The bars look a bit similar. Adding a pattern-texture to them (dotted, striped etc.) can make them easier to differentiate. The dots don't have to be individual items like they are in some games, it's enough that they are distinct.
I actually thought about that. Initially, I was going to create the gauge using several small "segments" which meant I got to control the overall look. For optimization reasons however, I had to use a single bitmap that I'm stretching horizontally so as to avoid putting too much strain on my onEnterFrame events.
If you notice though, there's actually a gradient in the center of each bar (because the base bitmap is 128 width and resizes negatively).
The green and red colors are easy to mix up by people who are color blind (I think ~5% of males are). Test this easily by setting your color picker into HSL and drag the (S-saturation) bar down to zero for both your green and your red colors. If they are too similar then you will have have to adjust them a little.
Indeed, that is a concern. A bunch of people that are interested in my game are also colorblind, thus I'm already aware of this. I've considered reverting both gauges to green and find a different way to differentiate ship owners.
Finally, to make it easy to distinguish class of vessel and team, you can add a sprite indicating which fraction they belong too.
There's a lot of argument against doing so. I was interested in visiting this solution, but it seems like this is not the best approach unfortunately.
It seems a bit messy there just seems to be too much going on especially if a ship can have 6-10 weapons each with their own bar.
Yes, that's the reason why I've created this thread. I'm a bit concerned with information flow.
Although, realistically, I wouldn't expect most of the fights to be more than 2v2 or less. I went with pretty much the worst-case scenario to see how it looks though.
What about a red overly that covers a ship as damage increases representing the percentage of damage done?
This sounds like a suitable solution. I can think of various ways to implement this that shouldn't be too demanding.
First thing that comes to mind is unless I moused over a ship, I'm not displaying any sort of interest in it. I could click a ship if I wanted to keep it toggled on. Otherwise this is more information than I need.
This will probably come as extra work . As the player, if this were a really important battle I'd use instant replay, rewind, and I'd capture it . This paragraph only applies if I was really into the game.
This IS the instant replay (combats are not actually fought by the player as per an RTS, they are simulated and this is the graphical rendition that is returned to the player after the turn is processed).
I'm a bit concerned that not displaying this information would make the battles hard to understand (the "why did I lose" syndrom).
In addition to the improvements you've made, I'd make the life bar slightly higher
Yes, I am also unhappy that it has pretty much the same height as everything else, though its definitely a more critical information.
and add markers for 25%, 50% and 75%
Do you mean like, vertical yellow bars across the gauge to segment it?
Also, I'd get rid of weapon charge bars for charge times < 1 or 2 seconds.
It could look odd if some weapons' cooldown were accounted for and others weren't?
Also, I'm anticipating that most weapons will take 2+ seconds to reload. The values I'm using right now are simply random because I didn't get around to creating the external XML balancing document yet for these.
Looks awesome so far, keep up the great work!
Couple thoughts on where to go next:
- Add a top-of-screen gauge on each side that represents the total amount of hp of each faction. This way, it will tell you who has the most "life" overall left. I think its the closest indicator to winning/losing trend.
- Implement a red mask overlay (that starts with the back of a ship and slowly progresses towards the helm). I'm thinking this mask should be something around 25-50% transparency so that, whily ou undeniably see it, you can still see the ship sprite.
- Enlarge the HP gauge vertically
- Find a way to differentiate ship owner instead of gauge colors (and reinstate enemy ship gauges as "green").
- Find a way to make the cooldown gauges less intrusive (though I'm not sure which way to go with that just yet).
- Apply consistent damage text color (red)