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 Post subject: Rebellion UI
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:29 am 
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<!-- Cadet //-->

Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:06 am
Posts: 11
I am currently working on a Rebellion project, but before I show anything I want to lock down the UI.

I want to move away from the original window-style UI and move to something a bit less heavy handed. I currently have a planetary zoom system in place, similar to the one in Empire at War.

The problem I'm facing is in designing the planetary screen. In order to be effective, the UI needs to be designed to facilitate moving forces: between planets and fleet, between fleets in the same system, and between fleets and other systems. Ideally, it should be easy to move forces between specific ships. Yet, I haven't been able to put anything satisfying together.

What ideas do people have?

Since a picture's worth a thousand words, here's my first pass effort: http://img98.imageshack.us/img98/1503/mockup.gif

The planetary screen is a black overlay on the main screen with six panels. Players can set these panels to be 'orbital forces', 'planetary forces', or 'manufacturing panels'. Players can also select panels from other planets. If you wanted to, say, transfer troops from one fleet to another.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion UI
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 12:57 am 
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Dark Lord of the Sith
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Personally, any Rebellion sequel will need to overhaul the outdated UI. It is a big issue to me, bring it into the modern era.

I really like Sins of a Solar Empire's UI. It is very clean, strategic zoom in and out of the entire map, drag-and-drop commands, easy Empire tree.
Messages don't hog the screen. For those information that absolutely requires a new window (research trees, etc), it lays over and does not stop the view of messages, resources, etc.

Sins sets the standard for an intuitive, easy interface. Window-clicking and dialog boxes need to go.

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Fighting is terrible, but not as terrible as losing the will to fight.
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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion UI
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:14 am 
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<!-- Cadet //-->

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I thought about integrating some sort of empire tree. I had two main concerns when I considered it:

1. Rebellion is a deeper game than Sins. I don't mean this as an insult - I really enjoy Sins - rather, in Sins, the lowest level object is a ship, in Rebellion, it goes one level deeper. Ships can contain other objects. If I wanted to move a squadron from a fleet on Dantooine to a fleet on Coruscant, there's no easy way to do this using a Sins style empire tree in a way that preserves its benefits.

2. Rebellion creates (or should create) a greater sense of attachment to fleets than Sins does. The empire tree overabstracts.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion UI
PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:40 am 
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Dark Lord of the Sith
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True, Rebellion is deeper. I think the simplicity of Sins helps with its overall simpler UI.

Actually, I much prefer that fighters are attached to ships. It makes sense, from a gameplay stance as well as "real life" - fighters need a carrier for support. Lone fighter squadrons (despite the games like X-Wing and Rogue Squadron) would certainly not be the norm in any military conflict.

It's not a criticism of your game design any. It's only one guy's opinion.
Look forward to seeing what you come up with

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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion UI
PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:59 pm 
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After playing a few games of Rebellion, I realized that the empire tree might be more workable than I thought. I've implemented 2d drag and drop icons that interact with the 3d galaxy map. Screenshots to follow shortly.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion UI
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 3:31 pm 
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<!-- Cadet //-->

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Just an idea for your project...There are planetary maps that show the layout of the planets in the galaxy. If you are attempting to make a Reb2 I would like to see the planets placed properly...It's the little things ya know? Sorry can't offer any advice with the UI.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion UI
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 5:26 pm 
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<!-- Cadet //-->

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Yeah, that's the current setup. I want to do away with sectors entirely. (So far, I have Coruscant, Yavin, and Belkadan in for testing purposes. :wink:) I'll try to get some screenshots out by the end of the week. That should give me some time to work on the graphical end of things.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion UI
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:14 pm 
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<!-- Cadet //-->

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Quick question:

What would everyone find less annoying? Drag and drop to an object on the gameworld (say, a planet), and then have a popup which asks you which action to perform (like the mission screen in Rebellion), or drag and drop and then automatically choose a certain action (say, move) and for other actions, use a right click system?


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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion UI
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 1:39 pm 
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Dark Lord of the Sith
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I would choose a default option like Move. Makes the most sense to speed up the most-used task.

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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion UI
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:33 pm 
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<!-- Cadet //-->

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Okay, last question before I put it all together. Right click popup menus for non-click-and-drag commands? Or RTS-style bottom menu?


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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion UI
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:04 pm 
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Dark Lord of the Sith
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I personally like an RTS-style menu as well as right-click actions. More options to do things, depending on the user's preferences

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Fighting is terrible, but not as terrible as losing the will to fight.
- SW:Rebellion Network - Evaders Squadron Coding -
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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion UI
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:20 pm 
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<!-- Cadet //-->

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Just wanted to check in. The lack of updates is due to switching engines. I've got the gui, movement, and basic missions working, but I'm switching the codebase over to another language.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion UI
PostPosted: Wed Apr 14, 2010 3:34 pm 
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Dark Lord of the Sith
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If I can ask, what is the reason for the change? What language have you decided to use?

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Fighting is terrible, but not as terrible as losing the will to fight.
- SW:Rebellion Network - Evaders Squadron Coding -
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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion UI
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 3:37 am 
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<!-- Cadet //-->

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I started out using Panda3d, writing in a combination of C++ and Python. I am in the midst of trying to switch over to Unity, which uses C# and Boo (and JavaScript). I thought that the change would be nice for several reasons. First, Unity has much more robust out-of-the-box gui tools, which I felt was important given how Rebellion plays. In Unity, I can write this:
Code:
function OnGUI () {

    scrollPosition = GUI.BeginScrollView (Rect (10,300,100,100),
        scrollPosition, Rect (0, 0, 220, 200));
   
    GUI.Button (Rect (0,0,100,20), "Label");
   
    GUI.EndScrollView ();
}
. In Panda, this took me about three hundred lines of code to get the functionality I wanted. Second, workflow. Unity supports a much wider range of image and model formats, and importing graphics files is extremely easy. No special import/export required. Third, I prefer Java's syntax to C++ and even Python, so C# and Boo 'feel better'.

Unfortunately, Unity is at all what I expected. It's written for artists (who I'm not) rather than programmers (also who I'm not, but sometimes convince myself that I can imitate). Almost everything is handled visually. This is disturbing, since I'm a control freak. Functions are 'attached' to visual representations of objects. Classes and objects are hidden in 'prefabs' and 'GameObjects' which, again, are given visual representations. Why does my objectManager class have to look like a cylinder? I know that there's some way to dynamically instantiate prefabs and GameObjects, but darned if I've figured it out. If I can't figure out how to use the engine within the next several days, I'm going to switch back to Panda and just deal with its shortcomings. But hey, if you can do this: http://vodpod.com/watch/2413481-rpg-pro ... y-unity-3d in Unity, even with its annoyingly oversimplification, then surely it'll work.


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 Post subject: Re: Rebellion UI
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 12:15 pm 
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Dark Lord of the Sith
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Never felt the visual programming model would work for me. I agree it's useful for artists and non-programmers, but most of the time I just want to write a simple IF statement :)

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Fighting is terrible, but not as terrible as losing the will to fight.
- SW:Rebellion Network - Evaders Squadron Coding -
The cake is a lie.


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