Finishing Cedarwood & Interface Mockups – Living The Deal – Development Update 06

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Hello!

Since the last post, we’ve been working on finishing our first milestone, adding more assets, overhauling the user interface and expanding the management mechanics of Living The Deal.  Our goal was to get a base version of the map done so we could continue with the rest of the systems.

Mission accomplished! We now have a full navigable city screen.

It’s not final, Wayne is still working hard on unique assets during this next milestone which focuses more on the management and UI side of things. So he has plenty of time to happily chisel away at those cubes and make beautiful buildings for the world map.

Such as all these lovely new bits and pieces…

We want to give the five regions a different feeling. So it’s important that there’s a lot of variety in the buildings.

Speaking of UI… our next milestone is focused on getting the management mechanics working again and improved. The city map overhaul and some greater scope for what we want to do in the full game meant that many of the systems designed in the demo need to be overhauled and re-factored. Most importantly, the UI really needed to be thought about. Previously, it was functional, but messy. I really want to make sure that the user interface in Living The Deal feels good. 

So I spent some time the other week studying some user interface design examples and studying further into the user experience. Really trying to focus down on the language of how the interface would be represented to the player and ended up with something I think is a huge improvement over the previous design.

 

I wanted to streamline all of the main interactions in the game down into a familiar mechanic, a radial UI Menu. The old system meant that we had a number of different menus and boxes and screens for different interactions that were all context sensitive, and with growth gets very confusing and somewhat un-intuitive. With this, the player should have a familiar base understanding of how it works and we can use the accompanying icons & in-text language to help identify what type of actions can be expected from the menu items. In short, it’s a much more intuitive and just all around better system.

As mentioned, this milestone is about improving and adjusting how the management aspects of the game work. Which at root requires focusing in on the representation of the buyers/sellers system and how districts are shown. I spent some time researching shaders last week, which was an interesting rabbit hole to fall down, to say the least. The fruits of my adventure are not wasted, however as I’ve managed to write a much more efficient (and more flexible) way to show information about buildings to the player. Which I’m extremely excited about.

Here’s a little demo scene I put together attempting to place a transitional pass on the map, and then show specific information about buildings using two-colors.

Using this, we can much more flexibly give information about properties and businesses to the player. Such as which ones are owned, available or anything else that the management aspects of the game will require.

Finally, back onto UI, I wanted to take the old management screen and bring it up to speed with the new designs. This is a mock up of how I want the new district mode to look. (Here’s how it looked previously) This version will be much better at conveying information to the player without them having to look else-where.

So the next few weeks will be implementing this UI system into the game and hopefully getting it back to a fully playable state.

Until next time,

Matt

 

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