February 2007

GUI flow

It’s been a while since the last update on Project “W”, but work is still going on though mostly on things you can’t show via some nice screenshots (and text-only postings aren’t that much fun either).

I’m still on-time towards my predicted date for the first demo (early Q2/2007) and right now I think I can actually even finsh it until my self-set deadline. To achieve that I wrote down a list with all the things needed to be finished for a demo relase and that list isn’t very huge and mostly contains smaller things concerning polish of certain game features.

One big part of the work towards finishing the demo (and the game in general) includes spending a lot of hours on the graphical user interface (GUI).
So I finally implemented a main menu which took me two days to get it look the way I wanted and on the screenshot you can’t see how many work I have put in, as I made a dozen different versions until it looked like I envisioned. In my opionion it fits great into the game and also looks great, as it uses a skinned interface with graphical elements instead of just plain buttons which make it look rather professional. On the right part of the menu you can see the earth rotate (and it’s also animated) but right now it looks kinda lost there, so I’ll add some animated stuff around it to make it look more attractive. And if you e.g. click on the options button the whole right side will be covered with a submenu (also totally graphical) in which you can change the options.
Next step then is to have the rest of the GUI fit into the “flow” of this main menu. Basically this means that if you move out of the main menu (e.g. into the nation selection screen or the 3D game view) the GUI should resemble the one of the main menu, cause otherwise it would interrupt the GUI flow.

I already started this with remaking the UI elements for the windows. Though they didn’t look to bad in the first place they were too simplistic and made it hard to distinguis information especially in a crowded window with lots of content. Therefore I’m in the process of redoing the whole UI interface with better looking buttons and easy-to-see captions for e.g. listbox and panels so they player can easily find the information he is looking for.

So much for now, I’ll post a new screenshot of the updated GUI when I’m done with it, but I’ll try to shorten the time between updates on my blog again, cause 10 days and more is too long I guess…

More national identity

First a sorry for such a long delay since the last posting but after having problems with my internet connection my modem also decided to die, so I haven’t had the chance to update this since the last posting.

But now on to the work I did on Project “W”. Most work last days was spent on creating full 3D-backgrounds to strengthen the players identification with the nation he chooses to play. And although it may seem like a minor thing it’s something that takes a lot of time to get it done and more important done correct. Especially making a 3D-scenery that is representative of the area that the new nations cover is a lot of work, both in terms of modelling it in 3D (and creating textures) and (even more) designing the model. So far I have three out of five (almost) done and I think they all represent the selected nations very well. And if you now start a game you’ll directly feel connected to the nation you selected (together with the sky which is also different for each nation).

Besides this I did some minor coding stuff on the game and also added more functionality to WeltEdit which is now as far as done (at least I can’t think of anything I need to add).

And last but not least here are teaser-images for the three backgrounds I made. As I said they’re not 100% finished so I’ll post shots in the usual size at a later point :

Working towards the finish

In terms of coding I’m nowadays spending most of the time working on the smaller things within the game that maybe many players won’t notice, but will have a big impact on the final polish of the game..
Things like additional messages and hint when e.g. a nation is terminated and other important ingame events, tweaking the game’s usability (as I wrote in my initial game design I want to have all of the game’s functionality to be accessible with at most 2 clicks) and more newsmessages. As for those I also plan to add some “humoristic” ones that don’t serve any purpose but will just add more fun to the gameplay.
An other addition on the way to finalizing the game are statistics. The game has a simulation character to it, so hiding all those stats away from the player wouldn’t be fair but on the other hand it would also be bad to just throw dozens of long and cryptic statistics at each player. To solve that I added some quick statistics (actually called quick charts) the window that pops up after each round (the one with the news message) together with a map that shows what nation owns which regions. This way you quickly see trends and how strong what nation is. And if you need more information, you can access a window with a nice graph for different values which can be selected via a dropdown. Right now it’ll show a graph for 100 rounds which should be enough. So if you’re a fan of statistics you won’t be let down by the game. Take a look at the screenshots to see all of the above in action :