KLENDATHU CASUALTIES: 308,563

The initial invasion of Klendathu is disastrous, and our hero Rico suffers a massive penetration wound in combat, with an Arachnid digging its massive, thorn-like pincer straight through his thigh.

StarshipTroopers-deathroll-01

Rico is (spoiler alert) mistakenly reported as deceased. (There’s perhaps some argument for outfitting soldiers with networked biometrics so this sort of mistake can’t be made, but that’s another post.)

StarshipTroopers-deathroll-02

After returning to dock, Ibanez hears reports about the military disaster, and sees a death roll scrolling by on a large wall display. Three columns of off-white names tick along, surname first, with an initialism indicating whether the soldier was killed, wounded, or missing in action. At the very top three legends summarize key information, WOUNDED IN ACTION 2,548; KILLED IN ACTION 205,515; and MISSING IN ACTION 105,753. Largest of all is the KLENDATHU CASUALTIES: 308,563. (I know, the math doesn’t add up. It’s possible I misread the blurry numbers.) But the screen could use some more deliberate graphic design.

While surveying the display, she remarks that, “It’s strange, there’s almost no wounded at all.” Though that information is there for her, the typography is hard to read. If this is in fact something that the viewer is meant to understand from looking at the screen, some color coding would help this be seen at a glance. In the comp below, you’ll see wounded are colored yellow, and it’s immediately apparent how few there are in this one screen.

StarshipTroopers-deathroll-colorcoded

At the moment she approaches, the display is showing surnames that begin with “M”s. Ibanez approaches the display and types out Rico’s last name on the keyboard. The keys she touches indicates it’s a QWERTY layout.

StarshipTroopers-deathroll-03

After hitting one of three large keys on the right hand side, the text scrolls quickly to the “R” surnames, and a big, red, all-caps overlay tells her that RICO, JOHN D. was Killed In Action. The text is set against a black rectangle with a pale blue glow. There is an identifier MI34-95 and—if the KIA was not enough of a clue—it also says DECEASED.

StarshipTroopers-deathroll-04

After a moment, the text animates back into the list, with the black background, blue glow, and red text fading.

Though the presentation of this morbid information seems cold, it fits both the society and the fact that this is a military display, that has little time for emotional caretaking. Getting the information to the requester quickly and unambiguously—as this display does—fits the bill.

2 thoughts on “KLENDATHU CASUALTIES: 308,563

  1. Pingback: Healing chamber | Sci-fi interfaces

  2. Pingback: Report Card: Starship Troopers | Sci-fi interfaces

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