We have finally finished the first GUI iteration. The visualisation of buttons, text, infos, items, icons, hud, minimap etc. has been settled down and I'm quite satisfied with the style we have choosen. The art is mostly down by my friend. Take a look at our screenshots to get an impression of the gui style.
My major interest in game programming is visualisation and I couldn't hold back to implement a little improvement while doing the GUI stuff. When you take a look at the screenshots you will , at least I hope, recognize that the walls are rendered with a displacement map. I've tested two techniques, parallax occlusion mapping and (relaxed) cone step mapping. The preprocessing of the cone step mapping is reallly slow, but you will need less steps for good final results. One issue with image based displacement mapping is that texture distortion is a no-go. It seems that I've to rework one or two cave models to get rid of this distortions.
After all the gui stuff I will go back to gameplay and try to de/refine it more. My goal for the next step is to tie up loose ends and get some gameplay done. That gameplay will be quite basic stuff, like killing mobs, leveling etc. Although this is quite basic stuff (we have other gameplay focuses) it is still hard because it consists of tieing up almost all subsystems to play together in harmony.
Stay tuned !