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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Third iteration of System Window

I'm in progress of finalizing the Galaxy Screen. Last post showed a part of that goal implemented. I've decided to overhaul the system/planet UI so it's more nice and take up less of your screen. When you have a system selected, it don't have a planet selected automatically, which means more visible area. When you have a planet selected, it shows the planet's UI window below the system UI. This is what it looks like:

You may notice one big missing item. What happened to the ship selection for building ships? I realized that I can go back to my original design, so I've removed the ship selection for planets. I originally envisioned a screen where you allocate ALL of your planets' construction output to different projects such as star ships. I even had it implemented a long time ago: New Version Released

Then when I added fuel ranges (removed a while ago), I realized that it don't make sense if two systems aren't connected to each other, but still be able to supply parts to build ships. And I had a klunky solution for where ships are built. So I removed the "Empire-wide ship production" and made it per-planet. Then I later removed fuel ranges because I felt it didn't mesh well with my game design. And recently I added fleet reserves (all newly built ships go here), so no ships are actually put into galaxy unless you mobilize them. Then I realized that the whole design changes has gone a full circle, and now I can just put all the planets' construction output into one screen, and the constructed ships will go into reserves.

Funny how things turned out eh? Anyway, this UI isn't final, I need to add two buttons (Transfer Population and Mobilize Fleet), as well as redoing the "Transfer Population" window. The artwork for those are coming soon.


  1. Screenshot reminds me of the Zvjezdojedac 3 years ago, just before I switched it from C++ to C#. It too had the list of planets on the top and it looked so beautiful. The problem was it had to display up to 15 planets and I really hated idea of implementing scrollable list.

    One day when the game is done in C# + GDI, I'll go back to OpenGL and make it look pretty again.

  2. I like how you are streamlining some of the micro-management tedium that was in MoO, for instance that empire-wide construction screen.

    But something to consider: You have the fiddly sliders from MoO1 and potentially a lot of planets per system. Wouldn't the player likely colonize/terraform all the planets in his core systems?

    Even though you have that streamlined system interface, i'd guess managing more than a few planets when you can only see one at a time would get frustrating. Or do you have something like MoO2's colony screen where you can see all planets in a list?

  3. Yes, there will be a planet list screen. If you look at the taskbar on bottom, there is a button for planets.

    In this screen, I plan on having controls for managing multiple planets. For example, Maximize Construction for planets with construction bonuses, Maximize research for all planets, etc. I hope to have a powerful multi-planet management system in this screen that makes managing planets much easier. We'll see how it goes.

  4. About j w bjerk's comment.

    I've had an idea for a while about making autobuild better. I am accustom to autobuild from Civilization I primarily. Most players want to colonize most systems the same general way. If a player wants to do something special with a planet (e.g. make it into a ship building center as soon as possible) then they can micromanage that planet. My idea would be to have a list/matrix which has the order that the player tends to build things for each type of planet. Maybe make it even for refined by including distance from nearest known enemy.

    The idea is that by some sort of pattern fitting or regression, the autobuilder will copy the style of the player. Of course, it won't be available or efficient until the player controls a couple planets.

    This was mainly driven by playing MOII and always building an automated factory, then barracks, then other stuff, and it was a pain to constantly need to tell planets to build the next thing on my mental list. (I know there was a build queue, but autobuild *could* work much better).

    If I ever work out on my own a way to make this work, I might send you an email about it. But it shouldn't be too complicated... I don't think.

  5. I will look into ways of managing multiple planets in a non-tedious way. There will be "Planets Screen" where you can manage your planets. So it's not limited to just the galaxy view where you can only manage one planet at a time.