) had nice and efficient interfaces.