Evolution of Icons
What is the ability bar? It's the UI component used when you have a unit selected which enables you to quickly swap between the various abilities (and movement) resulting in the available tiles being highlighted. The example below shows the priest unit selected and in this case the ability bar would have the movement icon selected:
While getting some of the latest assets in the build I thought it would be fun to show how our ability bar has progressed throughout development.
We put together a rough working version of the ability bar in order to test out our ideas and gameplay. This actually lasted for a few weeks of hackery while we tested how everything was going to work and as we solidified the core game rules. Every ability had an unseen power cost and damage as we played around with things, and so this initial working version was quickly upgraded.
As the prototype was progressing we needed to actually be able to see the changes to abilities without having a spreadsheet open. With the previous version we were mainly testing animation and UI so this wasn't an issue, but once we really started concentrating on the unit abilities themselves we started loading the icons and descriptions from unit files.
The ability ideas were solidified at this point and so our artist Jove set out on creating the actual icons, and we started to give more informative descriptions. The build was fully playable and as the ability descriptions and types are pulled from the unit files at runtime it was now simple to start tweaking abilities and balancing units.
This is our current phase and there is still a little bit of work left but we're finally nearing completion. The icons themselves are being upgraded to the same quality and style that we use in the mastery tree and other areas of the UI, the ability names are almost complete, and descriptions still need a little work but they're getting there. There is still one core change that we're making in the HUD and that is with the power cost (i.e. the 16 in brackets) which I've meant to have swapped out since the very beginning but just haven't had the time. Our final version is going to have a small lightning bolt icon that we use elsewhere to denote power, and then have the cost beside it. The design on that is still being finalized but it'll both look much better, as well as provide actual information to the player rather than just a random number.
I'm really happy with how the ability bar turned out in the end and I personally love it for gameplay, especially in comparison to digging through menus or other UI components.
If you haven't checked out the upcoming game this UI belongs to, check us out: Empyrios Announced!
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