GUI and Lighting

Updated interface for unit selection:

Most of the information and commands a player needs to manage units are located in the selection bar, located in the lower middle section of the screen. The panel on the right shows a list of icons representing all currently selected unit types and how many of each type are selected. This section also displays the total health and energy levels of all the selected units above. Clicking on one of the portrait icons here will deselect all other types within the current selection, which is designed to allow the player to easily select only certain unit types for special attacks.

Unit control GUI

The left panel contains the colored stance buttons along the top (aggressive, defensive, hold position, and hold fire) and automatically populates the lower section with all abilities available to units within the current selection, in this case some of the selected ships have a speed boost ability, which uses up energy.

Unit control GUI 2

Unit production:

GUI for Production Buildings

Unit production is handled similarly to regular unit control, but makes use of an extra panel on the left side of the screen. Note that the actual buttons for creating units are on the panel to the upper left, while the lower middle panel displays the next 5 units in production and the progress bar for the ship currently under construction. The upper panel also displays the total number of each type of unit in the production queue, since the player can queue up many more than 5 units at a time, however only the first 5 are shown in order. Units can be canceled by right clicking on the portrait in either location. Some of the changes to the production GUI are a result of switching to a pay as you go system for producing units, (like the one in C&C games) as opposed to the model where you have to pay all the resources up front to begin production (as seen in Starcraft.) This way, the player can queue up a very large number of units even with low resources, which should make macro management less stressful.

Finally, in addition to the GUI updates, I’ve made some changes to the graphics engine. Ships are now better lit and contrast better with the background space, plus I’ve added or increased a glowing outline effect to most units to help them stand out even more.

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