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rendered bridge view wastes screen space

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The game:   SIMSpace v8.0 - a star trek style starship flight sim

 

So I'm drawing the bridge interior in 3D, with floor, ceiling, left and right walls. the view screen fills the front wall. the camera is located near the back of the bridge looking at the screen.  4 Control stations are arrayed across the bridge close to the main screen.

 

I'm shooting for the top 2/3rds of the screen is the viewscreen, and the bottom 1/3rd is the displays for the control stations, that the player can click on.  Gameplay is similar to a sub sim like silent hunter.   

 

I've adjusted everything so it looks ok, but the bottom inch of the screen is wasted real estate. all it shows is the floor and the pedestals that support the control consoles.

 

Should I leave it like that with the 3D rendered look, but wasted screen space, or should I adjust it so the bottom 1/3rd is the displays and the top 2/3rds is the main screen, and lose the 3D detail below the displays?  Bigger displays could be easier to read, could display more info, and could allow for bigger buttons that are easier to click on in the heat of battle.

 

So its sort of an eye candy vs functionality issue.

 

A big view screen is highly desirable, so cutting it size to just half the height of the screen is not a very desirable option. 

Edited by Norman Barrows

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I second Mike, but from the description above, how much "eyecandy" is a floor and some pedestals really?

 

Most of the time, I'd say the viewscreen and consoles are more important, and you shouldn't waste screen space with too thick "borders" around functional parts of the game screen.

 

On the other hand, maybe the floor will show briefly sometimes?

 

I'm thinking, for example when getting hit it could be nice to shake the camera a fair bit (classic ST bridge shake), and at that time, the floor would show, giving a bit more immersion.

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OK, got a screen shot for you.   Took a minute - seems thee's something wrong with the print screen button on this keyboard.   Must be dirty or something.

 

 

Mockup of bridge screen layout using textured quads:

 

gallery_197293_1150_186430.jpg

 

 

 

 

The walls, floor, and ceiling are in white. the control consoles are in green.   Lighting and cull are turned off at the moment.   The entire front wall of the bridge is the main viewer at the moment.

 

Text and displays will be drawn on the vertical parts of the control consoles. The player will be able to click on them.  

 

As you can see, everything below the vertical displays of the control panels is wasted screen real estate.

 

It might be better to make the entire bottom 1/3 of the screen the vertical part of the control panels. That would allow more room for displays and buttons and such, and bigger areas to click on.

 

But then you lose the 3D visual depth cues that the horizontal part of the consoles, their mounting pedestals, and the floor bring.

Edited by Norman Barrows

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On the other hand, maybe the floor will show briefly sometimes?   I'm thinking, for example when getting hit it could be nice to shake the camera a fair bit (classic ST bridge shake), and at that time, the floor would show, giving a bit more immersion.

 

It will be a fixed camera.   As for screen shake, its had that since version 1.0 in 1989.    And yes, simply shaking the camera  will be easier than the typical screenspace method of repeatedly blitting a screendump with random jitter

 

Is it just me or does this spell check know absolutely nothing about CS terms?

 

screenspace

blitting

screendump

jitter

 

it doesn't know any of them!   i would think it would at leastget jitter.  but anyway...

 

 

 

Its funny.  Back in the late 90's i teamed up with a publisher for version 6 of the game. and back then it was eye candy vs control size too.  but they wanted way too much eye candy. no room left for controls.  They also wanted to turn it into an arcade game. Imagine trying to turn silent hunter into an arcade game.  in retrospect it seems kind of whacked actually... <g>.    live and learn.  in the end we parted ways due to differences of artistic vision. cost me a year of development time. We never got past this screen.

Edited by Norman Barrows

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This doesn't look like Game Design to me. Moving to Visual Arts.

 

its probably best classified as "UI design issue". 

 

Would that be visual arts or game design?

 

I would think that UI design would be game design, and UI implementation would be visual arts and / or graphics.

 

Doesn't matter to me though! <g>.

 

Visual arts is fine.

 

BTW, how do you vote Tom? eye candy and 3D cues, or more screen space for UI controls?

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