Secret agency and some icons

As already told (countless times I guess now) I’m still working on the new GUI but I’m making good progress. Only one window needs to be transitioned over to the new GUI before I can call this milestone done and move over to work on other stuff like adding content and functionality. My current plan is to have a version with the new GUI and all features (only one feature of “Phase 2” is missing) done that I can release for public testing by this yeas end. But since real-life can’t be predicted please don’t count me on this, though I try to squeeze in as many hours for coding as possible to get it done.

So that one window that still needs (only some) work is the “secret agency” (espionage and sabotage for your agents) and that’s what I’m currently working on. The biggest problem with this window is that it includes a lot of different information, and even if I would have the whole screen available it would still be hard to present all of this at once (by “at once” I mean all of the information depending on the selected agent’s location, e.g. enemy region, division, free, etc.). And so after countless (at least a dozen) iterations of that window I finally have something setup that looks great, feels good and is intuitve to use (which is kinda important). In the screenshots below you can see the current version showing agent’s assigned to enemy regions displaying all important informations and the newly created (see bottom of the window) action list. That action list was a lot of work and it had several different iterations throughout the last few weeks, starting out as a plain and boring list of simple text buttons and now it has become a display of some nice icons :

So for that action list I had to create a dozen icons (only for enemy regions, the other agent assignments will need some new icons too). And for most of you this may sound like something that could be done in a few minuts, but it actually took me four days (with ~2h each day). Why you ask? Because it’s really hard to create icons that transport what they intend to use. That’s simple because you only have a very limited space (128x128px, in the game they’re even smaller) to create something that a user will directly recognize. And that task itself isn’t trivial, but you first have to come up with a design before you start creating that icon, and it often happens that you have a good idea and that the icon looks great in big, but when you put it into the game and only see a small represenation it just won’t work, meaning you can start all over. That’s why it often takes me such a long time to create several icons, and I guess everyone who did some small icons by themselves know what I’m talking about. So after finding a nice concept for every single icon that would work on a small space I created them using a 3D modeling application and rendering them with an ink’n’paint shader (think of cel-shading) to give them a nice, high-contrast look. Afterwards (depending on the icon) I also added some stuff in Photoshop and tested how they’d look in the game. So here you go, all of the new icons in one nice image. I hope they’ll transport their funtionality pretty well, though please note that in the game they also have a short caption as well as an extended tool-tip if you hover above them :