UI Updates

Time has been flying by and we’ve been working hard on the game. Most of the changes these past weeks have been aimed at streamlining the underlying structure from my original proof-of-concept designs to more robust long-term software structures. The modular design system is in place, resulting in an easily extensible framework for adding new content and modifying existing content. Overall, I’m quite excited to see how far we’ve come and where we are headed.

I started a new day-job last month and have been trying to work around my new schedule. Meanwhile, we are still looking for an artist to join our team, so if you, or anyone you know, enjoys doing graphical art in their spare time, send us an email: arboreantears@gmail.com

In music new, Greg informs me he is working on some wonderful combat music and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

So how close are we to finishing this UI update?  Well, if you compare the current screenshot to the mock-up we presented when we started the UI project, we see that we are almost at completion.

Mock-up of the new UI for the main game screen.

Mock-up of the new UI for the main game screen.

Screenshot with most of the new UI elements.

Screenshot with most of the new UI elements.

I have a number of UI windows on my list before I will call this project complete.  Some of them minor (e.g. pick-up item menu, skill tracker) and others a bit more extensive (construction interface, in-game help browser). Then we can return to adding new gameplay elements. While it may seem that this update was all about the UI, there were a lot of underlying system changes that went in behind the scenes.  The UI changes are a lot easier to show than code changes, so here is our status on the major changes:

FWT.  The Flexible Windowing Toolkit is a wonderful new tool for rapidly developing new UIs using the libGDX application framework.  It is a multi-threaded user-interface framework that combines the best elements of Swing and Android design.  Most design elements can be written in XML with seamless integration with the Java behavior.  The FWT Window Manager integrates directly with libGDX for smooth rendering while maintaining high responsiveness.  I’m very happy with the way this system turned out.  I can now easily create complex UIs quickly and reliably.  This project is relatively complete, although I may add new features as I require them down the line.

Modular Systems.  If you saw the last post, you are aware of the extensive system redesign that was underway.  That modular system is now working as expected for construction modules and item features.  Additionally, the new skill system is in place, allowing anyone to add new skills to the game.  Additionally, the new construction system will add deep complexity to large-scale building projects with each specialty builder (carpenter, mason, etc.) focusing on the portion of a construction that pertains to their skill and resources.

UIs.  So where are we with all the UIs?  Here’s the progress report:

Name Description Status  Pic
Container Window Show the contents of a container. Complete pic
Character Status Widget Shows character status and conditions. Complete pic
Equipped Items Widget Shows items in hands with swap button. Complete pic
Message Widget Shows game messages with optional minimal version. Complete pic
Action Bar Widget Shows current action and remaining time. Complete pic
Mini-Map Widget Shows small map of the area. Complete pic
Inventory Window Show character inventory for interaction. Complete pic
Recipe Browser Window Show and browse all available item recipes. Complete pic
Construction Chooser Window Show and browse all available constructions. Complete pic
Construction Phase Window Show components for a construction phase. Complete pic
Menu Widget Show buttons for quick access to game functions. Complete pic
Options Menu Game options pop-up window. Missing artwork pic
Crafting Window Add objects for crafting new items. Missing artwork pic
Examine Window Show elements in selected tile. Near complete pic
Item Info Window Show details about an item. Near complete pic
Action Button Widget Show available character actions. Redesign pic
Skill Action Button Widget Show available skill actions. Redesign pic
Skill Tracker Widget Track XP for marked skills. Concept
Item-Chooser Window Menu for pickup/moving objects to choose items and quantity. Concept
Construction Window  Shows construction modules with interaction panels. Concept
Announcement Window  Show and browse in-game announcements and notifications. Concept
Help Browser Show and browse all game content and concepts. Concept


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