As for that user interface, I'm thinking that going with a clipboard, one of those old medical chart ones, as a motif. Or maybe a flip-open (wire-ring) notebook. Have the different UI panels on pages, maybe even have the UI animated to flip through them!
Prototype 2 is taking a lot slower than I had anticipated. I want to get it working before going onto actual development. Some of what I want to do is pretty easy (adding the single-instance mutex, rudimentary input in-game), but getting the OGRE configuration files eliminated, and allowing resource overrides, and filesystem related work will be painful. It'd be awesome if OGRE actually had a nice VFS system; doing my own and integrating it with the resource system that OGRE uses isn't going to be much fun.
Another thing I've done while working on prototype 2 is an automated system for building, preparing an installer, and making a CD image. It's incomplete, but I'm hoping to get it all working nicely soon. Then I'll move it to Perl, makefile, or shell script (it's a set of batch files that call each other right now).