Controls overhaul and Squad possession

Controls overhaul and Squad possession

Sometimes development doesn't yield a screen shot because it's behind the scenes. This is mostly one of those cases. The entire human input system was overhauled to be far more flexible and support more devices at the same time. The controls before while being able to be personalized, were universal. Different screens really needed their own set of defined controls, and with the main simulation/piloting screen taking up most of them, very few keys were left for other screens, and certainly not ones that made any sense. Also, the joystick support was rather hard coded, and really only supported the first two buttons. It was one of those situations that was "good enough", but now isn't. Now each screen can have it's own unique set of preferences for each button on the system, and a specific command can have more than one button from difference devices assigned to it. So if you wanted Keys "J" and "K", Mouse button 3 and 7, and joystick buttons 3, 5, and 32, you could do it. Why would you want to assign so many buttons to the same command, who knows, but you can. Also, Axis support being assignable is a big add to the system. This includes mouse button axes (which includes the mouse wheel). They can be assigned like the buttons so there is overlap if you want. The main reason for the flexibility is because everyone's layout is different and their own personal play-style is different. Someone on the livestream said they got a mouse with a lot of extra buttons for a different game but never really was able to use it for another game until now. I have been aware of people fighting the controls, and this update has greatly helped.

To that end, fleet control, or more specifically, possession has been made far easier. The targeting of an enemy has also been overhauled. Using that overhaul, it can now target the nearest HEALTHY friendly ship. There is no point in possessing a ship that is critically damaged. There are also now one button possessions that can allow the player to instantly jump to another one of their own ships that is healthy, and have the option to keep their old target, or switch to the target that the AI had before the player took over. This allows the action not to be interrupted in the middle of a giant battle in space. Instead of being the old two step process of finding a ship (which usually meant scrolling through all the ships to find one that works which took a while) and then possessing it, now it's a simple button. Which can, of course, be assigned to an extra joystick and/or mouse button. Also, the addition of how many ships are left in your squad is now in the readout in the upper right (self-damage monitor). This is to show you how many ships you have left that are in action. It will disappear if your ship is the last one. Personally, I have one joystick button for targeting, and one button for the instant possession. It really keeps the game action flowing!

UI/UX Artist: Config Screen Visual Update

This is your UI/UX Artist Paul. I've been touching up the visuals on the Config Screen, which we've just seen from our coder Matt. Without further ado, here are a couple of preview screens:

UI/UX Artist: Config Screen Visual Update

Extrapolating from the blue glass text field motiff, a simple recolor was a nice way to make umbrella categories stand out from specific data fields.

UI/UX Artist: Config Screen Visual Update

Experimenting with new backdrop patterns. A subtle "crosshatch" is showing some promise. More textures will be tested out.

UI/UX Artist: Config Screen Visual Update

A little gradient transition can go a long way. It's an interesting excersize making a screen backdrop for a window with relatively little in it compared to a lot. What do I fill in empty screen real estate with? Negative space is an artistic tool in and of itself. ;)

Upgraded Config Screen

Upgraded Config Screen

It's much easier to focus on enjoying a game if you can easily configure things to run in a way that works for you, so in the last few weeks we've performed an upgrade on R:WM's configuration screen.

Upgraded Config Screen

In addition to a visual upgrade, we've also upgraded the control assignment system. You can now assign controls per screen, rather than globally. This means that you can reuse the same keys for different actions depending on where in the game you are. The "A" key could do one thing in the flight sim screen, another in the research screen, a third thing in the navigation screen, and so on. You can also assign multiple keys to the same action on a particular screen. When you combine that with the heavily upgraded joystick support that Arthur has implemented, you can now have, for example, a fire button on both your keyboard and your joystick, or your keyboard and your mouse, for maximum convenience.

Check out our latest livestream, featuring a complete rundown of the new config screen features!

Ship progress

Ship progress

Not an exciting update but still an important step.  Currently changing the low poly shape as the high poly version strayed away. This allows for a better texture bake. Next update will be 1000 times more exciting and colorful! 

RTS building operational and Multiplayer Fleets

RTS building operational and Multiplayer Fleets
RTS building operational and Multiplayer Fleets
RTS building operational and Multiplayer Fleets
RTS building operational and Multiplayer Fleets
RTS building operational and Multiplayer Fleets

The Navigation/RTS screen is shaping up. Here is an example of building a reactor building. It's a much nicer interface for laying out a city than sitting inside your ship. This is also a good way of ordering fleets around at once.

Which also leads into fleet support now in multiplayer. While the OBS settings disappeared and I didn't understand what was wrong until after the live stream, functionally, fleets now work in multiplayer. People had a lot of fun during the livestream and now that I know how to reset OBS to the proper setting, next time won't be the slide show that was recorded. Playing it wasn't as bad as the recording, and I hope to show that in two weeks.

If you haven't yet subscribed to our youtube channel, please do to get notices when we are doing more livestreams! Thanks!

UI/UX Artist: It Fights For Control...

UI/UX Artist: It Fights For Control...

Hi all. This is your UI/UX Artist Paul here. This week I have a smaller delivery, but nonetheless a very important tool given Rank: Warmaster's nature. And those are the Controls for the Asset Screen. 

A minor tidbit of a graphical element set, but paralyzing to be without. In any game you have to be able to input data and easily denote quantities, even if it's just a matter of adjusting the in-game volume and screen brightness. In our case however, we have an empire to run, so being able to send resources to a recipient is absolute necessity. For that, a few simple mechanisms are needed: a text field to select the thing being transfered, a guage to input quantity, and a button to confirm the order. All of these things exist already both in code and raw graphical pieces, but bringing them together in a unified aesthetic was my task this time. 

Diving into the deep end, the above teaser image displays the most complex of the Asset Controls. It combines all three mechanisms described earlier of a text window, slider, and activator button. 

Here is a close up of the gauge slider itself, with an excised preview of the gauge chain bar shown below. Sometimes all you need is a slider bar, and the advantage of building the most complex backdrop first is that once you have that, you also have all the simpler elements as well.

UI/UX Artist: It Fights For Control...

Lastly, here's a potentially optional wide text window. We are already using the individual text lines for lists, as demonstrated by the previous blog post. So this might not be implemented. However it was nonetheless one of the proof-of-concept pieces created along the way to the aforementioned text lines, and given the reflexive nature of design, there's no guarantee we won't see this element or some permutation of it somewhere else in the future.

UI/UX Artist: It Fights For Control...

 

Research Screen First Look

Research Screen First Look

Welcome to our new research screen. You can't conquer the solar system efficiently if you can't upgrade your equipment, so this screen will allow you to research new technology and items based off of tech you already have or based off of items you've salvaged or liberated from your rivals. One feature that I particularly like is that if you find yourself in desperate need of a particular upgrade, you'll be able to assign multiple research centers to it, driving the time to development down with each research center you add. (Up to a point, of course; there's a falloff in how much extra research each research center adds, for the sake of game balance.)

Ship progress

Ship progress

Progress update for the ship. High poly sculpt is currently being done in Zbrush. 

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Planet to Deep Space and back again

A lot more work has been done on the single player, in this case, the not so well hidden navigation screen.  This allows a point and click means of controlling your ships and fleet.  While it has been limping along for a while, much of it's functionality required some fixing of some fundemental equations.  That has now happened, so one can scroll across a planet nicely, and transition from the planet to deep space and back again.  Also, the lighting finally matches the lighting in the normal simulation (for good or ill).  Of course, everything is still in testing, but as always, constant improvements. 

UI/UX Artist: Text Fields & Research Screen!

UI/UX Artist: Text Fields & Research Screen!

This is your UI/UX Artist Paul and tonight I have two updates. First, I've been working on making text backdrops. Second, I've begun modernizing the Research Screen!

We've had window art for a while now, as evidenced by the variety of screenshots shown already. What we've been needing however were more "slim line" holders for situations where only individual lines of text are present, for example when loading a save file. These had to be distinguishable from their container window, and not clash with its pattern.

In this case a glassy pane look would form a nice contrast with the previously established "scanline" aesthetic, and thus ensure visibility over such a detailed background. This is somewhat important considering that text has to be legible. There are several different minor "flavor" additions that can be explored, and blue isn't a hard necessity, but for now simply having a dedicated text field is its own achievement! 

Next up was the facelift of the Research Screen. There is practicality in similarity, and so the overall layout was taken from the pre-existing Factory Screen. 

UI/UX Artist: Text Fields & Research Screen!

For context, this is an approximation of the Factory Screen, sans minor updates. 

UI/UX Artist: Text Fields & Research Screen!

And here we have the adapted Research Screen! 

The right side window has been split into two as needed for different content; the Factory Screen held a simply vertical scroll list there, whereas this will serve other purposes. Color changes go a long way in distinguishing this screen from that the Factory. Further refinement is underway (such as the line thickness and gradient on the screen bezels), however the overall format works.