Category: "R:WM Dev Blog"

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

Please like and follow!

 

UI/UX Artist: Build Menu

UI/UX Artist: Build Menu

Hi all. This is your UI/UX Artist Paul here. This week I have an update for the RTS Screen: a more modernized menu backdrop for the popup Build Menu. The established theme of blue glass with transparency is being continued here, with further refinement on the way as we feel it out how much of the menu we want to be able to see through before losing sight of the icons displayed amongst the mess of the battle happening in the background. 

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Last two guns

Last two guns

Last two gun models of the batch. I'm still in the process of the 4th gun but the next step is baking and texturing. 

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New Font System

New Font System

Until now, we've been using fonts optimized for the displays that were standard years ago. These classic fonts worked well enough, but not well per se. This has all changed now, as we've updated our font engine to use modern fonts, and the difference is significant: above, the new version; below, the old version.

New Font System

The best part of the new font system is that it's font-agnostic; if we come across new fonts that we like better, we can just drop them into the game and they'll work. Here are some screenshots of the research and asset screens, in new and old versions:

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UI/UX Artist: Nav Screen Graphical Updates

Hi all. This is your UI/UX Artist Paul. I've been busy tackling the Navigation Screen's visual design overhaul. Facelifting this screen is proving tricky. This screen more than any other will be subject to an overwhelmeing level of visual activity due to its nature as a real-time 3D RTS screen. For that reason I have a few experimental prototypes, and further evolutions of the look and style will be inevitable. On one hand the interface has to be visually legible so that it doesn't blend in with the action happening in the displayed worldspace. At the same time it can't get in the way either. Stylized UI and minimalist UI need to be balanced particularly well in this case.

UI/UX Artist: Nav Screen Graphical Updates

One prototype reuses the hexagon theme, albeit at the cost of being the clunkiest model.

UI/UX Artist: Nav Screen Graphical Updates

Another opts for a mirror reversal of the previous backdrop screens, highlighting the bezels in glass blue (of which there won't be a lot of on Mars) while letting the screen fill sink into ambience with a soft transparent gray.

UI/UX Artist: Nav Screen Graphical Updates

The most minimalist of the prototypes forgoes borders and shapes completely, and uses light gradients to backdrop the various ingame grids.

Navigation screen (RTS) gets more love

Navigation screen (RTS) gets more love

The Navigation screen (the RTS screen) is the heart of the RTS side of Rank: Warmaster.  With the terrain updates and other screens being updated, it was time for this side of the game to get worked on.  One of the larger problems with the RTS screen was the lack of coherent controls, so the player doesn’t fight the game to do simple things.  Part of the reason why it can be complicated is in a typical RTS, the units either don’t move very quickly, or in general they stop and then attack.  With the units being slow or stopped allows the player to easily select their units or to click to attack the enemy units or structures they wish to.  Rank: Warmaster, because it’s a true 3D real-time environment, a typical battle will devolve into a constantly moving furball of ships all dancing with each other and intermingling.  While lovely to watch, it makes it impractical to click on your own ships, let alone the enemy ships to target them.  Clicking on these ships is still possible, and to help keep a relative frame, the game automatically scrolls (and zooms out) to track what you have selected and keep what you have selected on screen.  While this helps, this isn’t enough to quickly find what you are looking for.  To that end, I’ve added a series of on-screen buttons (with keyboard equivalents), which will likely get refined as they are play tested, that allow a quick selection (and centering with a double tap) of yourself, your ships, idle ships, builderbots, cities and of course, the enemy.  The idea being that one could simply hit “all my ships”, then the attack button, then select “enemies” and then execute, and you just gave an order of all your ships to attack the enemy.  Generally, at least with the enemies, it selects what enemy ships are on screen, while the other “friendly” selections are more geared to finding your ships, on and off screen.  This will likely be tweaked, of course.
               Another addition is far more usable keyboard shortcuts on WASD (QE) for scrolling the display (Q and E are up and down), with holding the SHIFT key to have the WASD change the pitch and heading of the display, with Q and E changing the scaling.  This makes navigating the battle area FAR easier than before with only mouse controls or on screen buttons.  Good controls are what makes or breaks a game, and so improving the controls for the Navigation screen is my current goal.

We will be testing these new controls on this week’s livestream!  We will be livestreaming to twitch this time, and a later video upload to youtube.  Please join us!

Gun assets

Gun assets

Progress of the gun assets. 

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Behind The Scenes

It's been a busy couple of weeks, despite not having any new pictures to show. We've done quite a few bug fixes based on our multiplayer testing. For example, it turned out that players made assumptions about how something as simple as trading assets back and forth that didn't match the assumptions I'd made when originally setting up that system, which required streamlining that entire process in code to match how players wanted to use the feature. For another example, as soon as players were able to start building installations, they tried quite reasonably to build multiple factories to speed up ship production. But the factory screen was originally built over a year ago, and we hadn't been able to test it properly at the time, so we discovered to our dismay that not only were ships waiting to be built not displayed the same on every player's computer, but multiple build queues very much did not display correctly. The good news is that fixing those bugs have made not only the factory screen but some of the back end code better and more stable. Stay tuned for even more progress to come!