Working on the UI

Well I’ve spent the better part of the last week trying to design a UI for this experiment / game.  There are a lot of constraints I’ve been working with, and while I can probably whip up a UI for the current features, I need to make sure I consider the long term goals  for this project.

I need to design a clear and concise UI, that can convey a multitude of information.  I’ll need attributes and skills per character, current goals and their priorities, current resource counts (where the number of resources is projected to grow significantly), and other miscellaneous information.

Even just looking at the first three I’ve mentioned here, there’s a lot to take in.  I’m trying to find a design that will work best with the most iconography I can use.  I want to avoid just listing out words on the interface.  The player can already ready all the words in the journal, and while reading is an important skill (in the game as well!) it’s not very user friendly and quite frankly would just look boring.

The other challenge in all of this is to make sure there’s room to grow the game to where I want it to be.  Sure, currently you can do 3 or 4 things, and the characters are all basically the same.  My UI should be easy.

The current design that I might move forward with is basically as follows:

There will be a command panel that you can show / hide with a keypress (much like how the journal works now by pressing tab, and allowing pg-down/pg-up or mouse scroll.  Once you select a command (or mode) from the command panel, it will auto-hide and change the in game state to that mode.

For example, if you select “Build” from the command panel, then the game switches to a state that allows build commands to be directly drawn on the game map.  Then at the top of the screen will be different “alterations” to the standard build mode.  Build walls, build roads, build items (selecting a storage location), etc.  I’m hoping to not have any of the commands go more than 2 layers deep like this, but for characters and skills I might have to have three layers.

First you would click “characters”, and then be presented with the character interaction mode.  This will either let you click on the characters (might be tedious at these resolutions) or present you with a scrolling list of characters at the top, like in build mode.  These characters would be sorted by overall “level” or how long they’ve survived for.  This will allow players to prioritize keeping tabs on their VIPs, as well as making sure they are as happy as they need to be, etc.

If anyone has any suggestions, I’m open to any new ideas.  I’ll probably start implementing this system soon, or at least posting a little more about it as I go.

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