It might not look like it from our Web site, but we have been busy this past month. Busy, busy, busy indeed. For much of that time I was out in California working on a related project with our benefactors at the Open Game Labs, an organization about which very little has been made public, if only because there hasn't been a lot of info to share. There still isn't as it turns out, but after this last month we at least have a plan and a schedule and some idea what we're going to announce when.
But work on Haunts has proceeded apace, with Jonathan and Austing slaving away at the code and art mines respectively. Much of the recent work was about the User Interface, which is always a tricky thing to get right. We're not trying to reinvent the wheel here, and there are some good and bad examples of turn-based UI that we've looked at for inspiration. Our general guiding goal is to keep it as simple and useful as possible. None of us like UI elements that overlay the gameplay space, so we've framed out our controls and displays at the bottom of the screen (for the most part). Here's the evolution so far:
We started with a pretty big box, which had a space for information about whatever unit you might be targettng. The words like "Blinded!" refer to conditions (buffs and de-buffs) that the unit is suffering from. The names are mostly fun place-holders that Austin through in, although I really like Vexed!
We quickly decided that we didn't need to use all that screen real estate for info on the target - that we'll handle with a mouse-over pop-up on the screen. So, then we did this:
But that didn't actually make use of all the space along the bottom of the screen and felt cramped, so then we did this:
The pop-up infor panel for the Master of the Manse is too big there, but you get the idea. We were honing in on what we wanted for the bottom bar though. Next came:
Which brought us to this:
Which is pretty close to where we're ging to end up. We decided that some contextual info, like that stats for individual attacks will slide up from this box when you mouse over specific actions and condition, but that once you've played the game a few times you'll know what those powers do and thus won't need that info all the time. Maybe. We think.
User Interface is always a struggle to get right, but right now we're happy with what we've got going on, and it plays well. Oh, did I mention? It's totally a game you can actually play now, albeit a buggy one which crashes sometimes. But still, a game!
Much, much more soon.