A slightly different version of the current interface is probably not worth the effort. We need to think radically here — of the wall suggestions/proposals — with the possibility of finding something we all/the majority likes.
What we currently have works — what we need to discuss is how to devise something which works better. This can only occur if people point out specifics about what they do not like with the current GUI or Elio's proposal. At this stage of the game (prototyping) general comments are not sufficient to entail real change.
2 other areas that will be key, imho, to developing game play will be widgets and new GUI to the end of better
control over combat groups, in a coordinated way, on the way to and during heat of battle engagements. this
has been an Achilles heel for wz (along with balance) since its release imho, which is why i believe its real
greatness is yet to come (though it has had the promise of greatness from the beginning).
see if i can be more specific and also keep it KISS. what follows would be an elementary step that could lead
to greater sophistication down the road.
it's very basic military control which is absent in wz and cannot exist without new widget sys and ui. maneuver is the single word but let me expand as coordinated, commander led combat groups so that you can create offenses from different directions and simultaneously if you so will it.... perhaps in more than one theater of operations if you are an effective enough multi-tasker under the pressure of imminent conflict, here and there.
KISS this way: as soon as you create a commander led combat group an icon appears on the left of the screen. left double clicking on the icon will give you it's composition and state. single left click will take you to the combat group and in control.
next: double left click on mini-map and it becomes a macro-map transparency that uses whatever screen space not occupied by the other ui widgets. on this macro-map there would be clear indicators of the known world inc terrain detail, your commander led combat groups, the enemy, etc.
next: all your combat groups clearly identified on the macro-map, right click drag on each to maneuver into whatever tactical deployments your grand strategy calls for. double left click on the macro-map to collapse back to the mini-map.
next: now you can cycle through your deployed combat groups by their icons as you will no matter where they are in relation to each other - your immediately hands on in the field, on the water or in the air (non-commander led VTOL group at this stage).
i would guess peeps could handle at least 3 combat groups simultaneously with this method (with practice more). i'll leave the rest of the possibilities to your imagination on how this would radically expand game play from its present linear, single dimensional, scope.
i'm sure there are many more and different ideas out there related to new functional expansion of the gui to facilitate development of new and interesting game play.