UI/UX Artist: Scouter Reticle & Other Tweaks

UI/UX Artist: Scouter Reticle & Other Tweaks

Hi all. This is your UI/UX Artist Paul here. This week I have a few minor updates to share. The first is a preview of the Scouter Reticle we are adding. The Scouter (seen above as the pair of broken up thin white circles) is a toggleable targeting interface that appears fixed in the center of the pilot's viewport (when flying one's ship directly) that will display metadata about whatever object it passes over. This will allow for instant targeting of whatever ship or building the player is looking at, without having to cycle through the entire list of enemy/friendly ships/buildings, which will get quite cluttered as game progress goes on. Minimalism was key here as its purpose is entirely practical, and it stands in the middle of what is essentially the driver's windshield when it is activated. The above preview is a mockup; the actual in-game implementation will be constructed in shader code to ensure graphical fidelity.

UI/UX Artist: Scouter Reticle & Other Tweaks

Further updated is the Quick Designer. A slide-out side window that will provide additional contextual information is being added. This will appear and recede as needed in a sidebar menu-like fashion. Minor update visually speaking, but important gameplay-wise.

Additional minor updates include adding a "Cancel Orders" button to the RTS screen to call off all ships in one's squadron, as well as further color-code balancing of the Armor Assigner sub-screen.

New Guy on the Team and the Birth of the Tutorial AI

Hi everyone! I'm Jorden, I'm the content writer for Rank: Warmaster. I've been on the team officially since the beginning of August and Arthur mentioned the Dev Blog at our last meeting. I'll be posting every other Monday and talking a bit about what I've been doing for the game and even a bit about writing for a game in general (although I'm quite new to it). A little about me first: I am primarily a fiction writer in the Fantasy and Sci-Fi genres. I've known Arthur for a few years now and when he first asked me to help out with the flight tutorial I'm not certain any of us realized how long term this partnership was gonna end up being.

On to the meat of this post.

The tutorials of Rank: Warmaster were initially a two-man project with Chris writing the dialogue and scenarios of the tutorial (describing what actually happens) while Matt coded all of that into the game so it would, you know, happen. I was brought on to review the dialogue of the tutorial because they both felt that it was generic and lacking something. Matt sent me a document that seemed like it was just copied out of the game code and it looked like this:

#

#FTUT_INTRO_01 - Display the tutorial's opening message.

#

STARTEVENT FTUT_INTRO_01 INACTIVE TRIGIMMEDIATE

#Fade in from the black screen established in FSIMTUTORIALSTART.

FADE2DOBJECT FTUT_FULLSCREEN 0 0 0 0 10.0

#Throw the WM(Normal) on the screen prior to the message that follows.

FADE2DOBJECT WMPARADEREST 255 255 255 255 0.0

#Prep and fade in the opening message.

#TEXT2DOBJECT FTUT01_MESSAGE 15.0 50 7.0 1 3 Welcome to the cause. I'm one of the Fleet Commanders around here, and I'm here to show you the ropes. Let's have you steer that bad boy.

TEXT2DOBJECT FTUT01_MESSAGE 15.0 50 7.0 1 3 Welcome to the cause. I'm one of the Fleet Commanders around here, and I'm here to show you the ropes.

FADE2DOBJECT FTUT01_MESSAGE 255 100 255 255 4.0

#Activate the next stage of the flight sim tutorial.

 

If your eyes glazed over as you read all that, that's ok it's definitely a lot. After working my way through the document I reported back with my assessment: the tutorial dialogue was serviceable as it was but definitely a little dry. I told them I could help but I needed to know what kind of tone they were going for. This prompted a quick meeting with Arthur and by the end I had an idea of what I wanted to do. My personal rule when you're trying to bring something to life goes a little like this: if something is dry and lifeless then create a character to embody it. I considered where the dialogue the player was seeing might be coming from and I came up with an AI character who I would eventually name Ares. We'll talk in detail about Ares's origins in the world of Rank: Warmaster in a future post.

So now I had the character of Ares, an instructional AI whose task was to train the player to remotely pilot space ships. I ended up spending a weekend developing the full tutorial dialogue. The tone I had been given was "dark corporate humor" so I tried to think from that perspective as much as possible. The player is a corporate settler who escaped to Mars after being cut off form Earth so Ares will treat the player as a company asset. Ares itself is, of course, the product of that famous concept "lowest bidder engineering" so I tried to use the dialogue to display all the cut corners in Ares's development. AI development is a topic I personally enjoy so I envisioned what might happen if somebody tried to take short cuts in developing a sapient AI assistant. As a result Ares doesn't really give situations the level of gravity they deserve; its constantly going on small tangents related to nothing and gives the impression that perhaps it really doesn't place any true value on human life except where that life benefits the company.

When I was finished the team reviewed my work and they loved it and brought me on to do more. The flight tutorial is currently implemented in the demo available on Game Jolt and right now I'm working on the "Main Game Tuturial" alongside Chris and Matt. Chris creates scenarios, I write the dialogue the player sees, Matt codes it all in. That's all for this, quite long winded, blog post. I'll see you all again in two weeks where I'll discuss some more of what goes in to writing content for this unique game.

Creating a new ship

Creating a new ship

A few posts ago showed some new ship concepts. What you see here is the beginning process of giving more detail to one of the simple concepts. For this ship I'm keeping in mind lots of areas a player can place attachments to. Defiantly a battleship you will not want to encounter in space.  

UI/UX Artist: The Quick Auto-Designer

UI/UX Artist: The Quick Auto-Designer

Hi everyone. This is the UI/UX artist Paul. This week I have a work in progress of the new Quick Auto-Designer, explained briefly at the beginning of our last Twitch stream. The Quick Designer is a simplified miniature version of the Auto Builder subscreen that players will be able to bring up on the fly to make fast ship design orders without having to go through multiple menus or even leave their current screen. It will be a pop up window accessed via the Omni Ball tool and thus accessible regardless of what one has in front of themselves. Further additions are forthcoming!

Fixed Terrain Equation and various stability improvements

As with any game, sometimes the big things are the small things.  At a certain point stability is more important than new features.  To that end, while the visual issues with the terrain had been fixed before, there was the "to hit" problem, that sometimes made things hit mountains that weren't there, or allow ships to fall beneath the ground.  This was true with firing at the ground as well, that the equations only worked in the current "MegaTriangle", rather than crossing onto the next one.  This now works as well.  A new "Font Display" system has been added to the system that while used for debugging, paves the way for an in-game console.  The factories would tend to make micro ships, so now the scaling has been corrected.  More controls have been added to the flight screen, so holding down Shift while cycling through the ships will cycle through healthy enemies, while holding down Control (CTRL), will cycle through healthly friendly ships.  Selecting the closest possessable ship, will no longer select one piloted by another player.  Also, the command will toggle between the two closest ships, not just the closest.  The Friend or Foe system which be been plaguing the game since the beginning is being worked on.  Part of it has been solved because it wasn't being sent across the network or to a save game file.  That part as been resolved.  Ships designed by a client player will now correctly be sent across the network to the other clients.

A new public release is now available on Game Jolt that has these fixes and many more.  There is a patch notes that goes over all of this and more.

 

UI/UX Artist: Art Evolution II

UI/UX Artist: Art Evolution II

Hi all. This is your UI/UX Artist Paul here. The Ship Builder Screen's visual uplift is going along well. Further refinements to the readouts and window arrangement are being implemented, as well as new features such as dedicated Tool Tip windows for various screens. This collection of subwindows are almost wrapped up, so a few more minute design tweaks are forthcoming.

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The Warmaster's character reference pt 1

The Warmaster's character reference pt 1

Recent game updates have included more character to the Warmaster. He's even got a name now... Ares! With these updates I'm in the process of giving more detail reference of Ares. 

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UI/UX Artist: Art Evolution Update!

UI/UX Artist: Art Evolution Update!

Hi all. This is your UI/UX Artist Paul here. As our various screens are filled out graphically and new trends and aesthetic solutions are developed for newer screens, the older screens have begun to show their age. Hence I have been working on updating the Ship Builder subscreens to reflect our most recent aesthetic standards. Here are a few side by side comparisons, with older screens on the left and the newer look on the right:

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Final texture of the last ship gun

Final texture of the last ship gun

Render shots of the last gun for the ships. More will be created in the future but for now this is the last one.  Modeled in blender and textured in 3dcoat.

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Updated shaders and a Public Demo Release!

Updated shaders and a Public Demo Release!
Updated shaders and a Public Demo Release!
Updated shaders and a Public Demo Release!
Updated shaders and a Public Demo Release!
Updated shaders and a Public Demo Release!
Updated shaders and a Public Demo Release!
Updated shaders and a Public Demo Release!

So I was fiddling with a new shader program, and I tried to get the game's main shader running in it, and I was able to finally tweak the shader to show texture level shininess correctly.  You can see how it normally looked (the First in each series).  The first tweak made everything looked like it was made of plastic (the second).  Inverting the shininess value of the texture made things look like brushed metal, which is what I was hoping for, so I am keeping that (the third in each series). ;)  Enjoy!

Oh, and BTW, there is finally a downloadable demo for the game!  It doesn't have all the features turned on that you see in the livestreams, but it allows for the flight tutorial, a single player "wave" challenge, and the multiplayer is active if you look at the older livestreams (such as fleets and capture the flagship, etc.).  The updated shaders aren't in that release but will be in the next one.  (Yes, it will be tweaked over time for a better experience!).  It's a first attempt at a release so there are bound to be issues, since everything is a work in progress.  But at least everyone now can enjoy what has been worked on and know it is real. ;)

It is over on Game Jolt:  https://gamejolt.com/games/rank-warwaster/505092

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