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GUI refactoring, GUI design.

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Refactoring goes on. I seriously spent most of today just getting everything to work that was broken by redesign of code.

Shots of GUI redesign

I need to code a random world generator so that I don't have to make a Potemkin Landscape every time I need a screenshot.

Start Menu Design

First let me tell you why the second one really irritates my sense of good design.

The background is a light image (a crop of a digital painting that I don't think I'm going to finish), but the game title foreground element is a window with a black background which punches right back through and 'reads' as farther 'back' than the actual background painting. Solution: Find a darker painting for the background and make a title banner with less 'depth'. Also the gold circle bits are starting to irritate me.

The button panel isn't so bad, and it's showing off the "dither transparency" which I'm going to start using for a number of UI panels to give a more open feeling while retaining the old-school colorkey effect -- and speed. But because this is the start screen, those buttons really should be unique graphics rather than generated generics, and this is going to require that I add support for unique button image states. Shouldn't be too bad.

Game-view Design

There really isn't much here because there isn't any gameplay. The hammer icon leads to Edit mode, the menu goes to the main menu, and the skull exits the game. I quite like those little trim graphics, they remind me of bismuth crystals, which have always fascinated me.

My goal is to have GUI elements that are as non-invasive as possible while retaining atmosphere through the use of little 'frills' like I've shown. And as a rule for my gui, if a panel isn't being used, it shouldn't be visible -- but it should always be clear or intuitive how to make a panel visible...

Sundry Items...

The minimap is going to be fairly difficult, now that I think it through. The only way one-pixel-per-tile is going to work is if it is drawn rotated 45 degrees. This breaks the cardinal rule of there being an intuitive connection between the orientation of the mainmap and minimap. What a pain!

And before anyone asks, the Editor view looks essentially the same as before. I added some dither-transparency panels to it but was having some issues with rendering text over them, so it'll require a little investigation.

Here's a fun thing: I'm going to generate different sizes of animated flags using a major and minor color and flag pattern for each polity. To get a rippling-in-the-wind effect per-pixel shadow masks will be drawn over the colorshifted 8bit template, then an alpha mask can be drawn back over it all. See here:

Then it could look something like this in-game:

(The little soldiers were drawn specifically for the fake screenshot and are not used anywhere in the game. Same for the rather rough selection marquee which uses the major/minor colors.)

The smaller flags imply that troops of vassal polities are in the army. Or something. Anyway it shows that political hierarchies will operate in the game. But how about political partnerships? Hmm.
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