Instead of having 12 windows I've compressed the same functionality into essentially 5 command windows -
- Weapons Market / Inventory
- Vehicle Dealership
- Business Manager / Territory Overview
- Drug Market
Instead of using a windows-like-interface, it uses a more streamlined interface where only 1 window is visible at a time, and I think it looks a lot more slick, is more intuitive, and is surely a move in the right direction. Another nice touch is that the window interface is animated so it slides out of the side of the screen as you change command windows ;-) Also you now drag&drop the drugs/weapons/vehicles from your inventory directly the game world.
Here is the raw image of the new overlay that will sit at the bottom of the screen and contains the 'Money / Respect / Gang Size / Vehicle Count' stats, as well as a mini-map which displays territory information and the exact field-of-view of the user's camera.
Also this new User-Interface scales with screen resolution changes to maintain a constant size. I had noticed a major bottleneck in the game's rendering, because DrawText() and DrawSprite() calls were intermixed things were slowing down a lot, so I now render them in separate passes and the frame-rate went up by about 10. That alone would have required essentially re-writing the user-interface.
By consolidating the inventory and weapons market into a single window things are much smoother. Before you'd have to buy a weapon in the weapons market -> open the gang manager, drag + drop it into a gangsters inventory, and then select that gangster. There were many problems with this, for instance there was no correlation between the gangster's world position through the gang manager window. The new way to equip gangsters will be to drag + drop the weapons from the inventory causing the cursor to change into whatever gun you clicked on, then you just drag + drop it into the game world.
This is how vehicles will work as well, when you buy a vehicle you can place it anywhere in your territory by dragging and dropping it, same with drugs. Whenever you purchase a drug from the drug market it will be placed in your inventory. Purchasing drugs / vehicles for your gang will probably be more infrequent than purchasing weapons, which is why I decided to combine it with the inventory screen. I mean you could be a successful gang by just walking places, and extorting businesses I suppose...you don't need drugs or cars to be a successful gang [grin].
Some early screenshots -
Here are 3 more screenshots of the new interface, I've still got a lot of work to do.
There are still a lot of things I'm not happy with in these screenshots, things will probably change a lot. The font that is used to display the gang stats isn't as good as it can be ;-) There are some other things that look 'off' to me right now, but just getting functionality in there is my main concern at the moment.
I still have 3 windows to finish, so that's what I'm going to be doing for the next few days, I think the new UI is a step in the right direction.